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THIS structure, if we recollect, is about sixty miles from Philadelphia. The Susquehannah, at this point, spreads into a great breadth, and the bridge is one mile and a half long. It seems a toilsome walk to the traveler who, thinking "it is only a bridge," gets down "to walk over." Our fair reader, who has occasion to cross it, will do well to ride two-thirds of the way, and then alight. Half a mile will be a pleasant walk; and on reaching the end of it, she will not be so fatigued as to be unable to look around her at the scenery, which, although it betrays no very striking features, may afford her a few minutes gratification, especially if she gives to her meditations a serious and devout turn, recollecting the gracious acts of Providence, by which she has reached this point of her journey. She may have started ten days previous from the Queen of the West, to visit her friends in Baltimore. Let her call to mind the goodness of God in preserving her life amidst the dangers of the way-on the Ohio, and in the crossings of the mountains; and then let her consider how little gratitude she has felt towards her merciful Protector. Let her lift her eyes now and then, and glance at the objects around her, and endeavor to trace in the flowing waters and in the distant forests some tokens of the power and the reign of the Almighty. Let her reflect on the swift passage she is making to the worlds beyond the grave-and consider well to which she is tending. There are two regions, (let her say to herself,) in one of which all the children of men, after death, shall find an everlasting abode. These realms widely differ in the character of their inhabitants, and in regard to their attractions and joys. And they are separated by an unbridged gulf, which even spirits cannot pass, and which cuts off all blissful communication between their occupants for ever and ever.
With such thoughts she may turn to profit her short walk over the Columbia bridge, and remount the carriage or enter the boat wiser if not happier than when she alighted. And this is needful. For how soon will the foot which now presses the soil on the banks of the Ohio or Susquehannah be motionless in the grave! And how very soon will those products of mechanical skill and toil, like the bridge pictured before us, be swept away by the stream of time, and be lost to the recollections of the living. Some things connected with them will never be forgotten by the dead. The blasphemies of the profane, and the prayers of the pious who wrought at these structures in the progress of their erection, will never be forgotten. The mischievous plottings and devisings of the earthly-minded passenger, and the hungerings and thirstings of the devout after righteousness, as they traversed these extended arch
es, will never be forgotten. These will go before, or will follow after them to the invisible state, and will lighten or oppress them there. These will appear fresh as a present conception to comfort or condemn them in the judgment hour. May the reader, by grace improved, learn, in all times and states, to place God before her, and keep in view the hour of her meeting with the Judge of quick and dead! Thus can she address to her Lord and Savior the following lines of the pious Dr. Watts: "Ye heavenly gates, loose all your chains,
Let the eternal pillars bow;
New molds our limbs of cumb'rous clay;
TO THE ABSENT.
BY J. T. BRAME.
OFT as upon the azure height,
And when I see the dreary pines,
Which shed around their sombre shade,
I think how soon the wreaths love twines,
THE LOST TRIBES.
BY CYRUS BROOKS,
A DEEP and general interest has long been felt in regard to the lost ten tribes of Israel. Dr. Grant's theory on this subject has greatly increased that interest. These tribes were carried into captivity, by the Assyrian kings, in the latter part of the eighth century before the Christian era; after which time they are seldom, if ever, mentioned in the Scriptures, and only incidentally alluded to in other ancient records. In modern times they have been sought in almost every corner of the earth; and various theories have occupied the public mind in regard to their present state, and the place of their retreat. One of the most fanciful, and, also, one of the most popular of these theories, is that which finds them in the aboriginal inhabitants of our own country; while one of the most reasonable, as the question has heretofore stood, is that adopted by Prideaux and others, that such of them as did not either return to Palestine with the Babylonish captives, or join themselves to the "dispersed of Judah" in other lands, have long since mingled with the nations around them, and ceased to exist as a separate people.
Dr. Grant has added another opinion to those already advanced; and has brought to its support such an amount of evidence, as to entitle it, to say the least, to|| a candid and enlightened examination. He supposes that the ten tribes still continue a separate people in the land of their captivity; and that they are still found in the Nestorian Christians of Persia and Koordistan. The Nestorians were formerly a very numerous and influential people, and were extensively spread over the east. While the darkness of the Middle Ages rested upon the whole western world, they were successfully engaged in proclaiming the Gospel in middle and eastern Asia, and had even penetrated as far as China, and there erected the standard of the cross. But the religion of the False Prophet, enforced by the sword of those barbarous conquerors, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, swept over those countries, and the light of Christianity was extinguished.
