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Title: Letters to Children
Author: Bridgman, E. C.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters to Children" ***

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Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library,
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fragile book. A few typos in the original text were corrected.


Written for the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society,
and Revised by the Committee of Publication


Depository, No. 13, Cornhill.

Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1834,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.




Introduction; Chinese are Idolaters; Confucian, Taon, and Buddha


Temples, Priest, Priestesses and Idols,


Pagodas, Idol Worship,












Character and Condition of Females,




Beggars; Food and Clothing,


Crimes: Lying, Gambling, Quarrelling, Theft, Robbery, and


Ideas of Death, style of Mourning, Funerals, &c.


DR. Morrison translates the Bible into the Chinese Language,


Dr. Milne; Missionary Stations,


Leang Afa,


Canton City; Population, &c.


To Parents and Teachers,




This little Book contains eighteen Letters, written by Rev. E.C.
BRIDGMAN, Missionary in China, addressed to the Children of the
Sabbath School in Middleton, Mass. and published in the Sabbath
School Treasury and Visitor. Though the letters were addressed
to children in a particular Sabbath School, they are none the less
adapted to other children, and they cannot fail to interest any
one, who would see China converted to Christ.




Letter I.

_Canton_, (_China_,) _Oct._ 17, 1831

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS:‑‑The general agent of the Massachusetts
Sabbath School Union has requested me to write something which
I have "seen, heard, or thought of" for the _Treasury_. He proposed
that I should write in the form of letters, and address them to
you. This I shall be very happy to do, so far as I have any leisure
to write.

Some of you, perhaps, will remember what I used to tell you of
the children, and men, and women, who had no Bibles, and who were
ignorant of the true God, and of Jesus Christ the Savior of
sinners. I can remember very well what some of the little children
used to say, and how they used to look, when I talked to them about
being a missionary, and of going far away from home, perhaps never
to return. I did not then think of going so far off; indeed, I
did not know where I should go; had some thoughts of going to
Greece, or to Armenia. We do not always know what is best, but
God does, for He knows all things, and will direct all things for
his own glory; and if we love and obey him. He will make all things
work together for our good.

I am very glad I came to China, and I wish a great many more
missionaries would come here. Before I came among the heathen,
I had no idea how much they are to be pitied, and how much they
need the Bible. Now that I live among them, and see their poor
dumb idols every day, I desire to tell you a great many things
which, I hope, will make you more careful to improve your own
privileges, and more anxious also that the same blessed
privileges may be enjoyed by all other children every where.

Now, children, if you will look on your maps, you will see that
China is situated in that part of the earth, which is directly
opposite to the United States: so that when it is noon in one
place, it is midnight in the other. The two countries, you will
see, occupy nearly the same extent of the earth's surface. They
are, also, bounded on the north and south, by nearly the same
degrees of latitude. (China is situated a little farther south
than the United States.) This makes the seasons,‑‑summer and
winters, spring and autumn,‑‑and also the climate of the two
countries, quite alike. But in regard to population, religion,
and almost every thing else, they are very different from each

China is a very ancient nation; and has, at the present time, a
vast population,‑‑probably twenty or thirty times as many people
as there are in all the United States of America. If there are,
then, _three millions_ in the United States to be gathered into
the Sabbath schools, and there Sabbath after Sabbath, instructed
in the Holy Scriptures; there are here in China more than _sixty
millions_, of the same age, who know not even that there are any
Sabbath, or any Sabbath day, or any Holy Bible.

You can now, dear children, from these few facts, estimate how
many there are in China who need the Bible; and how much there
is to be done, how many missionaries and Christian teachers will
be wanted, before all these millions of immortal beings shall have
the word of God, and be as blessed and as happy in their
privileges, as you now are. You, truly, enjoy great privileges,
because you have the Holy Bible, and can, every day, read of Jesus
Christ: and if you believe in him, you will have great joy and
comfort, and when you die, go to heaven and be forever with the
Lord. But O, what do you think will become of all these poor
heathen children, who have no Bibles, and who have never heard
of the name of Jesus? In the fourth chapter of Acts, you read,
that, "_there is no other name under heaven given among men,
whereby we must be saved_."

The Chinese are idolaters. Their fathers, and their grandfather,
for hundreds and thousands of generations, have been idolaters,
and worshipped idols of wood and stone which their own hands have
made. These idols are very numerous; as numerous, the Chinese
themselves say, as the sands on the banks of a great river.

The Chinese are divided into three religious sects. The Confucian
sect; the Taon sect; and the Buddha sect. I will now tell you
something about each of these three.

The _Confucian_ sect is composed of the _learned_ men of China,
who are in their disposition and character like the proud and
self‑righteous pharisees, mentioned in the New Testament. They
call them the _disciples_ of Confucius. They adore and worship
him; they have a great many temples dedicated to him; and they
offer various sacrifices to him, as the children of Israel did
to Jehovah, the true God, in the time of Moses. Confucius was born
538 years before Christ. His disciples relate many strange
stories about their master. But he taught them nothing about the
true God and Jesus Christ, and nothing about the soul after death.
_Life and immortality were not revealed to him_. His disciples
are as ignorant as their master was. They neither know nor
acknowledge the eternal power and Godhead, so "clearly seen,
being understood by the things that are made." Professing
themselves to be wise, they become fools, and like the Romans,
"changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image like
to corruptible man, and to birds, and four‑footed beasts," &c.
&c. I wish you to read the last half of the first chapter of Romans,
and you will have a good account of the disciples of Confucius.

Taontsze, which being interpreted, means _old boy_, was the
founder of the _Taon_ sect. His followers to this day call him
the supreme venerable prince; and relate many curious stories
about him; and say that he was an _ignorant good man_.

The religion of _Buddha_ was brought from India, and became a
common religion of China, probably, about the time, or soon after
the crucifixion of our Savior. Both this religion and that of the
Taon sect are dreadfully wicked, and full of abominations; and
their priests are the most ignorant and miserable people in China.
I will tell you more of these hereafter.

Besides these three sects, there are some Roman Catholics, some
Mohammedans, and a few Jews, scattered in different parts of

Since I have now commenced, I wish to write you several short
letters; and this I will try to do, if God our heavenly Father
gives me time and strength. Earnestly desiring that he will give
you all good things, I remain,

                  Your true friends,
                                E.C. BRIDGMAN.



_Canton_, (_China_,) _Oct._ 19, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑In the first letter, I told you something
about the situation and the vast population of China, and the
three religious sects into which the people are divided. In this
letter I propose to give you a short account of their temples,
priests, priestesses, and idols.

_Idol temples_ are very different from meeting‑houses. I have
visited a good many of these temples, in and about Canton and
Macao. There is very little, if any, difference between the
temples of the Buddha and the Taon sects. Those which I have seen
are brick, and usually firm and well built. A common village
temple occupies about half an acre of ground, enclosed by a wall
twelve or fifteen feet high, and consists of several houses for
the priests, a number of small rooms and niches for the idols,
and an open court and alleys. Some of the temples are large,
including within their outer wall three or four acres, having
beautiful trees and gardens, and sometimes a furnace, in which
the dead bodies of priests are burnt, and also a kind of tomb,
filled with urns, in which their ashes are afterwards deposited.
These are more than thirteen hundred idol temples in the province
of Canton; and, at the same rate of reckoning, there will be, in
the eighteen provinces into which China is divided, more than
_twenty‑three thousand idol temples_.

I have never visited any of the temples dedicated to Confucius.
They are, it is said, distinguished from those of Buddha and Taon,
by their dignified simplicity, the exclusion of images from all
the principal halls, and by substituting, in their stead,
commemorative tablets, bearing the names of Confucius and his
most distinguished disciples.

_Priests_ are numerous. One temple in Peking has, it is said,
eight hundred priests. One which I have visited, _near_ Canton,
has more than one hundred and fifty. Those of Buddha shave their
heads perfectly bald. They usually appear dressed in a large grey
gown, with sleeves often a full yard wide. They live principally
on vegetables; they eat no meat, are not allowed to marry, are
idle, and, except by persons of their own sect, utterly
disrespected. The priests of the Taon sect shave their heads,
except a spot about the size of a man's hand, of which the crown
of the head is the centre. This, indeed, every Chinese does. Every
man and every boy must have his head shaved, as a mark of
submission to the Emperor. This has been the custom for almost
two hundred years. But, while the common people braid their hair
into a "long tail," which hangs down to their heels, the priests
of Taon fold theirs up in a knot on the top of the head. When they
appear in public, they usually wear a yellow robe. They eat flesh,
and are permitted to marry. No priest of either sect ever teaches
in public and but seldom in private. They spend much of their time
in devotions, which are nothing but "vain repetitions," saying
over and over again the same words, as fast as they can, hundreds
and thousands of times. They are sometimes called to pray for the
dead, and sometimes to go in funeral processions.

Persons may become priests at any age they please; they are
usually, however, dedicated to the service when quite young, even
in infancy. A few days ago, in the streets, I saw a lad only eight
or ten years old, all dressed up in his priestly robes. There are
no priests belonging to the Confucian sect.

_Priestesses_ are more wicked, but not so numerous as priests.
There are three sorts of these poor miserable creatures. Those
that belong to the sects of Buddha and Taon wear a peculiar kind
of dress. Those of the Buddha sect shave their heads, and the
people of Canton call them "women padres." Those of third sort
form a kind of sisterhood, live wholly on vegetables, and dress
like other women. These are all very wicked, ugly people. They
pretend to sing songs to the gods, and drive away demons. There
are other old women, still worse, if possible, than these; such
as witches, conjurers, and necromancers. They pretend to hold
intercourse with the dead, and give responses to their living
kindred, telling them that their dead friends are in great
distress for want of food and clothing. Many of the deluded people
believe them, and, by these lies and tricks, they contrive to get
food and clothing for themselves.

_Idols_, in China, are numerous beyond all calculation. These
idols are to be seen every where; in ships, in boats, houses, in
temples, shops, streets, fields, on the hills, and in the vallies,
and along the banks of all the rivers and canals. Some of these
idols are very large, huge monsters, several feet high. Some of
them are made of wood, some are stone, some are earthen, others
are brass, iron, &c. &c. They are most commonly made somewhat in
the likeness of men; but sometimes they are like beasts, and
birds, and creeping things. There are places where these _gods_
are manufactured and sold just as people make and sell chairs,
tables, &c. I am going to send a parcel of them to the Society
of Inquiry respecting Missions, at the Theological Seminary,
Andover, where if you wish, you can go and see them.

Adieu, dear children. May the Lord, in great mercy, keep you from
all sin, and make you happy in this life and in that which is to
come. Remembering you often in my prayers,

                  I remain, your true friend,
                                      E.C. BRIDGMAN.



_Canton_, (_China_,) _Oct_. 20, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑In my letter, yesterday, I forgot to tell
you of some very high buildings, called _pagodas_. These are found
in almost every part of China. They were introduced soon after
the religion of Buddha, in which they seem to have had their
origin, in this country. These lofty buildings present every
where nearly the same appearance; but differ in height from three
to thirteen stories. They are usually hollow, with stairs
ascending up through the centre; and are usually built on the top
of some high hill. They are believed, by those who build them,
to be a defence against evil spirits, pestilence, misfortunes,
&c. One of the finest pagodas in China, is in Nanking, and was
built about 400 years ago. It is called the porcelain pagoda. It
is 200 feet high, divided into nine stories; and is, at the base,
122 feet in circumference. It was nineteen years in building, and
cost more than three millions of dollars; more than three times
as much as the American Board have yet expended for foreign

I will close this letter with some account of _idol worship_, as
it is performed here, all around us, every day.

The Chinese never assemble for religious worship as Christians
do, who go to the house of God, there to worship him, who is a
Spirit, in spirit and in truth. Their worship is very unholy, and
offensive to God, and injurious to man. They have no preaching;
their priests never set as public, religious teachers. Their
worship consists of prayers and offerings, made to their false
gods, and to their departed friends, to the sages and heroes of
antiquity, and to their emperors‑‑both living and the dead. All
their acts of worship are accompanied with a great many, and very
tedious ceremonies.

Some of the priests make very long prayers. In a temple near
Canton, I have seen more than 50 priests altogether, at one time,
engaged in their devotions. At the appointed hour, they assembled
in a large hall where were a number of idols, and altars for
offering incense, and also a drum and a bell to _wake_ up the
sleepy gods, and make them listen to their prayers.

