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At home,“ rogues with rogues are honest men ”—but in far Cathay it is the reverse. Take a specimen case, carrying out the maxim we gave at the onset, “ big fish eat the little fish.” It is well known that the salary allowed by the government for the district magistrates is but some £20 a-year; whereas the office is worth £1,000—more or less as the case may be. The treasurer of the province is deputed to distribute these salaries, which by-the-bye are seldom applied for. The small mandarin knows perfectly well, that to ask for his salary from a higher mandarin would be a "losing transaction.” Why? Because these treasurers have two kinds of weights in their ya-mensheavy and light. The light weights are used to weigh the silver which is sent out, whilst the heavy weights are used for silver which is sent in. Suppose, then, the small mandarin should be so unfortunate as to ask for his fifty or sixty ounces of silver as his annual income, it would not be long before the treasurer would pick out some flaw in the former's government, and threaten that unless the fifty or sixty ounces of silver were paid back, he would be reported to the throne, and become de graded in rank. Quivering under the rod thus shaken over him, and at the unhappy prospect of soon becoming "unhoused from his berth," he willingly pays back the ounces of silver, which are weighed with the heavy weights. Thus for sixty ounces received, he may pay back ninety. Returning from the smart, with keener appetite for money than ever, with increased vigilance he watches for the chance to pounce upon
the helpless poor over whom he rules, to reimburse the whole.
From such illegal practices and tyrannical government, is it at all surprising that we find the people poor, depressed, indifferent, and fearing and hating one another? The noble principle, love, which characterises our social relationships at home, and constitutes the basis of our holy religion, is supplanted, jointly, by fear and hate in China.
Enough then upon our first point to shew that the introduction and practice of justice in the officers of the government would not only ameliorate the condition of the people, but would tend to exert a blessed influence in their social life and moral prosperity.
II. Then, for our second cause for China's Cry,' namely, “The filth and pollution of its cities and towns: the recurrence of its inundations," &c.
Travelling through some of the cities and towns of Central and Northern China, I was astonished at their filthy condition. There seems to be an utter disregard of all sanitary law. Filth is allowed to accumulate in the streets and houses, from year's end to year's end, seldom an attempt being made for its thorough removal. Perchance an unusually clean and tidy wife may amass sufficient energy to sweep up the house, and remove the year's accumulation of filth into the street, opposite the door, just before the New Year shall bave commenced. If China looks clean and gay at all in the whole year, it is then-the time for the great annual ceremony of ancestral worship.
There are cities in the North where only one side of the main streets can be used at once-the other forming the receptacle for filth of all kinds, which in the hot summer sun, bakes hard, when it is walked upon, and becomes the walkable part of the road, whilst the other side is used by the neighbours along the respective streets, to re
ceive all conceivable filth for the next twelve months. Passing op and down the country, through the various cities, towns, and villages, the verdict, “Dirty China, DIRTY CHINA," spontaneously arises from within you. I remember in March '71, travelling from Hai-Cheo to T'sing-K'eo, a small seaport town near Shantung province, twenty miles north of the old mouth of the Yellow River : crossing the wide sandy plain which stretches between the two places, I fell in with the mandarin who governs both places, on his way to the former, Hai-Cheo. He was attended by a most magnificent retinue (for China). There were a hundred foot soldiers, and some twenty officers, underlings, on horseback, in front of whom rode the mandarin; the whole party being heralded by a number of mounted runners, who commanded the people to stand in awe while their master passed. Hai-Cheo certainly was in itself the very picture of wretchedness, but T’sing-K’eo, which was some twenty-three miles beyond, was far worse. Wretched mud huts, streets which would have been far more respectable had they been left unpaved, dilapidated buildings—in fact, the whole place bearing a most wofully neglected aspect. Beyond that, coming right up into the middle of the town, was a canal, and here it terminated. Full of water-stagnant, of course, and judging from its colour and the stench which arose from it, it must have been in that condition for years and years. The stench arising from this alone was enough to lay the whole neighbourhood down in enteric fever. Yet this condition of things was allowed to continue from year to year. The one whose business it was to remedy the evil, was not only too much occupied with his selfish designs, but by illegal taxation and unjust demands, had deprived the people of the power to help themselves. And
a generous neighbour should undertake at his own cost to remedy the evil, the mandarin, finding one of his subjects possessing sufficient money for such a project, would certainly improve the occasion and “squeeze" money out of him, to fall into his own pocket.
