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time be destitute of the knowledge of God and Christ, and his duty; all this would be but an impertinent vanity and a mere glittering kind of ignorance; and such a man would but be undone with all this knowledge, and with a great deal of wisdom go down to hell."*
But, I would remark, in the second place, the state of the world is greatly diversified; and the intellectual and social condition of the several tribes and nations of men, is greatly varied. If in imagination we go forth from this land, west, and north, and south, and east, we shall find all degrees of intellect, from the ignorant savage who knows not the use of letters, up to the highly cultivated mind, which has been in the possession of literature and of books for nearly forty centuries, and which has possessed the art of printing at least seven hundred years. Where history and poetry occupy the leisure of the affluent; and books, such as they are, may be seen in the hands of the poorest of the people.
And the external condition of the various tribes of men to whom the gospel has not yet been conveyed, is not less dissimilar than their intellectual character. Some are destitute of the useful arts which clothe and lodge human beings; whilst others have possessed for ages garments of the richest stuffs and most curious workmanship, and dwell in luxurious mansions and gorgeous palaces. But still, notwithstanding the literature, and the civilization, and the arts which populous pagan nations possess, these things have not induced them to cast away their dumb idols; any more than the boasted simplicity, and nature, and rudeness of the uncivilized and unlettered tribes of men.
And again, the political institutions of the several nations yet unchristianized differ materially. Some are more open and accessible to what is foreign than others. These varieties of character and condition, will appear necessary to be attended to, when the adaptation of agents, and of means, for promulgating the gospel, is the subject of enquiry.
It may here be expected of the preacher that he should say something of the character and condition of the people * Tillotson, i. 1.
on the eastern verge of the Asiatic Continent;-amongst whom he has spent so many years of his life, and who are still ignorant of God and of his Christ.
To that people the God of heaven has given an extensive territory, containing large portions of fertile, salubrious, and delightful country; and they possess a knowledge of the useful arts, to a degree which supplies all the necessaries, and most of the luxuries of life. In these respects they require nothing from Europe. They possess also ancient and modern literature in great abundance; and an unlicensed press, and cheap books suited to their taste. With poetry, and music, and elegant compositions; and native ancient classics, and copious histories of their own part of the world; and antiquities, and topographical illustrations; and dramatic compositions, and delineations of men and manners in works of fiction; and tales of battles and of murders; and the tortuous stratagems of protracted and bloody civil wars. With all these, and with mythological legends for the superstitious, the Chinese, and kindred nations, are by the press most abundantly supplied. Nor is their literature destitute of theories of nature; and descriptions of her various productions; and the processes of the pharmacopolist, and the history and practice of medicine.
There is also a large portion of the gentry of China devoted to letters, in order to qualify themselves to fill with intelligence and wisdom the offices of magistracy; and such learning as government has deemed proper for that end, is encouraged and rewarded, either by honorary rank or by actual office.
With Magistrates thus formed, they govern, according to laws written, printed and published amongst the people. And every poor man's house is his castle, which no inferior officer can legally enter without a special warrant from the governor of a province. Throughout the whole of that vast empire there is a system of social order and regularity, in the intercourse of individuals and families, sanctioned either by law or by the etiquette of established usage, which is not exceeded by any nation under heaven.
KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST EXCELLENT.
What then do the Chinese require from Europe?—Not the arts of reading and printing; not merely general education; not what is so much harped on by some philanthropists-civilization :—they require that only which St. Paul deemed supremely excellent, and which it is the sole object of the Missionary Society to communicate-They require, the knowledge of Christ. For with all their antiquity, and their literature, and their arts and refinement, they are still infatuated idolaters; they are still given up to what Heaven regards as abominable idolatries and to vile affections, working that which is unseemly. Not liking to retain God in their knowledge, they worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator; they are haters of the true God, are filled with all unrighteousness, fornication and wickedness. With all their civilization, still envy and malice, deceit and falsehood to a boundless extent, pride and boasting a selfish ungenerous, scarcely honest prudence, and a cold metaphysical inhumanity, are the preva lent characteristics of the people of China.
