The Nestorians and the Paulicians

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 12
The rise of the Nestorians in the fifth century and their great missionary zeal have been already mentioned. At their head stood a bishop, known by the title of Patriarch of Babylon. His residence was originally at Seleucia. From Persia, it is said, they carried the gospel to the North, the East, and the South. In the sixth century they preached the gospel with great success to the Huns, the Indians, the Medes, and the Elamites: on the coast of Malabar, and the isles of the ocean, great numbers were converted. Following the course of trade, the missionaries made their way from India to China, and penetrated across the deserts to its northern frontier. In 1625 a stone was discovered by the Jesuits near Singapore, which bears a long inscription, partly Syriac and partly Chinese, recording the names of missionaries who had labored in China, and the history of Christianity in that country from the year 636-781. But the propagation of Christianity, it is thought, awakened the jealousy of the State, and, after witnessing the success of the gospel, and experiencing persecution, they probably were exterminated, or fled, about the close of the eighth century. The Nestorians were patronized by some of the Persian kings, and under the reign of the caliphs they were protected and prospered greatly. They assumed the designation of Chaldean Christians, or Assyrians, and still exist under that name.
The doctrines, character, and history of the Paulicians have been subjects of great controversy; but they have not been allowed to speak for themselves to posterity. Their writings were carefully destroyed by the catholics, and they are known to us only through the reports of bitter enemies who brand them as heretics, and as the ancestors of the protestant reformers. On the other hand, some protestant writers accept the pedigree, and assert that they were the maintainers of a purely scriptural Christianity, which may have appeared to the papacy as heretical. This latter circumstance, from what we have already shown, will be easily believed. The most grievous corruptions, both in the doctrine and the worship of the catholic church, had been not only admitted, but enforced, long before the rise of the Paulicians. Neither the spirit nor the simplicity of the gospel remained; hence, scriptural Christianity must have appeared to the image-worshippers as a heresy.
Passing over many individual names from the time of St. Augustine, who were worthy witnesses of the truth, we will come at once and inquire into