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are not more than forty or fifty persons about him, who are not Christians. How far the Shehab may be sincere in their professions, I am unable to decide: it is probable, that, if their interests should require it, they would again embrace the religion of their ancestors."-Travels in Syria, pp. 197, 198.

The following is the novel and interesting account given by Burckhardt of the Druses residing in the Haouran :

vided into parties, a governor chosen from among them would have involved the country in the quarrels of his own party, and he would have been always endeavoring to exterminate his adversaries; whereas a Turk, by carefully managing both parties, maintains a balance between them, though he is never able to overpower them completely; he can oppose the Christian inhabitants to the Druses, who are in much smaller numbers than the former; and thus he is enabled to keep the country in a state of tranquillity, and in subjection to the Pachas. This policy has long "In manners, these Druses very much resembeen successful, notwithstanding the turbulent ble those of the mountains of Kesrouan. The spirit of the mountaineers, the continual party families form clans almost independent of each feuds, and the ambitious projects of many chiefs, other; and among whom there are frequent quaras well of the Druses as of the reigning house. rels. Insults are studiously avenged by the reThe Pachas were careful, also, not to permit any spective families; and the law of blood revenge one to become too powerful: the princes of the is in full force among them, without being miti reigning family were continually changed; and gated by the admission of any pecuniary commuparty-spirit was revived in the mountain, when- tation. They all go armed; as do the Turks and ever the interests of the Porte required it."-Christians of the Haouran in general. Few Burckhardt's Travels in Syria, pp. 194, 195. Druses have more than one wife; but she may be divorced on very slight pretexts.

This writer having observed, that, at present, the most rich, shrewd, and powerful individual in the mountain, el Sheik Bechir, is a Druse, and is a dangerons rival to the ruling prince, the Emir Bechir, who can do nothing important without his consent, takes occasion from this circumstance thus to develope still more clearly the political state of Mount Lebanon :

"With respect to their religion, the Druses of the Haouran, like those in Mount Libanus, have the class of men called Akoul (sing. Aakel,) who are distinguished from the rest by a white turban, and the peculiarity of the folds in which they wear it. The Akoul are not permitted to smoke tobacco: they never swear; and are very reserved in their "It will be asked, perhaps, why the Sheik does manners and conversation. I was informed that not set aside the Emir Bechir, and take the os- these were their only obligations; and it appears tensible power into his own hands. Many per-probable, for I observed Ãkoul boys of eight or sons believe that he entertains some such design; ten years of age, from whom nothing more diffiwhile others, better informed perhaps, assert that cult could well be expected, and to whom it is the Sheik will never make the attempt, because not likely that any important secret would be imhe knows that the mountaineers would never sub-parted. I have seen Akouls of that age, whose mit to a Druse chief. The Druses are certainly fathers were not of the order; because, as they in a better condition at present, than they would told me, they could not abstain from smoking and be under the absolute sway of the Sheik, who swearing. The Sheiks are, for the greater part, would soon begin to oppress instead of protecting Akouls. The Druses pray in their chapels, but them, as he now does; and the Christians, not at stated periods: these chapels are called who are a warlike people, detest the name of "an insulated place;" and none but Druses are Druse too much ever to yield quietly to a chief of allowed to enter them. They affect to follow the that community. It is, probably, in the view of doctrine of Mohammed; but few of them pray attaching the Christians more closely to him, and according to the Turkish forms: they fast during to oppose them in some measure to the Druses, Ramadan, in the presence of strangers; but eat that the Emir Bechir, with his whole family, has at their own homes, and even of the flesh of the secretly embraced the Christian religion. The wild boar, which is frequently met with in these Shehab, as I have already mentioned, were for- districts, merly members of the true Mussulman faith; and they never have had among them any followers of the doctrines of the Druses. They still affect publicly to observe the Mohammedan rites: they profess to fast during the Ramadan; and the Pachas still treat them as Turks; but it is no longer matter of doubt, that the greater part of the Shehab, with the Emir Bechir at their head, have really embraced Christianity: that branch only of the family which governs at Rasheya and Hasbeya continue in the religion of their ancestors.

