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offending the old deities, and also by the danger of rendering himself unpopular among his subjects, wbo were bigoted worshippers of Aramazd, the Ormuzd of the ancient Persians. One day when he was wandering alone through a thick forest, he became enveloped in a dense fog, and was unable to find his way. Awe-struck by the uncertain light, and by the silent solitude of the place, he began to reflect upon what he had heard of those Superior Spirits, who guide the destinies of men. The thought passed through his mind that if he should be safely restored to his companions, he might become a worshipper of the Christian's God, of whom his wife told such marvellous things. At that moment, the sun suddenly burst forth, and illumined the foliage with a wondrous glory. The wavering mine! of the monarch hailed the beautiful omen. He saw in that golden radiance a symbol of the light of truth, dispersing all mists from the soul. He rejoined his companions, to whom he related what had happened. He sent for the Christian captive, and became converted by her. He began to instruct the men among his subjects, and the queen the women. They sent to Rome for religious teachers, and were baptized. The people were at first exceedingly averse to a change in the national religion, but, after much oppo sition, the temple of Aramazd was pulled down, and a Cross was raised upon its ruins. It is recorded that the erection of the first Christian church was attended with miracles. A heavy column of stone resisted all the efforts of the workmen to raise it. But Nino spent the night in praying that they might be assisted, and the next morning, the pillar rose of its own accord, and stood erect. The people, when they witnessed this, shouted in praise of the Christian's God, and were generally baptized. The king entered into alliance with Constantine the Great, who sent him valuable presents, and a Christian bishop. The popular feeling toward the temple of Aramazd was transferred to the Cross, the possession of which soon came to be regarded as the great safeguard of the nation.
Tiridates, king of Armenia, was a bigoted worshipper
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of the old gods of his country. He put in prison one of his subjects who had become a Christian, and who refused to offer sacrifices to Anaitis, a goddess resembling the Venus of the Romans, and the Astarte of the Syrians. Gregory the Christian languished in prison fourteen years. Meanwhile, the king's sister had become converted ; and when a terrible pestilence broke out, she ventured to advise that he should be released, as a means of arresting the plague. The king, being himself afflicted with the deadly malady, and greatly alarmed, accepted her counsel. He was cured by Gregory, and the pestilence soon after abated. Believing this to be a sign of approval from Heaven, the monarch consented to be baptized; and his example was soon after followed by all his nobles and the people. Priests were sent for from other countries; four hundred bishops were consecrated, and churches erected everywhere; though not without strenuous resistance. The Christian prisoner who had effected all this, was appointed archbishop of the kingdom, and became famous under the name of Gregory the Illuminator. The Province of Dara, considered the sacred region of Armenia, obstinately resisted the innovation, and fought desperately for the preservation of their ancient altars and temples. Every Christian church erected there was built under the protection of troops. The prolonged contest was at last decided by a bloody battle, which was commemorated by the following inscription on a monument :
“ THE LEADER OF THE WARRIORS WAS ARGAN,
THE CHIEF OF THE PRIESTHOOD,
WHO LIES HERE IN HIS GRAVE,
AND FOR THAT OF CHRIST."
This was the first war for the introduction of Christianity. But it cannot with truth be said that Christianity made its way by persuasion, and by appeals to the inward consciousness of men, except for the first three hundred years. Theodosius suppressed Pagan worship by the sword, and dragged the gods of antiquity at his chariot-wheels. Jus. tinian completed the work in the same spirit. The thousands who performed their ancient rites in secret were ferreted out, and allowed no choice between baptism and death. The same course was pursued toward the Samaritans. They resisted. Twenty thousand were slain; twenty thousand sold into slavery to Persians and East Indians; and the remainder saved their lives by consenting to be baptized. It has been computed that one hundred thousand Roman subjects were slaughtered in the course of Justinian's efforts to establish the unity of the Christian church. Charlemagne drove Paganism from Teutonic Europe at the point of his spear. In his attempts to force the Saxons into Christianity, which he doubtless did from motives of state policy, he incurred a war of thirty years' duration. At last, Wittikind the Great, Duke of Saxony, was compelled to submit. The only alternative allowed them was death or baptism; and he with his whole army submitted to the ceremony, which made them Christians. When the Saxons, under King Ethelwolf, fought with the Danes, they, in their turn, offered the same choice to those who were taken prisoners; and Danish vikings, or pirates, were baptized by hundreds on the battle fields, to escape the gallows, which was ready to receive them. King Olaf, who was afterward canonized, and became the patron saint of Norway, demolished the temples and altars of Odin, introduced Christianity among his subjects by an armed force, and allowed them no alternative but slaughter.
