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  Service in a Taiping Church 




Service in a Taiping Church

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From : Ti-Ping Tien-Kwoh The History of

 the Ti-Ping Revolution

Augustus F. Lindley  1866


According to Lindley Augustus, who spent some time among the Taipings each day with the rising sun

Taiping prayers would start at the morning prayers in the " Heavenly Hall." Here, from about six o'clock till seven. The men and women were separated by occupying different sides of the Hall, After
a long form of supplication, the anthem was chanted, followed by a doxology and hymn ; the officiating minister then closed the service by reading a written prayer, which when finished was always set on fire and consumed.


About an hour after prayers the great drums at the palace entrance would sound for the morning meal. When the family were assembled, the following form of grace was given by the master of the house:


"Heavenly Father, the Great God, bless us thy little ones. Give us day by day food to eat and clothes to wear. Deliver us from evil and calamity, and receive oirr souls into heaven."


After breakfast the household would disperse upon their various daily occupations, — the ladies to their private apartments, there to employ themselves with embroidering the exquisitely ornamented shoes and silken garments in vogue among the Ti-pings, to perform more domestic duties, or amuse themselves with music and singing.


Li Xiucheng was aware that the Taiping form of Christianity was not the same as that prcticed by the europeans. To this, he said " You ( Europeans) have had the Gospel for upwards of 1800 years, we only, as it were, eight days. Your knowledge of it ought to be correct and extensive ; ours must necessarily be limited and imperfect. You must therefore bear with us for the present, and we will gradually improve. As for the Gospel, it is one, and must be propagated throughout the world. Let the ' Foreign Brethren ' all know that we are determined to uproot idolatry, and plant Christianity in its place.'"


Pages of a Taiping Bible


Taiping religious services were held on Saturday due to an error with the Taiping colander . They had their own hymns and a bible, with selections from an early translation by  Karl Gutzlaff.  The emphasis in Taiping Christianity was on the Old Testament rather than the New Testament.

Teaching the Bible

From : Ti-Ping Tien-Kwoh The History of

 the Ti-Ping Revolution

Augustus F. Lindley  1866


Taiping and queue wearing Chinese


The Taipings cut off their queues and stopped shaving the front of their heads, which all non Manchus had to do as a sign of subservience to the Manchus. Only those in mourning did not have to shave the front of their heads. The long hair of the Taipings earned the nickname 'Chang Mao'  (長毛) and Long Hairs by foreigners. the Taipings often wore yellow or red turbans .


 Taiping Books 


There was a great emphasis by the Taipings in using publishing to spread their faith. Hong Xiuquan was very impressed with the Christian missionaries use of pamphlets and tracts and bookmakers were conscripted for use in the Heavenly Capital. There were 44 official Taiping books published between 1852 and 1862 which were distributed in large quantities, only 38 of the ordinal 44 books survive in their original  form. Confucian classics were proscribed and burned. The official Taiping books are as follows:


Tian fu shang di yen di huang chao  1852


Tian fu xia fan chao shu 1852 (Book of declarations of the divine will made during the Heavely Father's descent to Earth -  Accounts of Gods descent to Earth in the person of Yang Xiuqing - only Yang was used as God's 'medium.')


Chiu I chao sheng shu ( The sacred book of the Old Testament ) 1853


Hsin I chao sheng shu ( The sacred book of the New Testament ) 1853


Tien ming chao zhi shu  ( Book of the Heavenly decrees and Proclamations ) 1853


Tian tiao shu (Ten Commandments) 1852


Taiping tien jih ( Taiping Heavenly Chronicle - God described as wearing a black dragon robe and golden beard - God has a wife who gave birth to Jesus,Hong Xiuquan and Yang Xiuqing)


Taiping chao shu  (Taiping Imperial Declaration - Proclomations for the enlightenment of the age and awakening the age by Hong Xiuquan ) 1852


Taiping li zhi  ( Taiping social decorum - proper addresses of all ranks) 1852


Taiping chun mu 1852


Taiping tiao gui  (Taiping Rules and Regulations - separations of men's and women's camps  )1852


Pan xing chao shu  (Proclamations by imperial sanction )1852


Yu xue shi ( Ode to youth) 1852


Taiping jiu shih ko  ( Taiping songs on world salvation - God has the only true spirit or shen - the story of creation ) 1853


Chien Tian ching yu chin ling lun 1853


Pien yao xue wei tsui li lun 1853


Chao shu kai yun pan xing lun 1853


Tian chao tian mou zhi du ( Land system of the Heavenly Dynasty - economic ideals,land regulations and principles of common sharing collective ownership of land - sharing through sacred treasuries  )1853


San zi qing 1853 (primer)


Pan zu ching ( Taiping calendar)


