« PreviousContinue »
the moment, crushed the gallant spirit of the sufferer. He wept and cried for mercy, again and again renewing his entreaties, until he had rcached the lowest level of abasement to which his own enfeebled heart, or the haughtiness of his great antagonist, could depress him. Then, and not till then, did the Pope condescend to revoke the anathema of the Vatican.”
| This insulting and arrogant spirit went a step beyond even this in the treatment of Frederic I., another Emperor of Germany, by Pope Alexander III. . That distinguished prince, having been excommunicated, and threatened with an interdict, was anxious to obtain absolution ; the Pope appointed him to appear for that purpose on à certain day at the Church of St. Mark, in Venice. Having presented himself, the Pope, surrounded by cardinals and bishops, refused to grant him absolution unless he should prostrate himself at his feet and implore to be pardoned. This being done, the Pope lifted up one foot, and placed it upon the neck of the emperor, ordering his attendants to sing that passage in the Psalms, “ Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder, the young lion and dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”
Let these specimens of Papal history be viewed in the light of Papal principles and claims. The Canon Law affirms, “ The Roman Pontiff has been appointed by God over the nations and over the kingdoms.” “The Pope has a superiority over the empire, and, when a vacancy occurs, succeeds to the emperor.” “The Pope has a right to transfer the empire from nation to nation.” “The Pope may depose the emperor.” “All men, whatever be their rank, ought to bow the knee three times before him and kiss his feet.” “As far as the sun surpasses the moon, so far does the Pope surpass the emperor.” Such are the assumptions of the Papacy, and these assumptions have been reduced to practice, directly or indirectly, by upwards of thirty councils. It is said that Popes have punished sovereign princes with excommunication in at least sixty instances. This tender mercy has been experienced by some of our own sovereigns. A Papal bull declared the great Charter to be null and void, excommunicating the barons who signed it; and this bull has never been repealed. •
As a government, the Papal one is the very worst in the civilized world ; it is intolerable to its own subjects, who are eagerly awaiting its downfall on the departure of its foreign defender. What, then, would be the state of the world if the claims of the Pope to interfere with the government of other nations could be enforced ? And let those who imagine that these arrogant assumptions are things of the past, that Popery has improved with the times and become more moderate and mild, look at the following declarations from a volume of essays lately issued under the editorship of Dr. Manning, Archbishop of Westminster, and successor of Cardinal Wiseman. “ The Government of England is an usurped Government, and all such governments are our foes, and the enemies of society and of God." We may judge, then, what Archbishop Manning and the Papacy would do with our Government if they had the power. It is clear
also, that they have an earnest eye to the power. “It is time to consider how to obtain the use of the secular arm in support of the temporal power.” History throws a terrible light on the meaning of this. “It will be best boldly to face the power of modern society, and to refuse any friendship or communion with it." It is thus evident, from its latest manifesto and its highest authority, in our own country at least, that Popery is utterly without sympathy with all that we most prize in the growth and progress of humanity, and at war with those institutions of our country which have cost an incalculable amount of struggle and sacrifice, and which, as Englishmen and Protestants, we hold most dear.
in our ow evident, from refuse any friendboldly to Fiable light on
CHAPTER I. FRAGMENTS—HISTORICAL AND CHRONOLOGICAL. AFRICA is a strange country, and though we know but little about many of its districts, we are constantly learning more, and every addition to our knowledge only increases our wonder, and makes us ask what have its innumerable tribes been doing since the days of their father Ham. Livingstone, and Speke, and Sir W. Banks, and Grant, and Chaillu, and Sir S. W. Baker have told us many strange African stories-stories which heavily tax our powers of belief, but which the characters of the men forbid us fairly to call in question. It is the land not only of black people, but of white people, for Speke tells us he saw tribes of whites near the equator. There are races who regularly practise circumcision, and there are others who, Mr. Leon declares, are Christians, but who have lost all knowledge of God, and who have no idea of a human soul. There are the patriarchal and the despotic forms of government, and there is a country (the Mparoro) where the people have a regular republic. Africa is the country, if Chaillu may be credited, of a race of human dwarfs, and wild men, who, in their habits and mode of life, are the most deeply sunk in degradation; the country of the gorilla, a horrible beast as large as inan, which makes the wild woods echo with his demonlike roar, and carries masses of muscle, which make him the terror of all other living creatures. It is the country of buffaloes, of lions, of leopards, of elephants, of enormous snakes, of hippopotami, of the rhinoceros, and of a hundred other savage and harmless brutes, which have long since been driven from their haunts in Europe. It is the country where Carthage once flourished, advanced to a wonderful civilization, and sent out Hannibal against the Republic of ancient Rome; and it is the country where, on the banks of the Nile, civilization was first cradled, which sent the first civilization to Europe, and which built pyramids and temples that have stood thousands of years, and promise to stand for thousands more.
