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marched across the Empire, because God was on our side.” He then exhorted the people to abandon idolatry and to believe in Jesus, and said: “We are happy in our religion, and look on the day of our death as the happiest moment of life. When any of our number dies, we do not wee but congratulate each other because he has gone to the joy of the heavenly world."
The mission of Mr. Burlingame indicated a sincere desire on the part of the sagacious men who then governed China, especially of Prince Kung, to enter into relations with modern civilization and modern thought. From the official papers of this mission,* it appears that Mr. Burlingame was authorized “to transact all business with the Treaty Powers in which those countries and China had a common interest,” (communication of Prince Kung, December 31, 1867). The Chinese government expressly states that this step is intended as adopting the customs of diplomatic intercourse peculiar to the West, and that in so doing the Chinese Empire means to conform to the law of nations, as understood among the European states. It therefore adopted “ Wheaton's International Law” as the text-book and authority to be used in its Foreign Office, and had it carefully translated into Chinese for the use of its mandarins. This movement was the result, says Mr. Burlingame, of the “co-operative policy” adopted by the representatives in China of the Treaty Powers, in which they agreed to act together on all important questions, to take no cession of territory, and never to menace the autonomy of the Empire. They agreed “to leave her perfectly free to develop herself according to her own form of civilization, not to interfere with her interior affairs, to make her waters neutral, and her land safe ” (Burlingame's speech at San Francisco). There is no doubt that if the states known as the “Treaty Powers," namely, the United States, Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Holland, Italy, North Germany, Russia, Spain, and Sweden, will loyally abstain from aggression and interference in China and respect her independence, that this great
* Official Papers of the Chinese Legation. Berlin : T. Calvary & Co., Oberwasser Square. 1870.
Empire will step forth from her seclusion of fifty centuries, and enter the commonwealth of nations.
The treaty between the United States and China of July 28, 1868, includes provisions for the neutrality of the Chinese waters; for freedom of worship for United States citizens in China, and for the Chinese in the United States; for allowing voluntary emigration, and prohibiting the compulsory coolie trade; for freedom to travel in China and the United States by the citizens of either country; and for freedom to establish and attend schools in both countries.
We add to this chapter a Note, containing an interesting account, from Huc's " Christianity in China," of an inscribed stone, proving that Christian churches existed in China in the seventh century. These churches were the result of the efforts of Nestorian missionaries, who were the Protestant Christians of their age. Their success in China is another proof that the Christianity which is to be welcomed there must be presented in an intelligible and rational form.
THE NESTORIAN INSCRIPTION IN CHINA.
In 1625 some Chinese workmen, engaged in digging a foundation for a house, outside the walls of the city of Si-ngau-Fou, the capital of the province of Chen-si, found buried in the earth a large monumental stone resembling those which the Chinese are in the habit of raising to preserve to posterity the remembrance of remarkable events and illustrious men. It was a dark-colored marble tablet, ten feet high and five broad, and bearing on one side an inscription in ancient Chinese, and also some other characters quite unknown in China.
Several exact tracings from the stone were sent to Europe by the Jesuits who saw it. The library of their house at Rome had one of the first, and it attracted numerous visitors; subsequently, another authentic copy of the dimensions of the tablet was sent to Paris, and deposited at the library in the Rue Richelieu, where it may still be seen in the gallery of manuscripts.
* From Huc's “Christianity in China."
This monument, discovered by chance amidst rubbish in the environs of an ancient capital of the Chinese Empire, excited a great sensation; for on examining the stone, and endeavoring to interpret the inscription, it was with surprise discovered that the Christian religion had had numerous apostles in China at the beginning of the seventh century, and that it had for a long time flourished there. The strange characters proved to be those called estrangélhos, which were in use among the ancient inhabitants of Syria, and will be found in some Syriac manuscripts of earlier date than the eighth century.
Monument of the great Propagation of the Luminous Doctrine in the
Central Empire, composed by Khing-Tsing, a devout Man of the Temple of la-Thsin.
1. There has always been only one true Cause, essentially the first, and without beginning, supremely intelligent and immaterial; essentially the last, and uniting all perfections. He placed the poles of the heavens and created all beings; marvellously holy, he is the source of all perfection. This admirable being, is he not the Triune, the true Lord without beginning, Oloho?
He divided the world by a cross into four parts. After having decomposed the primordial air, he gave birth to the two elements.
Chaos was transformed, and then the sun and the moon appeared, He made the sun and the moon move to produce day and night. He elaborated and perfected the ten thousand things; but in creating the first man, he endowed him with perfect interior harmony. He enjoined him to watch over the sea of his desires. His nature was without vice and without error; his heart, pure and simple, was originally without disorderly appetites.
2. But Sa-Thang propagated lies, and stained by his malice that which had been pure and holy. He proclaimed, as a truth, the equality of greatness, and upset all ideas. This is why three hundred and sixty-five sects, lending each other a mutual support, formed a long chain, and wove, so to speak, a net of law. Some put the creature in the place of the Eternal, others denied the existence of beings, and destroyed the two principles. Others instituted prayers and sacrifices to obtain good fortune; others proclaimed their own sanctity to deceive mankind. The minds of men labored, and were filled with anxiety; aspirations after the supreme good were trampled down; thus perpetually floating about they attained to nothing, and all went from bad to worse. The darkness thickened, men lost their sight, and for a long time they wandered without being able to find it again.
