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I can tell you my thoughts and feelings have not decreased, but increased; nothing can change my heart.'

“Oh, it was a happy time for me when I saw poor Naffous. It increased my faith in God's word. Yes, God is true, and He is our God, and shall be even unto death. I thought of that verse, that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ—'neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come.' (Romans vii. 38.) If He has begun a good work, He will carry it on, and nothing can hinder it. Before I came away I saw her husband, and told him we would send him ‘Henry and his Bearer,' in Arabic, that his wife might read it to him ; and when I asked him if the English ladies might come to see his wife, he said, “Certainly; they will honour our house by coming.' Two or three days ago again he came to see me, and spent a very pleasant evening with me, and told me that his wife is very good indeed, and that he liked her very much.

6 Saada.''

AFGHANISTAN, THE LAND WHERE THERE IS

NO BIBLE

“Watching daily at His gates, waiting at the posts of His doors." —

PROV. VIII. 34.

One of the chief centres of British influence in Central Asia is at Peshawur, the great military north-west post of the Punjaub, at the mouth of the Khyber Pass. Peshawur is a city containing 50,000 inhabitants ; it lies in a rich valley, hidden under the shadow of the Hindu Koosh, and faces the Suleiman range of mountains, of which the highest, and always snowy peak is called the “Throne of Solomon.”

The Khyber Pass is a narrow and rugged defile, bordered by precipitous rocks, leading up to the table-lands of Afghanistan, which lie far higher than the surrounding countries. This Pass is seen from the city of Peshawur as a dark shadow piercing the hills, and its name recals a fearful massacre of the English army in our Indian history.

Afghanistan has a population of five millions, divided into tribes and clans, having a patriarchal government. Many of the people dwell in tents, and their merchants are engaged in the carrying trade from Persia to India, between which countries lies their own.

“ Lost

The late Sir Herbert Edwardes, whose name is so identified with Peshawur, stated his belief that the Afghans are descended from the Israelites, though with much corruption of the original stock. They often call themselves “the sons of Israel,” and their favourite names afford indications of such an origin- Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, Ishmael, Zecharih, Sir William Jones also considered them to be of Hebrew descent. To those who deny them this descent, because their language, the Pushtoo, has more of the peculiarities of the Aryan than of the Semitic tongues, we may quote, the declaration of Nehemiah xiii. 24, that among Jews who had married wives of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab, he found that the children could not speak in the Jews' tongue, but spoke the language of each of the other people.

Now, as the Lord has said that He will turn to these peoples, to outcast Israel and to Judah, “the daughter of his dispersed,” at the time of their return from captivity, a pure language, therefore the Tribes” need not now be looked for by their ancient tongue. Even Judah, in her 70 years' exile in Babylon, forgot the Hebrew, and only understood Chaldee. Sir William Jones, after examination of a dictionary of the Pushtoo language, pronounced that it had a manifest resemblance to the Chaldaic. Max Müller, a more modern authority, classes Pushtoo with the languages of Bokhara and Kurdistan ; and in Kurdistan, our readers will remember that the prophet Ezekiel visited his fellow-captives by the river Chebar (Khabour)* when they had been in captivity more than 100 years. Of the migration and re-settlement of a portion of these tribes, from the cities of the Medes and Mesopotamia, there is a notice in the Second Book of Esdras xiii. 39 to 47 that having been carried captive by Salmanazar, in the time of Hoshea,“ they “ took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude “ of the heathen and go forth into a further country, where never mankind

dwelt, that they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in “ their own land ; and they entered into Euphrates by the narrow passages

* Koordistan is the name now given to the country anciently known as Assyria. As Ptolemy says, it was bounded north by Armenia, west by the Tigris, on the south by Susiana, and the east by Media. To this country the Kings of Assyria exiled the Israelites. Gesenius renders the passage concerning Tiglath Pileser. 1 Chron. v. 28, “ He placed them in Halah, and on the Chabor, a river of Gozan.' We have proof,” says Dr. Moore--2 Kings xix. 12 ; Isaiah xxxvii. 12—“ that Gozan was a country, and not a river; the fathers of Sennacherib could not have destroyed a river. Gozan was probably that part of Kurdistan known as Bhotan, the Syrian pronunciation of the letters forming Gozan, would convert them into Bhotan. A branch of the Tigris, named Habor, or Chabor, still runs through the borders of that province. The Turks call it Alchabor. Xenophon passed over it in his retreat with the 10,000 Greeks on his way to Sacho, a town upon its banks. Would that another Layard could dig amongst its ruins for relics of the sons of Israel."

