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of Egypt, though in opposition to the sentiments and whishes of Cyril,'“ a man of haughty, turbulent, and imperious temper," who then ruled the see of Alexandria.
But nothing tended so much to propagate with rapidity the doctrine of Nestorius, as its being received in the famous school at Edessa, where the youth were instructed in the Nestorian tenets; and the writings of Nestorius, and his masters, the renowned Theodorius of Mopsuestia, and Diodorus of Tarsus, were translated from the Greek into the Syriac language, and spread abroad throughout Assyria and Persia. And the famous Barsumas, who was ejected out of his place in this school, and consecrated bishop of Nisibis in 435, laboured with incredible zeal and dexterity to procure for the Nestorians a solid and permanent footing in Persia, in which he was warmly seconded by Maanes, bishop of Ardascira. So remarkable was the success which crowned the labours of Barsumas, that his fame extended throughout the East ; and the Nestorians, who still remain in Chaldæa, Persia, Assyria, and the adjacent countries, consider him alone as their parent and founder. Nor did his zeal and activity end here ; for he erected a famous school at Nisibis, from whence issued those Nestorian doctors, who, in that and the following centuries, spread abroad. their tenets through Egypt, Syria, Arabia, India, Tartary, and China.
It is proper for us to add, to the lasting honour of the Nestorians, that of all the Christian societies established in the East, they have been the most careful and successful in avoiding a multitude of superstitious opinions and practices that have infected the Greek and Latin Churches.”
Although the Nestorians have fixed their habitations chiefly in Mesopotamia and the adjacent countries, they are to be found throughout the east of Asia, as in Tartary, India, &c. in greater numbers than any other sect of Christians, whence they not only call themselves the Eastern Christians, as already observed, but are sometimes so called by others.
They celebrated the Eucharist with leavened bread, and administer it in both kinds : they do not worship images, and they allow their clergy to marry once, twice, and even thrice ; but whether this liberty extends to the regular clergy, I hare not yet been able to ascertain.
Their monks are habited in a black gown, tied with a leathern girdle, and wear a blue turban ; and their nuns must be forty years old before they take the monastic habit, which is much the same with that of the monks, except that they tie a kind of black veil about their heads, and about their chints.
THE NESTORIANS OF MALABAR, USUALLY CALLED
THE CHRISTIANS OF ST. THOMAS.
With regard to the Nestorians who inhabit the coast of Malabar and Travancore, and are commonly called the Christians of St. Thomas, and by some, the St. Thomé Christians, there exists much difference of opinion as to their origin. The Portuguese, who first opened the navigation of India, in the fifteenth century, and found them seated there for ages, assert that St. Thomas, the apostle, preached the gospel in India ; and that these are the descendants of his proselytes, whose faith had been subsequently perverted by the unwary admission of the Nestorian bishops from Mousul. Others observe, that Mar, or St. Thomé, is considered by the Nestorians as the first who introduced Christianity into Malabar in the fifth or sixth century, and as their first bishop and founder, from whom they derive the name of St. Thomé Christians; and others, that they were originally a colony of Nestorians, who fled from the dominions of the Greek emperors, after Theodosius the II. had commenced tbe persecution of that sect.
The Rev. Dr. Buchanan, vice-provost of the college of FortWilliam, who visited these Christians in 1806, and counts fiftyfive churches in Malayala,* denies that they are Nestorians, and observes that their doctrines “are contained in a very few articles, and are not at variance in essentials with the doctrines of the church of England. They are usually denominated Jacobitæ,t but they differ in ceremonial from the church of that name in Syria, and indeed from any existing church in the world. Their proper designation, and that which is sanctioned by their own use, is Syrian Christians, or The Syrian Church of Malayala." Yet the Doctor remarks, that they acknowledge “ the patriarch of Antioch," and that they are connected with certain churches in Mesopotamia and Syria, 215 in number, and labouring under circumstances of discouragement and distress : but he does not say whether it is to the Greek or the Jacobite patriarch of Antioch that they are subject.
So lame, indeed, and imperfect are the best accounts which we have of the Greeks and their church, the most distinguished and best known of all the Eastern Churches, that an eminent and respectable divine of that communion, was pleased to observe, in writing to the author of this work, after perusing his
* Malayala comprehends the mountains and the whole region within them, from Cape Comorin to Cape Illi. Whereas the province of Malabar, commonly so called, contains only the northern districts, not including the country of Travancore.
+ Their Liturgy, Dr. B. tells us, is derived from that of the early church of Antioch, called “ Liturgia Jacobia Apostoli.”-And, according to Mr. Gibbon, “ the Jacobites themselves had rather deduce their name and pedigree from St. James the Apostle."