As soon as they were assembled, they took their places in ranks,
and commenced their worship. One of the oldest priests acted as
chief, and took the lead; and the others, with loud voices, all
joined with him and chanted their evening prayers. Sometimes,
they all stood erect, with their hands all joined with him, and
chanted their evening prayers. Sometimes they all stood erect,
with their hands clasped before them. Sometimes, in files, they
went round and round their altars. At one time, they all kneeled;
and again, they all bowed down their heads, and placed them in
the very dust. All the time they were doing these things, which
occupied about an hour, candles and lamps were kept burning, and
incense was offered on the altars.

The Chinese never pray in their families and closets as Christians
are taught to do. Individuals sometimes go to the temples to pray,
and pay their vows, and to make offerings to the idol gods. I have
repeatedly seen women, sometimes with their young children,
bowing before the altars in the temples. The Chinese observe many
times and seasons, in which they make religious offerings, some
of which are very expensive.

There are appointed seasons when the Emperor of China worships
his ancestors, and the heavens, and the earth, and also some of
the great mountains and rivers of the empire. Early in the morning
on the first day of the year, all the people worship their gods,
praying for riches. In the spring of every year, there is an
appointed time, when every body goes to the hills‑‑some travel
hundreds of miles‑‑to worship at the tombs of their fathers, and
mothers, and uncles, &c. While at the tombs, they offer costly
sacrifices of fish, fowls, sheep, goats, swine and the like, with
oblations of wine and oil, to the names of their departed
relatives. On the first and fifteenth of every moon, they have
some special religious rites to perform, such as firing off
thousands and thousands of gunpowder crackers, beating their
gongs, or drums, &c. This they do to keep off evil spirits. Every
day, especially at evening, offerings of paper‑‑a kind of gold
paper‑‑and oil, and fragrant wood, are made to the household
Gods, to the gods of the streets, shops, boats. Indeed, there
seems to be no end to their superstitions. And thus, alas! all
this numerous people are given to idolatry, and offer sacrifices
to devils. They worship they know not what.

And now, my dear young friends, do you think all this vain and
wicked worship constitute _a cheap and easy religion?_ Think of
the priests and priestesses devoted to idleness, and to
abominable rites and services. Think of the hundreds of temples
and idleness, and to abominable rites and services. Think of the
hundreds of temples and pagodas, and thousands of idols which
cover and fill the land. Think, too, of all the times and seasons;
all the costly offerings and sacrifices employed in this idol
worship; and again I ask, and I wish you to give an answer,‑‑_Do
you think this a cheap and easy religion?_ I think it a most costly
religion, and most grievous to be borne. Oh, how unlike the
religion of Jesus Christ! His yoke is easy, and his burden light.
But the service of Satan is hard service. The expense of this idol
worship must amount to many millions of dollars annually. More,
I am constrained to believe, is expended every day, and every
year, by the Chinese alone, in idol worship, than is devoted by
all the true Christians in the whole world, to the worship of the
true God.

_These things ought not so to be_. And if all good people could
see how miserable these heathens are, and could feel for them,
as Christ Jesus commands them to feel, the things would not be
so much longer. There would be a great change immediately. The
Bible would be distributed; the Gospel would be preached; and then
would the heathen cast away their dumb idols, and serve the true

And now, dear children, farewell. Think of these things and
remember and pray for the poor heathen always. I hope to write
to you again; perhaps, several short letters, but I may be
disappointed. Endeavoring to cast all my cares on _Him_, who
careth for us all, and to serve him with singleness of heart, I
still remain your true friend,   E.C. BRIDGMAN.


_Canton_, (_China_,) _Oct_. 25, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑There is no _caste_ in China, as there
is in India. Men may rise from the most humble stations in life,
to the highest rank of office; the throne only being excepted.
The Chinese, in their books, often speak of the _soldiers_ and
the _people:_ and when speaking of the people, divide them into
_merchants_, _mechanics_, _husbandmen_, _and scholars_.

The occupations of these _five_ classes, the Chinese call "the
essential employments." And they say "that when the high heavens
produced men, they appointed to every one an employment, as the
means of personal support. Therefore, though men naturally differ
as to knowledge and ignorance, strength and weakness, yet none
should be without an employment. Having employments, all men have
a proper duty to which they should attend, both that they may be
profitable to themselves, and useful to the world."

I think now, children, you will be better able to understand the
character of the Chinese, if I tell you something of these five
classes separately. I will remark first, however, that these
divisions are not exclusive. A man may be a scholar, and at the
same time engage in husbandry. So he may be a merchant, and at
the same time a scholar. Soldiers, sometimes also, I believe, are
farmers, or merchants, or mechanics. But usually _one_ man
attends to only _one_ of the _essential_ employments.

China is now governed by the Tartars, a very war‑like nation, who
conquered and subdued the country, and ascended the throne 187
years ago. It was at that time, A.D. 1644, that the _long tail_
mentioned in the second letter, was introduced. Many of the old
people, it is said, were unwilling to shave their heads, and braid
their hair. But the Tartars being their masters, and having the
power, compelled them to do so, on the pain of death. Many actually
preferred death to such a mark of disgrace. At the present time,
in order to keep the people in subjection, a great number of
soldiers, many of them Tartars, are stationed all over the Empire.
There are several thousands in Canton. These soldiers have a few
guns: but generally they are armed with swords and shields, or
bows and arrows, or spears and pikes, or some other such like
instruments. The soldiers have very little to do; and so they
become very lazy, and gamble, and steal, rob and oppress the poor,
and often make a great deal of disturbance. And after all they
can do to keep the peace, the people often rise in rebellion; and
then they quarrel and fight, and hundreds of the people and
soldiers are killed. Two of three such rebellions have happened
since I have been in China.

To prevent mistake, I wish you to keep in mind the difference
between China, and the Chinese Empire. By _China_, or China
Proper, is understood the 18 provinces, which for a long time,
constituted the whole of the Chinese possessions. The _Chinese
Empire_, as it has existed since 1644, extends on the north, and
west, far beyond the boundaries of ancient China, and is,
probably, the largest Empire in the world. The whole number of
persons in the Empire, who are enrolled as soldiers and make the
art and practice of _war_ their _essential employment_, is very
great; amounting, probably, to two or three millions.

_Chinese Merchants_ have by no means that high character, and that
influence, which the same class of men possess in Europe and
America. They are ranked the _last_ of the four divisions of the
people, and are regarded by their own countrymen as the least
respectable part of the community. They are, usually, very greedy
of gain, and often cheat and deceive; and they regard it as a very
small offence to cheat and deceive foreigners, whom they usually
call _barbarians:_ and who, they say, come an immense distance
across the seas, from the northwest corner of the world, to buy
teas, and silks of the celestial Empire.

The foreign trade to China is pretty extensive, and is continually
increasing. There are now at Whampoa, where the foreign ships
unload and load their cargoes, 52 ships, and 4,000 seamen. These
ships bring tin, lead, quick‑silver, copper, iron, furs, cotton
yarn, cotton and woollen cloth, and many other such like, useful
articles. They bring also, and of late years, a very great
quantity of _opium_. More than twenty millions of dollars' worth
of opium were sold here last year. This is very bad, and does a
great deal of hurt. Those who bring and sell the opium, and those
who buy it also, know very well that it is doing a great deal of
injury. Only a part of the foreign merchants trade in opium; the
others will not, because they know it is wrong, and contrary to
the laws of God and man. Returning from China, the ships are
usually very richly laden with nankeens, silks, teas, &c.

Chinese merchants do not often go very far abroad; seldom if ever,
so far as to India. They carry on, however, considerable trade
with Cochin China, Siam, Singapore, Malacca, Java; to which, and
to some other places, they have quite a number of vessels, perhaps
fifty, which make a voyage every year. It is by these vessels that
Mr. Medhurst, and Mr. Tomlin, and other missionaries, have sent
many Bibles and tracts into China. It is in one of these vessels
also, that Mr. Gutzlaff has gone to Peking, where he means to spend
the winter and preach the gospel of the Son of God.

Again, dear children, adieu. Be good children‑‑obey and love your
parents‑‑read your Bibles‑‑believe in Jesus with your whole
hearts, and pray to God always, then you will be happy. I will
by the assistance and permission of God, endeavor to continue the
account of the Chinese people, in another letter.

                  Your very true friend,



_Canton_, (_China_,) _Nov._2, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑Having given you, in my last letter, some
account of the soldiers and merchants, I intend in this, to tell
you about the merchants, the husbandmen, and the scholars. I do
not pretend to give you a very complete account of these several
classes of persons. My desire is, however, that you shall have
such an acquaintance with the every day conduct, and peculiar
manners and customs of the Chinese, that you may be able to form
for yourselves, correct ideas of their character. I should be glad
to have you _know fully their whole manner of life_. I wish you
to know all about them: how they live, how they think, and how
they act. And I wish you to know how they regard and treat each
other, as follow citizens, as husbands and wives, as parents and
children, and as brothers and sisters, &c. &c. Because, when you
can see them in all their daily conduct, and in all their various
relations, and have correct views of their character; then you
will know how much you ought to pity them, and will be very
anxious, I think, to send them the gospel of God, which is able
to make them wise unto everlasting life. I remember you have
already done something for the heathen, but you know that there
is a great deal more to be done; and we must not stop till the
whole world is converted.

Now I will tell you about the _Mechanics_. They are usually, as
in the United States, a very industrious class of people, and many
of them excellent workmen. It is written in one of their books,
"Let mechanics examine the four seasons; prepare the six
materials; daily and monthly investigate the progress of their
pursuits; abide together in their own departments; and thus
complete their business." These words which I have now quoted,
are found in a book called the Sacred Edict of the emperor Kanghe.
He lived about a hundred years ago.

It is very common among the Chinese for persons of the same
occupation to live "together" in the same neighborhood.
Especially is this the case with the mechanics.

The four seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter, are to be
_examined_ for two purposes. The one is, for the purpose of
observing various superstitious rites and ceremonies, which they
vainly suppose necessary to secure success in business. The other
is, for selecting and storing up, on _lucky days_, the "six

The six materials are, earth, metal, stone, wood, animals, and
fibrous plants. Of earth they make bricks, tiles, porcelain, and
a great variety of wares. Of metals they make implements of
husbandry, and war, &c. Stone is used for building bridges,
houses, temples, and especially for making idols. These, and all
other materials, are selected with great care, and many
ceremonies, which make the ordinary labors of this people, in many
respects, exceedingly hard. To‑day is the birth‑day of the god
of fire, and the mechanics of Canton are expending thousands of
dollars in order to secure his protection.

There are some kinds of workmanship which exhibit very little
skill or taste. There are other kinds which are excellent. The
Chinese, it is said, make good clocks, but do not succeed in making
watches. Very much of their work is, indeed, good in its kind;
and, usually, remarkably simple.

The Chinese mechanics almost always work by a pattern; and every
thing so far as it is for their own use, must be made according
to _old custom_. This people are very far from thinking that every
generation grows wiser and wiser. On the contrary, they think that
the _ancients_ were, in many respects, the perfect models of
perfection. Hence to imitate, and to be like them, is the utmost
of their wishes. This is the case with the mechanics. Hence ships,
boats, houses, shops, temples, furniture, and implements of every
kind, are made just like those made years and years ago. I will
give you one single example.

Instead of knives and forks, which they never use, they have two
small round sticks, about the size of the old fashion pipe‑stems,
and about a foot long. These _nimble lads_, for so they call the
two round sticks, they hold in their right hand, and with a bowl
of food in their left, raised quite up to the chin, they jerk the
food into their mouth with astonishing rapidity. These sticks,
by foreigners usually called chop‑sticks, have been in common use,
according to the Chinese account of them, more than three thousand
years. But as children are early trained to the use of these
sticks, perhaps there is no loss or disadvantage in continuing
their use. Yet, even when there would be a great improvement, as
in the helms of their ships, they must (because their government
compels them) adhere strictly to _old custom_.

According to law, the different kinds of mechanics are all, I
believe, to be enrolled in the government offices. The following
is a specimen of those in this city. Shoe‑makers, twenty‑five
thousand. Carpenters and cabinet‑makers, sixteen thousand.
Lapidaries or those who work in stone, seven thousand. Barbers
also, seven thousand.

I must defer what I have to tell you about the husbandmen and
scholars, for another letter. Till then, farewell. Like good
children, be diligent and careful in all that you have to do;
especially be diligent and careful in your studies, and
committing to memory the holy Scriptures. Remember that good and
wise children will make glad their parents. So may you do. And
may God our heavenly Father keep you from all sin. So writes

                  Your true friends,      E.C.B.



