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and been too indifferent to their state. May our prayers be more fervent, and may they prevail! “Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel!"
Of the Greek Church, it is gratiying to recollect, that its doctrines are not on some essential points so entirely corrupted as the doctrines of the Papacy, and that her clergy are much more favourable to the circulation of the Scriptures ;-itself so hopeful a circumstance, that we doubt not that a more general ac quaintance with them will be followed by an effusion of the HOLY Spirit, opening the eyes of many to the errors which exist, and raising up fearless witnesses to his own truth. Something of this appears to have taken place in Russia, and similar effects we may hope for in Greece; and when that once occurs, we may lift up our heads, for "the time of her redemption draweth nigh.”
At present, however, whilst the following views are entertained of confession and absolution, the spirit of true religion must languish.
"Although the Formulary of Absolution used by the Greeks is not so absolute in its expressions, as that of the Latins, yet the mind is, in both cases, directed to consider the Priest as in the place of GOD; conferring or withholding, by the authority of his function, the communication of divine pardon and
"Conversations of the following tenor have taken place on this subject, between the Author and Greek Ecclesiastics.
"When asked, as I have frequently been, whether we have confession in our church, I have described our general confession, and the declaration of absolution on the supposition of penitence. To the question, What penitence? I have replied, That which is sincere, and in the heart. They have then described what they meant by penitence. A man comes to his Spiritual Father: (Pneumaticos, i. e. Spiritual, is the title of those, in the Greek Church, who are qualified to receive confession and give absolution :) he says, I have done this and that, &c. &c. When he has confessed, the Priest examines him very closely, exhorts him to fasting, prayer, alms-deeds, and fruits meet for repentance; and then gives him absolution. And then are his sins forgiven?' 'Yes.' But the Priest cannot see his heart; and, after all, he may have been
acting the hypocrite: he may have concealed some sin; or his heart may still love sin as much as before: can the Priest for
give a man in such a state?' Then the
man must answer for it to GOD: he is in I have replied: then, after all, the the wrong, not the Priest.'- Very well,' Priest cannot always, by his word of mouth, give pardon: it comes only to this, that he may declare and pronounce the pardon which GoD is willing to give to those whom he sees to be sincere.' Ah; but the Priest puts the sincerity of the penitent to the test.'-' How?" I asked. If the man has committed some great crime, as nuurder, the Priest will not give him absolution for a long time he must give proofs of his penitence, by fasting, by repeating prayers for whole nights, by labours, &c. If he refuses, the Priest withholds absolution."— But still,' I said, "if he complies, and obtains absolution, yet if his heart is not changed from the love of sin, he is not pardoned in the sight of GOD.' Oa this they quote John xx. 23. This,' as one expressed it to me, is the text which should raise in the minds of the I only answered, that it was a great Clergy a proper sense of their dignity.' dignity, for a man simply to declare the pardon of his fellow-sinners through CHRIST; and to plead with them in CHRIST'S stead, beseeching them to be reconciled to GOD.
"It is by virtue of this power of absolution, that Christians of every rite are drawn to pay their devotions at the holy sepulchre at Jerusalem: for although the place and season and multitude of these acts of devotion are considered to give peculiar efficacy to prayer, yet the end in which they all terminate is the absolution and remission of sins, declared in a printed form to the pilgrims who go thither to worship." (pp. 23-25.)
MR. J. gives one of these printed forms, which shows that in this wretched imposture, this misleading and soul-destroying superstition, the Greek and Roman Churches are equally guilty.
The following is MR. JOWETT'S account of the public worship of the Greek Church, and it is sufficiently melancholy :
"With respect to the rites of public worship, it is well known that the Greeks do not admit the use of images into their churches; but they make up the deficiency with a multitude of pictures, on pannels of wood, all round the church; and to these “likenesses," no less than
the Latins to their "graven images,"
"By members both of the Greek and Latin Churches, I have frequently been asked what our church declares respecting the Havayla, or Most Holy,' which is the title given by them to the blessed Virgin. I have replied, We consider, that prophecy, and every other purpose, were sufficiently accomplished in her being a virgin till CHRIST was born: after that the Scripture speaks obscurely, and the point is immaterial: therefore our church declares nothing.'-' But,' they reply, we look to her as the great Mediatrix: all our prayers pass through her to GOD. To this effect, indeed, both their public services and their most eloquent sermons continually tend.
exactly remember the number as they went on, they count it off with beads. Three times forty! Surely these are vain repetitions and were a man to multiply them a thousand fold, they would be still more vain; but he would be regarded as a very holy man!
The Greeks have three Liturgies; by Saints Chrysostom, Basil, and Gregory. That of Saint Chrysostom is used all the year through, except in Lent; when a longer one, of St. Basil, is read; and, for a few days, that of St. Gregory. There is service, generally, performed every day; but it is little attended, except on Sundays, or on great festivals." (pp. 31-34.)
