Endeavours of the Author to learn the truths, and penetrate the mysteries, of the different religions and opposite opinions.— Singular aid, and blessing of God conferred upon him.

I NOW felt a desire to inform myself on the questions and truths of the different religions, and concerning the followers of the various sects. I became intimate with the doctors of the order of Christians, and their padres, who were in a numerous body at Isphahan, and tried and measured the quantity of knowledge of each of them. One held pre-eminence among them, and they called him the Caliph Avanus. He knew Arabic and Persian well, and was versed in Logic, Astronomy, and Geometry. Some Mahometan books had undergone his perusal, and he had a great wish to investigate several of their questions and proposi­tions: but from fear, and through the utter disre­spect of the Moslem doctors for his order, he had been unable to attain his object. He esteemed my society a great acquisition, and when, after a while, he had become acquainted with my character and just discretion, he shewed me great sincerity and friendship. From him I learnt the Gospel, and obtaining access to the commentaries upon it, I thoroughly investigated their articles of faith, and the principles of their religion, and read a great number of their books. He also, some­times, asked information from me, and I repeatedly by various arguments proved to him the truth of the Mahometan faith. Not having a word to say in reply, he stood convinced of the error of his way, but he died without having openly received the grace of being directed to the straight road of salvation.

Among the Jewish inhabitants of Isphahan, who, as they believe, have since the time of Moses been dwellers in that town, there was one named Shoaib, the most learned of his brethren. I gained his confidence, and took him to my house. I learnt from him the Bible, had the interpretation of it written for me, and informed myself of the truth of all that they maintain. But I found that order of men totally destitute of knowledge and learning, and entire strangers to thought and dis­cernment. Their stupidity, and obduracy in igno­rance, are without end, or measure.

I acted in the same way with regard to the varieties of the Mahometan belief. I read the books of every sect, and considered what each had to say, discreetly and anxiously remarking on their arguments. Wherever I found any person belonging to any sect, who was knowingly attached to his own religious opinions, I frequented his society, and made myself acquainted with his views and discourses. In this way, I had God knows how much conversation with the followers of different opinions.

In the midst of these occupations, I gave lec­tures on the ordinary classic books, and wrote commentaries and appendixes on them. As occa­sion permitted, I composed separate treatises on my different investigations, and shewing most of them, first, to the skilful in each art, I obtained perfect confidence in their correctness, as they severally met with approbation. By the blessing of the divine assistance, it has never yet happened, that any infirmity or erroneousness has appeared in any passage of my compositions; and from God is all aid and preservation from error.