A Chinese Fragment: Containing an Enquiry Into the Present State of Religion in England. by Ely Bates, 1786. Publisher: printed by J. Davis. For J. Strahan; R. Faulder; and J. Johnson. Book from the collections of: University of Michigan. Book digitized by Google from the library of the University of Michigan and uploaded to the Internet Archive by user tpb. Proofread by Jim Sheng.
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UPON perusing the following. Fragment, since it came from the press, the Editor has remarked some improprieties in the language, of which the more gross and palpable may justly be imputed to his own negligence: and should our Chinese be chargeable himself with the rest (and not some translator), it may be suggested in his behalf, that he was probably a man who paid more attention to things than words, and who, perhaps, had not acquired a very accurate knowledge of the English tongue. And, therefore, if his observations should, in the main, be found just and important, and expressed with some degree of perspicuity and force, the candid reader, it is presumed, will rest satisfied; without further requiring a classical purity of diction, and much less the several graces and ornaments of style, from a stranger and a philosopher.
There are some articles in this system which strike me with wonder. I see a God distinct from his works, existing self-sufficient and alone from eternity: I see Creation at the decreed period springing forth at his command : I see man placed in a paradise of delights, invested with dominion, and adorned with innocence: I fee him incurring guilt, banished into a desert world, and followed with a long train of wretchedness: I see his hopes encouraged with promises of deliverance: In the fulness of time, the Deliverer appears, works miracles, teaches virtue, dies, ascends above the heavens, and sheds on his disciples a mysterious power, to instruct, comfort, and guide them in their successive generations, until he return in the character of Judge, to pronounce finally on the whole human race.
Whether the supreme principle Tien or Chang-ti be the material heaven itself, or only its animating soul or form; or a Being unoriginated, all-perfect; and the free producer of all other beings, is a point in dispute with our philosophers. Of man's primitive innocence and felicity, and of his lapse, I perceive some faint traces in our classical volumes; and I would gladly understand the frequent saying of Confucius, That the Holy One should appear in the West, as an obscure intimation of a Restorer.
But still it must be confessed, that the Wonderful and Mysterious have been often employed to abuse the credulity of man-kind, and he who considers this, can hardly be forward to regard them purely on their own account. Hence the extravagant exploits of Foe, and the magical impostures of the Tao-ssee  never made upon my mind any serious impressions.
Nor would the prophetical and miraculous claims of Jesus have so strongly attracted my notice without the consideration of his morals and theology. 'Tis here I am seized with admiration. 'Tis his doctrine of benevolence, of humility, of self-denial, of internal sanctity; and above all, his vindication of the unity and perfection of the Supreme Being, and his universal government, that fixes my attention and commands my reverence.
These appear to have been the doctrines chiefly asserted by Confucius and our ancient sages. I acknowledge they are come down to us involved in much, obscurity, especially so far as they relate to the nature and attributes of the Supreme Being: But his universal government is maintained in the most evident manner.
Life and death, adverse and prosperous events, the fates of individuals and communities are referred to Tien: And we are directed to a dependance on his power and wisdom, and a submission to his will, in all our concerns. It may be conjectured, that in the early ages of the empire, Tien had his minister in the chief of every family; and that it was not 'till after a course of gradual degeneracy that the priestly office became appropriated to the person of the emperor : And then no wonder if we find the primitive religion soon either extinct or reduced to a barren speculation. In this island I observe a numerous order of men consecrated to the Lord of Heaven, to present to him the public supplications and praises, and to declare his law to the people. But we have no ministers of truth t. The Ho-chang and Tao-ssee meet with no opposition; their temples are crowded, their persons venerated, and their followers deluded and impoverished. 
Lamentable prospect to a philosopher! To behold the empire overspread with profane, structures erected to subordinate spirits, or to the dead, and scarce a temple in honour of Tien! To see multitudes of enthusiasts and impostors with unwearied diligence diffusing their pernicious doctrines, while the wise maintain an impious silence! O ye disciples of Confucius! Where is the zeal of your Master? Why does it not animate you nobly to go forth, and whether in temples or upon mountains, to publish the law of truth!
Thus heroically acted the Christian legislator: Under the open firmament, in the face of danger and contempt, he elevated his voice to the nations, Hear ye sons of men, the Lord your god is the Lord, and ye shall love him to the utmost extent of your powers. Is there any thing equal force and sublimity in our sages? Again he proclaims, Thou, shalt love every man as thyself: A sentence which comprises all that is excellent in our morals. These are doctrines which flow from the springs of nature. for ought not children to love their common parent and one another? And is not our political system framed upon this principle? But we have not duly extended it to the universal empire of Tien. Had Jesus then a larger view than Confucius?