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It is a singular belief, both among the western Druses and those of the Haouran, that there are a great number of Druses in England; an opinion founded, perhaps, upon the fanatical opinions of the Christians of Syria, who deny the English to be followers of Christ, because they neither confess nor fast. When I first arrived at the Druse village of Aaere, there was a large company in the Medhafe, and the Sheik had no opportunity of speaking to me in private: he therefore called for his inkstand, and wrote upon piece of paper the following questions: which I answered as well as I could, and returned him the paper: Where do the five Wadys flow to, in your country?-Do you know the grain of the plant Leiledj; and where is it sown?—What is the name of the Sultan of China?-Are the towns of Hadjar and Nedjran in the Yemen known to you? Is Hadjar in ruins? and who will rebuild

it? Is the Moehdy (the Saviour) yet come, or is he now upon the earth?"

"I have not been able to obtain any information concerning the period at which the Druses first settled in these parts. Min Kadim a long time ago, was the general answer of all those whom I questioned on the subject. During my stay at Aaere, news arrived there, that a body of one hundred and twenty Druses had left the western mountains, and were coming to settle in Haouran."-Travels in Syria, pp. 303-305.

The following delineation of the customs and character of the Druses is taken from that part of Burckhardt's account, which relates to those of them who inhabit Mount Lebanon:

whenever they have to receive considerable sums of money, they take care that it shall be first exchanged for other coin. The Sheik el Nedjem, who generally accompanies the Sheik Bechir in his visits to the Emir, never tastes food in the place of the latter, nor even smokes a pipe there; always asserting, that whatever the Emir possesses has been unlawfully obtained. There are different degrees of Akal, and women are also admitted into the order; a privilege which many avail themselves of, from parsimony, as they are thus exempted from wearing the expensive head-dress and rich silks fashionable among them.

"The best feature in the Druse character, is that peculiar law of hospitality, which forbids them ever to betray a guest. I made particular inquiries on this subject; and I am satisfied that no consideration of interest or dread of power will induce a Druse to give up a person who has once placed himself under his protection. Persons from all parts of Syria are in the constant practice of taking refuge in the mountain, where they are in perfect security, from the moment they enter upon the Emir's territory: should the prince ever be tempted by large offers to consent to give up a refugee, the whole country would rise, to prevent such a stain upon their national reputation. The mighty Djezzar, who had invested his own creatures with the government of the mountain, never could force them to give up a single individual of all those who fled thither from his tyranny. When

"With respect to the true religion of the Druses, none but a learned Druse can satisfy the inquirer's curiosity. What I have already said of the Auzeyres is equally applicable to the Druses -their religious opinions will remain for ever a secret, unless revealed by a Druse. Their customs, however, may be described; and as far as they can tend to elucidate the mystery, the veil may be drawn aside by the researches of the traveller. It seems to be a maxim with them to adopt the religious practices of the country in which they reside, and to profess the creed of the strongest; hence, they all profess Islamism in Syria; and even those who have been baptized, on account of their alliance with the Shehab family, still practise the exterior forms of the Mohammedan faith. There is no truth in the asser-ever he became very urgent in his demands, the tion, that the Druses go one day to the mosque Emir informed the fugitive of his danger, and adand the next to the church: they all profess Islam- vised him to conceal himself for a time in some ism; and, whenever they mix with Mohamme- more distant part of his territory: an answer was dans, they perform the rites prescribed by their then returned to the Djezzar, that the object of his religion. In private, however, they break the resentment had fled. The asylum which is thus fast of Ramadan, curse Mohammed, indulge in afforded by the mountain, is one of the greatest wine, and eat food forbidden by the Koran. They advantages that the inhabitants of Syria enjoy bear an inveterate hatred to all religions except over those in the other parts of the Turkish domitheir own; but more particularly to that of the nions."-Burckhardt's Travels in Syria: pp. 200 Franks, chiefly in consequence of a tradition cur--204. rent among them, that the Europeans will one day overthrow their commonwealth.


