A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 770 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01.

In the first place arc the Jugurs, whose country borders upon the land of Organum among the mountains towards the east, and in all their towns Nestorians and Mahometans are mixed among the natives.  And they are diffused likewise in all the towns of the Mahometans towards Persia.  In the city of Cailac, or Cealac, there are three idol temples, two of which I went into to observe their folly.  In one of these I found a person having a cross marked with ink upon his hand, whence I supposed him a Christian, and to all my questions he answered like a Christian.  I asked him wherefore he had not the cross and image of Christ, and he answered, that it was not their custom; wherefore I concluded the people were actually Christians, but omitted these things for want of instruction.  Behind a certain chest, which served for an altar, and on which they placed candles and oblations, I saw an image with wings like that of St Michael; and other images holding out their fingers, as if blessing the spectators.  That evening I could make no farther discovery; for though the Saracens invite one into their temples, they will not speak of their religion[1]; insomuch, that when I inquired at them about their ceremonies, they were much offended.

Next day being the Kalends, 1st December, was the passover of the Saracens, and I changed my lodging to the neighbourhood of another temple of idols; for the people of this place shew hospitality to all messengers, every one according to his abilities.  In this other temple I found the priests of the idols, who open and adorn the temples at the Kalends, and the people make offerings of bread and fruits.  I shall first describe the general rites of idolatry, and then those of the Jugurs, who are a kind of sect different from the others.  They all worship towards the north, with joined hands, prostrating themselves upon their knees to the earth, and resting their foreheads on their hands.  For which reason the Nestorians never join their hands in prayer, but spread their hands on their breasts.  Their temples are built from east to west, having a chamber or vestry for the priests on the north; or if the building is square, they have a similar chamber on the middle of the north side in place of a choir, and before it is placed a long broad chest like a table, behind which, facing the south, stands the principal idol.  That which I saw at Caracarum was as large as the picture of St Christopher.  A Nestorian priest, who came from Catay, told me there was an idol in that country so large, that it could be seen at the distance of two days journey[2].  Other idols are placed around the principal one, and all are beautifully gilt; All the gates of their temples open to the south, contrary to the customs of the Mahometans; and they have large bells, as is the case with us, wherefore the oriental Christians will not use them, though they are customary among the Russians and the Greeks in Casaria.

[1] The Saracens are here much abused by the mistake of our traveller; as,
    however erroneous their religious opinions, they worship the true God
    only, and abhor even the least semblance of idolatry.—­E.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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