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 The Visions of Hong Xiuquan 1836



The delirium of Hong Xiuquan

 From: Life of Tai-ping-wang, chief of the Chinese insurrection

by Milton Makie  1857

Hong went to Guangzhou again  in 1836 at the age of 22 to take the Confucian state examinations , again failed and was seized with a violent fever upon returning home .and two days after was much worse, with occasional attacks of delirium. He therefore called his parents and other relatives to assemble at his bedside, and addressed them in the following terms : — ' My days are counted, and my life will soon be closed. O my parents ! how badly have I returned the favour of your love to me ! I shall never attain a name that may reflect its lustre upon you.' After this he lost all strength and command over his body .He was seen by two doctors, who could do nothing for him . Perhaps he was having a nervous breakdown .


He fell into a trance, during which his visions were not only much more connected than usual, but so vivid, that he afterwards distinctly remembered them, and believed them to be realities. This dream opened with the sight of a very large procession approaching him from a distance. It came on with music, and banners flying ; with lanterns, and lighted torches ; with artificial dragons, and dire chimeras ; escorted by men-at-arms, and mandarins' horsemen ; and preceded by volleys of fire-crackers. When the procession arrived where Xiuquan was, a splendid red and gilt sedan-chair was set down before him, and, on entering it, he was borne away as in triumph.

A New Heart

After that he entered a palace, There Xiuquan found a large company of venerable men assembled, including some of the ancient sages, and among them the illustrious surgeon Chin- kwei, who had lived on earth in the Liang dynasty. He had been called in to perform, in the presence of a crowd of worthies, the act of changing the heart of the newly-arrived mortal. Having his instruments duly arranged, he ordered the patient to make bare his breast. When this had been done, he removed the heart, and neighboring parts, from Xiuquan's body in less time than it had taken him to pull off his jacket. An attendant standing by with a celestial and brilliantly-red heart in his hand, doctor Chin-kwei clapped it into the place of the one which had been extracted, and sewed up the wound so cleverly that when Xiuquan put on his clothes again, he could no longer discern the scar. He is then introduced to his Heavenly Mother who cleanses him in the river so that he may be taken back to meet his Heavenly Father. Hong's father is tall, wears a black robe, and has a long golden beard that reaches his abdomen.


The operation was attended with no pain whatsoever. He is then introduced to his Heavenly Mother who cleanses him in the river so that he may be taken back to meet his Heavenly Father. Hong's father is tall, wears a black robe, and has a long golden beard that reaches his abdomen. Xiuquan was now allowed to go into the presence of the lord of the palace. A number of the venerable sages, who had been present at the operation of his change of heart, escorted him on his way through the halls and courts of the extensive pile of buildings. Its internal magnificence equaled that of the exterior. Xiuquan passed through marble halls beautifully decorated with inlaid stones of great value ; through apartments hung with magnificently-embroidered tapestry ; through others entirely covered with gilding ; and others still, which were stained with the most brilliant colors, and their walls adorned either with paintings, or tablets, exhorting to virtue.

 Xiuquan was amazed at all this splendor, and came quite confounded into the presence of the lord of the mansion. Venerable in years, having a long golden beard hanging down his breast, and solemnly robed in black, this personage sat upon an elevated throne, and received the stranger with dignity, but much feeling. He was even affected to tears, and briefly said, "All the human beings in the world are created and sustained by me ; yet, though they eat my food and wear my clothing, not one of them all remembers and venerates me ; they even take of my gifts and pervert them to the worship of demons ; they purposely rebel against me, and arouse my anger. Imitate them not."

King Yan in a Chinese Hell museum, where one can see

the tortures that await the wicked in the afterlife .

When the aged lord of the palace had finished this speech, he gave  Xiuquan a sword, telling him to exterminate the demons with it ; also a seal which should give him power over evil spirits ; and a yellow fruit from the tree of life which was sweet to the taste. His father tells him of the harm done by the demon-devils and gives Hong permission to do battle with them in Heaven. Hong battles their leader, King Yan

(  閻王  Yan Wan also known as 閻羅王  Yanluo Wang) , the King of hell, defeats him, and then spares him as instructed to do by his Heavenly Father. In Chinese mythology, King Yan is not only the ruler but also the judge of the underworld and passes judgment on all the dead. During the struggle his elder brother stands behind him and puts the other demons to flight by a bright light, which emanates from a golden seal. After he has defeated King Yan and the demon-devils, Hong is returned to earth by his celestial father so that he may destroy their terrestrial counterparts. Then, exhorting him to take courage for the work it was given him to do, and promising his constant assistance and protection, he dismissed him from his presence.


Meets Jesus

 Xiuquan was approached by a person of middle age, whom he afterwards called Jesus, his "elder brother," and who led him away to the top of the tower belonging to the palace. Thence showing him the earth in the distance, he said, " Behold the people in yonder world ; they are wicked in all the thoughts of their hearts." Thereupon, Xiuquan, looking over the face of the earth, saw that it was indeed full of wickedness ; and his eyes not being able to endure the sight of much iniquity, he awoke from his trance. He then gave  During similar visitations, recurring over a period of about forty days according to Taiping lore to relate to the 40 days in the desert of Jesus  ( probably only a few in reality ), he: often met a middle-aged man, designated by him as Elder Brother, who instructed him in the extermination of demons. For six years after his illness Xiuquan continued to teach in village schools, and it was probably at this time that he was a fortune teller, wandering through Guangdong and Hunan. Although his manner was dignified, his remarks were often peculiar and eccentric.

When  Xiuquan awoke from his trance, being fully convinced of the reality of what he had seen in imagination, he arose, tottered into the presence of his father, and, making a low bow, said, The venerable old man above has commanded that all men shall turn to me, and all treasures shall flow to me." the next day,  Xiuquan was more furious. than ever. He leaped about in his narrow room, fighting like a soldier with sword in hand. At the same time he shouted aloud, crying repeatedly, " Tsan jan, tsan jan, tsan ah! tsan ah " that is, "Slay the demons, slay the demons, slay, slay !" He was in imagination pursuing the enemies of " the old man," having in one hand the sword which had been given him, and in the other the seal.


Believing that he had gone mad, his family kept him confined to his room. Some person had most of the time to watch at his door, to prevent his running out of the house. He was known through the village as the madman.

According to legend, at the end of forty days, the son of he was restored to health of both body and mind ; and there was an end of his visions. Over time as the illness subsided Hong became more serene, and lacking a viable interpretation of his dreams, returned to his studies. Despite his hard work, he failed the exams two more times. During ten long years the pious tracts of Liang Fa had lain undisturbed on the shelf of  Xiuquan ; but the dust was at length to be brushed from their covers, and they were to be a light in his path, to lighten him until he should ascend the steps of a throne, and fulfill the divine purpose of converting millions of men from the error of idolatry.




  Early Life

of Hong Xiuquan


Xiuquan Rereads

the Tracts