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Were one half of the Baptist ministerial associations to resolve that the Baptist foreign missionary board is unworthy of confidence, would it not be a death blow to that excellent society ?
The confidence of soine individuals, who have hitherto been friendly to voluntary societies, has been shaken, in consequence of the arrogant claims alleged to have been set up by one or two of these associations, or the dictatorial manner of some itinerant agents. The liberty of Christ's house, and of his ministers, it is asserted, has been invaded. A chance lecturer has attempted to lord it over God's heritage. Allowing, however, the evil to be as troublesome, as it has been affirmed to be, what would be gained by resorting to ecclesiastical organizations? Would the agents of these latter be any more discreet ? Clothed with the authority of the highest ecclesiastical tribunals, would their bearing towards pastors be more decorous, meek, and christian-like? Would not they, and possibly the boards which sent them out, sometimes be guilty of intrusion, impertinence and overbearing dictation? It seems to us, that the renunciation of voluntary societies, because of an incidental evil which sometimes attends their operation, is the result of a very limited observation, or of a very defective judgment. The mass of these societies are confessedly not in fault. The generality of agents are trust-worthy and honorable men. And yet because absolute perfection does not characterize all their movements, the whole system must be renounced in disgust. But in this manner, wise men are not accustomed to argue or to act.
In conclusion, we remark that there is no ground for despair. The Eternal God is our Refuge, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms. Let us exercise a calm, trustful, forgiving spirit
. We have fallen, it is true, on evil times. The convulsions in the commercial world are but the counterpart of those in the ecclesiastical. Yet no clouds are on the church like those which have enveloped her in the past. Our strifes, fierce as they are, cannot be compared with the Nestorian, Arian, or Arminian controversies. Alleged heretics are not now subject to maiming, branding, or incarceration. The bells of St. Bartholomew's night have ceased to toll, and the fires of Smithfield are gone out.
Even ecclesiastical sentences have lost their terror. Truth, and argument and love are beginning to be regarded as the only legitimate weapons. The salvation of the world is sure, for it rests on the oath and promise of the Redeemer. Through the clouds and storms which surround us, we can discern the signs of his serene approach.
An INQUIRY INTO THE COMMERCE OF Ancient Egypt.
By F. M. Hubbard, Teacher of a Classical School, Boston.
The position of Egypt made her necessarily a commercial country. Situated at the northeastern extremity of Africa, she became the natural outlet of all the commercial enterprise of the centre and eastern side of the continent which passed towards Europe and Asia, and lying along the coast of the Red Sea, and reaching beyond it to the Mediterranean, she became the great thoroughfare of the trade between India and southern Europe.
The actual amount of commerce, the value and variety of its articles, the extent of country it traversed, and the spirit of rivalry and adventurous enterprise to which it gave birth, in the earlier ages of the world, and in all times before the splendor of the power and wealth of Greece, as they are little known, are exceedingly underrated. When ancient commerce is spoken of, we are apt to imagine an open boat which trusting not less to its oars than its sails might hardly weather the storms of an inland sea and which could never live on the open ocean, a pilot who knew no better guidance than the stars, and a distrustful ignorance which would not venture out of sight of land, and trembled at the doubling of a promontory. We imagine that in other times the wants of men were simple and their necessities few, their means of communication slight and their system of trafficking imperfect and inefficient. But ample evidence exists that some branches of commerce which were of great extent under the Roman empire, flourished likewise two thousand years before. It is certain also that the eastern trade of Egypt in modes of navigation and materials of exchange remains at this day substantially the same it was in the age of the Antonines. The lust of wealth, the parent of that necessity which is said to be the mother of invention, was not less strong in the bosoms of the fathers of our race than in ours; nor was the restless desire of change, or the tendency of society from simplicity to luxury weaker then than now. Besides the general wants of men, which are the foundation of commerce whether those wants are Vol. X. No. 27.
natural and primitive or superinduced by social life, remain essentially unchanged from age to age, and those which are peculiar and arise from soil and climate are as invariable as the soil and climate ; while the products of different countries which furnish the material of commerce, if they alter at all, are altered only by the slow improvements of agriculture, or the chance importations of trade. The circumstance that neighboring countries produce articles, which are needful for the supply of each others' luxuries or wants, affords presumptive evidence of a commerce between them. The pride, avarice, and necessity of men forbid that it should be otherwise. Thus the pepper and cinnamon of India, and the myrrh and frankincense of Arabia were absolute necessaries to the Egyptian in his warm climate and with his religious habits, while the trafficking of the Arab and the Indian rendered the gold of eastern Africa not less necessary to them. The commercial relations of Egypt which might be inferred on this presumption, from what is known of the habits of the people, and of the soil and climate of the countries adjacent and in the same zone, are in the main well sustained by historical evidence.
