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placed the royal household in mourning. “ He had himself,” he said, “ been honoured with the friendship of the illustrious prince now departed, and he alluded to the fact for the purpose of introducing an anecdote of which it reminded him, not unsuitable to the present occasion. On visiting the prince on one occasion, his royal highness said, • Did you ever meet with Bishop Clayton on the Hebrew text?' I replied, that I had seen his Hebrew Chronology, a very thick quarto.

Oh, but,' said he, ‘I mean on the Hebrew text, an exceedingly rare, and very thin quarto—I was so much struck with it, that I copied the whole of it with my own hand! Now, as they had some professors of Hebrew present, who could form some notion of such a labour, he had thought it an anecdote worth mentioning, and as a trait in the royal character, which, like many others, showed how much, in his case, the prince was sunk in the man.”

ACCOUNT OF THE DISSENTERS IN RUSSIA,

PARTICULARLY OF THE DUEHOVNEE CHRISTIANEE, OR SPIRITUAL

CHRISTIANS.

CHAPTER IV.

Effects of Persecution. Their Regard for the Scriptures. Their Opinion concerning

the Lord's Supper—and their views on different Passages of Scripture. The Duehovnee Christianee with whom I met could not inform me at what period their brethren first separated from the Russo-Greek Church. From the earliest time which they could recollect, they said, their fathers and grandfathers had been accustomed to assemble together to worship God; and they had heard that some generations before, their fathers, having studied the Scriptures, saw much in the worship of their countrymen which appeared to be wrong; their hearts thirsted after a more spiritual worship, and desiring to worship in spirit and in truth, they began to meet for this purpose, at first two or three together, and afterwards in greater numbers, as others heard of their meetings or embraced their sentiments. They usually met for worship during the night, when they stationed some of their number on the outskirts of the village to guard against their being surprised by their enemies. If any of these were seen to approach a signal was given, when in a few moments the Bible was concealed and all dispersed.

These Christians have frequently been exposed to persecution, and at such times they have been induced, by the expectation of relief, to colonize thinly peopled districts ; so that now they are not only to be found in considerable numbers in the government of Tamboff, where they suppose that they first left the dominant church, but also in the governments of Riazan, Saratoff, Voronez, and Ekaterinoslav; and many of the Don Cossacks profess the same sentiments. Persecution has thus proved like an attempt to extinguish fire in an oil or spirit vault, by a deluge of water, which, instead of confining, floats the blazing material to other parts of the building equally inflammable, but less accessible to the firemen. • They that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word;" and by their dispersion they have spread more widely the knowledge of the truth.

One of them, who was banished some years since to a distant part of the empire, sent afterwards a message to his friends, desiring them not to weep for him, for he believed he had been sent thither by God, as he had then a congregation of two hundred persons around him, who had all become partakers of the like precious faith with them.

Dr. Pinkerton mentions, that when, after receiving permission to settle on the Molochnia river in 1804, they were admonished to live in peace in their own settlements, and not attempt to propagate their opinions, they replied, “ All that is needful is sown already—now it is harvest, not seed-time." By which they probably designed to intimate, that during the period of their sufferings Divine truth had taken deep root in the empire, and would, without any imprudent or enthusiastic zeal of theirs, bring forth fruit abundantly.

In general the children adopt the sentiments of their parents, and give satisfactory evidence of having received the truth in the love of it. It is not uncommon for individuals who wish to learn the way of salvation, to steal away, when their friends are asleep, to a meeting of the Duehovnee Christianee ; and thus, without any apparent effort on their part to make proselytes, others join their commuuity.

Many years ago one of their number was sent to St. Petersburgh, in the name of the body, to endeavour to procure protection from persecution with which they were then threatened. The case was brought before the late Emperor Alexander, to whom the Creed and Counsels already quoted were submitted as evidence of their orthodoxy and loyalty.

It is reported amongst the Duehovnee Christianee that these papers were sent to the Holy Synod, with an injunction to examine and report if they contained anything contrary to the Holy Scriptures. That court, it is said, reported the Molokanns to be a very dangerous sect; and one which ought to be suppressed. His majesty returned the documents to the synod, with an intimation, that his desire was to know how far the sentiments expressed in them corresponded with the Scriptures. A report similar to the former having been returned, his majesty sent the papers a third time, demanding an answer either in the affirmative or the negative to his first inquiry. The Ecclesiastical Court, finding it impossible to evade the question, reported, that in the documents laid before them there was nothing contrary to Scrip

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ture ; but for reasons which they offered to adduce, if permitted, they recommended certain measures to be adopted. To this communication the Tsar replied, that as a body of ecclesiastics they were better qualified than he to judge of the orthodoxy of creeds; and having received their judgment on the documents he had submitted to them, he would himself govern his subjects. An order, it is said, was afterwards issued, requiring the priests of parishes in which the Duehovnee Christianee were numerous, to sign a declaration that they would in no way molest these people, but allow them to worship God according to their conscientious convictions of duty.

This pledge, if given, was faithfully redeemed; but, in 1835, the priests who signed the declaration being either dead or removed to other charges, persecution recommenced in several villages ; and about the same time great exertions were made by the priests in the neighbourhood of the Volga to bring all dissenters within the pale of the Greek Church. Several of the Starobratzee—another, and perfectly distinct sect of dissenters—conformed; but none of the Duehovnee Christianee. About three or four hundred families of them, however, removed to the borders of Georgia ; and towards the close of the year, having been reduced to great distress by sickness and by robberies committed by their Mussulman neighbours, many of them died—and others of them joined the communion of the Greek Church.

