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light, and made me sensible of my fault; and I hope he will be pleased to accept my life as the only sacrifice I can now offer to expiate my guilt.” This pious answer confounded the officer, who only replied that he should presently have an opportunity of giving that proof of his fidelity to his master. 'Upon which Theodore and the rest, forty-two in number, were beheaded.”—Fox's Martyrs.
34. GREEK CHURCH.
This church was so called in contradistinction from the Latin, or Romish church. About the middle of the ninth century a controversy, which began in the sixth century, was carried on with great spirit between these two churches, concerning the procession of the Holy Ghost.” The Romish church maintained that the Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son; while the Greek Christians maintained that he proceeded from the Father by or through the Son. In 1054 the heat engendered by this controversy resulted in the final separation of the eastern and western, or, as they are termed, the Greek and Latin churches ; from which date the Greek church took its rise.
Until 1453 the state of this church was deplorable. On the one hand, the Mahometan power was making rapid inroads upon her dominions, converting her churches into mosques, and by bribes and terrors alluring or compelling her friends to adopt the religion of the impostor. On the other hand, the fanatic crusaders poured in from the west, avowedly to recover her lost territory, but in reality to spread a deeper moral corruption than existed before.
In 1453 the empire of the Greeks was overthrown by Mahomet II., since which period the Greek church has been under Turkish bondage, until their religion has become but little better than a succession of idle ceremonies.
In 1589 the Russian church separated from the government, though not from the communion of the Greek
church; by which separation the latter became consi derably limited in extent. Her people are now scattered over a considerable part of Greece, the Ionian Isles, Wallachia, Moldavia, Egypt, Abyssinia, Nubia, Lybia, Arabia, Syria, Cilicia, and Palestine.
Repeated, yet unavailing efforts have been made by the Romish church to restore the Greek church to their faith and fellowship. But the latter has ever been un yielding. It denies the authority of the pope; that the former is the true church ; abhors the doctrines of purgatory by fire-graven images—and the celibacy of the clergy.
The Greek church receives the doctrines of the Trinity, and most of the articles of the Nicene and Athanasian creeds ; rests much on the “procession of the Holy Ghost;” uses pictures in its worship; invokes saints ; has seven sacraments ; has a fast or festival almost every day in the year; knows of no regeneration but baptism ; and believes in transubstantiation.
The head of this church is the patriarch of Constantinople; who is elected by twelve bishops and confirmed by the Grand Vizier. The other patriarchs are those of Damascus, Cairo, and Jerusalem. The secular clergy are subject to no rules, and never rise higher than high priests. This church has a few nunneries and a great many convents of monks, who are all priests, and obliged to follow some handicraft employment, and generally lead a very austere life.
35. EMPIRE OF THE ASSASSINS. This singular sect (from which the familiar term assassin is derived) was formed in the eleventh century, the object of which was to expel the Mahometan religion and government by establishing an empire of their
The founder of this society, that for more than a century and a half filled Asia with terror and dismay, was the celebrated Hassan Ben Sahab, who was ne of those characters that appear from time to time in the world,
as if sent to operate some great change in the destinies of mankind.
Having strengthened himself by a large number of followers, Hassan looked about for some strong position as a centre from which he might gradually extend his possessions; and he fixed his eye upon the hill-fort of Alamoot, in Persia, situated in the district of Roodbar, to the north of Kasveen. Alamoot was gained partly by force and partly by stratagem: he first sent thither one of his most trusty missionaries, who converted a great number of the inhabitants, and with their aid expelled the governor.
In possession of a strong fortress, Hassan turned his mind to the organization of that band of followers whose daggers were to spread the dread and the terror of his power throughout Asia. Experience and reflection had shown him that the many could never be governed by the few without the salutary curb of religion and morality ; that a system of impiety, though it might serve to overturn, was not calculated to maintain and support a throne ; and his object was now to establish a fixed and lasting dominion. Though he had been long satisfied of the nothingness of religion, he determined to maintain among his followers the religion of Islain in all its rigour. The most exact and minute observances of even its most trivial ordinances was to be required from those who, generally unknown to themselves, were banded for its destruction; and the veil of mystery, within which few were permitted to enter, shrouded the secret doctrine from the eyes of the major part of the society. The claims of Ismail (a Mahometan devotee), the purity of religion were ostensibly advanced; but the rise of Hassan Sahab, and the downfall of all religion, were the real objects of those who directed the machinery.
