The Taiping Revolution
WHILE the advent message was just beginning in America, there was a most remarkable movement going on in the heart of China. A heathen Chinese, without any acquaintance with Christianity, had, in 1837, a series of remarkable visions, in which he was shown the principal points in the Christian religion. In his visions Hung-sui-tshuen was first taken to a river, where the celestial visitors said to him: "Why hast thou kept company with yonder people and defiled thyself?" He was then washed clean, his heart was taken out, and a new heart was given him. (How could a heathen be given a better idea of conversion and baptism?) He was then brought in before "a man, venerable in years," "sitting in an imposing attitude upon the highest place," whom he called "Our Heavenly Father." He also "met with a man of middle age," whom he called "our Celestial Elder Brother."
"Sui-tshuen's whole person became gradually changed, both in character and appearance. He was careful in his conduct, friendly and open in his demeanour."
When Sui-tshuen, in his visions, was brought in before "Our Heavenly Father" he was shown the sinfulness of idolatry. God "began to shed tears, and said, 'All human beings in the whole world are produced and sustained by Me; they eat My food and wear My clothing,"' but they have no "'heart to remember and venerate Me"; "'they take of My gifts and therewith worship demons."' "And thereupon he led Sui-tshuen out, told him to look down from above, and said, 'Behold the people upon the earth! Hundredfold is the perverseness of their souls.' Sui-tshuen looked, and saw such a degree of depravity and vice that his eyes could not endure the sight, nor his mouth express their deeds." He was then told to go and rescue his brethren and sisters from the demons, and was given " a seal, by which he would overcome the evil spirits," and our "Elder Brother" "instructed him how to act," and "accompanied him upon his wanderings." When "he woke from his trance" he started on his God-given work.
Before this Hung had received from a stranger on the street nine small books, which he had not read. Now he started to read them, and was joined by his cousin Le. The books contained some chapters from the Bible which presented the same picture of God and Christianity that he had seen in his visions. "Sui-tshuen felt as if awakening from a long dream. He rejoiced in reality to have found a way to heaven, and a sure hope of everlasting life." He and Le then baptized each other. They prayed to God, and decided to obey His commands, and then felt their hearts overflowing with joy. "They thereupon cast away their idols and removed the table of Confucius." Through their earnestness and joy in the new-found salvation, many were soon won, and in answer to prayer the power of God was manifested among them in healing the sick. They had also the "gift of prophecy" among them.
"At this time, Hung prohibited the use of opium, and even tobacco, and all intoxicating drinks, and the Sabbath was religiously observed." - "The Ti-Ping Revolution," by Lin-Le, an officer among them, Vol. I, pp. 36-48, 84. London: 1866.
"The seventh day is most religiously and strictly observed. The Taiping Sabbath is kept upon our Saturday." The Sabbath is ushered in with prayer, and "two other services are held. . . . Each service opens with the Doxology:
`We praise thee, 0 God, our Heavenly Father;
We praise thee, Jesus, the Saviour of the world;
We praise the Holy Spirit." - Id., p. 319.
When the Manchu government made war on the followers of Hung, they organized their own government, and millions of Chinese gladly flocked to their standard, because of the kindness and strict justice of their government. During the wars, their soldiers were not allowed to drink the water nor eat the food of the conquered without paying for them, and no crime was committed by them, under death penalty. The Taipings printed the Bible and spread it among their people, and the Ten Commandments were strictly followed.
In 1862 there were 85,000 converted Sabbath-keeping Christians among them, besides more than 45,000,000 others who gladly yielded themselves under their government, but were not accepted as church members. Their territory covered 90,000 square miles in the heart of China, and liquor, tobacco, opium, and idols were totally banished from its whole extent. Had the Christian nations kept out of the struggle, China today might have been a Sabbath-keeping Christian country. But two influences conspired against the Taipings, or God-worshipers, as they were called: 1. English opium-traders became alarmed about the probable destruction of opium and the loss of the millions they earned annually in the opium trade in China. 2. The Taipings did not understand the difference between the images of saints, used by the French Jesuits in their worship and the idols used by the heathen Manchus, so the Taipings opposed them indiscriminately, which aroused the ire of the Jesuits, and finally Christian countries assisted in completely destroying the Taipings. Lin-Le, heart-sickened at the thought of this "cruel sacrifice of the greatest Christian movement this world has ever witnessed," exclaims:
"What excuse can missionaries give for their surprising negligence of . . . the 70,000,000, and upwards, of those who might have become Christians under the Taiping authority during 1861-1862." - Id., pp. 310, 312.
The terrible massacre of the Taipings was so heart-rending that we must not describe it here, but will refer the reader to the description of it given by H. L. Hastings, in his book: "Signs of the Times," pages 149-151. We can see in this another evidence of the vigilant spirit that eagerly watches and determinedly opposes every effort to wrest souls out of his grasp, or to bring the true knowledge of God to mankind. (Revelation 12: 17.) 1943 CE, FAFA 190-192