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region either the same, or near to the residence of the ten tribes, we see no good reason to lead us to dissent from the conclusion, drawn by our pious and enterprising missionary. The similarity of most of the Jews in physiognomy, as far as we have seen them, is striking ; so that, in most cases, a descendant of Abraham can be known by this mark. No doubt, however, this characteristic varies in different parts of the world; but as there are Jews dwelling in that land, whose forefathers have resided there from time immemorial, it will furnish some evidence of the identity of race, if a similarity between the physiognomy of these and the Nestorians is observable and is strongly marked. And to this point, the testimony of Dr. Grant is very strong.
Even,” says he, “the nations who are accustomed to discriminate by the features between the various classes of people, are often unable to distinguish a Nestorian from a Jew: and I have taxed my own powers with no better success. While Nestorians and Jews have been seated together before me, I have in vain endeavoured to find some distinguishing mark between them, in the features or general contour of the face.” Something may also be learned from the Israelitish origin of their names. Sometimes in a circle of a dozen Nestorians, there will not be found one who has not a Jewish name. The doctor informs us, that out of forty-five scholars in the mission seminary, thirty-two had Jewish names, found in the Bible, a list of which he gives.
Although the Nestorians are still divided into tribes, corresponding in number very nearly with the ancient Israelites, yet very few of them are able to trace their genealogy to the particular tribe from which they are descended, as is the case with the Jews; but a few of them profess to have preserved among them an undoubted and unbroken tradition, not only that they are the descendants of the ten tribes—which they all believe—but also of the particular tribe to which they belong. The most remarkable instance of this kind is found in the family of the patriarch, the most intelligent in the nation. They declare with confidence that they belong to the tribe of Naphtali; "a claim," observes our author, " that certainly savours little of vanity. If the assertion be not founded in truth, why do they not claim affinity with the sacerdotal or royal tribes ? What possible motive can they have for courting an alliance with the humble son of a handmaid? The highest family in the nation setting up an unfounded claim
to a connexion with the most humble—with one of the least distinguished of all the ancient tribes!” They admit, however, that they are not in possession of any ancient records, or tables, by which to verify their tradition: these, they say, were lost about sixty years ago, with a large number of manuscripts, in conveying them across the river Zab. It is also worthy of notice, that the civil head of each tribe is distinguished by the official name, Melek. In the government of the Nestorians, there is also a remarkable similarity to the theocracy of the ancient Hebrews. Among them the patriarch exercises a power over the tribes, corresponding very exactly with that of the High Priest over the tribes of Israel. It is a fact, also, that they retain the ancient custom of committing the punishment of murder to the nearest relatives of the deceased; and the kinsman on whom this duty devolves, if he neglects to avenge the blood of his brother, or near relative, is rendered infamous in his tribe and nation. And as the Jews had cities of refuge, to which the manslayer might flee, and where he might remain safe from danger, unless upon impartial inquiry it was found that he had maliciously perpetrated the act; so among the Nestorians, their churches are all places of refuge to which the manslayer may flee for security; and where he may remain in safety until the elders have decided on his case.
It might at first view seem probable, that by this time the descendants of the ten tribes would be much mingled with other nations, among whom they dwelt, and by whom they were surrounded, but their geographical position, and other circumstances have been such as to preserve them from being mingled with the gentiles. They have been, and are still, a peculiar people. " Although surrounded by Persians, Turks, Koords, Arabs, Armenians, Jews, and Yezidees, they have very little intercourse with any of them, and admit none into their country, except on particular business; and then only such as are well known, or who come with the sanction of their chief men. Their secluded retreat is so walled around with adamantine barriers, and is so casily defended, that their enernies have never been able to scale their mountain ramparts; so that they have remained, for ages, almost shut out from the world around them. Their civil condition, and religious customs also, greatly assist in preserving them distinct froin other nations. With the MosJems they cannot intermarry if they would. The Armenians are the only people with whom they could mingle, but the
worship of images among these, is sufficient to keep the Nestorians separated from them, as they detest this worship.
Dr. Grant has brought forward a number of particulars, in which the domestic and civil customs of the Nestorians bear a remarkable similarity to those of the ancient Hebrews. We have not room to introduce any of these details, but the curious reader will find them in the ninth chapter of the second part of this volume.