_Canton_, (_China_) _Nov_. 4, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑The Chinese rulers of the present day,
say to their people,‑‑"give the chief place to husbandry and the
cultivation of the mulberry‑tree, in order to procure adequate
supplies of food and raiment." To impress this precept on the
minds of the people, they add,‑‑"if a man plough not, he will very
likely suffer hunger; if a woman weave not, she may probably feel
the cold. Of old time, the emperors themselves ploughed, and their
empresses cultivated the mulberry; they disdained not to labor,
in order that, by their example, they might excite the millions
of the people to lay due stress on the radical principles of
economy." And yet again they add,‑‑"We wish our people to exert
their whole strength in agriculture. Do not love idleness and hate
labor; do not be diligent at first, and slothful afterwards; do
not, because of a deficient season, reject your fields and
plantations; do not covet the multiplied profits of commerce, and
change the good old employment. Agriculture alone is the
fundamental employment."

I have made these quotations, in order to show you in what
estimation agriculture is held by the emperors of China. In regard
to "farming business," they act very wisely, and set before their
people a good example. For a long time the Chinese have been
regarded, as among the best, and the most ancient _tillers of the
ground_. Very many of the people are farmers. A pretty large
proportion, I should think six‑eights, of the whole population
engage in agricultural pursuits.

Some notices of their implements and modes of husbandry, and the
productions of their soil, will serve to illustrate the
_character_ and _condition_ of those who make _agriculture their
essential employment_.

Their farming tools are few in number, and simple in the
structure. Not a wheel carriage of any description have I yet seen
in China, excepting only fire engines, which, both foreign and
native built, are usually drawn on four wheels. In the north of
China, wheel carriages for various purposes are in common use;
but here, all kinds of produce and merchandize, and men and women
themselves, are carried, either in boats, or by human strength.
The sedan, in which people ride, is made quite like a chaise top,
with poles, like thills, extending an equal distance before and
behind. Only one person is seated in the sedan, and two strong
men stooping down take the poles on their shoulders, and then
rising up, lift the sedan about a foot from the ground. In this
style, away they go, for miles, like horses. These bearers the
Chinese nick‑name mo‑me‑ma, i.e. _no‑tail‑horses_. Similar men are
employed to carry heavy burdens. When the weight is only enough
for one man, it is suspended from the ends of a light, but very
strong bamboo pole, about six feet long, which the bearer balances
on his right shoulder. When the weight requires two or more men,
it is suspended from the middle of the pole, which is a large round
heavy bamboo, about ten feet long. In this way thousands of our
fellow‑men are used as beasts of burden.

The Chinese use the plough and harrow, which are made similar to
those used in America. These are drawn by a single ox, or
buffalo,‑‑a very stout animal, of a dun color, well fitted for
the work. Their spade, hoe, and rake, and their implements for
cutting, threshing, and winnowing grain are, also, like those
used in the United States, and in Europe, though much more rude
and simple. They commonly use a large pestle and mortar to make
flour. They have also mills for grinding, but the stones used are
always small, and never turned by water. These mills are,
probably, like those referred to the words‑‑"two women shall be
grinding at the mill."

What I have now told you of their implements, will lead you to
form some ideas of the modes of husbandry, which are most common
among the Chinese. The very great variety, plenty and perfection
of vegetable productions found among this people, give us
favorable opinions of their _manner_ of cultivating the earth.
Their lands are laid out in extensive fields, and ditches dug,
or stones set up, usually serve for land marks. I believe they
have no fences, except, sometimes, around their richest
gardens,‑‑and these not so much for a defence against the
encroachment of beasts, as they are for a protection from thieves
and robbers.

Very little of their land is left uncultivated. Indeed some of
the most rich and beautiful grounds are made so by human industry.
Sometimes by embankments built up like mildams, the water is kept
back, and acres and acres are made dry land, and rich harvests
are gathered, where before it was all covered with water, and men
used to drag their nets to catch fish. At other times, hard,
sterile hill‑tops, terraced and covered with a rich soil, are made
charmingly beautiful, and very productive. Very much is effected
by manuring and irrigation. The methods of doing the latter are
very curious. But of these and many other things I have not time
to speak. Besides I am afraid you will be tired with my long
accounts; which, indeed, are becoming much larger than I
intended. I could by no means persuade, or allow myself thus to
employ a few,‑‑not leisure, hours, did I not hope, and confidently
believe, that you will do something for this people. China has
long, _long_ been neglected. Scores and scores of laborers are
needed, to break up this fallow ground, to sow the good seed, to
seek the Lord, the Lord of the harvest, till he come and rain
righteousness upon this people, and make them his own husbandry.

You know, my dear young friends, that God, our heavenly Father,
is very good, that He doeth good to the evil and unthankful, and
sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. _God has been very
good to the Chinese_. Of fruit trees, _He_ has given them the rich
banana, the apple, peach, walnut, chestnut, orange lemon, and
many others. _He_ has given them figs, grapes, and many kinds of
berries. Of vegetables, _He_ has given them almost every kind,
that can be named. _He_ has caused the mulberry to grow and yield
an abundance of material for silk to clothe them. _He_ has given
them the _tea plant_ also, and so plenteously, that they can
supply the whole world with it, and make themselves rich in the
traffic. _He_ has given them abundance of grain for bread, and
for meat. _He_ has given them the fishes of the sea, the fowls
of heaven, and cattle on a thousand hills. But, alas! _they_ do
not love to retain Him in their knowledge. _They_ deny his
existence. _They_ worship dumb idols. And, what think you, will
become of _them_ when they die? Oh, happy, thrice happy is that
nation‑‑thrice happy are those children, whose God is the Lord.
Farewell, dear children. The Lord bless you evermore, and your
true friend.




_Canton_, (_China_,) _Nov_. 22, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑I have already told you about the
soldiers, the merchants, the mechanics, and the husbandmen of
China; in this letter I will give you some account of the
_scholars_. Among all the pagan nations, that have ever been, or
now exist, none perhaps, have been more learned than the Chinese.
But no people in the world, without the Bible, can be so learned
as those nations who have it. Those people, who read, and study,
and understand the Holy Scriptures the best, will always be the
best scholars; they will have the best taste, the best judgment,
the best understanding; and, if they obey what they read, they
will have the best hearts. Believe me, my dear children, if you
read and _obey_ the Holy Bible, we shall be _truly wise_. God
himself will be our teacher: and _His_ holy law will be our
school‑master to bring us to Christ. If all people would only read
and obey the word of God, then there would be no wars and
fightings; there would be no more thieves, no more robbers, no
more murderers, no more profane persons, and drunkards, and such
like wicked persons.

But the Chinese have not the Holy Bible. They have not the wisdom,
that is from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle,
and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without
partiality, and without hypocrisy. Professing themselves to be
wise, they become fools,‑‑_blasphemers of God_,‑‑boasting of
things without their measure, and their mouth speaketh great
swelling words. They call their emperor _the Son of Heaven_, and
bow down before him, and worship him as a divine being. They call
their empire _the celestial empire_. They call it also _the middle
kingdom_. All the people around them, even all the nations of the
earth,‑‑the English and Americans, and all other people, they call
ignorant cruel barbarians.

I do not dislike the Chinese. I love them; but I dislike their
vices and their wickedness. There is a difference in their
character and conduct. Some are far more honest, more kind, more
upright, and better disposed than others. Usually, not always,
the most ignorant are the most wicked. The Chinese pay
considerable attention to learning. They have a great many books,
some of which contain excellent precepts, and much good
instruction. But the good, which their books contain, is almost
always mixed up with more or less that is bad, and contrary to
the laws of God.

Scholars in China are the most respectable part of the community.
Some of their scholars of ancient times, they say, were perfect
men; and so now the people worship them, and sacrifice to them.
They say, also, that "of, old families had their schools; villages
their academies; districts their colleges; and the nation her
university. Of consequence, no one was left uninstructed." They
say, also, that the schools were not intended for one class only
but for all the people;‑‑that "if the husbandman can exert his
strength in the field; and duly attend to his duty, then he is
a scholar,"‑‑and that, "when the soldiers all know how to venerate
their superiors, and love their relatives, then they also are
scholars." These and more like these, are the sayings of the
Chinese, of modern times. But most truly may it be said of this
people, that _they say and do not_. Whether all were, or were not,
instructed in times "of old," I will not undertake to determine;
but at the present time, it is far enough from being the case.
If I am able to continue these letters, as I wish, you will see,
by and by, when I come to speak of the condition of females, that
one half‑‑the _fairest_ half of the community, are excluded from
these schools, and left _uninstructed_. Besides, there are not
a few men and boys who are left uninstructed. A majority, probably
a very large majority, of the male population, above the age of
ten years, are taught to read and write. They have numerous
district schools, and some colleges; and multitudes make learning
their _essential employment_. But their whole system of education
is "wretchedly bad."

The Chinese language is very curious indeed; there is no language
like it in all the world. It is not at all like the English
language. They have no alphabet,‑‑no A, B, C, and so forth. They
do not write with a pen, but use a pencil made like a small
paint‑brush. Their books begin where ours end; that is when they
take a book into their hands to read, they open it at the right
hand side, instead of the left; and, beginning at the top of the
right hand side of the page, read down in columns, passing on from
the right to the left, and not from the left to the right, as in
the old English spelling‑books.

Usually, boys do not begin to learn to read until they eight or
ten years old. They are then sent to school, and the master first
teaches them how to pronounce the words, and afterwards explains
their meaning. Their first school books are very short, and the
boys are required to learn them by heart, so that they can repeat
them from beginning to end. Their words are very strange looking
characters. A very long time ago, they say, that a certain man,
by observing the print of the horse's foot in the sand, and the
marks on the shell of the tortoise, first found out how to write
words, These words were so formed as to be a kind of picture of
the things which they signified. Though they have been much
changed since they were first found out, yet still they have some
resemblance to the object.

Boys always study out loud in school, which makes a great deal
of noise. When they have learned a few lessons, they then begin
to write. The paper is so thin, that they place the copy underneath
it, and then try to form the words just like the copy. Most of
the boys continue at school only two or three years. But those,
who are intended for _scholars_, continue many years, and are from
time to time examined for degrees, similar to Master and Bachelor
of Arts. Some men in China can get into office by paying money;
but all others, who obtain offices of government, are appointed
from among the scholars, who have received degrees: so the great
object of being scholars is, that they may get into office, and
become rulers of the people.

The learning of the Chinese is very limited and superficial. They
have scarcely any knowledge of astronomy, geography, and history.
And so of anatomy, and medicine, and chemistry, and many other
kinds of learning they are amazingly deficient. The course of
study for all children in China is nearly the same every where.
The first book the boy begins with is in poetry. This is the
meaning of the first two lines, _man's beginning‑‑nature original
good_, that is the nature of man is originally good; or, more fully
as they explain them,‑‑_All men are born virtuous and good_.

These are the first words, and this the first sentiment the boy
learns in school. The words are good enough, and certainly very
curious. But what shall we say of the sentiment,‑‑the meaning of
the words? Why does God require all men, and all little children
to have _new hearts?_ It is because all men have hard hearts,
hearts of _stone_, and cannot love _Him_. Why does _He_ require
us all to be renewed in the temper of our minds? It is because
that as we are born and grow up, _our minds are enmity against
God_. Why does Jesus Christ say, _Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God!_ Because that which is born of the
flesh is flesh,‑‑_is not virtuous and good_. Farewell, dear
children. And may He, who is the former of your bodies, and the
father of your spirits, have mercy on you, and send his Holy Spirit
that you may be born again,‑‑born of the Spirit, be renewed in
your minds, and have new hearts, and love and enjoy God forever.

                  I remain your true friend,



_Canton_, (_China_,) _Nov_. 28, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑The _sailors_, or those who live
constantly on the water, ought to be mentioned as a distinct
class. They are, indeed, a very numerous people; and, so far as
I know, they are no way inferior, or worse than those belonging
to the _five_ classes, of which I have already given you some
account. Like the seamen of Europe and America, they have been
very wrongly neglected. The rivers of China are very numerous,
and several of them are very broad, beautiful and majestic. The
canals, also, are numerous. And, besides a number of lakes, the
country, for an immense distance on the east, and south‑east, is
washed by the waves of the Pacific Ocean,‑‑forming along the coast
a great number of bays and harbors. On all these waters, vast
multitudes of human beings are born, and live, and die;‑‑having,
many of them while they live, no home but a boat, or a ship, and
when they die, no winding sheet and grave but the waters.

On the north bank of one of these rivers, stand the city and
suburbs of Canton. The river varies in its breath. At this place,
I should think it about forty or fifty rods wide. In another
letter, I may tell you something about Canton. I will only state
here, that the buildings extend quite down to the river: and in
many places, even the ground has been built out beyond the former
bank, and in some places much farther than in others, which makes
many nooks and corners. These, and indeed, a considerable part
of the river, for three or four miles, seem to be almost covered
with boats; which are of various descriptions, and in all,
probably amount to not less than forty or fifty thousand.

