« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
operation they call making a bottle, we are lost in wonder at the inconsistency and debasement of human nature. The Gallas are equally cruel, and more generally so. In war they massacre alike the resisting and the unresisting, young and old, male and female."
Abyssinian History.-" Abyssinia must have undergone many, and strange, and distressing vicissitudes of fortune. At
a very early period of history it was a powerful and enlightened empire. We find one of its Queens placing herself in power and knowledge as an equal to Solomon. It was most certainly a Queen of that country which visited Jerusalem during the reign of that Prince. Our Saviour calls her, by way of eminence, the Queen of the South. He who made the world, must know correctly the position of every part of it; and it may be remarked, that the centre of Abyssinia is due south from Jerusalem. Subsequent to that period the Abyssinians had conquered a great part of Arabia. At an early period they were converted to the Christian faith, which they have continued to hold ever since, under the most trying and disadvantageous circumstances. They commanded the Red Sea, and with it the trade between Eastern Africa and the East Indies; with Egypt, Asia Minor, and Europe, around the shores of the Mediterranean. commerce was chiefly carried on by the port of Zeilah, but more especially by the port of Assab, within the Straits of Babelmandeb, at which place the ruins of large buildings are yet to be found. From this port the road into Abyssinia was direct by Manadelli, which Alvaraez still found in his day a great rendezvous for merchants from the quarters mentioned. On the rise of the Mahomedan power in Arabia, Assab was wrested from Abyssinia, and from that period her power began to decline; but the impenetrable nature of her country rendered her long safe from any serious and overwhelming attack from that restless and fanatic people. How far Christianity penetrated into Africa during the height of Abyssinian power, it is difficult to say; but we are certain it was to a great extent; for the remains of it, and that too in considerable strength, are to this day found in Enarea, Kaffa, and places adjacent. The rise and progress of Mahomedan power, while it gradually circumscribed the dominion of Abyssinia in the south, the east, and the north, cut her off at the same time, during a period of many centuries, from the rest of the Christian world. Still, as late as the thirteenth century, we find the Christian Kings of Nubia contending and negociating with the proudest Mahomedan
Sovereigns, till at last they were finally and completely overthrown, and Christianity extinguished in Nubia, the wretched inhabitants flying south to Abyssinia, and into the deepest recesses of the African continent; in which, however, they were not long hidden from their restless enemies, who followed, found them out, and conquered them. The ruins of Gambarou, on the Yeou, are well known to be the remains of a city of considerable importance, formerly belonging to Christians, till it was ruined and laid desolate by the Fallatah; and to this day there are in Goober the offspring of Copts expatriated from Egypt, in order to escape the ferocity and intolerance of the early Arabian conquerors. These people are very fair, as much so as the ancient Egyptians.
"That the power and name of Abyssinia penetrated deep into, and spread widely over Africa, is a fact that cannot be doubted. It was known according to the early Portuguese navigators at Benin, a powerful kingdom. This fact has been denied, but without any just reason, and without reflecting that the name of Abyssinia is at this day known even to Timbuctoo, Sego, and the sources of the Niger; pilgrims from all these places in their route hence to Mecca passing by Senaar, and the northern boundary of Abyssinia, on their way to Souakim.
In their wars with the Mahomedans the Abyssinians in the decline of their power, like the Romans when in a similar state, engaged auxiliaries among their barbarous neighbours to aid in these wars. The Abyssinian auxiliaries on this occasion were the Gallas. These soon saw the weakness of both the Abyssinian and Mahomedan power in the eastern portion of Africa, and made their countrymen acquainted with it. The consequence was a general movement of that people against both. They first attacked Abyssinia about the year 1559, immediately after her bloody and fatal wars with the Mahomedans under Mahomed Gragne. They bore down all opposition; swarm after swarm was cut off in the fearful and easily defended defiles of Abyssinia; but swarm succeeding swarm advanced from the interior, and at length finally and firmly established themselves in the country, and conquered and kept possession of several of the finest provinces of the empire, subduing at the same time the Mahomedans on the coasts of the Indian Ocean, or limiting their dominions in a few places to narrow slips on the sea coast. These tribes of Gallas came from a country in the interior of
Africa, somewhere about the fifth to the tenth degree of south latitude, in which part of Africa all early writers agree that the population are not negroes, but comparatively fair, as we find the genuine Gallas really are.
