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rather than religious teachers; and it was a fact, that he himself took a lively interest in watching the operations of weavers, gunsmiths, and other artisans. The missionaries, therefore, were ordered back to Ankober, where, for a while, several boys came to them, of their own accord, to be taught. Isenberg, however, was recalled to London to assist Mr. Platt in the printing of the Amharic versions.
While Krapf was thus left solitary, there came another of those Frenchmen whose unseasonable appearance so often thwarts the objects of Protestant missions. The powder-mill invented by M. Rochet established him at once in the good graces of the king; while Dr. Krapf had the misfortune to offend his subjects by rendering his Galla version of the New Testament in the Roman, and not in the Ethiopic character. The simplehearted doctor relates a characteristic anecdote of his unscrupulous rival, who wished him to join in affirming that they had discovered the sources of the Hawash. “How could they," answered Krapf, “ when they had not even traced its course?" “Oh,” replied Rochet, "we must be philosophes !"
Dr. Krapf, having a great idea that all East Africa will be converted through the instrumentality of the Gallas, was rejoiced to learn from the king, returning from his campaign against those tribes, that he had discovered Christians and Christian churches upon a mountain, severed by the Gallas in the lowlands from the northern churches in Shoa. To this day it is a favourite idea with the veteran explorers to go and seek out the little knots of Christians who are shut in among the mountains by the barbarian tribes in the south of Abyssinia. At that time his Majesty was in the habit of making three expeditions a year to levy tribute and extend his territories among the Gallas, “who," as Krapf sagely remarks, "are very foolish in provoking these calamities, as they might secure themselves by moderate payments in cattle and grain, were it not that their pride and passion for freedom lead to continual revolts and defeats.”
Krapf, it may here be noticed, was in Shoa during Major Harris's political mission in 1841, and the king said he would hold him responsible if, by things going wrong, he should unwittingly offend the Major and his Queen. One may judge of the deep sincerity of this feeling from the circumstance that, though the king had five hundred wives already, he aspired to the hand of a British princess. The doctor did all he could to promote the success of the negociations, foreseeing the advantage to Christian missions of a connection between Shoa and the coast, and thence to Aden; but the only result was the Major's three-volume book, and we must wait for a more enlightened set of native rulers.
The Shoan Christians, according to Krapf, are, in point of faith and ritual, Kopts; and in fact, since 1820, the Abuna of Abyssinia has been usually, if not invariably, nominated by the Patriarch of Alexandria. The Abyssinians have a superficial knowledge of Christian truths, but much corrupted with superstitions. Like the Eastern Christians in general, they are monophysites as to the nature of our Lord, while holding other fantastical notions common to the Greek and Latin communions. A monk at Gondar persuaded them that, though Christ has but one nature, and that divine, he has had three births; and in 1841, this same Sahela Selassie elevated the fancy to the dig. nity of an article of faith. This dogma is intimately connected with the cause of subsequent events in Abyssinia ; for the Abuna at Gondar took the two-birth party under his protection, and, in the end, prompted Theodorus to make the matter a casus belli with the King of Shoa. The third birth has thus been suppressed as a doctrine; but the remaining two are stigmatized as the “knife-faith,” in allusion to theological mutilation by the edge of the sword. Some of the absurdities of these Abyssinian Christians would entitle them to a high place among our own Ritualists: for example, when Cyril was Abuna in Gondar, he filled a bag with his own knight-known breath, in order that therewith some more priests might go forth and ordain candidates for priests' orders in Susa!
The residence of Krapf at Ankober was not wholly fruitless. He fed, clad, and taught ten boys in his own house, and the king liked him so well as to give him a silver sword, the badge of a
governor.” Longing, however, to see the new Abuna who arrived at Gondar in 1841, and to ascertain his sentiments towards Protestant missionaries, he set off in March, 1842, with a quantity of the Ethiopic and Amharic Scriptures with which the Bible Society had furnished him, the king parting with much regret from “the only adviser who understood the customs of England as well as those of Shoa.” A variety of obstacles frustrated the intentions of the worthy missionary, who thereupon went into East Africa, and made important explorations among the negro tribes.