Most of the Nestorians of Persia and Mesopotamia have become Papists, and have received the appellation of Chaldeans from the Roman pontiff. In the Persian district of Ooroomiah, however, as also in some of the Koordish districts of the Turkish empire, Nestorians are still found in considerable numbers; and a few Jews also dwell in the same countries, and speak the same language. But the principal home of the Nestorians is a central district of the mountains of Koordistan, of which they have exclusive possession.
Their villages and dwellings are in the vallies, where they all have their residence in winter; but in summer large numbers of them remove with their flocks to the Zozan, or pasture-lands, upon the summit of the mountains or in the higher vallies. Here they dwell in tents, until the approach of winter admonishes them again to retire to their homes in the vales. Protected by their
wild mountain fastnesses, they have successfully resisted the enemies of their faith, whether Papal, Mohammedan, or Pagan; and while the surrounding countries have been swept by successive storms of revolution, have maintained their religion, their laws, and their independence. These mountain tribes are known as the independent Nestorians, and are respected and feared by their neighbors, from whom they receive the proud appellation of Ashiret, "the tributeless."
The evidence adduced by Dr. Grant in support of the opinion that the Nestorians are the descendants of the captive Israelites, is spread over almost one hundred and seventy pages of his work. It will not, of course, be expected that all this testimony should be examined, or even hastily glanced at in the brief space allotted to the present article. The most we can do is merely to notice some of what we consider the more important points in the evidence. And in doing this, we shall not pretend to follow the arrangement of our author.
When we go in search of the lost tribes of Israel, the first inquiry that presents itself is, where were they lost ? To what country were they carried by their captors? "Search for a thing where it is lost," says our author, "is a maxim which every child understands and practices."
The capture of the seven and a half tribes west of the Jordan, is related in 2 Kings xvii, 6; and xviii, 9-11, where it is stated that they were carried away by Shalmaneser, the king of Assyria, and placed "in Halah, and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes." The two and a half tribes east of the Jordan, were taken some fifteen or twenty years earlier, and were brought "unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day," 1 Chron. v, 26.
These two accounts so nearly agree, as to render it evident that all the captives were settled in the same region of country. They differ, however, in one or two points; and as the former is the more ancient, so it is probably the more accurate. In Kings, Gozan appears to be the name of a country; in Chronicles, the name of a river. In the former, the particle by, after Habor, is printed in italics, to show that it is not in the original; thus making "Habor the river of Gozan." Dr. Robinson translates, "on Habor," &c. But in Chronicles Habor appears to be the name of a place. In the latter place Hara is added, which, as it means "mountainous," is supposed to have been insert
* Dr. Robinson says they were not lost at all. The following extract contains the substance of his theory in regard to them: "After the various deportations out of the two kingdoms, the great body of the common people still remained in Palestine, where they became reunited as one nation in their public religious rites and worship at Jerusalem. The descendants of those carried away became in like manner amalgamated in the land of their exile. The permission to return was given alike to all; and so far as the testimony goes, no distinction of tribes was found among those who availed themselves of the opportunity. This distinction was almost wholly laid aside; the name of Jews became as comprehensive as was formerly that of Hebrews; and the ten tribes, as such, were forgotten," Am. Bib. Rep., 12mo., Jan., 1842, p. 62.
ed by a later hand, as a gloss, descriptive of the coun- || Ozen, a river of Media; &c. But conjecture must suptry in which the captives were settled, and to have ply, to a great extent, the place of evidence. found its way into the text through the carelessness or ignorance of a transcriber.
In regard to the "cities of the Medes," but little is known, except that they were in Media. The situation of this country is well known, but in what part of it these cities were located we are wholly uninformed. Conjecture, however, would place them near the borders of Assyria; in which country, as has been seen, the main body of the captives were settled.
In searching for the particular places specified in the above quotations, it is of great importance to determine with accuracy the general region of country to which the captive tribes were deported; for, in ancient as well as modern geography, the same name is frequently given to places in different and distant regions. This, But after all, it must be acknowledged that the prehowever, is a point not easily ascertained. We know cise location of the ten tribes in their captivity, cannot that the Israelites were carried away by the kings of be determined with any degree of certainty. Yet as Assyria; but it is very difficult, if not impossible, to the places above mentioned, if in Assyria at all, are fix with any degree of certainty the precise limits of most probably to be found northward from Nineveh, the Assyrian empire at the time of the captivity. For- we are disposed to fix upon the northern portion of Asmerly it had included Media on the east, and Mesopo-syria, with some of the neighboring districts of Media, tamia and Syria on the west; but was afterwards redu- as the region of country in which the great body of ced within the limits of Assyria proper, corresponding the ten tribes were most probably settled. This, then, very nearly with the boundaries of modern Koordistan. is the country in which we should now look for them, Dr. Grant thinks that this reduction took place before unless we can learn of their removal; and Dr. Grant the captivity. But, leaving historical proof out of the says, "We have no evidence of their having been requestion, it seems incredible that Assyrian kings should be permitted to conduct military expeditions across those extensive and difficult countries lying between the Tigris and Palestine, and return again, laden with spoil and encumbered with captives, unless the Assyrian power was still predominant in those countries.