What mighty move
ment of some other savage nation in Africa caused the general movement of the Gallas to the north-east, we know not; but as in Asia and in Europe in the early centuries of the Christian era, so in Africa it was probably the attack of some other whole nation of barbarians on the Gallas, that drove these people as a whole and in resistless force against the comparatively civilized, indeed we may say the civilized, empire of Abys
"When the christianized Roman empire became corrupted and debased; when they forsook the God which made them, and lightly esteemed the Rock of their salvation, the weapons of His indignation for severe and just chastisement were at hand in the barbarous nations around, and in the vicinity of that empire. Commissioned by the Almighty, they were impelled against the Roman, then the civilized world, with a fearful and irresistible impetuosity; nation succeeding nation, people more barbarous than a preceding people, in the strong metaphorical language of Scripture, with the fierceness and violence of a great mountain burning with fire cast into the sea, bearing before them degradation, misery and desolation, lamentations, and mourning, and woe, with general darkness and ignorance in their train. But civilization and Christianity had been planted and rooted, and could not be eradicated; the fierce conqueror yielded obedience to the laws of the Redeemer, and Christianity rose from this scene of ruin brighter and stronger than ever. As in Europe, so will it be in Asia and in Africa. In the latter country, when Christian Abyssinia had utterly corrupted herself when she too forsook the God that made her, and lightly esteemed the Rock of her salvation, then the weapons of His indignation in the nation of the barbarous Gallas were at hand to punish her."
Duty of Christian enterprise in Africa. "As in Europe so in Abyssinia, Christianity with civilization having been planted, could not be eradicated. The former still rears its head; many of its conquerors bent their necks and their minds to its sway and its precepts; and as their power, and also the power of the early and fanatic Mahomedan, is completely broken and exhausted in this portion of Africa, so Christianity and civilization will yet rear their heads and flourish, and spread in triumph over a wider
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 72.
range than ever they had before done in Africa, and until the name and the praise of the Redeemer are heard in every country, on every mountain, in every valley, and by every stream in Africa-the Nile and the Niger, the Zaire and the Zambezi, being made as well acquainted with the name of the true God and the Saviour, as the banks of the Jordan, the Thames, the Rhine, the Danube, and the Po.
"The moment to commence and to accelerate this great work, as regards Africa, is the present hour. Every thing is auspicious and encouraging to undertake and to go on with the work. The strength and power and energy of both Mahomedanism and Paganism in Africa, especially in those parts of it more immediately under consideration, are broken and exhausted, and can no longer venture, even if they had the will, as formerly, to trample upon Christian power or Christian messengers. The road is comparatively open, and the field is comparatively clear; the cause is noble, the prize to be obtained honourable and great. The best interests of the human race, to a very great extent, is dependent upon African improvement and civilization. The interests of Great Britain in a more especial manner, both commercial, colonial, and political, are interwoven with and dependent upon the improvement and prosperity of Africa, to an extent, in fact, almost incredible, and such as few can believe who have not deeply considered the matter, but which it is impossible to enter upon here. Look what the present Viceroy of Egypt has done! When threatened by all Europe in 1839, and they were about to put their threats into execution, he on the plains of Fazuclo ordered that expedition the surprising results of which have been previously considered; and while he was contending against all Europe, the officers to which he had intrusted the execution of the work, went and accomplished the noble object, the exploration of by far the greater portion of the long-hidden Bahrel-abiad. On the plains of Fazuclo also he erected a city, named after himself, and which will rapidly rise into importance. Khartoum, which only a few years ago was composed of a few miserable straw huts, is now a considerable city, well laid out, and supplied and inhabited by different races of men, among whom are many Christians. When Mahomed was there in July 1839, these Christians came to solicit him to give them a piece of ground on which they might erect a church. You shall not only have the ground you want,' said Mahomed, but I will assist you with the funds you may require to build and 5 E
to complete it.' This is noble-this opens up the dawn of a bright day to Africa, if judiciously attended to, and perseveringly looked after. But this is not all. When at Fazuclo he put an end to the Slave Trade in all his dominions in that quarter of Africa, and counselled and advised the native princes around his provinces to do the same, and to turn their attention to cultivate the soil, and sell its products instead of selling men. They listened to his counsels with attention, and promised that they would follow them out; and he is a man who will not forget to make them keep their word.