Every one knows how the wealth and power of the church went on increasing, until the Pope came to be universally acknowledged as the Vicegerent of God upon earth, the infallible medium of the Holy Ghost. When the empire broke up into independent nations, Rome became the ecclesiastical centre of the world, as it had formerly been of the civil power. So subservient were kings to priests, that princes held the Pope's stirrup while he mounted his horse, and for the slightest offence against the church, their subjects were forbidden to supply them with food, water, or fire, on pain of similar excommunication themselves.
The number of Catholics at the present time is estimated at about one hundred and forty millions.
SEPARATE CHURCHES. GREEK CHURCH.-But neither the zeal of missionaries, nor the sword of kings, succeeded in making the Catholic church quite universal. The continual rivalship between the Patriarchs of Rome and Constantinople, at last terminated in open schism; and the adherents of the latter took the name of the Greek church. The point of doctrine on which they separated was concerning the mode in which the Holy Ghost came into existence. The church at Constantinople maintained that he proceeded from the Father only; but the Roman church decided that he proceeded from the Father and the Son. The Patriarch of Rome excommunicated the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alex. andria, in the fifth century. Various attempts to reunite were afterward made, but they were followed by renewed excommunications. The Greek church assumed entire independence, and were governed by their own Patriarch and bishops. In nearly all respects, their doctrines and ceremonies are like those of the Catholics. They accept the traditions of the Fathers as of equal authority with Scrip. ture; believing them to have been orally transmitted from the Apostles. The lower order of their priests are allowed to marry once, provided it be not to a widow.
They invoke the Virgin and the saints, whose pictures abound in their churches and houses, sometimes set with precious stones. But they retain the opinion which caused the Iconoclast warfare, and allow no sculptured images. On the strength of this distinction, they express abhorrence of the Catholics, as idolaters.
Their numbers are computed at seventy millions.
NESTORIANS.—The adherents of Nestorius, after they were excommunicated, sought protection in Persia, and gained proselytes in various Asiatic countries. The doctrine taught by Nestorius, that Christ had two natures, human and divine, was afterward received into the creed of the Catholic church ; but as the Nestorians persisted in calling Mary the mother of Christ only, and refused to style her Mother of God, they remained excommunicated, and formed an independent establishment. Their doctrines, worship, and church government are like those of the Greek church; but they abominate pictures as well as images, and allow no image in their churches except the cross. When an image of the Virgin was presented to them by missionaries, they exclaimed: “We are Christians, not idolaters.” It is supposed that some of them, when they fled from persecution, after the decision of the Council at Ephesus, took refuge in Hindostan; for churches maintaining the same faith and worship were found centuries afterward on the coast of Malabar. They were called Christians of St. Thomas, on account of a tradition that Thomas the Apostle travelled into India, carried the Gospel there, and became a martyr to the bigotry of the Bramins. But the tomb shown as his is now believed by many scholars to be the grave of a Nestorian bishop, by the name of Thomas. The Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus, mentioned among spurious books, as purporting to be written by the Apostle Thomas, is said to have been read in these churches on the Malabar coast as late as the sixteenth century. These Christians of St. Thomas united with other Nestorians in Mesopotamia and Syria, under one church government. The whole number is computed to be about three hundred thousand. They are generally called Syrian Christians, because they have the ancient Syrian version of the New Testament, and use the same language in their worship.
ARMENIANS.—Another independent church was formed in Armenia, which agreed with the Greek concerning "the