Nothing is more sacred with a Druse than his public reputation. He will overlook an insult, if known only to him who has offered it; and will put up with blows where his interest is concerned, provided nobody is a witness: but the slightest abuse given in public, he revenges with the greatest fury. This is the most remarkable feature of the national character: in public, a Druse may appear honorable, but he is easily tempted to a contrary behavior, when he has reason to think that his conduct will remain undiscovered. The ties of blood and friendship have no power among them the son no sooner attains the years of maturity, than he begins to plot against his fa


"The Akal are those who are supposed to know the doctrines of the Druse religion; they superintended divine worship in the chapels or, as they are called, Khaloue; and they instruct the children in a kind of catechism. They are obliged to abstain from swearing and all abusive language, and dare not wear any article of gold or silk in their dress. Many of them make it a rule never to eat of any food, nor to receive any money, which they suspect to have been improperly acquired: for this reason,

It will have appeared from the preceding extracts, that the religious opinions of the Druses have been the object of curious investigation to travellers and others. The author has carefully consulted what has been said concerning this people by the Jesuit missionaries (Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses, vols. I. and II.) and by Niebuhr, Volney, and Burckhardt; writers, who, at successive periods during the last century, have made actual research in Syria, relative to this singular people. Burckhardt seems to give up the subject in despair. We must, not, however, overlook what appears to be the most authentic information as yet received concerning their faith, and which is to be found in the Chrestomathie Arabe of the Baron De Sacy (vol. II. pp. 334-403.) published at Paris in the year 1806; where the reader will find a French translation of several Arabic manuscripts reputed to be the sacred books of the Druses. The learned translator intimates in his notes, that he has, for many years, been collecting ample materials for a work on this subject. The following extracts from what he has already made public may prove not unacceptable to the English reader and they will abundantly suffice to give the missionary student a general idea of the character of the Druse creed; a creed professedly

secret, and certainly-so far as the veil of mystery
may be supposed to have been drawn aside by this
translation of their books-very unprofitable.
"The Druses designate themselves by the name
of Unitarians. They are called Dorouy or Duz-
zeyyeh. They are the disciples of Hamza, son of
Ali; and honor with divine worship Hakem-biamr-
Allah, Caliph of Egypt, of the family of Obaid-
Allah Mahdi."


“Our lord Hakem, whose name be glorified, was the son of Ishmael of the race of Ali, son of Abu-Talib, and his mother was of the race of Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed. He was born at Cairo, in the year 375 of the Hegira. His father declared him his successor in the year 383. He ascended the throne in the year 386, and reigned 25 years. He disappeared on the night of the 27th of the month Shoual, in the year 411. The time of his sojourn in this world, from his birth to his disappearing, was thirty-six years and seven months. He wrote a Venerable Charter, and suspended it in the mosques. He then disappeared. We expect his return in a short time, if it please him. He will reign over all the earth, throughout all ages. Those whom he has invited to the profession of his unity and have not obeyed, that is, the men of all other sects and religions, will be subjected to him, put in irons, and laid under an annual tribute; but as for the Unitarians, they will reign with him throughout all ages."

Copy of the Charter which was found suspended in the mosques, at the time of the disappearance of our lord the Imam Hakem.

"In the name of God the pitying and merciful. "The future recompenses are destined to those who rouse themselves from the slumbers of the thoughtless, and retire from the folly of the senseless; to him, whose faith is firm and sincere, and who hastens to return to the Most High God; and to him, who is his vicegerent and witness to mortals, his vicar upon earth, to whom he has confided the care of his creatures, the prince of the believers.

Certainly you will know one day, yes, certainly you will know one day, ah, if ye were instructed in a sure knowledge.

"You have had a multitude of benefits heaped upon you, in such abundance, that none of those who have preceded you have ever received the like; neither have any of the people that have been before you in past ages, neither the companions of the flight of Mohammed, nor those who received him hospitably in Medina, ever attained to a more exalted degree of prosperity.

"It is not on account of your merit or good works, O men and women, that the vicegerent of God has bestowed upon you these benefits; but from his kindness, goodness, tenderness and pity for you; and in order to prove you, that he might know who among you are given to good works.

