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Thus, some children, as soon as they are able to eat, unwittingly exterminate their parents, and so on through all the dismal catalogue of evil auspices and effects. The same superstition is referred to in the saying; The youth fated to have a short life, marrying a woman who is fated to ruin her husband, (短命的兒郎,遇見妨夫的女).
A similar theory prevails as to the occult influence upon a bride of the weather at the time when she alights from the chair to enter her future husband's door. If it blows hard-she will not prove a good wife-if it rains she will not live long,' (A 7 X, TH 7).* Or, as in another version; 'If the bride is not a virtuous woman, it will either blow hard [while she is in her sedan chair], or else it will rain,’(不賢良的女不颳風下雨). Notions of this sort, are capable of an
indefinite amplification, and the Chinese are quite equal to the task. Not only do men and even localities possess certain fated properties, but inanimate objects as well. Of this the jewel-dish' is a conspicuous example. Certain kinds of pottery-generally the coarser, such as large water jarsduring the process of kiln-baking, contrive in some way to absorb exactly the proper proportion of the essential principle of the universe, (#2)-for in China everything whatever can be explained by means of some ch'i ()—and thereupon their qualities are such as to excite surprise, nearly resembling those of the cruse which held the oil provided by the prophet Elijah, for everything which they contain is at once multiplied. There is a story of a certain fisherman in the Ming Dynasty, who cast his net with no other success than entangling in it a broken jar which was worthless for any purpose but that of feeding the pigs, for which he accordingly employed it. The next day he was surprised to find that his pigs had not eaten all their food, and on the third day when it had overflowed and formed pools in the court-yard, the truth first dawned upon him that this was a true chü pao p'en (†) a precious dish of augmentation. How these vessels come to be always broken before they *This sentence is an example of the frequent impossibilty-already referred to-of arriving with certainty at the meaning of a Chinese expression as heard. The very same words here cited, with the slight change of one character for another
of the same sound, are in use as a weather proverb (A7ÄTĦ 7). If the wind blows and it is not cool, the rain will not last long.'
In a country so devoted to fortune-telling as China, it is not strange that there is a formula for almost everything. Here, for instance, are rules to decide the month in which a bride ought to be married, according to the animal, under the influence of which (in the cycle of twelve). she may have been born. (E 迎雞兎,二八虎和猴,三九蛇和猪,四十龍和狗,牛 ¥ £ + -, §§×+ =). The first and seventh moons, match the
chicken and the hare; the second and the eighth, go with the tiger and the monkey; the third and the ninth with the serpent and the pig; the fourth and the tenth with the dragon and the dog; the ox and the sheep belong to the fifth and the eleventh; the rat and the horse, to the sixth and the twelvth.'
are capable of multiplying their contents, is as unaccountable as the circumstance that while in the possession of a person who has no luck (), they absolutely refuse to work, whereas, as soon as the inherently lucky man turns up, as their owner, they begin to reduplicate their contents with cheerful regularity, whether that contents be the food of pigs, or ingots of silver and gold, jade or pearls. In an Occidental land this state of things would soon result in the engagement of some individual known to enjoy good luck, at each pottery kiln, to test every jar and dish as to its powers of reduplication, before it leaves its maker's hands. The faith of the Chinese, implicit as it is often found to be, does not however extend to this point.
There is a legend that in former times the south gate of the city of Tientsin could never be solidly built, for whatever the pains taken it always fell down. At last a wise and able man made the announcement that it was positively necessary to bury under the wall a chü pao pen belonging to a certain Shên Wan Shan,* () which would repress the evil influences. To this the Shên family would naturally object that they wished to use their jewel pot themselves, but however this may be, means were found to overcome their scruples, and the dish was buried, which insured to the gate most indisputable 'pot-luck,' for it has never since fallen down. In proof of this legend, the circumstance is pointed out that unlike the other city gates, the exit of the enceinte of the south gate is at right angles to the city wall and not in a line with the inner gate! This statement of the theory and practice of the jewel-pot will render intelligible the saying; 'As I have no jewel-dish, I cannot meet your reckless expenditures,' (我沒有聚寶盆,經不起你胡花).
