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Holy alike, in heaven, on earth, in hell,
O Thou, my Judge ! omnipotent and just,-
A Sketch of Chinese History, ANCIENT AND Modern; comprising a Retrospect of the Foreign Intercourse and Trade with China. Illustrated by a new and corrected Map of the Empire. By the Rev. Charles Gutz
In 2 vols. New York: John P. Haven. 1834. pp. 312, 280. 12mo.
At this moment, there does not exist, upon the face of the earth, so interesting a missionary field as China. Even India, with her countless tribes, and yielding castes, and our beloved Burmah, with her awakened millions, her thrilling recollections, and her cheering prospects, in point of real magnitude and solemn import, must yield to this. An empire of 400 millions of souls (for, according to Mr. Gutzlaff, the population of China is little short of this) drowned in superstition and sin, demands the attention, the sympathy, the prayers, the efforts of the whole Christian world. So large a portion of Christ's inheritance, still unclaimed for him, is a fact to rouse all the slumbering energy of Christian zeal, The subject is not one to be coldly glanced at, and forgotlen. It must be presented to the attention again and again, till it makes an effectual lodgement in the heart of the church. Notwithstanding, therefore, the facts that were laid before our readers in the number for February, in the review of Mr. Gutzlaff's Voyages, we gladly avail ourselves of the opportunity presented by the appearance of the new work at the head of this article, to say something more of this vast field for missionary enterprize and toil.
We have read this work with interest. A good popular History of China, derived from authentic sources, and presented in a form generally accessible, has been for years a desideratum. Of late, indeed, it has become a want deeply felt. The interests of commerce, as well as those of Christianity, to say nothing of the interests of science, demanded it. Mr. Gutzlaff has endeavored to
meet this demand. Those who, like the reviewer in the Asiatic Journal, have complained of a disappointment in these volumes, should rather blame themselves for expecting a kind and extent of information that was never promised. We feel ourselves (and we believe we speak the sentiments of the public generally, both commercial and Christian,) too much obliged to Mr. Gutzlaff, for the information he has given us, to complain because the limits he had prescribed to himself did not allow him to give us more copious or curious details. Every part of his volumes, it is true, has not been to us alike interesting, and we have found a repetition in other forms, of some facts contained in the introductory and concluding chapters of his former work; but this was unavoidable, and we believe the author fully justified in saying, that these volumes will “convey a more correct and extended view of the internal history of China, and of her foreign intercourse, than has ever yet been given to the public.”
After a chapter of geographical remarks, another on the government and laws, and a third, on the Character, Usages, Industry, Language, and sciences of China, Mr. Gutzlaff enters, in his fourth chapter, upon the History, properly so called. This he divides into four periods—the mythological era, from Pwa-koo, to the death of Te-shun, on which no real dependence can be placed -the ancient history, from the Hea to the Han dynasty, 2207 B. C. to A. D. 253—the middle ages, from the Tsin to the Yuen dynasty, A. D. 264, to 1467—and the modern history, from the Ming dynasty, to the present time, A. D. 1369, to 1833. The political history of these periods occupies about 300 pages, extending about 40 pages into the second volume. Fifty pages of the second volume are next devoted to an account of the Propagation of the Gospel in China, from the earliest period, by the Apostles, the Nestorians, the Roman Catholics, and the Protestants. The remainder of the volume, about 190 pages, including the Appendix, is occupied with an account of the Foreign Intercourse with China.
