A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 647 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 01.
who murmured against Mangu, as no khan had ever thus endeavoured to search into their secrets.  Yet they opposed one from Kathay to me, who had his interpreter, while I had the son of the goldsmith to interpret my words.  The Kathayan said to me, “Friend! if you be put to a nonplus, who must seek a wiser than thou art?” To this I made no reply.  Then he demanded whether I would dispute as to how the world was made, or as to what became of the souls after death?  For they were desirous to begin with these questions, as they held them for the strongest in their doctrines, all the Tuinians following the heresy of the Manicheans, believing in a good and a bad principle, and they all believe that souls pass from body to body.  In confirmation of this, the goldsmith told me they had brought a person from Kathay, who, by the size of his body, appeared to be only three years old, yet was capable of reasoning, and knew how to write, and who affirmed that he had passed through three several bodies.  Even one of the wisest of the Nestorians demanded of me whether the souls of brutes could fly to any place after death where they should not be compelled to labour.

To the before-mentioned question of the Kathayan, I answered:  “Friend, this ought hot to be the commencement of our conference.  All things are of God, who is the fountain and head of us all; and therefore we ought first to speak concerning God, of whom you think otherwise than you ought, and Mangu desires to know which of us hath the better belief.”  The arbitrators allowed this to be reasonable, and I proceeded:  “We firmly believe that there is but one God in perfect unity; what believe you?” He said, “Fools say there is but one God, but wise men say there are many.  There are great lords in your country, and here is still a greater, even Mangu-khan.  So it is of the Gods, as in divers countries there are divers gods.”  To this I answered:  “You make a bad comparison between God and men; for in this way every mighty man might be called a God in his own country.”  And when I meant to have dissolved the similitude, he prevented me, by asking, “What manner of God is yours, who you say is but one?” I answered:  “Our God, beside whom there is no other, is omnipotent, and therefore needeth not the help of any other; whereas all have need of his help.  It is not so with men, as no man can do all things; wherefore there must be many lords on earthy as no one can support all.  God is omniscient, or knoweth all things; and therefore hath no need of any counsellor, for all wisdom is from him.  God is perfectly good; and needs not therefore any good from us.  In God we live and move and have our being.  Such is our God, and you must not hold that there is any other.”  “It is not so,” said he; “for there is one highest in heaven, whose origin or generation we know not, and there are ten under him, and on earth they are infinite in number.”  To this he would have added other fables.  I asked him respecting the highest God, of whom he had spoken,

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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