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library, well stored with books in as they might furnish some valuable most languages; and, for ought we materials for ecclesiastical history. koow, learning might, at some for. The Ethiopians seem far from mer period, have flourished in this averse to learning: the Jesuits found country, though at present both a ready acceptance among them at priests and people are sunk in ex- first. These Roman missionaries were treme ignorance.
gratefully invited to instruct the Their version of the holy Scrip- Ethiopian youth, and lands were tures is valuable on account of its assigned them, with many honours, antiquity. Chrysostome, in his se for their labours; but no sooner did cond Homily upon Job, attests, that these men arrive at power and conin his time the Ethiopians had a sequence, than they pursued meatranslation of the Bible. This trang. sures which at length ended in lation is little known in Europe; and their banishment from the empire *. the Latin version, published in the The first of the Jesuit missionaries Polyglott, is very incorrect. The that entered the country, was F. Ethiopic New Testament, printed in Corvillon, a Portuguese, in the year the time of Paul the Third, at Rome, 1491; since which period several 1549, is faulty, in consequence of expensive missions and embassies some illegible parts in the MS. were sent by the Roman Catholic having been supplied, by the editors, powers, to effect, if possible, thesubfrom the text of the Vulgate. It jugation of the Ethiopian church to would be important to investigate the see of Rome; and considerable the genuine text of the Ethiopic 'attention was paid to them on the version; but few in Europe know part of the Emperor and Patriarch ; any thing of the language.
but the designing views of the Jesuit Besides the holy Scriptures, the missionaries, and the tyranny ex. Ethiopic church is possessed of se- ercised by them, at length rendered veral ancient and valuable church them odious and detestable. books. 'They have a volume called Whoever reads the violent pro. Synodum, or the Book of Synods, ceedings of the Jesuit missionaries containing what they call the Apo- in Abassinia, and the confusion, stolical Constitutions, which are discord, and bloodshed which they found to differ much from those caused, will not 'wonder that it known in Europe. This book they should have been made death for a divide into eight parts; and it is papist to enter the country: and held in such veneration among them, ibis irreconcileable hatred appears that it is sometimes bound up with to have continued to a period long the New Testament*. They have the subsequent to their expulsion, as decrees and acts of some of the most appears from a leer, dated Madrid, celebrated councils, down to the June 30, 1720:-"We have receiv. Council of Chalcedon; the Acts of ed an account that Father Lamberat the Nicene Fathers; Liturgies; Lives Vaiz, a German, Michael Pio de of Saints; Martyrologies, &c. It 'Cervo, and Samuel de Biuno, natives were much to be wished that copies of the Milanese, monks of the order of them were brought into Europe, of St. Francis, who, after having
escaped many perils, were arrived * It is not improbable that this book of in Ethiopia, with a design to conApostolical Constitutions is the same with vert to the Roman Catholic faith the the eight books of Clemens extant with the natives of that country, had reached Syrian Christians; fragments of which books, Gondar, where they were carried bound up at the end of the large Syriac before the king, the metropolitan, Bible lately brouglit from India by Dr. Buchanan, shews that they were much and chief men both of the clergy esteened and used in the Syrian church, and state, by whom they were senand were probably translated frons the Syriac into the Ethiopíc tongue.
• See Christ. Observ, for April, p. 197.
tenced to die, unless they abjured church to the pure and primitive the Council of Chalcedon; which, doctrine, that formerly flourished with the utmost constancy, they re- amongst them, would be a most defused to do; whereupon they were sirable object. They have the hodelivered up to the fury of the ly Scriptures; they have a pure people, who stoned them to death : Confession; and retain the doctrine the metropolitan having threatened and discipline of their ancient church to excommunicate any one who with as much integrity, and as little should cast less than seven stones at innovation, as could be expected, sethem.”
