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brought in the knowledge of Mahomet, but imposed it upon none.
In this confusion, [of different religions,] they continued untill the time of Ecbarsha, who being a prince, by nature just and good, inquisitiue after nouelties, curious of new opinions, and that excelled in many virtues, especially in pietie and reuerence towards his parents, called in three Jesuites from Goa, whose chief was Geronimo Xavier, a Nauarrpis. After their arriuall, he heard them reason and dispute with much content on his, and hope on their parts, and caused Xauier to write a book in defence of his owne profession against both Moores and Gentiles: which finished he read ouer nightly, causing some part to be discussed, and finally granted them bis letters pattents, to build, to preach, teach, conuert, and to use all their rites and ceremonies, as freely and amply as in Rome, bestowing on them meanes to erect their churches and places of deuotion : So that in some few cities they haue gotten rather Templum, then Ecclesiam. In this grant he gaue grant to all sorts of people to become Christians that would, euen to his court or owne bloud ; professing that it should be no cause of disfauour from him. Heere was a faire beginning to a forward spring of a lean and barren haruest.” 46
The conduct of Xavier in corrupting the Scriptures, in his Life of Christ, is rendered still more odious by the fact, that at the very time, he had access to, or was in possession of, an ancient translation of the Gospels into Persian. In the library of the Escurial, in Spain, there is a manuscript copy of the Gospels, in folio, elegantly and carefully written, which was presented to his Catholic majesty, by Geronimo Xavier, and brought by the ships which came from India to Portugal, in the year 1610. It is accompanied with a certificate in Spanish and Persian, to the following effect :
(46) Purchas's Pilgrimages, pt. i. lib. iv. ch. xvi. pp. 585, 586, Lond:
1625, fol. Fraser's Hist. of Nadir Shah, p. 39.
“ I, father' Geronimo, of the company of Jesus, superior of the fathers of the same company, which reside in the court and dominions of the great Mogul, do certify, that this book of the Gospels, in the PERSIAN tongue, was in possession of a reverend Armenian father, who was coming from Jerusalem to these parts, in the year 1598; and it appears by the book itself to have been written A. D. 828. The writing paper, and composition of it, also bear witness to its antiquity. It came to our hand in the following manner. The said Armenian father who had that book, being sent as ambassador by Jahbac, king of Persia, to Jelalin Achar, Mogul in this city of Lahoor; arriving at Manucher, did not, from some motive or other, follow his embassy, but remained behind, and going by another caravan, died on the way. Some Armenians who were accompanying him, brought his books and papers to this city of Lahoor, among which was the afore-mentioned Book of the Gospels, and delivered them to the reverend father Manuel Panero, of the company of Jesus, who, by the order of that sacred company, resided there; which father, now deceased, kept the Book of the Gospels, and from it, as I have said, this was copied, without having in it any alteration in any respect, and was faithfully compared with it. And in witness of the truth of it, I did this writing with my own hand, confirmed it with my number, and sealed it with the seal of the superior of the fathers of the company of Jesus, belonging to these parts. Signed in this city of Lahoor, the capital of Nourodin Jehanguir Mogul, on the 21st. day of December, 1607.
Geronimo Xavier." The author of this translation of the Four Gospels is unknown, but Casiri says, there can be no doubt, but that it was executed before the eighth century.
Le Long mentions another copy of the Persic Gos(47) Casiri, Biblioth. Arabico-Hispana, Append. II. p. 343,
Pels, transmitted by Xavier to the Roman college, from the city of Agra. It had been transcribed in the
year 1388, from an ancient copy.
GERONIMO Xavier was a Spaniard, and a kinsman of the famous Roman Catholic saint, Francis Xavier. He was born in Navarre. In 1568 he entered the society of the Jesuits, and soon after went to India, and resided at Goa, in an official situation, until 1594, when he was sent as missionary to the empire of the Great Mogųl. In this station he discovered such zeal and attachment to the Romish church, that his life was frequently in danger. At Lahoor he was stoned, and was forced to flee into Armenia, where he remained for a considerable time, manifesting the same intrepidity and decision of character. In 1617, he returned to Goa, and died on the 17th of June, in the same year. In the preface to his Life of Christ, dedicated to the Emperor Akbar, he says, he had spent about forty years in propagating the Gospel, and had been engaged during seven or eight years in learning the Persian language.
