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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 Armenia 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. "It is marvellous," says an intelligent traveller, who was much among them," how the Armenian Christians have pre"served their faith equally against the vexa"tious oppression of the Mahomedans their "Sovereigns, 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 expenses 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." This bible has ever remained in the possession of the Armenian people; and many illustrious instances of genuine 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 to their 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
* Chardin, vol. II. p. 232.
+ Mr. Joannes Lassar, who is now making a version of the Scriptures in the Chinese Language, in Bengal, is an Armenian Christian, and translates chiefly from the Armenian Bible. But he also understands English, and consults the English version.
been printed at Venice. One of the editions which the author has seen, is not inferior, in beauty of typography, to the 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 Hindostan are our own 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 we know, 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
Cacheck Arrakell, an Armenian merchant in Calcutta, when he heard of the King's recovery from illness, in 1789,
us to approach nearer to these our subjects, and 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 the Armenian Bible, and employ proper persons from among themselves to superintend the work, and encourage them to disperse their own faithful copy throughout the East. Let us shew them, that the diffusion of the Scriptures is an undertaking to which we are not indifferent; and, by our example, let us stimulate their zeal, which is very languid. But, however languid their zeal may be, it is certain that they consider the English as being yet more dead to the interests of religion, than themselves. Such a subject as this, indeed, every subject which is of great importance to Christianity, is worthy the notice of our Go vernment, as well as of individuals and societies. The printing press, which shall be
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. He 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.
employed in multiplying copies of the pure Armenian Bible, will prove a rich and precious fountain for the evangelization of the East; and the Oriental Bible Repository, at Calcutta, will be a central and convenient place for its dispersion.
DOCTRINES OF REVELATION
IN THE EAST.
In passing through the regions of the East, and surveying the various religious systems which prevail, the mind of the Christian traveller cannot fail to be impressed with the strong resemblance which some of them bear to doctrines which are familiar to him. However varied or disguised they may be, there are yet some strong lines, which constantly recall his thoughts to the doctrines of revelation, and seem to point to a common origin.