But what is the best system without means to enforce it? Is the authority of Confucius equal to this effect? Or what is more: Is the beauty of virtue sufficient to secure its practice? A few sublime spirits indeed may pretend this, but the fact is unquestionably otherwise with the bulk of mankind. And hence the superstition of of Föe, by insisting on future rewards and punishments, has a great advantage over the wisdom of Confucius. Nor is the Christian system left to its native excellence; it comes likewise armed with the hopes and terrors of a future state.
But the circumstance by which it stands chiefly distinguished from all the religions that have come within my observation, is, that a certain power is engaged to accompany it to the end of time. A power not merely productive of external wonders, which are said to have ceased shortly after its first promulgation; but a power operating on the minds of men, and giving interior efficacy to its doctrines. Is this an idea that would ever have been conceived by an ordinary understanding? Methinks it carries a sublimity which affords a presumption of its divine extraction. And does not the condition of man call for such an influence? How difficult for the happiest genius, furnished with all imaginable advantages, to arrive at truths especially in religion!
How then shall the mass of mankind, with uncultivated faculties, and occupied with providing the means of subsistence, be able to compass this grand object! And after truth IS perceived, how often does it fail of its proper effect! Surely these are considerations which might induce a wise man to enquire with all possible diligence and impartiality into a system, which comes with such offers of assistance to his reason and moral powers, as may enable him both to know and to discharge his duty.
But instead of examining this system at present in a way of general argument, I shall proceed to view it in a particular example. I have before me a great people, still high in the rank of nations, blessed with a civil polity that may rival our own, distinguished for science and manners, and of a spirit peculiarly brave and generous. The religion of Jesus (as their records manifest) has been established among them for more than a thousand years, and is become an essential part of their civil constitution. I would therefore, on this occasion, enquire into the state of this religion, as at present subsisting among a people of such political consequence, and so highly cultivated, and after their profession of it for so many ages.
 This was likewise warmly agitated in the last and the beginning of the present century, between the Jesuits [who have been chiefly concerned in the Chinese mission] and their adversaries. Du Halde [a Jesuit] tells us [Vol. I. p. i6, 17.] of the ancient Chinese, That the chief object of their worship was denoted by the name Chang-ti, i. e. Supreme Emperor, or Tien, which, according to the interpreters, means the same thing, though it is also frequently taken for the material heavens : “Tien, say they, is the Spirit that presides in heaven, because heaven is the most excellent work produced by the first cause. " But did they regard (adds our author) this Tien as an intelligent Being, Lord and Creator of heaven, earth, and all things? Is it not likely that their vows and homage were addressed to the visible and material heavens, or, at least, to a celestial energy void of understanding, inseparable from the identical matter of which they are composed? But this (he concludes) shall leave to the judgment of the reader, and content myself with relating what I meet with in the classical books." Navarette, and many others, strongly maintained the latter point: And in 1704, Pope Clement XI, issued a Bull, forbidding, " That the two Chinese words, Tien and Chang-ti should any longer be applied to God, but instead of them the term T'ien-chu, which signifies Lord of Heaven, should be introduced," But neither this nor the other Papal prohibitions which followed had much effect, and the matter has slept for many years. See Le Comte, Tom. II. p. 141.— —Voltaire's Hist. Gen. Chap. II.— Navarette, p. 21, 22.— Mosheim Eccl. Hift. Vol. IV. p. 224 to 226. And authentic Memoirs of the Chr. Church in China, p, 27. [By the same.]
 “The whole doctrine of Confucius” [says Du Halde, Vol. III. p. 298.] “tended to restore human nature to its former lustre, and that first beauty it had received from heaven, and which had been sullied by the darkness of ignorance, and the contagion of vice." And again, [Vol. III. p. 303.] " The whole science of princes and the grandees of a kingdom (according to the same philosopher), consists in cultivating and perfecting the reasonable nature they have received from Tien, and in restoring that light and primitive clearness of judgment, which has been weakened or obscured by various passions, that it may be afterwards in a condition of labouring to perfect others."
These passages seem to point to something more than was distinctly understood by their author. See also Scientia Sinensis, Lib. L p. I.
