Synopses & Reviews
Excerpt from Christianity in China, Tartary and Thibet, Vol. 3
The preachers of the gospel in China were perfectly in the right when they left the various competitors for the Imperial power to settle the dispute among them selves, and they would have been still more praise worthy if they had, during that period, maintained a. Spirit of peace and harmony 1u their own missions, if they had not thrown themselves with quite so much eagerness into controversies, which might be unavoid able, but which it was at all events desirable to carry on with more calmness, gentleness, and Christian simplicity of heart.
We have already said, that from the very commence ment of the missions of the Society of Jesus in China, there had arisen among them differences of Opinion, in which had originated two schools that of Father Ricci, who was disposed to allow the widest toleration to the rites of the Chinese; and that of Father Longobardi, who saw nothing but superstition in the worship paid by them to Heaven, to Confucius, and their ancestors; and was therefore disposed to the rigorous interdic tion of all such ceremonies. As early as 1628, the most experienced missionaries had met to endeavour to come to an understanding on this difficult and important question; but though the conference lasted a whole month, no reconciliation of the difi'erences was effected. This deplorable division became known, not only throughout China, but even in Europe, and awakened the attention and inﬂamed the zeal of other religious orders in the cause of the propagation of the faith. Their arrival in the Celestial Empire, however.
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