"What Mahomed Ali has done, and does, cannot England also perform? Most assuredly she can, if she will; and it is as much her interest as it is the interest of Mahomed Ali, not only to see Africa improved and cultivated and civilized, but further, that she should have a most active and immediate hand in the work. A few more men with the energy and judgment of Mahomed Ali, and a few more judicious, patient, and humble and pious Christian teachers like Messrs. Isenberg and Krapf in Africa, would do more to civilize, enlighten, Christianize, and improve her, than navies stationed round her coasts, or rude commerce, such as the palm oil trade, could do in thousands of years. Can England not find such, and also the means to assist and to support them?"
The above extracts will prepare the reader for some citations from
the journals of the Missionaries. We have to return to Zeila, on the Straits of Babelmandeb, and to follow these ambassadors for Christ among the heathen, on their journey westward to Ankobar, the capital of Shoa, a province of Abyssinia. We will extract a few notices of this journey.
April 2, 1839, Zeila.-Our sojourn in this place, I hope, is now over. please God, we shall set sail to-morrow in our small boat, and proceed onward to Tadjurra. Hitherto the Lord has helped us. The Governor here has treated us kindly."
"From what we have seen, we think we may conclude that the time is not far distant, when this place will be accessible to every European, and an entrance be open from hence to Shoa and to the interior of Africa. Zeila is an old town, and was formerly of greater importance; but at present it is for the most part in ruins."
April 4, 1839.-We arrived at Tadjurra at half-past two o'clock this afternoon, and went directly to the so-called Sultan, whom we found sitting in the shade before his house, leaning against the wall, with some of his attendants near him on either side. He is an old man of about sixty years of age. He saluted us with gestures; and we delivered our letter of introduction from the Governor of Zeila, which he received in silence. We sat a little while, and then he made us a signal to retire; on which we accompanied our guide, Mahomed Ali, to a house which he showed us as our dwelling, constructed of sprigs covered inside and outside with mats, and divided into four apartments, like the houses in Arkeeko. Tadjurra is a far more miserable town than Zeila.”
"May 12: Lord's Day.-Yesterday at half-past three we left Barudega, and pursuing our course south-west through the plain, drew near a low ridge of mountains, stretching south-east and north-west. Toward eight, we came to a place with trees, brushwood, and water, where we halted and passed the night. No sooner had we laid down, than Ernst awoke us, and in a great fright took up a sword and musket, pointing at a beast of prey which he said had come near us, and which he thought was a lion. it immediately began to howl, we discovered that it was a byæna. Warkieh now kept watch, but soon fell asleep. When we awoke in the morning, we which had crawled about our camp and noticed the traces of two hyænas,
close to our beds. Mahomed Ali, hav
ing been awakened by their noise, had chased them away by throwing a stone at them; a new evidence this, of the hand of God guarding us against such dangers, and the presumption of the flesh in fancying to be able to guard itself.
"It is already the third Lord's Day of our journey from Tadjurra, and the sixteenth since we left Cairo. To us it is indeed a great privation to be shut out from celebrating it in communion with our Brethren-wandering about as strangers in Mesech, and our souls often longing in a strange country for the courts of the Lord. However, we are pilgrims for Him, and are persuaded He will amply compensate us for our actual privations. Would that our present conversation were more sanctified !"
