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Phidian perfection are still nurtured in the vales of Caucasus.
The necessary disguise of dress hides from us much of the beauty and dignity of Humanity. I have seen men who appeared heroic in the freedom of nakedness, shrink almost into absolute vulgarity, when clothed. The soul not only sits at the windows of the eyes, and hangs upon the gateway of the lips; she speaks as well in the intricate, yet harmonious lines of the body, and the evervarying play of the limbs. Look at the torso of Ilioneus, the son of Niobe, and see what an agony of terror and supplication cries out from that headless and limbless trunk! Decapitate Laocoön, and his knotted muscles will still express the same dreadful suffering and resistance. None knew this better than the ancient sculptors; and hence it was that we find many of their statues of distinguished men wholly or partly undraped. Such a view of art would be considered transcendental now-a-days, when our dress, our costumes, and our modes of speech either ignore the existence of our bodies, or treat them with little of that reverence which is their due.
But, while we have been thinking these thoughts, the attendant has been waiting to give us a final plunge into the seething tank. Again, we slide down to the eyes in the fluid heat, which wraps us closely about until we tingle with exquisite hot shiverings. Now comes the graceful boy, with clean, cool, lavendered napkins, which he folds around our waist and wraps softly about the head. The pattens are put upon our feet, and the brown arm steadies us gently through the sweating-room and ante-chamber into the outer hall, where we mount to our couch. We sink gently upon the cool linen, and the boy covers us with a perfumed sheet. Then, kneeling beside the couch, he presses the folds of the sheet around us, that it may absorb the lingering moisture and the limpid perspiration shed by the departing heat. As fast as the linen becomes damp, he replaces it with fresh, pressing the folds about us as tenderly as a mother arranges the drapery of her sleeping babe; for we, though of the stature of a man, are now infantile in our helpless happiness. Then he takes our passive hand and warms its palm by the soft friction of his own; after which, moving to the end of the couch, he takes our feet upon his lap, and repeats the friction upon their soles, until the blood comes
back to the surface of the body with a misty glow, like that which steeps the clouds of a summer afternoon.
We have but one more process to undergo, and the attendant already stands at the head of our couch. This is the course of passive gymnastics, which excites so much alarm and resistance in the
ignorant Franks. It is only resistance that is dangerous, completely neutralizing the enjoyment of the process. Give yourself with a blind submission into the arms of the brown Fate, and he will lead you to new chambers of delight. He lifts us to a sitting posture, places himself behind us, and folds his arms around our body, alternately tightening and relaxing his clasp, as if to test the elasticity of the ribs. Then seizing one arm, he draws it across the opposite shoulder, until the joint cracks like a percussioncap. The shoulder-blades, the elbows, the wrists, and the finger-joints are all made to fire off their muffled volleys; and then, placing one knee between our shoulders, and clasping both hands upon our forehead, he draws our head back until we feel a great snap of the vertebral column. Now he descends to the hip-joints, knees, ankles, and feet, forcing each and all to discharge a salvo de joie. The slight langour left from the bath is gone, and airy, delicate exhilaration, befitting the winged Mercury, takes its place.
The boy kneeling, presents us with a finjan of foamy coffee, followed by a glass of sherbet cooled with the snows of Lebanon. He presently returns with a narghileh, which we smoke by the effortless inhalation of the lungs. Thus we lie in perfect repose, soothed by the fragrant weed, and idly watching the silent Orientals, who are undressing for the bath or reposing like ourselves. Through the arched entrance, we see a picture of the Bazaars: a shadowy painting of merchants seated amid their silks and spices, dotted here and there with golden drops and splashes of sunshine, which have trickled through the roof. The scene paints itself upon our eyes, yet wakes no slightest stir of thought. The brain is a becalmed sea, without a ripple on its shores. Mind and body are drowned in delicious rest; and we no longer remember what we are. only know that there is an Existence somewhere in the air, and that wherever it is, and whatever it may be, it is happy.
More and more dim grows the picture.
And a storın-wind smote on the painted boat,
And the fowlers sank one by one,
Down, down with their craft, while the tempest laughed!
CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF THE RUSSIAN WAR.
PRESENT AND FUTURE.
a previous article* we have spoken of RUSSIA, PAST AND PRESENT. We have traced the rise and growth of that vast empire, and spoken of the relations which it has sustained to other nations, particularly to the Turks on the one hand (including their co-religionists and kinsmen-if we may so call them-the Mongolians and Crim-Tartars), and the Poles on the other. We have shown the origin of the deadly hatred that has for ages subsisted between the Russians and these races, which, like themselves, are Asiatic in their character and manners, and the last-named, a branch also of the great Sclavonic family of nations. We proceed now to speak of RUSSIA, PRESENT AND FUTURE.