Upon a review of the whole subject, we are led to make the following remarks:
We do not know whence the opinion has arisen, that there was something mysterious and extraordinary in the history of ten tribes. If they have been lost sight of, and have been long unknown, nothing has occurred in regard to them, but what has happened to nearly all the nations of antiquity. By continual wars, revolutions, captivities, and voluntary emigrations, the descendants of all ancient nations have become so mingled and amalgamated, that no one can now ascertain the descendants of any people, however great and powerful, who formerly inhabited any particular country. To this general fact, the Jews furnish, the solitary exception. And their case is so singular in comparison with other ancient nations, that their remaining for so many centuries distinct from the nations among whom they have been dispersed, has appeared to many a kind of standing miracle; at any rate, all have acknowledged that their case is singular and remarkable. If, then, the ten tribes have been lost by being mingled with the nations among whom they lived, nothing extraordinary has occurred; but that has happened to them, which has to almost all ancient nations. Their descendants may be so mingled with other nations that they can no longer be distinguished, or their relation to the ancient Israelites identified. And we know of no important reason why it should be assumed as true, that these tribes must still exist in a distinct national state. Because this has been the fact in regard to the descendants of the Jews inhabiting Palestine, it furnishes no proof that the same thing must have happened to the ten tribes. Our author does indeed attempt to prove from prophecy, that they were to remain a distinct people until re-united to the other two tribes, but the evidence appears to us feeble, and the reasoning in support of the position obscure. If Dr. Grant has found these lost tribes, and can identify them, we shall be well pleased with the discovery; but we do not see its importance
On the return of the Israelites after the seventy years captivity in Babylon, under the decree of Cyrus and his successors, it is probable that many of the ten tribes returned also, for the liberty given was not confined to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, but extended to all who might choose to return. The language of the decree was, “Who is there among you of all his people ? His God be with him," &c. "And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts," &c. No doubt the major part who returned were of Judah and Benjamin, who had been more recently carried away from their country. And in accordance with this, we read, " Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites ;" but it is added, “ with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up and build the house of the Lord, which is in Jerusalem.” Many of the places mentioned, to which certain families belonged, seem to have been cities appertaining to Ephraim or some other of the ten tribes. And the fact, that of the company who returned, there were many who were unable to understand the Hebrew language, but needed to have it translated into Chaldee, affords evidence that such were of the tribes first carried away captive. It would seem, from all the accounts we have recorded, that a very small portion even of Judah and Benjamin did at first actually return; but the probability is, that there would be large accessions to their number, every year, especially after the temple was re-edified.
When a nation are known to have inhabited a certain region, the presumption always is that their descendants will be found inhabiting the same, unless we have positive testimony that they have been removed, or driven out of the land, or exterminated. If, therefore, Dr. Grant has been successful in ascertaining that the country now inhabited by the independent Nestorians, is the very country to which the ten tribes were carried, this itself is a strong presumption in favour of the opinion, that the present inhabitants of that country are the descendants of the former inhabitants; especially as the country is one not easily invaded or conquered by a foreign foe. At any rate, this circumstance prepares the way for our lendi a favourable ear to other evidences of the fact, such as are accumulated by Dr. Grant in this volume. If he is correct in fixing the location of the ten tribes, then it appears to us that he has made out his case. VOL. XIV, NO. I.
As to the other theories of the ten tribes which have been advocated by one and another, they have always appeared to us destitute of all plausibility. But if the statements and facts of Dr. Grant are accurately given, we confess that it appears exceedingly probable, that these Nestorians are indeed the seed of Abraham, and the real descendants of the captive Israelites and that they were converted to Christianity at a very early period after its first propagation. It would be very natural for some of the apostles to visit their brethren of the dispersion in this country. We know that Paul, though especially the apostle of the gentiles, yet in every city whither he came, made the first offer of the gospel to the Jews; and as the residue of the ten tribes appear to have been well known in those days, it seems highly probable that there is foundation for the ancient tradition, that several of the apostles visited these children of Israel, and preached the gospel to them. The name “ Nestorians” seems to mislead, as we know that this sect did not arise until the sixth century. But they disclaim the name; and the probability is, that this sect having spread very much in the surrounding countries, the name was given at last to all Christians who inhabited these regions.
While we cannot but admit that Dr. Grant has made out a strong case, and has probably discovered a part, at least, of the descendants of these tribes, we are not prepared to yield assent to all the proofs which he has adduced. His application of the prophecies has not served to increase our conviction, derived from his other testimonies. And although we do not attach any high degree of importance to the discovery, yet we think it must interest every believer in the Bible to find among the professors of the Christian religion so many of the seed of Abraham, “the father of the faithful,” and “the friend of God.”
But Dr. Grant is not the only one who professes to have recently discovered the remnants of the ten tribes. The Rev. JACOB SAMUEL, Senior Missionary to the Jews, for India, Persia, and Arabia, has published a work in London very recently, entitled, “ The REMNANT FOUND, or, The PLACE OF ISRAEL'S HIDING DISCOVERED, being a summary of proofs, showing that the Jews of Daghistan, on the Caspian Sea, are the remnant of the Ten Tribes--the result of personal investigation during a missionary tour of eight months in Georgia.” Mr. Samuel, himself born a Jew, has been employed as a missionary to the Jews, by a Society in