But some will say, Are there no sanitary arrangements in China ? No water-pipes, rain-spouts, sewers, drains, and sluices ? To all intents and purposes such things do not exist. Sewers there are, but better far would it be if there were none. I remember a street sewer being opened in Nankin. I had passed along the street very often, and at times noticed a heap of rubbish and a stinking pool in one part, but little dreamt that immediately underneath was a yet more vile sewer, until one day I found it opened up. It would indeed be easy, but I must decline entering into details upon this subject, lest the refined sense and taste of some of my fair readers should be shocked.
At times mandarins petition the Government to undertake such work as the banking up of canals and rivers, to prevent recurrence of inundations, the opening up of highways, etc., under the false plea of being deeply interested in the welfare of the people, who suffer terribly, from the former especially. Occasionally they succeed in obtaining grants of large sums of money, large portions of which are pocketed for personal use by the mandarins. The work being imperfectly done, there is a recurrence of these calamities, and the people are again called upon to suffer. Amounts are occasionally given by the Government to remedy sanitary defects in the various cities, but yet seldom a
year passes without two or three persons being drowned in the streets of Pekin itself owing entirely to the neglect of the authorities.
How much cleanliness, adherence to sanitary laws, the carrying out of sanitary improvements and sanitary measures, contribute to our social happiness and moral well-being I leave you, dear readers, to judge. “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” The first trait which marks the character of the newly-converted poor, both in our own and other lands, is an improved cleanly condition. Filth exercises a depressing and debasing influence wherever found. Filth and vice, misery and sin, too often hand-in-hand. So I contend that one secret of China's depression and immorality lies in the filthy condition of its cities and towns. This, again, is greatly owing to the avarice and wanton neglect of its many rulers.
III. Sume, doubtless, will say that “Idolatry” should have a prominent place amongst the causes of “China's Cry;” but our experience of the Chinese and their idols leads us to think otherwise. Idols of wood and stone have not the reverence and respect of the Chinese as some would imagine. When pointing out to a Chinese crowd the absurdities of their idols, and the still greater absurdity of worshipping them, they will appreciate what you say, and often laugh at their own folly.
I remember following a respectable man into a temple at Shang-hai and speaking to him of the One true God, the Maker of all things, and the powerless nature of the idol. He apparently appreciated all that was said, and chatted and laughed most heartily, whilst bowing before the idol and going through the ordinary form of idol worship. Then, again, idols in a fragmentary condition, and others in a most dilapidated state, are constantly to be met with both on road sides and in temples, as though no man cared for them. These and other things lead us to think that the doctrines inculcated by the idolatrous priests, rather than the idols, constitute what we here call the third great cause of China's suffering, politically, socially, and physically. The Chinese are taught by their priests to believe that the future world is governed by a similar system of “mandarinate” as the present. Possessing experimental knowledge of the character of the "rulers of this world,” it is not at all difficult for the people to conceive of the character of those in “ the world to come,” especially so when they are told that if anything, the latter are more severe in their government. These yellow-robed, bald-headed sons of Buddha-the priests—who infest the thousand temples and monasteries of the land, take up a position between the two worlds, or rather are said to do so; consequently, are the only medium of communication between the two. They are, moreover, supposed to know the condition of the departed spirits in the world to come, or spirit world, and to make it known to surviving friends in this world, whose duty it is to keep the departed spirits constantly supplied with all that they may need in the exigencies of their state, such as paper money, paper chairs, paper horses, paper sedans, paper clothes, and numbers of other paper articles resembling those in daily use, all of which are supposed to be converted into a useful condition in the spirit world when burnt. It is surpassing strange, but it is continually the case, that the spirits of the departed of rich families are ever and anon falling into terrible calami
ties, and are the subjects of innumerable pressing wants. This seems to be the case in proportion to the prosperity of the friends they have left behind them. We have not to go to Sinim to see this trick practised; the principles of_papal purgatory, the great coffer-filler, are analogous to all this.] The priests only too readily comply with the wishes of the troubled spirits, and acquaint their living friends of their state, and show them that it is only by their immediate liberality to the temples, offering of sacrifices, etc., that the spirits of their departed friends can possibly recover their lost position of bliss. Consequently, the ignorant, easy-make-believe people often, at great personal inconvenience, part with large sums of money, make long pilgrimages, and undergo great hardships, lest they should excite the suspicion that their veneration for ancestors was in the least waning into indifference. Poor families often have the last dollar wrung out of them to meet the demands the priests make for feasts and ceremonies for the dead. I remember the case of a woman who lived just above our mission-station in Nankin ;--if I remember rightly it was in a fit of passion that she hanged herself. The spirit having passed away under such anfavourable auspices, the poor daughter, the only remaining child, was compelled to invite some ten or twelve priests of Buddha to the house, and maintain a ceremony night and day for over a fortnight, in order to induce the rulers of the next world to receive the spirit of her mother, and place her in happy circumstances. Far into the night did I hear those senseless" bald-heads” chanting prayers, clapping cymbals, and firing crackers, as I lay quietly in bed. After living at the house on and off for the fortnight, and squeezing" all the money they possibly could out of the poor young woman, they left her.
