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for the Holy Scriptures, and, in theory at least, exalt them far above all human traditions. Indeed, the Nestorians may not improperly be called the Protestants of Asia.
Such being their religious character, it should cease to be a matter of wonder, that they have welcomed us so cordially to our missionary labors, and that we have hitherto experienced not a breath of that violent opposition which has so often and effectually hedged up the way of our missionary brethren, who have been sent to other Eastern churches. We arrogate to ourselves no superior wisdom, prudence or fidelity. The difference is owing to the character of the people among whom we labor. With the Nestorians, we have a broad field of common ground, in the acknowledged supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures and other peculiarities to which I have alluded, that exists among no other Oriental Christians. Upon this ground, the clergy rejoice to take their stand and lend us their hearty and efficient co-operation. The most influential part of them being brought thus under our immediate influence-ten or twelve of them are connected with our families—they advance in intelligence and evangelical views, and keep pace with our missionary operations. And with their ecclesiastics, the people will, of course, move forward, and treat us as brethren engaged in a common cause, regarding our object to be, what in truth it is, not to pull them down but to build them up. And difficult indeed would it be for us not to reciprocate the fraternal estimation in which we are held.
Too much, however, should not be inferred from these statements. The Nestorians are still, to a painful extent, under the influence of many childish traditions. They attach great importance to their periodical fasts—which are about as numerous as in the other Eastern countries-often to the neglect of purity of heart, and even of external morality. The vice of lying is almost universal, among both ecclesiastics and people. Intemperance is quite prevalent. The Sabbath is, to a great extent, regarded as a holiday, and profaneness and some other vices are very common. Indeed, the mass of this people seem literally to have a name to live," while they are " dead."
We ought, however, in the spirit of charity, to make exceptions to this dark picture. There are ecclesiastics in our employ, and probably many other individuals both among the clergy and the laity, who are correct in their external conduct, and serious in their deportment, who sigh and pray over the deg
radation of their people, and seem“ waiting for the consolation of Israel.” . Such, if not really Christians,* are, we believe, “ not far from the kingdom of God.” And the word of the Lord,” in the progress of our labors, shall“ have free course and be glorified” among the people, the number of these Simeons and Annas will, we trust, be rapidly increased ; until the whole church shall be enlightened, elevated and resuscitated by the spirit and life of the gospel.
Such is the venerable remnant of the Nestorian Christianssituated in the midst of the followers of the False Prophetinvaded on all sides by artful Romish emissaries—and stretching forth their hands to Protestant Christendom with the imploring cry: “Come over and help us !” Their position in relation to the enemies of Christianity, is alike trying and interesting. Over the broad chasm that divides their faith from Mohammedanism, they would doubtless continue, as a mass, extremely reluctant to leap, under almost any temptation or coercion. To the honor of the Persians, too, they are not, for Mohammedans, very overbearing in their efforts to proselyte their Christian subjects. Some hardened culprits are found ready, for the sake of evading merited punishment, to change their religion; and such the Mohammedans readily pardon.
But from the Papists, with the name and some of the forms of Christianity to conceal the deformities of their system, the Nestorians are in far greater danger. Had we not come to their rescue, we have reason to apprehend that the incessant working of the artful machinations of Jesuit emissaries--their endless intrigues—their promises of large sums of money, or favors procured through their instrumentality from government as rewards of conversion—their threats to bring the arm of Mussulman displeasure against such as refuse to yield—and their actual oppression, wherever they can bring power to their aid for this purpose, would gradually have obliterated the Nestorians as a people, and attached the last man of them to the Romish standard. We are here, it would seem, just in season to prevent this result. But every inch of the ground is still to be contested. Papists know the importance of this field, and are coming into it like a flood. Here, as in almost every part
* There is much reason to hope that there are pious individuals in this church, and that there may have been such during the whole period of its existence.
of the world, the Protestant missionary must experience his greatest trials and difficulties from the agents of “the man of
No measure will be left untried for leading away the Nestorians from the religion of their fathers, and subjecting them to papal control. A few years ago, a Jesuit offered to the Nestorian Patriarch $10,000, on condition that he would acknowledge allegiance to the Pope; to whom the Patriarch replied, in the emphatic language of Peter to Simon Magus : THY MONEY PERISH WITH THEE. And of late, emissaries from Rome have tendered to him the assurance, that if he will so far become a Catholic as to recognise the supremacy of their master, he shall
not only continue to be Patriarch of the Nestorians, but all the Christians of the East shall be added to his jurisdiction! To this, the Patriarch replies: Get thee hence, Satan. The “newest measure” that has been reported to us is a recent order, fresh from the Pope, to the Catholics of these regions, to CANONIZE NESTORIUS, whose memory every Papist has been required, for so many centuries, to curse ; and to anathematize the Lutherans, i. e., the Protestant missionaries, with whom they propose
also to class such of the Nestorians as shall not go over to the ranks of the Papists. The Nestorians fully understand that this surprising change is intended only to decoy them; and they very naturally spurn the honor thus proffered. And as to being classed with the Lutherans, a brother of the Nestorian Patriarch, and his designated successor, who is now with us, told the Catholics, a few days ago, that he regarded it as an enviable exaltation.