"As to the exterior precious benefits which ye have received from him, they are talents heaped up of gold and silver, horses of the greatest price, all sorts of cattle and a multitude of other gifts, as pensions, fiefs, lands, and an infinity of temporal goods. Besides, he has raised you all, generally and individually, to the most sublime honors and ranks, that ye might walk in the paths of intelligent beings. He has honored you with the quality of Emirs, and decorated you with the most eminent titles. He has extended your power on earth, to the east and to the west, in the plains and in the mountains, by sea and by land. You have been made kings and sultans. You have received tribute. By the aid of the vicegerent of God, you have been put in full liberty. All hostile and factious parties have come to submit themselves to you.

"As to the interior gifts which you have received from him, of this number is the intercourse which you have externally seemed to have with him; intercourse, which constitutes your glory in this world, and the hope of your happiness in eternity.* Another of his internal benefits, is the having revived the laws of Islamism and of the faith, which are in the eyes of God the true religion.t

"It is thus that you have been raised since his time, in honor and purity, above all other sects: he has distinguished you from the adorers of idols; he has separated them from you, in frustrating their hopes and desires: he has overturned their churches and their schools of religion, although they had subsisted for a long course of ages: the partisans of these sects, tolerated among Mussulmans, have been subjected to you, by good will or force; they have entered in crowds into the religion of God.

"But you have hated knowledge and wisdom: you have despised his benefits, and cast them behind your back: you have preferred the good of

"O men, the threatenings, the exhortations, the promises, which till now have been made to you by your sovereign chief, the Imam of your age, the successor of your prophets, the witness of your Creator, the vicar of him who will render witness against you for the crimes which cause your perdition, in short, all the counsels and warnings which "This intercourse between Hakem and his subhave been lavished upon you, are more than suf-jects, and all the actions of his humanity, are, accordficient for those who have heard with submission and docility, who have entered into the right way, who have resisted their passions for the salvation of their souls, and who have preferred the future life to this present world. But, all this notwithstanding, you are still plunged in the torrent of ignorance, and wandering in the desert of error: you amuse yourselves unceasingly, till surprised by that day with which you have been threatened.

ing to the doctrine of Hamza, merely appearances designed to veil his divinity and incomprehensible nature." (Note by De Sacy: p. 373.)

+ "That is to say, according to the doctrine of the Druses, all the precepts of the literal and the allegorical doctrine, that is of Islamism and the faith, have their true explication only in the Unitarian religion." (Note by De Sacy.)

"These adorers of idols are the Jews and the Christians." (Note by De Sacy.)

this world, as did before you the children of Israel in the time of Moses (upon whom be peace!) The vicegerent of God was unwilling to compel you against your choice: he has shut the door of his preaching he has caused you to be taught wisdom: out of his palace he has opened a school of science, where were to be had all instruction concerning religion, the jurisprudence of the Alcoran upon things permitted or forbidden, decisions and judgments conformably to the books of the ancients and the books of Abraham and Moses. (May the favors of God repose on all of them!) He has given you paper and pensions, ink and pens, in order that you might attain to that which might render you happy, opening your eyes and delivering you from your foolishness.

profitable and useful to those, to whom he shall grant grace to observe its contents!

"Anathema, anathema to whomsoever shall not copy it, and shall not read it to the penitents in a low chapel.*

"Anathema, anathema to whomsoever shall have the opportunity of copying it, and shall neglect to do so. Praise be to God alone."

The oath, by which the initiated Druses are admitted, is given by the baron De Sacy, according to the following translation :—

Form of engagement to the vicegerent of this age. "I put my confidence in our lord Hakem, the sole, the one, the eternal, exempt from all associations, and all number.

"The blessed and Most High God hath said'If my servants ask you concerning me, tell them that I am near; and that I hear the prayers of those who call upon me.' Up, then, O men! If you keep yourself in these desert and uncultivated mind and body, in full liberty and acting by an "Such a one, son of such a one, being of sound places, your eyes will trace the commencement obedience perfectly voluntary, without violence or of that route, which was taken by the Emir of the constraint, does, by the present act of submission, to believers at the moment when he was conceal-which he binds his soul and body, confess and declare ed. Assemble yourselves, therefore, with your children: purify your hearts: render your intentions pure before God, the Lord of the universe be sincerely converted to him: avail yourselves of the most powerful mediation with him, that He may pardon you, and grant you the return of his vicegerent. But take good heed that none of you inquire into the course taken by the Emir of the faithful (on whom be the peace of God!) or endeavor to learn what has become of him. Cease not to reiterate your prayers, all of you together, at the entering of the way, saying, Behold our abiding place!' and, when the moment of mercy is come for you, the vicegerent of God, satisfied with your conduct, will, of his own choice and free will, appear at your head-He will show himself in the midst of you.

