Page:Tseng Kuo Fan and the Taiping Rebellion.djvu/52

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being washed in the river and having a new heart placed within him, he was ushered into the presence of a venerable old man who sat on a throne. This man addressed Hung, saying; "All human beings in the whole world are produced and sustained by me; they eat my food and wear my clothing, but not a single one among them has a heart to remember and venerate me. What is, however still worse, they take of my gifts, and therewith worship demons; they purposely rebel against me and arouse my anger. Do not thou imitate them." He then gave him a sword wherewith to exterminate demons, a seal having power to overcome the spirits, and a yellow fruit sweet to the taste. Hung at once set about converting those who were standing in the hall, but even there he found some who were indifferent to him or hostile. When the old man led him to the parapet of heaven and bade him gaze on the earth, the sight of its evil and depravity moved him greatly. In several other visions of the same kind he received further instructions, frequently meeting there a middle-aged man whom he learned to call his elder brother. Likewise he met there the sages of antiquity and once he even heard the old man reprove Confucius himself for having failed to make him known in the classics.

From such visions he awoke filled with wrath at the evil practices and false beliefs of men, and zeal to exterminate the lying spirits and bring China back to the right way. On such occasions his relatives and friends kept a close watch on him, for they feared that he was mad. Notwithstanding the vividness of these trances, their effect, so immediate and powerful during the course of his illness, faded out entirely after his recovery, when he began the career of a schoolmaster. The only outward effect of the illness was to change him from a cheer-