 Those of the highest rank are called the five volumes by way of eminence, and are looked upon by the Chinese as the source of all their learning and morality.
Their main drift seems to have been to secure peace and tranquillity in the state by a regulation of manners, and an exact observation of the laws; for the attainment of which, the ancient Chinese judged two things chiefly necessary to be attended to, viz. the influence of religion, and the plan of a wife government.
There are likewise four other volumes entitled classical, three by Confucius, and one by Mencius his disciple, which are a kind of commentary upon the former, and stand next in reputation. See Du Halde, Vol. I. p. 16. and Le Comte, Tom. I. p. 395 — 401.
 Confucius was born about the year 551 before the Christian aera, a little before the death of Thales, one of the seven sages of Greece. He was contemporary with Pythagoras, and Socrates appeared not long afterwards.
In his childhood, instead of the levity and playfulness of that age, he was distinguished by a grave, modest, and serious air, which drew the regard of all who knew him, and excited their expectation of his future eminence.
He had scarce reached his fifteenth year, when he applied himself to the study of the ancient books, and furnished his mind with maxims the most proper to regulate the heart, and inspire the people with the love of virtue. He was only once married, and he appears to have had only one son.
When he was more advanced in years, he attempted a reformation in the several little subordinate kingdoms, of which the empire confided, and which seem at that time to have been over-run with all kinds of disorder: be therefore everywhere inculcated, as well by his own example as by his doctrine, modesty, disinterestedness, sincerity, equity, temperance, and contempt of riches and pleasure.
His extensive knowledge, and the splendor of his virtues, soon made him universally known: he was frequently invited to accept of some of the highest offices in the magistracy, which he refused with a view of being more at leisure to propagate his doctrine and reform mankind.
However, at the age of fifty-five, he accepted a principal charge in the kingdom of Lou, his native country : In less than three months, the general face of things was changed; the prince, the grandees of the kingdom, and the people, had respect to none but him. This alteration was so sudden and happy, that it created jealousy in the neighbouring princes, who were apprehensive that the king of Lou would soon become too powerful if he continued to follow the counsels of so wise a man. They therefore at length succeeded by their stratagems to alienate him from Confucius, who finding him thus grown-deaf to his remonstrances, threw up his employment, left the court, and sought in other kingdoms for minds better prepared to receive his maxims.
He passed through many provinces to no purpose: The austerity of his morals made his politics dreaded and the ministers of the princes were not willing to countenance an associate who might soon probably overturn their credit and authority. Thus wandering from place to place he came into the kingdom of Ching, where he found himself reduced to the greatest necessity, yet without abating in the least of his usual constancy.
In this manner did Confucius, from a minister of state, return to his former character of a private sage, devoting himself entirely to the instruction of the people, and taking frequent and painful journeys on this account; nay, we are told, he was sometimes seized with a desire of crossing the ocean in order to spread his doctrine in the most distant climates. His zeal however extended to persons of all ranks in his own country, to the learned and ignorant, to peasants and princes; in short, his lessons were common to all conditions, and were proper for each in particular.
It is therefore no wonder that he gained many disciples. They reckon three thousand more particularly attached to his person and doctrine; and among them were five hundred, who exercised with honour the highest offices in various kingdoms.
But his zeal again met with fresh opposition. After the death of the prince of Tcheou, one of his admirers, he became all on a sudden, through the envy of the courtiers, the scorn of the vulgar, and the subject of their songs and satires. But Confucius appeared always equal to himself, and lost nothing of his usual tranquillity amidst this unworthy treatment from a people by whom he had been received just before with general applause. Nay, after his life had been attempted by Huan-ti, a great officer in the army, being urged to save himself by flight, he observed that the cause he defended has such as left him no apprehensions on his own account. If Tien, said he, protect me of which he has just given a sensible proof, what need I fear the rage of Huan-ti?
And to crown his character, his modesty was equal to his other virtues. He neither praised himself nor could endure to be praised by others, but rather lamented the shortness of his attainments. If any one admired his doctrine, he was careful to remit all the honour to the ancients.
A few days before his last sickness, he told his disciples, with tears in his eyes, That he was overcome with grief at the sight of the disorders which reigned in the empire: The mountain,said he, is fallen, the high machine is demolished, and the wise are departed; meaning, that the edifice of perfection which he had endeavoured to raise was almost overthrown. He began from that time to languish, and the seventh day before his death turning himself towards his disciples: The kings, said he, refuse to follow my maxims, and since I am no longer useful in the world, it is necessary should leave it.
