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jacent, were civilized, and have continued to be civilized to this day, though degraded in all respects—is attested by Scripture, by history, and by all observation. It was the unfortunate destiny of the colonists who wandered far, and in small companies, and in destitute circumstances, and who were suddenly cut off from all intercourse with their home and with their brethren, to become savages. It was one of the first and most disastrous results of the dispersion of mankind, and a part of the punishment inflicted, we inay presume, on the most guilty among the numerous transgressors who provoked the divine displeasure. And if the principal or greatest sufferers in this respect were children of Ham, may we not still witness the literal fulfilment of the patriarchal malediction throughout America, as well as in Africa.
Whatever indications exist or may yet be discovered of a former civilization, I repeat, can have have no connection with the aborigines. They are to be regarded as the work of a different and superior race-of temporary occupants, it may be, or of trading adventurers--or, at most, of merely local settlers, who never extended their influence or conquests over the wide land The Phænicians were a trading, not a conquering people. They built cities, at various distant ports, for commercial purposes; and they would have pursued the same policy in Mexico and Peru, had they ever learned the way to those golden regions. The Chinese and Hindus, probably, would have acted in the same fashion. But let the facts be first ascertained, and then probably there will be less scope for conjecture and castlebuilding.
SECOND SERIES, VOL. VII. NO. I.
By Edward Robinson, D. D., Professor of Bib. Lit , Union Theol. Sem., New.York. '
The Nestorians, or the Lost Tribes ; containing evidence of their identity, etc. By Asuhel Grant, M. D. New-York: Harper & Brothers. 1841. 12mo. pp. 385.
[Concluded from Vol. VI., page 482.]
In Chap. IX., Dr. Grant takes up the social and domestic customs of the Nestorians; of which he says, that“ a particular account of these would differ but little from a correct transcript of Hebrew archaeology," p. 238. But he also admits, that“ there are few customs mentioned in the Bible which cannot find a parallel, or, at least, a tolerable similitude, among some of the various nations of the East.” We must therefore confess ourselves to be of the number of those, with whom “it will avail little even to show that all these customs find (such a a parallel among the Nestorian Christians ;” although our minds are assuredly not “ fortified by preconceived opinions regarding the ten tribes." We certainly do think, that all the social and domestic habits enumerated by the author belong to oriental life, rather than to Nestorian life; and therefore, while their total absence would be proof positive that a people was not oriental and consequently not Jewish, their presence nevertheless in a given nation cannot prove this one oriental people alone to be Jewish, more than another.
Thus the forms of salutation cited on p. 239, all lie in the genius of the oriental character and languages, from Africa to Persia, and are found almost in like strength in modern Spain, the legacy probably of the Moors. The same falling upon the neck, the same kissing and weeping, occurs every day among the Arabs; and we have even seen it in a very similar degree in the mansions and also in the streets of Paris, Leipzig, and Vienna. Hospitality is a universal oriental attribute, known and read of all men; and just so even in Montenegro, hospitality “is in the fullest sense of the word at home. Every one regards it as the highest joy and honor, to receive and entertain a guest in the best style."* The dress of the Nestorians, Dr. G. says, is in“ striking conformity to that of the Jews about them,” p. 241. But does this show that it has any relation to the dress of the ancient Hebrews? We are more inclined to suppose that the dress of the Jews, here as elsewhere, is probably conformed to that of the people about them, as is very much the case in Jerusalem and throughout the rest of the oriental world. The same employments, too, which are here enumerated among the Nestorians, may be seen throughout the east ; females everywhere bring water, glean in the fields, spin while holding the spindle and distaff in their hands, grind at the mill, bray wheat in a mortar, churn the milk, use bottles of skins, etc. etc. And this is true not only of all the east, but generally also among the Slavic tribes of Servia and Montenegro. So too in regard to all the other customs of agriculture and domestic life enumerated on p. 243, there is not one which does not characterize almost every other oriental people, quite as distinctly as the Nestorians.