Egypt was bounded north by the Mediterranean sea, east by the Red sea (Sinus Arabicus) ; on the south it was terminated at the lesser cataract near Syene and Elephantine,* and on the west by the Lybian desert. These were the territorial limits, but the extent of available and productive land was much less, for on the west the desert reaches up to within a few miles of the Nile, and when the traveller has passed a few miles from its eastern bank he meets only sandy wastes or barren rocks, with here and there a valley suited for pasturage. This region was inhabited in ancient times by the Icthyophagi, Ophiophagi, etc. wandering tribes, rebellious, and refractory, and never adding to the strength or the security of the country. It is now occupied by the Ababdé and other pastoral or predatory tribes, who seem to have retained many of the habits and much of the spirit of their Troglodytic predecessors. The fertile and well inhabited portion of the country lies on both banks of the Nile, the valley of which from the eastern to the western mountains
* Συήνης και Ελεφαντίνης .. οίπερ εισίν όροι της Αιγύπτου και της 4910rias, Strabo vol. iii. p. 416, ed. Tauchnitz. All the references to Strabo in this article are made to the same edition. Ezekiel 30: 6, * from the to wer of Syene,' etc,
which enclose it, averages in middle and upper Egypt not more than from five to fifteen miles in width ;* of this however a large part, as it is not reached by the river in its overflow, is not cultivated. The proportion of cultivated land in the Delta, which begins about fifty miles from the sea, is larger and more fertile. The whole course of the Nile from Elephantine is not far from 1000 miles. It is to the great and general fertility of the Nile valley that the commerce of Egypt is to be attributed in its origin and main extent, and in this sense, if in no other, Egypt is the gift of the Nile.I Between the river and the
* See Strabo iii. 419. The oracle of Ammon (Herod, ii. 18.) in answer to the question who were to be considered Egyptians, applied the name to those only who dwelt above Elephantive and drank the waters of the Nile.
† Wilkinson's Thebes, appendis. The course of the river is very direct.
Η Αίγυπτος.. έστι Αιγυπτίοις επίκτητός τε γη και δώρον του ποταμού, , Herodotus ii. 5. Diodorus Siculus i. 34, gives it the epithet, notauóX0OTOS. Herodotus enters into a labored argument to show that the whole of Egypt was produced by the gradual deposition of mud from the river. Independently of the truth or falseness of his hypothesis, this is beyond question one of the most remarkable rivers of the world. The mystery which has always hung over it has not yet been removed. The remote sources of that stream on whose banks even in the earliest ages of the human race, arose a mighty einpire, whero civilized man has ever dwelt, and art has been perfected and commerce has flourished, neither the researches of science, nor the lust of merchandising, the chances of war, nor the accidents of time bave yet disclosed to us. “From ancient time,” says Diodorus (i. 37,)“ till Ptolemy Philadelphus the Greeks had not only not passed over into Ethiopia, but they had not even reached the borders of Egypt, so inhospitable and dangerous are those regions." The dwellers in Meroë, froin whom Egypt received its privciples of humane and liberal culture, and who were inuch nearer its fountains, did not venture to speak of it except in terins of mystery. “So far are they,” says the same writer, “ from saying any thing definite on this subject, that they call the river Astaboras, which in the language of the Greeks means "water from darkness.” No eye witness has told us of the place whence its waters issue, or has heard it froin one who has seen it. The story told Herodotus by the priests of Sais that it rose from a soundless abyss between Syene and Elephantine, was merely a weak effort to hide their ignorance, and was so regarded by him. After tracing it to the country of the Automoli, he informs his readers, (ii. 31,) to då από τούδε ουδείς έχει σαφέως φράσαι, further no one can certainly say..
mountains of the Lybian chain intervenes a strip of sandy waste two or three miles in width, a clearly marked line dividing life The report which he heard froin Etearchus of a party of young Nasamones, a Lybiau tribe, who crossed the desert in a journey of many days to a great river flowing east, infested by crocodiles, etc. though supposed by bim to be the Nile, probably refers to the Niger. Pliny v. 10, mentions the opinion of Juba, that it rises in a njountain of lower Mauritania in a marsby lake, with some arguments, but leaves it Nilus incertis ortus fontibus. Strabo (xiv. sub init) traces it only so far as to determine that the two streams which unite at Meroë were distinct rivers, one running from the east and the other from the west. This was a great advance on the knowledge of the earlier geographers. The same confession of ignorance, and desire to pry into the secret are often found in poets :
fontium qui celat origines Nilus.
Horace Carm. lib. 4. 14. 45.
nec contigit ulli
Claudian Eid. iv. Nilus, 12–14.
nibil est quod noscere malim,