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Appendix 1 Early Converts

图书名称:Christian Souls and Chinese Spirits:A Hakka Community in Hong Kong
图书作者:Nicole Constable    ISBN:
出版社:Berkeley: University of California Press    出版日期:1994年

Li Tsin Kau

The following account of the life of Li Tsin Kau serves to illustrate the impact of his association with Hong Xiuquan on his life and how it brought him and his family into contact with the Basel mission. As Smith explains:

The services rendered by the several generations of the Li family to the congregations and schools of the Basel Missionary Society well repaid the initial interest and attention which the young Li Tsin-kau had been given when he first turned up in Hong Kong in 1853 as one displaced because of his connection with the leader of the Taiping movement (1985:227).

Although Li Tsin Kau's descendants were not involved in the establishment of Shung Him Tong, they do have certain connections with the village. Like many residents of Shung Him Tong, Li's sons attended the Basel Missionary Society Boys' School in Lilang, and three of them married women who had attended the mission-run girls' school. His youngest son, Li Shin En, was baptized in Hong Kong in 1859 and served as a catechist at the Hakka church in Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, from 1883 to 1888, married the daughter of Shung Him Tong's founder, Pastor Ling Kai Lin. The couple formed part of the large group of Hakka Christians and friends and relatives of the Taipings who emigrated to Sabah, North Borneo. There, under the auspices of the Basel mission, Li organized a Hakka congregation (Smith 1985:227).

The following outline of Li Tsin Kau's life draws primarily from two archival reports in the Basel mission. One was written by Rudolf Lechler (Basel Mission Archives 1868a), and the other is a revised version of Lechler's report written by Li's youngest son, Li Shin En (Basel Mission Archives 1885; see also Smith 1985:77–82).

Lechler's biography of Li Tsin Kau is one of many biographies and reports on Chinese converts sent back to mission headquarters in Switzerland to communicate the work the missionaries had accomplished and to ensure the continued support of the mission. Most of the biographies follow a similar structure, depicting the life and religious beliefs of the convert before conversion, the events leading up to the conversion, and the person's role within the Christian community. I was unable to find similar autobiographies for Shung Him Tong converts, in part because Shung Him Church was considered relatively independent of the "parent mission," having been organized by well-established and respected Chinese Basel converts, and in part because the interior of China was of greater interest to European missionaries.

According to Lechler and Li Shin En, Li Tsin Kau was born in 1823 in the village of Wo Kuk Liang, Tschang Yen district, Guangdong province. He worked as a farmer and was also the village teacher. He studied from the time he was eight years old until he was fifteen, so he knew how to read and write and was familiar with the Chinese classics. When he was twenty years old he married and became the head of his household. The following year his first son was born, followed by three more sons and two daughters.

One of Li's uncles, his father's brother, was a devout Buddhist and Li also became interested in Buddhism despite his family's objections. He was vegetarian and recited Buddhist prayers. Once he went with his uncle to visit a Buddhist temple and to see the depictions of the torments of hell. The scene that made the deepest impression on Li was of a man who was sentenced to death before the celestial court when the Goddess of Mercy came and saved him.

According to Lechler and Li Shin En, Li Tsin Kau was introverted, modest, and kind, and was considered a man of strong moral character. He faithfully worshiped his ancestors and the idols. He had been raised very strictly and upheld the morals his father had taught him. Some of his comrades thought that Li's good character influenced them to avoid engaging in such immoral activities as gambling, drinking, smoking opium, and prostitution. He usually admonished them for eating the meat of cows and dogs because such animals are friends of humankind. Li Tsin Kau believed that the moral philosophies of Confucius and Mencius were the best rules to live by; Buddhist philosophies also provided him with comfort concerning death.

Hong Xiuquan had been a well-known teacher in the home of Li's maternal grandparents, and Li's father and Hong were good friends. Li Tsin Kau often heard his father speak of Hong and his wonderful visions. When Hong came to Li's village they would discuss the moral and political decline of the country. As Li Tsin Kau explained to Lechler, when the villagers heard Hong's views, he won their hearts; they thought that their prayers had been answered by heaven and that he had been chosen to bring better times.

Hong and Li discussed fasting and vegetarianism, and Hong said that eating meat could not be bad or God would not have provided animals. Hong also criticized ancestor worship and said that the idols were all false. Hong told Li about the power of God and about his mission to destroy the idols. Li heard Hong speak of Jesus, their brother in heaven who would forgive their sins. As Li explained to Lechler, there was much more that Hong taught him, but mainly he remembered the idea of God being stronger than the idols. Li was interested in Hong because he preached about good people who worshiped a wise God. Hong promised the Chinese people a better life—but Li's association with Hong later thrust him and his family into misery.

