« EdellinenJatka »
concerning forms of worship; whether Christ intended that his church should have the same form under the burning line, and in a country of frost and
“Udiamper, December, 1806. "From Cande-nad I returned to the sea-coast to visit lieutenant colonel Macaulay, the British resident in Travancore. He is at present on the island of Bal-gatty, called by the natives the Pepper-Jungle. I have derived much valuable information from this intelligent officer, who possesses a better knowledge of the south of India, than I suppose, any other European. He is a gentleman of a highly cultivated mind, of much various learning, and master of several languages. To these attainments he adds a quality which does not always accompany them. He is the friend of christianity. After residing with him a few days, he accompanied me in a tour to the interior. We first visited Udiamper, or as it is called by the Portuguese writers, Diam. per. This was formerly the residence of Beliarte, king of the Christians; and here is the Syrian church at which archbishop Menezes from Goa, convened the synod of the Syrian clergy in 1599, when he burned the Syriac and Chaldaic books. The Syrians report that while the flames ascended, he went round the church in procession, chaunting a song of triumph.
"From Udiamper, colonel Macaulay accompanired me to Cande-nad, to visit the Syrian bishop a second time. He told us he had commenced the trans lation of the scriptures. He was rather indisposed, and said he felt the infirmities of advanced years, liis age being now seventy-eight, I promised to see him once more before I left the country."
"Cranganore, 9th Dec. 1806. “This is that celebrated place of Christiat antiquiwhere the apostle Thomas is said to have landed,
when he first arrived in India from Aden in Arabia. There was formerly a town and fort at Cranganore, the Portuguese having once thought of making it the emporium of their commerce in India; but both are now in ruins. There is however one subsian. tial relic of its greatness. There is an archbishop of Cranganore, and subject to him there are fortyfive churches; many of which I entered. In some of them the worship is conducted with as much decorum as in the Romish churches of western Ireland. Not far from Cranganore is the town of Paroor, where there is an ancient Syrian church, which bears the name of the apostle Thomas. It is supposed to be the oldest in Malabar, and is still used for divine service. I took a drawing of it, The tradition among the Syrians is, that the apostle continued at this place for a time, before he went to preach at Melapoor and St. Thomas's Mount, on the coast of Coromandel, where he was put to death. The fact is certainly of little consequence; but I am satisfied that we have as good authority for believing that the apostle Thomas died in India, as that the apostle Peter died in Rome.”
“Verapoli, December, 1806. “This is the residence of bishop Raymondo, the pope's apostolic vicar in Malabar. There is a college here for the sacerdotal office, in which the stu. dents (from ten to twenty in number) are instructed in the Latin and Syriac languages. At Pulingunna there is another college, in which the Syriac alone is taught. Here I counted twelve students. The apostolic vicar superintends sixty-four churches; exclusive of the forty-five governed by the arch. bishop of Cranganore, and exclusive of the large dioceses of the bishops of Cochin and of Quilon, whose churches extend to Cape Comorin, and are visible from the sea. The view of this assemblage of Christian congregations excited in my mind
mingled sensations of pleasure and regret; of pieasure to think that so many of the Hindoos had been rescued from the idolatry of Brahma, and its crimi. nal worship, and of regret when I reflected that there was not to be found among the whole body, one copy of the Holy Bible.
“The apostolic Vicar is an Italian, and corresponds with the society 'de propaganda fide.' He is a man of liberal manners, and gave me free access to the archives of Verapoli, which are upwards of two centuries old. In the library I found many volumes marked liber hereticus prohibitus. Every step I take in Christian India. I meet with a memento of the inquisition. The apostolical vicar, however, does not acknowledge its authority, and places himself under British protection. He spoke of the inquisition with just indignation, and, in the presence of the British resident, called i: 'a horrid tribu. nal. I asked him whether he thought I might with safety visit the inquisition, when I past Goa; there being at this time a British force in its vicinity. It asserted a personal jurisdiction over natives who were now British subjects: and it was proper the English government should know something of its present state.
The bishop answered, 'I do not know what you might do, under the protection of a British force; but I should not like (smiling, and pressing his capacious sides,) to trust my body in their hands.'
“We then had some conversation on the subject of giving the scriptures to the native Roman catholics. I had heard before that the bishop was by no means hostile to the measure. I told him that I should probably find the means of translating the scriptures into the Malabar language, and wished to know whether he had any objection to this mode of illuminating the ignorant minds of the native Christians. He said he had none. I visited the bishop two or three times afterwards. At our last inter
view he said, 'I have been thinking of the good gift you are meditating for the native Christians; but believe me, the inquisition will endeavor to counteract your purposes by every means in their power.' I afterwards conversed with an intelligent native priest, who was well acquainted with the state and character of the Christians, and asked him whether he thought they would be happy to obtain the scriptures? “Yes,' answered he, 'those who have heard of them. I asked if he had got a bible himself? No, he said; but he had seen one at Goa.""
* Angamalee, a Syrian town containing threechurches,
-- January, 1807. "I have penetrated once more inland, to visit the Syrian churches. At the town of Cenotta, I was surprised to meet with Jews and Christians in the same street. The Jews led me first to their Synagogue,
and allowed me to take away some manuscripts for money. The Syrian Christians then conducted me to their ancient church. I afterwards sat down on an eminence above the town, to contemplate this interesting spectacle; a Jewish synagogue, and a Christian church, standing over against each other; exhibiting, as it were, during many revolving ages, the law and the gospe, to the view of the heathen people.
“Angamalee is one of the most remote of the Syrian towns in this direction, and is situated on a high land. This was once the residence of the Syrian bishop. The inhabitants told me, that when Tippoo Sultan invaded Travancore, a detachment of his cavalry penetrated to Angamalee, where they expected to find great wealth, from its ancient fame. Being Mahomedans, they expressed their abhorrence of the Christian religion, by destroying one of the lesser churches, and stabling their horses in the
In this place I have found a good many valuable manuscripts. I had been led to sup
pose, from the statement of the Portuguese histori. ans, that possibly all the Syriac MSS. of the Bible had been burned by the Romish church at the synod of Diamper, in 1599. But this was not the case. The inquisitors condemned many books to the flames; but they saved the Bible; being content to order that the Syriac scriptures should be amended agreeably to the vulgate of Rome. But many bibles and other volumes were not produced at all. In the acts of the council of Nice it is recorded, that Johannes, bishop of India, signed his name at that council in the year three hundred and twenty-five. The Syriac version of the scriptures was brought to India according to the popular belief, before the year three hundred and twenty-five. Some of their present copies are certainly of ancient date. Though written on a strong thick paper, like that of some MSS. in the British museum, commonly called eastern paper, the ink has, in several places, eat through the material in the exact form of the letter. In other copies, where the ink had less of a corroding quality, it has fallen off, and left a dark vestige of the letter, faint indeed, but not in general illegible. There is a volume, which was deposited in one of the remote churches, near the mountains, which merits a particular description. It contains the old and new testaments, engrossed on strong vellum, in large folio, having three columns in a page; and is written with beautiful accuracy. The character is Estrangelo Syriac; and the words of every book are numbered. But the volume has suffered injury from time or neglect. In certain places the ink has been totally obliterated from the page, and left the parchment in its state of natural whiteness: but the letters can, in general, be distinct. ly traced from the impress of the pen, or from the partial corrosion of the ink. I scarcely expected that the Syrian church would have parted with this manuscript. But the bishop was pleased to pre