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Page:Early Christianity in Arabia.djvu/38

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EARLY CHRISTIANITY

idolatrous inhabitants of the happy Arabia must be supposed to have received slowly and reluctantly the severe doctrines of Christianity. From the little connection too which existed between them and the rest of the world, the old worship would be more identical, less mixed with foreign creeds, and consequently more opposed to their admission. At the time of the introduction of the Christian faith, the Jews appear to have penetrated into the peninsula in considerable numbers, and to have formed also a great impediment to its progress.

Before the followers of Christianity became public objects of persecution, their proceedings were so private and little known, particularly in the more distant parts of the empire, as to have escaped entirely the page of history. The first rudiments of the Christian faith are believed to have been planted among the Hamyarites, who were known, in common with the people of Hindustan and Ethiopia, under the general name of Indians, by the apostle Bartholomæus.[1] Till the age of Constantine, however, the existence of Christians in Arabia seems not even to have been known. During the reign of that emperor, an unexpected circumstance favoured their cause. The details of this event are given by the historian Nicephorus.[2] A

  1. Eusebius. Hist. Eccl. iii. 1. Asseman, Biblioth. Orient, tom. iii. p. dxcii. See the next note.
  2. The history of Frumentius maybe collected from Nicephorus, ix. 18; Ruffinus, x. 9; Theodoret, i. 23, &c. Some of the