Dr. Grant cites particularly the Nestorian customs relative to marriage as peculiarly Jewish, p. 213; while to us they appear to be not only oriental, in the widest sense of the term, but are found also to a very considerable extent in different parts of Europe. Thus in Montenegro, we have the same custom, that the choice of a wife or husband does not depend on the parties themselves, but is decided by their parents; and the formal suit is made, not by the young man himself, but by his father or sometimes by an agent. The bride, as in the east, brings no dowry; but on the contrary, the bridegroom must pay a sum of money to her parents, and make presents to her relatives. In the beginning of the present century, the marriage price of a wife had become so high in Servia that no poor man could marry; this was remedied by the celebrated leader Czerny George, who decreed, that not more than a ducat should be demanded for a maiden. When a maiden is once promised, neither party may draw back; they are betrothed, and to break off this relation would be infamous and a
* Wuk Steph. Montenegro, etc. p. 71.
just cause of family war. The marriage takes place weeks or months afterwards.* This custom of betrothment, which of course was unknown to Dr. G. in his own country, appears to bave struck him particularly among the Nestorians. He was probably not acquainted with the fact of its wide prevalence in the east, and likewise on the continent of Europe. "Throughout all Germany, the parties are in like manner betrothed, and the Brautstand usually continues for several months and often for some years. The parties formerly exchanged, and perhaps sometimes now exchange, rings under the sanction of the pastor ; they become thus affianced ; and regarding each other as future husband and wife, they often enjoy in this relation the happiest season of life.t
The author further lays stress upon the fact, that the wedding-festival among the Nestorians usually continues through a whole week, as among the Hebrews; and also, that the companions of the bridegroom are in attendance and the bridal procession conducted with great display ; p. 247. But in Servia also, the wedding continues through a week; and both there and in Montenegro, the friends of the bridegroom repair in gay procession with flags to the bride's house, in order to conduct her with pomp and rejoicing to her future home. She is there re. ceived, not indeed with handfuls of raisins and other fruit or grain thrown over her, but with peculiar ceremonies; which however are less formal and significant than those that accompany her departure from her father's door. The chastity of females is in like manner a high point of honor among both Nestorians and Montenegrins; and the seduction of a maiden, op her rejection after marriage on false accusation, is among the latter a sufficient ground for a feud of blood. Infants too in Montenegro, as well as among the Nestorians, are nursed till they are three years old; and sometimes, with a dispensation from the priests, this is continued till the age of five or six years.
The pastoral occupation of the Nestorians gives to them, in the
* Wuk Steph. Montenegro, etc. p. 77, 78.
+ See the description of such a German betrothment in Goethe's Hermann and Dorothea, near the end.
I Wuk Steph. ib. pp. 83–88.
mind of Dr. G., a striking similarity to the Hebrews of old. He assumes, “ that the Israelites, though they paid some necessary attention to agriculture, were, as a people, a nation of shepherds ;” p. 249. Now this was most certainly true of them in their earlier history; but it appears to be no less true, that one great and permanent object of the Mosaic legislation and of the whole course of God's dealings with his ancient people, was to convert them, as a nation, from a nomadic and pastoral life, into a people of fixed abodes and agricultural pursuits. And although from the nature of the country on the east of the Jordan, and also in the southern deserts and the adjacent rocky tracts, the Hebrews and the Moabites, like the Arabs of the present day, continued to have numerous flocks of cattle and sheep and goats; yet even now, after all the desolations of Palestine, one needs only to look abroad over its rich plains, and to notice everywhere on the mountains the traces of former thrift and cultivation, in the remains of ancient villages occurring at every half mile, and the rocky hills laid off in terraces to their very summits, to perceive at once that the purpose of the Most High was accomplished, and that the Hebrews did become essentially an agricultural nation. The process by which Dr. G. transports the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half of Manasseh, with all their multitudes of flocks and herds across the desert in a year and a half, to the region now occupied by the Nestorians, who of course must necessarily be their descendants (pp. 250–253), is as perfect a specimen of castlebuilding, as we remember to have seen. It is founded on nothing, absolutely nothing, except the specification of 1 Chr. 5: 26, that these tribes were carried away into Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and the river Gozan, of which places we shall speak further on. Here too again our friends of Montenegro, whose chief wealth consists in flocks of sheep and goats,* might put in their claim to a Hebrew lineage on the same ground; as might also the pastoral portions of Switzerland and Spain.
We have thus gone over all the main points of circumstantial evidence adduced by Dr. G. in support of his theory; and must leave it to the reader to decide whether this evidence is any thing more than “ based upon customs, etc., which are primitive rather than peculiarly Jewish: customs similar to those found among the Arabs and other eastern nations.”
* Wuk Stephan. p. 61