Open main menu

Page:Early Christianity in Arabia.djvu/66

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
54
EARLY CHRISTIANITY

his army.[1] Large pits were dug in the neighbourhood, and filled with burning fuel, and all who refused to abjure their faith, amounting according to the Arabian authors to many thousands, including the priests and monks of the surrounding regions, with the consecrated virgins, and the matrons who had retired to lead a monastic life, were committed to the flames.[2] The chief men of the town, with their prince, who is known by the name of Arethas, and who is called by the Arabian writers Abdallah Ibn Althamir,[3] a man distinguished for his wisdom and piety, were thrown into chains.[4] The tobbaa next sought their bishop, whose name was Paul, and when informed that he had been some time dead, he ordered his bones to be disinterred and burnt, and their ashes scattered to the wind. Arethas and his companions were urged to apostasy both by threats and persuasions, the Arabian king alleging that God, who was incorporeal, could not be killed or crucified — that Christ therefore ought not to be worshipped as a god, but should only be considered as a human being, and that he did not wish them to worship the sun and moon, or any created thing, but the one God who had produced all things, and who was the Father of all generation. But his insidious arguments were treated with contempt, and

  1. Metaphrastes.
  2. Abulfeda, p. 10. Hamza, p. 38. Nuweir, p. 80. Tabeir, p. 106. Mesoud, p. 140.
  3. Nuweir, p. 80. Tabeir, p. 106.
  4. Metaphrast.