CHAPTER 27--AS RIVERS OF WATER IN A DRY PLACE--DECEMBER 1855. AET. 23

" AND a man shall be as a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest ; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." Spoken primarily of the Lord and wholly true of Him alone, yet how often these words find a limited and human but very blessed fulfilment in an earthly friendship through which He comes to us in time of need. Thus it was for Hudson Taylor in the friendship of William Burns.

Alone, perplexed and disappointed, he had indeed come to a time of need. The restrictions imposed upon him as a Protestant missionary, compared with the liberty granted to priests of the Romish Church, opened up a difficulty he had not anticipated in his evangelistic work. And how formidable it might prove.

" Forbidden to reside on the island," he had written to Mr. Pearse on his return journey from Tsung-ming, " and finding that even travelling into the country and remaining for a short time is an infringement of the Treaty which may be visited by a fine of five hundred dollars, I have thought it best to write privately and enquire whether, in case I should be fined ... the Society would be responsible for the sum ? Also whether, if circumstances should make it possible for me to go to the interior, giving up all claim to Consular protection, you would approve my doing so ? Should I be left free to follow this course ? Or would the Society object to one of their missionaries adopting such a position ?

" Although the attempt to rent a house and reside in Tsung-ming has met with failure, we must be very thankful for what has been accomplished. I have every reason to hope that three of those who profess to believe in the Lord Jesus are sincere, and if so the results will last to all eternity. May God watch over them and bless them. At the same time it makes it all the harder to give up the work. Also I cannot hide from myself that the results to the landlord and others for having received us may be serious in the extreme. . , . All we can do is to pray for their protection. ' It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.' God grant that in this we may not be confounded, for should any who are not believers suffer on our account, it would indeed be grievous.

" Pray for me-pray for me ! I greatly need your prayers. I do not want on the one hand to flee from danger, nor on the other to court troubles, or from lack of patience to hinder future usefulness, I do need more grace, more of the spirit of my Master, more entire resignation to the will of God, and greater boldness too. These Mandarins are for the most part treacherous and cruel in the extreme. ... It will need no small faith to go amongst them without hope of protection, save from Him to Whom `all power' is given. I know we ought to desire no more. Would I were living in that state of grace."

The British Minister was expected shortly, but Hudson Taylor was in uncertainty about bringing the case before him. Sir John Bowring was not likely to be in sympathy with aggressive missionary effort, and should he confirm the Consul's. action it would only add to the difficulties of a situation already trying enough. And yet what was to be done ? Stay in Shanghai he could not, where so many, comparatively, were occupying the field. But to travel or attempt to live in the interior had become -a serious matter.

" I shall probably appeal against the Consular decision," he continued a few days later.1-{1- A letter from the South Gate to Mr. Pearse, dated December 7, 1855.} " I feel the importance of this case in many respects. It will test the footing on which Protestant missionaries really stand, and if I am still forbidden to reside in the interior will at any rate prevent its being said that while Romish priests deny themselves the pleasures of society, etc., to live among the Chinese, we are not willing to do so.

" The Gospel must be preached among this people, and if owned of God the opposition of Satan is sure to be roused. May the Lord give us grace and boldness to do our duty regardless of consequences, and at the same time wisdom to avoid unnecessary dangers."

But Sir John Bowring was unaccountably delayed just then. He did not arrive by the mail-steamer on which he was expected, nor by the next. This gave time for further thought and prayer ; and meanwhile Hudson Taylor was brought into contact with the one prepared of God to help him.

Beloved all over Scotland by those to whom he had been made a blessing, the name of William Burns was in the best sense a household word. For where in town or country was there a Christian family that did not recall with thankfulness the Revival of r839 ? The young evangelist of those days, moving in Pentecostal power from place to place, everywhere accompanied by marvellous tokens of the divine presence and blessing, had become the toil-worn missionary-his hair already tinged with grey, his spirit more mellow though no less fervent, his sympathies enlarged through experience and deeper fellowship with the sufferings of Christ.1- {1-'' For details of this truly Apostolic life, see Memoir of the Rev. William Burns, M.A., by his brother, the Rev. Islay Bums, D.D.}

Just returned to China after his first and only furlough, Mr. Burns had not resumed, as might have been expected, his former successful work. Others were caring for the little flock in the neighbourhood of Amoy, and prayerful interest would never be lacking for so encouraging a field. If difficulties arose he could at once return ; but failing any special need, he felt strongly drawn to the Yang-tze Valley and a service no one had as yet been able to render.