From the mere fact, then, that the Israelites were carried away by the Assyrians, it does not necessarily follow that they were carried east of the Tigris. This is rendered probable, however, by several considerations. The country properly called Assyria, or by the Greeks, Aturia, or Atyria, was east of the Tigris; and to this country the name was generally, and at a subsequent period, exclusively applied. There is no intimation | that the captives were carried to places remote from each other, and as a part of them were placed in "the cities of the Medes," it is reasonable to suppose that the remainder were settled in the adjacent country of Assyria. And Josephus speaks of the ten tribes as residing, in his time, in Adiabene, which was a principal province of Assyria, to which it sometimes gave its
That they did not return to Palestine with the other two tribes, is evident, Dr. Robinson to the contrary notwithstanding, from the account given by the inspired penmen of the restoration of those tribes from the Babylonish captivity. Both Ezra and Nehemiah agree in giving the whole number of those who returned in pursuance of the edict of Cyrus, to be less than fifty thousand. And these, it is expressly stated, were "of those whom Nebuchadnezzer, the king of Babylon, had carried away unto Babylon, and came again to Jerusalem and Judah, every one to his own city," Ezra ii, 1; Neh. vii, 6. About seventy-nine years afterwards, a small number, amounting in all to less than two thousand males, accompanied Ezra to Jerusalem: of these, a few only were of the ten tribes, Ezra vii; viii. The testimony of Josephus is to the same effect. After stating that numbers of the Israelites from Media repaired to Babylon upon the permission given by Cyrus, for the purpose of accompanying their brethren of the other two tribes to Jerusalem, he says expressly, that "the entire body of the people of Israel remained in that
HALAH, it is generally agreed, was a district of coun-country." try in Assyria proper, and probably not very far from ancient Nineveh.
Long before this time the kingdom of Media had swallowed up and given its name to most of the neighboring countries, of which Assyria was one; and being united with Persia, the Medo-Persian empire was form
HABOR, as has been seen, is probably the name of a river. Habor, or Khaboor, is the present name of a river which rises in the mountains of Koordistan.ed, within the limits of which, most, if not all, the capThere is also another river of the same name, the Chaboras of the Greeks, in Mesopotamia, that has some claim to be considered the Habor of Scripture.*
tive Israelites resided. The decree of Cyrus, it is true, extended similar privileges to all the captives throughout his dominion; but, as shown above, only a few except the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, availed Oth-themselves of the permission to return to the land of their fathers.
GOZAN, Dr. Grant thinks, is still found in the Zozan, or pasture-lands of the mountains of Koordistan. ers find it in the ancient Gauzanitis, of Mesopotamia; in Gausania, a city of Media; in Kuzul Ozan, or Kizil
But the testimony of Josephus goes still further. Speaking of his own time, late in the first centnry, he *Ezekiel "was among the captives by the river Chebar," says, "There are but two tribes in Asia and Europe Ezek. i, 1, 3. If this were the Habor of 2 Kings xvii, 6, &c., it subject to the Romans; while the ten tribes are beyond could not be in Assyria, as it was "in the land of the Chaldeans."the Euphrates till now "And still more definite infor
mation in regard to the location of these tribes at this || dwell among them, and is confirmed by some of the
learned among their Mohammedan neighbors. "The Jews," says Dr. Grant, "admit that the Nestorians are as truly the descendants of the Israelites as themselves." Two learned Jews who visited him, stated in reply to his inquiries, "that they knew that the Nestorians were the children of Israel; but as the Nestorians had departed from the faith of their fathers, their people were ashamed to own them as brethren." In the same con
time, is furnished in the celebrated speech of Agrippa, dissuading the Jews from a war with the Romans. His language, according to Whiston's translation, is as follows: "Unless any of you extend his hopes as far as beyond the Euphrates, and suppose that those of your own nation that dwell in Adiabene will come to your assistance." Now according to Dr. Robinson,* the intercourse between Palestine and Adiabene was such at this time, that both Josephus and Agrippa must have || versation they stated, "that they had records containing been well acquainted with the condition of the Israelites in the latter country; and must have known whether they were, or were not of the ten tribes. Thus we find the captives in the land of their bondage in the latter part of the first century of the Christian era.
