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timony was: "We have no confidence in the Mohammedan religion, we believe not in Mohammed, we observe not the fasts of the Moslems, neither use their forms of prayer.”
In the mountains of Cilicia, it is said, there are some independent tribes that formerly worshiped a black dog, and dared not speak ill of the Devil, not for love, but from fear. Their religion seems to be a mixture of corrupted Christianity and Islamism. They are much given to robbery, and remain strongly fortified in their mountain fastnesses.
In the Taurus range of mountains, near the Euphrates, there are those who would appear to have once known something of Christianity. They meet together once a month, bake bread, eat it, and say "this is for Christ." When asked what they know of Christ, they say: "He is our breath, our soul, our life." If inquiry is made as to any system of religion, creed, or book among them, they sometimes reply that there is a book which contains their law and ritual; but this book has never been seen. This is probably a tradition respecting the Bible, which has come down, it may be, many generations and perhaps centuries. There are others who say they worship God, and will not curse the Devil, and this from a tradition somewhat prevalent in the East, that the Devil and his followers shall one day be restored to their former seats of blessedness and dignity. When their priests come together, and wine is brought in, the Superior makes a sign of silence, and then admonishes them that wine is the blood of God.
religion, of which they have never any clear ideas themselves, seems to contain some relics of Christianity, but strangely mixed with the dregs of other religions. Their opinions of the Devil's restoration are similar to those held by Origen, and their idea of wine is either a corruption of the Christian sacrament, or the conceit of the old Egyptian priests.
There can also be found among them those who adore the sun, who at the same time recognize the divinity of Christ and his birth from the Virgin Mary. There is another sect called the Ducenies, thought to be of Parthian origin, who have a tradition that they received Christianity on the day of the descent of the Spirit, and also believe that Jude and Thaddeus preached the Gospel to their people.
The following is an account given by Lerch of a sect called "light-extinguishers," said to occupy several villages north of
They say their God is Ali, and that they are called by the Moslems Kizzilbash. They wear a red-brown pointed fur cap. the ends of which hang down over the face. This head-dress is common to both sexes. They clothe themselves in green, and wear shoes made of horse-hair. The men shave the top of the head, but the beard is touched by no shears or knife. The women wear the hair in nine or ten braids, and ornament these with corals. It is worthy of notice, that in their gatherings, which take place in a large building, the cock, as among the Yezidis, plays a part. Near the light by which the spiritual guide reads the prayers is a cock fastened with a small chain. When the prayers are ended, the cock is struck with a small stick. In seeking to escape from the blows of the stick, it overturns the lamp and the light is extinguished. This is the signal for the commencement of their notorious orgies."
With respect to this account, the writer would say that, having passed some three years in the precise locality referred to, and had intimate acquaintance with nearly all the chiefs of the region, and full knowledge of the religious practices of the people, he has never known of any such rites practiced as those above mentioned, either of the part played by the cock, or of the "notorious orgies."
In the region of the Euphrates, where for some years we had much intercourse with this people, we found them manifesting a very earnest spirit of religious inquiry. They acknowledged that they were not Moslems, neither were they Christians. They hardly knew what they were, or what to believe, but were very anxious to be enlightened. One day, when two chiefs had heard read a chapter from the Bible, one said to the other, "All this is good. This must be the true religion we have been seeking for so long." The other replied, "It is truly so."
The religious traditions of this people, as a whole, are rather Christian than Moslem, and from the most reliable sources of ancient history we learn that Christianity prevailed among them in the first centuries of our era to some extent.