Nan-king was on his heart, and the unknown leaders of the Tai-ping movement in whose hands the future of China still seemed to lie. No missionary had hitherto succeeded in reaching them, though the rebel king had earnestly pleaded for Christian teachers to aid in the great work of national regeneration upon which he thought himself embarked. Certainly if any one in China could have strengthened him for this hopeless task it would have been William Bums, with his easy mastery of the language, intense force of character and deeply prayerful spirit. But as events had already proved, this was not the purpose for which he had been brought to central China.

Unsuccessful in his attempt to reach Nan-king, Mr. Burns had returned to Shanghai by the southern reaches of the Grand Canal, much impressed with the need and accessibility of that part of the country. With the concurrence of the local missionaries, all too few to meet the overwhelming needs, he had devoted himself for several months to its evangelisation-living on boats in very simple style, and travelling up and down the endless waterways spread like a network over the vast alluvial plain. Thus it was that in the providence of God he was still in that locality when Hudson Taylor returned from Tsung-ming, and engaged in the very work so dear to the younger missionary's heart.

Where and how they met does not appear, but one can readily believe that they were drawn together by sympathies of no ordinary kind. The grave, keen-eyed Scotsman soon detected in the English missionary a kindred spirit, and one sorely in need of help that he might give. The attraction was mutual. Each was without a companion, and before long they had arranged to join forces in the work to which both felt specially called.

In a little house at the South Gate or on Mr. Burns's boat almost the first subject they would discuss would be the difficulty about Tsung-ming with its bearing on the future, and it was not long before the spiritual point of view of the older man seemed to change the whole situation. It was not a question really of standing on one's rights, or claiming what it might be justifiable to claim. Why deal with second causes ? Nothing would have been easier for the Master to Whom " All power " is given than to have established His servant permanently on the island, had He so desired it. And of what use was it, if He had other plans, to attempt' to carry the thing through on the strength of Government help ? No, " the servant of the Lord must not strive," but must be willing to be led by just such indications of the divine will, relying not on the help of man to accomplish a work of his own choosing, but on the unfailing guidance, resources and purposes of God.

And so, very thankfully, Hudson Taylor came to realise that all was well. A measure of trial, had been allowed, over which perhaps he had felt unduly discouraged. But all was in wise and loving hands. Nothing the Lord permitted could lastingly hinder His own work. And all the while had He not been preparing for His servant this unexpected blessing, by far the most helpful companionship he had ever known ?

TENTH JOURNEY : December January 1856

It was the middle of December when Hudson Taylor left Shanghai once more, setting out on his tenth evangelistic journey, the first with Mr. Bums.1- {1-Residence on Tsung-wing had been forbidden, but he saw no reason why he should not accompany another missionary to whose itinerations no objection had been raised.}Travelling in two boats, each with their Chinese helpers and a good supply of literature, they were at the same time independent and a comfort to one another.2- {2- Mr. Taylor had his teacher with him, but Tsien and Kuei-hua had been sent to the island of Hai-men in response to an urgent invitation from two gentlemen, brothers, who had received books on Mr. Taylor's visit with Mr. Burdon and desired to learn more of the way of Salvation. They rejoined Mr. Taylor at Nan-zin just after the New Year.} Practical and methodical in all his ways, Mr. Burns had a line of his own in such work that his companion was glad to follow.

Choosing an important centre, in this case the town of Nan-zin, just south of the Great Lake, in Cheh-kiang, they remained there eighteen days, including Christmas and the New Year. Every morning they set out early with a definite plan, sometimes working together and sometimes separating to visit different parts of the town. Mr. Bums believed in beginning quietly on the outskirts of a place in which foreigners had rarely if ever been seen, and working his way by degrees to the more crowded quarters. Accordingly they gave some days to the suburban streets, preaching whenever a number of people collected and giving away Gospels and tracts. This was repeated in all the quieter parts of the town, gradually approaching its centre, until at length they could pass along the busiest streets without endangering the shopkeepers' tempers as well as their wares. Then they visited temples, schools and tea-shops, returning regularly to the most suitable places for preaching. These were usually tea-shops on quiet thoroughfares, on open spaces left by demolished buildings. Announcing after each meeting when they would come again, they had the satisfaction of seeing the same faces frequently, and interested hearers could be invited to the boats for private conversation.

