The Cross and the Violin – Edward Payson Scott

In 1863, an American Baptist Missionary, Edward Payson Scott went out from the town of Nowgong to the Nagaland accompanied by no one but his Mikir teacher. The local British officer in Nowgong and some of his friends tried hard to dissuade him. It was too dangerous. The wild tribes would kill him. Scott however felt that this God was calling him to do this and so had to go. The British officer offered to send some troops along with him for his protection. Scott declined. He was a man of peace and the Good News that he was taking was one of love and good will. So he went alone accompanied only by his Mikir associate.

Three days later, they approached a ridge near the village. As he and his associate descended, the Naga villagers who became alarmed came running out to them brandishing their spears. They formed an attack formation around them and aimed their spears. The Chief then told them to halt and go no further. He stated that he knew they were of the Moha Rani – the Queen of England’s man.

So what did Scott do?

Not knowing what to do, Scott for whatever reason, pulled out his violin and started playing Issac Watts hymn, Alas And Did My Savior Bleed singing the words to it in their dialect.

Alas! And did my Savior bleed,
And did my sovereign die?
Would he devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

The villagers were astounded.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity, grace unknown,
And love beyond degree!

They all dropped their spears. Edward Payson Scott was their friend.

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'”
~ Isaiah 52:7


I got the story from Baptist Missionary Magazine, vol 81, No. 6, June , 1901.  Pg. 216.   The story is also in The Growth of Baptist Churches in Nagaland, by Puthuvail Thomas Philip (Guwahati: Christian Literature Centre, 1976, 1983), 53