“ of the river, for the Most High then showed signs for them, and held still the flood till they were passed over. Through that country there was a

great way to go, viz., of a year and a half, and the same region is called “ ARSARETH. Then dwelt they there until the latter time.”

Sir William Jones has conjectured the district of Hazarah, lying along the Helmund River of Afghanistan, to be identical with this Arsareth of the Book of Esdras. Afghanistan is the Persian name for the country, but the people call themselves Pushtooneh or Pathans--a name very similar to Parthians--and by which the Afghans signify that they are the highest caste of men.

The Parthian Empire arose in Kurdistan on the ruins of the Persian ; and an article in Smith's Bible Dictionary says that it took its place during the centuries when the power of Rome was at its height, and extended from the Tigris to India. Almost rivalling Rome, by whom its armies were never worsted, the Parthians were celebrated for their clouds of cavalry, who were great bowmen, shooting as they flew. Strabo traces them to a Scythic origin, and they are spoken of from about the third century B.c. to 226 A.D. Were not these the “multitude of the heathen of Esdras, and “Gomer the daughter of Diblaim” of Hosea ?

Notwithstanding their large emigration to North India, the Parthians appear still dwelling in Kurdistan (mingled, like the above-named emigrants, with large portions of exiled Israel), and some of them seem to have visited Jerusalem and shared in the blessings of the Pentecost (Acts ii. 9). They got their ancient Syriac version of the Bible translated from the Hebrew and Greek by the end of the first century. The Old Testament was probably in their possession much earlier. The Syriac Old Testament is more ancient than any Hebrew MSS. now in existence. “Lo-ammi,” as they had been for 700 years, “not my people,” many of them from the Day of Pentecost became “the sons of the living God” (see Hosea i.), and to this day the language of the Nestorian Christians points clearly to their origin. They are still dwelling on the plains of Ooroomiah, in Persia, or on the mountains of Kurdistan, mingled with the Koords, or ancient Parthians. The Bible Society has prepared for them their Syro-Chaldaic Bibles (or mixed Syriac and Chaldee) from the ancient Syriac MSS., preserved in their Churches, and returned them their treasure in a printed form, which has been followed by a wondrous spiritual revival. Meanwhile, like “Loruhamah,” not having obtained mercy,“the same race have carried to Cabul and Afghanistan abundant traces of their origin in the names of places and people, as the Pilgrim Fathers did to America, repeating the familiar names of spots dear to them in Old England, then in that New World.

The Hebrew names in Afghanistan existed long before the Afghans became Mohammedans. The princes of Ghore seem, from earliest antiquity, to have possessed the mountains of Solimann, and called the highest peak “Solomon's throne.” Hiram, named Solomon's gift cities, Cabool, or, as the margin reads, " displeasing, dirty," but the Talmud says the word Cabul means “sandy," an epithet which, in Afghanistan, might be well applied. Even the Mohammedan conquerors and historians admit that the Afghans are Israelites, and that they observed the Hebrew . worship till the Seventh Century A.D., when they, like the Kurds, were made Moslems by the sword. We have, as yet, heard of no manuscripts of Scripture among them, but they may still exist, and when Dr. Buchanan, in 1807, visited the Black and White Jews of Malabar, he found that while the White Jews traced their origin to Colonists, who fled from the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, the black Jews were considered as a portion of the first dispersion of the nation by Nebuchadnezzar. The old roll of the Pentateuch, now at Cambridge, which Dr. Buchanan secured from their old record chest, was written on goatskins, dyed red, and was said by some of them to come from Cashmere, north of the Punjaub.