And we hear of them again in the same land at a still later period. St. Jerome, who wrote in the beginning of the fifth century, speaks of them as follows: "Unto this day the ten tribes are subject to the kings of the Persians, nor has their captivity ever been loosed." Again he says, "The ten tribes inhabit at this day the cities and mountains of the Medes."
Thus, from the time of the captivity to the beginning of the fifth cratury, a period of between eleven and twelve hun d years, the continuance of the ten tribes in the countries to which they were at first deported, appears to have been a matter of public notoriety. And the evidence is so satisfactory, that Dr. Buchanan declares, "There is no room left for doubt on this subject." From that time to the present we hear nothing of their removal. "The native histories," says Dr. Grant, "Persian, Turkish, and Arabic, which are numerous, say nothing of the removal of the captive Israelites; and tradition is equally silent." Indeed the conclusion seems to us almost inevitable, that, unless they have mingled with the nations among whom they were planted, they still continue a separate people "in Halah, and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes."
an account of the time and circumstances of their conversion to Christianity." This latter statement bears strongly upon a question that will be hereafter considered; namely, the conversion of the ten tribes to the Christian faith.
The tradition of an Israelitish descent, however, is not peculiar to the Nestorians. A few other tribes of interior Asia also claim descent from the Hebrews. But it does not necessarily follow, as asserted by Dr. Robinson, that "there is no good reason for singling out the Nestorians, and yielding credence to their tradition, and not to the rest.”* If the same corroborating testimony can be adduced in the case of others as in that of the Nestorians, and if their traditions bear the same internal marks of truth, then, no doubt, the same credit should be given to those traditions. But, until this is made to appear, such an assumption as that above quoted is perfectly gratuitous.
And the principle involved in this remark we wish kept in mind, as it bears upon much of the evidence adduced by Dr. Grant in support of his theory. That evidence being cumulative, the strength of the argument does not depend upon the conclusiveness of isolated facts. Similar facts may be found among other tribes or nations; but until all the facts presented in the case of the Nestorians, shall be found clustering around one people, it cannot be conceded that the evidence is, in both cases, equally conclusive. It must be acknowledged, however, that there are two important And if these places were situated in the region of defects in the tradition of the Nestorians. The first is, country where Dr. Grant supposes, and where there is a want of documentary evidence in its support. As certainly reason to believe they were situated, then, in the patriarch's ancient manuscripts were destroyed by the very region to which the captive Israelites were de- water some sixty years since, it is at least possible that ported, where they continued as late as the beginning these may have contained some such evidence. But of the fifth century, and where they should still be from the manner in which the Nestorians reason upon sought, we find a people claiming to be of Israelitish the subject, it is manifest that they have no idea that descent, and exhibiting many traces of a Hebrew an- any has ever existed. And the only proof furnished cestry. These people are the Nestorians. A presump-| by Dr. Grant that any ever did exist, is contained in tion has already been raised in favor of their claim, and we look with anxiety for evidence in support of the presumption.
The first proof adduced by our author is a tradition, which he says "is general, and commonly believed among the Nestorians throughout Assyria and Media," that they are of Israelitish descent; and "that their forefathers, at some early day, came to the regions now occupied by them from the land of Palestine." The truth of this tradition is acknowledged by the Jews that
Am. Bib. Rep., Jan., 1842, pp. 48-50.
the following note: "Priest Dunka, who has long been employed as an assistant in this mission, and sustains a character for veracity, and, we hope, for consistent piety, assures me that he saw near Mosul a history in which it was expressly stated, that they, the Nestorians, were Beni Israel, (the children of Israel.)" The other defect is, an entire want of information in regard to the time and circumstances of the settlement of their ancestors in this country. Now it seems almost incredible, that an event of so much importance in the
Am. Bib. Rep., Jan., 1842, p. 37.
history of a people, as the capture, deportation, and set- || alluded to by Dr. Grant, are primitive; being derived tlement in a strange land of the ten Israelitish tribes, from the system of worship practiced before the dispershould be forgotten by their posterity to the latest gen- sion of mankind; that others of them are eastern; and, eration. consequently, practiced by all the nations of the east; and that others still, may have grown out of the peculiar situation of the Nestorians: but, after all, it seems difficult thus to account for all of them, and still more difficult to account for the remarkable fact, that they all meet in this singular people. Where is there another people under heaven of whom the same may be said? Let Dr. Robinson tell us where.