After these words, he fell into a lethargy, in which he remained seven days, and then expired in the arms of his disciples, in his 73d year. Upon the first news of his death, Ngai Cong, who then reigned in the kingdom of Lou, burst into tears, saying. The Tien is not satisfied with me, since he has taken away Confucius.
They built his sepulctre near the city Kio-fou on the banks of the river Su, where he was accustomed to assemble his disciples, which has since been inclosed with walls, and, at this day, has the appearance of a small town. He was lamented by all the empire, and his followers went into mourning. These sentiments of veneration have been increasing ever since; a kind of temples are erected to his memory through all the provinces, and are inscribed in large characters, To the Great Master; To the Chief Doctor; To the Saint; To him who has instructed Princes: And here the learned meet at certain seasons to do him honour. In a word, he is considered by the Chinese, as the great master and doctor of the empire. See Du Halde, Vol. III. p. 293 — 303. and Le Comte, Vol. I. p. 405-419.
 According to a tradition universally received among the Chinese, he was often heard to repeat these words, Si fang yeou ching gin, the meaning of which is, that in the West the Most Holy was to be found. And it is recorded that Ming-ti the fifteenth emperor of the family of Han, was so struck with this declaration, and the image of a man who appeared to him in his sleep, that he sent two of his grandees towards the West, whence the vision seemed to have come, with orders not to return before they had found this Holy Person, whom heaven had given him some knowledge of, and till they had learned the doctrine which he taught.
But the messengers, discouraged with the dangers and fatigues of the journey, slopped in some place by the way, where they found the idol of a man called Fo or Föe, who had infected the Indies with his monstrous doctrine about 500 years before the birth of Confucius. They instructed themselves in this superstition, and upon their return to China, spread it throughout the empire.
This happened in the year 65 after Christ, about the time when St. Thomas preached the gospel in the Indies, so that had these mandarins duly observed their orders China might probably have shared in the labours of this, apostle. See Du Halde, vol. III p. 300-1. and Le Comte, Tom. I. p. 416-17.
 Some have questioned whether he was a man or a demon : We are told that he was born in a part of the Indies probably near Bengal, that his father was king of the country, and that his mother, who died soon after his birth, dreamt upon conceiving him, that she had swallowed a white elephant, and that this is the reason of the honour paid by the Indian kings to these animals, to procure which they often go to war.
As soon (it is said) as this monster was brought into the world, he sprang upon his feet and walked seven paces, pointing with one hand to the heavens and wish the other to the earth, pronouncing distinctly the following words, There is none but myself in heaven or on earth that ought to be adored.
At the age of seventeen he married three wives, whom at nineteen he forsook together with all worldly cares, and withdrew into a solitary place where he put himself under the guidance of four philosophers called by the Indians Joghi; at thirty he fancied himself wholly inspired by the divinity, and commenced Fo or Pagod; he then applied himself with much zeal to propagate his doctrine, the devil [says my author] always helping, him out at a dead lift, so that by his assistance he performed many wonderful things which served to strike the people with dread, and procure great veneration to himself. The Chinese have described these prodigies in several large volumes, and represented them in cuts, See Du Halde, vol. III. p. 35-6 & Le Comte, tom. II. p. 153-5.
 Lao-Kiun, who was born a few years before Confucius, was the founder of this sect. His books remain to this time, and though probably much corrupted by his followers, still contain many excellent maxims upon virtue, the avoiding of honour, the contempt of riches, and the happiness of such, who abstracting their attention from the world, retire into themselves.
He is said to have been particularly addicted to chemistry, and the pursuit of the philosopher's stone, and to have pretended to the discovery of a liquor that would confer immortality.
His great object however, like that of Epicurus, seems to have been inward tranquility; and hence his followers, perhaps in straining his doctrine, affected a quietism, which suspended, as they said, all the functions of soul; and if this happened to be disturbed by the fears of death, they had recourse to the liquor of immortality.
By degrees they went into all follies of magic and divination: They pretended (for instance) to exhibit their founder and their idols in the air; to make a pencil write of itself answers to proposed questions; and to show in a vessel of water the fortunes of individuals, or the future condition of the empire; with a thousand feats of the same nature.
They had a great number of temples before the Christian area. And under the dynasty of Tang their priests were dignified with the title of Tien-ssee, i.e. heavenly doctors; who still, says Le Comte, continue in such credit, that there are few among the Chinese who will not listen to their pretensions.
