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To abstain from all crimes and vice is the observance of a part of the moral law, but the more important and more difficult task is to promote the welfare of the individual, his family and all others whom he can aid. The first may be termed passive morality, the second active. Passive morality affords peace and repose, active morality leads to a full and glorious life of enjoyment and satisfaction. In India as well as in Europe the most extended combinations of the strength and vigor of men have been formed for vicious purposes. The activities of war have generally appeared greater than those of peace, though exerted for immoral ends. Thousands of years of combinations of men to destroy each other have not yet taught them to make equally great combinations for mutual aid.
The relative value of the civilization of any country cannot be safely gauged by the conditions existing at some selected point of time. If estimated in the eleventh century, Europe must have been condemned as the country of robbers and murderers, or if during the thirty years war as one in which the people generally had gone mad over religious meditations and discussions.
The people of the United States of America from 1861 to 1865 must have been condemned as a great family of fratricides, who deliberately sought each other's destruction without just cause on either side.
Measured by the conditions prevailing throughout the last one, two or three thousand years, it may well be claimed that the civilization of India has been superior to that of Europe. There have been more people, and they have been less at war with each other and better supplied with enjoyable things than the Europeans as a whole. It is only within the past hundred years that population has multiplied rapidly in Europe and the general scale of comfort among the masses materially advanced. All this gain comes from diminished efforts to destroy each other and more numerous and extensive combinations for mutual profit and advantage. It is strange indeed that men are so slow to perceive how quickly and bountifully obedience to the command to love and help one another is rewarded.
If all men knew that they must remain on earth through successive incarnations and must find heaven or paradise here and not elsewhere, possibly there would be more disposition manifested to make the world better during this life in order to prepare it for the next. Whether the souls of this generation shall return and inhabit the earth in the next or not is a matter of belief rather than of knowledge, but certain it is that our children and their descendants must abide in it till the race becomes extinct. No legacy can be passed down to posterity of such inestimable value as a well learned lesson of peace, concord and mutual aid. The boundaries of the moral law will be found coterminous with those of the true relations of man to man and to the living beings on earth. British rule in India has not yet revolutionized the educational system. The policy of giving free and universal instruction to the young does not prevail in the British Isles and very naturally would not be carried into India. The British have however made progress in introducing those great exponents of modern civilization, the railroad, telegraph, printing press and post office. Through these practical lessons of coöperation are taught and local animosities are diminished by commercial intercourse and social contact. The eradication of caste prejudices is a task of great difficulty and can only be effected by radical changes in the educational system and religious teachings. The British maintain their rulership largely by taking advantage of local animosities and caste distinctions through which the natives are deterred from combining, and the government employs one to curb another. Increased intercourse with each other and with the outside world must in time produce their logical effects on the people, but the inertia of such a mass is very great and can only be overcome in a long period of time or by an exceptional wave of enlightenment, such as comes to any people only once in many centuries. India has had its experiences of this kind in the past and may again in the future.
NOTE.—The extracts from the code of Manu are taken from the translation of Sir William Jones edited by G. C. Houghton and published by Cox & Baylis, London in 1825. Those from the Burmese Code are from a translation published by the Baptist Mission at Philadelphia in 1848.
