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putation, two hundred thousand Christians ready to receive them. Many of the Persians themselves would read the Bible with avidity if presented to them in an inviting form. The cause of the little jealousy of christianity in Persia, compared with that which is found in other Mahomedan States, is to be ascribed to these two circumstances; first, that christianity has always existed in Persia: the Christian natives forming a considerable part of the population; and secondly, that the Persians-themselves profess so lax a system of Islamism that they have been accounted by some Mussulmen a kind of heretics.
It will form an epoch in the history of Persia, when a version of the Old and New Testaments shall begin to be known generally in that country. But the narrative of Nadir Shah's attempt sufficiently proves that no ordinary scholar is. qualified to undertake it. The author of such a translation must be a perfect master of the Arabic language, the mother of the Persic, and familiar with the popular and classical Persian. He must, moreover, have access to the scriptures in their original tongues. Such a person, we think, has been found in Sabat of Arabia, who is accounted by competent judges, “to be the first Arabic scholar of the age.”* He has been employed for nearly four years past in translating the scriptures into the Persian and Arabic languages, in conjunction with Mirza Filrut of Lucknow, and other learned natives. Mirza is himself a Persian by descent, and a man of liberal learning among his coutrymen. He visited England some years ago, and was afterwards appointed a Persian teacher and a translator of the scriptures in the college of Fort-, William. These versions by Şabat and Mirza, are conducted under the superintendance of the rev.Henry Martyn, who is himself an Arabic and Persian scholar, and skilled in the original tongues of the
See Report of Translations by Rev. Henry Martyn, hereafter quoted.
sacred scriptures. He is a chaplain to the honorable the East India company, and is now stationed at Cawnpore in Bengal, where his learned coadjutors also reside. The gospels of St. Matthew and Luke, translated by Sabat into the Persian language, have already been printed; and eight hundred copies are statedin the last report, dated May one thousand eight hundredand ten, to have been deposited in the Bibliotheca Biblica, at Calcutta, for sale.
Arabia was the country in which St. Paul first opened his heavenly ministry. “When it pleased God," said that apostle, “who called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with fresh and blood; neither went I up to Jerusalem, but I went into Arabia,”—Gal. i. 17. Chris. tianity flourished very extensively in Arabia, during the first centuries. History informs us, that "the disciples of Christ had filled its provinces 'with the churches of God;"* and frequent mention is made, in the early monuments, of the bishops of Arabia.t This early influence of the gospel in that region might be expected; for Arabia adjoins Palestine; and the climate of the country, and the manners and customs of the people, are nearly the same.f
There are some circumstances which remarkably distinguish Arabia; a recollection of which, in connexion with others, ought now to draw our attention
* Θεου γας Εκκλησιων οι Χριστου μαθηται τας χωρας ταυτασ eta mewoav... Procopius Gaz. Es, xi 14.
See them enumerated in Beveridge's Canones Conciliorum. The bishop of Busorah was present at the council of Antioch in A. D. 269.
# Ομορους δη οντας τους Ιουδαιοις εικος και πρωτους το κηρυμα DEŽaobao.
Being neighbors to the Jews, it was likely that they should first receive the gospel, Proc. ubi supray
to it. Arabia was inhabited by the first generations of men. There it pleased the Creator first to reveal himself to his creatures; and in its vicinity the Son of God assumed the human nature. In Arabia, the faculties of the human mind attain to as high a degree of strength and vigor, even at this day,* as in any other country in the world; and the gymmetry and beauty of the human person in Arabia are not surpassed by any other portion of the human race.t
Arabia is also remarkable on another account. It was the theatre of the grand defection from christianity, by the Mahomedan delusion, which was to extend to "a third part of men.” This predicted apostacy was to be effected, not by returning to paganism, but by a corruption of christianity; that is, by admitting some part of the former revelation of God, and pretending to a new revelation. The de lusion itself is aptly compared in the prophecy concérningit, to "smoke issuing from the bottomless pit;” and its great extent is expressed by its "darkening the sun and the air." And since this defection was to be produced by a corruption of revealed truth, it was necessary that the scriptures should be first corrupted; for where the genuine scriptures are in the hands of men, there is little danger of gene. ral infidelity. Accordingly, this preparative for the
regard my pre B. Mr Mariol; and he he
.See letter from the rev. Henry Martyn, concerning Sabat, quoted in "The Star in the East.” “At intervals I read Persian poetry with Mirza, and the koran with Sabat. These orientals, with whom I translate the scriptures, require me to point out the connexion between every two sentences, which is often inore than I can do. It is curious how accurately they observe all the rules of writing. Sabat, though a real Christian, has not lost a jot of his Arabian notions of superiority. He looks upon Europeans as mushrooms; and seems to regård my pretentions to any learning, as we should regard those of & sivage or an ape." X, B. Mr Martyn was senior wrangler, or first mathematician of his year, at Cambridge, in 1801; and he had now been two years in society with Sabat.