Lao-Kiun is said frequently to have repeated this saying, Tao [or Reason] hath produced one, one hath produced two, two have produced three, and three have produced all things. See See Du Halde, vol. III. p. 31-34 and Le Comte, vol. 11. p. 149-51.
 In one of the ancient books Tien is described as the principle of all things, absolutely independent, almighty, omniscient, presiding with unalterable rectitude at the head of the universe. And in particular he is represented as exercising the strictest government over mankind, as inspecting the hearts and conduct of individuals, rewarding the virtuous and punishing the wicked, and as elevating or casting down kings according to their character and administration; and in short, conducting all the affairs of this world to wise and just ends, without any impeachment of human liberty.
This persuasion was so common, that princes, naturally jealous of their own honour, never attributed the success of their government to themselves, but referred it to the Lord OF ALL. See Du Halde, vol.III p. 17 and 20.
 It is probable the true God was worshipped in this manner for some time after the flood in all parts of the world.
 This is said to have happened under the fifth Emperor Tchuen-hio, who made a law that none but himself or his successors should offer sacrifices to the Lord of heaven. See Du Halde, vol. I. p. 279.
 These are the priests of Föe, by the Europeans called bonzes.
 How the simple people are abused by these impostors, is strikingly seen in two instances related by Le Comte from his own knowledge, which, for their curiosity, I shall here give the reader : I was called, says he, one day to baptize a sick person, an old man of seventy, who lived upon a small pension allowed him by the emperor. When I entered his room, he said, I am obliged to you, my father, that you are going to deliver me from a heavy punishment: That is not all, replied I, baptism not only delivers persons from hell, but initiates them into a state of blessedness. I do not comprehend, answered the sick man, what it is you say, and perhaps I have not sufficiently explained myself; I must inform you, that for some time I have subsisted on the emperor's bounty, and the bonzes, who are particularly acquainted with what passes in the next world, have assured me, that out of gratitude I shall be obliged to serve him after death, and that my soul will infallibly pass into a post horse to carry dispatches out of the provinces to Court; accordingly they exhort me to perform my duty well in this new capacity, not to stumble, nor wince, nor bite, nor hurt any body, and at the same time to eat little and be patient, in order by these means to excite the compassion of the deities, who often convert a good beast into a man of quality, and make him a considerable mandarin: I own, father, said he, that the thought of this makes me shudder, I dream of it every night, and some-times fancy myself harnessed and ready to start at the first stroke of the whip ; I then awake in a violent sweat, and am hardly able to determine whether I am a man or a horse ; but alas ! what will be the case when I am a horse in reality? This then, my father, is the resolution I am come to: I am told that those of your religion are not subject to these miseries, that they continue to be men in the next world, as they are in this; I therefore beseech you to admit me among you; for though I am told your religion is severe, I am resolved, notwithstanding to embrace it, since at any rate I had rather be a Christian than become a beast. I could not help pitying, says Le Comte, this discourse of the sick man, but reflecting that God makes use every of simplicity and ignorance to lead men to the truth, I took occasion to undeceive him of his errors, and to direct him in the way of salvation; I gave him instructions a long time, and at length (says he) he believed, and I had the consolation to see him die, not only with the most rational sentiments, but with all the marks of a good Christian. Le Comte tom. II. p. 165-7.
The second instance is no less singular in its way. I met one day (says my author), in a certain village, with a young bonze of an engaging appearance, and very likely to speed in collecting alms; he stood upright in a close chair pointed thick in the inside with sharp nails, so that he could not stir without wounding himself; two men hired for the purpose carried him with much gravity into the houses, where he besought the people to have compassion on him.
I am, said he, shut up in this chair for the good of your souls, and am resolved never to go out 'till all the nails are purchased, [they were above 2000] they are but sixpence each, and not one of them but will draw down extraordinary blessings upon your houses; for I am not now soliciting for the bonzes, who may expect your charity on other occasions, but for the god Föe himself, to whose honour we are about to build a temple.
I then passed near him, (proceeds my author,) and as soon as the bonze saw me, he made me the same compliment as to the rest: I told him he was very unhappy to give himself such useless torment, and advised him to leave his prison, and go to the temple of the true God to be instructed in divine truth, and to submit to a penance less severe and more salutary.
