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position that the sting of the persecutor is extracted and a long time of legal protection may be safely predicted.
5.— The history of religious thought in China throws light upon the hostility felt to Christianity by the Chinese literati.
Toleration has not found its way into the law of China as the résult of the progress of native thought as it did in Europe. In Europe it is the result of political struggles and political thought. Efforts made to throw off the yoke of despotism in Holland and England were successful. The result of those straggles was favourable to freedom of opinion and the doctrine of religious equality and mutual toleration was in Europe partly originated by the common sentiment of nations that had won their liberties by their own efforts and partly by the patient thinking of philosophers living under the new conditions.
In China the case is different. The most advanced phases of the political thought of Europe are brought to the doors of the Chinese literati while they are still in captivity to mistaken philosophies and heirs to a rich inheritance of persecuting precedents. If they could they would bring every thing to their standard, the standard of Confucian thought, the only one they know except the Buddhist. They must be faithful to their principles and oppose and resist religious changes, so far as they cản. It is this hostile attitude that now calls for our attention. On what does it rest ? Why are the literati hostile to Christianity ? I propose to assign in a brief statement some of the reasons why the doctrines of scriptural Christianity when they meet the Chinese mind are opposed by them and regarded as borrowed from their own religions.
After the Confucian age, the consideration of which I omit for brevity, the doctrine of a future life and the looking for redemption soon became prominent ideas in the Tauist religion. The expeditions sent to search for the islands of the immortals in the reign of the emperor Chin Shi Hwang and before that time shew that higher aspirations, had began to move the Chinese mind. Soon after the time of Christ, Tai shan the celebrated mountain of the Confucianists and Tauists became known as the mountain of the god who rules over life and death,* and this is the origin of the special worship at the Tung Yo miau in modern cities which embraces adoration to the judges of the souls of the dead in the Chinese Hades. Before the entrance of Buddhism the aim of Tauist ascetics was to escape death by the use of physical and moral
Heu han sha. Chapter 82. Life of Hü.man, a Tanist diviner.
methods, but when death occurred it was regarded as possible that the spiritual hero might have a continued existance in a higher kind of life. In those times people believed that ascetics of a very exalted excellence could ascend to heaven on a stork or dragon. China was in the first and second century very full of these legends; and the marvellous tales told in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms of distinguished Tauists are quite in keeping with what we read in the histories as having happened at that time.
Buddhism brought in new views. The belief in a western heaven was taught in Afghanistan and Cashmere in the first century before Christ. In China we first meet with books teaching this doctrine in the second century after Christ. The legend of Amida and the western paradise is first mentioned as translated into Chinese about A.D. 179. But the legend of Achobya who ruled in an eastern paradise far from this world is mentioned as translated A.D. 147. We may arrive at the conclusion that the doctrine of a future state of happiness and misery was certainly taught in China by Hindoo Buddhists in the first half of the second century. At the same time an elevated form of victory over the passions over the world and over all the temptations of the body and of the outer world, was inculcated by the Buddhists. The life-long struggle against evil is formulated morally and metaphysically by the Buddhists, and illustrated by the lives of hundreds of their saints. The Buddhists have a Buddhist holiness, a Buddhist regeneration and a Buddhist higher life and they seek after eternal happiness in the western heaven. To this was added the monastic life, giving opportunity for meditation, and mutual aid afforded by brother monks to attain greater heights of excellence in this new life.
The Tauists when they saw Buddhism working in this way adopted a similar system and established monasteries to aid in carrying to practical perfection their system of moral improvement.
Christianity when it reached China in the seventh century was classed with what was regarded as not equal to these two religions. We then read of it in conjunction with the Manichean religion and the Persian fire worship. At that time there were in China five monastic religions, Manicheanism, Buddhism, Tauism, Parsieism and Christianity. We hear of the Persian religion in
• It is stated in the Tso chwen that B. C. 647 a human sacrifice was offered to the
foreign God known as hien or heaven in some fore go tongue. This was done by Sung Siang.kung ruler of the Sung duchy and chief of the barons, or pa wong, at that time. The victim was the baron of Tseng, a small state in Honan. The object of the sacrifice was to conciliate the Tung Yi 'eastern barbarians," tribes then occupying Shantung. The sacrifice would be made in the usual Chinese manner not by burning but by killing and then presenting the body on an alter. It is not said by the historian himself that this was done as a religious act of reverence
China at intervals from the seventh century before Christ. But it was not till the T'ang dynasty that the monastic communities of this religion were subjected to persecution, and they never had any very large number of converts. It was through the spread of the fire religion in Mongolia that we find Ormurd well known by both Mongols and Manchus. Christianity thus when it entered China in the T'ang dynasty had been preceded by three foreign religions. If it be asked why Christianity was not more successful than these religions it may be answered mainly because of the great popularity of Buddhism but partly also because of the ignorance of the Syrian monks. We do not know this as a fact but we may suspect it for the reason that in the account given of Nestorian monks by Rubruquis the traveller shortly before the time of Marco Polo, he censures them severely for their dissolute lives and their ignorance. This indeed was in Tartary and the missious had declined. The Nestorians of the fourth century are probably not to be compared with the Nestorians who taught scripture history to the T'ang emperors by means of paintings, but it is natural to suppose that the Nestorian missionaries whom the emperors saw were the elite of the monastery, the Ta ts'in sĩ. There would have been greater results if the missionaries had been men of a more spiritual mould and culture. But if the Nestorian mission failed to reach a high degree of success that mission can never cease to be of the greatest interest to the student of missions. It taught the Chinese to know the incarnation, the Trinity, the Scriptures in 27 books, the cross and the redemption wrought upon it, the sabbath and the creation of the world. Mahommedanism came to China in the Sung dynasty, and a very large number of Turkish and Persian speaking Mahommedans entered the country at that time just as many Jews, merchants of Bokhara, then became settlers in Kai-feng-fu the capital. Both Mahommedans and Jews helped to bear witness to the unity of God. Then in the thirteenth century the first Catholic missionaries arrived
to the God hien. But it is stated by Tu-yü of the fourth century A. D., and he was probably right for his authority and accuracy are great, the spot on the bank of the Siu river to the south east of Kai-feng-fu where this happened, lies to the north west of Sü-cheu in northern Kingsu. Here the Tung yi had crected an alter to the Hien shen. It was on this alter that the slain victim was placed as on offering. This instance of human sacrifice belonged to a religion which is by later authors uniformly represented as the religion of Persia the worship of fire. Zoroaster is called Su.lu.cbü But the Persian religion which could have spread into Kiangsu in the seventh century before Christ would be of a form anterior to Zoroaster who flourished in Bactria some time before 630 when the Persian em. pire was established. Chinese authors say that the Persian religion prevailed specially in the country they call Kang which is Tarkkend and its province khokand. The old Persian religion before Zoroaster seems to have included human sacrifices. Bat this was a form of it not known to Herodotus, who assigns to it no cruel attributes.
