« AnkstesnisTęsti »
they have had printed complete copies of the Buddhist scriptures, and caused them to be placed in all the more important temples and monasteries throughout the empire, including this one on the Hu K'iu Hill in the department of Suchow. Let all the priests, both old and young
in connection with this temple, with clean hands and reverential demeanor place these holy books in the place assigned to them, and let them reverently read them morning and evening, and expound them to the people, and pray [to Buddha] that the empire may be kept in peace, and that blessings and prosperity may be enjoyed by the people, and that all within the four seas may return to the paths of virtue and goodness. Let no visitors or idlers privily borrow these books or treat them with disrespect, and let care be taken that none of them be lost. If any disobey these instructions he will be rigorously dealt with.
It may be judged from the above what a foothold Buddhism has gained in China. Although the professed followers of Confucius generally affect to despise the foolish mummeries of the sleek pated priests, yet many of them, even the emperors, patronize them, knowing of nothing better to do in order to conciliate the ghostly powers of the unseen world. It was a sad mistake that those imperial messengers of the first century made when they went westward to seek for the new religion which had been heard of in China, and stopping short of the Holy Land, brought back the superstitions of Buddhism instead of the saving truths of Christianity,
· The hill on which this somewhat famous pagoda and temple are built was, before the civil war, a noted pleasure resort. And although its temples and pavilions, and teahouses, &c., were almost totally destroyed by the T'ai P'ings, it is again being built up, and will no doubt, in time, regain in a large measure its former position as a popular resort for idlers, pleasure seekers, &c.
Many interesting legends are connected with it. It holds the grave of Hoh Lü, king of Wu, and founder of the city of Suchow. When Hoh Lü died 600,000 men were employed to prepare his grave and attend his funeral. Three days after his burial a white tiger was
. seen crouching on his grave. A brass coffin containing three apartments (E1) and three thousand small swords of a peculiar make, and an immense amount of gold, silver, and precious stones, are said to have been buried in the king's grave. The name Tiger Hill (RUB) is said to be derived from the appearance of the white tiger above-mentioned. When the first emperor of the Ts'in dynasty, Ts'in She Hwang Ti, returned from his visit to the seacoast and passed by Suchow, he attempted to open the grave of Hoh Lü and rob it of its treasures.
But on this attempt being made to desecrate the grave of the distinguished king of Wu, a white tiger (Hoh Lü's guardian, possibly) appeared and attacked the emperor. The latter tried to plunge his sword into the tiger, but the tiger escaped and hid himself in the hill.
There is a pool on the hill known as the Sword Pool, where She Hwang Ti is said to have whetted his sword-presumably on one of the rocks on the shore of the pool—hence the name. This pool is said to be about two hundred feet long and about twenty-five feet wide, and of unfathomable depth, and anciently contained a whirlpool. But no traces of a whirlpool are to be seen now, and the pool is only an insignificant basin fifty or sixty feet long by twenty or thirty feet wide, and supplied by a spring perhaps, or else by the gathered rain water from the hillsides,
There is a large flat rock near the Sword Pool on which it is said that a thousand men can sit at one time—though from its present size I should think they would be considerably crowded—and it is therefore called the “ Thousand Men Rock” (F ). Somewhere in the same neighborhood is the “Nodding Rock.” It is related in the History that on one occasion when a noted Buddhist missionary was expounding the Law to the people in the temple there, so eloquently did he preach, that a stone in front of the temple nodded to the priest in recognition of the power of his oratory and perhaps of the force of his teaching!
The Twin Pagodas () which are situated a short distance inside of the east wall of the city were built by Wang Wen-ban in the reign of Yung Hi of the Sung, A.n. 985. They are seven stories high and are much smaller than either of the pagodas above described. They have been repaired at various times in the past thousand years -the last time in 1822. They stand side by side a few feet apart, and are supposed to exert a most excellent influence, on the Provincial Examination Hall situated near them on the west.
Not far from these Twin Pagodas and close to the east city wall is a five storied black square pagoda, or more properly a temple to the God of Literature (9). This pagoda, or Bell Tower as it is generally called, was built in 1589 to correct the fung shui of this region. Certain geomancers found that the twin pagodas on the right of the Changcheu District College being higher than any building on the left, gave the advantage to the White Tiger over the Azure Dragon, in consequence of which the scholars of that district did not succeed
well in the examinations. It was resolved, therefore, to build a high temple or Bell Tower, to the god of literature, whereby it was hoped to correct this bad state of affairs. Accordingly a
number of the gentry of the district, led by Sü Hien K'ing raised several hundred dollars, and being assisted by a government subsidy were enabled to build the proposed tower. Their generosity was rewarded within a few years by seeing a large increase in the number of graduates from the district! This tower was repaired by Ping Ting-k'ien in the 42nd year of K'ang Hi, 1774, at an expense of over “two thousand ounces”—about $3000-of silver. A temple called K wé Hiang Tien was built at the same time. The whole property is now under the control of the P'êng (8) family, who contribute rice and cash to the amount of some $2 a month to keep a man there to look after it. The third day of the second moon is the birthday of the god of literature, and on that day the temple and pagoda are thrown open and hundreds of people go there to worship and to enjoy a holiday. Sometimes on other days, a mother will lead her little boy to this temple to worship, preparatory to his entering school.