He replied, without the least emotion, that he was obliged to me for my counsel, but his obligation would be greater, if I would buy a dozen of his nails, which would certainly procure me a fortunate journey.
Here, said he, turning himself on one side, take these which upon the faith of a bonze are the best in my chair, because they give me the least pain, however they are all of the same price.
He pronounced these words (adds Le Comte) with an air and action, which might have provoked my risibility, had not the consideration of his wretched blindness rather excited my compassion. P. 17 1-3.
I should almost think (with our author's leave) that this young bonze was more a knave than a superstitious fanatic.
 There is one at least in which the emperor himself offers sacrifices as the minister of Tien. Hoang-ti who is reckoned the third in succession from Fo-hi, is said to have first erected a temple for this service.
Hence, though innumerable temples are dedicated to geniuses or spirits which are imagined to preside over every part of nature, as also to Confucius, and their ancestors in general, the true God if indeed he is meant under the names Chang-ti or Tien, has neither temples priests nor any public worship, besides the above mentioned. See Du Halde, vol. III. p. 22. Navarette. p 213. Hist. des Religions, par Jovet, tom V. p. 462-4, & Description de Siam, par La Loubere, torn. I. p.. 396-400.
 The Chinese government, says Du Halde, is founded upon the mutual relation of parents and children. The prince is considered as the father of the empire; and every subordinate governor, of the particular province or city, over which he presides: And hence arises the great veneration and ready obedience rendered to all the imperial officers.
Why hath Tien, say the Chinese, placed the emperor on the throne? Is it not to be our parent? and therefore he ought not to inspire his children with terror, but to attract their love by his virtue and goodness. Their books are full of this sentiment. See Du Halde, vol. II. p. 17 and 32 -- and Le Comte, tom. 11. p. 22-3.
 To what we have said of this impostor. It may be proper to add a word or two concerning the doctrine of his followers, which to suit both the vulgar and the more refined, is divided into the exterior and interior; a distinction well known to have been frequent in ancient Greece and Egypt.
According to the former it is held, that virtue and vice are essentially different in their nature; that there will be a future state of rewards and punishments; that the God Föe was born to save mankind, by expiating their sins, and instructing them in their duty; that there are five precepts particularly to be observed, the first is, not to kill any animal, the second, not to steal; the third, not to be guilty of impurity; the fourth, not to lie, and the fifth, to abstain from wine.
But especially it is enjoined to shew kindness to the bonzes, and to build them monasteries and temples, and to take good heed at the funeral ceremonies of their relations, to burn such a number of silk garments as may accommodate them in the next world, and so much gilt paper [or paper-money] as will serve to bribe the eighteen guardians of the infernal regions: And all who neglect these precepts and injunctions, are told they have nothing to expect after death, but to transmigrate into vile animus, such as mules, dogs, rats, or others yet more contemptible.
 It is true, says Du Halde, that though the canonical books often exhort men to fear Tien, and place the souls of the virtuous near Chang-ti, yet it does not appear that they have spoken clearly of future punishments. However, says he, it cannot be doubted but the Confucians believe the separate existence of the soul after death, and to show that this was the opinion of Confucius himself, we are told of his affirming to his familiar disciples, that for several years he had seen in a dream the celebrated Tcheo-kong, son of Ven-vang, to whom the empire was indebted for so many excellent instructions, and it is said that the learned Tchw-hi, who flourished under the dynasty of Song, being asked whether Confucius spoke of a dream or a true apparition, answered without difficulty, that he meant a true apparition; though Tcheo-kong at that time had been dead fix hundred years.
But Navarette is of the contrary opinion, and in support of it offers a great variety of arguments and testimonies. Among the latter he tells us, That Doctor Li Sung Jo, who was a disciple of Confucius, and president of the court of Exchequer, advanced several times in conversation with him and his companions. That after death then was neither reward nor punishment, but that men returned to the vacuum from whence they came. And being told that there is an eternal, living, and omnipotent God, who rewards every man according to his deeds, in a future state of happiness or misery, he positively, denied there was any such God, heaven or hell; declaring that these were things never heard of in his sect. And another learned Chinese, in a conversation with Navarette in particular, assigned the omission of a future retribution by the followers of Confucius, as the principal cause why the multitude were so little induced to the practice of virtue.
The reader, if he think it necessary, will pursue the enquiry, and judge for himself. See Du Halde, vol. Ill, pi 28. — Navarette, p. 218—24. and Voltaire, Hist. Gen. ch. II.