From what has heretofore been written on the subject in Europe and America, it is tolerably manifest that Religion in China is but little more than a great art, or combination of arts, for promoting wel fare in this present life and future salvation, by following certain lines of conduct and by propitiating or rendering harmless certain classes of invisible beings and agencies. This art is regulated by customs, rescripts, and partly also by written laws issued by the Imperial Govern ment; it is controlled to a certain extent by philosophy, and to a much larger extent by precedents set by the ancestors of the people. Many of these precedents have been unearthed by Western scholars, who have dished them up according to their lights and drawn from them many interesting conclusions. Some philosophical treatises have been translated in their entirety. But the present Religious System of the nation such as it lies open to the world has never been made a subject of serious study, neither has a picture ever been drawn of the Rites, Ceremonies, Rules of conduct and Discipline which are virtually practised by the people, nor have the ideas and doctrines which enforce them ever been sketched on an elaborate scale. In other words, Sinologists have never taken any serious pains to penetrate into the intimate Religious Life of the nation.