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Page:Early Christianity in Arabia.djvu/89

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chased by the promise of the evacuation of Amida by the Romans, an opportunity was afforded of friendly congress between the Christians and the Persian Saracens. The Persian monarchs, from Shahpoor to Kobad, had persecuted with unrelenting acrimony the followers of Christ, and the spirit of the monarch was easily imparted to his vassals and the kings who courted his alliance. The pious example and eloquent exhortations of Simeon Stylites, a Syrian monk, had induced numbers of the Saracen tribes to embrace the religion of their Saviour, and Naaman began to fear lest his subjects might be led by their religion to desert to the service of the Romans. The intercourse of the Arabs with the Christians was therefore forbidden on pain of instant death. But, in consequence of a vision or dream, the edict of the Arabian chief was soon afterwards recalled, and free liberty given to attend the lectures of Simeon. Naaman confessed to Antiochus, the Roman governor of Damascus, at a friendly interview in the Arabian camp, which was then fixed in that neighbourhood, that the night after he had issued the command, whilst he was sleeping in his tent, he was startled by the appearance of a venerable man of a commanding mien, accompanied by five attendants. Approaching the chief, who, terrified at the extraordinary appearance, had fallen almost senseless at his feet, he addressed him in an indignant tone, "Darest thou, wretch, to persecute the people of God?" The Arabian chief was then