Of all the lands on this strange continent, none is so interesting nor so important as the “land of Egypt,” sometimes in the Bible called “Cham,” or “Ham," and sometimes “Mizraim." From the
earliest records in the good old Book, we have accounts of this interesting country, which in those distant times was at the height of its civilization. Many centuries before Europe emerged from barbarism, Egypt, politically and socially, was the light of the world. Before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham, after having travelled over Canaan, which in vision was promised him by God, went into Egypt, in consequence of a famine. After a short stay, he returned to his own country, “rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” So long ago as the time of Abraham, Egypt was a “corn ” country, where the nations stricken with famine used to resort for bread. Being dependent not so much on the seasons as on the overflowings of the Nile, the land of the Pharaohs had generally an abundance of corn, while other nations were famishing. The Midianitish Arabs used to travel over the sands which separate Asia from Africa, with their camels laden with the spices of their country, to exchange with the Egyptians for their “corn” and “wine.” These were the men to whom Joseph was sold by his jealous brethren, and who carried him a slave into Egypt. To the “captain of the king's guard” Joseph was sold as a domestic slave, and Jacob, his poor old father, was left to mourn the loss of his bosom child. God prospered Joseph's master for Joseph's sake, and Joseph was set over all the household. Charged with a base crime, of which he was not guilty, Joseph was placed in prison. Even in his dungeon he gained favour, for “the Lord was with him.”
The Egyptians were a people who paid much regard to dreams, and Joseph, too, knew that God sometimes spake in dreams, for he forewarned Joseph himself thus of his future greatness; and it was Joseph's inspired power of “interpreting dreams,” combined with his integrity and goodness, that raised him to such eminence in the land of the Pharaohs. Joseph, under the direction of God, spake with oracular authority. His “interpretations of dreams" proved true to the letter, and Pharaoh said, “Can we find such an one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is ?" At once Pharaoh placed him over his own house, and declared, “ According to thy word shall all my people be ruled ;” and then he added, “Only in the throne will I be greater than thou.” Pharaoh's ring was placed on Joseph's hand, and a gold chain on his neck, and he rode in the second chariot of the king, and the people cried before Joseph, “ Bow the knee.” Joseph, from the dream of Pharaoh, had foretold the forthcoming “ seven years of great plenty” and the “seven years of famine,” and being made "ruler over all ” the country, he set out on a tour to make provision for the future. In all directions he caused granaries to be built, and appointed men to purchase and lay up the corn of the coming “seven years of plenty,” as a store for the seven years of dearth. It is said that he laid up corn in quantity “as the sands of the sea," “ until he left numbering.” The dearth “was in all lands,” but the abundance, as Joseph had said, was only in Egypt. When the famine came upon Egypt, the people cried for bread; but Pharaoh sent them to Joseph ; and though the “famine waxed sore," Joseph sold the people corn. From all the neighbouring countries the inhabitants came to Egypt to buy corn, and Egypt grew immensely rich. Amongst the numbers who reached the banks of the Nile were Joseph's ten brethren, for poor old Jacob had now felt the effects of the famine. There they stood before their brother, that brother they had sold into slavery. Joseph treated them with an assumed abruptness, and actually made them prisoners ; nor would he sell them corn or allow them to leave the country, only on the condition that they should leave one of their brethren as hostage, and return to their father Jacob, to bring Benjamin, their youngest brother, before him. The brethren, under the stings of conscience, now saw and felt that they had once wronged Joseph, when they confessed their guilt and acknowledged they had brought their present suffering on themselves. Joseph's heart was touched as soon as he heard these expressions of sorrow : “He turned about from them and wept.” Human nature was then as it is now. One of the brothers, Simeon, was kept in bonds while the rest returned for young Benjamin, poor old Jacob's darling child. They took back their corn, but Joseph placed the money they had paid for it into each inan's sack. Jacob was much distressed to hear that they had come for Benjamin; but the famine continued, and the old man was obliged to give up his youngest child. In his agony, the venerable old father gave his parting benediction, and the brethren appeared once more before Joseph, who now treated them very hospitably. They returned once more with “corn, but Joseph recalled them, and laid “charges” to them, which more than ever reached their consciences. Again he made them