As the Salem missionaries passed through Asia, spreading the doctrine of the Most High God and salvation through faith, they absorbed much of the philosophy and religious thought of the various countries traversed. But the teachers commissioned by Melchizedek and his successors did not default in their trust; they did penetrate to all peoples of the Eurasian continent, and it was in the middle of the second millennium before Christ that they arrived in China. At See Fuch, for more than one hundred years, the Salemites maintained their headquarters, there training Chinese teachers who taught throughout all the domains of the yellow race.
It was in direct consequence of this teaching that the earliest form of Taoism arose in China, a vastly different religion than the one which bears that name today. Early or proto-Taoism was a compound of the following factors:
1. The lingering teachings of Singlangton, which persisted in the concept of Shang-ti, the God of Heaven. In the times of Singlangton the Chinese people became virtually monotheistic; they concentrated their worship on the One Truth, later known as the Spirit of Heaven, the universe ruler. And the yellow race never fully lost this early concept of Deity, although in subsequent centuries many subordinate gods and spirits insidiously crept into their religion.
2. The Salem religion of a Most High Creator Deity who would bestow his favor upon mankind in response to man’s faith. But it is all too true that, by the time the Melchizedek missionaries had penetrated to the lands of the yellow race, their original message had become considerably changed from the simple doctrines of Salem in the days of Machiventa.
3. The Brahman-Absolute concept of the Indian philosophers, coupled with the desire to escape all evil. Perhaps the greatest extraneous influence in the eastward spread of the Salem religion was exerted by the Indian teachers of the Vedic faith, who injected their conception of the Brahman—the Absolute—into the salvationistic thought of the Salemites.
This composite belief spread through the lands of the yellow and brown races as an underlying influence in religio-philosophic thought. In Japan this proto-Taoism was known as Shinto, and in this country, far-distant from Salem of Palestine, the peoples learned of the incarnation of Machiventa Melchizedek, who dwelt upon earth that the name of God might not be forgotten by mankind.
In China all of these beliefs were later confused and compounded with the ever-growing cult of ancestor worship. But never since the time of Singlangton have the Chinese fallen into helpless slavery to priestcraft. The yellow race was the first to emerge from barbaric bondage into orderly civilization because it was the first to achieve some measure of freedom from the abject fear of the gods, not even fearing the ghosts of the dead as other races feared them. China met her defeat because she failed to progress beyond her early emancipation from priests; she fell into an almost equally calamitous error, the worship of ancestors.
But the Salemites did not labor in vain. It was upon the foundations of their gospel that the great philosophers of sixth-century China built their teachings. The moral atmosphere and the spiritual sentiments of the times of Lao-tse and Confucius grew up out of the teachings of the Salem missionaries of an earlier age.