The _tanka_ boats are the smallest and most numerous. Tanks means
an _egg‑house_, and the boats are so called because they resemble
an egg floating on the water. The smallest of these boats are not
more than twelve or fifteen feet long, about six broad, and so
high, that a person can stand up in them. Their covering is very
light, and can be easily adjusted to the state of the weather.
Whole families live in these boats; and often besides a good
number of children, raise broods of ducks and chickens, which they
lash on the outside of the boats in coops.

_Ferry‑boats_ differ from the tanks, only by being a little longer
and narrower, and not quite so high. There is a ferry right
opposite to the place where I live. Four hundred dollars are paid
for it annually; and the ferry‑men, or rather _women_, who row
and scull the boats, usually carry eight persons at a time, and
each person's fare is _eight cash_, of which about eight hundred
make a dollar. The scull is a kind of long oar, balanced on a pivot
close to one side of the stern of the boat. This "they make use
of as the fish does of his tail, thrusting it out, and pulling
it to them again, without ever lifting it above water. By this
oar, worked in this manner, not only the ferry‑boats, but other,
and much larger boats, are urged forward to the greatest possible

It would require a large book to give you a full account of all
the different kinds of boats, and ships, and the people that live
in them.

Hundreds of _passage‑boats_ to Canton, come and go daily. These
are something like the ferry‑boats, only they are much
larger:‑‑some of them are thirty, forty, or even fifty or more
feet in length. They are furnished with one very large mat sail;
also with oars, sculls, poles and ropes. When there is no wind,
and the water is shallow, the boats are pushed along with the poles;
or, if they are close along the bank of a river or canal, ropes
are tied to the top of the mast, and the men going on the shore
drag the boats along like horses. The number of sailors, or
_water‑hands_, the Chinese call them, vary according to the size
of the boats‑‑say from ten to twenty, and upwards; and the number
of passengers, from ten to one hundred, and upwards.

The _canal‑boats_ are large, fine, noble boats, and often carry
immense burdens. Numbers of these may always be seen on the river
at Canton. They are usually propelled by the same means, and in
the same way, that the passage‑boats are.

There are also many _smuggling‑boats_, and government _cruisers_.
The smuggling boats carry prohibited goods, and such articles as
opium. This is an unlawful and wicked business. The cruisers, or
_soldier‑boats_, as the Chinese call them, are pretty well manned;
but not much feared, even by the smugglers, whom they are commanded
to seize, and destroy. Indeed, the men of the cruisers will often
take bribes, and so let the smugglers pass; and not only so, but
they will themselves, also, engage in the same wicked business.

Dragon‑boats, so named from their appearance, are seen annually,
on the 17th of June. They are brought out to celebrate a kind of
festival; the story about the origin, and object of which, I have
not time to tell you. These boats are, sometimes, one hundred feet
long, made to resemble a great snake on the water. Well supplied
with drums, and gongs, and flags, and men with paddles, they make
a curious figure.

The _duck‑boats_, which are about the size of the large ferry‑boats,
having balanced on each side a large square pen, or coop, containing
several hundreds of ducks, are very curious objects. By letting
down a kind of trap‑door, the ducks are let out, every day, to
get their food, and play in the water, and, sometimes, along the
shore; and at night, they all come back and are driven into the
boats. Thousands of ducks are raised in this way for the market.

The Chinese have, also, many large vessels, some of which are
_soldier‑ship_, and others are _merchant‑ships_. Most of these
are very rude indeed, and usually furnished with wooden anchors,
and a helm or rudder of most monstrous size, awkwardly constructed.
The number of men in these vessels varies from forty or fifty to
three hundred and upwards. These merchant‑ships are those alluded
to in a former letter, which go to Singapore, Batavia, &c., and
are usually called _junks_.

The _fishing‑boats_ are the last I can mention. They are very
numerous, and of almost every size and description. When beholding
the occupants of these boats, I have often been reminded of the
_fishermen_ of Galilee, whom our blessed Saviour taught, and chose
to be his apostles. But, alas, for all these poor sailors, and
fishermen! no man cares for their souls. Like brutes they live,
like brutes they die.

Again, dear children, I bid you adieu! and remain your true friend,



_Canton_, (_China_,) _Dec_. 3, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑I will now, as I have desired, proceed
to tell you about the _character and condition of females_ in China.
All that I can write, will give you only an imperfect idea of their
degradation. Women, who have been born and nurtured in Christian
lands, and have never seen with their own eyes the desolations
of the human race in heathen countries, can never know how much
they ought to value the blessings of the gospel. In Christian lands,
certainly in America, females constitute the most amiable, the
most virtuous, and the happiest part of the community. Exactly
the opposite is true here. They are the most ugly, the most vicious,
and the most miserable. I do not mean that they are born so, or
are so by nature. By nature all are alike; for God, that made the
world, and all things therein, "hath made of one blood all nations
of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth." Thus saith
God in the Holy Scriptures. But see now what the Chinese say:‑‑

"When a man is born, he sleeps on a bed;
He is clothed in robes, and plays with germs;‑‑
But when a _daughter_ is born, she sleeps on the ground;
She is clothed with a wrapper and plays with a tile;
She is incapable either of evil or of good:‑‑
If she does ill, she is not a woman;
If she does well, she is not a woman;
Virtue and vice cannot belong to woman."

These, dear children, are the words of one of the ancient _wise_
men of China. And the present condition of females, is in exact
accordance with the _sentiment_ which they contain. Females are
treated as if they were _incapable either of evil, or of good_.
There are no schools for girls. Very few indeed receive any
education. Only here and there one, a solitary individual, is able
either to read or to write. Such ignorance, and such degradation,
do not destroy _female influence_, but leave it to corrupt, and
to be corrupted. Thus, in the very nursery, and in the mother's
arms, where the story of Christ crucified ought often to be repeated,
and where all the first principles of our holy religion should
constantly be taught, the little child is left, not only
uninstructed in all that is good‑‑but left, to follow vain
imaginations, and a mind which is enmity against God. You, dear
children, have received, and continue to receive much good
instruction from your parents‑‑especially from your mothers. You
have line upon line, and precept upon precept. It is not so with
little children in China. By precept, and by example, they are
taught things contrary to the law of God‑‑taught to dishonor God.
They are trained up in the way they should _not_ go, and when they
are old, they _do not_ depart from it.

Females in China are not like ancient mothers in Israel. They are
not like multitudes of excellent women now in Christian lands.
Females are regarded as a _very inferior part_ of the community.
They are often doomed to the lowest and severest labor. I have
often seen the mother, with an infant tied on her back, laboring
hard in rowing her husband's boat, while he sat at his ease, smoking
his pipe.

Females of the poorer class, are every where to be seen meanly
attired, and usually barefooted. Those of the higher classes,
seldom, if ever appear abroad. Whey they do go out, it is always
in sedans;‑‑partly, I suppose, that they may not be seen, and partly,
because of their _little feet_. The small foot is an odd thing.
A Chinese historian says, "It is not known when the bow foot (that
is, the small foot) of females was introduced. About nine hundred
years ago, a certain prince," says the same historian, "ordered
his concubine to bind her foot with silk, and cause it to appear
small, and in the shape of the new moon. From this sprung the
imitation of every other female." This is quite like that _fashion_
in America, of lacing so tight as to bring on the consumption.
It is astonishing to what a small size their feet are sometimes
compressed. The toes, with the exception of the great toe, are
doubled under the foot, in the tenderest infancy, and fastened
by tight bandages, till they unite with and are buried in, the
sole of the foot. This utterly unfits them for walking, and gives
them, when they attempt it, an awkward, hobbling gait, like a person
trying to walk on his heels. Some of their feet, I have been told,
are no more than three inches long. These are what they call the
_golden lilies_, are regarded as the very perfection of beauty.
I have sent one of these, or rather a model of one of these along
with the box of idols, to the Seminary at Andover.

Female children are often sold. And there are strong reasons for
believing, that there are cases where parents drown their infant
female children, in order to free themselves from the care and
expense of nursing and supporting them. Mention is made of this
fact, in their books. Since I have been in China, I have not seen
or heard of a single case. I do not think it true, certainly not
in this part of China, that the inhabitants "throw out by thousands
their new born infants into the streets, so that they are gathered
up by the scavengers every morning." But that great numbers of
female children, that have been nursed and reared to the age of
six, eight, ten, or twelve years, are _sold_, I have no doubt.
Little girls are very often sold. Sometimes they are sold by their
parents. Sometimes they are sold by robbers, who have stolen them
away from their parents. This practice is very common in Canton,
and in other places in the south of China. Sometimes, when they
are sold by the parents, it is on condition, that at a certain
age, the buyer shall procure for them a husband, and set them at
liberty. At other times, and usually, they are sold
_unconditionally_. Not long ago, I knew a case, where a little
girl, eleven years of age, was sold for _fifty dollars_.

A great many of the most beautiful female children among the poor
are sold, and carried away to be the inmates of those abominable
abodes, of which it is almost a shame even to speak. In the Bible,
they are called "the way to hell; going down to the chambers of
death." There are many hundreds of these wicked houses in and about
Canton. They are just like those bad boats, those floating
sepulchres, mentioned in the last letters. A great many of the
poor, abandoned creatures that inhabit them, become weary with
life, and kill themselves; sometimes three or four more in a company,
and at one time. The Judge of Canton recently stated, that eight
or nine tenths of the untimely deaths brought to the notice of
government, were suicides; and that six or seven tenths were women.

With this sad story, I must close this letter. I could relate many
facts of the same sort. But I think I have told you enough;‑‑enough
to show you how miserably the _fairest_ half of the human family
will _always_ be degraded, and abused, until they have the Bible,
and enjoy the blessings of the Christian religion. Farewell.

                  Your true friends,



_Canton_, (_China_,) _Dec_. 5, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑In my last letter, I told you about the
character and condition of females in China. In this, I will give
you an account of the _marriage ceremony_. It will, still farther
illustrate the character of this people, and help to cherish, and
establish in your young and tender minds, a strong desire for the
salvation of this people.

To‑day is the first Monday in the month. And it is now, _here_,
just about noon. With you it is midnight, and the Sabbath has just
departed, leaving all the inhabitants of my dear native land in
quiet slumbers. Happy, happy land. Happy, thrice happy children.
How different here. Alas, how different! The natural darkness which
at this hour gathers around your habitations, and the cold, northern
blasts of winter that sweep over the hills of New England, are
fit emblems of the thick moral darkness, and death‑like desolations
that gather around us here. Without, all is dark as midnight‑‑a
howling waste‑‑a desert of immortal souls. My heart aches, as I
stand and gaze at gloomy prospects. But within, we have a little
light: a little fire has been kindled up. A few names‑‑two or
three‑‑hope to join _the concert_ this evening. It is cheering
to think, what multitudes, as the earth rolls round will bow the
knee in prayer before the throne of God, and continue the voice
of fervent supplication, till you, dear children, and thousands
and thousands of others, shall be found pleading with God. And
oh, remember China. Pray for the missionaries. Pray for the heathen
Pray for the rulers. Pray for the people. Pray for the poor
children‑‑and for the uninstructed, neglected, and degraded
females. Pray that they may all receive the word of God; read it;
obey it; be sanctified through it; and thereby made fit for heaven.

In China a man often has two or more wives; and sometimes, eight
or ten. I have heard of one man, now living in Canton, who has
_twenty‑four:_ and says, he means to have a new one every year.
Of my three boys, of whom I hope to tell you more by and by‑‑the
oldest one's father has two wives, the second one's, four, and
third one's father, only one. In China, as in ancient Judea, children
are often espoused, when quite young. But they are not usually
married, until girls arrive at the age of 14 or 16; and boys to
the age of 18 or 20 years.

When parents wish to have a daughter married, they write on a sheet
of red paper, the year, month, day, and hour of her birth, and
give the paper to a go‑between‑match‑maker, who carries it to the
house of the intended husband, and brings back, from his parents,
a similar statement. After this the girl's father is introduced
to the young man, and his mother on the other side, is introduced
to the girl. Many presents of fancy articles, dresses, meats, cakes,
fruits, and the like are then interchanged, and the marriage
contract is considered as _settled_.