cluded as they are, and have been The Roman Catbolics are obnoxi- for ages, from intercourse with other qus to the Ethiopians on account both Christian nations, and surrounded by of their intolerant usurpation in spi- Pagans and Mahometans. The bare ritual matters, which led thein to existence of a Christian church at insist on an entire change of the this time in Abassinia may be reancient discipline and constitution garded as a miracle! of the Abassinian Church ; and of their restless and tyrannical disposition in matters relating to civil
No. XLVI. government, in order to increase and establish their own power. But the
Ephes. vi. 19.- Praying always with
all prayer and supplication in the same causes of offence would not
Spirit, and watching thereunto with exist in the case of the Protestant
all perseverance. and reformed churches, so that we might hope that the Ethiopians If there be any one circumstance would accept their Christian services which peculiarly distinguishes a in love and unity.
sound Christian, it appears to be, Respecting the decree of the that he lives in the spirit and in the Council of Chalcedon, to which the practice of prayer. It is this which Etbiopic Christians so strenuously makes the great difference between object, and for which the unity be- him and the world. It is a duty by tween them and the Greek church which the faith, hope, and love, of was dissolved by an entire separa. a believer is sustained ; temptation tion, I shall only observe, that, by avoided or resisted; corrupt desire all I can learn, the subject of that weakened and overcome: and it is decree was no more in reality than an employment which will never a strife about words, which each par- cease, Lill it be finally swallowed up ty understood in their own way, and in everlasting praise. chose to express in their own ierms; On the present occasion, it will the decision of the Greeks and be my endeavour to explain the Latins, concerning the two natures particulars concerning this imporin Christ, being rejected by the Ethio. iant duty which are contained in the pic Church as novel and innovatory. text; and I would observe, The subtile and metaphysical terms I. That prayer is a duty to be perand distinctions applied by the formed at all times. St. Paul says, Geeks and Latins to that sublime "praying always." Yet this canmystery, the Ethiopians did not, not mean, that every moment of perhaps, well understand in their life must be spent on our knees; language, and they refused to adopt since this is utterly impossible. But them : nevertheless they acknow. it certainly signifies, that when the ledge the truth which was intended proper seasons of devotion return, to be expressed by the decree of ihey must not be suffered to pass Chalcedon, as appears from their uni- away without the duty of the hour form use of the Nicene Creed, in being conscieatiously performed. common with all orthodox churches. The first season is, when we rise in
The reformation of the Ethiopic the morning to the light, and to the occupations of another day. If we unforeseen calamity might translate enter on our worldly business with- us into an eternal state ; had we out fulfilling this early duty, we are considered, that the light of every unfit for the duties, the trials, or morning introduces us into a world even the enjoyments, of the day. thickly strewn with temptations; and We may indeed execute our usual had we recollected how frequently work, and, as far as worldly advantage on past days we had disquieted our is concerned, may forward it with conscience by trifling with sin; had dispatch and success; but still we we thought well, that every day bas are active merely as one who looks its own circle of duty which neither no farther than this life; caring, in- yesterday nor to-morrow can fuldeed, for the passing day, but in the fil; and that, as time flies onward, bustle of this world forgetting the a life to come rises in importance ; prospects of eternity. Should any —had we done all this, or even a trial derange our projects, it entan- part of this, and then fallen on our gles us as a snare : we went out in knees, and surrendered ourselves to the morning with an unprepared, the guidance, protection, and grace unready mind. And, on the other of God in Jesus Christ, then we hand, if in the course of the day we should have entered the world with meet with some allurement to plea- our defensive armour.