As already remarked, Jesuit efforts have succeeded in accomplishing their object on the western side of the Koordish mountains—sometimes drawing individuals or families, and sometimes bishops, and in one or two instances a Patriarch, with parts of their flocks, over to the papal standard. But in the province of Ooroomiah and among the Koordish mountains, Catholic influence has hitherto been very limited. The Nestorians of these regions have nobly resisted, and our prayer and hope is, that they may thus continue to resist. But, destitute of vital religion, and subjected to strong temptation, their condition is perilous. Our confidence is in the Lord to keep them. “If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Is not the almost miraculous preservation of the Nestorian church from being crushed by the heavy arm of Mohammedan oppression on the one hand, and entangled and destroyed by the wiles of Jesuit emissaries on the other, an animating pledge that the Lord of the church will continue to preserve this venerable remnant;-that he will even revive and build it up, for the glory of his name and the advancement of his kingdom? May he not have important purposes for it to accomplish—a conspicuous part for it to act, in ushering in the millennial glory of Zion? What position could be more important and advantageous, in its bearing on the conversion of the world, than that occupied by the Nestorians, situated as they are in the centre of Mohammedan dominion? And is it too much to believe, that this ancient church, once so renowned for its missionary efforts, and still possessing such native capabilities, as well as such felicity of location for the renewal of like missionary labors, will again awake from the slumber of ages, and become bright as the sun, fair as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners that it will again diffuse such floods of light, as shall put for ever to shame the corrupt abominations of Mohammedanism, roll back the tide of papal influence, which is now setting in so strongly and threatening to overwhelm it, and send forth faithful missionaries of the cross, in such numbers and with such holy zeal, as shall bear the tidings of salvation to every corner of benighted Asia ? We confidently look for such results, and that at no very distant period, from the humble efforts which the American churches are now putting forth, for the revival of religion among their Nestorian brethren. These efforts should be vigorously prosecuted; for a great preparatory work remains to be done, and a momentous crisis is near.
The signs of the times in this eastern world, betoken the speedy approach of mighty political revolutions. The Mohammedan powers are crumbling to ruin. Christian nations are soon to rule over all the followers of the False Prophet. Mark the recent extension of British sway over the vast regions of Affghanistan! Turkey and Persia are tottering, and would fall at once by their own weight, were they not upheld by rival European governments. The universal catastrophe of Mohammedan dominion cannot, in all human probability, be much longer postponed. And as the religion of Mohammed was propagated and is sustained by the sword, so its overthrow, there can be little doubt, must quickly ensue, when the sword shall be taken from its hands.
The Nestorians, therefore, and other Oriental Christians, should be quickly enlightened and prepared to take advantage of these approaching changes,-ready to plant the standard of the cross whenever the trembling fabric of Islamism shall fall, and push the conquests of the gospel still onward, as fast as so mighty a revolution in the circumstances and prospects of this continent shall open the way. This done, and how soon will the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ!
BAPTISM :—THE IMPORT OF Bonti W.
By Rev. Edward Beecher, President of Ilinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois.
[Continued from Vol. III., page 371.*]
The principles and leading positions of the argument in regard to the import of Portio have been stated. This argument involves three main points: 1. The clearing away of irrelevant or false positions, and definitely stating the point really at issue, and the proposition to be maintained—$91–3. 2. The antecedent probability of the meaning claimed, according to the laws of language and of the mind, and from the nature of the subject_$$47. 3. Philological proof from the writers of Alexandrine Greek and from the fathers-$$8-21.
6 22. The philological argument is therefore complete, so far as is
Our constant readers will recollect that this discussion was marked as concluded in the Repository for April last, at the page here referred to. This was occasioned by some delay of correspondence, which led to a misunderstanding of the writer's design. We are happy to afford space for the continuance of an argument so cumulative in its power, and the former portions of which have already called forth expressions of high satisfaction from several correspondents both in this country and in England. It will probably be concluded in our No. for April next.
The following Errata occurred in the preceding sections of