MS. on the subject of these churches, that he had “not met; in any forcign publication, so good and so exact a description of the Greek church, and which has afforded him so much pleasure and information at the same time,” &c. as that here presented to the reader, in a state very considerably improved by this divine's remarks and corrections, and by his also kindly supplying the author with further means of valuable and authentic information. Aware that some, if not many, readers are but ill qualified to judge for themselves of the correctness of what is here said on the subject of these churches, and not being at liberty to publish the name of the writer of this letter, through whose kind assistance this account of them is, in a great measure, what they will now find it, I have conceived it in a manner a duty which I owe to them, to lay before them his opinion of it, with a view to their satisfaction, and if I have any other motive for so doing, it is that I might thus rouse others, on their perceiving how much we have yet to learn on this subject, to more minute inquiries into the present state and condition of those to whom, or to whose forefathers and predecessors, we are all very bighly indebted, for as much as it was through the Greek and Eastern Christians that the light of the gospel was first communicated to us, and, of course, that we derive all the comforts and blessings which we enjoy from our religion.
From the time in which the government of the Roman Empire became Christian, under the reign of Constantine the Great, in the year of Christ 324, no great or sudden change took place in the visible character of the church till the Reformation from Popery in the sixteenth century. The Reformation was one of the greatest achievements ever accomplished by human effort, and the greatest blessing that the grace of God has bestowed upon the church since the Apostojic age. · When, in the providence of God, he designs to accomplish some great event, be raises up some extraordinary instrument, suited to the nature of the design. This appears in all the most important transactions recorded in sacred or profane history. Such a character, in a most eminent manner, was Martin Luther. He had, indeed, great coadjutors in accomplishing the work of the Reformation, but he was their head. It has been observed, by the late President Dwight, that the Catholic Church, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, was the strongest power that has ever existed : for all human power consists, essentially, in a controul over the minds of men. And this, the court of Rome is supposed to have possessed in a greater degree than any other government or monarch has ever done.
Luther was born and lived in the Circle of Saxony, in Germany, and enjoyed the benefits of a liberal education, according to the customs of the age. His early life was devoted to study, in which he made uncommon proficiency. He also became, early, a subject of the grace of God, and his religious attainments corresponded with his uncommon advancement in science. He was made Professor in the University of Wittemberg, and was the principal ornament of that flourishing institution.
In the year 1517, John Tetzel, a Dominican Monk, came to Wittemberg as an agent of Pope Leo X. to sell Indulgences. Leo was engaged at that time in the erection of St. Peter's • Church, at Rome, the most magnificent edifice of modern times, and was obliged to adopt extraordinary measures to supply his treasury. For this purpose, Tetzel was commissioned to offer a plenary pardon of all sins, past and future, to any one who would pay the price of the Indulgence. And the price of these was graduated according to the ability of the person to make the payment.
Luther was now thirty-four years of age. He had made himself well acquainted with the Holy Scriptures, which were very little read at that day, even by such as were educated for the service of the church. His studies and reflections bad convinced him that many of the sentiments and practices of the church were unscriptural and absurd, although he had not examined them with any unfavourable prepossessions. His mind was forcibly struck with the audacity of Tetzel's pretensions, and he inveigbed, publicly, in the city of Wittemberg, against this gross abuse of the original design of indulgences, and even against the authority of indulgences for sin in any form. This was done with a confidence arising from the deepest conviction, and with a force of argument which overwhelmed the impious Tetzel and all his supporters.
It may, here, be proper to take a brief view of past events. The Christian church had been gradually declining from its primitive purity, had advanced in pomp and worldly grandeur, and had made the most painful progress in errors and corruptions from the time of its release from pagan persecution to the present period. At this time a calm of moral death pervaded the Christian world. An endless round of senseless ceremonies, with an unlimited devotion to the court of Rome, passed for the religion of Christ. This state of things, however, had never been attained but against many powerful struggles of truth. Every age furnished faithful servants of righteousness, who raised a warning voice against the corruptions of the times, and laboured to rouse their fellow men to just views of the truth of God. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Waldenses bad many pure churches of Christ, amid the lonely vallies of the Alps ; and, notwithstanding their long and severe sufferings from papal persecution, they persevered in contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints. In the next age, John WickTiffe, an English divine, publicly exposed the leading errors of the Catholic church, inculcated the pure doctrines of Christ with grtat zeal, translated the Bible into his native tongue, and had, while living, and especially after his death, in his own and other countries, many zealous and faithful followers. In the fifteenth century, Huss and Jerome, two eminent men in Bohemia, one a divine, the other a civilian, and both men of great learning and piety, adopted the sentiments of Wickliffe, and publicly testified against the gross corruptions of the clergy, and the general errors and oppressions of the church. They were both burnt by order of the great Council of Constance, one in 1414, the other two years after. And the persecution continued with unrelenting severity against their followers. Yet these cruelties made no small impression upon the minds of men ; these martyrs and their sentiments could not be forgotton ; the seed of heavenly truth was extensively sown, and, though it vegetated long, a century after it brought forth a glorious harvest.
The leading quality in the character of Luther was an intrepidity of mind which has never been surpassed. Fearless in