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strange scientific terms and abstruse scientific facts is likely to make the impression that the Christian religion is hard to understand. Indeed, we think that at the threshold of the tract a stumbling block has been laid which but few Chinamen will safely cross.
In the same way we have to object to some of the illustrations used in this tract. In the second chapter, for example, the fall of man is compared to the fall of the earth from its orbit by the cessation of the force of gravitation. The inability of created beings to recover man is illustrated by the inadequacy of the other planets to draw the earth back to its original place. The need of Divine power to recover man is illustrated by the need of the sun to bring the earth again to its orbit. Now, all this is very fine, but as the Chinese have thought a great deal about the IL 19, and very little about astronomy, we are sure that the return of the prodigal son to his father would have been in every way a better illustration for them than the return of the fallen earth to its place in the solar system.
We have been reminded in reading this tract of an illustration which we once heard a young missionary use. In preaching to some native Christians on the duty of being heavenly-minded, he compared the Christian to a man who is in contact with a machine which is generating electricity. If the man stands on the ground, the electricity passes through his body to the earth. But, if he stands on an insulated stool, the electricity charges his whole body, and anyone who touches him feels the shock of the electric spark. So, the Divine influence passes off when the Christian is minding the things of the earth ; but it fills his soul and is felt by all around, when he lives above the world in communication with heaven. Now, this illustration might have been very effective before a body of university students, or any audience that had witnessed experiments in electricity. But what could we say of using such an illustration before a congregation of Chinese farmers and their wives and children? It was simply to put the fodder so high in the racks that no sheep could reach it. It was to hang the lantern, as we have sometimes seen a lantern hung over a Chinese street, on so tall a pole, that no ray of light falls on the traveller's path. In a word, it was to forget that not only Chinese farmers but Chinese scholars also as a class are children in knowledge, and that we must accommodate ourselves to them as the prophet accommodated himself to the dead child. We must put our mouth upon their mouth, and our eyes upon their eyes, and our hands upon their hands, if we would bring them to life.
We have to notice some grave omissions in this tract. For instance, there is no mention whatever of the converting power of the
Holy Spirit. There is a chapter on “Trust and the way to make the heart right.” But, if there is one matter about which all missionaries are agreed, next to the need of an atonement, it is the need of the Holy Spirit to make the heart right. We believe that even to a serious Chinaman who reflects on the condition of his own people, it must seem that virtuous examples and virtuous persuasions do not avail to make men good. The glad tidings which we bring to the Chinaman is that our Father in heaven not only offers to him the attraction of His love through His dear Son, but He is willing to turn a stubborn, wayward heart towards that love by the power of His Holy Spirit. Though the Chinaman, like ourselves, is born with a bad heart, he may be born again. Though he is an evil creature, he may be made a new creature. Yet, of this grand and indispensible means for the recovery of man, the tract, by a strange oversight, says nothing. It tells us in the third chapter, how the Holy Spirit helps the missionary to preach the Gospel ; it does not tell how the same Holy Spirit will help the Chinaman to understand and love the Gospel which is preached
In the fourth chapter we meet with another omission that is singular. The subject of this chapter is, “ The blessedness of salvation.” In what the blessedness of salvation supremely lies, all students of the Bible are agreed. It is in "that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” In the day when He shall appear, He ævill awake His people who sleep in the dust, and gather them to Himself. Not only will they be with Him then, but they will be like Him; and as they walk in white amid the splendor of a new heavens and a new earth, they shall no more huuger nor thirst, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. Surely, this is the joy of salvation. It is a joy that no Chinaman in the Empire can hear of and not have some desire awakened. Yet, of all this the tract says nothing. To write a chapter on the blessedness of salvation, and say nothing of the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the restitution of all things, is surely the play of Hamlet with the Prince of Denmark left out.
The omissions which we have mentioned were, we believe, undesigned. But there is another omission which the authors of the tract evidently intended. The Saviour, in that parting command to His disciples, which is commonly called the Gospel Commission, directed them to baptize. In the tract, the command is quoted, but the word baptize is dropped out. The reason for this is apparent. The writers of the tract were not all agreed about the Chinese phrase that should
translate baptize. When they give us their own language, therefore, they always put the phrase alternatively. But, it would be an obvious impropriety to attribute to the Saviour such language as 洗禮與浸禮 So, in quoting His command, they use neither 洗禮 nor, but adopt a phrase which has no allusion either to water or to cleansing-聖父聖子聖靈之理. We cannot think that this alteration of the sacred text was satisfactory to any of the authors of the tract, and it will be satisfactory to no one else. It is a compromise at the expense of the Saviour's meaning.