3. Then our Triune God communicated his substance to the very venerable Mi-chi-ho (Messiah), who, veiling his true majesty, appeared in the world in the likeness of a man. The celestial spirits manifested their joy, and a virgin brought forth the saint in TaThsin. The most splendid constellations announced this happy
event; the Persians saw the splendor, and ran to pay tribute. He fulfilled what was said of old by the twenty-four saints; he organized, by his precepts, both families and kingdoms; he instituted the new religion according to the true notion of the Trinity in Unity; he regulated conscience by the true faith; he signified to the world the eight commandments, and purged humanity from its pollutions by opening the door to the three virtues. He diffused life and extinguished death; he suspended the luminous sun to destroy the dwelling of darkness, and then the lies of demons passed away. He directed the bark of mercy towards the palace of light, and all creatures endowed with intelligence have been succored. After having consummated this act of power, he rose at midday towards the Truth. Twenty-seven books have been left. He has enlarged the springs of mercy, that men might be converted. The baptism by water and by the Spirit is a law that purifies the soul and beautifies the exterior. The sign of the cross unites the four quarters of the world, and restores the harmony that had been destroyed. By striking upon a piece of wood, we make the voice of charity and mercy resound; by sacrificing towards the east we indicate the way of life and glory.
Our ministers allow their beards to grow, to show that they are devoted to their neighbors. The tonsure that they wear at the top of their heads indicates that they have renounced worldly desires. In giving liberty to slaves we become a link between the powerful and weak. We do not accumulate riches, and we share with the poor that which we possess. Fasting strengthens the intellectual powers, abstinence and moderation preserve health. We worship seven times a day, and by our prayers we aid the living and the dead. On the seventh day we offer sacrifice, after having purified our hearts and received absolution for our sins. This religion, so perfect and so excellent, is difficult to name, but it enlightens darkness by its brilliant precepts. It is called the Luminous Religion.
5. Learning alone without sanctity has no grandeur, sanctity without learning makes no progress. When learning and sanctity proceed harmoniously, the universe is adorned and resplendent.
The Emperor Tai-Tsoung illustrated the Empire. He opened the revolution, and governed men in holiness. In his time there was a man of high virtue named Olopen, who came from the kingdom of Ta-Thsin. Directed by the blue clouds, he bore the Scriptures of the true doctrine; he observed the rules of the winds, and traversed difficult and perilous countries
In the ninth year of Tching-Kouan (636) he arrived at Tchangngan. The Emperor ordered Fang-hi-wen-Ling, first minister of the Empire, to go with a great train of attendants to the western suburb, to meet the stranger and bring him to the palace. He had the Holy Scriptures translated in the Imperial library. The court listened to the doctrine, meditated on it profoundly, and understood the great unity of truth. A special edict was promulgated for its publication and diffusion.
In the twelfth year of Tching-Kouan, in the seventh moon, during the autumn, the new edict was promulgated in these terms:
The doctrine has no fixed name, the holy has no determinate substance; it institutes religions suitable to various countries, and carries men in crowds in its tracks. Olopen, a man of Ta-Thsin, and of a lofty virtue, bearing Scriptures and images, has come to offer them in the Supreme Court. After a minute examination of the spirit of this religion, it has been found to be excellent, mysterious, and pacific. The contemplation of its radical principle gives birth to perfection and fixes the will. It is exempt from verbosity; it considers only good results. It is useful to men, and consequently ought to be published under the whole extent of the heavens. I, therefore, command the magistrates to have a TaThsin temple constructed in the quarter named T-ning of the Imperial city, and twenty-one religious men shall be installed therein.
10. Sou-Tsoung, the illustrious and brilliant emperor, erected at Ling-ou and other towns, five in all, luminous temples. The primitive good was thus strengthened, and felicity flourished. Joyous solemnities were inaugurated, and the Empire entered on a wide course of prosperity.
11. Tai-Tsoung (764), a lettered and a warlike emperor, propagated the holy revolution. He sought for peace and tranquillity. Every year, at the hour of the Nativity (Christmas), he burnt celestial perfumes in remembrance of the divine benefit; he prepared imperial feasts, to honor the luminous (Christian) multitude.
21. This stone was raised in the second year of Kien-Tchoung of the great dynasty of Thang (A. D. 781), on the seventh day of the moon of the great increase. At this time the devout NingChou, lord of the doctrine, governed the luminous multitude in the Eastern country.
Such is the translation of the famous inscription found at Si-ngauFou, in 1625. On the left of the monument are to be read the following words in the Syriac language: “In the days of the Father of Fathers, Anan-Yeschouah, Patriarch Catholicos."
To the right can be traced, “ Adam, Priest, and Chor-Episcopus "; and at the base of the inscription: “In the year of the Greeks one thousand nine hundred and two_(A. D. 781), Mar Yezd-bouzid, Priest and Chor-Episcopus of the Imperial city of Komdam, son of Millesins, priest of happy memory, of Balkh, a town of Tokharistan (Turkistan), raised this tablet of stone, on which are described the benefits of our Saviour, and the preaching of our fathers in the kingdom of the Chinese. Adam, Deacon, son of Yezd-bouzid, Chor-Episcopus; Sabar-Jesu, Priest; Gabriel, Priest, Archdeacon, and Ecclesiarch of Komdam and Sarage.”