prisoners. Judah now made a most touching and eloquent address to Joseph, and Joseph could hold out no longer. His brotherly heart melted, and he sent away from his presence all but his brethren. Then came a scene which no pen can picture. “Joseph wept aloud," and said, “I am Joseph !” and then, the first question was, “Doth my father yet live ?” He at once soothed their sorrows, and told them of God's purposes in sending him to Egypt. “Be not grieved nor angry with yourselves that ye sold me hither;" “God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth ;” “So, now, it was not you that sent me, but God.” Jacob had concluded that his son Joseph had been “rent in pieces" by wild beasts, and “year after year he had wept for him ;” but news now reached him that Joseph was still alive, and wagons arrived sent by Joseph to convey the old man into Joseph's presence. The loving father exclaimed, “It is enough! Joseph my son is yet alive : I will go and see him before I die.” In his old age he set out to see his lost child, and took with him the wives and children of his other sons, with all “their cattle and their goods.” A fruitful district on the Delta, called “Goshen," in the neighbourhood of the eastern branch of the Nile, was allotted to them, and here they settled and became prosperous. Five of the seven years of famine were yet unexpired, and as the dearth in Egypt probably resulted from the failure of the annual inundation of the river, “Goshen” would be the spot likely to suffer the least from such a calamity, and would be admirably fitted for the occupation of a tribe of shepherds. With the return of the annual inundations, they could easily retire for three months into the wilderness of Sinai, which was not very far distant, and then return and take advantage of the rich deposits which the river never fails to leave behind it. Soon " they had possessions therein, and grew and multiplied exceedingly." The famine continued, however, till the Egyptians had to part with their cattle, and even their land, to buy corn; and thus Joseph's forethought and wisdom resulted in placing all that the people had in the hands of Pharaoh. Joseph made this a means of consolidating the kingdom, for he advised that the land and probably the cattle too) should be returned to the Egyptians, on condition that a fifth of the produce should be given to the State. For 1,500 years after this re-adjustment of the land, Egypt was orderly and prosperous, and its mild and wise laws became the wonder of the Greeks. Here it was, then, that the chosen race was preserved from whom was to spring the Saviour of our race. Joseph married a priest's daughter, and in his manners, his dress, his language, and his name, appeared like an Egyptian. “The children of Israel increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty.”
At length Jacob died, and was embalmed, after the manner of the Egyptians, of which we shall say more, and Joseph died also, “and all his brethren, and all that generation.”
The “shepherd kings,” who were not native to the country, and during whose rule Joseph had risen to such eminence, were at length driven from the throne by the native dynasty : “A new king ruled over Egypt which knew not Joseph.” The children of Israel were now oppressed, reduced to slavery, and set to hard labour for the service of the State. This new Pharaoh was afraid of their numbers and their influence, and determined to keep them in subjection by hard usage. “The people of the children of Israel,” said Pharaoh, “are more, and mightier than we," and he compelled them to build “ treasure cities," and “set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens.” “They made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field;" "all their service was with rigour.”
In order still more to destroy their power and keep down their numbers, Pharaoh decreed that every male child should be destroyed as soon as born. The decree was often evaded, and one woman of the house of Levi, with the heart of a true mother, saved her son, hid him for three months, and then placed him in an ark of bulrushes on the river's bank. This child was found by Pharaoh's daughter, was adopted, and given to its own mother to nurse. He was carefully educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, but when he grew up he loved his own people, and “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." This Hebrew, named Moses, became the natural leader of the children of Israel. He saw their oppressions and sufferings, and resolved to “deliver them out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of bondage." He left the luxuries and riches of the palace, and disregarded all the honours which Egypt had to give, to live with his oppressed and down-trodden people. “God heard their groaping, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham.”
Then came the frequent attempts of Moses to lead the children of Israel away from their cruel oppressors to the land which was promised to Abraham, and the repeated attempts of Pharaoh to stop them, and the great miracles which were wrought for their deliver