There is but one other point in this tract that we would notice. On the last leaf we find a statement concerning the ground on which Christianity rests its claims. The foundation of our religion is said, in substance, to be its ascertained utility. Religion is compared to something useful. It is explained how conflicting states of mind may keep a man from availing himself of a useful thing which is at his command. The evil results of not using it are stated. The writer then says that the object of philosophical investigation is to make everything subservient to man's use, that man's poverty may be relieved; and this, he concludes, is Heaven's doctrine, and it is the foundation of the holy religion. That is to say, the ascertainment by investigation that religion is useful to man is the foundation of its observance. This view of religion we are compelled to pronounce low and utilitarian. We oppose to it the nobler teaching of the Scriptures. We honor and obey God not because this is useful to us (though this be true), but because it is right to honor Him who created and preserves us for Himself. "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." We love and follow Jesus Christ, not because this is ascertained to be useful, but because He is altogether lovely, and infinitely deserves our love. "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." And when ascertained utility is declared to be the foundation of our holy religion, we have the doctrine of Jeremy Bentham and not the doctrine of Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, we would express our belief that any member of the Committee would have made a better tract than all the members have made together; and the moral of this review may be given in a word. Let us have no more Committee tracts.
A WEEK AMONG THE HILLS IN CENTRAL CANTON.
By Rev. B. C. HENRY, M.A. THE journey the incidents of which are recounted below, was under
taken on the pressing invitation of a native convert who had on several occasions previously urged me to accompany him to his native village and visit some places of unusual interest in the neighbourhood. His home lies in an unfrequented valley in the eastern section of the Tsing-ün () district near the centre of the province. A part of the way thither lying through an interesting country more or less familiar to the residents of Canton, but of which it may not be amiss to give some description as we pass. Among the numerous streams that converge towards the provincial city, we choose the one that flows almost directly from the north, which, though smaller than most of the others, brings us more quickly into attractive country, where lines of hills shut out the dull monotony of the lower plains and leave us in undisturbed enjoyment of an upland country of great variety and beauty. This stream is known under two designations, as the Tsung-fa (THE 1) River, so named from the district where it takes its rise; and the Lau-k'ai (*), or Falling-Brook River, because of the rapid character of its upper section. Its general course is somewhat west of south for one hundred miles, that is until within fifteen miles of the city, when it sweeps around a sharp curve and thenceforth flows south-east until its clear waters commingle with the turbid floods of the Pearl River. In the long narrow boats, specially adapted to the conditions of the river, i.e., shallow water and numerous dams, we make fair progress from day to day. After twelve miles sail we come to the first point of interest, the Shek-mun (T 19) Pass, which is, as the name indicates a rocky gateway in a line of hills through which the water finds a passage. Above and below the river expands into broad sheets, but the rocky barriers of the pass contract its stream into very narrow limits as it presses through the rough portals. Native taste appreciates the attractive features of this spot and many pictures of it may be seen in the houses and shops of Canton. The “Sunset Afterglow” at Shek-mun is numbered as one of the “Eight Lions" of Canton, and is certainly worthy of all the praise lavished upon it. I have seen a sunset at this point that could scarcely be excelled in gorgeousness of coloring. All the surroundings were in perfect harmony with the magnificent spectacle. The broad stretches of shining water, the line of purple hills in the distant west ; the descending sun seen through the narrow walls of the pass; the groves of graceful trees and even the unsightly towns receiving its dying splendor, all harmonized
with wondrous effect. And as the banks of clouds to the west took on their matchless tints, the afterglow threw its enchanting mantle of most delicate and gorgeous colors, orange, purple, green, gold and roseate in marvelous combination, over the whole horizon touching with living light the lower hills and higher peaks of the White Cloud range. And all this lavish beauty, changing every instant, was reflected with wonderful faithfulness in the clear depths of the stream below the pass making a picture only too quickly dissolved. The memory of this Shek-mun sunset, however, is somewhat marred by an experience that came to me just above the pass. Contrary to express stipulation the boat crew on this occasion turned out to be inveterate opium-smokers to a man. So addicted to the habit were they that they would stop their work at short intervals through the day to indulge, and when darkness approached so intense became their craving for the opium pipe, that instead of running half an hour longer to reach a safe and comfortable anchorage, they put down their poles on the spot, in an open, exposed place and refused to go a rod further. It was almost high tide and we were close to the shore in the shallow water covering a long stretch of mud and sand, and the wind which soon rose to a gale blew us still further on the shore. In the morning our position was anything but enviable. The tide had receded and left us high and dry, with a hundred yards of slimy mud between us and the water. The boatmen, to do them justice, when they saw the situation, did their best to release the craft, and called others to assist them, but all was of no avail. We were fixed for the day. The next high tide would
. not occur until four o'clock in the afternoon, and there was nothing to do but to wait. Between us and the shore was an impossible slough of soft mud, in which the boatmen, in trying to find a way to the shore, sank knee-deep at every step. We were exposed to the full force of a furious wind which called every available article of clothing into requisition to keep us warm. We were the laughing stock of all the boats that passed up and down the river through the day, and were constantly hailed with such questions as “What made you go on the shore to anchor P” “What important business have you on that mud
? bank?” “Who was your pilot into such a fine harbour?” “Hope you enjoy your breezy situation !” etc. As the opium pipe was the immediate cause of our discomfort I determined to make it the means of bringing relief if possible. Capturing their opium lamp I concealed it, promising to restore it as soon as they should get the boat afloat. They stood the deprivation for an hour or two, but soon came begging for the lamp. I told them to get the boat off, and they should have their lamp forth with. They returned in a short time, shivering,