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ought to have no small weight in deciding this question ; for what motive could these Jews have, for asserting, that the Nestorians, whom they hate, were originally of the same stock with themselves, if it were not indeed a fact ?

But a stronger argument still, may be derived from the identity of their language. Not that either party speaks the Hebrew language, but both, a dialect of the Syriac. The Nestorians declare this to be the fact, and our traveller, from opportunites of extensive observation, has no doubt of it. He says, “I have heard Nestorians of Ooroomiah converse with Jews of Amâdîeh, without knowing from their language, that they were Jews; and I can now converse with the Jews of Ooroomiah, with the same ease, in their language, that I can with the Nestorians of the mountains, in theirs."

The testimony of the Rev. Mr. Holladay, who has composed a grammar of the modern Syriac, is to the point. “The language of the Nestorians of Ooroomiah,” he remarks, " differs so little from that of the Jews in the same city, that I can consider it only as a dialect of the same. This language, and the dialects which I have heard spoken by individuals belonging to several of the mountain tribes of Nestorians, had evidently a common origin.” Mr. Stocking, another missionary, who has become familiar with the vulgar Syriac, spoken by the Nestorians, and has aided in reducing it to system, likewise testifies to its common origin with that of the Jews of this province. “I have repeatedly conversed with the Jews of Ooroomiah," says he, " in the language of the Nestorians, which is so similar to their own, that they both naturally use their respective languages as the common medium of communication with each other. It is evident that they are only different dialects of the same language.” And Dr. G. remarks, that they could not have learned it from each other, for the Nestorians and Jews have scarcely any communication with each other, except in the casual transaction of business. “How came the Nestorians and Jews of this region by this common Syriac language? Neither of them could have acquired it here, as it was never vernacular, east of the Euphrates.” The only link in the chain to render this argument almost irresistible is, to show that the Syriac was the language of the ten tribes when carried captive. And therefore, to establish this point, our author takes no small pains. The arguments which he uses are partly historical, and partly derived from the long VOL. XIV. NO. 1.


and frequent intercourse and alliance of the ten tribes with the Syrians; and by whom they were also often subjected, so as to become tributary, as we learn from the sacred history. And it cannot be disputed, that when our Saviour was on earth, and long before, a dialect of the Syriac was the vernacular tongue of the Jews in Palestine. When these tribes were separated from the other two tribes, by the worship of the calves set up by Jeroboam, it would be natural and easy to widen that separation, by inducing them, by degrees, to adopt the language of their idolatrous neighbours, with whom they had most intercourse. Now, as both the Jews and Nestorians, on the east of the Euphrates, speak the language used by the ten tribes before their captivity, it certainly furnishes a strong argument in favour of their descent from these tribes. Had this been the country in which the Syriac tongue was vernacular, the evidence would not be so conclusive; as it might in that case be supposed, that the captive Israelites had adopted the language of the people among whom they lived. And if it be true, that these tribes spake the Syriac language, and that they were removed from the country where they were at first located, how incredible would it have been that another people coming in their place, should speak the same language, which was not vernacular, in all that region?

The next argument which Dr. Grant adduces to prove that the Nestorians are the descendants of the ten tribes, is derived from the names which have been given to them; and which can be accounted for upon no other supposition. BENI ISRAEL is commonly used to designate the Nestorians. Ask any intelligent man among them respecting their origin, and he will at once reply, that “we are sons of Israel." This name is also distinctly mentioned by writers who give an account of the Christians of Persia, as an evidence of their relation to the Jewish nation. The term NAZARENES has also been used by themselves and others in application to the Nestorians; and it is known to all, that this was the name of that branch of the early Christian church who were converts from the Jews. Indeed, the name is older than that of “Christian;" and though at first applied to all the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, yet as the first disciples were originally Jews, and as some difference of religious usage took place between the couverts from Judaism and those from the gentiles, the name was at a very early period appropriated to those Christians who were of Jewish origin,

and who continued to observe some of the Jewish customs. The argument from this name is, however, weakened by the consideration that in the East this name is very commonly applied to any and all Christians, by the Mohammedans.

The name "NESTORIANS," by which they are usually spoken of by others, is one which they dislike, and seldom use in application to themselves. The reason is, because they do not wish to be confounded with the ancient sect of heretics, so denominated. They deny that they derived, either their doctrines or their rites from Nestorius; for, while they approve of the opposition made by him to the worship of images, and to the use of the unscriptural phrase " the mother of God,” in application to the virgin Mary; yet they maintain none of the errors which have been ascribed to him; and our author does not pretend that all who are denominated Nestorians, were Israelites by descent. Neither is it asserted that all the existing descendants of the ten tribes, are now to be found in this region. Many of them, it is probable, have migrated to different countries.

