Duality -- By: Joseph Elkanah Walker
BSac 49:196 (Oct 1892) p. 560
When China was forced into contact with Western nations it was like encountering another planet; for in her were hundreds of millions of beings most diverse from us, with their own independent history and civilization. The contact must profoundly affect both them and us; and though in the gospel of Christ we have a boon to impart to them which is more than all the world besides, they too have somewhat to teach us: and under the above heading I wish to set forth a line of thought which had its beginning in contact with the Chinese. They are a formal people, fond of numerical regularity; and pages might be filled with instances of this: but duality has the fundamental place. First, they say, the Limitless produced the Extreme Limit; and this in turn produced the yin-yang, or dual principle. One writer says, “From the subtile essence of heaven and earth the dual principles of yin-yang were formed; and from their joint operations came the four seasons; and these putting forth their energies, gave birth to all the products of the earth.”1 Every thing is classed as yin or yang. Sun, day, heat, male, etc., are yang: moon, night, cold, female, etc., are yin. Once some Chinese officials were calling on the governor of Hong Kong, just after a change of ministry in England; and he explained the situation to them. They
BSac 49:196 (Oct 1892) p. 561
styled it the yin-yang of English politics. This dualism pervades their whole life, and especially their theories of good and bad conditions in life. Stimulating influences bringing health and prosperity come from the south; depressing ones come from the north. Fire is yang, and water is yin. Yet a proper balance must be maintained; and during a severe drouth at Foo Chow a few years ago, the south gate of the city was kept partly closed to check the too strong influx of the yang. The sun is the highest embodiment of the yang, and the moon of the yin: yet the Chinese are not especially sun worshippers; nor, again, has this dualism led them into the obscenities of Fallic worship: for filial piety cannot favor licentiousness; and the teachings of their philosophers as to social purity are sound. But it has corrupted their conception of Deity, and of heaven as the symbol of the Divine, by associating earth with heaven; and it has taken on a very vicious development as to fortune and misfortune: so that luck takes the place of God; and the whole nation from the emperor to the beggar is enslaved to a vast system of silly superstitions. Said the viceroy at Foo Chow to our consul there, “Just as you believe in the religion of Jesus Christ, so the people of Ch...
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