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Nor is it necessary to refer the supreme authority of the Patriarch to the example of the Jewish high priest.
We have already alluded to the small mountainous region of Montenegro, near the Illyrian coast, and its hardy and warlike race of Slavic mountaineers, as presenting in many respects a striking parallel to the country and people of the independent Nestorians. The inhabitants are divided into four Nahia or districts; and these again into tribes; and each Nahia and tribe has over it a chief. But the most singular part is, that “ the highest person among the Montenegrins, is the Metropolitan or Bishop, called in their language Vladika.” This species of theocracy grew up in Montenegro, about three centuries ago; and the office of Vladika is now hereditary in a particular family, in such a way, however, that the incumbent has the right of designating which member of the family shall be his successor.* This seems also to be the case with the Patriarch of the Nestorians; who, in other respects, has about him nothing more of the Jewish high priest than has the Vladika of Montenegro.
A very early custom of the Hebrews and of other ancient nations, was that of blood-revenge ; by which, in all cases of homicide, the nearest relative of the person slain was bound to kill the slayer; or be himself regarded infamous. So deeply was this custom seated, that even Moses did not see fit to prohibit it directly; but chose rather to evade and counteract the evil by the institution of cities of refuge. The same custom we find still existing among the tribes of the independent Nestorians in its full strength; so that “ an indelible stain marks the character of the person who does not avenge the death of a relative.” p. 229. Dr. G. confirms the statement by terrible examples. p. 91. While two promising lads, the sons of two brothers, were at play together, one shot the other; and the be
* Wuk Stephanowitch, Montenegro und die Montenegriner, Stuttg. u. Tüb. 1837, pp. 30, 31.—In 1838, the present king of Saxony visited Montenegro, and was very hospitably received by the Vladika. After his return, the latter sent him a complimentary poem of his own composition ; and as there happened to be at the time no scholar in Dresden acquainted with the language, the poem was put into the hands of a lady, now a resident in this country, to translate. The present Vladika is a young man, partly educated at St. Petersburg.
reaved father, who was the legal avenger of blood, could accept of nothing but the blood of his brother's child. In a social party, a person, for some supposed insult, plunged his dagger into the breast of another; upon which the brother of the slain closed the scene, by laying the murderer dead at his feet. And this, too, among a Christian people! To Dr. G. this custom affords of course indubitable evidence in behalf of his favorite position.
But what evidence have we, that this custom continued to exist among the later Jews; or that it was even found at all among them after the separation of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel? We know of none. The institution of cities of refuge under Joshua appears to have done its work, and accomplished the object of the great legislator, by gradually wearing out this hideous feature. Even under the Judges, the rights of the Goel or avenger, the next of kin, (to judge from the Book of Ruth,) appear to have become limited to the Levirate duties and the privilege of redeeming property. The latest trace of bloodrevenge furnished by the Scriptures, is in the feigned story of the woman of Tekoah, intended to persuade David to recall Absalom; although in respect to Absalom himself, it is not intimated that he was exposed to danger from this custom.* From that time forward, there is no farther hint of the practice among the Hebrews; the Jews of the age of the New Testament had it not; nor is it found among the Jews of the present day in any quarter of the globe. How then could the Nestorians derive it from the Jews? It was and is unknown to the latter; and it is totally at variance with all the precepts of Christianity. Instead, therefore, of proving any kindred between the Nestorians and Jews, this fact, so far as it goes, tends rather to establish the contrary.
The same fact serves to show, that this is more probably one of those primitive and universal customs, which spring up among different races under the influence of similar circumstances. To say nothing of the ancient Greeks and Arabians, as well as the modern Persians, Abyssinians, Druses, and Circassians, among whom this atrocious feature is related to exist, more or less,f we meet with it at the present day prevailing especially among independent nomadic or pastoral tribes, where the want or
* 2 Sam. c. xiv.
weakness of an established civil government, renders the public administration of criminal justice imperfect or impracticable. Thus we still find the custom in its full strength among the wild hordes of Bedawîn who rove over the Arabian deserts and nestle in Mount Sinai ; among all of whom, it has never been counteracted by the institution of cities of refuge nor by any other asylum.* Still more remarkable is it, that the same customs should still be found existing among rude Christian tribes inhabiting mountainous districts; like the Nestorians of Kurdistan, the Mainotes of the Peloponnesus,t and the Montenegrins of Illyria. In this latter country, the custom of blood-revenge is carried even to a greater extent than among the Nestorians. “ It is considered a sacred duty; and such a debt must be paid, even if not until after a hundred years. If, of two brothers, one were to slay their father, the other would be bound to avenge the father's death by the blood of his own brother. The relatives of the slain preserve his bloody garments, in order to stimulate by the sight their friends to vengeance; and especially is this done by the mother of the young children of a murdered person, in order to inculcate the same lesson as they grow up.”I The custom here, as well as among the Nestorians, obviously takes the place of public judicial punishment.