Another argument, of no small weight, is derived from the practice of certain rites and ceremonies, by the Nestorians, which evidently are of Jewish origin. Indeed, the use of certain sacrifices of the Levitical law, is still retained among them; for although they believe, that by the one offering of Christ, the Lamb of God, for the sins of his people, all the sacrifices which prefigured the atonement are abolished; yet, they are of opinion, that votive and free-will offerings, commonly called “ peace offerings," may still, with propriety be made. Thus when they would express their gratitude for a recovery from sickness, they bring the animal and slay it at the door of the church, and sprinkle some of the blood, on the lintel and the posts. The right shoulder of the slain animal belongs to the officiating prie as does also the skin. Who can avoid recognizing the Levitical law, in these usages ? But the conformity to the Jewish ritual does not stop here. The animal is eaten by the offerer and by his friends, and sometimes, a portion is sent to every house in the village, and especially to the poor; and it is a custom to eat the whole of the flesh on the day on which it is offered.

The Nestorians themselves, consider these sacrifices as a remnant of their ancient Israelitish customs, retained since their conversion from Judaism. There are other customs, among the Nestorians, which appear to have existed among

the Jews only. Such is the vow sometimes made in the event that a child is bestowed upon them, in answer to their prayers, that it shall be devoted to the service of the Lord, all the days of his life; and if a son, they educate him for the church; but if a daughter, that her marriage dowry shall be given to the Lord; and in some rare cases, she is devoted to a life of celibacy ; in which case, her marriage dowry may be given for her redemption, if she should not consent to the original terms of the vow. Who that has read the history of Hannah can doubt, that this custom was derived from the Jews? “ The most intelligent priest in the employ of this mission," says Dr. G., " was devoted to the service of God by his mother, who like Hannah, asked him of the Lord under a solemn vow." The vow of the Nazarite is also retained among the Nestorians; and other vows are very common among them; and although this custom is found among Mohammedans, its origin is undoubtedly Jewish. “First fruits are to this day presented to the Lord by the Independent Nestorians, as they were among the Jews, of old. The first ripe fruits of their fields, gardens, and vineyards, are presented to God, before the harvest is gathered; and as their flocks comprise their chief wealth, they also set apart the first fruits of the dairy, as an offering to the Lord.” In some parts of the Nestorian country, however, first fruits have ceased, on account of the poverty of the people; and for the same reason, tithes have been discontinued. The Sabbath is regarded with a sacredness no where else observed among the Christians of the east. Formerly, a man would have been put to death for travelling or labouring on the Sabbath; but the custom has been discontinued, since their acquaintance with the practice of other Christians. Even now, some of their tribes will not on any account kindle a fire on the Sabbath. They have also, as the Jews, a preparation for the Sabbath, commencing about three hours before sunset, on the Saturday, at which time all labour ceases, except what is necessary to prepare for the Sabbath. They have also, in their churches, a sanctuary, which can be entered by none but the priests, and by these only when fasting; and when by any accident this holy place is desecrated, it cannot be used until it is consecrated anew to the service of God. They have even imitated the holy of holies," in their churches; for a small recess, in the wall, is called by that name. Other parts of their churches, bear the names

of parts of the temple of the Jews; and the Nestorians feel much the same reverence for their churches, as did the Jews for their temple. As by the Mosaic law, the touch of a dead body produced contamination, the same is the case among the Nestorians; except that, they consider Christians as purified by their baptism; so that no uncleanness is contracted by touching their bodies; nevertheless, they always purify themselves aster attending a funeral. A woman, after child-birth, cannot enter the church for forty days, when the child is a male; and she is debarred for a still longer time, when she has given birth to a female. Seven days, she is regarded as unclean, and can touch no food or utensils, but what is appropriated to her own use. On the eighth day, the child may be baptized; as the Nestorians are of opinion, that baptism comes in the place of circumcision. After which, she may attend to her usual domestic occupations, but must touch no hallowed thing, nor enter any hallowed place, until her forty days are accomplished; or, in case the child is a female, her separation extends to sixty days. The requisition of the Jewish law has been shortened, as a privilege enjoyed under the gospel dispensation. Swine's flesh, and other things forbidden in the Levitical law, are held in nearly as great abhorrence, as with the Jews; yet intercourse with other Christians has produced a considerable change in the sentiments of many of the people. This change, however, is far less among the Nestorians of the mountains, than amongst those of the plains. Formerly, they would not so much as touch, much less eat the flesh of swine. Their fasts and festivals, also, bear a close analogy to those of the ancient Jews. Like the Pharisees, they fast twice in the week, and they attach great importance to these observances. The passover, they observe as their principal festival, and call it by the original name, pascha, but instead of a slaughtered lamb, they eat the Lord's Supper, as having come in the place of the ancient sacrifice. As they consider circumcision as being succeeded by baptism, they do not practise this rite, but they never baptize their children until the eighth day, when this ordinance is commonly administered by immersion, but not uniforinly. If all the above sentiments and usages do not prove a Jewish origin, we do not know what would be deemed sufficient. To us, they furnish conclusive evidence, that these people have derived their origin from some branch of the Abrahamic nation; and as they certainly occupy a

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