in Peking when the Mongols were here, and were succesfsul for a
From these brief notes on the history of religious thought in China it appears that the literati of that country early became familiar with several doctrines which Christianity teaches too but in a different way. The divine consciousness has been présent with them and the moral sense has been strongly developed. It was not a new thing to them to be taught that there is a supreme ruler of the Universe. Nor was it a new thing to them to hear that the soul exists after death, nor that there is a blessed land where the inhabitants are immortal. Nor was the duty of reformation of life and the doctrine of future punishments a novelty. Nor was the duty of frequent prayer, of repentance, of keeping the command. ments a new thing. They had had these things before in their own religions. Consequently when they opposed Christianity as foreign they sincerely supposed it had borrowed these doctrines from those religions which prevail in China.
While therefore we ascribe the incredulity of the literati chiefly to their extraordinary confidence in the teaching of Confucius and the other ancient sages, we must not forget to estimate according to its proportion the strong conviction the literati have that Christianity has borrowed many doctrines from Buddhism, nor must the Christian advocate fail to observe that he has before him a long and patient task seeing that he must shew how Christianity came to have her doctrines, how the religions of Asia which have crept into China one by one have each resulted from human nature's needs, how Buddhisin, Zoroastrianisin Manicheanism, have all failed to satisfy men's requirements and how Christianity, comes as in God's method to save mankind by a true and irresistibly powerful salvation.
6.-Examples of the way in which the literati attack Christianity.
That which in the Ming dynasty specially drew the attention of the literati to the subject of Christianity, was partly a change in the mode of conducting the missions and partly the discovery of the Nestorian tablet. In the fourteenth century all remains of the Nestorian mission and those of Rome disappeared together and in the sixteenth century Romish missionaries again appeared. But they came not as before furnished only with breviary, crucifix and images. They came with globes, astrolabe and tables of the motions of the moon and planets. They offered to the Chinese literati an improved geography and natural philosophy. They taught them euclid and algebra. They did this in order to move the intellect of the country while at the same time they spread
before them the array of Christian doctripes and the imposing splendour of the Catholic ritual.
Just at that time the cosmogony and philosophy of the Sung dynasty was much on the wane. People began to indulge in independent speculation. A change of thought was taking place under the leadership of Wang Yang-ming (or Wang Sheu-jen). This author was a student of Buddhism and tried to amalgamate it with Confucianism. Various efforts of this kind were made at the time and amalgamation became a fashion. This seems to be the chief reason of the origination of the Shantung sects. Here too we find the fountain from which sprang that class of books written in the Ming and in the present dynasty which regard all religions as one and should be studied on an eclectic method. The public mind being in this state the Catholic missions in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries took hold on the public mind and spread fast because the ferment of religious thought then existing was favorable to the progress of Christianity. The discovery of the Nestorian tablet attracted the interest of Chinese native scholars to the subject of the early spread of Christianity in their country. They studied the whole subject along with Buddhism which was in favor through the spread of Wang Yang-ming's new school. Ancient inscriptions attracted attention and rubbings from this monument have been on sale ever since in many Chinese cities. It has been minutely discussed in various native works, among which may be mentioned Chin shï tsʻui pien,* a large work on inscriptions, and later the geographical work Hai kwo t'u chi. The remarkably beautiful and complete monument preserved through so many centuries in its subterraneous hiding place has given to the subject of the Nestorian missions quite an honorable place in recent Chinese literature. To this may be added that several able works by Jesuit authors of an argumentative nature have been placed in the Imperial library. Among these which are ten in number stands first a work by Ricci against a Buddhist who had attacked Christianity. Ridicule is cast by the Confucianist critic on a warfare in which he says each foe attacks the other for faults of which he is himself guilty. In another work of Ricci the critic finds borrowing from Buddhism, and an inferiority in style. The disadvantage of the Christians he says is that in Europe they have had only the Buddhist books to read, and that is the reason that so much of Buddhism is found in Christian treatises,
* See 7 # # Chapter 102. Beside the inscription occupying 44 leaves are
eight leaves of notes and citations,