When Hong was in Guangxi, Li attempted to reach him, but the authorities frustrated his efforts and he returned home. A few years later, when his following was forty-five hundred strong, Hong wrote to Li's father urging them to join him in Guangxi. Again, Li attempted to join Hong, but the government forces learned of the plan, and the group was forced to disperse and flee. Li's father and his uncle were arrested and taken away. Li believed that they died in prison. His wife fled with their children to her father's home. His mother was hidden by friends. Like many other "friends and relatives of the leaders of the Taipings [who] were rooted out of their native districts and at the same time cut off from the troops of the rebellion" (Smith 1985:77), Li was forced to flee. He went first to Macao and the region surrounding Hong Kong, where he worked for over a year as a feng-shui expert.

Li was about to try to return home in 1852 when he met Hong Rengan, a relative of Hong Xiuquan who later became an important Taiping leader, and together they headed back to Hong Kong. From there they hoped to go to Nanjing where Hong had a good foothold. On their way, Hong Rengan stopped in Buji where he received instruction for baptism by the Basel missionary Hamberg. Hong Rengan and several others were baptized by Hamberg and afterward returned with him to Hong Kong. Li explained that Brother Hamberg worked with Hong Rengan because he hoped that he would influence Hong Xiuquan.

Shortly after, Li and two of his friends also met Hamberg in Hong Kong. They were all well received and Hamberg spent much time preparing them for baptism. Meanwhile, Hamberg wrote The Visions of Hung-Siu-Tshuen and Origin of the Kwang-si Insurrection (1854) based on what Hong Rengan told him. Hamberg hoped that the proceeds from the book would enable him to finance the four men's voyage to Nanjing. Lechler also returned to Hong Kong and assisted Hamberg with the lessons. As Lechler recounted, Li did not make exceptional progress with his studies. He was concerned only with the ninth commandment and the topic of lies. He thought that, for the most part, he lived righteously and had learned all he needed to long ago from Hong Xiuquan, who had taught him that God was true and that the idols were false. His main regret was that he had not been able to reach Hong in Nanjing. It was only because Rengan told him that the baptism he had received from Hong was no good that he decided to be baptized again after three months of training. As Lechler wrote, Li was baptized but had not yet realized true happiness.

In April 1854 Li and Hong Rengan had an opportunity to travel to Nanjing by way of Shanghai, but they did not reach their destination. In Shanghai, with Hamberg's letter of introduction, they were able to stay in the mission hospital. But, as Smith explains, they ran into a friend and allowed him to stay in their room. The friend left his opium pipe on the bed, and when the missionaries discovered it, the three men were forced to leave (1985:80).

Li and Hong then had a falling out because Li accused Hong of lust and carelessness. Meanwhile the news of Hamberg's death reached Shanghai and there was no way for them to reach Nanjing. As Li explained to Lechler, "I had no friend on earth, no money to get back to Hong Kong, and I thought that I would die there in misery." At that point, his life took a turn. As Li Shin En recounted, his father began to pray fervently; he considered himself a wretched sinner, but thanked the Lord for his mercy. His inner change was followed by an external sign: he rose from his prayer and saw a light and was convinced that "the Lord has his own plans for me." The Lord moved the hospital missionary to have mercy on Li Tsin Kau and gave him enough money to get back to Hong Kong. There he met Lechler, who gave him money to return home. After he visited his family he became a mission helper in Buji. In 1856 Lechler brought Li with him to Hong Kong, where he worked first at a mission hospital and then as Lechler's mission helper.

When Hong Rengan finally reached Nanjing in 1858 he wrote to Li urging him to come. Li set off for Nanjing, but then decided to turn back because he began to think that Hong Xuiquan was deceived by the devil. As Li is said to have written to Rengan, he realized that Hong's vision was wrong. Hong saw God as an angry old man in a black gown; but Li knew that he was dressed in white and was not an angry old man but a reconciled, loving father.

The remainder of Li Shin En's account of his father's life describes his commitment to the Basel mission, his role in raising his children to be staunch Christians, and his illness and death in 1885.

Having accepted the Lord's will, Li was inspired to teach the gospel to his family, so in 1858 he returned home where he found his loved ones impoverished by the war. He thanked God that they had survived and he was convinced that they should all follow the Lord. But because they could not be openly Christian there, they moved to Hong Kong. In 1859 his wife and children were baptized and became members of the Hakka Basel mission church in Sai Ying Pun.

Li urged his children to attend sermons. He organized evening prayers in his house and taught his children that it is better to be honest and poor than to be dishonest and rich, and that he had never seen a happy dishonest man. If his children wanted to celebrate his birthday, he said, they should spend it praying and doing penance. He was a strict teacher and often used the rod. As Li Shin En wrote, one could blame Li Tsin Kau for his use of the rod except that all his children say that they are thankful for their father's discipline. His motto was that it is better to be without children than to have naughty ones. The chastened child was reminded that in punishment he or she was experiencing the father's love.

Li was ill for several years before he died in 1885. He had worked for the mission for over twenty years, and several of his children continued to do so.

