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The Bronze Christ

 

During the height of the Tokugawa dynasty in 17th century Japan, Christianity, which had reached an alarming popularity, was outlawed. The shoguns feared that this foreign influence was the forerunner to conquest by the West and that, left unchecked, it would cause the destruction of Japan. All Christians and their families, even their friends and associates, were sought out and mercilessly killed by torture as traitors. But the authorities soon learned that the Christians were clever. They met in secret places. They did not at all mind dying for Christ. They continued to grow in numbers, despite all systematic and persistent efforts, until it became apparent that a new and more effective device to stop them had to be invented.

In Nagasaki there lived a young sculptor, a professed non-Christian. The only man in Japan who knew how to cast in bronze. It was he the government officials chose to help them in their diabolical plan. Would he make for them a bronze cast of Christ, durable, life like, which they would use to trap Christians? They would lay this image of the Christians’ God down in a public street and force all passers-by to grind it under their feet. Those who refused – no torture would be spared them. 

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