Far Off eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 204 pages of information about Far Off.
There are no grand mosques in Circassia, because there are no towns:  but in every little village there is a clay cottage, where prayers are offered up in the name of Mahomet.  There can be no minaret to such a miserable mosque:  so the man who calls the hours of prayer, climbs a tall tree, by the help of notches, and getting into a basket at the top, makes the rocks and hills resound with his cry.  How different shall be the sound one day heard in every land; when all people shall believe in Jesus.  “Then shall the inhabitants of the rocks sing—­then shall they shout from the top of the mountains, and give glory unto the Lord” and not to Mahomet. (Is. xlii. 11, 12.)

But though the Circassians call themselves Mahomedans, they keep many of their old customs, and these customs show that they once heard about Christ.

It is their custom to dedicate every boy to God:  but not really to God, for in truth they dedicate him to the cross.  Let me give you an account of one of the feasts of dedication.

The place of meeting was a green, shaded by spreading oak-trees.  In the midst stood a cross.  Each family who came to the feast, brought a little table, and placed it before the cross; and on each table, there were loaves, and a sort of bread called “pasta.”  There was a blazing fire on the green, round which the elder women sat, while the younger preferred the shade of a thicket.  The priest took a loaf of bread in one hand, and in the other, a large cup of shuat, (a kind of wine) and holding them out towards the cross, blessed them.  While he did this, men, women, and children, knelt around, and bowed their heads to the ground.  Afterwards, the shuat and the bread were handed about amongst the company.  But this was only the beginning of the feast.  Afterwards, a calf, a sheep, and two goats were brought to the cross to be blessed.  Then a little of their hair was singed by a taper, and then they were taken away to be slaughtered.  Now the merriment began:  some moved forward to cut up the animals, and to boil their flesh in large kettles on fires kindled on the green; many young men amused themselves with racing, leaping, and hurling stones, while the elder people sat and talked.  When the meat was boiled, it was distributed among the sixty tables, and then the priest blessed the food.  And then the feasting began.  Does it not seem as if the Circassians must once have learned about Jesus crucified, and about his supper of bread and wine, and about the Jewish feasts and sacrifices?  Once, perhaps, they knew the true religion, but they soon forgot it, and though they still remember the Cross, they have forgotten Christ; and though they still bless the bread and the cup, they know nothing of redeeming love.  Do you not long to send missionaries to Circassia?  Well, some good Scotch missionaries went there some years ago, but alas! the Russians sent them away.  Their thatched cottages may still be seen, and their

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Far Off from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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