But to keep to Afghanistan ; the personal resemblance of the people to the Hebrew family is very marked. Dr. Wolfe, the Jewish missionary, says, I was wonderfully struck with the resemblance of two of these tribes, the Youssouf-zyi (or tribe of Joseph) and the Khyberee, to the Jews; they are tall, magnificent men, and have named themselves Beni-Israel, from time out of mind, and are totally distinct from the Hindoos or Persians, the neighbonring peoples. Yet strange to say, they are the men of the FALSE Book, swear by the Koran, and are intense Mohammedan bigots, while yet retaining sundry features of scattered and rejected Israel. Those who come down to trade in the British markets are fierce in their hatred of the Divine, Sonship. They will hear the Christian preacher quietly through, say what he may, with one exception. They will rarely interrupt until he utters the expression “Son of God;" malignant fire then darts from their eyes, they gnash their teeth, and pour forth a volley of words, not in the stately pleasant Persian, but always in the most idiomatic Pushtoo. They also hate the tribe of Judah, whom they call “ Yahoodee” with disgust. The Khyberees who dwelt nearest to Peshawur, one of whom was the murderer of Lord Mayo, have constant blood feuds with their neighbours. In their idea killing is not murder, a life for a life is their motto, they are wild and lawless men, and yet, like the Jews, they seem to have a never ceasing intelligence with each other. At the time of the mutiny at Peshawur, the hills were swarming with Moslem fanatics, who thirsted for the blood of the Christians, and were known to be in communication with the embryo mutineers. It will be remembered that there had been the sudden appearance of a mysterious and symbolic correspondence, springing from an unknown source, before the mutiny. The village police were found speeding through every town and village, distributing two chupatties, or small unleavened cakes, and enjoining each receiver of them to make ten more and distribute two to each of his nearest fellow policeman, with similar injunctions. This wave of symbolic communication spread faster than

any

Government dispatch. The cakes were said to come first from Bhopal. Was there no connexion read between this token, and after events with the old Jewish story in Judges vii. 13, the man saying unto his fellows :

“Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley-bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it, that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.

“ And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon. Into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.” A similar incident had preceded the mutiny of Vellore in 1806.

And now twelve years have passed since the dread days which those cakes pre-monished in India. On the 27th March, 1869, there was a meeting at Umballa between the Governor-General and the Ameer of Afghanistan, Shere Ali Khan. The Earl of Mayo welcomed Shere Ali in the name of the Queen, and expressed a hope that the interview would be the commencement of a new era of mutual confidence ; yet now, by the hand of a Khyberee, himself named Shere Ali, Earl Mayo is no more. What during those dozen years had Great Britain been doing to carry the softening influences of the Gospel of Christ into those mountain fastnesses of Ancient Israel ? Alas, too little!

Yet some of her children have given themselves to prayer, and are now about to do so afresh for Israel and the nations, Heathen and Mahommedan. is it not time? Among the children of the False Prophet, especially in India and Arabia, there are Revivals " of fanatic enmity. The fetters of ages are unloosening in Turkey, and the reaction is shown elsewhere. It is interesting to think that this tidal wave of united prayer began in the South of the Punjaub.

Hearing of the Lord's dealings with His people in America and other places, the same American missionaries at Lodiana set apart the second week in January, 1860, as a time of special supplication that God would now pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, so that the ends of the earth might see His salvation ; and they were at great pains to promote a vast and universal CONCERT OF PRAYER all over the world, ending with a holy convocation on the 14th January for thanksgiving and praise.

That week of united prayer has now become a world-wide institution, and this year England keeps it doubly, and passes the invitation back to all the earth to watch at the gates of heaven with us for the opening of ALL doors of darkness, that the message from God may enter in. Our warfare is not with Gideon's sword or Mahomet’s, but with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

The doors of Afghanistan are not yet open. Those of Roman Catholicism in Austria, Spain, Italy, and even Rome, have turned on their rusty hinges. The Bible shall cast out the Koran likewise.

A New Testament in Pushtoo did once win its way into this fortress, but it was only to be “laid up in a napkin ”- the hour was not yet come,

At the meeting of the Church Missionary Society in Peshawur, in 1855,

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