Tsang Fuk Ming

The first convert from Wuhua, which was then named Changle, was Cheung Fuk Hing from Zhangcun, and it was he who spread the gospel to his relative Tsui Fuk Kwong from Zhankeng Hang, the second convert in Wuhua. Cheung and Tsui were both closely related to the Tsuis and a branch of Cheungs who belong to Shung Him Tong. Tsui Fuk Kwong is largely credited with the conversion of Tsang Fuk Ming, the subject of a report written by the missionary Jacob Leonhardt to the mission headquarters in Basel (Basel Mission Archives 1889).

As Leonhardt wrote, a hundred souls were baptized in 1862 in Zhangcun. Among them were sixty-five from Nyenhang which was later to become an important mission station and the site of the middle school attended by Pang Lok Sam and several generations of the family of Pastor Ling Kai Lin. Among this first group to be baptized was Tsang Fuk Ming, who was in his sixties at the time.

Tsang Fuk Ming was one of three brothers. Of them he was the one who most resembled his father; even as a "heathen," Leonhardt points out, he was a modest, quiet person who held his parents in high esteem and who had a good reputation. His older brother followed in his grandfather's footsteps and became a geomancer or feng-shui expert, his younger brother was a farmer, and Fuk Ming did some farming and also worked as a doctor, although he had had no opportunity to go to school. He worshiped the idols because he respected them and not out of personal greed. He did not smoke opium and lived a modest life as a result, said Leonhardt, of the piety that came from the bottom of his heart. He was one of the "pious heathens" who were "made of truth," which is to say that he was closer to the truth and therefore more willing to listen to the gospel.

In 1854 Tsang Fuk Ming first learned about Christianity from a man who worked with him named Tsui who was a cousin of Tsui Fuk Kwong. Tsui told Tsang about the Lord who created heaven and earth, that the idols were nothing, about the Ten Commandments, and that Christ, God's son, was sent to save humankind. Although Tsui's preaching lacked eloquence, Tsang felt that he was telling the truth, so he asked him to invite Tsui Fuk Kwong to tell them more. Tsui Fuk Kwong came in 1855 and they prayed and discussed the commandments all night long. Many years later, Tsang Fuk Ming's son recalled to Leonhardt how as a boy he would sit up late with his father and listen to the endless conversations.

It was not easy for the early converts. Several lost their livestock and their houses were plundered. As a leader among the converts, Tsui Fuk Kwong was particularly mistreated. Because he was a doctor, Tsang Fuk Ming's life was easier than that of many Christians.

At the end of the 1850s, Tsang Fuk Ming and his relatives decided to expand their house. When they finished, the kitchen was struck by lightning and their non-Christian relatives thought it was a consequence of Fuk Ming's Christian beliefs. The lightning did not do much damage, and at least one Christian relative felt that it was a beneficent act on the Lord's part: he cleaned the house of evil spirits.

The non-Christians both feared and hated the Christians, whom they believed drove away their deities. Tsang Fuk Ming told Leonhardt that once, when he walked past a temple where people were asking advice of a spirit medium, the spirit in possession told the people that he could no longer answer their questions because of Fuk Ming's presence.

At that time there was still no chapel in the area. Sometimes the Christians met in homes; sometimes they went to see Cheung Fuk Hing or Tsui Fuk Kwong in their villages. Christians only met when it was dark so as not to "aggravate the heathen." Cheung Fuk Hing played an important role in spreading the gospel, so when Philip Winnes appeared as the first European missionary in the region in 1862, he was greeted by Tsang Fuk Ming and a number of other candidates for baptism. As Leonhardt put it, they were a flock just waiting for the shepherd.

Tsang Fuk Ming was an active Christian. Although his father had been opposed to Christianity at first, Fuk Ming managed to convert him. When they lived in different villages, Fuk Ming visited him every Sunday to discuss the gospel and praise the Lord. When his father died at 101 in 1875, he was buried against his will in a "heathen-style" burial because the majority of the family was not Christian. Fuk Ming saw his wife and most of his eight children become Christian, but he was dismayed that all his friends and family did not convert. He wanted salvation for all because he knew the fate of those who do not believe.

One day after the sermon he met his Christian son in the marketplace. Fuk Ming cursed his laxity because he feared for his salvation. It was said that he himself did not know laxity, did not desire worldly things, and refused the pleasures of this life. That is why he hated such lack of discipline in others and was particularly strict to members of his family: his severity was the answer to God's love.

When Tsang Fuk Ming died in 1889, both Christians and non-Christians attended his funeral. He stipulated in his will that he have a Christian burial and that the rest of his money be used so that his grandchildren could attend mission school. His non-Christian relatives dared not question his will because his Christian son accepted it. Disregarding the traditional belief that rain on a coffin throws the family of the deceased into disorder, Leonhardt ordered that the coffin be taken to the cemetery in the rain. No one dared to intervene, and the procession moved on as they sang and prayed.

Tsang Fuk Ming's seventh son succeeded him as a church elder. Fuk Ming's grandson also became a preacher, as did his great grandson, who was for many years the pastor at the Hakka church in Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong.

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