Abbildungen der Seite

66 The

succeeds in obtaining an edict from the prince who owns the village, that the school might be opened ; although, as the prince was not a magistrate in authority, his edict had no effect. In his account of this affair M. Boré charges the American misa sionaries with persecution.

“ Not having been able to gain Mar Gabriel, who had promised to become a Catholic, the Americans succeeded by night in transporting him to their own house, and gained him over. With what kind of arguments? A silver watch and two hundred dollars. Protestant intolerance pushes men on here as in England and Prussia. The American missionaries again assembled the bishops. They offered presents to Melik Manzour Mirza, and distributed money to fifty persons, to get them to affirm that there was no wish for the school at Ardisher.” equitable sentence that the prince gave in our favor in the suit against us of the Americans and the Nestorian bishops has not made them desist from any of their culpable intentions. To open persecutions, from which they had been prohibited by the divan, they have added the war of dogmas, and are circuculating copies of their libels against us.” II. 362, 422.

With this calumnious account compare the unvarnished narrative found in the faithful details of Rev. J. Perkins's admirable volume, Residence of Nine Years in Persia,-written without any knowledge of M. Boré's work. It will there be evidently seen that, without any previous steps on the part of American missionaries, and without any wish even on his part for bribes, the bishop sought of them to be delivered from the snare into which he had fallen. In any Christian's view, the deliverance of the bishop, was an event above and without the device of man, and a remarkable providence And we have heard a missionary of that station pronounce M. Boré's account of this matter full of “ downright falsehoods."

Will it now be credited, that on the very same pages where such accusations of bribery and persecution are brought against our missionaries, and characterized properly as abominable crimes, the system of buying proselytes and buying Catholic influence is continually avowed and practised? We will not wonder that he makes the charge upon others, when he had found the potency of the measure by his own experience. Yet we wonder how he could reconcile ihe fact, that when he could buy consciences with gold, yet, as he admits, he could not point to a single proselyte of the Protestants. Honest reasoning

would have led him to conclude, that their object is not to make proselytes, but to bring men to the Shepherd that liveth evermore. As an answer to the charges against American missionaries, hear his unblushing confessions of his means of proselytism.

“ In the new letter which I have forwarded to you on Chaldea, I have attempted to demonstrate the necessity of sending missionaries and temporal succors to this country. With this double lever we shall accomplish a happy revolution.” II. 153. "My expenses are much increased by the number of domestics I am obliged to keep to maintain respectability, by the presents I have to make without receiving any, and by the hospitality I am obliged to show to the Catholics of these countries." II. 103. “ The poor patriarch is much embarrassed, and has been waiting for a long time for help from Rome, and on account of the offer I have made him of paying the expenses of his journey. It costs much to do good in these countries, where every step must be paid for in hard money.” II. 332. “ The school costs me much, because I have been obliged to help some of the pupils distinguished for their good dispositions. Besides, at Salmas I have been obliged to give in charity for pressing objects. While in Chaldea I had the honor of feeding the Catholic clergy and the chief men, without counting other parasites more numerous than elsewhere. When my disputes arose with the Protestants, it became worse than ever. In Persia one cannot gain the favor of the great, without sipall presents. To combat adversaries very liberal in this respect, I have been obliged to be very liberal also.”

“ If the French do not come, the bishop of Ardisher, Mar Gabriel, in spite or necessity will unite with the Americans. You know that it has been resolved upon, that we seek in every way possible to obtain for him a pension. This money will be well employed, for it will be the price of the salvation of many thousand souls. And it will be necessary, for at least several years, for he cannot obtain sufficient revenue from his flock.” 309.

“The news of a donation of 6000 francs to the patriarch has produced a very good effect, and upon the Nestorians even, who see that the Catholic chiefs are better paid by the Latin church, than their own by the missionaries from Boston.” (334.) “Father Giovanni, the American Catholic priest at Isfahan, is oblig. ed to deprive himself of the sweet consolation of gaining the poor of other sects by the benefits of his charity.” “Many of the clergy of all these sects receive a moderate allowance, (from France and Rome, which in these poor countries becomes a very profitable resource. The good bishop of Syra spoke with gratitude of the pension of 300 francs which is sent to him each year.” I. 83.

We see, by these admissions made by M. Boré with such simplicity and unsuspectingness, who are those who are trying to gain the Nestorians, and indeed all the world, by means of money.

We should like to see the shock that would be produced, if the member of any Protestant association or any mission should avow or practise any system of proselytism, founded on such means. We here see M. Boré and his friends, without a single missionary on the ground, lavishing out money to patriarchs, bishops, princes, and people, merely to secure the acknowledgment of the pope as head of the church—without undertaking any thing for the social, moral, or religious elevation of the people, but rather teaching them that the Holy Ghost can be bought with money.