Beside his Life of Christ ; and Life of St. Peter; be was the author of several other works in Persic and Latin ; among which Alegambe enumerates a book on the Mysteries of the Christian Faith, entitled The Fountain of Life, written against the infidels, and in particular the Mohammedans, in 1600:-A Martyrology ; The Lives of the Apostles ; Letters from India, &c.**
Whilst Xavier was promoting, according to his mistaken views, the interests of the Romish church in the East, some of the learned members of the same church at home, contemplated its extension by printing editions of the New Testament, in the Arabic and Ethiopic languages. In 1591, the Four Gospels were beautifully printed in
(48) Le Long, I. p. 133. Paris, 1723.
De Dieu, Hist. Christi, à P, Hieron. Xavier. in Præfat.
Arabic, in fol. at the Oriental press established at Rome, by Cardinal Ferdinand de Medici, afterwards duke of Tuscany. Of this edition 3000 copies were printed, and a considerable part of them sent into the East; but being ornamented with wood-cuts, they were not approved by the Mohammedans and others, who detest the use of images. Another edition, with a Latin interlineary version, was printed at the same time, and with the same types, on good paper, “with a profusion of decent wood-cuts, an Anivan, or frontispiece to each Gospel, and a double line round the margin, in imitation of Oriental MSS.” All the copies designed for the East, of both editions, are without title or preface, but otbers of the Arabic and Latin edition have a title page, with the date 1619, and a dedicatory epistle to Cardinal Madruzzi, (with whose portrait the work is accompanied) by Johannes Antonius Rodolus. The true date, however, appears at the end of the work, which shows the affixing of the title-page, &c. to have been a device for increasing the sale of the work, which, from the paucity of Oriental scholars, was probably excessively slow.50
The first printed edition of the Ethiopic New TesTAMENT was executed at Rome, in 1548, in 4to, by the brothers Valerius Doricus and Ludovicus of Brescia, under the superintendence of Peter, or Tesfa Sion Malezo, a native of Ethiopia, with the assistance of his two brothers, Tensea Wald, or Paul, and Zaslask, or Bernard; to whom were added Paulus Gualterius Aretinus, and Marianus Victorius, afterwards bishop of Rieti.
The Epistles Of St. Paul were published separately, in the year 1549. They are said to be full of errors, chiefly from the unskilfulness of the printer: "They who printed the work could not read,” says Peter, in his
(50) Clarke's Bibliog, Dict. VI. p. 205.
Le Long, edit. Masch, pt. ji, vol. I. sec. 5, pp. 130–132.
Latin preface, “and we could not print; therefore they helped us, and we helped them, as the blind helps the blind.51
TESFA Sion or Peter, called also TEZFĂCIOR MALHAzor, the chief editor of the Ethiopic New Testament, was an Ethiopian hermit, born (according to the inscription on his monument at Rome) “beyond the tropic of Capricorn," of noble parents. He was well versed in many languages, and eminently acquainted with the Holy Scriptures. After residing some years at the holy sepulchre at Jerusalem, he came to Rome, and by the universal favour which he gained with persons of all ranks, promoted the establishment of an institution for the reception of foreigners from the East. He bestowed great labour and expense in printing the Ethiopic New Testament, the Office of Baptism as in use among the Ethiopians, and the Ethiopic Missal translated by himself into Latin. Whilst zealously devising 'means for the conversion of his countrymen, he was seized with severe sickness, which occasioned him to remove to Tivoli, where he died, August 28, 1550, in the 42nd year of his age; he was buried at Rome, where he had resided 12 years, in a small chapel dedicated to St. Stephen of the Indians.52
The state of the Greek church at this period was most deplorable. The loss of Constantinople, in 1543, subjected the Christians who remained to every indignity their barbarous conquerors could inflict upon them. Bartholomew Georgueviz, who resided among them thirteen years, about A. D. 1540, on his return wrote a work entitled Deploratio Christianorum, printed at Wittemberg in 1560, in which he observes. “If any man had foreknown that (51) Le Long, edit. Masch, pt. ii, vol. I. sec. 6, pp. 152, 153.
Clarke's Bibliog. Dict. VI. p. 203,
See also vol. I. p. 148, of this work. (52) N. de. Bralion, Les Curiositez de l'une et de l'autre Rome,
liv, 1, sec, 3, ch. iv. p. 335, Paris, 1655, 8vo.