« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
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 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 Christianity. The motives then for printing an edition of the Syriac Bible are these : 1. To do honour to the language which was spoken by our blessed Saviour when upon earth. 2. To do honour 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 SyroRomish 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 com
mandments of men,” but from the doctrines 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 severely
than he will permit himself to do. He is in
deed prepared to speak of Roman Catholics with as much liberality as perhaps any Protestant has ever attempted on Christian principles: 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 nobleminds ungenerous; 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 candour. 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 intimacy 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 unjustly in their intercourse with Protestants, from the ancient and exclusive articles of their own Church, which they themselves neither profess nor believe. If they will only intimate to their Protestant friends, that they renounce the exclusive principle, and that they profess the religion of the Bible, no more seems requisite to form with such persons the sincerest friendship on Christian principles. At the present time we see the Romish Religion in Europe without dominion; and hence it is viewed by the mere philosopher with indif. ference or contempt. He is pleased to see, that the “seven heads and the ten horns” are taken away; and thinks nothing of the “ names of “blasphemy.” But in the following pages, the Author will have occasion to shew what Rome is, as having dominion; and possessing it too within the boundaries of the British Empire. In passing through the Romish Provinces in the East, though the Author had before heard much of the Papal corruptions, he certainly did not expect to see Christianity in the degraded state in which he found it. Of the Priests it may truly be said, that they are, in general, better acquainted with the Veda of Brahma than with the Gospel of Christ. In some places the doctrines of both are blended. At Aughoor, situated between Tritchinopoly and Madura, he witnessed (in October 1806) the Tower of Juggernaut employed to solemnize a Christian festival. The old Priest Josephus accompanied him, when he surveyed the idolatrous car and its painted figures, and gave him a particular account of the various ceremonies which are performed, seemingly unconscious himself of any impropriety in them. The Author went with him afterwards into the Church, and seeing a book lying on the altar, opened it; but the Reader may judge of his surprize, when he found it was a Syriac volume, and was informed that the Priest himself was a descendant of the Syrian Christians, and belonged to what is now called the Syro-Roman Church, the whole service of which is in Syriac.—Thus, by the intervention of the Papal power, are the ceremonies of Moloch consecrated in a manner by the sacred Syriac Language. What a heavy responsibility lies on Rome, for having thus corrupted and degraded that pure and ancient Church :