Page:Christianity in China, Tartary, and Thibet Volume II.djvu/246

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232 CnRISTIAXITY IN CniNA, ETC. mourning in retirement, had carried one of the mis- sionaries with liim, in the hope; that lie might convert his relatives, and luimd a mission in his native town, Han-Tcheou-Fou, the capital ot" the province of Tchc- Kianjr. AVe have seen from the narrative of the Arab travellers, that in the eighth century a frightful mas- sacre of the Christians took place in that town; and also, that in the thirteenth century some monks of the order of St. Francis founded a flourishing mission, which was placed by John of Monte Corvino under the juris- diction of one of his suffragan bishops; but at the be- ginning of the seventeenth century no trace of Chris- tianity was left in the place. Doctor Leon was the apostle destined by Providence to rekindle the flame of the true faith in his native town. From the time of his arrival, Doctor Leon was in frequent communication with the celebrated Vang, one of his nearest relations, and one of the richest in- habitants of the town, though he had renounced his high position in the mngistracy to devote himself to the study of letters and })hilosophy. A zealous disciple of Buddhism, he had had a magnificent pngoda constructed in the interior of his palace, and maintained at his <nvn expense several ])onzes, to whom he was entirely de- voted. As religious questions occupied above all else his superior intellect, he entered in his very first inter- view with his relation Doctor L(5on on a discussion concerning Buddhism and Christianity, and the argu- ment was continued with equal earnestness on both sides for several days; till at length the disciple of Buddha, ■who was seeking for the truth in sincerity and singleness of heart, was struck by the immense difference between

the two systems in dispute. On one side he found in-