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93
IN ARABIA.

heavens opened, and the figure of their Redeemer appeared in the clouds, approving his zeal. The Jews were suddenly struck with blindness, and received their sight only by the holy operation of Christian baptism. Herban, after becoming a Christian, gained the esteem of the king by his learning and merit, and was advanced to the highest honours in his kingdom.

The existence and history of St. Gregentius appear to be well authenticated by the Menæa and Martyrologies, but the particulars of his dispute with Herban, and its miraculous termination, were probably invented by some pious monks years after the time when they occurred.[1] Gregentius was long the friend and adviser of Abrahah, who is universally allowed to have been a zealous Christian, and a just king, charitable to those who were in necessity, and generous in advocating the cause of the unfortunate.[2]

  1. The tract which bears the title of "Gregentii Tephrensis episcopi disputatio cum Herbano Judæo," was edited in Greek and Latin by Gulerius (8vo. Lut. 1603), and an edition is given in the Magna Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum, vol. xi. Lambecius (Bibl. Cæs. lib. v. p. 277) imagines it to have been the work of Nonnosus, but with small show of probability. St. Gregentius is celebrated in the Menæa on the nineteenth day of December.
  2. Both Greek, Syrian, and Mohammedan agree in praising the character of Abrahah. The tract cited in the foregoing note calls Abrahah ὁ ευσεβεστατος βασιλευς. (S. Gregent. disput. p. 201.) Metaphrastes speaks of him asvirum pium et Christi nomine gloriantem. Johan. As. Ep. observes that he was a zealous Christian (p. 43). In like manner he is described