and sorcery, in necromancy, the observation of omens, astrology, and in the use of charms to drive away evil spirits, and fancy that men can be changed into beasts, and that souls after death sometimes enter into other bodies and are born again into this world. They do not doubt that the spirit of man lives after death, but they believe that rewards and punishments are bestowed only in this world. The hope of immortality is given to a man who observes certain of their ethical rules. In one of their books it is said: 'He who wishes to become an immortal of heaven must do a thousand and three hundred good works. He who wishes to become an immortal of earth must do three hundred good works.' 1

Lao-Tsze himself is now worshipped as three gods, called 'the three pure ones'. Worship is also offered to the planets and many other stars, to mountains, valleys, rivers, the great bear, and other visible objects. The god of thunder, the mother of lightning, the spirit of the sea, the king of the sea, the lord of the tide, are also adored. Temples are erected to the Dragon King, who is supposed to cause earthquakes and floods. Serpents are often adored by both learned and unlearned in times of floods, being regarded as manifestations of this God. The gods of the Ta'oists are practically without number. Some of them, such as the god

1 Kan Ying Peen (Book of Rewards and Punishments), quoted by Douglas, Confucianism and Taouism, p. 260.

of literature, are said to have once been men, this god is worshipped by the learned, just as the god of war is by soldiers. There are more temples raised in honour of the god of riches than to any other deity. The Ta'oists are now the most degraded idolaters of China. They have no proper conception of the heinousness of sin, they do not (as we have seen) believe in rewards and punishments after death, and they have no knowledge of the one true God, the Creator of heaven and earth.

In ancient times, however, the existence of one God was well known to the ancestors of the Chinese people. He was called Shang-Ti (شنك تي) which in Chinese means 'The Supreme God'. Ancient Chinese history tells us that about 2697 B.C. a temple was erected in His honour, and a hundred years later we are informed that music was added to the rites performed at His altar. When the sovereign worshipped before Him, he wore a fur dress and a crown, and offered upon a round hillock a first-born male as a whole burnt sacrifice. It was to Him that prayer was made in all great emergencies, and in the eyes of the Emperor and people He appeared as a Personal God, directing their ways, supporting them in their difficulties, and chastising them for their faults. 1 Of the Emperor Ya'u, who ascended the throne 2356 B.C., it is said that one of his first public acts was to sacrifice

1 Douglas, Confucianism and Taouism, pp. 82, 83; cf. Legge, Pref. to Shu King.