During the persecution of 1835, there was one deputed by his brethren to lay a statement of their grievances before the government, and to implore protection. This person had scarcely commenced his journey, when passing through a village in which there were many of the Duehovnee Christianee, another came forward and volunteered to accompany him on his mission ; and, in passing through another village, they were joined by a third, who accompanied them to St. Petersburgh.

When they left their homes, they knew nothing of the way to the capital, nor of the course to be pursued in submitting their case to the Emperor. They had heard, they said, of a foreign merchant who had purchased goods in the interior of the empire the preceding year, and who had appeared to be a man possessed of living faith ; and they trusted that God would direct them to him, and that he would befriend them. They knew neither his name nor his residence, “but,” said they, “we prayed together every evening, that God would direct us, and we did the same when we resumed our journey in the morning.” Thus they pursued their journey, and at length reached the metropolis, when one of the first persons of whom they inquired, recognizing their description of the merchant whom they sought, and knowing his abode, directed them straight to his dwelling. By him they were soon introduced to others able to counsel them.

They gave a touching description of their leaving their homes. All their friends and brethren were in tears, expecting to see their faces no more. They feared that on presenting their petition, they would be confined till the truth of their statement was ascertained, that their enemies would endeavour to prejudice the Emperor against them, and that imprisonment or exile might be the consequence.

They had calculated the time necessary for their journey to St. Petersburg, and appointed three days to be spent by them in that city, and by their friends at home at the same time, in fasting and in prayer for Divine direction.

Though expecting that their prayers would be heard, and their requests granted, the reception they met with, from friends of different nations, and different denominations, surprised and delighted them. They were received, they said, as brethren, and could not have imagined beforehand that any person would have taken such an interest in them and in their affairs. They had seen the truth of these declarations, “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass."

“Before they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear.”

They had never heard, they said, of any other denomination of professing Christians, than the Greek Church, and themselves; and they expressed great surprise on hearing that in all ages men had been persecuted for righteousness' sake. They knew that the first Christians had been persecuted by pagans ; but they supposed that they alone had been persecuted by professing Christians : when they were assured that other Christians had also been thus persecuted, they asked with great naiveté, “ But why were such men persecuted ?” “Why are you persecuted ?" was asked in reply. “Oh yes!” said they, "we see it.” They listened with deep interest to the sayings of some of the martyrs in England when led to the stake; and they endeavoured to strengthen each other, saying in an encouraging tone,“ See that! And do you not think that they had wives and children as well as we?” From which it was evident that they were endeavouring to prepare themselves for the worst that could befall them.

The persecution was at that time confined almost exclusively to the government of Tamboff. There the Ispravniek, a petty local authority, frequently entered the houses of the Molokanns, accompanied by a priest, who in a commanding tone ordered the head of the family to be converted. If the man replied that he was already converted, the priest would then present the picture of some saint, and order him to kneel and pray to the saint ; this the man of course refused to do; upon which he was committed to prison, and threatened with being condemned to serve in the army, a service which is greatly dreaded by the Russian peasantry. His wife would then be ordered to become converted, and to pray to the saint ; and there have been instances of these defenceless females being pulled by the ears till the blood trickled to their

feet, and being afterwards confined in cold granaries without proper nourishment for two or three days, because they refused to comply. Children have also been ordered to become converted, and to pray to the saint, and in consequence of their refusal they have been flogged with forty stripes, though they were under fourteen years of age; but they have still refused to commit what they considered idolatry, and believed to be forbidden by God.

The majority of these poor men are government peasants, and have no protectors, but the officers of the crown; and those of them who belong to noblemen have only in a few instances been protected by their masters.

Notwithstanding this persecution, several of the priests partially embraced their sentiments; and though they did not leave the national church, they frequently attended the meetings of the peasants for worship, and there engaged in their religious services, reading the Scriptures and leading their devotions.

Some of these priests, instead of giving their daughters in marriage to other priests, as is customary, married them to pious peasants who were Molokanns; but, suspicions were thereby excited, and several of them were punished ; some being degraded from the priest's office and compelled to join the ranks as soldiers, and others being confined in monasteries, or sent as priests to Siberia.

One of the Duehovnee Christianee who visited St. Petersburgh in 1835—6 was a remarkably devoted Christian. He was a tall stout man, whose peasant's dress scarcely comported with the intelligence which beamed in his eye, the effect of which was heightened by the bushy beard which adorned his countenance. He had attained to manhood before conversion ; but had been the means of converting many others.

He was no ordinary man, but withal remarkably humble, and in speaking of his brethren seemed to obey from the heart the precept,

“In lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than himself." On one occasion, admiration of his conduct was expressed, when with an humble look he said, he had a brother who was an elder ; if we only knew him, we should know a true Christian. The tone with which this was said made it apparent that his desire was thus to turn away attention from himself.

When his brethren were brought before magistrates, and had ensnaring questions put to them, he used to feel much excited, and would have given anything, he said, to have had it in his power to put a word into the mouths of simple men, who knew not what to answer ; and sometimes in great extremities he could not restrain himself, but would call to the prisoner what reply to give to the interrogatories proposed to him. At such times the officers would call to him, “Be quiet ; we are not asking you." But at the risk of punishment he would again do the same thing when his friends were in danger.

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