An intelligent Arabian, who had seen the English in India, observed to the author, that he thought the minds of the English far superior to their persons. at deemed to him, that there was nothing striking or noble in the English countenance, compared with the dignity and beauty of the Arabians; that the faces were in general flat and torpid, and the eyes wi hout fire. The author informed him, that the English were composed of different nations, and most of these from cold and northern climates; that hence there was a great diversity in their appearance, some being of very ordinary aspect, and others of a dignity and beauty which even an Arabian would adinire.
Rey, ix, 2.
great imposture took place in the fifth and sixth centuries. During that period, corrupt and apocryphal gospels prevailed so generally in Arabia and in the neighboring regions, that it is even doubtful whether Mahomed himself ever saw a genuine copy of the New Testament. It has been argued by learned men, from the internal evidence of his composition, that he did not. But now even the apocryphal gospels have vanished from view, by the long prevalence of the koran.
But the duration of this delusion was to have a limit. “The smoke was to darken the sun and the air” only for a definite period. This period is expressed in prophetic scripture in a three-fold form of words to evince its certainty.
i. “The holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months,”* Rev. xi, 2. This marks the period of the Mahomedan power. The same expression is applied afterwards to the duration of the papal power. The depression of the true faith was of course to last the same time; as expressed in the two following sentences.
2. “The witnesses (for the true faith) shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days, clothed in sackcloth,”|--Rey. xi, 3.
3. “The woman (or church of Christ) fed into the wilderness, and was nourished for a time, times, and half a time.”
This last expression, "a time, times, and half a time,” is also used by the prophet Daniel, who foretells the same events, to mark the period when God shall “have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people," and shall terminate his indignation against Israel.-Dan. xii, 7.
It is very well known in the east at what time Mahomed appeared. Let the Mahomedan then be
*A day for a year; 42 months=12X301260 days ....=1260 years.
A day for a year; 1260 days ......=1260 years. IA time, times, and half a time a year, two years and ha of a year=forty-two months=1260 days ........
informed, that he is to count twelve hundred and sixty years from the Hejira, and then expect the fulfilment of a remarkable prophecy, made by Christ, whom the koran acknowledges to be “a true prophet.” Let him be informed explicitly, that the reign of mahomedanism will then have an end. And, if he be unwilling to believe this, ask him if he does not already perceive the decline of mahomedanism. If he beignorant of this fact, inform him of the history of events. Instruct him, that the corruption of christianity in the west by the pope, was coeval with the corruption of christianiti in the east by Mahomed; that the decline of both these powers is, at this time, equally advanced; and that the fall of both is to be contemporaneous. If he be ignorant of the decline of papal Rome, the Roman catholic in the east will declare it to him.
Is there any man, calling himself a Christian, who thinks that these prophecies are dubious? If it be true that God hath, at any time, revealed himself to man, they are most certain. The author would here observe, that the inattention of men in general to the fulfilment of the divine predictions, does not proceed so commonly from principles of infidelity as from ignorance of facts,~-pure ignorance of historical facts. There are men of liberal education in England, who are more ignorant of the history of the world, ancient and modern, in connexion with the revelation of God, than some Hindoos and Arabians, whom we know in the east, who have not been Christians above a few years. Our Saviour reprehended this neglect of “the word spoken from heaven" in these words; "Ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye cannot discern this time?"-Luke xii, 56. . * The author has noticed the foregoing circumstances in connexion with Arabia, to illustrate the importance of preparing a version of the scriptures for that country, at the present era. But the Arabic