God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan

God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan

Jonathan D. Spence

Language: English

Pages: 432

ISBN: 0393315568

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"A magnificent tapestry . . . a story that reaches beyond China into our world and time: a story of faith, hope, passion, and a fatal grandiosity."--Washington Post Book World

Whether read for its powerful account of the largest uprising in human history, or for its foreshadowing of the terrible convulsions suffered by twentieth-century China, or for the narrative power of a great historian at his best, God's Chinese Son must be read. At the center of this history of China's Taiping rebellion (1845-64) stands Hong Xiuquan, a failed student of Confucian doctrine who ascends to heaven in a dream and meets his heavenly family: God, Mary, and his older brother, Jesus. He returns to earth charged to eradicate the "demon-devils," the alien Manchu rulers of China. His success carries him and his followers to the heavenly capital at Nanjing, where they rule a large part of south China for more than a decade. Their decline and fall, wrought by internal division and the unrelenting military pressures of the Manchus and the Western powers, carry them to a hell on earth. Twenty million Chinese are left dead.

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Commandments, collections of homilies, Gospel elucidations, hymns. He and his companions distributed several thousand copies on the first voyage, more than twenty thousand on the second. Chinese government war junks, full of troops, often shadowed the brigs, and Chinese patrol boats glided along behind Stevens’ longboat as he probed the inner waterways. Once a cannonade was fired at his boat, and two crewmen wounded. Mounted Chinese military officers sometimes warned back the Chinese villagers,

matter of grammar and of emphasis. Thus in Genesis 1:26, where the old Bible says, “And God said, let us make man,” Hong’s altered version reads, “And God said I will make man.”48 In Genesis 12, verse 13, whereas in the old Bible Abraham asks Sara, his wife, to protect him from Pharaoh, in Hong’s revision Abraham asks “the God of my ancestors” to do the protecting. In Genesis 19, verse 1, when the old Bible reads, “And there came two angels to Sodom at even,” Hong’s change is even more direct. He

true heart repent my sins. I pray to the Heavenly Father and Great God, of extraordinary goodness and mercy, to forgive my former ignorance and frequent transgressions of the Heavenly Commandments. I earnestly beseech the Heavenly Father and Great God, to extend His grace and pardon all my former sins, and permit me to reform my faults and renew myself, so that my soul may ascend to heaven. May I henceforth sincerely repent and reform, not worshipping false spirits nor practicing perverse things,

costs through meticulous regulations, estimating their expenses in jin, one jin being roughly equivalent to a month’s wages for a poor artisan or farm laborer, but a comparative trifle to a wealthy landlord or merchant: As for all the expenses of the entire household, receiving a bride into the household must not exceed 30 jin, and giving a daughter in marriage must not exceed 20 jin. Make the cost of attending a school the same as giving a daughter in marriage, and make the cost of taking an

troops content themselves with closing off the village by driving hundreds of sharpened bamboo stakes at an angle into the track and the adjacent slopes, making egress impossible. Alerted to the danger, Hong sends loyal messengers out by mountain tracks to the northwest, who then circle back to Jintian and warn the other Taiping leaders. Moving with dispatch, the God-worshipers attack the Qing forces from the rear, routing them, removing the stakes, and bringing Hong and his family safely back to

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