The service for the dead is, indeed, as MR. JOWETT describes it," an awful" one; and if it applied as movingly to the consciences of the attendants, as it does to their passions, it might be as edifying, as it is shudderingly sublime.
"Visiting, on one occasion, the learned Master of the Public School, ECONOMUS the Presbyter, our conversation was interrupted by the approach of the procession of a deceased Greek of some consequence, over whom ECONOMUS But that which on an English ear was to preach a funeral sermon, in the falls most heavily, is the perpetual per- adjoining metropolitan church. I went formance of divine worship in a tongue with him. It was very affecting to see not understood by the people. It is sur- the corpse lying in an open coffin, with prising how, under such circumstances, the ordinary dress of life; that is, the their attention can be kept up. To loose flowing Greek robes; on his head, diversify a long service, there is always the kalpac, a large and cumbrous headsomething new bringing forward; such dress, commonly worn; and the face as changing the dresses and the readers. exposed. The sight made me shudder; and so did the indifference which habit has produced on the minds of the bystanders.
"The Greeks have three services in the day one about four o'clock in the morning, called "Oggos: the second, a Liturgy, and which is the priacipal service, takes place about six or seven o'clock, differently in different churches: and, in the evening, Vespers.
"Every week the Priests are obliged to repeat the whole book of Psalms through. By repeating,' is meant just so much as to move the lips. Often, on entering an open church, I have seen a Priest, sitting by himself, performing this silent duty. The Psalter, as they print it, is divided into sixty-three parts; at the end of each of which they repeat the Doxology, Glory be to the FATHER,' &c. The common way of speaking is, that the Priest recites nine Doxologies a day.
"Besides this, there is a large number of Hallelujahs and Kyrie-eleesons to repeat. The Priests are required to repeat, at least three times a day, Kugie no forty times. As they might not
"ECONOMUS preached a sermon of twenty minutes' length. He spoke of the dead in an Attic style of compliment, under the title of μaxágios. He concluded his sermon, by breaking out into that awful service which the Greek Church has for the dead, and in which the congregation in a murmuring voice joined. It is an invitation to relatives and friends to bid their final adieu :
"Come, Brethren, and let us give the last embrace to the deceased, thanking GOD! He hath left his kindred, he is borne to the grave,-no longer heeding the things of vanity, and of the burdensome flesh. Where now are kindred and friends? Now we are separated: Whom let us pray the LORD to take to rest!
"What a separation, O Brethren ! what woe, what wailing on the present change! Come, then, let us embrace
him who a little while ago was with us. He is consigned to the grave, he is covered with a stone,—his abode is with darkness, he is buried with the dead! Now we are separated: Whom let us pray the LORD to take to his rest!
Now all the evil and vain festivity of life is dissolved: for the spirit hath left its tabernacle,-the clay hath become black,-the vessel is broken, speechless, void of feeling, dead, motionless: Whom consigning to the grave, let us pray the LORD to give him rest for ever.
"Truly, like a flower, and as a vapour, and as morning dew, is our life. Come, then, let us look down narrowly into the grave. Where is the comeliness of the body, and where is youth? Where are the eyes, and the beauty of the flesh ?
All are withered like grass,-all are vanished. Come, then, let us fall before
CHRIST in tears.
"Looking upon the dead laid out, let us all take account of our last change; for this man is carried forth, as smoke from the earth,-as a flower he is withered,—as grass he is cut down,-swathed in a winding sheet,-covered with earth: Whom leaving, now to be no more seen, let us pray to CHRIST that he will grant
to him eternal rest.
"Come hither, ye descendants of
ADAM! Let us behold committed to the earth one who was of our likeness,-all his comeliness cast away,-dissolved in the grave,-food for worms,-in darkaess,-covered with earth!
Come hither, Brethren, to the grave; and see the ashes and dust of which we were formed! Whither now go we? And what have we been? What is the poor, or the rich; or what is the master or the free? Are we not all ashes? The beauty of the countenance is wasted, and death hath utterly withered the flower of youth' &c. &c.
The embracing of the dead, then, and during the reciting of this service, takes place for, as soon as the Priests departed, many came, and, laying their hands on the two sides of the open coffin, kissed the cheeks and forehead of the deceased, with much emotion. When a Bishop dies, and is laid out in this manner in the church, all the congregation throng to perform this ceremony.
"The corpse is now carried out into the church-yard. A slab lifted up, discovered to our view that the whole church-yard is hollow under ground. The body was put into a meaner wooden coffin, and lowered into the grave. I' did not observe that they sprinkled earth upon it, as we do; but, instead of this, a Priest concluded the ceremony by pouring a glass of water on the head of
the corpse. I did not learn what this meant; but it brought to my mind that touching passage in 2 Sam. xiv. 14: "For we must needs die; and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again."" (pp. 38-40.)
