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world, the Bible found an asylum in the mountains of Malayala; where it was revered and freely read by upwards of 100 churches; and that it has been handed down to the present time under circumstances so highly favourable to accurate preservation, as may justly entitle it to respect, in the collation of doubtful readings of the sacred text.
"There are many old Syriac manuscripts besides the Bible, which have been well preserved for the Synod of Udiamper destroyed no volumes but those which treated of religious doctrine or church supremacy. Two different characters of writing appear ever to have been in use among the Syrian Christians, the common Syriac and the Estrangelo. The oldest
manuscripts are in the Estrangelo.
"But there are other ancient documents in Malayala, not less interesting than the Syrian manuscripts. The old Portuguese historians relate, that soon after the arrival of their countrymen in India, about 300 years ago, the Syrian Archbishop of Angamalee, by name Mar Jacob, deposited in the fort of Cochin, for safe custody, certain tablets of brass; on which were engraved Rights of Nobility and other privileges, granted to Christians by a prince of a former age; and that while these tablets were under the charge of the Portuguese, they had been unaccountably lost, and had never after been heard of. The loss of the tablets was deeply regretted by the Christians; and the Portuguese writer, Gouvea, ascribes their subsequent oppressions by the native powers, to the circumstance of their being no longer able to produce their charter. It is not generally known that, at a former period, the Christians possessed regal power in Malayala. The name of their last king was Beliarte.
died without issue; and his kingdom descended, by the custom of the country, to the king of Cochin. When Vasco de Gama was at Cochin, in 1503, he saw the sceptre of the Christian king.
"It is further recorded by the same historians, that besides the documents deposited with the Portuguese, the Christians possessed three other tablets, containing ancient
grants, which they kept in their own custody: and that these were exhibited to the Romish Archbishop, Menezes, at the church of Tevelecar, near the mountains, in 1599, the inhabitants having first exacted an oath from the Archbishop, that he would not remove them. Since that period, little has been heard of the tablets. Though they are often referred to in the Syrian writings, the translation itself has been lost. It has been said, that they were seen about 40 years ago; but Adrian Moens, a governor of Cochin, in 1770, who published some account of the Jews of Malabar, informs us, that he used every means in his power, for many years, to obtain a sight of the Christian Plates; and was at length satisfied they were irrecoverably lost; or rather, he adds, that they never existed.
"The learned world will be grati fied, to know that all these ancient tablets, not only the three last mentioned exhibited in 1599, but those also, (as is supposed) delivered by the Syrian Archbishop to the Portuguese, on their arrival in India, which are the most ancient, haye been recently recovered by the exertions of Lieut. Col. Macaulay, the British Resident in Travancore; and are now officially deposited with that officer.
"The plates are six in number. They are composed of a mixed metal. The engraved page on the largest plate is 13 inches long, by about 4 broad. They are closely written; four of them on both sides of the plate, making in all 11 pages. On the plate reputed to be the oldest, there is writing perspicuously engraved in nail-headed, or triangular-headed letters, resembling the Persepolitan or Babylonish. On the same plate there is writing in another character, which has no affinity with any existing cha racter in Hindostan. The grant on this plate appears to be witnessed by four Jews of rank, whose names are distinctly written in an old Hebrew character, resembling the alphabet called The Palmyrene; and to each name is prefixed the title of Magen; that is, Chief.
"It may be doubted whether there exits in the world another document of equal antiquity, which is, at the
same time, of so great a length, and in such faultless preservation as the Christian Tablets in Malayala. The Jews of Cochin, indeed, contest the palm of antiquity and of preservation; for they also produce tablets, containing privileges granted at a remote period. The Jewish tablets are two in number. The Jews were long in possession of a third plate, which now appears to be the property of the Christians. The Jews commonly show an ancient Hebrew translation of their plates. Dr. Leyden made another translation, which differs from the Hebrew: and there has lately been found among the old Dutch records at Cochin, a third translation, which approaches nearer to Dr. Ley. den's than to the Hebrew. In a Hebrew manuscript, which will shortly be published, it is recorded, that a grant on brass tablets was given to the Jews, in A. D. 379.