CHINA In the study of any subject allowance must be made for perspective in order to gain a just comprehension of it. China is not merely geographically at the antipode to western Europe and America, but it is equally remote and dissimilar in its civilization. First consider what the Chinese Empire is geographically. In area it covers about 4,200,000 square miles, about 421,000 square miles more than all Europe. China proper has an area of about 1,312,326 or about 389,000 square miles less than Europe, exclusive of Russia. In climate it includes all varieties from the tropical district of Kwang Tung, to the regions of perpetual snow in the mountains of Thibet and Mongolia. In soil it has all gradations from the inexhaustible fertility of the rich loess lands of Chili, Shan-Si, Shen-Si, Kan-suh and Ho-nan to the barren rocks and sandy deserts of Gobi, and the equally barren peaks of the ThianShan and Kuen-Lun. Its surface shows every variety of formation from level plain to craggy mountain, and the most varied flora from the dense' growth and endless variety of the tropics to the poverty and barrenness of the regions of perpetual frost. Its majestic rivers are but slightly inferior to the Mississippi, the Amazon and the Nile. Its fauna is rich and varied in species and numbers. But in nothing else is it so marked as in the numbers of its people and its unique civilization. The latest estimates accredit the empire with 400,000,000 or about 45,000,000 more than all Europe contains. While the empire includes many tribes not of Chinese stock, and differing more or less in type from the Chinese, the great bulk of the population is distinctly of one race, speaking one language, with no more difference of dialect than is found in England, France or Germany. This vast empire is now, and for many centuries has been, ruled by one
government, while Europe with its boasted superiority is divided at this day into nineteen separate and independent nations. Not only do the people of one of these nations speak a language different from that of nearly every other, but several of the nations include people speaking many different tongues. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a population about equal to that of the province of Kiang-Su, includes English, Welsh, Scotch and Irish. Russia includes Laps, Finns, Russians, Poles, Slavs, and Cossacks, differing widely from each other in language, customs and race characteristics.
China proper is divided into eighteen provinces, but ali are under one government and one system of laws. The political map of Europe, ever since history began, has been subject to frequent and great changes. The nineteenth century has seen nations rise and fall and boundaries of nations expand and contract from one decade to another, to such an extent as to render a map twenty years old utterly unreliable.
While China has had its internal wars and has at times been subjected to a divided rulership, it still has maintained its integrity as a nation through thousands of years. It has been conquered by Tartars without revolutionizing its customs and laws, and with but slight effect on the great Chinese mass. Through all changes and vicissitudes the civilization to be found in China has been distinctly Chinese. Long before letters were introduced into Greece, the Chinese had their unique system of characters. The name of the inventor and date of the invention are given in one tradition as Fuh-hi 3200 B.C. and in another as Tsang-ki 2700 B.C., either date however is sufficiently remote to precede the time when Cadmus carried the alphabet into Greece by over 1500 years. That much progress in agriculture and the arts had been made long before the Greek tribes migrated from Asia Minor into Greece, is amply proved by the historical records of the Chinese, which extend back in credible and definite form at least as far as the reign of Yaou 2356 B.C. The first weaving of silk is ascribed to Si-ling-shi wife of the Emperor Hwang-ti about 2600 B.C.
For early records of China, we look only to China. No neighboring nation can furnish us contemporary side lights. Of all the people of eastern Asia the Chinese first invented a written language and first became historians. Whether in authentic writings they antedate the Egyptians is a question on which archeologists may differ, but certain it is that their early histories are far more numerous and copious than those of any other people on earth. It is surmised by some, that the progenitors of the race migrated into China from the vicinity of the Caspian Sea, but the writer does not know on what evidence, for no ancient Chinese record is referred to as proving it, and there are no older or other records on the subject.
The Chinese like the Egyptians, were first found in the country they now inhabit. Their civilization has grown and continued to abide where it now exists. It has until very recent times received no marked impulse from without except the Buddhist religious teachings. No conquering horde has ever swept over the provinces of China and supplanted the ancient race with its own people. The Tartar conquest begun by Jenghiz Kahn and completed under Kublai, while bloody and destructive in the paths of the invading armies, failed to destroy or supplant the ancient stock. The subsequent Manchu conquest was a change of rulers, but slightly affecting the great multitude. Throughout all ages China has been secure against outside foes, except such as entered from the North. The barren inaccessible heights of the Himalayas on the south have ever interposed an impassible barrier against invasion from that direction. The barren steppes of Thibet and Mongolia could only be reached from the west after crossing the mountain ranges of central Asia. Only from the north has it been found practicable to lead in an invading army, and that cold and inhospitable country has not frequently poured out hosts of such magnitude as to overrun the densely peopled provinces of China, and never sufficient to drive out the people.
Like all other people, in their accounts of the origin and early history of their race, the Chinese narrate what is evidently fabulous and imaginary. Records cannot antedate the