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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

AT this period, the light of faith was for the first time shed upon India. The courage and the piety of the emperor had become celebrated throughout the world; and all the barbarians had learnt, that to be at peace with him was more desirable for them than to carry on war against him. Being thus able to undertake other enterprises, many persons set out on long journeys; some for the desire of making discoveries, others from a spirit of commercial enterprise. A philosopher of Tyre about this period, desiring to penetrate into the interior of India, set off for this purpose with his two nephews. When he had accomplished the object of his wishes, he embarked on board a ship to return to his own country. This ship being compelled, by scarcity of water, to touch at a port to obtain a fresh supply, the barbarians fell upon her, drowned some of the crew, and took the others prisoners. The philosopher was among the number of those who were killed. His nephews were conducted to the king. The name of the one was Edesius, and of the other Frumentius. The king of the country perceiving, in course of time, that they possessed talent and sagacity, promoted them to the superintendence of his household. If any one should doubt the truth of this account, let him recal to mind the promotion of Joseph in the kingdom of Egypt, and also the history of Daniel, and of the three godly young men, who became princes of Babylon, after having been its captives.

The king died, and was succeeded by his son; and these young men were advanced to still greater power. As they had been brought up in the true religion, some merchants who frequented the country proposed to them to assemble, according to the custom of the Roman church, to perform the divine service. A long time afterwards they solicited the king to reward their services, by permitting them to return to their own country. They obtained his permission, and safely reached the Roman empire, Edesins directing his course towards Tyre. But Frumentius, whose religious zeal was greater than the natural feeling of filial affection, proceeded to Alexandria, and informed the bishop of that city, that the Indians were deeply anxious to obtain spiritual light. Athanasius, who then held the reins of this church, replied by saying, “Who could remove better than you could the gross ignorance of this people, and introduce among them the light of Divine truth?” After having said this, he conferred upon him the sacerdotal dignity, and sent him to preach to those nations. The newly-ordained priest left his country, crossed without fear the intervening sea, and returned to the uncivilized nation among whom, through the grace of God, he cheerfully and successfully laboured. He confirmed the truth of his doctrine by extraordinary signs, and convinced all gainsayers, performing miracles similar to those of the apostles; and by his instrumentality, many were daily enlightened.








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