The cultus of the dead comes from both fear and affection. In China it is the cultus which is universal, and it may be traced back 1900 years before our era. Tablets which record the death of parents always belong to the eldest son, by whom they are worshipped, and these tablets are preserved during four or five generations.
The cultus of the dead is thus the great bond of the family, and also that of the social order from emperor to peasant. Readers of the Chinese moralists are apt to think that there is nothing in the religion but ceremony. This ceremony, however, is the adequate expression and regulation of the feeling of the people.