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viz. obedience, poverty, and charity,they wear the mitre and cap, after the manner of the Catholic bishops. The Grand Lama, when he condescends to be seen, sits crosslegged, covered with gold and precious stones.
It is clear, however, that the great degree of sanctity which has been, and is now, attributed to the office of the Mahometan and Pagan high priests, has been taken from the scripture account of the priesthood of Aaron, who only was allowed to enter into the holy of holies, to make an atonement for the people.
There are three sects of religious professors in China, viz. the followers of Kung futsi, i. e. Confucius ; Foe and Lao-kiun.
The followers of Confucius, are persons of dignity, and the learned. They worship one Supreme Being, for whom they have the highest veneration, and teach the necessity of strict morality. They believe in a superintending Providence, that God is infinite, that our thoughts are not hidden from him, that he rewards the truly good with eternal happiness, and that vice is punished in the future state. Mr. Maurice, in his Indian Antiquities, says, that Confucius strictly forbade the use of images of the Deity, and the deification of dead men; that in his dying moments, he encouraged his disciples, by predicting that-SI FAM YEU XIM GIN ; in occidente erit SANCTUS, in the west the Holy One would appear. Hence, he continues, it appears probable that he was enabled by divine inspiration, to predict the advent of the Messiah in Palestine, which is the most westerly country in Asia. See Indian Antiq. Vol. v. p. 803.
In a treatise lately published by the Missionary Society, I find some things which appear of such importance, as to be worth communicating. This book contains 6 selections from sacred books, which are most
generally read by the people of the vast empire of China, and which are regarded as the elements of morals and liberal knowledge;" translated by a gentleman of established character and talent, now residing in China as a missionary.
The title of the book, in the Chinese tongue, is Pusa, which relates to the revelation of the religion of Foe.
It will appear, I think, sufficiently evident, that the whole has reference to the revelation of the divine will at Sinai, and to the coming of Messiah. The book Pusa says,
66 He communicated the four truths, and the law returning in a circle ;" i. e. the four truths, or four books, which is understood, "and the law returning in a circle ;” viz. The book of Deuteronomy, which is only a repetition of the law delivered to Moses.
Again, "He (Pu-sa) remained in the world, and spoke of his law forty years," which agrees with the bible. Moses received the law at Sinai, when he led the Hebrews from Egypt, and he taught them this law forty years.
Again in the book of Pu-sa, “ At the same time,” Foe further added, "I now take my robe, composed of golden threads, and deliver it to you, that you may place it in the sanctuary of Deity, and preserve it from injury till the
age of mercy shall arrive, when Foe shall appear.” So this perfectly agrees with the description of the priestly habit, which was given to Moses, to be placed, as the Chinese phrase is, " in the sanctuary of Deity, to be preserved from injury till Foe should appear.' Nothing can be more evident, than the meaning and application of this passage, namely, that the garment, or " robe composed of golden threads, which was to be preserved from injury, till the age of mercy should arrive, when Foe should appear," was the robe of Aaron
the high priest. This, in plain terms, means that the Mosaic dispensation, with the rites and ceremonies should continue until Messiah, i. e. Foe, should appear."
The word Foe appears to be derived from the Hebrew word jyÐ Phoe, see Isaiah ch. xlii. v. 14, nyox • I will cry,' saith the Lord to the prophet; a customary phrase in scripture, when God redressed the grievances of his people.
Pu-sa is literally derived from do Pusah, which means an embroidered robe, such as was worn by the priests, to typify the various glories and graces irradiating from the divine light.* Joseph wore an embroidered coat; and as it is certain that the birthright, consequently the priesthood, was at this time confined to Joseph, Jacob's first-born by Rachel; so it was put on him to signify his right to the priesthood. In like manner, it was worn by the priests of other nations, as was the custom from the most ancient time, when the promise of Messiah was given. When the Hebrews went into Egypt, Joseph, who married the daughter of the priest of On, still wore this emblem of the divine favour, and officiated as a priest among his people to the time of his death. That Joseph officiated, agreeably to his birthright, as a priest among his people in Egypt, is clear not only in the translation, but much more so in the original, which signifies that he was the representative of the Shepherd, the stone of Israel. Gen. xlix. 24.
This word, therefore, was used by other nations, and with propriety applied to Moses, who was the great high-priest of God, before the order was changed and vested in the descendants of Aaron. From which, it appears, that Pu-sa was Moses, to whom Foe gave the
dispensation, which was to endure until “ the age of mercy should arrive ;” and that Foe was the true Messiah, who, in the fulness of time, came and gave his last dispensation, which may be truly called, "the age of mercy.” The book Pu-sa concludes by asserting, that Foe was anciently understood by the Chinese to possess those attributes which are only applicable to Divinity himself: “Foe is capable of endless transformation. There is no place to which he cannot go ; he can understand all things :” consequently, it will appear, that this ancient Chinese collection, which is translated by the abovenamed gentleman, and published with the sanction of the Missionary Society, is, as to meaning and application, Moses speaking in the Chinese language. And when these things are thus explained, agreeably to the manners, and usages of this vast population, consistently with their own writings, it will lay a firm foundation for the reception of the sacred scriptures, which are now disseminating among this people.
The doctrine of a trinity is very obvious in their writings : “ They speak of three appearances of Fo; the first, Nan-mo-o-mi-toe-fo, who presided over the state of things, that preceded the present heaven and earth. The second, Nan-mo-she-kia-meu-ni-wen-fo; the lord of religion during the middle heaven;' that is, the present state of things. The third, Nan-mo-mi-le-tsun-fo; • who shall appear on the state of things which shall succeed the present. »
The last chapter of the Chinese treatise concludes with a highly finished period concerning the infinite and incomprehensible Jehovah, which shows, that their ideas of God are consistent with the pure theology of ancient times,
How great is the supreme Fo !*
The foregoing names are said, in this treatise, to be " in a foreign dialect, and unintelligible to the Chinese." However, by a close examination, I find that they are literally derived from the Hebrew. The first signifies, as above, the Divine Being, in his eternal habitation before the creation of this world; the second, the Divine Being, after creation, proclaiming himself to be the Lord of religion, to the end of this world: the third, the Divine Being who shall appear in the state of things which is to succeed the present. So that father Ricci, who resided in China many years, and taught that their religion, when first established, was consistent with the religion of the bible, and reconcileable to the doctrines of Confucius, was perfectly right; he gained very many followers, and had not the Dominicans and Franciscans interfered, by order of Pope Innocent, in 1648, great success would have attended their endeavours. The Chinese would undoubtedly at this day have had a great veneration for the bible.
The followers of Lao-kiun, who appeared about 600 years before Christ, inculcate the practice of a moral philosophy; they teach the necessity of subduing the passions; they call themselves, the immortals, meaning the immortality of the soul. Lao-kiun was a profound philosopher; it was, says Mr. Maurice, in that valuable work the Indian Antiquities, in Lao-kiun’s system of
* From Jao. i. e. Jebovah,