And though sure, we shall be easily decoyed to a day thus sanctified would not be pursue it; because, as we commenc- spent in the closet, yet we should ed the day without prayer, we shall live through the hours of duty and so far bave no practical guidance of temptation and pleasure in the spirit ourselves, but hasten to temptation of devotion; and thus we should, in as persons left without a guard; and a practical sense, "pray always." thus the morning's neglect will re- Our conduct would' illustrate our coil, and wound our conscience. prayers. Suppose, however, the morning's But when the Apostle in the text neglect to be followed by no ill con- enjoins constancy in devotion, we sequences that we can perceive, still may extend his injunction to the the day has been a day of danger, a practice of inward acts of supplicaday when the powers of darkness tion. The utterance of the lip is far and of the world were virtually in- from being essential to the existence vited to come and try their strength. or to the sincerity of prayer. It It has been a spiritual blank, or a may be performed with the most lost day. Our satisfaction in the perfect acceptance in the house, or review of it has been that of a in the field; in solitude, or in a worldly man, and nothing higher. crowd. Habitual practice of this We have had, perhaps, a busy day; duty tends much to keep the thoughts and so had he. Our affairs have in their proper station. It preserves been diligently watched ; and so them from wandering, and from have his. Now, had we begun the feeding upon vanity and sip. It day with humble devotion ; had we gives a man self-command, furnishes reflected, in rising from a sleep of him with new proofs of his spiritual peace and security, that we were weakness, directs him to the source now entered upon a day which
day which of spiritual strength, produces a fabrought us nearer to eternity, and that miliarity with heavenly subjects, and we knew not wbat duties, trials, or gives an elevated direction to the temptations, might, in the mysteri- thoughts and intents of the heart. ous arrangements of Providence, Again; as prayer should be pera await us ; had we recollected that formed at all times, so there are peour days were numbered, and each of culiar seasons which demand its them "a day of salvation;" that be exercise with more than common fore the night some distemper might seriousness and fervour. In every begin its fatal work, or that some person's life are circumstances of trial and enjoyment especially his Throne of Grace, that we may obown, and concerniug which another tain mercy, and find grace to help person can judge but little, even in time of need." I do not presume when every secret is revealed and his to assert that a person really reconcounsel earnestly sought. There are ciled to God is always conscious of
also some cases in which a person the reconciliation; but it is safe to , cannot persuade himself to disclose assure ourselves, that in proportion
his mind to any, got even to his most to the vigour of our graces we have intimale friends. Further, there are reason to expect from the Almighty other circumstances, where, after all an answer to our prayers. the efforts of ourselves and the wisest As to such seasons of unusual troo. advisers, nothing can be done, but ble as overtake practical believers, we remain in perplexity and confu- they, perhaps, may be equally sesion. On all these occasions, when vere with such as are endured by the earthly assistance and consolation most abandoned sinners. But be seem finally to desert us, there is distress what it may, it will never certainly an extraordinary refuge be so poignant to a Christian as to a reserved to us in the encourage- worldling. Chiefly because he lives ment and command held out in the in the spirit and practice of prayer, Gospel, that we should go and sub- affliction loses much of its malignimit our sorrows and every feeling of ty: he regards it, indeed, as the nadespair before God in Christ Jesus. tural consequence and penalty of At the throne of grace we may sin, but still refers it to be partial pour out our whole heart without tenderness of his Lord, who professes any apprehension, open our most to administer chastisement as a hidden distresses, confess our most means of iocreasing both the dignihumbling weaknesses, speak as to a ty and the enjoyments of the divine friend of infinite compassion, of infi- life. To a son thas disciplined the nite patience, and of power sufficient days of darkness are seasons of exto deliver us from every trouble. traordinary devotion, and in the na
But I must here observe, that in tural course of grace, seasons of the circumstances that have been spiritual prosperity. If the afflicsupposed, a devout Christian has an tion be not removed, the sufferer advantage, and a mighty one, which will have peace in looking back upa worldly mao possesses not. The on the unreserved surrender of him. worldly man may, indeed, cry to self, when he adopted the language, God in the pressure of severe dis- and humbly endeavoured to partake tress ; but he has not the confidence of the spirit of Christ, Father, if it towards Him which is the hope and be possible, let this cup pass from consolation of a believer. A believer me; nevertheless, not as I will, but advances towards the Divine pre- as thou wilt.” bence on firm ground. Though once, And again; it may in this place in common with the bulk of man- be remarked, that the beginnings or kind, far off from the privilege of the various accidents of a religious Divine communion, yet he is now life are peculiarly marked out by
