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merce of Persia being chiefly conducted by Arme. nians. Their patriarch resides at Erivan, not far from mount Ararat.
The history of the Armenian church is very interesting. Of all the Christians in central Asia, they have preserved themselves most free from Mahomedan and Papal corruptiors. The pope assailed them for a time with great violence, but with little effect. The churches in lesser Armenia, indeed, consented to an union, which did not long continue, but those in Persian Armenia maintained their independence; and they retain their ancient scriptures, doctrines and worship, to this day. “It is marvellous," says an intelligent traveller, who was much among them, "how the Armenian Christians have preserved their faith, equally against the vexatious oppression of the Mahomedans, their sovereigns, and against the persuasions of the Romish church, which for more than two centuries has endeavored, ly missionaries, priests and monks, to attach them to her communion. It is impossible to describe the artifices and expenses of the court of Rome, to effect this objeet; but all in vain."*
The Bible was translated into the Armenian language in the fifth century, under very auspicious circumstances, the history of which has come down to
It has been allowed by competent judges of the language, to be a most faithful translation. La Croze calls it the "Queen of Versions.”+ This Bible has ever remained in the possession of the Armenian people; and many illustrious instances of genuine and enlightened piety occur in their history, The manuscript copies not being suficient for the demand, a council of Arinenian bishops assembled in 1662, and resolved to call into aid the art of print.
• Chardin, rol. ii, p. 232.
Mr. Joannes Lassar, who is now making a version of the scriptures in the Chinese language in Bengal, is an Armenian Christian, and translates chiefly from the Armenian Bible. But he alsu understands I'nglish, and consults t1:4 English version.
ing of which they had heard in Europe. For this purpose they applied first to France, but the catholic church refused to print their Bible. At length it was printed in Amsterdain, in sixteen hundred and sixty-six, and afterwards two other editions in sixteen hundred and sixty-eight and sixteen hundred and ninety-eight. Since that time it has been printed at Venice. One of the editions which the author has seen, is not inferior, in beauty of typography, to the best English Bible. How far these editions might have supplied the churches in Persia at that time, he does not know; but, at present, the Armenian scriptures are very rare in that country, bearing no proportion to the Armenian population; and, in India, a copy is scarcely to be puschased at any price.
The Armenians in Hindostan, are our own subjects. They acknowledge our government in India, as they do that of the Sophi in Persia; and they are entitled to our regard. They have preserved the Bible in its purity; and their doctrines are, as far as the author knows, the doctrines of the Bible. Besides, they maintain the solemn observance of Christian worship, throughout our empire, on the seventh day; and they have as many spires pointing towards heaven among the Hindoos, as we ourselves. Are such a people then entitled to no acknowledgment on our part, as fellow Christians? Are they forever to be ranked by us with Jews, Mahomedans, and Hindoos!* Would it not be. come us to approach nearer to these our subjects, endeavor to gain their confidence, and conciliate their esteem? Let us, at least, do that which is easily practicable. We are in possession of the means
Sarkies Joannes, an Armenian merchant of Caleutta, when he heard of the king's recovery from illness in 1789, liberated all the prisoners for debt in the gaol of Calcutta. His Majesty hearing of this instance of loyalty in an Armenian subject, sent him his picture la Miniature. Sarkies wore the royal present suspended at his breast, during his life; and it is now worn by his son, wben lie appears at the leree of the governor-general.
of printing, which they have not. Let us print the Armenian bible, and employ proper persons from among themselves to superintend the work, and encourage them to disperse their own faithful copy throughout the east. Let us shew them that the diffusion of the scriptures is an undertaking to which we are not indifferent; and, by our example, let us stimulate their zeal, which is very languid. But, however languid their zeal may be, it is certain that they consider the English as being yet more dead to the interests of religion, than themselves. Such a subject as this, indeed every subject which is of great importance to christianity, is worthy the notice of our government, as well as of individuals and societies. The printing press, which shall be employed in multiplying copies of the pure Armenian bible, will prove a precious fountain for the evangelization of the east; and the oriental Bible Repository at Calcutta will be a central and convenient place for its dispersion.
Before the author left India, he published a “Memoir of the expediency of an ecclesiastical establishment" for our empire in the east. The design of that work was first suggested to hiñ by the reverend Dr. Porteus, late bishop of London, who had attentively surveyed the state of our dominions in Asia; and he was encouraged by subsequent cominunications with the Marquis Wellesley, to endeavor to lead the attention of the nation to the subject. That publication has now been four years before the public; and many volumes have been written on the various subjects which it contains: but he does not know that any objection has been
made to the principle of an ecclesiastical establishment for Christians in India. An attempt has been made indeed to divert the attention from the true object, and, instead of considering it as an establishment for Christians, to set it forth as an establishment for instructing the Hindoos. But the instruction of the Hindoos is entirely a distinct consideration, as was carefully noted in the memoir. At the end of the first part is the following paragraph:
“It will be remembered, that nothing which has been observed is intended to imply that any peculiar provision should be made immediately for the instruction of the natives. Any expensive establishment of this kind, however becoming our national character, or obligatory on our principles, cannot possibly be organized to efficient purpose, without the aid of a local church. Let us first establish out own religion amongst ourselves, and our Asiatic subjects will soon benefit by it. When once our national church shall have been confirmed in India, the members of that church will be the best qualified to advise the state, as to the means by which, from time to time, the civilization may be promoted."*
An ecclisiastical establishment would yet be necessary for British India, if there were not a Ma. homedan or Hindoo in the land. For, besides the thousands of British Christians, who live and die in that country, there are hundreds of thousands of native Christians, who are at this moment “as sheep without a shepherd;” and who are not insensible to their destitute estate, but supplicate our countenance and protection. Surely the measure cannot be contemplated by the legislature, for a moment, without perceiving its absolute propriety, on the common principles of justice and humanity.
In regard to the other subject, the instruction of the Hindoos, many different opinions have been de
• Memoir. p. 28.
livered in the volumes alluded to, the most promi. nent of which are the two following: First, That Hirdooism is, upon the whole, as good as Christianity, and that therefore conversion to Christianity, is not necessary. This deserves no reply.
The secs ond opinion is, that it is indeed a sacred duty to convert the Hindoos, but that we must not do it by force. With this opinion the author perfectly coincides. To convert men by any other means than those of persuasion, is a practice fit only for the inquisition, and completely at variance with the tenor of every page which he has written. The means of conversion, which he has recommended, are those which are appointed in Holy Scriptures, namely, Preaching the word of God." The first and present means are the translation of the word of God into the various languages; and the next are the labors of teachers and preachers.
The author is not; nor has he ever been, the advocate för force and personal injury toward the Jlindoos. No: he pleads the cause of humanity. The object of his work, and of his researches, has been to deliver the people of Hindostan from painful and sanguinary rites; to rescue the devoted victim from the wheels of Moloch's Tower, to snatch the tender infant from the jaws of the alligator; to save the aged parent from premature death in the Ganges; to extinguish the flames of the female sacrifice, and to "cause the widow's heart to sing for joy."
Another object of his work has been, to shew, that while the feelings of the Christian are painfully affected by the exhibition of these sufferings and atro.
ties, infidelity, on the one hand, can behold them, and does behold them, with all the coldness and apathy of Voltaire. And this is the great practical triumph of Christianity over philosophical unbelief. While by the former, the best feelings of our nature ama melintater, and improved, and softened, and! (x