It will be noticed, that Mr. Gutzlaff begins the ancient history of China, as far back as the year 2207 before Christ, i. e. only 141 years after the Flood, the tradition of which is preserved by Confucius, in the Shoo-king, as having occurred in the mythological reign of Yaou, a period not varying inaterially from the Scriptural Chronology. Even this, is a higher date for the ancient bistory, than Malte Brun thinks belongs to the origin of the empire, Mr. Gutzlaff' follows Confucius, though he admits there is ground for doubt, and many perplexities, in the Chronology, down to the reign of Ping-wang, in 770 before Christ. Even if we adopt the early date of 2207, there is nothing in the antiquity of the Chinese empire to uphold the argument against the Scriptures, of which certain infidels have made their boast. But the remarks of Malte Brun are of too great weight to be overlooked in settling this point. “ Ten centuries after this, (the reign of lao or Yaou,) we find the princes of China moving from province to province, accom
panied by all their subjects, nomadic like themselves, and living all alike, in the caves of the rocks, or in cabins of earth. In the time of Confucius, the whole of China, south of the Blue River, was still a desert. Nothing in the Chinese annals of that period affords any evidence of a great nation. There is no authentic monument to attest the power of those who erected it. The books, written on very brittle paper, and very frequently re-copied, can give no information worthy of our confidence.- We must, then, with the learned among the Chinese, give the history of China no farther extension than eight or nine centuries, at most, before Christ. The hypothesis which finds it entitled to any higher antiquity, owes its origin to the caprice of some modern literati, and the vanity of the emperors.
The remarks of Malte Brun, it will be observed, do not apply to the original settlement of China, but to the formation of the empire. We may therefore allow to its settlement a much earlier date. That it was settled from the west, is admitted on all hands, and probably not long after the food. We incline to the opinion of those who suppose Noah himself to be the founder of China. The evidence in its favor may be found in the Encyclopedia of Religious knowledge, under the article Noah. The traditions of Yaou, highly colored as they are, and mingled with fable, are probably traditions of Noah. But we feel no anxiety to establish this point, nor do we consider it of any great importance.
The census of China, in the first century of the Christian era, gives a population of about 60 millions; and such were the changes, by perpetual wars, revolutions, &c., that it was at times much lower than this; nor did it amount to 61 millions in the census of 1578, though it probably greatly exceeded this number under the reign of the great Kublai, the founder of the Mongol or Yuen dynasty, in 1280, “Never was there an empire,” says Mr. Gutzlaff, never, perhaps, was there a conqueror greater than Kublai. Born a barbarian, he was, at his death, the most civilized prince of his time. Alexander, Cesar, and Napoleon, are inferior to him. We consider him as an instrument used by the Lord of Hosts, to bring the most distant nations in contact, and to curb the fury of his savage countrymen. The canals in China speak more in praise of his greatness, than all the statues erected in honor of great heroes; but with him the glory of the Mongol dynasty departed.” From 1573 to 1743, a period of 165 years, the population of China increased from 60 to 198 millions. In the following 52 years, it appears to have gained 35 millions, being, in 1795, according to Lord Macartny, 333 millions. The last census, according to Mr. Gutzlaff, gives 367 millions, being an increase of 34 millions in 35 years. From this comparison, it appears that the population of China has been rapidly advancing, chiefly since the reign of the present dynasty, the Mantchoo Tartar, which gained the throne by conquest, in 1644. Prodigious as it now is, let Christians remember that it is advancing at the
* Malte Brun’s Geography, Vol. II. p. 93.
astonishing rate of a million of souls every year, notwithstanding the perpetual silent work of death! Is any time, then, to be lost in seeking the salvation of these millions? Has the worth of these souls pressed with sufficient weight on the hearts of Christians? Must not all this vast empire be evangelized, and become one of the most lovely and magnificent portions of the redeemed kingdom of Christ? But one answer can be given to these questions.
We intended, in this article, to give a brief survey of what has been done, from the apostolic age, to our own times, for the evangelization of China, but we inust reserve it to a future opportunity. We will only ask of each of our readers, What are you, as an individual, doing for this great object? Have you yet begun to make it a matter of earnest prayer to God? If not, we would affectionately and solemnly impress it upon your conscience. Do not forget, at a throne of grace, 400 millions of perishing Chinese!
