[estimated date, 1906]W7181 ON NESTORIANS [EXCERPTS]
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.