Two, three, four or more years, or perhaps only a few months elapse,
which time is usually regulated by the age of the parties, and
then other, and more valuable gifts are reciprocated; and another
interval of months, or years passes away, and then comes the wedding
day. On that day the young man sends a sedan to bring home the
bride. This sedan is always elegant, and often superb, costing
several hundred dollars. It is made quite like those described
in a former letter, but always so constructed as entirely to conceal
the person carried in it. In this sedan, the young woman is seated
by her parents, and tears are shed both by the daughter and parents,
as she is separated from them, and borne off in the marriage
procession. This is often a very long procession, sometimes
consisting of several hundred persons, some in the procession
carrying embroidered canopies; others carrying large, elegant
lanterns; others bearing pots of incense; and others laden with
the girl's toilet wardrobe, bedding, furniture, provisions, cakes,
sweet‑meats, &c. Among others are bands of musicians. I have seen
in a single procession eight bands, and six or eight persons in
each band. Some of the bands, and some of the bearers of the incense
pots and the other things, consist of boys 8, or 10, or 12 years
old, fancifully dressed in uniform. In one instance, I have seen
a band of girls in the procession. They were six in number, neatly
dressed, two about nine years of age, two of twelve, and two of
fifteen. They were all on foot, immediately preceding the sedan;
and close behind it, carried on men's shoulders, in the same manner
as the sedan, was a sty containing a monstrous hog.

When the procession arrives at the gate of the bridegroom's house,
he meets the sedan, and conducts it to an inner apartment, when,
for the _first time_, he is permitted to _see_ the face of his
bride. Two or three days are then spent in festivity, and a long,
tedious round of ceremonies, worshipping their household gods,
the gods of their ancestors, &c. Many of their friends call to
see, and congratulate them. And thus the marriage ceremony is

It appears, that in all this business, the children have nothing
to say. According to the laws and usage of the land, it is the
children's duty to receive the object of their parent's choice,
Nothing in China can be more absolute than a parent's' authority.
In certain cases, it may, and does with impunity, take the life
of the child. Such authority is liable to abuse; and often in
connexion with such a strange system of wedlock, it becomes a must
fruitful source of dislike, deception, strife, hatred, and almost
every other evil passion.

The Chinese have many laws on the subject of marriages, specifying
all the steps necessary in order to make them legal; and showing,
also, how and when they may be set aside, or be broken.

It has been stated on good authority, that "Through the Chinese
empire, there are only about one hundred family names." One law
is, "that persons of the same family name‑‑surname‑‑may not
intermarry." It would be curious to know the reason of this. Another
law is, that taking a second wife, after the decease of the first,
or in purchasing concubines, the man is at liberty to see the females,
and choose for himself. A widow, also, who is desirous of wedding
a second time, does not hesitate to show herself to the intended

Their laws mention seven cases, in which a man may be justified
in putting away his wife; (1.) barrenness; (2.) lasciviousness;
(3.) disregard of her husband's parents; (4.) talkativeness; (5.)
thievish propensities; (6.) envious and suspicious temper; (7.)
inveterate infirmity.

There are several other topics on which I wish to write before
I close these letters. In the next, I will tell you about the beggars.
Farewell. Ever and always remembering you in my prayers,

                  I remain, your true friend,



_Canton_, (_China_,) _Dec_. 7, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑"For ye have the poor with you always,"
said our Savior, "and whensoever ye will, ye may do them good."
In connexion with what I have to tell you about the _beggars_,
I wish to give you some account of the _food_ and _clothing_, common
and peculiar among the Chinese.

The proportion of poor people and beggars, and the difference
between the rich and the poor, is I think, much greater here than
in the United States. The Chinese are rather fond of dress. The
rich, and all who can afford it, and many who cannot, usually dress
very well. Sometimes their dresses are rich and costly: and children
here, as every where else, are fond enough of fine, gay clothing.
And prettier lads certainly, I have rarely seen, than some of the
Chinese boys, when neatly dressed. Sometimes, however, the little
fellows, with their great boots, and one garment piled on another
to the number of six or eight, or even more, and the long tail
hanging down to their heels, and the head crowned with a long tasseled
cap, make a very ridiculous appearance.

The _whole_ dress of the Chinese is different from ours. To begin
with the shoes and boots; these are made with black, brown, or
red cloth, for the upper part, while the soles are of leather or
wood, an inch or more in thickness, with snow white edges. They
usually wear long white silk, or linen stockings, made of cloth;
sometimes knit. These are drawn up to the knee, and fastened with
garters. Sometimes the stockings are drawn over the trowsers; at
other times, they are made, or worn at least, like the old fashioned
short breeches. These three articles are usually the same through
the year, and vary only in quality, according to the circumstances
of the persons, being made every where in the same _old fashion_.

Beggars are often seen in the streets, in the most loathsome
condition, with no other clothing than a tattered pair of trowsers;
indeed many of the laborers in the fields and shops, during the
warm weather, wear nothing else‑‑but in the latter case, the articles
are of good material, and well made. Their trowsers are never
supported by braces over the shoulders, but always, among the rich
and poor alike, by a girdle about the loins. To this girdle in
front, a small bag or wallet is attached; this is "an indispensable,"
and in it, they carry cash, a small knife, &c. &c.

In America, the man who has not a shirt to his back, must be poor
indeed. In China, the poor seldom have such an article; and not
a few, even among the gentle‑folks, often go without it, especially
in summer. In which case, the only dress, in addition to shoes,
stockings, and trowsers, is a long frock, made quite like that
worn by farmers in New England, at haymaking. All the upper garments,
whether for warm weather or cold, are made in the same fashion,
with long, large sleeves, and without any collars for the neck.
These garments are sometimes short, only coming down to the
waist‑‑but sometimes to the knees, or ancles. They are fastened
with small round buttons and loops, either down in front, or under
one arm. When the weather grows cold, they increase the number
of these garments, putting on five, or six, or eight, or even more
at a time. Some of these garments, when made of silk, or broadcloth,
and fastened close about the waist with a sash, make a very fine
dress. Their shortest frocks are frequently made of fur.

The common covering for the head is a kind of skull‑cap; but in
warm weather all the people go bare‑headed, with nothing but a
fan (which they always carry) to keep off the sun. They have a
cloth or wool hat, of a conical form, like the unfinished hats,
sometimes seen in hatters' shops. They have also a hat made of
fine bamboo, in the same form, and yet another kind with a brim
so broad, that it serves as an umbrella, either to keep off the
sun or the rain.

Such is a description of the ordinary clothing of the common and
poorer classes of people; that of the rich is usually quite in
the same style, but the quality of the articles always superior.
The rich also wear ornamental articles, as beads, bracelets, &c.

The dress of the females is not very unlike that of men;‑‑they
usually wear trowsers, and a folded petticoat, depending several
inches below their frocks. Their head‑dress is very pretty; the
hair is tastefully folded on the back on the head, and fastened
by a neat brace and pin. They are remarkably fond of flowers on
their heads‑‑not artificial, but natural ones. The _mourning_ dress
is not black‑‑but white, or what approaches almost to white‑‑but
more of this in another letter.

Rice, among the Chinese, in this part of the empire, is the staff
of life. Multitudes obtain no other food. To breakfast, is "_to
eat morning rice:_"‑‑this is at ten o'clock. To dine or sup, is
"_to eat evening rice:_"‑‑this meal they have about five o'clock,
P.M. When they can obtain a little salt or dried fish, a few
vegetables to eat with their rice, and also tea, which they always
drink without milk or sugar, then they have "good living," and
these few simple articles constitute the ordinary food and drink,
among the common and poorer classes.

A single kettle to boil their rice‑‑a pan to fry their fish and
vegetables‑‑a large bowl for the boiled rice‑‑and a small bowl and
a pair of chop‑sticks, make up the whole of their table furniture,
if indeed they are so happy as to have a table. But whether they
have or not, the large bowl of rice forms the centre, and around
this squat on their heels, or seated on wooden stools, they arrange
themselves, and receive their humble fare, with no doubtful marks
of a good relish.

From these poor people, the common and richer classes differ, only
in the amount and quality of their furniture, and provisions; the
style as in the case of dress, being nearly the same through all
the grades of society. The tables of the rich are often very
sumptuous. There is nothing, scarcely, whether vegetable or animal,
which the Chinese do not eat. Besides all kinds of fish, birds,
horned cattle, sheep and hogs, they eat horses, dogs, cats, rats,
&c. Tea is used in great abundance, and is almost their only beverage.
They seldom drink water alone, because they think it unhealthy.
The Chinese are not greatly addicted to the use of strong drink;
less, probably, than the Christian people of Europe and America.
This, I think, is in no small degree, owing to their constant use
of tea.

I have not time to extend these remarks; you see there is no lack
of inquiry about what we shall eat, and what we shall drink, and
wherewithal we shall be clothed. These are the very things after
which the _Gentiles_ seek; and they seek them with their whole
soul, and mind, and strength. Yet great numbers live‑‑perhaps are
compelled to live‑‑solely by begging. In Canton, beggars are very
numerous. They have, it is said, laws for begging, and a head man,
who among the foreigners is called "the king of the beggars." Men
and women of all ages, may be seen begging; great numbers of them
are _blind_. When they go through the streets, they carry in one
hand a cane to feel their way, and in the other a dish or bag to
receive money or food, or any thing people please to give them.
Sometimes they are seen in companies, of 3, 4, 6, or 10, or even
more; they hollow or sing, or rather "cry out" as they go. One
of their laws is, that when they enter a house or shop, they will
not go till something is given them. With bamboo sticks, or gongs,
they set up a most vexatious clatter, and in this way trouble and
annoy people, till they give them something; and, if it be no more
than a single _cash_, then they must "be off."

                  Your true friend,



_Canton_, (_China_,) _Dec_. 9, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑Having no fear of God before their eyes,
the Chinese often become very wicked and guilty of numerous crimes,
not only against _Him_, whose eternal power and godhead they deny,
but against their fellow‑men. This wickedness and these crimes,
expose them to many and very severe punishments. Lying, gambling,
quarrelling, theft, robbery, and bribery, are among their most
common vices. There are _five_ punishments; (1.) to beat with a
small bamboo; (2.) to beat with a large bamboo; (3.) banishment
to another district or province; (4.) perpetual banishment to the
borders of the empire; and (5.) death. These five, are sometimes
reduced to three, the bamboo, banishment, and death. It may be
remarked, also, that these punishments are sometimes exchanged
for others.

_Lying_, among a great majority of the population, seems to be
regarded as a very small offence,‑‑provided the lie be not detected.
There are men, I believe, who will not lie; but while this great
wickedness is disallowed of by a few, multitudes will ever and
always practise it; if they only suppose they shall be the gainers
thereby. Officers of Government will tell lies to one another.
The people will lie to the magistrates; children to their parents;
and servants to their masters. Instead of supposing every man to
be honest, until he is proved to be a rogue, they seem to regard
every one as a rogue, until he _proves himself to be honest_.

_Gambling_ is a chief "crying sin" among the Chinese. They are
notorious gamblers. Old and young, rulers and subjects, rich and
poor, will gamble; nor have they much regard to the time, or place,
when they gamble. I have often seen them gambling in their temples.
Thousands are ruined by this sin.

_Quarrels_ spring up from lying, and gambling, and other wicked
practices, just as surely as briers, thorns, and thistles spring
up in a rich but uncultivated soil. Their strange mode of marriage
too, is a fruitful source of quarrels. As to their quarrels, it
has been well said,‑‑"A Chinese would stand and reason with a man,
when an Englishman would knock him down, or an Italian stab him.
It is needless to say which is the more rational mode of proceeding."
I am not aware that the Chinese ever fight duels‑‑though in their
quarrels, persons are often killed. They are great scolds, and
use the most obscene and abusive language.

_Theft_ and _robbery_ are the most common among the poor, though
it is _not_ confined to them. Among such multitudes of beggars,
it often happens, that they cannot obtain sufficient food and
clothing to make themselves comfortable. By gambling also,
multitudes are reduced to beggary and want; hence come bands of
thieves and robbers, trained and prepared for any and every thing
that is evil.

Theft and robbery constitute one of the greatest scourges in this
land; and no part of the country, from one extremity of the empire
to the other, is free and secure from this evil. Since I commenced
this letter, one of my boys has told me of a case of this kind,
which has just occurred in the neighborhood. It is as follows;‑‑two
men, dressed like poor females, entered a rich man's house late
in the evening, and wished to be lodged there during the night.
This privilege was granted them. When all were asleep, they silently
put off their false dress, packed up a large number of rich articles
belonging to the house, and were about to escape, when they were
discovered, seized, carried away to the magistrates and sentenced
to be beheaded.‑‑Though decapitation is not the severest
punishment, yet more than two hundred instances of it have occurred
in Canton in a single year.

_Bribery_ is very common in China; perverting just judgment, and
screening the guilty. This wickedness is most common among the
rich. Almost all the rulers of the land, will take bribes. Many
defrauders and injurious persons, many thieves, and robbers, and
murderers, escape through bribes. _Money is_ seen to be, here,
_the root of all evil_. "A little silver physic," it is said, "has
often brought a dead man to life."