And here, at the outset, we will enter without further remark, upon the consideration of the present war between Russia and Turkey, which has already involved France and England, and may involve, before it is ended, all the great powers of Europe. The history of its origin and progress is in the highest degree interesting. To understand the real, though latent, causes which have led to this war, we must look back into the middle ages for a moment.
Those of our readers who are familiar with history need not be told that the successors of Mohammed, at an early day, commenced the struggle between the Crescent and the Cross, which has lasted, with various fortunes, for nearly twelve centuries. From the nature of the case, the Eastern or Greek Empire was the first portion of Christendom that felt the scymitar of the Impostor of Arabia.† That empire embraced, in the seventh century, nearly all the countries of Western Asia which had belonged to the Roman Empire in its palmiest day. It included, also, a portion of Northern Africa, the southern part of Italy, and the islands in the Levant. As might be expected, Palestine, or the Holy Land," the birth-place of Christianity, was one of the first of the pro
vinces of that empire, to fall under Mohammedan dominion. This occasioned deepest grief throughout the Christian world. The tomb of the Saviour was in the hands of the Infidels! Many were the insults and sufferings which Christian pilgrims suffered at those hands for three centuries. At length the Crusades commenced, and from the end of the eleventh to the end of the thirteenth centuries, those astonishing movements by which Western Europe precipitated masses of men, who professed to be followers of Christ, on Western Asia -for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre. It was emphatically a Roman Catholic movement-the Greek Church taking but little heartfelt interest in it. The intense hatred between the Greek or Eastern Church, and the Latin or Western Church, from the year A. D. 860, accounts for this fact. The Crusaders held Jerusalem from 1099 till 1187, when Saladin, the Caliph of Egypt, took it.
In the succeeding century, the Crusades ceased; but the cause which had led to their being undertaken, did not cease to be felt. In the century following, Palestine, as well as almost the entire of the Greek Empire, fell beneath the victorious arms of the Turks. In one century more, Constantinople fell, and the Greek Empire was no more!
When that event occurred, the Christians in the East were left for two or three centuries without the protection of any Christian prince or government. At length France, who had taken the lead in the Crusades, began to advocate their cause by making treaties with the Sublime Porte, in which there were stipulations in favor of Christians residing in, or visiting, the Holy Land. But these treaties contemplated mainly, or rather only, the rights, privileges, and protection of Christians of the Latin or Western Church. France cared little for the millions of the "schismatical" Greek Church. She has for eleven centuries
* Putnam's Monthly for October, pages 422-433.
+ In the eighth century, Moslem zeal and fury carried the Standard of the Prophet across the entire northern end of Africa, and planted it in Spain, and for a time even in France. That standard was planted for a while in Southern Italy and the Mediterranean Isles in the century following. In the thirteenth century, the Mongols and Tartars carried the sword of Mohammed into all southern and eastern Russia, and finally, Mohammedanism took up its abode, in the fifteenth century, in what is now called Turkey.
considered herself as at the head of the Roman Catholic nations, and the protector, as well as champion, of the Roman Catholic or Latin Church. As to the members of the Greek Church, and the five other Oriental Churches-the Armenian, Nestorian, Syrian, Coptic, and Abyssinian-inasmuch as they acknowledged not the Bishop of Rome, but looked up to their own Patriarchs, they were left by France, the Emperor of Germany, and the other Roman Catholic governments, to the tender mercies of the Sultan of Turkey and his confederates. Centuries of oppression, cruel injustice, and persecution in one form and another, passed away.
But at length God raised up an Avenger in the Czars of Russia. That great country, as we have stated in our former article, received its Christianity and its civilization from Byzantium, or Constantinople, as it has been called since the fourth century. It was to missionaries from the Greek Church, that she was indebted for the Scriptures, and the institutions of the Gospel. The most intimate relations sprung up between the Churches of Russia and those of the Greek or Eastern Empire. The Greek Patriarch of Constantinople was the acknowledged head of the Russo-Greek Church. This state of things lasted more than a thousand years. Even the conquest of the entire southern part of Russia by the Tartars and Poles (the former Mohammedans, the latter Roman Catholics, and both bitter enemies of the Greek Church), did not destroy the sympathy of the Russian Church for that of the Greek Empire-although it rendered much intercourse between them impossible. And when Constantinople fell under the dominion of the Turks, four centuries ago, and with it the whole of the Eastern Empire, the official connection between the churches of the two countries ceased, but not their sympathy. About that time, one of the Patriarchs of Constantinople (of the Greek Church) fled to Moscow. Thus the Patriarchate of that city commenced,* and with it the independent existence of the RussoGreek Church. At this period, and for several centuries afterwards, the Czars of Russia were too weak to do anything whatever in behalf of the oppressed people of the Greek Church in the
Turkish dominions. But in process of
There are in Palestine certain buildings and places which are called the "Holy Places," and sometimes, but not very accurately, especially by the French diplomatists who have figured in the
*The Patriarchate of Moscow continued till the year 1700, when it ceased. Peter the Great substituted the "Holy Synod" for it. The Synod has cognizance of doctrines and discipline; the Emperor is at the head of the Church in relation to secular affairs, but has less power over it than the Queen of England has over the Established Church of that land.