"As it is apprehended that there may be some difficulty in obtaining an accurate translation of all these tablets, it is proposed to print a copper-plate fac simile of the whole, and to transmit copies to the learned societies in Hindostan and in Europe; for this purpose an engraver is now employed on the plates at Cochin. The Christian and Jewish plates together will make 14 pages. A copy has been sent, in the first instance, to the Pundits of the Shanscrit college, at Trichiur, by direction of the Rajah of Cochin.
"When the White Jews at Cochin were questioned respecting the ancient copies of their scriptures, they answered, That it had been usual to bury the old copy read in the synagogue, when decayed by time and use. This, however, does not appear to have been the practice of the Black Jews, who were the first settlers; for in the record-chests of their syna. gogues, old copies of the law have been discovered; some of which are complete, and, for the most part, legible. Neither could the Jews of Cochin produce any historical manuscripts of consequence, their vicinity to the sea-coast having exposed their community to frequent revolu tion; but many old writings have been found at the remote synagogues of their ancient enemies, the black
Jews, situated at Tritooa, Paroor, Chenotta, and Maleh; the last of which places is near the mountains. Amongst these writings are some of great length, in Rabbinical Hebrew ; but in so ancient and uncommon a character, that it will require much time and labour to ascertain their contents. There is one manuscript written in a character resembling the Palmyrene Hebrew on the brass plates: but it is in a decayed state; and the leaves adhere so closely to each other, that it is doubtful whether it will be possible to unfold them, and preserve the reading. It is sufficiently established by the concurring evidence of written record and Jewish tradition, that the Black Jews had colonized on the coasts of India, long before the Christian era. There was another colony at Rajapoor, in the Mahratta territory, which is not yet extinct; and there are at this time, Jewish soldiers and Jewish native officers in the British service. That these are a remnant of the Jews of the first dispersion at the Babylonish captivity seems highly probable. There are many other tribes settled in Persia, Arabia, Northern India, Tartary, and China, whose respective places of residence may be easily discovered. The places which have been already ascertained are 65 in number. These tribes have in general, (particularly those who have passed the Indus) assimilated much to the customs of the countries in which they live; and may sometimes be seen by a traveller, without being recognised as Jews. The very imperfect resemblance of their countenance to the Jews of Europe indicates that they have been detached from the parent stock in Judea, many ages before the race of Jews in the West. A fact corroborative of this is, that certain of these tribes do not call themselves Jews, but Beni-Israel, or Israelites; for the name Jew is derived from Judah; whereas the ancestors of these tribes were not subject to the kings of Judah, but to the kings of Israel. They have, in most places, the book of the Law, the book of Job, and the Psalms; but know little of the prophets. Some of them have even lost the book of the law; and only know
that they are Israelites from tradition, and from their observance of peculiar rites.
"A copy of the scriptures, belonging to the Jews of the East, who might be supposed to have no communication with the Jews in the West, has been long a desideratum with Hebrew scholars. In the coffer of a synagogue of the Black Jews, in the interior of Malayala, there has been found an old copy of the law, written on a roll of leather. The skins are sewed together, and the roll is about fifty feet in length. It is in some places worn out, and the holes have been patched with pieces of parch
"Some of the Jews suppose that this roll came originally from Senna, in Arabia; others have heard that it was brought from Cashmir. The Cabul Jews, who travel annually into the interior of China, say, that in some synagogues, the law is still found written on a roll of leather; not on vellum, but on a soft flexible leather, made of goat skins, and dyed red; which agrees with the description of the roll abovementioned.
"Such of the Syriac and Jewish manuscripts as may, on examination, be found to be valuable, will be de. posited in the public libraries of the British universities.
"The princes of the Deccan have manifested a liberal regard for the extension of Shanscrit learning by furnishing lists of books in their temples for the college of Fort William, in Bengal. His excellency, the Rajah of Tanjore, was pleased to set the example, by giving the voluminous catalogue of the ancient library of the kings of Tanjore; and his example has been followed by the Ranny of Ramnad, patroness of the celebrated temple of Ramisseram, near Adam's Bridge; by his Highness, the Rajah of Travancore, who has given lists of all the books in the Travancore country; and by the Rajah of Cochin, patron of the ancient Shanscrit college at the temple of Trichiur. It is under stood that a copy of any book in these catalogues will be given when requir ed. The Brahmins of Travancore consider that their manuscripts are likely to have as just a claim to high antiquity, or at least to accurate preservation, as those in the temples in
the north and for the same reason that the Christian and Jewish records have been so well preserved; which is, that the country of Travancore, defended by mountains, has never, according to tradition, been subjugated by invaders from the north of Hindostan.