A similar doctrine is enounced in the expression; 'Do not take him for a money-shaking tree,' (NA). This Shên Wan Shan is a name held in great esteem in China, as that of a reputed Croesus, who lived in the early part of the Ming Dynasty. His home is said to have been at Nanking, the first capital of the Mings, hence the saying: 'Shên Wan Shan of Nanking, and the great willow of Peking; the fame of the man, and the shadow of the tree.(南京的沈萬山,北京的大柳樹,八 (Z, 15). The 'willow' is one which formerly existed, and is said to have cast a shadow 100 li in breadth! When Yen Wang (who became the Emperor Yung Lo), 'swept the North' (E) with the besom of destruction, destroying, as is said, every human being within vast areas, he is reported to have exhausted his own resources, and to have called in the aid of Shên Wan Shan, whose inexhaustible treasures are popularly attributed to his ownership of the multiplying-pot just described. From this tradition he is called 'the living god-of-wealth,' and one who is extremely prosperous, is likened to him:(好似活財神,沈萬山一般). It is impossible to be richer than Shen Wan Shan' (7). The use of this famous name in connection with the Tientsin legend, may be due to the circumstance that in each case, public results of some importance, were alleged to have been accomplished by the assistance of a single private individual, a phenomenon in China of very infrequent occurrence.
'money tree' is well known, but no one ever distinctly saw a specimen, and it is therefore not botanically classified. Its branches are hung full of cash, which the slightest disturbance is sufficient to precipitate in showers to the ground!
The belief, common in Oriental lands, in the power of one person to injure another in occult ways, is firmly held in China. It is alleged that a custom of secret poisoning is prevalent in all the southern provinces, from Fukien to Szech'uan. The poisoning is accomplished by means of spells which are conveyed to the food, which is eventually fatal to him who eats it. In the districts where this art is practiced, malaria is said to prevail, so that the inhabitants dare not rise early in the morning. The methods of 'planting the poison' differ. In some instances a sword is metamorphosed into a mustard seed, which is mixed with the food or tea; others effect the same change. with a stone, or a serpent. The poison, in whatever form is capable of remaining in the alimentary tract for a term of years, in a perfectly inert condition, awaiting the pleasure of the holder of the potent spell. Whenever he or she chooses to exercise the mysterious power in their hands, whatever the distance of space between the person pronouncing the spell and the victim, the poison operates with terrible rapidity. It is a singular and somewhat convenient peculiarity of this deadly influence, that it is innocuous as against natives of another province; by three years residence, however, they may be so far naturalized as to become eligible to its benefits. Hence the saying; Giving poison, and also selling the food in which it is mixed,’(又種蠱,又賣飯的). The proverb is used metaphorically of one who under guise of friendship, inflicts a fatal injury.
The most trivial incidents when read in the light of superstition, become pregnant with meaning. Thus the advent of a strange cat, or the departure of a dog, is held by some to be an omen; When new cats come and old dogs go, the owners grow rich whether or no,' (來猫去狗不賺自有).
'After shaving the head or taking a bath, never gamble, ( ****). Otherwise you will be sure to lose, but this is no more than happens to confirmed gamblers, no matter how unshaven and dirty they may be; 'If they gamble continuously even gods and fairies will lose,' ( 11 ).
[N.B.-Any Reader of these Articles, observing errors of fact, or mistranslations, who will take the trouble to communicate the same to him, will receive the thanks of the
(知過必改得能莫忘 Millenary Classic.)
(To be continued.)
ECCLESIASTICAL RELATIONS OF PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARIES, SPECIALLY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARIES AT AMOY, CHINA.
BY REV. J. V. TALMAGE, D.D.