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"The servant of the empire of the prince of the believers (on whom be the peace of God!) wrote this in the year 411.

"May God be propitious to Mohammed, the prince of apostles, the seal of prophets !

"Care shall be taken for the security of those religious persons, who shall observe what is written in this document; and none shall be hindered from copying and reading it. May God render it

"That is, he has destroyed the monastery named Deir-alkasr." (I (Note by De Sacy-page 374, referring to page 79.)

This passage has an illusion to a curious piece of history respecting the disappearance of Hakem; who, according to the account of some, died a violent death-some pretending that his sister caused him to be murdered.-(Chrestomathie, II. 87.) De Sacy, in his note on this passage, observes, that these desert places refer to a part of the city of Cairo, situated to the south-east, and the Mount Mokattam. "It was hither," he remarks, "that Hakem used to go out for his evening walks; and, the night when he perished, he had gone out this way, and reached the Mount Mokattam, where he was killed. The next morning, the principal officers of the palace, with a numerous train, went out by the same route to seek for the Caliph, whose body was found in a well near Holwan."-Note by De Sacy, Chrestomathie Arabe-vol II. p. 376.

that he renounces all sects, professions, religions, and creeds, and acknowledges no other obedience than that to our lord Hakem (whose name be glorified!) obedience which consists in serving and adoring him-that he will serve none other with him, past, present, or to come-that he gives over his soul, his body, his goods, his children, and all that he possesses, to our lord Hakem (whose name be glorified!)-that he submits to his disposal of him, without opposing him in any thing, or disapproving any thing in his works, whether he bestow pleasure or pain. If he renounces the religion of our lord Hakem, (whose name be glorified!) to which he has submitted by this writing, and to which he has bound his soul by this authentic declaration, or if he reveals it to others, or if he disobeys any of its commandments, he shall no longer have any part with the Creator who is adored: he shall be deprived of the advantages which he might have received from the ministers [of the religion of the Unity,] and he shall merit the chastisements of God most high (whose name be glorified!) Whosoever confesses, that he has not in heaven any God worthy of adoration, nor on earth any Imam existing other than our lord Hakem (whose name be glorified!) is in the number of the happy Unitarians.

"Written in such a month, of such a year of the erat of the servant of our lord (whose name be glorified!) and of his slave Hamza, son of Ali, son of Ahmet, the director of those who are obedient, and the avenger of those who adore maný

"It seems probable to me, that this piece was to be read only by those who were initiated into the doctrine of Hamza; and it is doubtless with this view, that the promise is given of watching over the security of those who conform to the orders made to them. It is in this view, also, that the reading of this document is commanded to be in some retired and subterranean place, which should serve as a chapel for the assembling of the initiated." Note by De Sacy, p. 377.

"The era of the Druses, or of Hamza, begins with the year 408 of the Hegira; that is, about A. D. 1016."-Note by De Sacy-p. 379.

Gods, and of apostates by the sword of our lord (whose name be glorified!) and by the force of his sole power."