"The design of investigating the history and literature of the Christians and Jews in the East was submitted to the Marquis Wellesley, before he left India. His lordship, judging it to be of importance that the actual relation of the Syrian Christians to our own church should be ascertained, and auguring something interesting to the republic of letters, from the investigation of the Syriac and Jewish antiquities, was pleased to give orders that public aid should be afforded to Dr. Buchanan, in the prosecution of his inquiries wherever it might be practicable. To the operation of these orders it is owing that the proposed researches, of which some slight notices are given above, have not been made in vain.
"Cochin, January, 1807.”
To the foregoing intelligence, originally from the London Evangelical Magazine, copied into the Panoplist from the Christian's Magazine, the Editors subjoin the following information on the same subject, from the Appendix of Dr. Cotton Mather's Election sermon of May 29, 1700.
THE President of Harvard College in New England, having written to the learned Dr. Leusden, the Hebrew Professor at Utrecht, a true and brief account of what has been done towards the gospellising our American Indians; that letter was published not only in the Latin Tongue, wherein it was written, but also in the French, the High Dutch, the Hungarian, and other tongues; and gave much satisfaction to the churches of the reformation in many nations.
On this occasion, (and because that letters had requested satisfaction in this point) the Professor of Utrecht has published an extract of diverse letters from credible and reverend persons in the East Indies relating
the success of the gospel, with which the Dutch Protestant ministers in those remote regions have seen their holy labours rewarded. A Seminary (or College) erected at Malabar, for the education of young men, to be made proponents and pastors, is, it seems, of no little consequence to the evangelical interest. But more particularly.
D. Hermannus Specht, mini ster in Colombo, writes,
"In the kingdom of Jaffanapatnam, there were found in the year, 1684, one hundred and forty one thousand, four hundred and fifty six of the natives, converted unto the Christian religion. And within four years more, there were forty thousand more added unto the number."
D. Adrianus de Mey, minister of the gospel, and president of the college there erected, writes,
"The young men of Malabar, in the college there erected, are diligent, and make notable progress in the Dutch tongue. In one year's time they learn to read and write. know how to pray as the Christians do; and they can recite, by heart, the questions in Borstius's little book, and translate them out of the Dutch tongue into that of Malabar. They also sing Psalms in our church. I hope God will bestow his grace upon them, and fill them with his Spirit, that so these young men may, in time, prove blessed instruments to propagate the kingdom of Christ among these Heathens."
[Faffanapatnam, Jan. 22, 1692. D. Franciscus Valentinus, minister of the gospel at Amboina, writes,
"It hath pleased the most high God to send me unto the service of the East India churches in Amboina, in the chief city whereof the Reverend Cornelius Vander Sluys of Utrecht, fed about thirty thousand souls, preaching the word of God, with singular alacrity and invincible labour, among the Pagans. God hath given him to convert both Pagans and Mahometans (for here are many Mahometans) and bring into subjection unto Christ, those that were miserably perishing in their errors. An hundred infants at a time are sometimes here baptised, who, as they grow up, give notable proofs of their diligence, and ingenuity, and
piety. Religion flourishes here; the colleges also flourish: God is known, and by the Pagans worshipped; and abandoning the gods, which their ancestors worshipped, and taught them to do so, these once most superstitious Amboinians not only embrace the worship of the true God, but even the Mahometans also, (which is wonderful!) desiring to be baptised, most gladly give themselves up unto the Lord Jesus Christ, and obey his laws."
[Amboina iv. 1d. Jan. 1686. Monsieur Jarieu adds hereupon, Omnino nostrorum interest, ut hæc omnibus patefiant, et in publicum evulgentur.
