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Bouguese.* The natives of Celebes are distinguished for their vigour of mind, and strength of body; and are acknowledged to be the first of the Orang Timor, or Eastern men. Literature was formerly cultivated among them. Dr. Leyden enumerates fifty-three different volumes. “Their songs,” says he, “and romances, are “ famous among all the islands of the East.” Their language extends to other islands, for they formerly carried their conquests beyond the Moluccas. The man who shall first translate the Bible into the language of the Celebes, will probably be read by as many islanders as have read the translation of Wickliffe. Let us consider how long these nations have waited for Christian instruction, and contemplate the words of the prophecy, “ The isles shall wait “ for HIS Law." Is. xliii. 4.
The facilities for civilizing the Malayan isles are certainly very great; and these, facilities are our strongest encouragement to make the attempt. Both in our translation of the Scriptures, and in missions to the heathen, we should avoid, as much as possible, what may be called
* Lord Minto notices in his Speech to the College of FortWilliam, that Thos. Raffles, Esq. Secretary to the Government in Prince of Wales's Island, is employed in compiling a code of Malay laws, in the Malay and Bouguese Languages,
enterprise. Let us follow the path that is easy and secure, and make use of those means which are already afforded to us by Providence. Thus the most valuable and important translation of the Scriptures will be that for which a people are already prepared, such as the Malayalim, the Cingalese, and Malay. And the most judiciously planned Missions will be those where there is a prospect of personal security to the teachers; and (judging from human probability) the greatest facilities for the conversion of the people.
SYRIAN CHRISTIANS IN INDIA.
The Syrian Christians inhabit the interior of Travancore and Malabar, in the South of India, and have been settled there from the early ages of Christianity. The first notices of this ancient people, in recent times, are to be found in the Portuguese histories. When Vasco de Gama arrived at Cochin, on the coast of Malabar, in the year 1503, he saw the sceptre of the Chris, tian King; for the Syrian Christians liad formerly regal power in Malay-Ala.* The name
* Malay-Ala is the proper name for the whole country of Travancore and Malabar, comprehending the territory between
or title of their last King was Beliarte; and he dying without issue, the dominion devolved on the King of Cochin and Diamper.
When the Portuguese arrived, they were agreeably surprised to find upwards of a hundred Christian Churches on the coast of Malabar. But when they became acquainted with the purity and simplicity of their worship, they were offended. " These Churches,” said the Portuguese, “ belong to the Pope.""Who is the Pope ?" said the natives, “ we never heard of him.” The European priests were yet more alarmed, when they found that these Hindoo Christians maintained the order and discipline of a regular Church under Episcopal Jurisdiction: and that for 1900 years past, they had enjoyed a succession of Bishops appointed by the Patriarch of Antioch. “We," said they,
are of the true faith, whatever you from the “ West may be ; for we come from the place " where the followers of Christ were first called « Christians.”
When the power of the Portuguese became sufficient for their purpose, they invaded these
the mountains and the sea, from Cape Comorin to Cape Illi or Dilly. The language of these extensive regions is called Malay-alim, and sometimes Malabar. We shall use the word Malabar, as being of easier pronunciation.
tranquilChurches, seized some of the Clergy, and devoted them to the death of heretics. Then the inhabitants heard for the first time that there was a place called the Inquisition; and that its fires had been lately lighted at Goa, near their own lavd. But the Portuguese, finding that the people were resolute in defending their ancient faith, began to try more conciliatory measures. They seized the Syrian Bishop, Mar Joseph, and sent him prisoner to Lisbon, and then convened a Synod at one of the Syrian Churches called Diamper, near Cochin, at which the Romish Archbishop Menezes presided. At this compulsory Synod, 150 of the Syrian Clergy appeared. They were accused of the following practices and opinions, “That they had married wives; that “ they owned but two Sacraments, Baptism and “ the Lord's Supper ; that they neither invoked “ Saints, nor worshipped Images, nor believed “ in Purgatory: and that they had no other “orders or names of dignity in the Church, " than Priest and Deacon."* These tenets
* In the conferences with Malabarian Brahmins," printed in London, 1719, p. 15, from which this quotation is made, the word priest is omitted (the expression is, “than bishop and deacon)," which the Author thought was probably a mistake, as the prieste hood, or order of Kasheeshas, in Malabar was notorious; and, therefore, he inserted it in the former editions. But, on referring to
they were called on to abjure, or to suffer suspension from all Church benefices. It was also decreed that all the Syrian books on Ecclesiastical subjects, that could be found, should be burned; "in order," said the Inquisitors, “ that no pretended apostolical monuments may remain.”
The Churches on the sea-coast were thus compelled to acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope: but they refused to pray in Latin, and insisted on retaining their own language and Liturgy. This point they said they would only give up with their lives. The Pope compromised with them: Menezes purged their Liturgy of its errors : and they retain their Syriac Language, and have a Syriac College unto this day. These are called the Syro-Roman Churches, and are principally situated on the sea-coast.
The Churches in the interior would not yield to Rome. After a show of submission for a little while, they proclaimed eternal war against the Inquisition ; they hid their books, fled to the mountains, and sought the protection of the
the Decrees of the Synod of Diamper, he finds that there is no mention of bishop, but'only of priest and deacon. The words are, “That there are only two orders, Diaconate and Priesthood." Decree 14, of Action 3d. Possibly the reason might be, because the head of the Syrians in Malabar is not properly called Bishop, but Metropolitan; and a distinction might have been admitted between order and name of dignity.