THE DEPENDENCE OF SCIENCE UPON RELIGION. A Discourse by Francis Wayland, D. D. Providence: Marshall, Brown & Co. pp. 36. 8vo. 1835.
The occasion of the discourse, whose title is placed at the head of this article, was the dedication “to the service and glory of Almighty God," of a splendid edifice, recently erected by the munificence of Nicholas Brown Esq. the venerable patron of Brown University. We are glad to see the author again in print, and hope it may be many long years before he claims with Horace, the " spectatum satis, et donatum jam rude.” Among the ephemeral productions, that load the table of a reviewer, it is cheering, now and then, to meet with one bearing the marks of originality and independent thought; and to put in such a claim for the effort now before us, would be only echoing the general sentiment of the community.
Without further preamble, we propose remarking upon the plan, the sentiment, and the style, of this discourse.
I. The plan. None, we hope, need be informed that this is the most important part of a piece of composition, whether it be our purpose to “ build the lofty rhyme, or to confine our mental architecture to the lowly prose. Every production must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. There must be a consequential arrangement of the several parts,-a dependence of one upon the other,-a bending of every portion to the furtherance of the one great design,—which shall show in the author's mind, a clear comprehension of some plan of thought. In this way, another rule is complied with—which none can offend against with impunity, whatever be the richness of his diction, or the fervor of his imagination. We mean the great rule of unity
Denique sit quidvis, simplex duntaxat et unum. a rule more frequently quoted than understood, and more frequently understood than followed.
The plan of this discourse, we are happy to say, may be severely tried by both of these rules, and not only escape censure, but also claim praise. The proposition, which is the nucleus of the whole, is neatly and curtly stated, as follows: "A right temper of heart towards God, is the true source of all wisdom, ordinarily so called." The dependence of science upon religion, is then made to appear from the consideration of man as an individual, and man as a society. Under the first head, the author has elaborated a very rich train of thought, of which we shall here present a mere bird's-eye view; and leave to the reader the pleasure of contemplating the argument in its full length portrait, when he has time to peruse the entire sermon. Its mere leading features are—That the religious spirit is adapted to the advancement of knowledge—That religion has within itself many of the elements by which discovery is facilitated. Among these elements, two are specified, viz.—the acquaintance which religion cherishes with the character of the Author of nature; and the specimens it furnishes to us, of the manner in which that character is displayed. Again: Religion fosters the love of truth. Lastly. The benevolence of the Christian religion is shown to be an active handmaid in the promotion of science. These are the several germs of thought, which have been cultivated with unusual care, and ramified with much elegance.
Under the second head,—the consideration of man as a society. After some brief explanations, the author adduces two propositions, viz. That science can exist only in an advanced state of societyand that it can advance only with the progress of society. In developing the second of these positions, the author has originated a very beautiful theory to explain certain phenomena in the progress and retrogression of society. We refer to the use he has made of the impulsive and restrictive principles of human nature. We do not mean, that the existence of these principles is a new discovery, but that a very happy use has been made of them, in constructing his theory. And we may observe here, that equal affluence of genius is often shown, in making the known appear new, as in discovering the new.
II. The sentiments. These are elevated, manly, dignified, and in some instances solemnly grand, as became the occasion, which as we have already hinted, was the setting apart a noble edifice, for the purpose of collegial prayers, and for the reception of the intellectual treasures which may be hereafter accumulated in the form of all the classics in every language. And not only setting it apart for these uses, but also dedicating it to the service of that Being, without whose blessing mines of thought will be sprung in vain, and fields of knowledge cultivated without harvest. To attempt the abbreviation of these sentiments would be unfair to the author, as he has expressed them with great perspicuity, and polished them with accustomed success. We shall, therefore, content ourselves, with presenting our readers a few specimens, hoping that the beauty of the extracts will lead all to procure a copy of the discourse. The first quotation we shall make, is taken from a passage, in which the author is making the pitiable whine of the