We might also add, in conclusion, in relation to this strange people, a few words of the testimony of one who was more
* Rev. George W. Dunmore, formerly missionary in Turkey.
conversant with them than perhaps any Frank or European who has ever visited them, a personal friend of the writer, who, recently, in the service of our country as chaplain, was shot by a Texan rebel. He said: "Except in the presence of Turks, they are free to declare their faith in Christ as the Son of God and Saviour of the world. They believe in his incarnation, crucifixion, and atoning death. On this point I have been particular to examine them as much as possible, and I am inclined to think that there is a nearer approximation to actual belief here than in any other Christian doctrine. True, many of them say Ali was the Son of God. They also say that Christ and Ali are one and the same, and they use the latter name to delude the Turks, a thing not improbable when we consider that many of them have lived in constant peril, and that, as Ali was Mohammed's son-in-law, by such a shift they might avoid the vengeance of their merciless foes without a complete abandonment of their Lord. They say 'we love all the prophets, but we love Ali most of all;' and, if asked who is Ali, they reply, the Son of God.' But who is Christ? The Son of God.' But they never affirm this of the other prophets. They ascribe to Ali or Christ, alone, miraculous conception and Divine Sonship. And yet sometimes it is said by them that all the prophets are God manifest in the flesh. Of this great and mysterious doctrine of God in Christ, they have often very confused notions, and multiply words without knowledge, in which they are not alone. They assent to, and profess to believe all the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel, and say that the New Testament is the most authoritative of all books."
ARTICLE III.-BY WHAT RELIGIOUS SERVICES, AND BY HOW MANY, CAN A PASTOR BEST SERVE HIS PEOPLE ON THE SABBATH ?*
THIS inquiry implies a doubt as to whether the present modes of ministerial labor are best adapted to secure the end for which the ministry is divinely commissioned. Place this end before us in the words of the Saviour's last command to his disciples, and it will be found to be that of making disciples to Christ from men of all nations, through the initiatory rite of baptism, and the inculcation of the faithful observance of Christ's precepts. (Math xxviii., 19.)
This twofold method of discipling mankind-initiating by a symbolic rite, and nurturing by teaching-comprises the work of the Christian minister.
What now are the usual modes of ministerial service on the Sabbath? Is there uniformity? Can better methods be devised?
With respect to the first inquiries, it may perhaps be safely affirmed that there is a degree of uniformity in like circumstances, while yet there is great diversity on the whole.
The general custom, we believe, is that of two public services, held in the morning and on the afternoon of the Lord's day, in which formal and elaborate discourses are preached, in connection with the reading of the Word of God and exercises of praise and prayer. These services are frequently followed, in the New England States, by a third service, for devotional singing, conversation, and prayer. In some localities there, as in other parts of the Northern States, the second service is held in the evening rather than in the afternoon. The morning service is quite uniformly commenced by invocation of God's
*The substance of this Article was read, by appointment, before the General Association of Illinois, at its meeting in Geneseo, May, 1863, and by its request offered for publication in our pages.—ED. NEW Englander,
special grace, and continued by the reading of some portion of Scripture, singing, prayer, the reading of a sermon, followed by prayer and singing. The second service is like the first, with, for the most part, the omission of the invocation and the reading of the Word of God.
In the Northwestern States, probably three-fourths of our ministers, in addition to these services, are engaged statedly in Sabbath School instruction with classes of their own, and in some instances with the additional charge of the oversight or superintendence of the school.
Such are the usual public services of pastors on the Sabbath.
The doubt implied as to whether these are best adapted to secure the end for which the ministry is commissioned may be entertained without disrespect to the ministry of the present or of a former age. While there is a presumption in favor of that course which has been continued through many years, this presumption is here set aside by the fact that these modes of service have not been unvaryingly uniform and do not date from the remotest antiquity. On the contrary, a history of ministerial labor will teach us that Sabbath services have been changed from time to time, and thus leave way for the conclusion that they may be changed again where changes in society render it desirable in order that the end for which our Lord instituted the ministry may be the better accomplished. Unless this be conceded, the presumption as to the wisest and best method would be in favor of that which was established under apostolic supervision, and continued through the first centuries of the Christian era. That method, it is believed, differed materially from our own in these respects, that the reading of the Word of God, divided into portions for reading consecutively and continuously, with brief remarks thereon, and animated exhortations, held the prominent place in the instructions of the Sabbath; while the varied exercises of prayer and praise served the double offices of softening and quickening the hearers and of applying the truth to their consciences.
Say's Mosheim: "In these public assemblies of Christians,