Forty Years in South China eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 197 pages of information about Forty Years in South China.
the streets are so narrow and filthy, the countenances of the great mass of the people, at least to a newcomer, are so destitute of intelligent expression, and the bodies and clothing, and habits of the multitudes are so uncleanly, that one is compelled to exclaim in surprise, ’Are these the people who stand at the top of pagan civilization, and who look upon all men as barbarous, except themselves?’ Besides, everything looks old.  Buildings, temples, even the rocks and the hills have a peculiar appearance of age and seem to be falling into decay.  I am happy to say, however, that as we become better acquainted with the country and the people, many of these unfavorable impressions are removed.  After passing a little to the north of Amoy, the appearance of the coast entirely changes.  Even in this mountainous region we have valleys and plains, which would suffer but little by comparison with any other country for beauty and fertility.  I also love the scenery around the city of Amoy very much.  The city is situated on the western side of an island of the same name.  This part of the island in its general appearance is very similar to the coast of which I have spoken.  It is rocky and mountainous and barren.  There are, however, among these barren hills many small fertile spots, situated in the ravines and along the watercourses, which on account of their high state of cultivation form a lovely contrast with the surrounding barrenness.  Wherever the Chinese, at least in this part of the Empire, can find a watercourse, by cultivation they will turn the most barren soil into a garden.  The sides of the ravines are leveled by digging down, and walling up, if necessary, forming terraces or small fields, the one above the other.  These small fields are surrounded by a border of impervious clay.  The water is conducted into the higher of these terraces, and from them conducted into those which are lower, as the state of the crops may demand.  Often a field of paddy may be seen inundated, while the next field below, in which perhaps the sweet potato is growing, is kept perfectly dry.  Among the hills there is much of picturesque scenery, and some that is truly sublime.  The Buddhists have exhibited an exquisite taste for natural scenery, in selecting such places for the situation of many of their temples.”


“Their respect for ancestors is very great, so much so that the species of idolatry which has by far the strongest hold upon their minds is ancestral worship.  This is the stronghold by which Satan maintains his supremacy over the minds of the people, and this we may expect will be the last to give way to the power of the Gospel of Christ.  One may hold up their gods to ridicule and they will laugh at his remarks, but they do not love to hear the worship of their ancestors spoken against.  This worship, after the period of mourning is over, consists chiefly in offering at stated times various articles of food

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Forty Years in South China from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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