For the interesting notices which are given of the moral and religious state of the Greeks at Corfu, Smyrna, Haivali, Scio, Athens, &c. we must refer to the volume itself. Two things were very observable;-the uneasiness of the Greeks under the Turkish yoke, and their exertions to revive literature. Since this visit, however, the desolating scourge of Mahometan barbarity has passed, with unrelenting severity, over many of the places here named and described. The schools MR. JOWETT visited are silent; and many of the characters with whom he had the most interesting conversations are no more! Certainly, near four centuries of grinding and insulting oppression laid upon this branch of the Church of CHRIST afford an awful and most monitory proof of the deep evil of corrupting religion, and of the displeasure of GOD against religious unfaithfulness. The "natural branches" were not spared, nor the branches "graffed in." Towards both, however, GoD has ulterior purposes of mercy. When shall that cheering light break out amidst all this gloom!
From Greece MR. JOWETT passed into Egypt, for the interesting purpose of ascertaining the state of the remnant of Christians, who, amidst every change, and often in the deepest persecutions, have still maintained their profession of CHRIST. We wish we could say that they are "lights in a dark place," and in any degree "the salt of the earth." They claim, however, our sympathy and love, as persons baptized into the same adorable name, and for his 'name's sake,” like the Greeks, bearing the reproach of the proud.
The following sketch of the history of the Coptic Church, will be interesting to our readers:
"In the year of our LORD 639, which was the eighteenth of the Mahomedan era, AMRUS, having subdued Palestine and taken possession of Jerusalem, entered Egypt with a large army; and, in three years, reduced the then powerful and splendid city of Alexandria.
"AMRUS found the inhabitants of Egypt divided into two factions. The one was that of the Romans, or Greeks, from Constantinople: not only were these men in the habit of obtaining the principal dignities in the army, the forum, and the tribunals; but the chief part of the military and of the court were in fact Greeks, or of Greek origin; the law prohibiting natives of Egypt from bearing offices of magistracy: all these Greeks, whose number exceeded three hundred thousand, followed the religion of the Melchites. The other party consisted of native Egyptians, called Copts,-bearing that name in common, although of various origin; some being of Egyptian, and others of Nubian, Abyssinian, and even of Jewish extraction: all these followed the sect of the Jacobites; of this body were the scribes, the husbandmen, the artificers, and the merchants; and, which was of more moment, among them was the majority of the Bishops and Priests.
"Between these parties there was continual hostility; so bitter, that they never intermarried. By frequent murders, they exasperated each other. The Copts were far superior in numbers. When AMRUS invaded Egypt, the Greeks opposed him with a large army, and were often vanquished: but the Copts, when they had obtained terms of peace from him, on condition of paying tribute, assisted the Mussulmans against the Greeks, and expelled them from the province.
"Such was the policy by which, in a crisis of three years, Christian Egypt fell into the hands of the Saracens. AMRUS conquered by dividing his opponents; and of these he favoured the operative portion of the Egyptian community, and removed those only, who, being accustomed to rule, might have harassed his government. The subjugated Copts obtained, indeed, an effectual ascendancy over their rivals, the orthodox Greeks; but these, no inconsiderable body, must have immediately weakened, by their expulsion from Egypt, the numerical, and, still more, the moral influence of Christianity. That interest has progressively languished, nearly to the verge of extinction. Supposing the number of Copts, at that time, to have been but 500,000 men,-much too low a calculation, their subsequent reduction to the twenty-fifth part of that number, is a standing warning to the Church of the guilt and certain punishment of discord, perfidy, and schism.
"Christian sympathy is, nevertheless, due to those who suffer for the name of CHRIST. Dishonourable as is the origin
of that pre-eminence which the Coptic Church maintains in Egypt, yet this Church has endured many cruel buffetings for that religion, which, with a mixture of many errors, it still professes.
"Under the Patriarchate of ISAAC, who governed the Coptic Church from A. D. 686 to 688, the following example of insult, by the Mahomedan Governor of Egypt, to their religion, is recorded. "ABDEL-AZIZ, contrary to the example of his predecessors, began to vex the Christians; commanding to break all the crosses, both of gold and silver, which were used in the sacred offices, throughout the whole of Egypt. He commanded also to fix on the door-posts of the churches blasphemous inscriptions, in which MAHOMED was declared the GREAT APOSTLE OF GOD, and JESUS CHRIST the PROPHET OF GOD; together also with that trite saying in the Alcoran, GOD neither begetTETH, NOR IS BEGOTTEN to the deep grief of the Christians.'
