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Liang Fa

Liang Fa (梁發 in pinyin: liang2 fa1) (1789 - April 12, 1855), birth surname Gong (恭), courtesy name Zinan (濟南), nicknamed Ah Fa (阿發 a1 fa1), was the first Chinese Protestant preacher. He was born in Gulao Village (古勞村), San Subdistrict (三洲), Gaoming District (高明縣), Zhaoqing Subprefecture (肇慶府 zhao4 qing4 fu3), Guangdong. He came from a family of farmers and was unable to afford going to school until eleven. Four years later, due to a deteriorating family wealth, he dropped out of school and went to work, first as a pen-maker, then in printing in Guangzhou.

In 1810, as Ling Fa was employed in a printing company near the Thirteen Foreign Companies (十三洋行), he encountered Robert Morrison[?] (馬禮遜), the first Protestant missionary to China and the author of Chinese-English Dictionary (《華英字典》), and William Milne (米憐), who were translating the Bible and asked the company Liang Fa worked for to print it.

Liang Fa went to Malacca with Milne in 1815 after Milne was not permitted to preach by the Qing government. On November 3, he was baptized by Milne.

The baptism caused Liang Fa to be interested in missionary work in China. In April 1819, he returned to his hometown and married Li-shi (黎氏), whom he baptized next year. In 1821, he was ordained as a preacher by Morrison in Macau. He wrote and printed by himself a booklet, The Benevolent Words to Advise the World (《勸世良言》 Quan Shi Liang Yan), that was distributed to scholars coming to Guangzhou to take the civil service examinations. Hong Xiuquan read the booklet numerous times and it influenced his philosophy.

Liang Fa preached in Guangzhou and Hong Kong until he died at the age of 67. He was buried in his ancestral cemetery in Phoenix Crest (鳳凰岡).

Publications

In addition to The Benevolent Words to Advise the World, Liang also published:

  • The Essentials on Mastering Theology (《熟學聖理略論》 Shouxue Shengli Luelun)
  • Simple Explanations to the Questions and Answers of the Truth (《真理問答淺解》 Zhenli Wen Da Qian Jie)
  • Seeking the Source of the True Way (《真道尋源》 Zhendao Xun Yuan)
  • On Souls (《靈魂篇》 Linghun Pian)
  • On Heresy (《異端論》 Yiduan Lun)
  • Convenient Uses of Introductory Bible Sunday Classes (《聖經日課初學便用》 Shengjing Rike Chuxue Bianyong)
  • Prayers and God-Praising Poems (《祈禱文贊神詩》 Qidao Wen Zanzhu Shi)

Liang also created The Monthly Total Record of the Inspection of the Worldly Customs (《察世俗每月統記傳》 Cha Shisu Meiyue Tongji Zhuan), one of the first Chinese magazines.



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