Christian people, at home, contribute largely towards the promotion of the work of God; but it is nothing as compared with the amount which is systematically spent by, and extorted from almost EVERY family in China for the worship of the dead and the maintenance of temples and temple worship.
Much is made of " filial piety” in China. In the majority of cases I deny that such a thing exists, nor is it possible that it should. It is filial worship, and not filial piety, that is so universal in China. With the latter we inseparably associate love; but true disinterested love is a gem seldom, if ever, found in the breast of one out of the many hundreds of millions of this unconverted people. Love is unknown to the Chinaman. A Chinese lady who had been married to a foreigner confessed ignorance of any such thing as love.
The Chinese are fond of saying that we ought to "hsieao king fu mu,” which literally means “that we ought willingly to serve, obey, and
" be attentive to father and mother.” The same word “ king” is used in speaking
of the worshipping of idols, which the people are taught to dread. The parents look to their children for all help and support when they are able to render it. All regard it to be right to be
. attentive to parents, and minister to their wants : so under this plausible pretext the people are continually led to make enormous sacrifices on behalf of their deceased ancestors.
It is this vast system of error and priestcraft, which is constantly forced upon the people, which has to a very great extent impoverished and sunk them into that low, immoral, and debased condition in which we find them to-day; whilst on the other hand it supports & horde of low, idiotic-looking, opium-smoking priests. It is, indeed, a sad spectacle to see a magnificently built and decorated temple, farnished with gilded furniture, full of costly idols, covering a large area; the nest for priests, the great dupe-shop of all beyond; whilst crowding around outside the temple are the miserable mud-huts, and otherwise dilapidated houses, the nomes of the duped, whose walls resound with oaths and curses from men and women, steeped in direst poverty and grossest immorality.
Oh that He to whom has been given the heathen for an inheritance, and whose right it is to reign, would cause the light of the knowledge of the glory of God to shine into the hearts of China's millions, and so emancipate them from the galling chains of tyranny, superstition, and error, which bind them down to wretchedness and woe, misery and despair !
The Aggressive Work of tye Medical Mission.
BY G. HOLDEN PIKE,
EDICINE has become the handmaid of religion—a bond between
distant countries—a peace-maker between nations.” So spake a professor of King's College, London, at a time when the attention of the Christian public was first awakened to perceive the duty of the church in the matter of sending medical missionaries to the heathen. These words were spoken nearly forty years ago, and time has continued to testify to their truth. It was observed that all idolatrous tribes paid a reverence to medical knowledge such as they who were evangelists, and nothing more, could not command; and accordingly, when the enquiry went abroad at Edinburgh, Who will go ? several students studying medicine at the university responded in the affirmative. Young men who are still thus imbued with the missionary spirit, joined to a love of medical science, continue to be instructed under the auspices of the Medical Missionary Society, and in one of the most degraded nooks of Christendom, undergo an effective training for active service in heathen climes during future years.
It is remarked by those who follow with their solicitude the medical students to foreign stations, that they carry with them an affection, not only for the city of Edinburgh, where they have gained their knowledge, but for the Mission premises in the Cowgate, where they have seen so much of vice and of consequent suffering. Apart from its connection with an important philanthropic work, there is certainly no reason why the Cowgate should be loved, seeing it is a centre of squalid wretchedness and brazen-faced sin unsurpassed in the empire-a place which the English visitor regards with surprise and almost with terror. But the earnest and the kind-hearted are sure to contract a love for places associated with their work and its conquests.
In former years, before the Students' Home in George Square was provided, the superintendent of the Edinburgh Medical Mission and his