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principles of reason, which heaven and earth could not do; the work of the sages was equally great, and therefore heaven, earth, and the sages form a triad of powers equal among themselves.* The Chinese division of human knowledge (it may be remarked) is into Heaven, Earth, and Man. “ The Joo-keaou, or sect of the learned (adds Dr. Morrison), which is so miserably deficient respecting the Deity, is almost entirely silent respecting the immortality of the soul, as well as future rewards and punishments. Virtue is rewarded, and vice punished, in the individuals, or in their posterity, on earth ; but of a separate state of existence they do not speak.” †
Among the sages of China, none perhaps holds a much higher rank in general estimation than the celebrated commentator Choo-foo-tsze. In the embassy of 1816 we visited the spot which had been consecrated by the abode of this person, and which, from the natural beauties of the situation, possesses attractions of no ordinary kind. On the west of the Poyang lake, near the city Nan-kang. foo, is a range of mountains, consisting principally of mica-slate, in which are embedded great quantities of garnets, the whole in a state of rapid disintegration. The mica existed in such abundance, that our entire pathway, as the sun shone upon it, was in a blaze of light. At no great distance the Chinese were working large quarries of fine granite. Near the bottom of a beautiful cascade, which fell in a crystal column from a great height, was the commencement of a most romantic valley, in which, at a little distance from the foot of the mountains, was the spot formerly inhabited by the philosopher : it was called “ the Vale of the White Deer," from a circumstance in his history. The most remarkable object, in the Temple there erected, was a figure of Confucius, of whom the complexion was represented as quite black. On the tablet below his feet was inscribed, “ The altar of the deified Confucius, the most holy teacher of ancient times.” In one of the halls, at present used as a school-room for young students, were five large tablets, inscribed with the most noted precepts of the sage. There were also the two following inscriptions on either side of the entrance :“Since the time of Choo-tsze, learning has flowed as from an authentic fount.” “By studying in the retirement of the mountains and waterfalls, man returns to the primitive goodness of his nature.”
* “ Then,” says Confucius, “ the sage is united with heaven and earth, so as to form a triad. To be united with heaven and earth means to stand equal with heaven and earth. These are the actions of the man who is by nature perfect, and who needs not to acquire perfection by study.” It may be observed that the emperors of China are principally included in this list.
+ Their philosophy makes man consist of a hing, figure, or visible body, and ky, spirit, or animating principle. While the union continues, the body remains sensible, and their separation is death.
That the Chinese believe in the existence of an innate moral sense, seems implied in this passage from Mencius :
—“ If you remark the natural dispositions, you may see that they are towards virtue ; hence I say that man's nature is virtuous. All men have (originally) compassionate hearts ; all men have hearts that feel ashamed of vice; all have hearts disposed to show reverence and respect; and all men have hearts that can discriminate between right and wrong. A compassionate heart implies benevolence; one ashamed of vice, rectitude ; one which respects and reveres, a sense of propriety ; * and one that clearly distinguishes right from wrong, wisdom. Now the principles of benevolence, rectitude, propriety, and wisdom are not infused into us from without; we certainly possess them of ourselves.” It will be remarked that these
* Ly, the word applied to their ceremonies.
notions are quite opposed to our own doctrine of original sin and human depravity.
This notice of the state religion of China may be concluded by the following sketch of the principal objects of worship, and other points connected with it, abstracted from the detailed account contained in the Chinese Repository,' a work printed at Canton.* The state-worship is divided into three classes :—first, the Ta-sze, or great sacrifices ; secondly, the Choong-sze, or medium sacrifices, and lastly, the Seaou-sze, or lesser sacrifices. Under the first head are worshipped the Heaven and the Earth. In this manner they would seem to adore the material and visible heaven, as contrasted with the earth ; but they at the same time appear to consider that there exists an animating intelligence which presides over the world, rewarding virtue and punishing vice. Tien and Shang-ty,“ the supreme ruler," appear always to be synonymous in the Shoo-king. Equal with the above, and like them restricted to the worship of the emperor and his court, is the great Temple of Imperial Ancestors. If the Chinese sovereigns are thus deified, we may recollect similar examples of madness and folly in the Roman emperors, one of whom, still farther to outrage the common sense of mankind, made his horse a consul; and even the “ conquering son of Ammon” himself was not exempt from those disorders of the brain which infest the giddy heights of human prosperity. In China, however, this extravagance is rather the part of a system, calculated by design to work upon the feelings and opinions of the multitude, than the mere result of individual caprice and vanity.
The objects of worship entitled to the “ medium sacrifices” are (among others) the gods of the land and grain. The former are generally represented by a rude stone, placed on an altar with matches of incense burning before it, which is commonly seen in every street and corner. The Sun and Moon, otherwise called the “Great light” and the “ Evening light," come under this head. The rest are various-gods, genii, sages, and others, the inventors of agriculture, manufactures, and useful arts. The God of letters stands principal among these. The “ lesser sacrifices” include a still larger class, among which is the ancient patron of the healing art, together with innumerable spirits of deceased statesmen, eminent scholars, martyrs to virtue, &c. The principal phenomena of nature are likewise worshipped, as the clouds, the rain, wind, and thunder, each of which has its presiding god. The five mountains, the four seas, are rather figurative than exact expressions for the land and the ocean in general. Like the Romans, they worship their military flags and banners : and Kuân-ty, a deified warrior of ancient times, much honoured by the military, is especially adored by the present dynasty for his supposed assistance. Their right being that of conquest, they properly worship the god of war. Loong-wâng, the Dragon king, who represents rivers and the watery element, receives much sacrifice from those who have charge of the Yellow River and Grand Canal, both of which so frequently burst their banks; and his temples were constantly recurring during the progress of the embassies through the country.
* Vol. iii. p. 49.
Among others of the same class of gods is “the Queen of Heaven,” Tien-how,* concerning whom the legend says that she was a native of the province of Fokien, and distinguished in early life for her devotion and celibacy. She became deified during the thirteenth century under the Soong dynasty, and, having originated in a maritime province, she is the peculiar patroness of seafaring people,
* Worshipped also by the Budhists.
who erect altars and temples to her on shore, and implore her protection on the water. She is supposed to have the control of the weather; and in seasons of severe drought the government issues proclamations, commanding a general fast and abstinence from animal food : the local magistratę, in his official capacity, goes to the temples, and remains fasting and praying for successive days and nights, supplicating for rain. In no country are the vicissitudes of the seasons more irregular, nor the inconveniences resulting from them more severe, than in some parts of China.
That the material universe is the object of worship appears not only from the names of those several parts which have been given above, but also from other circumstances. Thus the imperial high-priest, when he worships heaven, wears robes of an azure colour, in allusion to the sky. When he worships the earth, his robes are yellow, to represent the clay of this earthly sphere. When the sun is the object, his dress is red ; and for the moon, he wears a pale white. The kings (wâng), nobles, and crowd of official hierophants, wear their court dresses. The altar of sacrifice to heaven is round, to represent the sky; that on which the sacrifices to earth are laid is square, but whether for a similar reason is not stated. The priests of the Chinese state religion, subordinate to the emperor himself as pontifex maximus, are the kings, nobles, statesmen, and the crowd of civil and military officers. The Joo-keaou, or philosophic sect, monopolize both the civil and sacred functions. At the grand state-worship of nature, neither priests nor women are admitted ; and it is only when the especial sacrifice to the patroness of silk takes place that the empress herself, and the several grades of female rank at Peking, may take a part.
“ It is required of the Chinese hierophants that they be