Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/506

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See p. 159.

The following extracts are gleaned from the pages of Mr. Marcus Adler's lecture in regard to the existence of a Jewish colony in China. "We owe to the Jesuits the first authenticated accounts we possess. It was in the time of Queen Elizabeth that the Church of Rome sent out to China a band of missionaries. Father Ricci was one of the first of these missionaries, and in the report of the Propaganda Fide, at Rome, we are told how he came to know about the existence of Chinese Jews.

"One summer day, in the early part of the seventeenth century, Ricci received a visit from a scholar who had come to Pekin to pass his examination for a Government appointment. The candidate was anxious to make the acquaintance of one who, he surmised, must be a co-religionist, for it was said that he worshipped one God, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and was not a Mohammedan. Father Ricci was struck with his visitor's features, so different from those of an ordinary Chinaman, and took him to his oratory, where he knelt before the picture of the Holy Family and St. John the Baptist, and another, that of the Evangelists. The visitor did so likewise, saying, "We in China do reverence to our ancestors. This is Rebecca with her sons Jacob and Esau, but as to the other picture, why make obeisance to only four sons of Jacob? Were there not twelve?" Then mutual explanations were given. The visitor was an Israelite, Ngai by name, who had come to Peking from Kaifeng Fu, the ancient capital of Honan. In this city, the visitor explained, his community had a synagogue, which they had recently repaired, and in which there was a roll of the Law which was over four hundred years old. "At Hangchow Fu,"