Converts made among the Nestorians or any other people may have great value in the eyes of those who believe that, by a few verbal professions, a man may change his religion as easily as he changes his coat. But in the present age we little fear the results of such proselytism in the East. As long as the Eastern world knew of the existence of no other church in Europe but the Roman, there was some hope of permanence in such changes. But now that Protestantism comes to lift up

her trumpet of alarm, the battle will be with less odds. Moreover, these proselytes to the Romish church from the Eastern churches have not the same bigoted attachment to Rome with the Catholics of Europe. They have not only been allowed to retain their national rites, language, and ceremonies, but they are living among their co-nationals, who are in a large majority; and they are nearly as open, individually, to reason and truth as those who have remained in their ancient folds. As a proof of the unsoundness and insincerity of the conversion of the Nestorians to Rome, it is conceded by M. Boré, as is withal a well known historical fact, that three times successively in modern times, as well as on five occasions in more ancient times, their patriarchs have given in their adherence to the Romish faith ; but their allegiance to the pope lasted no longer than the duration of the pecuniary allowance. And the mass of the people have remained faithful to their ancient standards under a new patriarch, there not being at this moment ten thousand Catholic Chaldeans. And yet Rome, exception being made of her peculiar and fatal doctrines, comes in the garb of a refined civilization, with more or less of science, and with political protection, and is capable of holding out very flattering promises to any oppressed and ignorant people. But Rome aided by France is not now alone in this field; Russia with her national church offers to the parties resembling her a strong arm; and now England, with its national establishment, is urged by the church, for the first time in its history, to aid those communities which have most sympathy with her. In the midst of these contending parties, we may confidently hope, that it is not in vain that there are those on the ground who, not trusting to might or power, are directing the nations to the imperishable living truths of a purely spiritual salvation, without which ah other progress and growth is comparatively valueless.

It is not without instruction to observe what are the points in which a Catholic layman condemns the Oriental churches in their present character and condition. M. Boré censures them for many things, in which a Protestant Christian would have included also no small portion of the Catholic church. And it is surprising that he should find so much that is blameworthy, even in those churches which in our own view, and in the view of the churches themselves, differ in so few particulars from the Romanists. It is only a new proof how exacting Rome is, in her laws of conformity; and also evidence that although now, when she has not the power to control, she does not force the branches of the Eastern churches which she has proselyted, to change all their rites and ceremonies, and even makes a boast of variety in unity as regards them, yet that, as opportunity offers, she will, in every particular of language, calendar, marriage, order, and doctrine, oblige these partially united churches to conform to the Latin rites.

“ Among the Armenians, the Holy Sacrifice of the mass, which the Catholic church offers most freely, is made very rarely and even as an exception. And they never perform two masses a day in the same church or on the same altar, and baptism is not administered to children till the eighth day after their birth. A simple priest arrogates to himself the power of confirmation. I. 99. Those who recall the litnitations of the Catholic church on the degree of contamination of original sin, and the indecent haste with which in some ages, if not now, they have proceeded to baptism, will not be at a loss to appreciate the cause of the censure of the more orthodox moderation of the Armenians. Nor is it more surprising that a Catholic should feel that there must be a want of grace where the communion is so rarely administered. We have ourselves, in a cathedral in Italy, seen seven different priests, at seven different altars, performing seven different masses, and the total of the audience (spectators) was not seven persons.

M. Boré notices as of peculiarly evil tendency in the Armenian church, the fact that the laity mix themselves in the affairs of the church, thus putting the clergy in dependence on them. And he therefore quarrels with Armenian Catholic laity who retain so much of the same prerogative, and who are too eager to take the lead in conducting the plans of proselytism from their ancient nation. “If their clergy do not manage to free themselves from secular jurisdiction, they will be constantly paralyzed in their acts, and will be exposed to interminable intrigues. Brethren of the same religious order often live insulated in their own houses, or in the families where they exercise their ministry. So the priests will go into families to hear the confessions of penitents, and as private chapels are multiplied, they go there to celebrate the holy mysteries.” I. 377. For the purpose of noticing his testimony to the simpler forms of the Nestorians, we propose citing here another passage:

“ The Nestorian bishop eats, drinks, sleeps, hunts, and walks like other men, and only two or three times a year does he take the trouble to sacrifice on the altar the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. The sight of these bishops, who are more numerous than our country curates, explains to us a fact of ecclesiastical history, viz., that the councils called by the emperors of Constantinople (conciliabules) were neither as imposing or as difficult to get up, as we might suppose from the number of their menibers. The Episcopacy in the East has never had as much of social distinction as in the West. The deacon draws the curtain of the sanctuary to read the gospel to the people, while he explains and chants ordinarily in the vulgar language. Confession is abolished among them, nevertheless the men and the women are not afraid to present themselves pellmell to the communion, which is given them under the form of solid and fermented bread. They all drink abundantly out of the cup of wine which is presented to them as the precious blood of Christ.—Power is given, and it

« ZurückWeiter »