"Under the Patriarchate of ALEXANDER, (A. D. 710-724,) a very severe persecution of the Christians is related to have taken place.
"But the events of the Patriarchate of CHAIL (A. D. 742-766, circiter) present a scene of still more imminent peril to the Church.
"HAFIF, the Mahomedan Governor, had commanded, that, throughout all Egypt, every person should repeat the accustomed Prayer of the Mahomedans; which amounted to a profession of their religion. They who obeyed were exempted from tribute. This was the occasion, to many, of abjuring the Christian Faith; to the great grief of the Patriarch, and the other Bishops, who endured severe sufferings.
"The greater part of them left their episcopal seats, to betake themselves to deserts, and conceal themselves in monasteries; where they intreated, with continual prayer, that GOD would have pity upon the Christians. MOSES, Bishop of Wissim, exhorted the afflicted Christians to constancy; and when the principal men among them reported to him, that already twenty-four thousand men had abjured the faith, he consoled them with the assurance, that the persecution would soon have an end: which shortly after happened.'
"The succeeding Patriarch, MENNAS, is related to have been treated with so great indignity, that he and some other Bishops were compelled, for a whole year, to labour in the dock-yard of Alexandria.
"Under the Patriarchate of SANUTIUS,
(A. D. 882,) AHMED doubled, and even tripled, the tribute. He then sent for the Patriarch; who had recourse to flight, and wandered in desert places and distant monasteries, suffering for six months, and during winter, the greatest hardships. The Prefect directed that the Superintendents of the Churches, and all their furniture and goods, should be seized and brought to the Divan, and the Churches of Caïro shut.
"The Alexandrian History, followed by RENAUDOT, closes with the year of our LORD 1251. Thirteen pages contain a brief notice of the twenty-eight Patriarchs, who successively occupied the Chair of ST. MARK, up to the year 1703. Of the latter part of this long period, we know too well, that the contentions of different Christian Churches and sects, especially the Copts, the Greeks, and the Latins, have rendered them all, in Egypt, and in every part of the Mahomedan world, an easy prey to their oppressors. The Coptic Church, however, continues, with respect to numbers and influence, the dominant christian community in Egypt.
"From the preceding abstract of their history, compared with the following notices of their present state, it will appear how deep a wound has been there inflicted on the interests of Christianity; how near the spirit of contention and heresy has gone to banish the Gospel; and with how much truth and feeling the words of the Psalmist may be uttered by the small remnant of the Coptic Church, as they are in the service of the inauguration of their Patriarch, Have mercy upon us, O LORD, and help us; for we are brought very low!'
The whole of the prayer used on this occasion is one of such peculiar simplicity and pathos, that a translation of it will be acceptable to the reader.
"The Patriarch, extending his hands, says this Prayer:- O LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, FATHER of our LORD GOD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, we implore and entreat thy mercy, O LORD, to all men. Protect this city, and all therein who are of the Orthodox Faith. Deliver them from famine, death, banishment, earthquake, drowning, the incursion of enemies, and the sword of strangers. Visit them, O LORD, according to thy goodness. Disperse the strifes and insults of heretical atheists. Make [thy people] children of light, and worthy of the kingdom of heaven, for the grace and mercy and love to men of thy Son our LORD JESUS CHRIST. Glory be to Thee, with Him, and with the HOLY SPIRIT, now and ever! Peace be with all.
The following will give our readers a view of the services of the Coptic Church. Strangely does this church, like every other where the form of godliness" has been substituted for "the power," persist in reading the Services in a language not understood by the people. The read in Arabic, which being underGospels, however, it appears, are stood, the people were attentive to that part of the service. This is an interesting circumstance in the quotation which follows:-Whilst the priest is at the altar, performing a service none can hear, and none understand, the people crowd round the reader, and request to hear another portion of the Gospel in their own tongue. Surely this affords a presumption encouraging to the circulation of the Scriptures among them. It seems that in the present day, and with respect to the written Gospels, in almost every place, the common people" hear CHRIST "gladly."
"The COPTIC CONVENT in this city (Alexandria) was more extensive than it now is, till the French destroyed it. For a year past, they have begun to rebuild. At present, they have only about eight rooms; but the Church is spacious enough for the sixty or seventy Copts who are found here. There is one priest, and one lay-servant. The Service books are in Coptic, and in manuscript. The Church is dedicated to St. Mark. They have no school for the Copts here. The women sit apart, up stairs, as in the Greek Church. They have a large laver, in which they baptize the whole body of the infant, using lukewarm water and holy oil. Priest asked me how we used to baptize; and shook his head, when he heard that We used no holy oil. How soon Christians find out their differences! The Copts here are exceedingly poor. The Priest brought me, when I asked for