The immense quantity of _opium_ that is smoked here, is a most
fruitful source of crime. Many of the practised villains, when
they wish to contrive new plans of wickedness, have recourse to
this _black commodity:_ which produces a most astonishing effect,
in enabling the _smokers_ to frame new schemes of darkness. It
has been said, and by a man of sound judgment and correct observation,
(I am sorry to say that he is an American, and an extensive dealer
in opium,) that the "_drug_" is doing more to break down the
superstitions of China, and to open the country to foreigners,
than all the efforts of missionaries. There is a degree of _apparent_
truth in this man's very honest remark, and I think just as much
_real_ truth, as if he had said, "to set fire to their houses,
and butcher the inhabitants, will do more to break down the
superstitions of China, and open the country to foreigners, than
all the efforts of Bibles, and tracts, and missionaries." Whether
it be a crime or not, to bring and sell opium to this people;‑‑and
whether it be a crime or not, for this people to use it, when brought
and sold by the hands of Christians, I will not undertake to say,‑‑but
I believe, stubborn facts compel me to believe, that _of all the
causes of crime,_ among the inhabitants of the Chinese empire,
OPIUM, brought and sold at the rate of a million of dollars per
month, _is the greatest_. It is nothing better, than to scatter
fire‑brands, arrows, and death.

Simply being put in prison, seems hardly to be regarded as a
punishment among this people; though multitudes are imprisoned
and suffered greatly thereby. The common instruments of punishment
are, (1.) the _bamboo_, about the size of large cane; (2.) the
_yoke_, a heavy plank three feet square, and thirty‑three pounds
weight; (3.) the _chain_ to fasten the criminals to the block;
(4.) _hand‑cuff_, large and long, made of wood; and (5.) _iron

Such are some of the most common crimes, and such are the instruments
of punishment in China. To determine the degree of criminality,
and fix the punishment accordingly, is among most nations very
difficult, but the Chinese make it very easy, at least they make
it appear so in their law books, The degrees of punishment are
twenty,‑‑the first ten, are with bamboo; the next eight, banishment;
the last two, death.

For a very small offence, amounting to the first degree of
criminality, the offender may receive ten blows; increasing his
guilt _five_ times, the fifty blows, &c. These blows may be changed
for the yoke, the chain, the hand‑cuffs, &c.

For some of the larger crimes, as bribery and the like, persons
are bambooed, and then sent into banishment. Sometimes, only from
one province to another, as from the north to the south, and from
the south to the north; at other times, criminals are sent a long
distance, to the frontiers of the empire, for many years, and even
for life.

The highest degrees of crime are punishable with death. The most
common mode of inflicting death, is by cutting off the head, and
this is done by a kind of short sword. For very heinous crimes,
the offender is sentenced to be _cut into ten thousand pieces_.

I intended to have said something to you, on the subject of _slavery_
in China but must pass it by without a single remark. Again adieu.

                  Your true friend,



_Canton_, (_China_,) _Dec_. 10, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑"Then shall the dust return to the dust
as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."

In an empire so ancient and populous as China, the number of human
beings that have _returned to the earth_, must be great indeed;
greater than any man can number. For more than thirty hundred years,
one generation after another, in awfully rapid succession, have
gone to the dead. Almost all the hills and uplands about Canton
and Macao, which are not covered with the habitations of the living,
are filled with the abodes of dead. In Macao, almost every rod
of ground, which is safe from water, even to hard, rocky hill tops,
has some emblem,‑‑a turfed hillock, a stone, or a little enclosure,
to remind the visiter of the sleepers below. When I have walked
over these grounds,‑‑these abodes of the dead, thoughts have arisen
in the mind, which you may conceive, but which I cannot express.
O, what multitudes will rise _here_, at the sound of the last trumpet!
What vast congregations will come up from these burying places,
and stand with us before the judgment seat of Christ! Every day
is adding to the number of this vast congregation. Death does not
wait for his victims‑‑death does not wait till the heathen have
the gospel preached unto them. And unless these multitudes of the
living, _speedily_ obtain mercy of him, of whom they are now
ignorant, how shall they come forth to the resurrection of life?

Will the heathen be saved, who never heard the gospel? I ask you,
dear children, do _you_ think the heathen can be saved, unless
the gospel be preached unto them, and they _believe_ in the name
of Jesus? It is very painful to all think, that all the millions
of our fellow creatures, who are now ignorant of the Savior, must,
when they die, sink down to hell. But how can it be otherwise?
"Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
But "how shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?
and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they
preach, except they be sent!" And now, dear children, I desire
to ask again, what do _you_ think of these words, which I have
quoted from the tenth chapter of Romans? What do you think St.
Paul meant? He means to say,‑‑if I understand him, he means to
affirm,‑‑in the most positive manner, by the questions which he
asks, that the heathen, who do not hear and believe the gospel,
_cannot be saved_.

I fear that many very good people have wrong ideas on this subject;
and do not consider and realize the awful condition of the heathen;
for I am persuaded, that if they did see and realize, they would
do very differently from what they ever have done yet; they would
feel and act as Jesus Christ did; they would be willing to become
poor, to labor and toil, and even die for the salvation of the

With a desire that you may have correct ideas of the real condition
of the Chinese, I have been urged on to write these letters. I
have stated many facts; but you will desire, I presume, to know
something more about their _ideas of death, style of mourning,
funerals_, &c.

Having very little if any knowledge of the true God, the Chinese
are entirely ignorant of _another world:_‑‑of heaven and hell,‑‑of
the joys of the one, and the terrors of the other, as revealed
in the Bible. All their notions about the soul of man, are very
dark and confused. Many think that the _soul dies_, and ceases
to exist with the body. Others think that when the body dies, the
soul goes away and enters into other bodies‑‑birds, beasts, or
men. All this ignorance makes the Chinese very careless about death,
and all that which is to come upon them. They die like the brutes.
Such are their ideas of death.

When a parent dies, a messenger is sent to announce it to all the
relatives. A board, or a long slip of brownish white paper, is
hung up at the door, on which is written the person's name, age,
and virtues, &c. The children and grand‑children of the deceased,
sit on the ground, and weep and mourn. Relations come in and dress
the corpse; and many long and tedious ceremonies are performed.

Usually, after three times seven days, the funeral takes place.
A large concourse of friends and mourners assemble; and a procession
is formed with priests, bands of music, flags, &c. &c.‑‑all quite
like one of the marriage processions, which I have already
described. Meats, fruits, cakes of various kinds, are carried as
offerings to the dead, and the procession moves on to the burying
place. This is always selected with great care, and is usually
a hill. Only two things, it has been said, are feared by the Chinese
after death, "a watery grave, and a white ant sepulchre."

It is not every day, that they may bury the dead; they must wait
for a luck‑day. Many of these processions may be seen in a single
day. Some of the funerals are very expensive. Two occurred in this
neighborhood last summer; one of a father, the other of a wife,
on each of which more than ten thousand dollars were expended.
The _mourning_ costume is like a brownish white, with a perfectly
white napkin around the head, and sometimes around the loins; and
their shoes are exchanged for sandals.

By the death of a father, a son is disqualified for, and is obliged
to retire from office, for three years. Great care must be taken
to have a good burying place; and for want of such, and means to
bury the dead, bodies sometimes lie months and years in coffins,
unburied. There were _ten thousand_ such in Canton last year. I
know of one family where there are thirteen in this state.

But from the accounts of the dead, I think you will be willing,
if not glad, to have me desist. I will do so; and, if the Lord
will, I desire to proceed and give you some account of what has
been done for China. In the next letter, I propose to speak of
the labors of the Rev. Dr. Morrison, Tell then, farewell.

                  Your true friends,



_Canton_, (_China_,) _Dec_. 12, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that
we, through his poverty, might be made rich. You know how, while
on earth, he went about doing good; how he loved poor sinners,
and wept because they repented not; and how he loved little children,
and used to take them in his arms and bless them. You remember
how, at a certain time, he went out into a mountain to pray, and
continued all night in prayer to God. And you remember, how, just
before he went back to heaven, he commanded his disciples _to go
and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost_.

I will now tell you what has been done to make known the gospel
of God among the Chinese. Some have supposed that St. Thomas, one
of the twelve apostles, came into China, and preached the gospel;
and one man, a Portuguese, has supposed that he even passed to
America. There is no proof of all this, and nobody now believes
it. But it is very probable, though not quite certain, that some
missionaries from Syria, came into China, about seven hundred years
after the death of Christ. Roman Catholic missionaries came into
China more than five hundred years ago, and have continued here
ever since. At one time, they had a great many converts, but now
they have very few, for they have been persecuted, and most of
the missionaries driven out of the country. The Catholics, all
the time they have been in this country, have never given the Chinese
the Bible.

The very first thing Protestant Christians ever thought of doing
for the Chinese, was to _give them the Holy Bible:_ This was a
most excellent plan. It was first suggested by that good man, Joseph
Hardcastle, Esq. of England. He was then the treasurer of the London
Missionary Society.‑‑But as yet the Bible had never been translated
into the Chinese language, and there was nobody able to translate
it. So the Society resolved to send out a mission, and the Rev.,
now Dr. Robert Morrison, was the first person who engaged to go.
He had, for some time, been thinking on the subject of missions.
This was just at the time when Samuel J. Mills, and others with
him, in Williams College, were thinking on the same subject; and
like them, "he would have gone," I quote Dr. Morrison's own words,
"to any quarter of the globe, where the people were yet without
a divine revelation." He once thought of going to Africa, and would
doubtless have gone, had the way been opened. But the Lord had
other work for him to accomplish.

On the 31st of Jan. 1807, Dr. Morrison left England, crossed over
to the United States, where he tarried about twenty days, and became
acquainted with some good people in Philadelphia, from whence he
arrived in China on the 4th of September, the same year. His situation
in China was trying enough. He was alone, without companions, a
stranger in a strange land. At first he lived in a _godown_, a
room occupied for a store house, or a lodging‑place for servants,
where he studied, ate, and slept. His lamp was made of earthen
ware, and a large Bible served for a screen to keep the wind from
blowing it out. He lived like the Chinese; put on their dress,
the long frock, the thick‑soled shoes; let his hair grow long,
and ate with chop‑sticks. Afterwards, he found that this was not
the best way, so he changed his dress, and mode of living.

Before leaving England, Dr. Morrison obtained an imperfect and
incomplete manuscript copy of the New Testament in the Chinese
language. After he arrived in China, he was very diligent, night
and day, studying the language, continually reading, writing, and
speaking it; and, in about three years, began to print the New
Testament in Chinese. Soon after, he published a little tract,
called, "_The Divine Doctrine, concerning the Redemption of the
World_." He also published a catechism. And in 1813, six years
after his arrival, he completed the whole New Testament.

It was just at this time, when he had been in the field alone six
years, that another missionary arrived to assist him. I hope to
tell you more of Dr. Milne, in another letter. Before this time,
Dr. Morrison had prepared two books about the Chinese language,
written in English, in order to assist other missionaries in
learning the language. He had also instructed, for about two years,
four orphan boys. I have not time, in a single letter, to tell
you all I could wish, about what he has done. He has published
many books, and accomplished much in other ways.

In the Chinese language, he has prepared and published the New
Testament, and two tracts above mentioned; the largest half of
the Old Testament, the other half was done by Dr. Milne; an outline
of the Old Testament history; daily Morning and Evening Prayers,
being a translation of the Common Prayer Book; also, a Hymn Book;
and, recently, a book in three or four volumes, called the _Family
Instructor:_ making in all, about 20 vols. Besides, he has written
other books, but had not money to publish them. The translation
of the _whole Bible_ was completed in the autumn of 1819, and
published soon after.

In English, he has written and published two volumes of sermons
and lectures; a little book about China, for Sabbath school
children; he has also written a great many papers about China,
which have been printed in the Canton newspapers, "The Canton
Register," published by an English gentleman, and in the "Anglo
Chinese Gleaner," published at Malacca; and others, printed in
other places.

In Chinese and English, that is, a part of each page Chinese, and
a part English, he has written and published six quarto volumes,
about the size of Scott's Bible, constituting a most excellent
Dictionary; also six octavo vols. in the same style. These twelve
volumes have been prepared for the purpose of assisting those who
wish to learn the Chinese language.