brought nigh by the blood of the necessity and the exercise of Christ. In ibis state of reconcilia- prayer. In many persons at an tion, he offers, not the extorted peti- early period of their spiritual renotions of one who is compelled to vation, there is a strong reluctanco pray to God because the world can to unveil their thoughts to others. do nothing for bim, but the filial They would be glad to open their plea of one adopted unto the family minds to their minister, or to some of God, and, through the Son of the prudent friend; but this is not done, Blessed, entitled to the privileges of though counsel is much needed. the kingdom of heaven. St. Paul Here then is a case where a private says, " Let us come boldly to the application to the Throne of Grace may at once point out and supply ness is acquired by a return to the the deficiency of human means. If forgotten duty. The spirit and the you are nnable to bring yourself to habit of devotion are a security ask instruction of man, go to the against losing ground; and when a Fountain Head, to the living Spring backslider begins to recover his forof all wisdom. Enter into your clo- mer place, he will be found in the set, and in the presence of God re- posture of a supplicant. He will veal all your ignorance, perplexity, regard his future strength as essenwants-your whole mind. Himself tially linked with prayer. As a redeclares, “ If any of you lack wise lapse into sin discovered his weakdom, let him ask of God, who giveth ness, he will, should he continue to all men liberally, and upbraideth sincere, learn a salutary lesson of not; and it shall be given him." humility and caution. You find it impossible to overcome Thus far I have endeavoured to your unwillingness to refer your explain the meaning of "praying doubts to a fellow-creature. This always.” The amount appears to may not be an ill sign. You had be, that we should live not barely in much better distrust yourself, and the outward practice, but in the fercultivate a modest and retiring tem- vid spirit of devotion, suiting our per of mind, than be forward and prayers to our several circumstances, talkative about your new opinions: enlarging them at peculiar seasons, for, among the temptations which and making the leading events of our belong to the infancy of religion in lives, whether temporal or spiritual, the human soul, is that of thinking the causes and subjects of prayer. our hearts changed when we have Indeed, without the habitual permerely altered our sentiments. Per- formance of a duty divinely appointhaps your principles may acquire ed, and so well fitted to the nature more strength and maturity, if they and wants of mankind, there can be are undisturbed either by the wis- no growth in grace. The Son of dom or folly of mankind; if they are God well urged upon us the efficacy lett, as it were, to the unobstructed of praying without weariness by the operation of that grace, which will parable of the importunate widow, be vouchsaled to fervent and sincere who, by continually imploring the devotion.
judge to give her redress, finally Circumstances in the advanced prevailed, and obtained her petition. periods of the divine life not seldom This account Jesus delivered, “to call for unusual measures of prayer. this end, that men ought always to Religion, however unchangeable in pray and not to faint." St. Paul exitself, is confided to the mind of an horts the Romans to continue "instant uncertain creature : We have this in prayer;" and says to the 'Thessatreasure in earthen vessels.” How lonians, “ Pray without ceasing." few Christians safely reach their Before I proceed to any farther eternal rest, who in the journey explanation of the text, which will thither have not had sad occasion to be reserved for a future opportunity, weep over their mistakes, their occa. I would remark, how necessary it is sional deviations, and their falls ! to have a right judgment in religious While connected with a mortal state, concerns! The connection of this they are ever in danger. When, observation with the general subject therefore, a professed Christian has arises from the propriety of consiperplexed his conscience by a sin of dering the proper seasons, subjects, omission, or by some practical guilt, and effects of prayer. Here a right his recovery must, under God, be ob- judgment is certainly requisite. If tained by prayer. As religious de. we do not well select the seasons of clensions generally begin by the devotion, we shall be in danger of neglect of private devotion, so a confusing one daty with another. firmer standing in the ways of godli. A person must not be on bis knees CHRIST. OBSERY. No. 130.