Perhaps I ought to modify a statement in a former article about the record of the population of the city. While there is no record in this History of the population of the city itself, there is a statement of the population of the three districts, which includes the city and a large area of country besides. This record is found in the volume that treats of the amount of taxes of various kinds, that have in various reigns been imposed on the nine districts included in the prefecture of Suchow.
THE POWER THAT CONVERTS.
By Rev. W. P. SPRAGUE.
I WISH to call the attention of those laboring for the salvation of
men, to a subject, which, though familiar, will, I am sure, be profitable to all who will prayerfully study it in their Bibles.
We live in the "latter days," more truly than any who have preceded us. The "early rains” of Pentecost started the Church on its missionary career. Shall not the "latter rains” complete the harvest of the world? And when we see the refreshing showers of Divine grace "going on and increasing” over America and England, and occasionally breaking out in unlooked for places, as among the Telugus of India, shall we not hasten to "ask of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain," and expect the Lord to give showers of rain, “to every one grass in the field ?” Ezekiel in vision beheld waters issuing from the temple, going on and increasing, refreshing all they touched. “ Everything shall live whither the river cometh.” Paul says to Christians, “ Ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.” Christ had said, “He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” “This spake he of the Spirit.” Hence, in this new dispensation, believers in Christ are the temple of God, the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit, from whence shall flow forth rivers of refreshing to multitudes of thirsting souls.
But before Christ's death on the cross, the disciples could not receive that promised baptism of the Holy Spirit; because, as John says, (vii. 39) “Christ was not yet glorified.” And Christ tells them, “ It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you.” But as Christ draws near the time of his offering up, he comforts his disciples with many promises of the Holy Spirit. “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.” Almost his last words before his ascension were, “ Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence." And as the heavens open to receive him they hear his last words, “ Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
These promises are their hope, as they return to Jerusalem, and continue with one accord in prayer and supplication for ten days. Then was fully come the fit time for the first great baptism of the IIoly Spirit. Christ's work of redemption is completed. The great Iligh Priest has offered himself once for all. His resurrection announces to the world his acceptance with the Father. The Son has ascended the mercy seat, now become the throne of God and the Lamb. From that throne can now, and shall henceforth forever, flow the river of the water of life. No wonder that upper room, where the disciples were praying, was filled with a sound as of a rushing mighty wind, as that first great outpouring of the Holy Spirit burst upon those assembled pleaders. Then appeared the cloven tongues of fire, and all were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake with new tongues. Exclamations of praise and thanksgiving break forth from every lip. The last doubt has vanished Jesus is the Christ. He has redeemed his promise. He can fulfil every promise. Their hearts
. IIe burn to tell others these wonderful words of life. Friend and stranger, all visitors at Jerusalem from distant lands, soon hear, each in his native tongue, the strange story of the cross and its meaning. Then happens what is still more wonderful, those hearers, some of them but just now ridiculing these despised Galilæans, are now listening to
them with moistened eyes and believing hearts. They at length cry out, "Men and brethren, what must we do to be saved?" and soon join gladly the ranks of his followers. What means it that scoffs at a malefactor are so soon turned into praise to their risen Redeemer? What but that they too, listening to those full of the Spirit, have themselves received a baptism of that same Spirit, and are convicted and converted?
Thus the believer, in preaching the word, has become an instrument in God's hands for communicating the Holy Spirit to others. Is the Lord using us and our preaching of his word as a means of communicating the Holy Spirit to the hearts of our hearers? Are we honoring the Holy Spirit by expecting-praying-God to move by his Spirit on the hearts of those to whom we preach, for their conversion? Do our prayers prove our faith in God's word, that he is more ready to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask than earthly parents are to give good gifts to their children? Do we plead in the spirit of "I will not let thee go except thou bless me ?" Those believers who received the Pentecostal blessing continued in one accord in prayer and supplication, until they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Then thousands were converted in a day.
Here we are in China a few hundred scattered laborers, united in Christ, and united in the cause of fighting the common adversary in this his great stronghold. We all believe victory can be gained by, and only by, dependence on the work of the Holy Spirit upon the word of truth in the hearts of men. We all believe God will give that Holy Spirit in converting power as surely as we ask. Is not our duty, then, manifest to all, that we should unitedly, faithfully, perseveringly, plead for the Holy Spirit? Thus praying, can any one doubt that multitudes of souls would be soon converted in connection with our preaching?
EXCURSION IN THE WESTERN HILLS, PEKING.
ON September 25th, 1881, a party of six of us started on donkeys
from the monastery of Chang an sz (£✯✯). In the valley in which this Buddhist temple is situated lie numerous other monasteries, most of which are inhabited by Europeans during two or three months of the summer. The district is called Sz p'ing t'ai (14) “Four Even Terraces," and sometimes Pa ta ch'u (†) “Eight Great Places," both names, referring to the terraces and number of the temples. These Western hills are distant at this point about ten miles from the city in a N.W. direction. On the left hand side of our path