present contest, the "Sacred Shrines." We believe there are eight or ten of such places. One of them (the site of the temple and the localities connected with it), the Mohammedan governments which have ruled that country for almost twelve centuries have never allowed Christians to visit. Sometimes even the Christian pilgrims have not been allowed to go down to the river of Jordan, and. bathe in its sacred water. It has often been dangerous for them to visit the "Mount of Transfiguration," in the northern part of the country. But they have had access, more or less unrestricted, for a long time, to the two places which are, probably, the most sacred in the thoughts and feelings of those who have desired to make pilgrimages to the land where the Saviour lived, which was trodden by his blessed feet, and bedewed by his tears and his blood. One of these is the "Church of the Nativity," at Bethlehem. According to tradition, it stands on the very spot where the stable stood in which the Saviour was born. A silver star, suspended by a cord from the ceiling, hangs over the spot where the manger" stood, in which the "Infant Christ" was laid by his blessed mother. The other is the "Church of the Holy Sepulchre," at Jerusalem, which is built over the supposed Tomb of of our Lord. The tomb is a small building in the centre of the church.
Every year these churches are visited by all the pilgrims who flock to the Holy Land, and by other Christians who may be in the country. It is difficult to say whether the Roman Catholics, or the Greek, and other oriental Christians take the deeper interest in, and attach the greater importance to, these "Sacred Shrines." It would seem as if they were, for the most part, about equally influenced by an ignorant and debasing superstition, which had its origin in the wants and the demands of an unenlightened heart, and a smitten and oppressed conscience. The epochs of greatest concourse are Easter aud Christmas. It is the testimony of every traveller who visits Palestine at these seasons, that the churches in question are crowded at those times by pilgrims, most of whom belong to the Latin and Greek communities. As the hatred of these churches is reciprocal and intense, scenes of shock
ing disorder and violence often occur, even within their sacred walls. To such lengths do matters often go, that the soldiers of Islam have to be called in to make the "Christian dogs," as they contemptuously call them, cease from their strife. The cause of the quarrel has often been: Who shall have the precedence, the Latin or the Greek Christians, on these occasions? For a long time the Latins bore off the palm. They were allowed to have the keys of the churches; and, of course, they did very much as they pleased. Often the Greeks could scarcely gain admittance at all, without many and most violent efforts.
For three hundred years* France has stood up for the Latin, or Roman Catholic, Christians, and maintained by treaty their claims,-not only. to protection, but also to precedence. For a long time she had the field to herself. There was no nation which professed the Greek faith that was strong enough to say a word in behalf of the claims of the Greek Church. The Protestant nations took little or no interest in the matter, as may well be supposed. They regarded with pity, if not contempt, the miserable superstition of both the corrupted and degenerated churches which were prominent in the dispute.
But Russia at length appeared on the scene, and began to make her influence felt in behalf of the Greeks, as France had made hers felt in behalf of the Latins. She, too, made the question a subject of diplomacy at the court of the Sultan. Nor did she toil in vain. She gained, a few years ago, some advantages which were deemed important for the followers of the Greek faith. This provoked the jealousy of France, and Louis Philippe (in 1847) directed his embassador to negotiate with the Sublime Porte. Certainly the annals of diplomacy do not furnish the names of many men who were less fit for such a delicate and difficult mission, than M. de Lavalette, who was the French embassador at Constantinople at that time. This gentleman-long known in the salons of Paris as an accomplished and fashionable man, and at length as the husband of the widow of an eminent American bankert-who had had no diplomatic experience excepting what he had acquired as the French consul general in Egypt, betrayed an impetuosity
*Her first treaty in favor of the "Franks," or Latin Christians, was made in 1535.
+ The late Mr. Wells of Boston, of the firm of Wells, Green & Co. at Paris.