WE E have recently received letters making inquiries concerning the relations of the Missionaries of the English Presbyterian. Church, and of the American Reformed Church to the Tai-hoey [Presbytery, or Classis,] of Amoy; stating views on certain points connected with the general subject of the organization of ecclesiastical Judicatories on Mission ground; and asking our views on the same. We have thought it best to state our answer so as to cover the whole subject of these several suggestions and inquiries, as (though they are from different sources) they form but one subject.
Our views are not hasty. They are the result of much thought, experience and observation. But we are now compelled to throw them together in much more haste than we could wish, for which, we trust, allowance will be made.
As preliminary we remark that we have actual and practical relations both to the home churches, and to the churches gathered here, and our Ecclesiastical relations should correspond thereto.
1. Our Relation to the Home Churches. We are their agents, sent by them to do a certain work, and supported by them in the doing of that work. Therefore so long as this relation continues, in all matters affecting our qualifications for that work,-of course including "matters affecting ministerial character,"-we should remain subject to their jurisdiction. In accordance with this we retain our connection with our respective home Presbyteries or Classes.
2. Our Relation to the Church here. We are the actual pastors of the churches growing up under our care, until they are far enough advanced to have native pastors set over them. The first native pastors here were ordained by the missionaries to the office of "Minister of the Word," the same office that we ourselves hold. all subsequent ordinations, and other ecclesiastical matters, the native. pastors have been associated with the missionaries. The Tai-hoey at Amoy, in this manner, gradually grew up with perfect parity between the native and foreign members.
With these preliminary statements we proceed to notice the suggestions made and questions propounded. "To extend to the native churches on mission ground the lines of separation which exist among Presbyterian bodies" in home lands is acknowledged to be a great evil. To avoid this evil, and to "bring all the native Presbyterians," in the same locality, "into one organization," two plans are suggested to us.
The first plan suggested, (perhaps we should say mentioned, for it is not advocated), we take to be that the missionaries become not only members of the ecclesiastical judicatories formed on mission ground, but also amenable to those judicatories in the same way, and in every respect, as their native members, their ecclesiastical relation to their home churches being entirely severed. This plan ignores the actual relation of missionaries to their home churches, as spoken of above. Surely the home churches cannot afford this.
Perhaps we should notice another plan sometimes acted on, but not mentioned in the letters we have now received. It is that the missionaries become members of the Mission Church Judicatories as above; but that these Judicatories be organized as parts of the home churches, so that the missionaries will still be under the jurisdiction of the home churches through the subjection of the Mission Judicatories to the higher at home. This plan can only work during the infancy of the mission churches, while the Mission Church Judicatories are still essentially foreign in their constituents. Soon the jurisdiction will be very imperfect. This imperfection will increase as fast as the mission churches increase. Moreover this plan will extend to the native churches the evil deprecated above.
The second plan suggested we take to be that the missionaries, while they remain the agents of the home churches, should retain their relation respectively to their home churches, and have only an advisory relation to the Presbytery on mission ground. This is greatly to be preferred to the first plan suggested. It corresponds to the relation of missionaries to their respective home churches. It takes into consideration also, but does not fully correspond to the relation of the missionaries to the churches on mission ground, at least does not fully correspond to the relation of the missionaries to the native churches at Amoy. Our actual relation to these churches seems to us to demand that as yet we take part with the native pastors in their government.
The peculiar relationship of the missionaries to Tai-hoey, viz., having full membership, without being subject to discipline by that body, is temporary, arising from the circumstances of this infant church, and rests on the will of Tai-hoey. This relationship has never been discussed, or even suggested for discussion in that body, so that our view of what is, or would be, the opinion of Tai-hoey on the subject we gather from the whole character of the working of that body from its first formation, and from the whole spirit manifested by the native members. Never till last year has there been a case of discipline even of a native member of Tai-hoey. We do not know that the thought that occasion may also arise for the discipline of