About a year after Dr. Morrison came to China, the English East
India Company wished him to be their translator. He complied, and
has ever since acted in that capacity. He thought it his duty to
do so, that he might, by the labor of his own hands, relieve others
from the burden of supporting himself and family. This, in a
considerable degree, he has done. For upwards of twenty years he
has received _no_ salary from any charitable institution. The
London Missionary Society assist him every year in defraying a
part of his house‑rent, which, in China, is very high‑‑ten or twelve
hundred dollars annually. Being translator for the company, they
were willing to defray the expenses of publishing his Dictionary,
which was more than £12,000.‑‑And besides this, and what he has
done for the support of his own family, it has enabled him to give
between 8 and 10,000 dollars for the promotion of Christianity
among the Chinese; a considerable part of this sum was expended
in founding the Anglo Chinese College at Malacca; of this, I will
tell you more when I come to write about Dr. Milne.

The same day he became translator to the company, he was married
to Miss Morton, an excellent and pious lady, who had a long time
resided in India. Their first born son died the same day in which
he breathed the breath of life. The infant was interred on the
top of a little hill, at the north extremity of Macao; and in a
beautiful enclosure, not far from where he now sleeps, are the
earthly remains of his mother. Mrs. Morrison died June 10, 1821.

In 1824, Dr. Morrison visited England, and returned in 1826. While
in his native country, he married Miss Armstrong, a pious and
accomplished lady. He has now living in China, six children; four
sons and two daughters. His family reside at Macao, for the Chinese
will not allow foreign ladies to come to Canton. His eldest son,
John Robert Morrison, is already quite a master of Chinese, and
acts as translator to the British merchants in China.

Dr. Morrison is now fifty years old, and it is more than 24 years
since he came to China. The Lord has been very good to him, and
has blessed him, and given good success to the labor of his hands.
He has lived to see many and most glorious results from the very
small beginnings he was permitted and enabled to make; but the
judgment of the great day, only, can display all the effects of
his long and arduous labors. Every Christian prays in secret; but
he has often preached in secret, with his doors locked around him,
and only one or two to listen to the sound of the gospel.

No church has yet been gathered and organized in China. Several
individuals have believed, and have been baptized; and the Lord's
supper has, occasionally, been administered. The first baptism
was in 1814. This man came to Dr. Morrison's house, and heard him
talk of Jesus, the first year he was in China. "At a spring of
water," says Dr. Morrison, "issuing from a lofty hill by the
sea‑side, away from human observation, I baptized, into the Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit, _Tsae‑a‑ko_. O that the Lord may cleanse
him from all sin in the blood of Jesus, and purify his heart by
the influences of the Holy Spirit. May he be the first fruits of
a great harvest; one of millions who shall believe, and be saved
from the wrath to come."

During much of his time in China, Dr. Morrison has preached to
the English and American residents. He is now with his family at
Macao; and, during the past season, has usually had four religious
services on each Lord's day; a morning and evening service in
English, and a morning and evening service in Chinese. From 4 to
20 persons have usually attended on the English, and about 15 on
the Chinese services.

Thus, my young friends, I have given you a brief account of one
whom God has employed in this part of the great field; and though
he has accomplished so much, he looks upon it all as nothing. He
is truly a most excellent man, and I love him much. And I desire
that you will always pray for him; that the Lord will preserve
him, and bless him more and more, and all those who are engaged
with him in the gospel.

                  I remain your true friend,



_Canton_, (_China_,) _Dec_. 13, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑I told you in the last letter about Dr.
Morrison, and the commencement of the mission to China. I will
now give you some account of Dr. Milne, and the missions among
the Chinese, established out of China. The missionary stations
established among the Chinese, residing or settled abroad without
the Chinese empire, may be reckoned five in number. They are at
the following places namely: Malacca, Penang, Java, Singapore,
and Siam. I wish you to look out all these places on the maps,
and learn from your geographies all you can about them. This will
assist you very much to understand and remember what you read about
the missions.

The Rev. William, afterwards Dr. Milne, with his wife, arrived
at Macao in China, the 4th of July, 1813, just at the time as before
stated, when Dr. Morrison had finished the translation of the New
Testament. A day or two after his arrival, he was ordered by the
(then) Portuguese Governor of Macao, to leave the place
immediately. He did so, and came up to Canton. Here he resided
for several months, enjoying that hospitality among the heathen,
which had been denied in a Christian colony.

Macao is a small town. You will see it on your maps, situated 70
or 80 miles south of Canton. It is the only European or foreign
settlement in China. The Portuguese have lived there two or three
hundred years.

Dr. Milne remained about six months; in the mean time, with the
assistance of his friend, Dr. Morrison, he got 2,000 copies of
the New Testament, and 15,000 Christian tracts, printed in Chinese.
These he put on board a ship, in which he embarked with 450 Chinese
emigrants, all bound to Java. Dr. Milne was a very active man on
board ship; and at Java, wherever he went, he was delighted to
give away tracts and Bibles. He loved to do good to all men, as
he had opportunity. From Java, he went to Malacca, which place
afterwards became his home, and the seat of the Anglo Chinese
college, of which he was the first principal. From Malacca, he
returned to China, conferred with Dr. Morrison about the mission,
and then, with Mrs. Milne, returned to Malacca, which place was
not only their home, but also their _grave_. The one died in 1819,
Mrs. M., the other, in 1822. They left behind them four or five
children, to mourn their loss. Dr. Milne, his wife, and their little
daughter Amelia, and two infant twin boys born on their passage
down the Chinese sea, arrived at Malacca, May 21, 1815. This was
the commencement of the mission at Malacca. Schools were
opened‑‑children collected and taught‑‑books printed and
circulated. The Bible was read, and the poor had the gospel preached
to them‑‑preparations were made for the college, and its foundation
laid, November 11, 1818.

Malacca, you will see by reference to your maps, is not far from
China, Cochin China, Siam, and many islands where great numbers
of Chinese reside. It is also a healthy place, and under a great
and good government. These and other considerations induced Drs.
Morrison and Milne to resolve on the mission, and the establishment
of the college. At the outset, Dr. Morrison gave $4,000 for the
benefit of the college, and up to the present time, has been its
chief support, and the Lord has blessed and prospered the work.
The number of Chinese students in the college, has usually been
about 30. The regular course of studies occupies six years. The
aboriginal inhabitants of Malacca and the adjacent regions are
called Malays. For this people also, schools have been established
and supported, and they prosper. Many thousands of Bibles and tracts
have been printed and sent out from the college, and these have
gone far and wide, the silent messengers of the truth of God. The
Rev. Samuel Kidd, of the London Missionary Society, is now principal
of the college. Penang, or the Prince of Wales Island, you will
see by referring again to your maps, is situated off the west coast
of the peninsula of Malacca‑‑you will find it about the 6th degree
of north latitude. It is a beautiful situation, and has a good
government. The number of Chinese is about 8 or 10,000, 14 or 15,000
Malays. There are also Siamese and Burmese. This mission was begun
in 1819. It has now two missionaries with their wives; the Rev.
S. Dyer for the Chinese, and the Rev. T. Beighton for the Malays.
These missionaries are very devoted, and are doing great good.
They have a number of schools for children, where they teach them
daily out of the Holy Scriptures, of the way of salvation by Jesus
Christ; and by the books which the children receive, much good
instruction is conveyed to the parents. But I have not time to
give you all the particulars of this and the other stations of
the straits.

The same year, namely 1819, the mission was begun in Java. The
seat of this mission is at Batavia. The elevated island of Java,
presents some very fine tracts of country. Batavia itself is
unhealthy, but a few miles out of the town where foreigners generally
reside, the country is delightful, and the climate agreeable. The
Rev. W.H. Medhurst is the missionary at the stations. He and Mrs.
Medhurst have been very abundant in their labors, and as their
labors multiply, their zeal and their success increase. Mr.
Medhurst has travelled in various parts of Java and the neighboring
islands, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and scattering in
every direction the good seed of the word of God.

Another mission was commenced this same year, 1819. This was at
Singapore, an island situated in the straits, not far distant from
the south‑eastern extremity of the peninsular of Malacca. At this
station, from the commencement to the present time, there have
been laborers both for the Malays and for the Chinese. The Rev.
C.H. Thompson for the Malays, and the Rev. J. Tomlin for the Chinese.
These missionaries have travelled and scattered abroad the word,
especially in Siam, where Mr. Tomlin has made two or three
visits‑‑where I suppose he now is with my good friend the Rev.
D. Abeel. In the establishments of all these missions, Dr. Milne
took a very lively interest. He entered _into_ the business with
this whole soul. He expected great things, he attempted great
things, and he accomplished great things. At the age of 20, he
determined to become a soldier to serve abroad in Immanuel's wars,
undertaking to destroy Satan's kingdom. He prepared himself for
the conflict, buckled on his armor,‑‑at 27, entered on the field
of battle, served with courage and fidelity 10 years, and then,
worn out by useful toils and hard service, died on his post.

Children, farewell; in the next I will tell you of Leang Afa.

                  Your true friend,



_Canton_, (_China_,) _Dec_. 19, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,--You know the goodness and mercy of our
God, you know how he has given his dear Son to die for us poor
rebellious sinners, and has promised to give to Christ the heathen
for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his

It is our heavenly Father, that Being who cannot lie, who has told
us that his word shall not return unto him void, but _shall_ prosper,
and accomplish all his holy will. If all good people would only
do their duty, the heathen I think would very soon become converted.
_When the children of God pray and labor as they ought, he always
blesses them_.

I have told you about one person who came to Dr. Morrison's house,
and heard him talk of Jesus and of the way of salvation by the
blood of the Lamb, and that man believed and was baptized. I have
now to tell you of another, who has become a disciple of Jesus,
and is devoting all his time and strength to the service of his
divine Master, Christ the Lord. I am going to tell of the evangelist
Leang Afa.

When Dr. Milne left Canton and went to Malacca, in 1815, Afa went
with him as printer‑‑this was his trade. Soon after this, it was
observed that the truth had taken a strong hold upon his mind,
he was convicted by the holy law of God, saw himself to be a sinner,
poor and miserable, blind and naked, and in need of all things.
And thus he was brought to declare his determination to take up
his cross and follow Christ. What care was taken to instruct him
will be seen by the following extract from Dr. Milne's Journal.

November 3, 1816. At twelve o'clock this day, I baptized, in the
name of the adorable Trinity, Leang Afa. This service was performed
privately in a room of the mission‑house. Care had been taken by
private conversation, instruction and prayer, to prepare him for
this sacred ordinance. This had been continued for a considerable
time. Finding him still steadfast in his desire to become a
Christian, I baptized him. The change
produced in his sentiments and conduct, is, I hope, the effect
of Christian truth, and of that alone: _yet who of mortals can
know the heart?_ Several searching questions were proposed to him
in private, and an exercise suited to a heathen candidate for
baptism, composed and given to him to read and to meditate upon.

With respect to his former life, he says, I was never much given
to idolatry. I seldom went to the temples. I sometimes prayed towards
heaven, but lived in careless indifference. Although I rarely went
to excess in sin, yet I have been occasionally guilty of drunkenness,
and other kindred vices. Before I came hither (to Malacca) I knew
not God‑‑now I desire to serve him.

The following are the questions proposed, and the answers given
at the time of baptism:

1. "Have you truly turned from idols, to serve and worship the
living and true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things?"
This is my heart's desire.

2. "Do you know and feel that you are a sinful creature, totally
unable to save yourself?" I know it.

3. "Do you really, from your heart, believe that Jesus Christ is
the Son of God, the salvation of the world; and do you trust alone
in him for salvation?" This is my heart's desire.

4. "Do you expect any worldly advantage, profit or gain whatever,
by your becoming a Christian?" None. I receive baptism, because
it is my duty.

5. "Do you resolve from this day to the day of your death, to live
in obedience to the commandments and ordinances of God, and in
justice and seriousness of life before men?" This is my
determination, but I fear my strength is not equal to it.

On my part, says Dr. Milne, the ordinance was dispensed with
affection, joy, hope, and fear. May he be made faithful unto death,
and as he is the first fruits of this branch of the mission, may
an abundant harvest follow to the joy of the church, and to the
honor of Christ. Such is Dr. Milne's account of Leang Afa, and
O, with what delight must the sainted spirit look down from heaven
upon the disciple of Jesus, as he labors, and toils, and faints

April 7, 1819. After prayers and many tears, the two
brothers in Christ parted. Afa returned to China, and not long
after, was married. His wife has become a believer in Christ, and
has received baptism. He has now living, two children‑‑a little
daughter of four, and a son of eleven years. The son's name is
Leang Atih. He was baptized in infancy. He now lives with me, and
I will tell you more about him in another letter. Atih had a little
brother a few months old, but last summer he died. His parents
grieved very much for him, because they loved him very much, and
he was a tender child.