The Ismailite doctrine had hitherto been disseminated by missionaries and companions alone. Heads without hands were of no avail in the eyes of Hassan; it was necessary to have a third class, which, ignorant of the secret doctrine, would be the blind and willing
instruments of the designs of their superiors. This class were named the Fedavee or Devoted, were clothed in white, with red bonnets or girdles, and armed with daggers. These were the men who, reckless of their lives, executed the bloody mandates of the Sheikhel Jebel, the title assumed by Hassan. As a proof of the fanaticism that Hassan contrived to instil into his followers, we give the following instance.
In the year 1126, Kasim-ed-devlet Absoncor, the brave prince of Mosul, was, as he entered the mosque, attacked by eight assassins disguised as dervises ; he killed three, and the rest, with the exception of one young man, were massacred by the people; but the prince had received his death wound. When the news spread that Kasim-ed-devlet had fallen by the hand of the assassins, the mother of the young man who had escaped painted and adorned herself, rejoicing that her son had been found worthy to offer up his life in support of the good cause ; but when he came back the only survivor, she cut off her hair and blackened her face, through grief that he had not shared the death of glory.
A display of the means by which the chief of the assassins succeeded in infusing this spirit of strong faith and devotion into his followers, forms an interesting chapter in the history of man.
Of those who fell in executing the orders of their superiors, it was said that the gates of paradise were unfolded, and that they entered into the enjoyment of the ivory palace, the silken robe, and the black-eyed houries; and to increase their longing after the joys of paradise, and a disregard of earthly existence, Hassan made use of the following means :—There was at Alamoot, and also at Masiat, in Syria, a delicious garden, encompassed with lofty walls, adorned with trees and flowers of every kind—with murmuring brooks and translucent lakes-with bowers of roses and trellices of vines-airy halls and splendid kiosks, furnished with the carpets of Persia, and the silks of Byzantium. Beautifal maidens and blooming boys were the inhabitants of this delicious spot, which ever resounded with
the melody of birds, the murmur of streams, and the ravishing tones of voices and instruments; all respired contentment and pleasure. When the chief had noticed any youth to be distinguished for strength and resolution, he invited him to a banquet, where he placed him beside himself, conversed with him on the happiness reserved for the faithful, and contrived to admi. nister an intoxicating draught prepared from the hyos, eyamus. While insensible, he was conveyed into the garden of delight, and there awakened by the application of vinegar. On opening his eyes, all paradise met his view; the black-eyed and green-robed houries sur, rounded him, obedient to his wishes; sweet music filled his ears; the richest viands were served up in the most costly vessels; and the choicest wines sparkled in the golden cups.
The fortunate youth believed himself really in the paradise of the prophet, and the language of his attendants confirmed the delusion. When he had had his fill of enjoyment, and nature was yielding to exhaustion, the opiate was again administered, and the sleeper transported back to the side of the chief, to whom he communicated what had passed, who assured him of the truth and reality of all he had experienced, telling him such was the bliss reserved for the obedient servants of the Imaum, and enjoining at the same time the strictest secrecy. Ever after, the rapturous vision possessed the imagination of the deluded enthusiast, and he panted for the hour when death, received in obeying the commands of his superiors, should dismiss him to the bowers of paradise.
The power of Hassan soon-began to display itself. By force or by treachery, the castles or hill-forts of Persia fell one after another into his hands. A bloody period ensued; the doctors of the Mahometan law excommunicated the adherents of Hassan, and the sultan, Melek Shah, directed his generals to reduce their fortresses ; the daggers of the assassins were displayed against the swords of the orthodox Mahometans, and the first victim to. Hassan's revenge was the great and good Nizam-ul-mulk, who fell by the dagger of a