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their beloved seats, and remained there undisturbed to the close of the century.
In the beginning of the next century the Danish pirates ravaged the island, and committed extreme cruelties on its defenseless inhabitants. They burned such of the buildings as were combustible, and murdered about seventy of the inmates.
Some seventy years later the Danes again invaded Iona, when most of the brethren fled into Ireland, carrying the bones of Columba with them. Still a considerable number continued to cleave to the hallowed spot, though now sadly shorn of its ancient splendor.
But in subsequent years their perils and sufferings were renewed upon them, and from the same source. In the year 905 the Danes again pillaged Iona, and killed the principal and many of the brethren. In 1059 they were visited with an extensive conflagration. Still the devoted Culdees contin. ued to linger among the scathed ruins of their ancient seats. They had other institutions, as I have said, in different places, but Iona continued to be their favorite retreat until the beginning of the thirteenth century. Then a Romish monastery was established on the island, and the Culdees were driven from it to return no more.
In the year 1773 Iona was visited by Dr. Samuel Johnson, in his tour to the Hebrides. He describes the ruins which he saw, which were chiefly those of Romish edifices, built after the monks obtained possession of the island. He represents the soil as fertile and fruitful, but the inhabitants as degraded and neglected. “This island,” says he, “which was once the metropolis of learning and piety, has now no school for education nor temple for worship. It has only two inhabitants who can speak English, and not one that can read or write. I know not that it is visited by any minister of religion.” Such was the moral condition of Iona almost a hundred years ago. We hope it has experienced some improvement since.
In ancient times this little island was not only-what Johnson calls it—"the great school of theology," "the instructress of the western regions, but it was the ordinary place of sepulture for the surrounding nobles and kings. It was thought to be a sacred place. It was consecrated and holy
ground: and kings and nobles were careful to provide that their dust might be here deposited. Indeed, several monarchs are said to have abdicated their thrones, and retired, in the evening of life, to the cloisters of Iona, that they might here prepare for death, and secure for themselves a place of burial. It is related by the older historians that forty-eight kings of Scotland, four of Ireland, eight of Norway, and one of France lie interred on this little island.
In view of the great and just celebrity of the establishment at Iona, it is matter of wonder that so little should be known and said of it in modern times. With the catechetical school at Alexandria every scholar is familiar, but the institution at Iona was scarcely less celebrated in its day than that at Alexandria. It may not have produced as distinguished scholars, but it sent out more faithful and laborious ministers. If in point of critical learning it failed to do as much good, it certainly did far less hurt. While the school at Alexandria exerted, on the whole, a corrupting influence on the Church, introducing false principles of interpretation, and adulterating the simple doctrines of the Gospel with the minglings of a proud Pagan philosophy, the school at Iona effectually resisted for a time the foul current of superstition and corruption which was setting in upon the British Islands from the Church of Rome.
Unfortunately for Iona, its history has become involved in one of the perplexing ecclesiastical controversies of the day; I mean that respecting the apostolical succession of bishops. It is certain that the school at Iona was governed by presbyters. Its principal and his twelve assistants were all of them presbyters. On this point the testimony of Bede and others is explicit. After the same model, too, all the other Culdee establishments seem to have been formed. It is certain that the Faculty at Iona ordained and sent out several bishops, who, with their assistants and successors, were instrumental in converting the Anglo-Saxons through the northern and central parts of England. It is certain that these Soottish bishops ordained other bishops and a great many presbyters, and that the results of their ordinations and other labors continue in England to the present time.
To all this the High Church Episcopalian replies, that though we have no account of any bishops residing at Iona,
nean that rest the school ac alive assist
and taking part in the ordinations there, still it is altogether probable that there was one, since the distinction between bishop and presbyter generally prevailed in the sixth and seventh centuries, and bishops were found everywhere else.
I have no occasion to disturb this mooted question here. Suffice it to say that through the connection of the presbyter establishment at Iona with the hierarchy of England, the subject of the apostolical succession of bishops is considerably embarrassed, and the difficulty of establishing it to the satisfaction of all concerned is increased
I conclude by suggesting to American Christians who make the tour of Europe, that they should not fail (if circumstances permit) to set their feet on the shores of Iona. I scarcely know a place on the other side of the Atlantic which, to my own mind, stands connected with so many pleasing and sacred associations. If it is interesting to visit the Isle of Wight, and stand by the tomb of Elizabeth Walbridge, (the Dairyman's Daughter,) it surely cannot be less so to visit the sacred classic grounds of Iona, survey its ruins, and tread upon the ashes of the illustrious dead who are there entombed.
