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[estimated date, 1906]

Jan 1 1906

During the past months1 we have been studying (eating-up) China (consecutively) as to its geography, its dynasties, its religions, its people; and to-day we are to have the entrance of Xtianity from its first dawn. We find that the first news of a divine saviour was carried by Nestorian Xtians & as we often hear the Nestorian Church referred to in Church history let us first refresh our memories as to its origin. The Nestorian Sect was called after its founder Nestoramus a native of northern Syria near Antioch, where he received priests orders & became so eminent for his eloquence as a preacher and his exemplary life that in 425 A.D. he was summoned by the Emperor of Rome, Theodosius to be made Bishop of Constantinople. He was by no means a loveable character, a monk of austere & ascetic life. Gibbon tells us that in his first sermon before the Emperor he cried "Give me O Caesar give me the Earth purged of heretics & I will give you in exchange the Kingdom of Heaven. Exterminate with me the heretics & with you I will exterminate the Persians." He fiercely persecuted the Arians, these were the disciples of Arius, who did not believe in the [?] denying the divinity of Christ. In the Syrian school Nestorius had been taught to discriminate between the humanity of his master Christ & the divinity of the Lord Jesus: he revered the virgin as the mother of Christ but resented the title mother of God which had been adopted by the Arian controversy out of the love & reverence for everything connected with the redeemer [very faint script] had grown up in the church at that point worshipped the virgin mother. And when Nestorius & his fellow presbyter Anastasius preached sermon after sermon of great power & eloquence against this favourite doctrine, there was a storm of wild indignation: the presbyters & priests went against the bishop. Nestorius does not seem to have borne this quietly, he had the offenders tried & cruelly scourged. This holy war spread from Constantinople to the far East. Cyril patian[?] of Alexandria full of an inherited jealousy & animosity to the Bishop of Constantinople & who under the cover of being a Xtian was a persecutor of the cruellest & bitter type stirred up a violent opposition.

Some of you may have read Hypatia by Kingsley. It was at his instigation she was so cruelly murdered. She was a beautiful woman, a Greek she had inherited from her father great gifts as a mathematician. Cyril's jealousy was aroused because the [?] of her academy of philosophy was crowded by the gorgeous train of horses & slaves of the illustrious persons who attended her teaching. Accordingly a false rumour was circulated amongst the Xtians against her, she was charged from her chariot & torn limb from limb with the most frightful deed of atrocity. Such was the religion of those so-called Xtians of the day.

The Knowledge of this has come to us in a very remarkable way through the discovery of a tablet which was presumably buried in China for 7 or 800 years. . . . Near the great city of Ch'ang-an . . . North Western China, some workmen digging a trench in the year 1625 came upon a stone tablet 7ft long & 3ft wide covered with characters mostly Chinese, but a few of them Syrian. Fortunately the Chinese love for ancient monuments preserved this one and a native Xtian sent a copy of it to some Jesuit missionaries. Competent Scholars have decided that this was a genuine monument inscribed by Nestorian missionaries A.D. 781 and proved to be of surpassing interest. The first part is a statement concerning the being of God, the sin of man, the coming & teachings of Christ & the beneficent work of Xtian Missionaries. The second part is a sketch of Nestorian missions in China from A.D. 655 to 781. The third part is a poem in praise of the "Illustrious Religion" as Xtianity is always named on this monument & Eulogistic of the Chinese Emperors who favoured this religion. Several notes are added giving the names of [?] and that of the writer Yezd-buzril. The whole inscription as translated by Prof Legge of Oxford has some 3500 English words. Here is a brief extract from the historical portion of the record, page 109 (2000yrs. before Carey). [extract not written in address]

1 For examples of Mary Baker McQuesten’s Presbyterian Missionary Society and Public Addresses, see W7172, W7181, W7193, W7203, W8422, W8432, W8447, W0127a, several others are illegible.

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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

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