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some tutelary deity. An image of a ram's head is still worn as an amulet against evil, and so is the golden beetle, once sacred to the sun, and an emblem of creation. The star of Isis looks down brightly as ever on the land that was once her own. The Sphinx stands dark and solemn in the desert twilight, a huge phantom of the mighty past, unable to reveal her mystery.

“There sits drear Egypt, ’mid beleaguering sands,

Half human and half beast;
The burnt-out torch within her mouldering hands,

That once lit all the East."


“I compile and transmit to posterity, but write not anything new. I believe and love the ancients, taking Laou Pang for my pattern."


The Chinese claim for themselves almost unlimited antiquity. Their traditions go back millions of years, to a time when they were governed by the gods; but their early history is enveloped in thick darkness. It is the universal belief in Benares that they emigrated from Hindostan, and this opinion is said to be sustained by a passage in the Code of Menu. Their historical books, translated by Frenchmen of science, exhibit a regular chronology, extending back three thousand years before our era. Considerable knowledge of astronomy existed among them at a very early period. One of the Jesuit missionaries in China, who had read more than a hundred volumes of their annals, assures us that they observed the motions of the heavenly bodies soon after our date of the Deluge; and European scholars have satisfied themselves that they accurately calculated an eclipse two thousand one hundred and fifty-five years before Christ. They named successive days for the same seven planets that Hindoos and Egyptians did. Their learned men have always occupied themselves with history, political maxims and external sciences, without manifesting much interest in metaphysical inquiries or mystical theories. They have changed less in the course of ages than any other nation on earth, partly owing to the peculiarity of their language, which impedes the introduction of foreign literature, and partly owing to their extreme veneration for everything ancient. Opinions must be sustained by precedent and authority, and once received they are cast into an exact mould, the pattern of which must never change. Their minds are never troubled with the query, which, in one form or another, has disturbed the repose of the priesthood all the world over; no restless activity of intellect induces them to inquire: -“Why must I always wear my grandfather's hat? My head was not measured for it.” Unquestioning obedience to superiors, in church, state, and household, constitutes their morality. Their emperor is called Holy Son of Heaven, and Sole Guardian of the Earth.” His subjects prostrate themselves in his presence, and do homage to his image and his throne. He is, and always has been, at the head of ecclesiastical affairs. A belief in the divine origin of kings, so universal among the ancients, is expressed by the Chinese in a tradition concerning their first monarch, Fo-hi. They say he had no mortal father; that his mother conceived him encompassed by a rainbow. Men remarkable for holiness or wisdom are generally called Tien-tse, Sons of Heaven. It is a common opinion that they had no mortal fathers, but derived their existence from some beavenly source.

The greatest name among Chinese sages is Kong-Foutseu, Latinized into Confucius. He was born five hundred and fifty-one years before Christ. In boyhood he was remarkably serious, and manifested no taste for childish amusements. His ancestors held offices under government for six generations, but in youth he was poor, and obliged to support himself by manual labour. He bad but one wife, to whom he was married at nineteen years of age. When twenty years old, he was appointed superintendent of grain and cattle in his native province, as a reward for intelligence and virtuous conduct. Afterward he held the rank of Mandarin at court, but as the king would not follow his advice in what he deemed for the good of the people, he resigned his office, went into a neighbouring province, and became a teacher of morals. He is said to have had several thousand disciples, by whom he appears to have been regarded with the deepest veneration. They said: “Since men existed, there has never been one to be compared to Confucius.” "As the heavens cannot be scaled, even by the highest ladder, so no man can attain to Confucius. Were he to obtain the throne, he would establish the people, and they would be correct." "He may be compared to heaven and earth, in their supporting, containing, and overshadowing all things; to the regular revolutions of the seasons, and the alternate shining of the sun and moon.” But it is not likely that such transcendent merit would have been accorded to him in any other country

The formality of Chinese etiquette is stamped on all that is related of him. His moral teachings are mixed with many rules how to regulate the countenance, and how to stand or walk in the presence of elders, or superiors in rank. It is recorded, as very important, that on the first of every month he always put on his court robes, and waited on the prince. “When he entered the palace door he crouched down, as if the door could not admit him. Holding up his robes, he ascended the hall, bending his body, repressing his breath, as if he did not dare to breathe. When he passed by the empty throne, his countenance changed suddenly, and he walked with grave and meas. ured steps, as if fettered. When he went out, and descended one step, he relaxed his countenance a little, and assumed a mild and pleasing deportment. When he reached the foot of the stairs, he let fall his robes, and expanded his arms like a bird's wings." " When he met any person in mourning, he bowed even to the front cross-beam of his carriage; he did the same to a person bearing the census of the people. If the mat was not laid straight, he sat not down. When old men, who walked with canes, withdrew from a feast, he rose and retired also." He never drank wine enough to confuse his mind; and whatsoever he ate or drank, he first offered a portion to the gods. It is recorded that he turned back from a journey, on account of meeting unlucky omens by the way. He was fond of music, and often recommended its cultivation; particularly

that of their famous monarch, Shun, which so excited him, when he first heard it, that he knew not the taste of his food for three months after. His doctrines are based on the idea that human nature is good and beautiful, unless obscured by the darkness of ignorance, or sullied by the contagion of vice. As the best means of restoring its original lustre, he inculcates reverence toward the Supreme Ruler, justice and kindness toward others, temperate indulgence of the appetites, and a due regard to the medium of propriety in all things. His respect for parental authority was carried to such an extreme, that he thought parents had a right to sell their children. He encouraged marriage and agriculture, but was less favourable to commerce. On religious subjects his recorded sayings are very indefinite. He appears to have conformed to the usages of his country as he found them. He alludes reverently to a Supreme Ruler, and it may be inferred that he had belief of some kind in the immortality of the soul. He inculcates the worship of Spirits, and ceremonial observances to the souls of ancestors.

He wrote no books, and his literary merit, as he himself says, is merely that of a compiler. Being desirous to hand down to posterity the worship and the principles of political wisdom, practised by their pattern-princes, Yaou and Shun, who lived fifteen hundred years before him, he collected and arranged the scattered fragments of old books relating to the laws and manners of ancient times. Therefore, the Chinese consider him superior even to those revered monarchs; for “they benefitted one age only by their wise and benevolent government; while Confucius, by transmitting their principles to ten thousand ages, possesses ten thousand times their merit."

The Chinese sage lived seventy-three years, and toward the close of his life mourned much over modern degeneracy. A few days before his death, he said to his disciples : “Kings refuse to follow my maxims, and since I am no longer useful in the world, it is best I should depart from it." Many of his disciples erected a tent near his grave,

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