May 16.-Every night we are visited by hyænas, which generally venture close to our beds; but although we have kept watch several times, we have not yet succeeded in killing one. Our guide, Mahomed Ali, asserted yesterday evening, that leopards never inhabit the
same region with hyænas. As we contended against this, he related that in his travels he once saw a leopard, with a sheep in his jaws, encounter a hyæna; the leopard fled to a tree, and the hyæna, unable to follow him, kept watch beneath. At last the leopard, seeing the people coming at a distance, came down; when the hyæna fell upon him and tore him and the sheep to pieces, which were found by the people when they arrived at the spot-the hyæna having taken to flight at the approach of men. He assured us that hyænas are much stronger than leopards, but that they flee from man; whereas leopards attack man, although they never make head against a hyæna. This may serve to confirm a fact which the Rev. S. Gobat is said to have related among his friends, as an instance of a remarkable deliverance, when he slept between a leopard and a hyæna, both at a short distance from him, the hyæna having restrained the fierceness of the leopard during the whole night. In the morning, he said, he threw a stone at the hyæna, whereupon the leopard went away of his own accord."
"May 17.-We left Alibekelé yesterday afternoon. Toward seven we arrived at a spot called Adaito, where we passed the night. As my coverlet was quite soaked through, I had to make the best of my shirts and sheets during the night. The father of Mahomed Ali brought us milk, which was quite a refreshment. We started this morning about seven. Our course lay over a stony plain with much grass, on which we saw many herds and singing birds. At half-past eight we reached Hasnadera, the residence of Sheik Ali, Mahomed Ali's father, where we halted. While pitching our tent, some children brought us grass to strew beneath it, for which they begged coral. When the tent was erected, a bag of curdled milk was brought to us. We shall stay here at least this day; and then a new period of our journey will probably begin with our new guide. The Lord be praised, who has helped us thus far! Though not without troubles, yet we are still spared; though not without sins and temptations, yet with obvious proofs of His continued favour and mercy we have got on hitherto. On the road this morning, I stayed alone with the Lord, and stood before Him, like Jacob of old at the ford of Jabbok, and He blessed me.
"Yesterday evening we saw the mountains of Horror before us, toward the south-west, covered with clouds. The town of Horror is said to be only two and a half days' journey distant from this. We are already in the neighbour
hood of the Alla Gallas; who have expelled Sheik Ali Abé from Errer, and spread themselves as far as that district. Terrible people! seeking their honour in murder! On asking our guide yesterday, why the Gallas kill people, whether for booty or otherwise, he said, 'Their only honour and riches consist in the number of their slain enemies. In other countries, one inquires after the wealth, rank, or condition of the person in order to honour him; but among the Gallas one asks only how many men he has butchered.' Why should we withhold the Gospel of mercy from these wretched slaves of Satan? Within two days more we shall reach them; and five days it will take us to pass through the midst of them, before we come to the Hawash."
"May 25.-We started this morning at six, and moved nearly due west, over a fine plain full of grass and trees. We put up near the village Mullu-called Little Mullu, to distinguish it from Great Mullu ;-which is surrounded by very high grass, reaching higher than the head of a man on horseback, and excelling the finest corn-fields in luxuriance. It had been agreed upon, that we should repose here for the morning, and resume our journey in the evening, to travel throughout the night, in order to reach the Hawash soon: however, on arriving we heard that we were to pass the night here, and not to set out before next morning, as the caravan was in fear of the Gallas. They alleged that a battle was soon expected to take place between the Danakils and the Gallas; and that as the Gallas make their invasions only by night, they chose rather to travel during the day. These people alter their statements so many times, that one cannot rely on them; and by being so apprehensive, give evidence of the truth, that he who does not know and serve the true God, can have no confidence in his ideal God.
"To-day we happened to have a little elephant-hunting. Soon after we had encamped, four of these animals, three small ones, and one of a larger size, were seen near the camp under a tree in the grass. The people entreated us for a long time to shoot at them; the more so, as they were afraid of their causing some damage to the men or the beasts. We observed them for some time, from a tree, standing and swinging their broad flapping ears, and throwing up dust with their trunks, as if to defy us. At length, Warkieh, who had been engaged at other times in elephant-hunting, grew impatient, took a gun, and went toward them, accompanied by Brother Krapf and Ernst, who stationed themselves under a tree at a certain distance from
the elephants. Warkieh, however, was the only one who could shoot, as the grass was too high for the others. He fired twice with Brother Krapf's doublebarrelled gun; and, at the second shot, hit the larger elephant, who shook himself. Upon this, a smaller one, which stood under another tree, took to his heels; and then all fled away.
