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and immutable light of truth was confined to no set of men; writers of other nations which have been viewed as more barbarous have left the most ample records of their belief in the one universal standard of truth.
The Chinese who have taken the name of the celestial empire, seem entitled to it, from a system of government which, probably more than any other, acknowiedges the light of truth in the soul of man, as that great principle which God has given to him to rule and govern his life.
From the empire of China strangers are almost totally excluded, so that there is little real knowledge to be obtained of a people, said to be more numerous than any other. We know they exist, but the principles which have preserved such a remarkable degree of peace in the empire, extended as it is, are but little adverted to. The French Jesuists, who were located many years in China, published some particulars respecting the Chinese, which are the more remarkable as being in opposition to the sentiments which have been received from travel. lers, who though they nominally have entered the empire, have been really excluded from it.
Le pere Noel, after studying the Chinese language for twenty years, translated several of their
classical works, by Confucius and his followers upon religion and morality, written originally some centuries before the Christian era; he refers to other works long antecedent to them, containing the same principles. Throughout several volumes a reference is made to that law which God has placed within the breast, " which is felt in the depth of the heart,” the attendance to which, it is declared, will raise man to the most exalted perfection. It is impossible in a few extracts, which I shall translate from one of these works, to do justice to the sentiments ; the folloiving is from “ The just Medium” by Tsée-sec, grand-son of Confucius; the object of this work is to prove, that man has a law which he ought invariably to follow, " (que l'homme a une loi, qu'il doit suivre inviolablement.)” • The science of the just medium which the wise man follows, immense by the extent of its object, is nevertheless very simple in its self: every one can make use of it; no one can sound its depth, because it encloses directly the most common rules of daily action, and the most hidden secrets of nature.”
Though simple and ignorant men and women of the most limited capacities, may with this single intellectual faculty, which they receive from nature, know the doctrine of the just me
dium in all that appertains to their ordinary actions and conduct every day of their lives, ne. vertheless the most penetrating and extended genius, cannot know all the detail nor embrace the whole."
“ The doctrine of the just medium which the wise man follows, descends even to the details of the private life of individuals; and this principle so simple, which enlightens and di. rects the lowest condition, spreads itself on all the earth, elevates itself to heaven, enlightens with its rays, and fills the world with its splen. dour. The doctrine of the just medium, is the light and rule of all beings.
This sublime knowledge is not far from man, it is the rule for the common actions of human life, so that all men can easily know and practise it. We pretend uselessly to follow the just medium, if neglecting the common duties, we only aim at the extraordinary opinions and manners, which are different from those of other men."
“ Thus, though this rule presents itself, and is capable of being read by all the world, though there is not an instant of the day in which it ought not to be used, nevertheless we find few persons, who turn their attention towards it, who reflect upon it, and above all who follor it.”
“ In all conditions the wise man is tranquil and calm, because he sees himself always under the direction of Providence, and in the place which it has marked for him."
I have met with no sentiments either of ear. lier or later time, more full recognising the principle of eternal truth than these books. Le pere Noel, translates the term which the Chinese gave it, (droit raison) or right reason, and he attributes to its precepts,
peace, the happiness, the concord which during a period of three thousand years, has mostly distinguished the Chinese empire; he adds, “ the system of the Chinese legislators is one of the finest monuments of the efforts of the human mind, to make virtue, peace, and happiness reign upon earth :” a sentiment expressed in Pekin, and lately published in our newspapers accords with these views, and which I repeat from recollection, “ the eternal principle of truth in the soul of man, obedience to its dictates will make a heaven on earth.”
* * I shall close my observations on the Chinese with extracts from an English translation of some of the writings of Confucius, fect man is always contented with his condition, he desires nothing beyond it, with submission and an even spirit, he expects whatever heaven
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shall ordain concerning him. Thus he rejoic. eth in a certain tranquillity, which is compara. ble to the top of those mountains, which are higher than the regions, where the thunder. and tempests are formed.”
“ If our love is blind, and mere passion, if it is flesh and blood, which makes us act, this affection is irregular, because it digresseth from the rule of right reason.
Reason and Innocence, have been equally given or communicated to the wise and to the saints, and likewise to all other men ; but the Saint has never in the least declined from right reason, and has constantly preserved his integri. ty: whereas, the wise has not always preserved it, having not always followed the light of Reason ; because of several obstacles he has met with in the practice of virtue, and especially by reason of his passions, whereunto he is a stave.
Those who have lost their first integrity and desire to regain it, are comparable, to withered and almost dead trees, that notwithstanding, have in the trunk and roots a certain juice, a cer. tain principle of life, which makes them cast forth shoots-If we take care of these trees, if we cultivate them, water them and prune off the dead branches, it will happen that this tree will re-assume its former state after the