MR. Bower has made considerable progress in a work which is intended to exhibit a complete delineation of the life of Luther, and of the effects of that life upon the great revolution to which he has given a name. Mr. Bower has explored the original and voluminous documents respecting Luther, with which his own times, and those immediately succeeding, abounded; he has carefully analysed the whole of Luther's writings: and is persuaded that the materials which he has collected furnish much information which has not hitherto been laid before the British public, respecting the character and progress of this extraordinary man, respecting the gradual formation of his mind during the period of his education, the gradual expansion of his views during his efforts for the reformation of the church; and the character which the peculiarity of his mind stamped upon the reformation itself.
Mr. G. Guttleib is preparing for the press, an account of his travels in North America, in the years 1806 and 1807. The work will be illustrated with a considerable number of wood cuts. [Anthology.
A REPORT of the trial of Aaron Burr, late Vice President of the U. States. By David Robertson, Esq. There are two reports of this interesting trial. This is the edition
printed under the superintendence of the reporter, by Hopkins & Earle of Philadelphia. The character and abilities of the reporter are well known to the American public. The council on both sides have given the preference to this edition, and we believe have, without exception, given certificates to this effect. The work will be comprised in two vols. 8vo at six dollars. The subscribers in the eastern states are requested to call at Farrand, Mallory, and Co. Suffolk Buildings, in Boston, for their sets as advertised.
Bonaparte's last Campaigns in Prussia, Saxony, Poland, &c. ornamented with engravings exhibiting the likeness of Bonaparte, King and Queen of Prussia, and Emperor of
Russia. A translation of this work by Samuel Mackay, A. M. is now completed. To those who feel any interest in the fate of modern Europe, this work will be highly interesting; it comprises biographical sketches of all the principal personages employed by the great contending powers; it gives a minute detail of every battle, and an abridgment of the history of the battles and sieges, which bare taken place in the seven years' war, on the identical spots where the French armies have lately signalized their arms. The talents of the translator are so well known in the literary world, that any comments on his style of writing would be superfluous. It is now in the press of Farrand, Mallory, & Co. and will be published shortly.
List of New Publications.
A SERMON, preached at Lee, December 20th, 1807, being the next Lord's day after the interment of Mr. Jonathan Thacher, who died December 14, 1807, aged 27 years, and of Mrs. Mary Ingersol, who died the day following, aged 44 years. By Alvan Hyde, A. M. pastor of the church in Lee.
A Discourse on the present state of education in Maryland, delivered before the Hon. the General Assem. bly, on Thursday, Dec. 31, 1807. By Samuel Knox, A. M. principal of Baltimore college, price 25 cents.
The question of War with Great Britain, examined upon Moral and Christian principles; a sermon. Boston, Snelling & Simons. 8vo. pp. 14, price 12 1-2 cts.
An Oration, delivered before the Medical Society of South Carolina, at their anniversary meeting, December 24, 1807, and published at their request. By Joseph Johnson, M. D. President of the Medical Society of South Carolina.
A Sermon, preached at Trinity church, in Boston, on Fast day, April 7, 1808. By J. S. J. Gardner, A. M. rector of Trinity church. Boston. Munroe & Francis."
Steadfast adherence to the oracles of God, as the only rule of Christian faith and duty, an indispensable qual.
ification for the ministerial office. A Sermon, preached at the ordination of the Rev. Avery Williams, to the pas toral care of the Congregational church and Society in Lexington, Dec. 30, 1807. By Samuel Kendal, D. D. minister of the Congregational church and society in Weston. Boston. Munroe & Francis.
Hymns, selected from the most approved authors, for the use of Trinity church. Boston. Munroe & Francis.
A summary view of the evidence and practical importance of the Christian revelation; in a series of discourses to young persons. By Thomas Belsham. Boston. Munroe, Francis & Parker.
Hartley on the truth of the Christian religion. Boston. Munroe, Francis & Parker.
Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs; selected and designed for the use of the church universal, in public and private devotion. With an appendix, containing the original hymns, omitted in a former edition. Boston. Munroe, Francis & Parker.
Ruin, or Separation from AntiChrist. A Sermon preached in Byfield, April 7, 1808, on the annual Fast in the Commonwealth of Massachu setts. By Elijah Parish, D. D. Min. ister of Byfield. Newburyport. E. W. & W. B. Allen.