Their well known backwardness to assist persons in imminent danger of losing their lives by drowning or otherwise; the cruel treatment of domestic slaves and concubines in families;-the tortures both of men and women before conviction, in public courts; and the murder of female infants, connived at, contrary to law; are the proofs I offer of the truth of the latter part of my accusation. Their principles are defective, and hence their vicious practice.
The philosophy of their celebrated ancient sage Confucius, acknowledges no future state of existence; and concerning the duties of man to his Maker presents a complete blank. It presents nothing beyond the grave to the fears or hopes of the human mind, but the praise or censure of posterity. Present expediency is the chief motive of action. Of the great and glorious God who is infinitely above, and distinct from the heavens and the earth, the teaching of Confucius makes no mention: it rises not superior to an obscure recognition of some principle of order in nature, which when violated induces present evil. There
is in ancient Chinese philosophy something very similar to the unintelligible numbers of Pythagoras which are introduced into the theory of the universe. Heaven and earth, it is said, assumed, by the operation of some internal principle, their present order, from a previously existing chaotic mass; and a supposed dual or twofold energy co-operated in the formation of creatures and of gods-and heaven is now the highest power in nature superior to the gods. Even this clod of earth on which we tread, is the second power in nature, and superior to the gods. Heaven earth, gods and men, is the order in which the exist encies recognized by the Chinese are often placed: but at other times the gods are excluded, as their existence is, by some of the philosophers considered uncertain; and then heaven, earth, and man, are the three great and coequal powers. This atheistical theory which is at the foundation of the public belief, and influences also the superstitions of the religionists of China, induces in the human mind great pride and impiety, even when superstitious observances are attended to. It is true that in some of the most ancient written documents in China, which Confucius collected and edited, there is a more distinct recognition of the supreme God, than is to be found in any thing that he taught as his own; or that the learned of China, in subsequent ages, have advanced; for I believe it is a fact that man, when left to himself, sinks into, never rises from, Atheism or idolatry; and the written word of God is necessary to bring him back. Exclusive of the system of Confucius, there are, you know, in China, two other systems which make much more use of the gods than his, and which acknowledge a future state of rewards and punishments. These systems enjoin fastings, and prayers, and penances, and masses for the dead; and threaten the wicked with varied punishments, in different hells, in a separate state; or with poverty, or disease, or a brute nature, when they shall be born again into this world.
The doctrines of Laou-keun who lived at the same time as Confucius (or Kung-foot-tsze) is mixed with notions which he is supposed to have collected in the western parts
of the world: about the æra of Pythagoras. He makes the incomprehensible Taou, the eternal Reason or Logos, the supreme principle: and there are Europeans who suppose that when he says "One produced a Second; Two produced a Third; and Three produced all things;" he refers to opinions which he had heard concerning the Triune God of the Sacred Scriptures. His followers represent him as having been often incarnate; as a teacher of mankind. They inculcate austerities and abstractions, for the purpose of attenuating the grosser part of human nature, and gradually rising to a sublime, spiritual, and divine state; and they have in different ages devoted themselves much to the visionary pursuits of alchemy, and an attempt to exist without food and without respiration, supposing that the breath could circulate round the system as the blood does; and so respiration would be unnecessary, and man immortal.
These people, as well as the third class of religionists in China, the Foo-too, or Budha sect, which was, at the close of the first century, brought from India to China, believe the transmigration of souls. They both of them have priests and priestesses, who live as the monks and nuns of Europe; and who are licensed by the state; but none of them receive any emoluments from it. The sect of the Learned, who profess to be followers of Confucius, and who fill the offices of government, employs no priests. Fathers, and Magistrates and Princes worship, and do sacrifice in their own proper persons, to the household gods; the district gods; the spirits of rivers and of hills; and the gods of the fire, and the winds and the rain, and the thunder and the earth, and the heavens and the polar star. They wor ship too the image of Confucius, who never professed to be more than a man, and who even declined the title of Sage, and who never taught the separate existence of the human soul; which doctrine indeed his disciples deny. These Philosophists often laugh at the religionists of their own country, but still observe the rites and superstitions, and worship the idols of the other sects, as well as their own. The governors of provinces, and local magistrates, often visit