The Christian reader will discern, in the midst of this unintelligible jargon, various traces of Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism. The general scope of the system, supposing these documents to exhibit it truly, would seem to be pure Deism. The doctrine, however, of incarnate Deity, and the expectation of a second advent of the head of the Druse religion, are points of resemblance to the New Testament, peculiarly striking. That the Druses are not to inquire into the time of this second advent, is analogous to the feeling which the Jews at present have concerning their Messiah; and the belief that all nations are to be subject to Hakem may be a corruption, either of the secular expectations of the Jews, or of the spiritual hopes of Christians. In respect to the practical or experimental part of this religion, while much is said of acknowledging undeserved favors, while human merit seems to be disclaimed, and an illusion is even made to the idea of mediation; it is nevertheless impossible not to see, that the exhortations to piety all proceed on the idea that man has the power in himself to become pious. However far Mohammedans, Druses, Deists, or the propagators of any other false religion, may extract matter from the Old or the New Testament, yet they all drop the doctrine of man's corruption by the fall-both the fact, and all its train of inevitable consequences, These documents form an additional proof of the tendency of mankind to corrupt pure revelation, and to fabricate a religion of their own; while the barrier of secrecy, with which they endeavor to surround it, is but a stratagem of the arch enemy to preclude the detection and overthrow of their


A curious additional circumstance shall here be quoted from the writings of the Jesuit missionaries, which, if correct, seems to prove that the Druses are not exempt from the reproach of idolatry.

"There are only two of their villages, which have the honor (speaking their language) of possessing the statue of their great legislator.

enter the mosques, and perform the ablutions and prayers. Or are they among the Marsonites, they follow them to church, and take the holy-water like them. Many of them, importuned by the missionaries have received baptism; then, solicited by the Turks, they have allowed themselves to be circumcised; and have finished by dying, neither Christians nor Mussulmans."-Volney's Travels in Syria-Chap. 22. Section 3.

It will, however, be proper to hear what the Romish missionaries themselves relate concerning the reception which their labors have had among the Druses. They speak without reserve of their total want of success; and even seem to regard the conversion of this people as a hopeless experiment. With the following extract, the account of the Druses shall conclude.

"We often perform a mission to the Catholics who are in their country; and we have as often the pain of seeing that this nation is very far from the kingdom of God. It is true that they love the Christians, and do not love the Turks. It is true, likewise, that they prefer calling themselves Christians rather than Turks, although they wear the green turban. They even receive us kindly and joyfully into their houses.

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Notwithstanding these favorable dispositions, their inviolable attachment for their religion, which is a frightful compound of Christian and Mohammedan ceremonies, and still more, their obstinacy in refusing instruction, give just reason to fear that this nation will persist in shutting its eyes to the light of the gospel."-Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses: Vol. I. pp. 372, 373.


THE Ansari are a people residing in the mountainous parts near Antioch, and in other places of Northern Syria. The origin of this sect, marvellous and seini-fabulous, is thus given by Assemann, translated from the Syriac of Bar-Hebræus :

"Whereas many desire to know the origin of "His statue, according to their law, must be the Nazaræi, receive the following account from of gold or of silver. They enclose it in a wooden us. In the year of the Greeks 1202,* there apcase, and exhibit it only on the day of their grand peared an old man in the region Akula [this is ceremonies; when they address their vows to it, Cupha, a city of Arabia, as Bar-Hebræus elseto obtain the object of their desires. They ima- where notices,] in a village which the inhabitants gine that they are speaking to God himself, so call Nazaria. This old man having the appeargreat is their veneration for this idol. The only ance of a person given to severe fasts, great potwo villages where it is preserved are called Ba-verty, and strict devotion, many of the natives of gelin and Fredis."-Lettres Edifiantes et Curi-Vol. I. pp. 371, 372.


that place followed him; out of whom having chosen twelve, according to the number of the Volney has intimated, that the Druses have, at apostles, he commanded them to preach a new different times, imposed upon the missionaries in doctrine to the people. The governor of the place, the Levant, by a profession of Christianity. It is hearing of this, commanded to apprehend him; almost superfluous to observe, that the statements and, having cast him into a dungeon in his own of an avowed enemy of the gospel are to be re- house, swore that on the following morning he ceived with extreme reserve. The following ex-would have him crucified. On the same night, tract from that traveller, so far as it may demon- the governor, going to bed half intoxicated with strate the facility of temper of the Druses, is wor-wine, placed the key of the dungeon under his thy of attention; but cannot be regarded as a pillow a maid of the household, perceiving this, faithful account of the proceedings of the mis- when he was fast asleep withdrew the key; and, sionaries:pitying this old man, given to fasting and prayer,

"When they go among the Turks, they affect the external appearance of the Mussulman; they

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