In 1850, he returned to Europe, to advocate before the Committee in Salisbury-square his grand scheme of a complete equatorial chain of missions, extending from east to west across the African continent. Probably, the idea was too large to be then entertained. He visited Africa once more, and returned to Europe again in 1853. Having recruited in Würtenberg, he proceeded in 1854 to London, and found the Committee full of Bishop Gobat's plan for sending out to Abyssinia a number of mechanics, trained in the Crishona institution, in order to revive
and extend the mission which had been suspended since 1843. Krapf volunteered to pioneer the way with one of them; namely, “ brother Martin Flad from Würtenberg," now among the captives. Taking Jerusalem in his route, that he might confer with the Bishop, he made, in 1855, his third and last visit to Abyssinia. Arrived at Gondar, he found the road to Shoa closed by the war that Theodorus was waging with that country. At Massowah, he had heard that Ubie, Prince of Tigré, had been visited by the new aspirant. Mr. Plowden, then British consul, expected great things from the success of Theodorus. The Abyssinians were themselves inclined to believe that he might be the Theodorus of their favourite book, “ Fakra Yasous” (love of Jesus), who was to arise from queen, and subject the whole world to his sway. “It is probably," says Krapf, “out of regard to this saying, that Cassai adopted his Greek name.” It is to be noted that, on conquering Tigré, he appointed a viceroy favourable to Europeans, turned out the Roman Catholic priests, prohibited the slave-trade, forbade polygamy among his soldiers, sought an alliance with the Emperor of Russia, and ordered the Mahomedans either to become Christians or to emigrate in two years.
On reaching the court of the ex-queen, Krapf proceeded to the tent of the Abuna, who met him half-way, and gave him a cordial reception, furnished as he was with letters from
the Bishop of Jerusalem and the Koptic Patriarch at Cairo. The Abuna described Theodorus as more favourable to the Church than the ruler whom he had deposed, and explained his great object to be the establishment of the great Ethiopian empire on a Christian foundation, he proving his sincerity to the Abuna by reading the Bible, going to church, and taking the sacrament. The Romish missionaries being mentioned, the Abuna declared that, so long as he lived, they should not be allowed to return, having intrigued for his expulsion from Gondar. Protestants like Kruse and Lieder he should be always delighted to receive; but Romanists, never.
We learn from Krapf the position occupied by the naturalised Englishman, Bell, in the retinue of Theodorus. He is one of four who have the unenviable privilege of wearing royal clothing in battle, in order to give the king five chances of escape instead of but one. The Abuna bade Krapf be very careful not to let his Majesty know the religious character of the artisans whom Bishop Gobat was wishing to send,“ as religious matters belonged to the jurisdiction of the Abuna, who was our friend." The king, on hearing of them, was well content with the prospect. “Your Majesty," said the Abuna,“ will not interfere with their religion?” No," he answered, "that is your business ; and, in regard to that, I will do whatever you advise me." After this audience Krapf took leave, the king ordering
for him every accommodation on his return journey, and then setting forward with his army on new enterprises. He afterwards defeated the King of Shoa, took possession of his dominions, and ordered the distribution of the Bibles in Amharic, which were found in Krapf's house at Ankober, declaring his preference for the language understanded of the people. In April, 1856, a new batch of four missionary students from Basle were sent out, and were well received by Theodorus.
After the departure of Dr. Krapf and his countrymen, the mission seems to have been terminated by the Church Missionary Society, and continued by the Institute at Basle in connection with the Bishop of Jerusalem, with the addition of a new mission to the quarter of a million of Jews (Falashas) in Abyssinia by the London Society for promoting Christianity among the Hebrew
The missionary captives all belong to this mission. They are the Rev. H. A. Stern, Mr. and Mrs. Flad, Mr. Staiger, Mr. F. Brandeis, and Mr. and Mrs. Rosenthal. Messrs. Stern and Rosenthal, by the last accounts, were in confinement at Magdala, a strong natural fortress, and Mrs. Rosenthal and Mr. and Mrs. Flad were following the king.