Of those busy days, always begun and ended with prayer with their Chinese helpers, many details are given in Mr. Taylor's letters, including the following glimpse into a tea-shop, showing how their evenings were spent.

It was December 28, and after addressing large, attentive audiences in the earlier part of the day, the afternoon had been given to visitors who sought them out on their boats. Darkness had fallen before they could think of supper, after which lighting their lanterns they sallied forth into the winter night. It was not far to the tea-shops at which they were expected, and an unseen Friend must have been present with them, for Mr. Taylor's journal simply records 'We were greatly blessed."

" I wish I could picture the scene," he continues. " Imagine a large dimly lighted room, on a level with the ground, filled with square tables and narrow forms, so arranged that eight persons might be seated at each table. . . . Scattered about the room, a number of working men were drinking tea and smoking long bamboo pipes with brass heads, while a boy with a copper kettle went to and fro from the fire place with boiling water.

" Hardly had we entered before Mr. Burn's lantern began to attract attention. It was an ordinary lantern such as one often sees in England, with glass on three sides and a plated mirror to reflect the light, but quite a curiosity here. Around us soon gathered a group of questioners, some of whom were educated, and the rest workmen of more or less intelligence. . . . I was in native dress of course, and Mr. Bums had on a Chinese gown that hid all but his collar, shoes, and a cap the peak of which he had taken off, so there was not much about him to look at.

"Before long the conversation became interesting. We did not have to make a way so to speak for the Gospel, it was drawn from us by their own questions. One asked, ` Are all the idols false ? ' and another, `What benefits arise from believing in Jesus ? ' ` If Jesus is in heaven, how can we worship Him here ? ' was a very natural question ; while one who had not understood much said earnestly, `Take me to see God and Jesus, and then I can believe on them.' The boy, too, as he went about filling the cups, would put his kettle down upon the table, and folding his arms over it listen to what was being said.

" Some present urged Mr. Bums to have his head shaved (in front) and wear a Chinese cap as I did. They were sure he would look much better so ! And one man who has followed us from place to place insisted on paying for our tea, a sum equal nearly to a penny... .

" We were enabled to speak plainly on many topics, and best of all our Master was with us." 1 {I Extracted from Mr. Taylor's journal for December 28, 1855, and from a letter of the same date.}

The hint given in the tea-shop was not without effect, though other more important considerations decided Mr. Burns upon the step of which he tells in the following letter. Ever since leaving Shanghai he had not failed to notice the benefit derived by his companion from wearing Chinese dress. Although so much younger and in every way less experienced, Mr. Taylor had the more attentive hearers and was occasionally asked into private houses, he himself being requested to wait outside, as the disturbance occasioned by his presence would make attention impossible. The riff-raff of the crowd always seemed to gather round the preacher in foreign dress, while those who wished to hear what was being said followed his less noticeable friend. The result was a conclusion come to that night if not previously, and communicated to his mother a few weeks later

TWENTY-FIVE MILES FROM SHANGHAI,January 26, 1856.

Taking advantage of a rainy day which confines me to my boat, I pen a few lines in addition to a letter to Dundee containing particulars which I need not repeat.

It is now forty-one days since I left Shanghai on this last occasion. An excellent young English missionary, Mr. Taylor of the Chinese Evangelisation Society, has been my companion, he in his boat and I in mine, and we have experienced much mercy, and on some occasions considerable assistance in our work....

I must once more tell the story I have had to tell more than once already, how four weeks ago, on the 29th of December, I put on Chinese dress, which I am now wearing. Mr. Taylor had made this change a few months before, and I found that he was in consequence so much less incommoded in preaching, etc., by the crowd, that I concluded that it was my duty to follow his example... .

We have a large, very large, field of labour in this region, though it might be difficult in the meantime for one to establish himself in any particular place. The people listen with attention, but we need the power from on high to convince and convert. Is there any spirit of prayer on our behalf among God's people in Kilsyth ? Or is there any effort to seek this spirit ? How great the need is, and how great the arguments and motives for prayer in this case ! The harvest here is indeed great, and the labourers are few and imperfectly fitted, without much grace, for such a work. And yet grace can make a few, feeble instruments the means of accomplishing great things-things greater even than we can conceive.

This change into Chinese dress was found to have so many advantages that Mr. Burns never again resumed European clothing. Among the people of Nan-zin it was received with cordial favour. Returning from the tea-shop a few days later, both the missionaries were invited by one who had been present to go with him to his home and repeat there the wonderful Story. It was evening, and they had already been preaching for a couple of hours, but such invitations were none too frequent and they gladly accompanied him. .

