Page:Tseng Kuo Fan and the Taiping Rebellion.djvu/53

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ful, companionable young man into a grave and dignified teacher.

Only by an accidental circumstance six years later did the memory of the visions revive and become a permanent force within him. One of his cousins named Li happened to be looking over Hung's library one day, when by chance he picked up the set of volumes Hung had received in Canton in 1836. Impressed by their unusual character, he borrowed and read them. When he brought them home he persuaded Hung to read them. The effect was instantaneous and powerful, for they opened to Hung's understanding the meaning of the visions he had seen during his illness. The venerable old man was none other than God; the elder brother was Jesus; the idols in the temples and shrines were the false demons. Hung had been commissioned to restore the worship of the true God.[1] To his mind the visions and books independently confirmed each other. Accepting the duty thus doubly laid on him, Hung and his cousin baptized each other, and Hung began to preach the new doctrines. His first converts were a neighbor, Fêng Yun-shan, and his own cousin, Hung Jen-kan, or Hung Jin, to give him the name by which he was known to Westerners through Hamberg's account. Both of these men became wangs in the new kingdom, Fêng in the formative period, and Hung Jin many years later, a little before the movement collapsed.[2]

  1. The tracts were issued in 1832 by Liang A-fah, a convert of Dr. Morrison, and bore the title "Ch'üan Shi Liang Yen" (Good Words Exhorting the Age). Some of them contained translations or paraphrases of chapters in the Bible; others, essays or sermons. Not more than thirty chapters of the Bible were given, but texts were selected from as many others. The whole would give a rough summary of Protestant teachings.
  2. All the information here recorded about the visions and the later movements of Hung and his colleague Fêng, are taken from Theodore Hamberg's The Visions of Hung-siu-tsuen and the Origin of the Kwang-si Insurrection, Hong Kong, 1854. The information there given was furnished