This is Mr. Stern's second mission to Abyssinia. On the first occasion he left Constantinople in November, 1859, with instructions to explore the parts of the country inhabited by the Jews, and report upon the opportunities for a mission to them. He returned to England in April, 1861, and induced the Committee to send out Mr. and Mrs. Simeon Rosenthal. The companion of his first journey was Mr. J. H. Bronkhurst, a Scripture reader, whom he left behind to prosecute the infant mission, aided by Mr. Flad, who had been engaged by the Committee on the recommendation of Bishop Gobat, together with Cornelius Joseph, a colporteur from Jerusalem, who died in April, 1864. Rosenthal, a converted Jew, had been formerly engaged in the London City Mission, and more lately at Jerusalem, where, for a while, he fell away, “though the oldest proselyte,” from the Christian faith. Mr. Stern also was trained in the Operative Jewish Converts' Institution at Bethnal Green, but is a man of evident culture, and an ordained clergyman of the Church of England. Messrs. Stern and Rosenthal left Constantinople, and arrived, April, 1863, in Abyssinia, where they have ever since remained.
The missionaries fell in with the Abuna on his way to marry Theodorus to the daughter of his fallen foe, Ubie. The “ boy ecclesiastic," as Stern styles him, received them coldly at first, but was cordial enough when satisfied that their real and only object was the conversion of the Falashas. By his advice, they
followed to congratulate the king on his marriage, and were entertained at a royal breakfast of cooked meat, though rather roughly prepared. But there is observable a certain tone in Mr. Stern's letters. When pleased, he is enthusiastic; when disgusted, sarcastic; on himself, complacent; and somewhat large upon his own doings, hardships, and dangers. The communications of Bronkhurst are less sanguine in expectation and more moderate under disappointment." The king," writes the former, “received us with his usual affability;" a statement, adverting to which, among others, the secretaries of the Society wrote of Theodorus as having been “wonderfully raised up; and at Khartoum, on his way back at Christmas, 1860, Stern mentions, as a proof of the king's good faith, that he had given to Flad and Bronkhurst, for instruction among the Falashas, a number of the copies of the Scriptures which had been presented to his Majesty by Bishop Gobat's German artisans. Flad and his coadjutor were established by Stern at Gondar, as the most favourable centre for their mission. In the spring of 1861 they write of their own recovery from illness, and of the death of Flad's child.
Stern's report of his first visit was given vicâ voce at the annual meeting of the Society in 1861, and in more than thirty closely printed pages of the Jewish Intelligencer for July. In his speech he launched out against “the senseless idols of the Abyssinian Church.” This scarcely seems a fair return for the kind and even brotherly letter of commendation which "Salane, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Abyssinia,” gave to Mr. Stern, as "a pure apostle," in furtherance of his mission. In this report, which contains several points of interest, Mr. Stern describes Atzec Johannes, the Shadow King, and, according to Abyssinian annals, the legitimate successor to the Union, and lineal descendant of Solomon by the Queen of Sheba's son, as " that lump of monkish vanity,” which he "could not help blessing God that brave Theodorus, and not weak, superstitious, and querulous Atzec Johannes, occupied the throne of Ethiopia.” Be it observed that this thanksgiving is quickly followed by a relation of what happened when the king got hold of a copy of the Heidelberg Catechism, which Stern had brought with him. “He made it a text-book to examine his priests; and as, unfortunately, the majority could not answer the simplest question, his previous contempt got so intensified that, for a mere trifle, many were mercilessly beaten; and, if the transgression was a shade deeper, had their hands amputated; in fact, to use the late Mr. Bell's words, Give his Majesty a similar book, and he will behead the whole tribe of idle drones who prey on the ignorance of a degraded church and people.””