The branch of the Christian church known by this name is so called from Nestorius, a patriarch of Constantinople, who was born in Germanica, a city of Syria, in the latter part of the fourth century. He was educated and baptized at Antioch, and, soon after his baptism, withdrew to a monastery in the vicinity of that city. His great reputation for eloquence, and the regularity of his life, induced the emperor Theodosius to select him for the see of Constantinople; and he was consecrated bishop of that church A. D.429. He became a violent persecutor of heretics; but, because he favored the doctrine of his friend Anastasius, that "the virgin Mary cannot with propriety be called the mother of God," he was anathematized by Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, who, in his turn, was anathematized by Nestorius. In the council of Ephesus, A. D.431, (the third General Council of the church,) at which Cyril presided, and at which Nestorius was not present, he was judged and condemned without being heard, and deprived of his see. He then retired to his monastery, in Antioch, and was afterwards banished to Petra, in Arabia, and thence to Oasis, in Egypt, where he died, about A. D.435 or 439.

The decision of the council of Ephesus caused many difficulties in the church; and the friends of Nestorius carried his doctrines through all the Oriental provinces, and established numerous congregations, professing an invincible opposition to the decrees of the Ephesian council. Nestorianism spread rapidly over the East, and was embraced by a large number of the oriental bishops. Barsumas, bishop of Nisibis, labored with great zeal and activity to procure for the Nestorians a solid and permanent footing in Persia; and his success was so remarkable that his fame extended throughout the East. He established a school at Nisibis, which became very famous, and from which issued those Nestorian doctors who, in that and the following centuries, spread abroad their tenets through Egypt, Syria, Arabia, India, Tartary, and China.

The Nestorian church is Episcopal in its government, like all the other Oriental churches. Its doctrines, also, are, in general, the same with those of those churches, and they receive and repeat, in their public worship, the Nicene creed. Their distinguishing doctrines appear to be, their believing that Mary was not the mother of Jesus Christ, as God, but only as man, and that there are, consequently, two persons, as well as two natures, in the Son of God. This notion was looked upon in the earlier ages of the church as a most momentous error; but it has in later times been considered more as an error of words than of doctrine; and that the error of Nestorius was in the words he employed to express his meaning, rather than in the doctrine itself. While the Nestorians believe that Christ had two natures and two persons, they say "that these natures and persons are so closely and intimately united that they have but one aspect." "Now, the word barsopa, by which they express this aspect, is precisely of the same signification with the Greek word {GREEK SMALL LETTER PI}{GREEK SMALL LETTER RHO}{GREEK SMALL LETTER OMICRON}{GREEK SMALL LETTER SIGMA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER OMEGA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER PI}{GREEK SMALL LETTER OMICRON}{GREEK SMALL LETTER NU}, which signifies a person; and hence it is evident that they attached to the word aspect the same idea that we attach to the word person, and that they understood, by the word person, precisely what we understand by the term nature."

The Nestorians, of all the Christian churches of the East, have been the most careful and successful in avoiding a multitude of superstitious opinions and practices, which have infected the Romish and many Eastern churches.

Our readers are referred to an interesting volume recently published by Asahel Grant, M. D., in which is contained strong evidence that the Nestorians and the "Lost Tribes" are one people.

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