Art. VI.—BRAHMINISM: ITS HISTORY AND CLAIMS.
WITH the exception of Parseeism, Brahminism is probably the oldest of living faiths : older, indeed, than most of those which have passed away, since from it Greece received many of its dogmas, and the other Asiatic forms of paganism, present and past, can, with few exceptions, be traced back to it. It could hardly have been later than the time of Abraham when a portion of the Aryas, dwellers on the lofty table lands of Persia, and at that time holding the monotheistic creed, which is still preserved in tolerable purity by the Parsees, emigrated southward, toward the plains and fertile valleys of India, then occupied by the Dasyus, a warlike and not wholly uncivilized race, the progenitors of the Khonds, Bhils, Shyans, and Karens of Northern India and Burmah. The contest between the invaders and these tribes was a long and wearisome one, for
both races were brave; but the Aryas added to their courage the fanaticism of religious propagandists, and perhaps also somewhat more of intellectual culture than the Dasyus possessed.
But it was not the warlike Dasyus alone with whoin the Aryas had to contend. Their own race, following close on their heels, and attracted as they had been by the fertility and beauty of the peninsula, became in turn invaders, and it was only after long-protracted conflicts that peace at last prevailed, and there came a period when cities could be built, and the intellectual tastes so active in the Aryan race cultivated.
The Rig - Veda, their earliest poetical work, written, according to the best authorities, about 1400 B. C., has long and often highly poetical hymns, songs, and epics, narrating with abundant oriental embellishments incidents of these wars. From many passages in these poems it is evident that though their theological notions had become somewhat confused, yet they adhered with considerable tenacity to the main features of the early Aryan or Parsee theogony. The Brahmin was not yet the ascendant race, and the idea of caste had not obtained a foothold upon the mind of the Hindoo. Within the five hundred years which followed the composition of the Rig-Veda, however, the Brahmins, probably the invaders of a particular era, had succeeded in reducing the remainder of the Aryan inhabitants of India to subjection, and infusing the religious element into their despotism, they added the terrors of future punishment to the penalties of their laws, in order to deter those whom they had subjected from attempting to throw off the yoke.
History records no other instance in which a small aristocratic body of men have succeeded so effectually in humbling and degrading a large mass sprung originally from the same stock with themselves, and in which, for almost 3,000 years, they have maintained the ascendancy, and compelled the subject classes to accept and be contented with the disabilities of their inferior condition. But one attempt, in all that period, on the part of the inferior castes, to assert their rights, that of Buddha Sakyamuni, has been successful, and the leader of that revolt was a member of the Kshatriya, or Warrior caste, the next in rank to the Brahmin.
No more decisive evidence of the genius and intellectual superiority of the Brahmins could be given than the fact that they have thus accumulated in their own caste all power, temporal and spiritual, which they deem it desirable to retain; and it is proof alike of their astuteness and their selfishness, that in the Code of Institutes compiled by Menu, one of their own caste, they have so effectually guarded themselves from all familiarity on the part of the lower castes, and assumed to themselves everything in the way of license and privilege they desired, while forbidding under the severest penalties the same privileges to their inferiors.
The sacred books of the Brahmins are, I. THE VEDAS, four in number; namely, the Rig - Veda, of which we have already spoken, the oldest of the Vedas, and comprising not only the hervic poems, hymns, and triumphal songs of the early Aryan history, but also most of the ritual services and formulas of the other Vedas, which are mainly compilations from, or paraphrases of it; the Yajus Veda, or religious rites; the Sama Veda, or prayers in metrical form for chanting; and the Atharva Veda, or formulas of consecration, expiation, and imprecation.
II. The PURANAS, eighteen in number ; historical and theological poems, giving the mythology and cosmogony of the system. There are also eighteen upa-puranas, or inferior puranas, devoted to secular science.
III. The JYOTISHA, or treatises on astronomy, attached to the Vedas.
IV. The MANAVA-DHARMA-SASTRA, or Institutes of Menu, to which we have already referred, a system of laws and cosmogony.
V. The ITIHASA, a collection of heroic poems, mostly epic. One of these, the Bhagvat-Gita, possesses high literary merit, and contains many excellent moral maxims, while it is free from obscenity; but its title to high antiquity, or to be considered one of their sacred books at all, is denied by many of the Brahmins. It has been translated into English by three oriental scholars, Sir C. Wilkins, Sir William Jones, and Mr. J. C. Thompson.
These sacred books, while they contain some moral precepts worthy of preservation, are, with the exception of portions of