But Dr. Grant does not rest his cause solely, nor even mainly, upon tradition. This is but one link in the chain of testimony by which he reaches his conclusion. The languages spoken by the Nestorians, and Jews that dwell among them, furnish additional evidence that they are descended from a common stock. These languages are said to be essentially the same, and to differ no more than is very common in different dialects of the same tongue; and this, notwithstanding the mutual hatred between the Nestorians and Jews is such as almost entirely to prevent intercourse. These Jews, it should be remarked, are spoken of by Dr. Grant, as unquestionably descended from the ten tribes; though upon what authority he does not inform us.
He also argues the Hebrew descent of the Nestorians from the Hebrew appellations by which, as a people, they are called, and from the common use of Hebrew names among them; also from their physiognomy, manners and customs, mode of living, &c.; in all of which, he says, they are strikingly Jewish. But to obtain any thing like a fair view of these arguments, the reader must consult Dr. Grant's work itself.
Evidence still more striking, if not more conclusive, is found in the remarkable fact, that, to this day, the Nestorians observe such Jewish rites as are not wholly superseded by the institutions of Christianity. They sacrifice thank-offerings-present the first fruits to the Lord-make and perform vows-abstain from food forbidden in the law of Moses-refrain from the same causes of impurity-treat the Sabbath and the sanctuary with a similarly sacred regard; together with other Jewish institutions and observances. These rites, especially the offering of sacrifices, Dr. Grant very properly maintains, must be either of Jewish or of heathen origin. That they are not derived from any system of Pagan worship, he thinks is satisfactorily proved by attendant circumstances, and the deep abhorrence with which the Nestorians regard every kind and form of idolatry. Therefore, he argues, they must be of Hebrew origin, and furnish proof that the Nestorians are of Hebrew descent.*
There are two important institutions of the Jewish Church, however, which, though practiced by the early converts from Judaism, are entirely wanting among the Nestorians. These are circumcision and the payment of tithes. The absence of the former is pretty satisfactorily accounted for by the reason which the Nestorians themselves assign: namely, that this rite is superseded by Christian baptism; and the payment of tithes is said to have been discontinued in consequence of poverty and oppression.
We come now to consider, as briefly as possible, some of the evidence adduced by Dr. Grant, in proof that the great body of the ten tribes were converted to the Christian faith, at a very early period after the ascent of our Lord. If this point could be established, and if it could be shown that the places now inhabited by the Nestorians are the same occupied by the ten tribes at the time of their conversion; then, the conclusion would be inevitable, that the Nestorians are the descendants of those tribes. For it is satisfactorily proved that the Nestorians were among the earliest converts to Christianity, and that they have remained a separate people, in the same places where they then res, from that day to this; and they are the only Christi, s that now live, or have lived in those places. And if Dr. Grant has done nothing more, in this part of his work, than to raise a mere probability of the con. version of the Israelites, still something is gained to the general theory, while nothing is lost if he fails altogether. For the want of evidence upon this point cannot invalidate, unless the contrary can be shown, the evidence already adduced in proof of the Hebrew descent of the Nestorians. Thus we enter upon this part of his inquiry, feeling that he has much to gain, but nothing to lose. And if he has not succeeded in procuring satisfactory proof of the conversion of the ten tribes, he has, at least, shown that the Gospel was preached, and with general success, in the very countries in which those tribes were most probably settled.
He quotes several of the most respectable authors of antiquity, from whose united testimony it appears that at least five of the apostles, together with a number of the primitive disciples, preached the Gospel extensively in the east; and were instrumental in the conversion of large numbers of the inhabitants of Adiabene, the Elamites, Persians, Medes, &c. One author states, that "the divine apostle Thomas first preached the Christian faith in the east, in the second year from the ascent of our Lord. He preached to different people, viz., Parthians, Medes, Persians, &c." According to Dr. Grant, the Nestorians still regard the apostles, Thomas, Thaddeus, and others, with great interest and affection, as the chief instruments of their conversion to Christianity.
That the subjects of these early labors were princiNow it may be that some of the rites and customs pally Israelites, is argued by our author, from the consideration that, until the conversion of Cornelius, the
* Dr. Robinson has entirely misrepresented this argument. apostles confined their labors mostly, if not exclusively, See Am. Bib. Rep., Oct., 1841, p. 472. to those of their own nation; not only in the land of