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THE RELIGION OF THE CHINESE.
visits I have stayed on board the Good News Boat, and gone ashore daily for preaching and worship.
Death of a Preacher. In a second letter, Mr. Douglas says :-I have been again at An-hai : our assistants there are preparing to remove to a more convenient house which they had rented. But since I returned to Amoy, the one who has been most frequently engaged in preaching there, by name Khi, has been called away from this world. We trust it is his gain, and we can ever hope that his departure has been a means of grace and blessing to that place which was his native district.
Arrival of more Missionaries. I am not sure if I have mentioned before the arrival of two new missionaries from the Reformed Dutch Church of North America. It is two or three weeks since we wel. comed them to Amoy. We trust and pray that God may abundantly bless them in the gospel work, and may also by their means make still closer the ties which unite their Church with ours.
THE RELIGION OF THE CHINESE.
1. THE religion of Confucius. The objects worshipped are numberless. Among them are the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the clouds, the rain, the wind, the ocean, rivers, certain mountains, the gods of the soil, the gods of war, deceased ancestors, &c. They exalt their rulers to be demi-gods, and esteem them to be mediators between supreme deities and the people. To them they render divine worship.
This is the State religion. It is embraced by those in official stations, by the educated and more polished
THE RELIGION OF THE CHINESE.
classes, and by some of inferior positions. The Emperor is the patriarch, and each magistrate solemnises its rites within his own jurisdiction. The sacrifices offered by the Emperor or his proxies are very costly, consisting of many hundreds of domestic animals of diverse kinds. The lower orders generally offer prepared food, or burn paper and matches, with gunpowder and crackers. How absurd ! In the aggregate these offerings are very expensive. The cost of the gold and silver paper burnt in China in a year exceeds a hundred times all the money collected in the Christian world annually for Bible, Tract, and Missionary Societies. What a rebuke to Christians who are doing so little to furnish the heathen with the gospel.
2. The second form of the religion of the Chinese is Taonism, literally, “ The Light of Reason.” Those who embrace it profess an utter contempt for riches, worldly honours, the comforts of life, and to subject every passion which interferes with personal tranquillity and selfenjoyment. They adhere to the most visionary and soul-degrading tenets, and their religion is but a system of cheating and jugglery. They worship an innumerable host of deities.
3. The third form of religion is Buddhism, or the religion of Fo. It is professed by the greater part of the inhabitants of the empire. Buddha is a general name for divinity, and not for any particular god or idol. The followers of this system assert that there have been successively four Buddhas in the world, and that there is one more to come. The one worshipped at present is called Gauhdma. They say that after living in four millions of worlds, and undergoing numberless changes in each, he was at length born into this world, at a date answering the year 626 before the birth of our Saviour. They say that he was of marvellous dimensions, and performed many wonderful feats. At the age of 35 years he became divine, or a god. In this capacity he lived 45 years, and gave many laws and rites. Then he attained to annihilation, that is, utter extinction of existence. His doc
A KIND ALDERMAN.
trines and precepts form the religious code of many millions in different countries in Eastern Asia. They are strange, foolish and demoralising. They give no idea of a self-existent Being, or an overruling Providence. They are atheistic; for, from the annihilation of the one Buddha until the development of the next, there is literally no god. They have no living person to love supremely, or to fear. Yet they, in use of images, in complicated ceremonies, in expensive pagodas (temples), worship the last Buddha who is extinct.--The height of glory set before them is, that after a variety of changes in other worlds they shall become annihilated-go into nothingness.
All these three systems of Pagan religion which prevail in China are devoid of all that is ennobling and purifying. They have no power to save the soul, and give no reliable assurance of the forgiveness of sins, and future happi.
On their behalf all persons in the Christian Church, old and young, should feel a deep interest. Something has been and is doing, for their evangelisation. Of the work of missions in China we may speak in another number:
A KIND ALDERMAN. RECENTLY in the United States District Court at Austin, Texas, two young Germans, ignorant of English, were sentenced to the Penitentiary for robbing the mail
. Alderman Ernest Raven translated to the prisoners the judge's charge and sentence, and, by permission of the court, in presenting a Bible to one of the prisoners, Dammart, he made these remarks :-"Jacob Dammart; you are a young man, and have no parents here. I take the liberty of giving you some advice before you enter the prison appointed as your place of punishment for the next two years. I present you this Bible--use it, and be true to your God and your adopted country, and you will find
A NOBLE EXAMPLE.
no occasion to steal again. This Bible is the only piece of property you will be allowed to carry with you into confinement. While in the Penitentiary be obedient to those in authority over you, and a two-years' imprisonment will be a light burden to you. When your term of punishment has expired, if you shall need a home, you shall find one at my honse, if my life is spared so long."
A NOBLE EXAMPLE.
been, slaves. They look upon them as an inferior race of people altogether ; so they will not sit with them, por dine with them, nor associate with them in any way. It is very wrong and wicked all this, for they are not ashamed to hold these their poor fellow-creatures in bondage, and buy and sell them like cattle. Many of these poor people have noble and generous hearts, as every one who has read “ Uncle Tom's Cabin” knows, and surely, therefore, it is no crime to have a black skin. William Cowper the poet, truly and nobly said
“Fleecy locks and black complexion,
Cannot forfeit nature's claim;
Dwells in white and black the same."
That affection has often been shown nobly and generously to the cause of the Saviour. I once read of a coloured woman who, although not a Negro, was for a long time a slave. Somehow she gained her freedom, but she had no means of living except by the little she earned through hard labour. On one occasion she carried to her pastor forty dollars which she had saved up to give away.
She told him she wished to give two dollars for a seat in his church ; eighteen dollars more she gave to the Missionary Society, and the remaining eighteen dollars she requested him to divide among other benevolent societies according to his own discretion. Here was true selfdenial. With such a noble spirit pervading all Christians, China would soon be converted, and India would be rejoicing in the liberty of the gospel. Reader, will you not try to copy the noble example ? Let your Collecting card be filled with the fruits of self-denial.