Tian li yao lun 1854


Tain qing dao li shu  ( Book on the principles of the Heavenly nature by the Kan Wang  - The evils of idolatry  )1854


Yu zhi qian zu chao 1854


Xing chun tsung yao 1855


Tian fu shi  ( Poems by the Heavenly Father )1857


If you go to the rescue of others in danger

Heaven will help you when you are in danger

Look at the calamity and misery of others as if it were your own

Look at the hunger and cold of others as if it were your own

To live for others is to live for God

Never pretend you do not know the truth

And let your opportunity slip by


Xing shi wen 1858

Wang chang zu hsiung ching mu ching er kung cheng fu yin shu ( Gospel jointly witnessed and heard by the Imperial eldest and second eldest brothers ) 1860

Zu cheng xin pian 1859

Chi wei jiu nian hui shi 1859

Chi wei jiu nian hui shi di 1859

Kan wang hung pao chi

Shi chieh tiao li 1861

Yu chu chao shu

Ying chieh gui chen 1861

Chun zu shi lu 1861

Chu yao xi wen 1861


Other books

Yu chu yuan kung ( The young monarch's confession )


Taiping Marriage 




A Taiping girl

According to Lindley Augustus, who spent some time among the Taipings, marriages were generally love matches and not arranged marriages. The bride and groom proceed to the church and after many prayers and a severe examination of the bride and bride groom's theological tenets, the minister joins their right hands together, and when each have accepted the other, pronounces a concluding benediction in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To the best of my belief divorce is not only not permitted, but actually unknown or thought of. Adultery is punishable with death.


Taiping Doctines 

The Christian doctrine of human depravity lies at the foundation of the religious belief of the insurgents. They acknowledge that they have sinned against the great God, and they hope to be forgiven on repenting of their misdeeds, and obeying the orders of the Taiping-wang dynasty. Those who fall in battle are promised, by the chiefs, a direct translation into a heaven of ever-during felicity ; while those who fly from the enemy, or transgress the commands of their superiors, will be doomed to the pains of an eternal hell.


A Taiping Old Testament, published in the third year of the Heavenly Kingdom. The Taipings stressed the Old Testament rather than the New. The Taipings used their own calendar, starting from the founding of the founding in 1851. Note the dragons and phoenixes paing homage to the sun, a symbol for Hong Xiuquan

The Taipings used the 囯 character in official documents and coins rather than 國, perhaps to make a statement about the 'holy' nature of their state or the many wangs, kings ( 王 'wangs ) used by them.It may also have come from the Taipings copying the calligraphy style of the Song Dynasty .


The idea of an atonement made for the sins of the world by Jesus, the celestial elder brother, appears in many of the writings of the insurgents ; but it is not probable that they have any very clear understanding of this doctrine. The Christian Bible translated by Karl Gutzlaffhas been put into the hands of the insurgents ; and portions of it have been republished.. But the moral and religious writings of the insurgent chiefs, both in prose and verse, are also received as inspired scriptures, and re more generally, circulated among them.and every person is taught the Ten Commandments given by God to the ancient Hebrews. Of these their interpretation is extremely rigid. They say, for example amorous glances, the harboring of lustful imaginations, the smoking of opium, and the singing of libidinous songs must all be considered as violations of the seventh commandment."


Court of the Zhong Wang Li Xiucheng


For adultery and opium-smoking the penalty is death ; and. strings of heads, seen hanging at the corners of the streets in Nanjing by foreign visitors, testify to the strictness with which the law is executed. Gambling, also, and even the common use of wine and tobacco, are prohibited. The insurgents observe one day in seven as a Sabbath ; but, by an astronomical error, this falls on Saturday. On this day homilies are delivered to the people by the chiefs, or others thereto appointed ; hymns are sung; prayers are read; and sacrifices are offered of animal food, wine, tea, and rice. During the chanting of the hymns, the worshipers sit; and they kneel during prayers. The land, which is considered as belonging to the celestial king, is divided into portions called mows, being about the sixth of an acre, and which are distributed into nine classes, according to their productiveness.


The Taiping land program was based on the nine grades found in The Rites of Zhou(Chou)周禮/周礼 one of the ancient classics, describing the supposed utopian state in the ancient Zhou Dynasty.All would receive an equal amount of land, based on productivity, excess would be stored in a public granary.

Each family has a certain extent of ground assigned it for cultivation, the size of which depends on the number and age of the members "Having fields," say the celestial regulations, "let them cultivate them together ; and, when they get any rice, let them eat it together ; so, also, with regard to clothes and money, let them use them in common, so that every one may share and share alike, and every one be equally well fed and clothed." every circle of twenty-five families there must be a public granary and a church despite the communal nature of the pronouncements, the Taipings were usually forced to keep landlord-tenant relationship of the Qings .






 Fall of Nanjing,

The Death of Hong Xiuquan