PRELIMINARY ESSAY. lxxxi
St. Thomas only is asserted to have carried so far his indefatigable missionary journeys,t for the apostle Bartholo-new is related by a Syro-Arabian writer to have gone preaching to India and further China.2 Apart from these legends, a Christian author of the third century speaks of the Sores with the Persians and Merles as among the nations who had been reached by the power of the Word.3 On this we cannot build as evidence that Christianity had then extended to China ; but that it was in the following century already widely diffused over Mesopotamia and Persia is shown by the number of Bishops and Presbyters who are named as martyrs or otherwise in connexion with the persecutions of Sapor ;1 whilst the existence of an episcopal see at
1 The Chaldœan breviary of the Malabar Church, in its office of St. Thomas contains this passage :-
"By St. Thomas were the errors of idolatry banished from among the Indians ;
" By St. Thomas were the CHINESE and the Ethiopians converted to the truth ;
" By St. Thomas did they receive the Sacrament of Baptism and the adoption of children ;
By St. Thomas were they brought to believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost ;
By St. Thomas when they had gotten the Faith they did maintain it ; By St. Thomas hath the brightness of the doctrine unto life arisen over all the Indies ;
" By St. Thomas hath the Kingdom of Heaven taken unto itself wings and passed even unto CHINA."
And again in an anthem :
" The Hindus and the CHINESE and the Persians, and all the people of the Isles of the Sea, and they who dwell in Syria and Armenia, in Javan and Romania call Thomas to remembrance and adore Thy Name, O Thou our Redeemer." (Assemanni, pp. 32, 516.)
2 Ditto, p. 576.
3 That new power which has arisen from the works wrought by the Lord and his Apostles " has subdued the flame of human passions, and brought into the hearty acceptance of one faith a vast variety of races, and nations the most different in their manners. For we can count up in our reckoning things achieved in India, among the SERES, Persians, and Medes ; in Arabia, Egypt, Asia, and Syria ; among the Galatians, the Parthians, and the Phrygians ; in Achaia, Macedonia, and Epirus ; in all the islands and provinces which the rising or the setting sun looks down upon." Arnobius, Adversus Gentes, in ii, 448, Max. Biblioth. Patrum, 1677.
4 As., p. 52-3, 415.