Beacon Lights of History, Volume 01 eBook

John Lord
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 228 pages of information about Beacon Lights of History, Volume 01.
and that primitive pleasures and virtues were better than worldly wisdom.  He maintained that spiritual weapons cannot be formed by laws and regulations, and that prohibiting enactments tended to increase the evils they were meant to avert.  While this great and profound man was in some respects superior to Confucius, his influence has been most seen on the inferior people of China.  Taoism rivals Buddhism as the religion of the lower classes, and Taoism combined with Buddhism has more adherents than Confucianism.  But the wise, the mighty, and the noble still cling to Confucius as the greatest man whom China has produced.

Of spiritual religion, indeed, the lower millions of Chinese have now but little conception; their nearest approach to any supernaturalism is the worship of deceased ancestors, and their religious observances are the grossest formalism.  But as a practical system of morals in the days of its early establishment, the religion of Confucius ranks very high among the best developments of Paganism.  Certainly no man ever had a deeper knowledge of his countrymen than he, or adapted his doctrines to the peculiar needs of their social organism with such amazing tact.

It is a remarkable thing that all the religions of antiquity have practically passed away, with their cities and empires, except among the Hindus and Chinese; and it is doubtful if these religions can withstand the changes which foreign conquest and Christian missionary enterprise and civilization are producing.  In the East the old religions gave place to Mohamedanism, as in the West they disappeared before the power of Christianity.  And these conquering religions retain and extend their hold upon the human mind and human affections by reason of their fundamental principles,—­the fatherhood of a personal God, and the brotherhood of universal man.  With the ideas prevalent among all sects that God is not only supreme in power, but benevolent in his providence, and that every man has claims and rights which cannot be set aside by kings or rulers or priests,—­nations must indefinitely advance in virtue and happiness, as they receive and live by the inspiration of this elevating faith.

* * * * *

AUTHORITIES.

Religion in China, by Joseph Edkins, D.D.; Rawlinson’s Religions of the
Ancient World; Freeman Clarke’s Ten Great Religions; Johnson’s Oriental
Religions; Davis’s Chinese; Nevins’s China and the Chinese; Giles’s
Chinese Sketches; Lenormant’s Ancient History of the East; Hue’s
Christianity in China; Legge’s Prolegomena to the Shoo-King; Lecomte’s
China; Dr. S. Wells Williams’s Middle Kingdom; China, by Professor
Douglas; The Religions of China, by James Legge.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY.

SEEKING AFTER TRUTH.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Beacon Lights of History, Volume 01 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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