" It was very interesting," wrote Hudson Taylor to one of his sisters, " to see all the family collected . . . that we might speak to them of Him Who died to atone for the sins of the world. Close to me was a bright little girl about ten years of age, her arms crossed upon the table and her head resting on them. Beside her was her brother, an intelligent boy of fourteen. Next came Mr. Burns and on his other side a young man of twenty, and so on. The men sat round the table, while the mother, two older daughters and another woman kept in the background, half out of sight. While I was speaking, as I did on their account, of the prayers of my mother and sister before my conversion, I noticed that they were attending closely. Oh, may God give China Christian mothers and sisters before long ! Returning to our boats, I could not help tears of joy and thankfulness that we had been induced to adopt this costume, without which we could never have such access to the people."

Of the comfort of the dress there could be no doubt. " It is real winter now," wrote Mr. Taylor on New Year's eve, " and the north wind is very cutting. But instead of being almost ` starved to death ' as I was last year, I am now, thanks to the Chinese costume, thoroughly comfortable and as warm as toast.

" Indeed, we have many mercies to be thankful for. A good boat, costing about two shillings a day, gives me a nice little room to myself, one in front for my servant to sleep in, used in the day-time for receiving guests, and a cabin behind for my teacher, as well as a place for cooking, storing books, etc. My tiny room has an oyster-shell window that gives light while it prevents people from peeping in, . a table at which I write and take meals, . . . a locker on which my bed is spread at night, . . . and a seat round the remaining space, so that two visitors, or even three, can be accommodated. For family worship we open the doors in front and behind my cabin, and then the boatpeople, teachers, servant and Mr. Bums can all join in the service... .

"How very differently our Master was lodged ! ` Nowhere to lay His head.' And this for my sins-amazing thought. ... Then I am no longer my own. Bought with His precious blood . . . Oh, may I be enabled to glorify Him with my whole spirit, soul and body, which are His."

Deep as his longing had ever been for likeness to and fellowship with the Lord, Hudson Taylor was increasingly conscious of this heart-hunger in companionship with William Burns. He too had found how sadly possible it is to be professedly a witness for Christ amid the darkness of a heathen land, " and yet breathe little of the love of God or the grace of the Gospel." Nothing was more real to him than the fact that a low-level missionary life can, and too often does, make even " the cross of Christ . . . of none effect." But great and many though the dangers may be, and the pressure brought to bear on every missionary to lower his spiritual standards and draw him away from living contact with the Lord, Mr. Burns had proved the faithfulness of that divine Master in coming to the help of His own.

" I was preaching last Sabbath day," he wrote on one occasion, " from Matthew 24. 12, `because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold'; and alas ! I felt they were solemnly applicable to my own state of heart. Unless the Lord the Spirit continually uphold and quicken, oh how benumbing is daily contact with heathenism ! But the Lord is faithful, and has promised to be 'as rivers of water in a dry ace, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.' May you and all God's professing people in a land more favoured, but alas ! more guilty also, experience much of the Lord's own presence, power and blessing ; and when the enemy comes in as a flood, may the Spirit of the Lord-nay, it is said ` the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him: "

Upon such promises he counted, and he had not found them fail. The presence of the Lord was the one thing real to him in China as it had been at home. " He did not consider that he had a warrant to proceed in any sacred duty," his biographer tells us, " without a consciousness of that divine presence. Without it, he could not speak even to a handful of little children in a Sunday School ; with it he could stand unabashed before the mightiest and wisest in the land."

Ruled by such a master-principle, it was no wonder there was something about his life that impressed and attracted others even while it inspired a sense of awe. The brightest lamp will burn dim in an impure or rarefied atmosphere, but William Burns was enabled so to keep himself " in the love of God " that he was but little affected by his surroundings. Prayer was as natural to him as breathing, and the Word of God as necessary as daily food.1-{1-His whole life was literally a life of prayer, and his whole ministry a series of battles fought at the mercy-seat." Who among us has the spirit of prayer? " he wrote from Swatow. " They are mighty who have this spirit, and weak who have it not."" In digging in the field of the Word," said an intimate friend, " he threw up now and then great nuggets which formed part of one's spiritual wealth every after."" He was mighty in the Scriptures, and his greatest power in preaching was the way in which he used ' the Sword of the Spirit ' upon men's consciences and hearts.... Sometimes one might have thought, in listening to his solemn appeals, that one was hearing a new chapter in the Bible when first spoken by a living prophet."Quoted from the Memoir by the Rev. Islay Bums, D.D., pp. 545, 237,549.} He was always cheerful, always happy, witnessing to the truth of his own memorable words

I think I can say, through grace, that God's presence or absence alone distinguishes places to me.

