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procession of the Holy Ghost," but differed both from that and the Roman on the question whether Christ had one nature or two natures. They are the remains of the Monophysites, who so long kept up a warfare against the decree of the Council at Chalcedon. To this day they teach the doctrine of Eutyches, that Christ had but one nature, and that even his body was of a divine incorruptible substance. The Armenian church agrees with the Greek in believing that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father only. It was long before they became reconciled to images, but they now venerate images of the Virgin and the saints. Their Patriarch lives in a monastery on Mount Ararat, which is much resorted to as a place of pilgrimage. The number of Armenians is estimated at two millions. There are also Monophysite Christians remaining in Abyssinia, who retain many Jewish customs. They circumcise their children, keep Saturday as the Sabbath, and observe the laws of Moses concerning articles of food. They admit no one to the Lord's Supper till he is twenty-five years of age; maintaining that no one is accountable for sin before that time, and that all who die earlier are sure of salvation. In Egypt there is a small remnant of the disciples of Eutyches, called Copts. These and the Abyssinian Christians are all that remain of the once powerful churches in Africa, where Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustine lived and laboured. Some travellers have mentioned a Gospel of Thomas, read in various Christian churches in Asia and Africa, and adopted by some as their only rule of faith. It seems likely that this is the apocryphal book mentioned under the title of The Infancy of Jesus; purporting to be written by the Apostle Thomas.
Christians of all churches are accustomed to offer their prayers in the name of Christ; and it is a prevailing belief that faith in the atonement of his blood will save the greatest sinner; even if he does not repent till he is on his death-bed. Among the titles commonly bestowed on Jesus, are “The Messiah ; The Anointed One ; The Holy Son of Mary; The Only Begotten Son of God; The Word
does not common One: The Word
of God; The God-man; God manifested in the flesh; God of God; The Mediator and Intercessor for the sins of mankind; The Lamb who was slain from the beginning; The Sacrifice for all sin; The Redeemer of the world."
The birth of Christ was not introduced as an era among the nations, until five hundred and twenty-seven years after that event. Dionysius Exiguus, abbot of a monastery in Rome, was the first author of it. In the beginning, there was considerable variation between the eras adopted by churches in different parts of the world; and differences of computation still remain. But nearly all Christian nations place the birth of Christ four thousand and four years after the Creation; in the seven hundred and fifty-third year of the building of Rome. Some learned men suppose it to have occurred two years earlier; others say four years. Not being introduced as an epoch until after several centuries had elapsed, it is not surprising that some discrepancies occur in the reckoning.
The entire number of Christians, of all denominations, is computed at about two hundred and fifty millions.
“I ask myself if all that host,
Whose turban'd marbles o'er them nod,
To die as those who have no God i
Then let no doubts my spirit darken,
by a miten vis.
sacrit when the norm the
ACCORDING to Arabian traditions, when Hagar and her son were dying with thirst, and she implored God for relief, the angel Gabriel descended and stamped on the ground; whereupon, a fountain sprang forth in the desert, on the very spot where the city of Mecca now stands, Abraham loved Ishmael better than Isaac, and often visited him in his exile; being conducted by a miraculous horse, that enabled him to perform the journey in half a day. Nevertheless, when the boy was thirteen years old, he prepared to sacrifice him, having been thus commanded by God three times in a dream. Eblis, [the Devil,] wishing to prevent such an act of piety, gave warning to Hagar and her son; but they both replied: "If he believes it to be the will of Allah, let it be done." But when all was in readiness, Gabriel appeared with a ram, which he ordered Abraham to sacrifice instead of Ishmael. This ram was the same that Abel offered; and since that time it had been pastured in Paradise. The Jewish Talmud, in relating a similar story of Isaac, says an Angel brought the ram from Paradise, where it pastured under the Tree of Life, and drank from the rivers that flowed therefrom. Ishmael became a famous hunter and warrior, and married
the daughter of a king in south Arabia. He had twelve sons, the founders of twelve tribes. Abraham, who took great interest in his prosperity, wished to have the worship of One Supreme God established among them. Allah had sent down from heaven a temple for Adam, but at the time of the Deluge, He had caused it to be again drawn up into heaven. Abraham prayed earnestly that the model of it might be revealed to him, and Gabriel brought it in answer to his prayer. He then assisted Ishmael in building a temple precisely like it, on the spot where he had prepared to sacrifice him to the Lord, close beside the miraculous fountain. The Angel appointed to prevent Adam from eating the forbidden fruit had been changed into a diamond for his neglect. The diamond had been given to Adam, but was afterward drawn up into heaven with his temple. When Gabriel brought the model to Abraham, this precious stone was also sent from Paradise for him to rest upon; and it was ever after preserved in the House of Prayer, which he and Ishmael erected.
The descendants of Ishmael were hunters and herdsmen, and, like their cousins the Israelites, lived thus for ages, without attracting the attention of more civilized portions of the world. It is recorded that Caab, son of Ishmael, was accustomed to assemble the people in the temple every Friday, and instruct them concerning the God taught by Abraham. Families that spread into the adjacent country built altars for themselves, but all were in the habit of repairing to the temple erected by Abraham, which was called the Caaba, from the name of the zealous preacher. Notwithstanding his constant exhortations, idolatry increased among his relatives; insomuch that when his grandson died, Mecca was the only place where the doctrine of One God was taught.
When Christianity became the established religion of the Roman empire, Arabians were in a condition which indicates that their opinions and customs had been princi pally derived from Chaldean and Egyptian sources; and such would be the natural result of traditional teaching,
derived by Ishmael from his Chaldean father and Egyptian mother. A large majority of them worshipped Spirits of the Stars, whom they called “Sons of God” and “Daughters of God.” They named the Supreme Being Allah Taaba, and considered the Spirits his subordinate agents in the creation and government of the world, and mediators between Him and mortals. Polytheism produced the same results there as elsewhere. The Supreme God became a mere abstract idea, and the inferior deities were the only objects of popular adoration. Opinions and customs varied in different parts of the country, but there was a general resemblance in doctrines and modes of worship. All professed to derive their system from Sabi, the son of Seth, and were therefore called Sabians. They prayed three times a day: at sunrise, at noon, and at sunset. They observed three annual fasts ; offered sacrifices of men and animals; made a yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, where they performed many ceremonies; and occasionally made pilgrimages to Harran in Mesopotamia, rendered sacred by some connection with the history of Abraham. Some of them made devotional journeys into Egypt, where they sacrificed a cock and a black calf, offered prayers, and burned incense before the great pyramids, which they believed to be the sepulchres of Seth, and his sons Enoch and Sabi. The Arabians, from the most ancient times, universally practised circumcision, and abstained from pork. In some of the tribes, society was divided into castes. Some sects believed in the transmigration of souls, and some introduced into their worship the sexual symbols, which Hindoos and Egyptians reverenced as Emblems of Life. When a relative died, it was the general custom to sacrifice a camel on his grave, that he might have an animal to ride upon when his body rose from the dead. In the vicinity of Persia, the doctrines of Zoroaster had become considerably mixed with the old Arabian traditions. Some sects supposed that the souls of wicked men would be punished during nine thousand ages, and then all would be forgiven, and become good.