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sent it to me saying, 'It will be safer in your hands. than in our own;' alluding to the revolutions in Hindostan. 'And yet,' said he, we have kept it, as some think, for near a thousand years.' 'I wish,' said I, 'that England may be able to keep it as long. In lookingover it, I find the very first proposed emendation of the Hebrew text by Dr. Kennicot (Gen. iy. 6,) in this manuscript; and, no doubt, it is the right reading. The disputed passage in 1 John v. 7, is not to be found in it; nor is this verse to be found in any copy of the Syriac scriptures which I have yet seen. But notwithstanding this omission, and notwithstanding the great display of learning in maintaining a contrary opinion, I believe the passage to be genuine. The view of these copies of the scriptures, and of the churches which contain them, still continues to excite a pleasing astonishment in my mind: and I sometimes question myself, whether I am indeed in India, in the midst of the Hindoos, and not far from the equinoctial line. How wonderful it is, that,
during the dark ages of Europe, whilst ignorance m and superstition, in a manner, denied the scriptures
to the rest of the world, the Bible should have found an asylum in the mountains of Malay-ala; where it was freely read by upwards of an hundred chuches!
“But there are other ancient documents in Malabar, not less interesting than the Syrian manuscripts. The old Portuguese historians relate, that soon after the arrival of their countrymen in India, about 300 years ago, the Syrian bishop of Angamalee (the place where I now am) deposited in the Fort of Cochin, for safe custody, certain tablets of brass, on which were engraved rights of nobility, and other privileges granted by a prince of a former age; and that ' while these tablets were under the charge of the Portuguese, they had been unaccountably lost, and were never after heard of. Adrian Moens, a governor of Cochin in 1770, who published some account of the Jews of Malabar, informs us that he
used every means in his power, for many years, to obtain a sight of the famed Christian plates; and was at length satisfied that they were irrecoverably lost, or rather, he added, that they never existed. The learned in general, and the antiquarian in particular, will be glad to hear that these ancient tablets have been recovered within this last month by the exertions of lieutenant colonel Macauley, the British resident in Travancore, and are now officially deposited with that officer.
"The Christian tablets are six in number. They 'are composed of a mixed metal. The engraving on the largest plate is thirteen inches long, by about four broad. They are closely written, four of them on both sides of the plate, making in all eleven pages. On the plate reputed to be the oldest, there is writing perspicuously engraved in nail headed or triangular headed letters, resembling the Persepolital or Babylonish. On the same plate there is writing in another character, which is supposed to have no affinity with any existing character in Hindostan. The grant on this plate appears to be witnessed by four Jews of rank, whose names are distinctly engraved in an old Hebrew character, resembling the alphabet called the Palmyrene: and to each name is prefixed the title of "magen" or chief, as the Jews translated it. It may be doubted whether there ex, ist in the world many documents of so great a length, which are of equal antiquity, and in such fauitless preservation, as the Christian tablets of Malabar. The Jews of Cochin indeed contest the palm of antiquity: for they also produce two tablets, containing privileges granted at a remote period; of which they presented to me a Hebrew translation. As no person can be found in this country who is able to trans-. late the Christian tablets, I have directed an engraver at Cochin to execute a copper-plate fac simile of the whole, for the purpose of transmitting copies to the learned societies in Asia and Europe. The
Christian and Jewish plates together make fourteen pages. A copy was sent in the first instance to the pundits of the Shanscrit college at Trichiur, by direction of the rajah of Cochin; but they could not read the character.* From this place I proceed to Cande-nad, to visit the bishop once more before I return to Bengal.”
THE MALABAR BIBLE.
After the author left Travancore, the bishop prosecuted the translation of the scriptures into the Malabar language without intermission, until he had completed the New Testament. The year following the author visited Travancore a second time, and carried the manuscript to Bombay to be printed! an excellent fount of Malabar types having been recently cast at that place. Learned natives went from Travancore to superintend the press; and it is probable that it is now nearly finished, as a copy of the gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark, beautifully printed, was received in England some time ago.This version of the scriptures will be prosecuted until the whole Bible is completed, and copies circulated throughout the Christian regions of Malabar.
THE SYRIAC BIBLE.
It has been further in contemplation to print an edition of the Syriac scriptures, if the public should countenance the design. This gift, it may be presumed; the English nation will be pleased to present to the Syrian Christians. We are already debtors
Most of the manuseripts which I collected among the Syrian Christians, 1 bave presented to the university o! Cambridge; and ihey are nou depo jted in the public library of that university, together with the cupper-plate fac similes of the Christian and Jewish tablets.
to that ancient people. They have preserved the manuscripts of the holy scriptures incorrupt, during a long series of ages, and have now committed them into our own hands. By their long and energetic defence of pure doctrine against anti-christian error, they are entitled to the gratitude and thanks of the rest of the Christian world. Further, they have preserved to this day the language in which our blessed Lord preached to men the glad tidings of salvation. Their scriptures, their doctrine, their language, in short, their very existence, all add something to the evidence of the truth of christianitv.
The motives then for printing an edition of the Syriac Bible are these:
1. To do honor to the language which was spoken by our blessed Saviour when upon earth.
2. To do honor to that ancient church, which has preserved his language and his doctrine.
3. As the means of perpetuating the true faith in the same church for ages to come.
4. As the means of preserving the pronunciation, and of cultivating the knowledge of the Syriac language in the east; and
5. As the means of reviving the knowledge of the Syriac language in our own nation.
On the author's return to England, he could not find one copy of the Syriac Bible in a separate volume for sale in the kingdom. He wished to send a copy to the Syrian bishop, as an earnest of more, when an edition should be printed.
The Syriac Bible is wanted not only by the churches of the Syrian Christians, but by the still more numerous churches of the Syro-Romish Christians in Malabar, who also use the Syriac language.
THE ROMISH CHRISTIANS IN INDIA.
In every age of the church of Rome there have been individuals, of an enlightened piety, who derived their religion not from "the commandments, of men," but from the doctrins of the Bible. There are at this day, in India and in England, members of that communion, who deserve the affection and respect of all good men; and whose cultivated minds will arraign the corruptions of their own religion, which the author is about to describe, more severly than he will permit hinself to do. He is indeed prepared to speak of Roman catholics with as much liberality as perhaps any protestant has ever attempted on Christian principless: for he is acquainted with individuals, whose unaffected piety he considers a reproach to a great body of protestants, even of the strictest sort. It is indeed painful to say any thing which may seem to feeling and noble minds ungencrous: but those enlightened persons whose good opinion it is desirable to preserve, will themselves be pleased to see that truth is not sacrificed to personal respect, or to a spurious candor. Their own church sets an example of “plainness of speech” in the assertion of those tenets which it professes, some of which must be extremely painful to the feeling of protestants, in their social intercourse with catholics; such as, “That there is no salvation out of the pale of the Romish church.”
This exclusive character prevents concord and ine timacy between protestant and catholic families. On the principles of infidelity they can associate very easily; but on the principles of religion, the protestant must ever be on the defensive; for the Romish church excommunicates him: and although he must hope that some individuals do not maintain the tenet, yet his uncertainty as to the fact prevents that cordiality which he desires. Many excellent catholics suffer