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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.
1. “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,"--Rev. xi, 3.
3. “The woman (or church of Christ) filed into the wilderness, and was nourished for a time, times, and half a time.”I
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.-- Dao. 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; 49 months=12730=1260 days ... =1260 years. İA time, times, and half a times a year, two years and half } of a year forty-two month-21260 days
A day for a year; 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 telieve this, ask him if he does not already perceive the decline of maho*medanism. If he be ignorant 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 christianit 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
language hath gone forth far beyond the bounds of Arabia, and is known to almost a third part of men”. in the east. The koran has consecrated it in the eyes of millions, in central Asia, on the continent of Africa, and in the Isles of the Indian ocean.
A version of the whole Bible in Arabic has come down to us; but it is now antiquated, like the Per. sian, both in dialect and orthography. It does not appear that any composition in a living language, of a higher date than about five hundred years, can be of popular use, unless we learn it from our infancy, The language of our own scriptures becomes now peculiar in many respects, and distinct from the popular speech. It is supposed, that the Arabic translation is upwards of a thousand years old. Had there been no interruption in the profession of christianity in Arabia, the ancient translation might possibly have sufficed: in like manner as the Hebrew is still understood by the Jews, and the Syriac by the Syrian Christians. But when a new religion is to be proposed to a people, we must use the most dig. nified medium, and present it in the language which is in popular use. The present Arabic translation in the Polyglot is perfectly intelligible to those who will study it with a lexicon; but we certainly cannot offer it at this time as conveying the meaning of the Christian scriptures to the land of Yemen, or Arabia the happy.
Soon after Sabat, the Arabian, had been converted to christianity, * the object which chiefly occupied his thoughts, was a translation of the scriptures for his native country. He himself could easily read and understand the existing translation; for he is a learned man, and acquainted radically with every dialect of the language; and it was by means of that translation that he himself became a Christian;t but
see an account of his angversion in the “Star in the East."
The copy of the New Testament, which fell into the hands of Sabat, was one of the editions published in 1747, by “The Society for promoting Christien
he says he should be ashamed to offer the Bible to his countrymen in its present form ; such a version would neither be acceptable to the learned, nor intelligible to the unlearned.
This noble Arabian has been now three years, or more, employed in translating the scriptures into the Arabic language, with the aid of other learned Asiatics, under the superintendance of the Rev. H. Martyn, who has himself been long a student of the Arabic tongue. Mr. Martyn has lately stated their reasons for undertaking a new translation, which the author will hear subjoin, in deference to the learned at home, who may think some further explanation necessary.
“Of the Arabic version of the Polyglot, the late professor Carlyle, in his copy of proposals for printing a new edition of it, speaks in the highest terms, and observes, that it was used both by Jews and Christians as a faithful and elegant representation of their respective books of faith. But even sup posing that both Jews and Christians are satisfied with the translation, no one, who has had an opportunity of observing the degraded state of these people in the East, would admit them as competent judges of the Arabic. The professor has adduced, in favor of the version in question, the opinions of Erpenius, Gabriel Sionita, and Pocock; 'names of high consideration in Arabic learning, particularly the last. It is certain, however, that such of the Mahomedans as have seen this version, think very differently of it. If we would invite the fastidious Mussulman to review the sacred law which he supposes abrogated, let us not neglect our present op. portunities; but, with such an instrument as Sabat in
knowledge," revised by Solomon Negri. An investment of these Arabic Testaments, was sent about 1739, to the society s missionaries in Calcutta, who circulated them through different provinces. The following is a well-attested fact: they sent some copies to the Mahomedan Priests at Delhi, who request ed that the supply might be continued." See proceedings of the society of that period.
our possession, let us attempt at least, to send forth the scriptures in a style which shall command respect, even in Nujed and Hejaz."
Mr. Martyn adverts to the new edition of the Polyglot translation, now publishing in England, ander the patronage of the bishop of Durham, and highly commends the design. “We rejoice," writes he, "to hear that the old Polyglot is going forth at last in a new. dress. It may be useful to some in Asia, as it was to Sabat.” And in regard to the extent of country through which the Arabic is spoken, he observes that the Arabic translation is of more importance than one fourth of all the translations now in hand. "We will begin,” says he, "to preach to Arabia, Syria, Persia; Tartary, part of India and of China, half of Africa, all the sea-coast of the Mediterranean and Turkey: and one tongue shall suffice for them all.”
The proposal for publishing the Arabic Bible has already met with a very liberal patronage in India. It is intended to publish an edition of the New Testament, in a splendid form, for the use of the chief men in Arabia and Persia, resembling, as nearly as possible, their own beautiful writing. The universities, and literary bodies in Europe, will, no doubt be disposed to subscribe for some copies of this truly classical work. It is stated in the last accounts, dated May 1810, that the translation of the New Testament was expected to be finished by the end of the present year, 1811.
THE ARABIC SCHOOL
TRANSLATION OF THE SCRIPTURES.
The Rev. Henry Martyn, B. D. Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, went out to India about five years ago. His qualifications for the general superintendance of scriptural translation, are truly