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fortune suitably. And now, the prospect which opens to his view of being more extensively useful than before, in encouraging translations of the Scriptures, in promoting the objects of the Bible Society, and in educating his sons for the Oriental Church, makes him willing to remain a few years longer in India.
A LEARNED author, in a work published about the beginning of the last century, entitled “The
Light of the Gospel, rising on all nations," observes, “ that the Armenian Christians will “ be most eminently qualified for the office of “extending the knowledge of Christianity " throughout the nations of Asia.”# This is undoubtedly true. Next to the Jews, the Armenians will form the most generally useful body of Christian Missionaries. They are to be found in every principal city of Asia; they are the general merchants of the East, and are in a state of constant motion from Canton to Constantinople. Their general character is that of wealthy, industrious, and enterprising people
* Fabricii Lux Evangelii, p. 651.
They are settled in all the principal places of India, where they arrived many centuries before the English. Wherever they colonize, they build Churches, and observe the solemnities of the Christian Religion in a decorous manner. Their Ecclesiastical Establishment in Hindoostan is more respectable than that of the English. Like us, they have three Churches in the three capitals, one at Calcutta, one at Madras, and one at Bombay ; but they have also Churches in the interior of the country.* The Bishop sometimes visits Calcutta; but he is not resident there. The proper country of these Christians is Armenia, the greater part of which is subject to the Persian Government; but they are scattered all over the Empire, the commerce of Persia being chiefly conducted by Armenians. 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 corruptions. The Pope assailed them for a time with great violence, but with little effect. The Churches in lesser Ar
* In Bengal alone, they have Churches at Dacca, Sydabad, and Chinsurah.
menia indeed consented to an union which did not long continue; but those in Persian Armenia maintained their independence; and they retain their ancient Scripture, doctrines, and worship, to this day. of It is marvellous,” says an intelligent traveller, who was much among them, “ how the Armenian Christians have
pre" served their faith, equally against the vexati“ous oppression of the Mahomedans their Sore
reigns, and against the persuasions of the “Romish Church, which for more than two “ centuries has endeavoured, by Missionaries, “ Priests, and Monks, to attach them to her “ Communion. It is impossible to describe the “ artifices and expences of the Court of Rome, “ to effect this object; 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 us. It has been allowed, by competent judges of the language, to be a most faithful translation. La Croze calls it “ The
Queen of Versions."'t This Bible has ever re
* Chardin, vol. II. p. 232.
+ Mt. Joannes Lassar, who is now making a version of the Scriptures in the Chinese Language, in Bengal, is an Arme
mained in the possession of the Armenian people; and many illustrious instances of genuinc and enlightened piety occur in their history. The manuscript copies not being sufficient for the demand, a council of Armenian Bishops assembled in 1662, and resolved to call in aid the art of Printing, 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 at Amsterdam in 1666, and afterwards two other editions in 1668 and 1698. 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 purchased at any price.
The Armenians in Hindoostan are our own
nian Christian, and translates chiefly from the Armenian Bible. But he also understands English, and consults the Englisb version.
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 to heaven among the Hindoos, as we ourselves. Are such a people then entitled to no acknowledgment on our part, as fellow-Christians ? Are they for ever to be ranked by us with Jews, Mahomedans, and Hindoos?"* Would it not become us to approach nearer to these our subjects, endeavour 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 of printing, which they have not. Let us print
* Sarkies Joannes, an Armenian merchant of Calcutta, 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 in miniature. Sarkies wore the Royal present suspended at his breast, during his life ; and it is now worn by his son, when he appears at the levee of the Governor-general.