The following inflammatory placard, which was posted up last year at a place called Lung-p'ing, near the great tea mart of Hankow, will give a faint idea of native prejudice against the propagation of Christianity in China. The original was in verse, and evidently the work of a highly-educated man:--
Strange doctrines are speedily to be eradicated:
The holy teaching of Confucius is now in the ascendant.
There is but one most sacred religion:
There can be but one Mean.
By their great virtue Yao and Shun led the way,
Alone able to expound the "fickle" and the "slight;"[*]
Confucius' teachings have not passed away,
Yet working wonders in secret[+] has long been in vogue.
Be earnest in practising the ordinary virtues:
To extend filial piety, brotherly love, loyalty, and
considerateness, is to benefit one's-self.
Be careful in your speech,
And marvels, feats of strength, sedition, and spirits,[:] will
disappear from conversation.
I pray you do not listen to unsubstantiated words:
Then who will dare to deceive the age with soft-sounding phrases.
Our religion is for all who choose to seek it;
But we build no chapels to beguile the foolish.
Our true religion has existed from of old, up to the present day,
undergoing no change.
Its true principles include in their application those of the middle
and outside nations alike.
Great is the advantage to us!
Great is the good influence on this generation!
Of all religions the only true one,
What false doctrine can compare with it?
The stillness and cleanliness of Buddhism,
The abstruseness and hollow mockery of Taoism--
These are but side-doors compared with ours;
Fit to be quitted, but not to be entered.
These are but by-paths compared with ours;
Fit to be blocked up, but not to be used.
How then about this one, stranger than Buddhist or Taoist creed?
With its secret confusion of sexes, unutterable!
More hurtful than all the dogmas of the other two;
Spreading far and wide the unfathomable poison of its mysteries.
Herein you must carefully discriminate,
And not receive it with belief and veneration.
Those who now embrace Christ
Call him Lord of heaven and earth,
Worshipping him with prayer,
Deceiving and exciting the foolish,
Dishonouring the holy teaching of Confucius.
I laugh at your hero of the cross,
Who, though sacrificing his life, did not preserve his virtue
Missions build chapels,
But the desire to do good works is not natural to them.
The method of influencing the natures of women
Is but a trick to further base ends.
They injure boys by magical arts,
And commit many atrocious crimes.
They say their religion is the only true one,
But their answers are full of prevarication.
They say their book is the Holy Book,
But the Old and New Testaments are like the songs of Wei and
As to the people who are gradually being misled,
I compassionate their ignorance;
As to the educated who are thus deceived,
I am wroth at their want of reflection.
For these men are not of us;
We are like the horse and the cow;[@]
If you associate with them,
Who will expel these crocodiles and snakes?
This is a secret grievance of the State,
A manifest injury to the people!
Truly it is the eye-sore of the age.
You quietly look on unconcerned!
I, musing over the present state of men's hearts,
Desire to rectify them.
Alas! the ways of devils are full of guile!
But man's disposition is naturally pure.
How then can men willingly walk with devils?
You, like trees and plants, without understanding,
Allow the Barbarians to throw into confusion the Flowery Land.
Is it that no holy and wise men have appeared?
Under the Chow dynasty, when the barbarians were at the height of
The hand of Confucius and Mencius was laid upon them!
Under the T'ang when Buddhism was poisoning the age,
Han and Hsi exterminated them.
Now these devils are working evil,
Troubling the villages and market-places where they live.
Surely many heroes must come forward
To crush them with the pen of Confucius.
Turn then and consider
That were it not for my class[#]
None would uphold the true religion.
I say unto you,
And you should give heed unto me,
Believe not the nonsense of Redemption,
Believe not the trickery of the Resurrection.
Set yourselves to find out the true path,
And learn to distinguish between man and devil.
Pass not with loitering step the unknown ford,
Nor bow the knee before the vicious and the depraved.
Wait not for Heaven to exterminate them
To find out that earth has a day for their destruction.
The shapeless, voiceless imp--
Why worship him?
His supernatural, unprincipled nonsense
Should surely be discarded.
Ye who think not so,
When the devils are in your houses
They will covet your homes,
And they will take the fingers and arms of your strong ones
To make claws and teeth for imps.
They excite people at first by specious talk,
Not one jot of which is intelligible;
Then they destroy your reason,
Making you wander far from the truth.
You throw over ancestral worship to enjoy none yourselves;
Your wives and children suffer pollution,
And you are pointed at with the finger.
Thus heedlessly you injure eternal principles,
Embracing filth and treasuring corruption,
To your endless shame
And to your everlasting misfortune.
Finally, if in life your heads escape the axe,
There will await you the excessive injury of the shroud.[$]
Judging by the crimes of your lives,
Your corpses will be cast to scorpions and snakes.
The devils introduce this doctrine,
Which grows like plants from seeds;
Some one must arise to punish them,
And destroy their religion root and branch.
Hasten, all of you, to repent,
And walk in the way of righteousness;
We truly pity you.
A warning notice to discard false doctrines!
[*] The fickle nature of men's minds, and slight regard for the true doctrine.
[+] Forbidden by Confucius.
[:] Avoided by Confucius as topics.
[@] The Chinese say horses prefer going against, cows with, the wind.
[#] The literati.
[$] Missionaries are said to keep the corpses of converts concealed from public view between death and interment, that the absence of the dead man's eyes may not be detected.