Afa has promised to give me a written account of himself, by and
by. I think it will be very interesting, and when I receive it,
I can tell you more about him. He has received a great deal of
ill treatment from his friends, neighbors, and countrymen. His
home is about seventy‑five miles west from Canton. He has an aged
father, whom he supports. Though old, and feeble, and grey headed,
and oft times tenderly instructed by his son; yet, poor man, he
resists the truth, loves his idols, and says there is no God. And
so when the son Leang Afa, and his wife and young Atih, kneel down
together around the family altar, to worship the living and true
God, the father, the grandfather, the old, feeble, dying man, goes
away and worships.‑‑O how dreadful, how pitiable, he goes away
and bows down and worships, as he himself declares, the DEVIL,
and then comes and rails at his son, because he has forsaken the
gods of his country! This is a great trial to Afa, but he bears
it as he does all his trials, with meekness and fortitude. Afflicted
and persecuted as this family have been, they feel almost as if
they had no home on this earth. They are poor in the things of
this world, but doubtless they have treasures in heaven. They live
sometimes in one place, sometimes in another. During the last summer
and fall, they have lived in a hired house in this city. Afa has
been here to see me to‑day, and Atih has gone with him, this evening,
to see the family. In the morning, if the Lord will, he will come
back to me, then he will go about twenty miles to the east of Canton,
to a retired place, where he, with another Christian, is printing
the _Scripture Lessons_; and his grandfather, and his mother and
little sister, will leave the city and go to the West, to their
own village. But the true God will protect them, says Afa, and
keep them all in safety.

Afa is now forty‑four years old. More than fifteen years he has
borne the Christian name, and toiled and suffered hardships and
persecutions in his Master's service, and his faith and his zeal
increase as he holds on his way: so may it be to the end. Dear
children, remember, I entreat you, Afa and his family in your daily
prayers, and remember also, your true friend,




_Canton_, (_China_,) _Dec_. 20, 1831.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,‑‑When I have given you a short account of
Canton city, and told you a few things about my boys, then I must
close these letters. Canton is a very large city, situated in 23
degrees 7 minutes north latitude, 113 degrees 14 minutes east
longitude, from Greenwich. It is distant from the open sea, about
70 or 80 miles, and stands on the north bank of the Jake, which
the Chinese call _Chook‑eany_, that is, the _Pearl River_. The
city is built wholly on one side of the river. Opposite to Canton,
is the island of Honam, on which stands the celebrated Honam
Joshouse. Indeed, all the way from Canton to the open sea, is part
land and part water, and forms a great number of islands.

A part of Canton is enclosed by a wall built of brick and stone,
about 20 or 25 feet high, and 10 or 15 feet thick. The part of
the city which is enclosed by the wall, is nearly square. Each
of the four sides of the city, I should think, measures about two
miles, perhaps less, perhaps more. On each side, there are three
or four gates, these are always guarded by day, and shut and barred
by night. Foreigners may not enter the gates. On the south, the
wall extends within about 20 rods of the river. On the north side,
it extends to the brow of a hill, which terminates the range of
mountains which rise and stretch along in the rear of Canton. There
is a wall which divides the city into two parts, the north and
south. The south part, is about one quarter of the whole, and has
been built since the other, and is sometimes called the new city;
but this distinction is not necessary.

The space between the city walls and the river, and a
considerable extent of the east and west sides of the city without
the walls, constitutes the suburbs of Canton, or, as the Chinese
say, the city outside, which, as to its streets, houses, shops,
&c. is all the same as the city inside. So the Chinese have repeatedly
assured me, and this, I believe, is the opinion of the foreigners
here. Usually, the streets are not more than eight feet wide, and
often not more than four. Their houses and shops are seldom, if
ever, more than two stories high, and often the top one is only
a kind of half story. The shops are built close on the streets,
and not unfrequently project over them. When the shops are opened
in pleasant weather, the whole front is removed; this displays
their goods to great advantage. Some of these streets are very
beautiful. Dwelling‑houses and shops are seldom built on the same

Dwelling‑houses, and the gardens and yards around them, are usually
surrounded by a wall which is built close on the street, and so
high as to prevent any one passing along, from seeing the houses.
At each end of the principal streets, there is a gate and a watch‑house
built above it. The gates are closed at night, and the watchmen
keep a constant look out, and beat with their gongs or bells the
watches of the night.

The _population_ of Canton is very numerous. I think, not less
than a _million of souls_. Many people think this number too great,
and perhaps it is. Including those who live on the river, and all
those within and without the city, the number is very great. Though
the houses are not high, yet the people live together very thick.
They marry young, and live to a good old age. In the same house,
you will sometimes find great grand‑parents, grand‑parents,
parents, children, grand‑children, great, and even great, great,
grand‑children, making in all a very great number. From personal
observation, I should not think that more than one tenth or one
fifteenth part of the whole people of Canton live on the river.
But if to the 40,000 boats, we allow only three persons to each
boat, we shall have 120,000 on the river, and if this is only one
ninth part of the whole population, it will amount to more than
one million. But, my young friends, I will not trouble you any
more with these hard reckonings; your teachers will explain the
whole for you.

Foreign merchants have for several years traded to China. Only
a few rods from the south‑west corner of the city walls, there
are twelve or thirteen large buildings, or rather rows of buildings,
and each of the rows contain three or four, and sometimes more
houses, built like the houses in the United States, and _here_
we live; in all, I suppose, about 100 persons, English, French,
Dutch, _Americans_, &c. These houses are sometimes called
factories, and sometimes hongs. The English have a chapel and
clergyman, and worship on the Sabbath. While Mr. Abeel was here,
and also since he left, the Americans have had worship on the Sabbath
in a large room in one of the private houses.

We live very comfortably here, though cut off from some of the
greatest domestic and social enjoyments. No man can bring his family
with him to Canton. All the work about house, cookery and every
thing, is done by Chinese men servants. The servant that was with
me several months after I came to China, did his work well enough,
but did not like to read; besides, he was quite old. So I mentioned
one day, that I should like a lad that would learn to read and
write. A servant of one of the gentlemen with whom I lived heard
this, and immediately wished me to take his little brother, then
ten years old. His name is Atsan. In a few days, he made his
appearance, a fine, round‑faced, sprightly‑looking boy. He knew
something of his own language, but not a single letter of the English.
Just at this time, Afa came and wished me to take his little son,
Atih; and in a few days, the boy came, poorly clothed, with great
head, flat nose, and crooked shoulders. His first appearance was
not very promising. He could read and write his own language well,
for a boy of his age, but knew not a word of English. I wrote out
the alphabet for the two boys, and they began to learn; two or
three days after this, they wished to introduce another boy. This
was Achang, fifteen years old, and had been to school about three
years. He had learnt also a part of the English alphabet.

In this way I became acquainted with the boys. This was a year
ago. They have done, and still continue to do, exceedingly well.
They read, write and recite, both Chinese and English, daily. If
they continue to learn as they have done thus far, they will make
excellent scholars. They read daily in the Scriptures. They have
learnt the name of Christ the Lord, and I hope ere long they will
choose him for their Saviour. Atih says he loves the Savior _now_,
and prays to him every night and morning, and when I ask Atih if
he did not fear men would laugh at him, he answered, men do laugh
at me, but I do not fear them that kill the body, I rather fear
_Him_ who can destroy both soul and body in hell. And now, dear
children, farewell. I beg you will not cease to pray for the dear
boys, and all this nation, and more than this, I hope you will
continue to send them the Bible and missionaries. And still more,
I desire that some of _you_ may come here, may come as good
missionaries, for hundreds are now needed to preach the gospel
to these heathen. Say, will you come? I once knew a boy, younger
than some of you are now, who, having read an account of the heathen,
such as you have now read in these letters, desired to be a
missionary, and go to the heathen, and the Lord has granted the
desire of his heart, and now he is a missionary, laboring to make
known the glorious gospel of the blessed God.

     Farewell.  Your true friend,



_Canton_, (_China_,) _Dec_. 21, 1831.

To Parents and Teachers:

MY DEAR FRIENDS,‑‑Weary and oppressed when I had finished my last
letter, I determined to desist from writing more, but after
reflection and prayer before God, I felt constrained to add yet
another. The letters have cost me considerable time and labor,
and though short, they contain many interesting facts. I have been
obliged to sit up late at night to write, and early in the morning;
and more than once, while writing and contemplating the condition
of perishing millions around me, tears have started from the eyes,
and the breast has been agitated with thoughts too painful to
describe. I once thought, as some of you may now think, that the
accounts of the heathen are overdrawn, and their condition
represented to be worse than it actually is. This is not the case;
far from it. There are sometimes inaccurate statements‑‑I have
met with such‑‑but I have never seen a description, given by
uninspired men, which adequately portrays the misery, and moral
degradation, of this elegant, learned, polished, and refined pagan

The inimitable descriptions of the heathen world, given in the
Old and New Testament, are all exemplified here, in _living
characters_. In the letters to the dear youth, who stand to you
in the relations of sons, and daughters, and pupils, it has been
my object to assist you, in making known to them the present
_condition and character_ of the Chinese. I have narrated chiefly,
such things as I had either seen or heard here on the spot. Many
of the accounts are imperfect, and the descriptions faint; and
I am on that very account, more anxious that you should follow
up the subject, explaining and illustrating whatever the children
do not easily understand. I wish you would often read to them the
44th chapter of Isaiah, and the 1st chapter of Romans. I wish also
that you would collect and point out to them interesting accounts,
published in the Missionary Herald, and in religious newspapers,
and books which have been published on missions. It is of great
importance that children be well instructed, correctly and
extensively informed, in regard to the condition of those to whom
the gospel is yet to be published. Every one, whether old or young,
rich or poor, has an interest‑‑a personal interest in this great
and glorious work; but children have a peculiar personal interest.
From the present generation of children, many hundreds, nay,
thousands of missionaries, are to be trained up and sent abroad
to the fields already white for the harvest. Our Lord, the Saviour,
has made it the privilege, and the duty, of every one who will
be his disciple, _to seek first the kingdom of heaven_; and he
has assured us that no one can be his disciple who will not forsake
all and follow him. It will profit a man nothing, if he gain the
whole world and lose his own soul: and so in comparison with seeking
to extend the religion of Jesus Christ. In comparison with bringing
souls from the damnation and power of sin and Satan into the kingdom
of God's dear Son, all things also are nothing. There is to be
a great change in the opinions, and feelings, and actions, of
Christians, in regard to this subject, else the gospel will not
be preached to every creature. Now hundreds and thousands of
Christians, or rather who call themselves Christians, are saying,
"We have nothing to do in this business, and we can't do any thing
if we try." But the time is coming, when all good people will say,
"We have a great work to do, for it is our business to publish
the gospel to every creature; and we can do all things through
Christ strengthening us."

It will help to hasten this change, if we make this subject‑‑the
subject of missions‑‑the preaching of the gospel to every
creature‑‑the conversion of the whole world‑‑very familiar to our
own minds and to the minds of others,‑‑especially to children.
If the Lord Jesus Christ should come down from heaven, and go round
to each of your houses, and entering, should address you
individually, and say, Go ye and preach the gospel to every creature;
you would think this a most solemn command; one which you could
not misunderstand. So it would be, and just so it is now. It is
no more your duty and your privilege, than it is my duty and
privilege. It is a common cause; one in which it is alike the
privilege and the bounden duty of every disciple of the Lord Jesus
Christ to engage, and with his whole soul, and mind and strength.
The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence. The case which I have
presented, is an extreme one‑‑a case of life and death‑‑not the
life of a single individual, a brother, a sister, or a child; nor
is it the temporal life of 10,000 individuals. Oh! no. It is the
eternal life of hundreds of thousands of immortal souls.

And now, dear friends, allow me to make in behalf of those among
whom I live, this one request;‑‑that you will think often of their
condition, and make it a frequent subject of conversation with
your children. I desire that you may do this, that you may be led,
and may lead your children to desire and earnestly to pray for
the conversion of the Chinese.

There is no danger of thinking, or saying, or feeling, or doing
too much in a work of such amazing magnitude. The danger, and it
is very great, is all on the other side. One solitary instance
of doing too much, has never yet been known; but on the contrary
all have come short. You can easily imagine what would be your
feelings, if you should see your fellow creatures, friends and
strangers, sinking and drowning in the waves, and if it was in
your power, you would, even at the hazard of your own lives, seek
to save them. O then, what ought to be the emotions, and what the
effort to save, when contemplating a whole nation sinking in the
bottomless pit? Sinking! yet they are like us, prisoners of hope.
And if they hear the joyful sound, and believe in Jesus, then shall
they be saved. Wishing you and your children, everlasting
happiness, I remain ever, your affectionate friend and servant,


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters to Children" ***

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