"This region apparently abounds in wild beasts. We bought a zebra-hide for five needles and a few pepper-corns. The zebra was said to have been killed hereabouts; and our people pretended to have heard the voice of one last night. We got plenty of milk to-day, for needles, pepper, and snuff. The people were particularly eager for the snuff. All day we are surrounded by people : their conduct, however, is not at all extravagant. It is a pity that we cannot declare to them the tidings of the Gospel. Thermometer, at half-past four P. M., 102°."
May 27.-Our people, as well as the caravan who accompany us, are in great fear of an attack, and urge us continually to have our guns in readiness. We occasionally tell them of the necessity of a higher protection; but all men have not faith in such a protection. Our journey is, after all, very tedious and trying.
May 28.-We started at ten minutes past two at night, and marching westward, over a barren part of the plain, soon arrived at Great Halakdiggi : thence we crossed an eminence, shortly after sunrise, from which the mountains of Shoa clearly presented themselves to our view. We felt our hearts tuned to praise our God, who had mercifully guided us until now, and brought us so near to the close of our perilous journey." "June 7, 1839.-This morning we left Metatit, and pursuing our road westward, over undulating table-land, halted about one o'clock P. M. in a raised valley near Islam Amba, where the King's tent, of an oblong form, and of black coarse stuff, was already pitched to receive him, who was expected to come this way, and to pass the night here on his journey from Angollala to Ankobar, to a tescar (anniversary) of the death of his father, Wussen Segged, who died twenty-eight years ago. We were not long encamped before we saw a train of horsemen coming down the mountain westward, and in the midst of them the King, over whose head a scarlet canopy was carried. He had
no sooner arrived in his tent than he sent
for us. We had prepared our presents, and with palpitating hearts entered his tent, where he sat on a small divan
senger whom he had once sent with Kiddam Mariam to Gondar to meet us, inquired after Mr. Blumhardt. I first presented to him the letter of Colonel Campbell, which I had translated into Amharic on board the vessel: he perused it with attention. We then delivered our presents, among which the beautiful copy of the Amharic New Testament and Psalms particularly pleased him. He seemed to intimate, however, that he would have preferred Æthiopic books to Amharic. He asked if we had written and bound these books. He put the same question to Mr. Krapf when he presented him his double-barrelled gun. We replied, that in our country every one pursues his particular profession, and that our vocation was exclusively the preaching of the Gospel, in which capacity we were alone sent out to this country; but that besides this, we wished also to instruct his people in other useful branches, and were ready to assist such as should require and wish it, with medical aid to the best of our knowledge. We urged, however, that this latter was not our object, except as a means to further the knowledge of Christ. He then ordered all the attendants to depart, and explaining to us his bodily ailments, asked whether we could relieve him. We promised gladly to do for him whatever lay in our power; but added, that the result did not so much depend on the remedies as on the blessing of God, for which we would pray.
He then observed, that with regard to our principal object, he would have further conversation with us in future, as there were a great many things to be considered relative to this subject; for the present, he wished only to see and salute us, and was very glad that we were here. He ordered us in the meanwhile to go to our tent and repose, and the following day to proceed to Angollala, where he would see us again immediately after his return from Ankobar. We were gratified with the reception we met with, and although the King did not for the present enter into our principal object, we have sufficient reason to thank God. He commanded his people to serve us, to treat us as his guests and friends, and to provide us with every thing necessary. He also gave us a servant, who had strict orders to keep off from us all importunate people, that we might not be annoyed in any way."
We have now brought our travellers to the vicinity of Ankobar, where Mr. Krapf resided nearly
covered with silk, and received us with kindness. Our names three were already known among his people; and a mes
years. Mr. Isenberg returned home a few months after their arri