A parallel to the Hebrew cities of refuge is found by Dr. Grant in the Nestorian churches ; to which the man-slayer may flee and remain in security, until he shall have been proved to be guilty, or his case have been adjusted by payment of the fine of blood, or otherwise. Among the Bedawîn, where no churches exist, the slayer flies to another tribe; among the Mainotes and Montenegrins, he does the same, or he may make the church his sanctuary. But Dr. G. leaves entirely out of view the fact, that even the ancient heathen temples were in the same manner asylums, like that of Diana at Ephesus ;$ and also that in an early age the like immunities were granted by the emperors to all Christian churches, and convents, and
* Bibl. Researches in Palest. I. p. 209. Burckhardt, Travels in Syria, etc. p. 540.
+ See a horrible instance which occurred in Maina, even between priests, in Col. Leake's Travels in the Morea, I. pp. 236, 237.
Í Wuk Steph. Montenegro u. die Montenegriner, p. 35. § See the references, Winer Bibl. Realw. I. pp. 443, 444. SECOND SERIES, VOL. VI. NO. II.
were extended even to church-yards and bishops' houses; whence the criminal could not be removed without a legal assurance of life, and an entire remission of the crime. The same immunity still exists in the churches of some Catholic countries. In all this, there is just as much relation to the Hebrew cities of refuge, as there is in the Nestorian churches ; and the one instance proves just as much as the other, and no more.
[To be concluded.*]
1.-Sermons on Important Subjects. By the Rev. Samuel Davies.
A.M., Pres. of the College of New Jersey. With an
Dayton & Saxton. 1841. pp. 566, 556, 499. PRESIDENT Davies has always stood in the front rank of American preachers. Although called to the sacred office without the advantages of a thorough education, and dying at an early age, he attained to distinguished celebrity as a pulpit orator. His published sermons are mostly posthumous; still if we imagine them to have been “ delivered,” in the language of Mr. Barnes, “by a man of the noble bearing, the fine form, the eloquent gesticulation, the fervor of manner, and the heart and soul of such a man as Mr. Davies, it is easy to understand the reason why he had so commanding an influence over a popular audience, and why he was characterized as the prince of preachers.” His rich natural endowments, however, did not betray him into the fault of negligent and hasty preparation for the pulpit. “I always thought it,” he once remarked, “to be a most awful thing to go into the pulpit and there speak nonsense in the name of God. Besides, when I have an opportunity of preparing, and neglect to do
* We regret that want of space obliges us to defer the remainder of this article till the next number.
so, I am afraid to look up to God for assistance, for that would be to ask him to countenance my negligence.” “Every discourse of his, which he thought worthy of the name of a ser. mon, cost him four days' hard study.”
The productions of such a man, written with such views of the sacredness of his work, could not fail to be acceptable and useful. It will not be expected of us to point out the characteristics of Pres. Davies as a sermonizer. Mr. Barnes has done this with discrimination and fidelity in his “Essay on the Life and Times of the Author.” But the best voucher for the value of these discourses is their almost unexampled popu, larity. Probably no other sermons which have issued from the American press have obtained more unequivocal proofs of the public favor. Prior to 1800, nine editions of them had been given to the world. In Great Britain, moreover, they have been repeatedly published with the approval and recommendations of the soundest divines. The publishers of the volumes before us have acted wisely for themselves, we have no doubt, as well as advantageously for the public in preparing this “ stereotype edition.”
The preliminary “essay," above referred to, occupies about 60 pages. It takes a rapid view of the leading incidents in the life of Pres. Davies, and also of the early history of Presbyterianism in Virginia, the materials of which were mainly furnished by Dr. Hill. Next follows the writer's estimate of Pres. Davies as a preacher. The last 25 pages of the "essay" are devoted to a consideration of “the kind of ministry fitted to the times in which we live.” The sentiments advanced in the progress of this discussion are judicious and weighty, such as we should expect from one who himself illustrates “ the kind of preaching that this age demands.” The sermons contained in the present edition are eighty-two in number, embracing a great variety of subjects,-ordinary and occasional,—and well suited to all classes of readers.
2.- A Grammar of the New Testament Dialect. By M. Stuart,
Prof. of Sacred Literature in the Theol. Seminary at Andover. Second edition, corrected and mostly written anew. Andover: Allen, Morrill & Wardwell (successors to Gould and Newman). New York: Dayton &
Saxton. 1841. pp. 308. The first edition of this grammar,—which was published in 1834,-having been for some time exhausted, Prof. Stuart has reluctantly consented to issue a second. The state of his