Simplicity in living was his great delight. " He enjoyed quietness and the luxury of having few thins to take care of," and thought the happiest state on earth #r a Christian was " that he should have few wants."

" If a man have Christ in his heart," he used to say, " heaven before his eyes, and only as much of temporal blessing as is just needful to carry him safely through life, then pain and sorrow have little to shoot at.... To be in union with Him Who is the Shepherd of Israel, to walk very near, Him Who is both sun and shield, comprehends all a poor sinner requires to make him happy between this and heaven." 1-{1 Quoted from the Memoir by the Rev. Islay Burns, D.D., p. 551.}

Cultured, genial and overflowing with mother-wit, he was a delightful companion, and the contrast-for those who knew him in China-was very marked between " the mind and thoughts so trained to higher things and the heart so content with that which was lowly." A wonderful fund of varied anecdotes gave charm to his society, and he was generous in recalling his experiences for the benefit of others. Many a time his life had been in danger in Ireland and elsewhere at the hands of a violent mob, and the stories he had to tell could not but encourage faith and zeal, although at times they might provoke a smile.

" The devil's dead," shouted one Irish voice above the uproar of a crowd determined to put an end to his streetpreaching. It was a perilous moment, for the shower of mud and stones was increasing and there was no possibility of escape should the rougher element prevail. But the quick-witted reply, touched with sarcasm, " Ah then, you aye a Poor fatherless bairn ! " not only won the day, but carried home a deeply solemn lesson.

Sacred music was his delight, greatly to the satisfaction of his young companion. Many were the hymns they sang together both in English and Chinese, Hudson Taylor no doubt appreciating Mr. Burns's rendering of these into colloquial words and phrases, for the use of the illiterate. Their intercourse with one another was carried on almost entirely in the language of their native helpers. Mr. Burns " lived by choice and habitually in a Chinese element," and with this line of things and the courtesy it indicated toward those around them, Hudson Taylor was in fullest sympathy. The fact that they did not belong to the same missionary society, the same denomination, the same country even, made no difference in their relations. Burns was far too large-hearted to be narrowed by circumstances or creeds. " He was at home with all Protestant Christians," and co-operated with missionaries of many societies, German, English and American, with the greatest goodwill and the most Catholic spirit, aiming at the advancement of the Kingdom of God rather than of his own particular cause.

Yet his faithfulness to conviction was unflinching, and his testimony against wrong-doing never withheld. His denunciations of sin could be terrible, strong men cowering before them, pale and trembling, under an overwhelming sense of the divine presence. He did not hesitate, for example, on this very journey, to mount the stage of a Chinese theatre in the presence of thousands of people and stop an immoral play in full swing, calling upon the audience gathered under the open heavens to repent of their iniquities and turn to the living God.

But it was toward himself he was most of all severe, in the true apostolic spirit, " We suffer all things, lest we should hinder the Gospel of Christ." There are glimpses in his journal of many a day or night spent in prayer" seeking personal holiness, the fundamental requisite for a successful ministry." Yet he felt himself wholly unworthy to represent the Lord he loved. " Oh, that I had a, martyr's heart," he wrote, " if not a martyr's death and a martyr's crown."

And this man, the friendship of this man with all he was and had been, was the gift and blessing of God at this particular juncture to Hudson Taylor. Week after week, month after month they lived and travelled together, the exigencies of their, work bringing out resources of mind and heart that otherwise might have remained hidden. Such a friendship is one of the crowning blessings of life. Money cannot buy it ; influence cannot command it. It comes as love unsought, and, only to the equal soul. Young and immature as he was, Hudson Taylor had the capacity to appreciate, after long years of loneliness, the preciousness of this gift. Under its influence he grew and expanded, and came to an understanding of himself and his providential position that left its impress on all after-life. William Burns was better to him than a college course with all its advantages, because he lived out before him right there in China the reality of all he most needed to be and know.

But to come back to their first journey together on the waterways of Cheh-kiang. The front room in Mr. Taylor's boat was made good use of during the eighteen days of their stay at Nan-zin, many, a conversation being held there with interested guests. Early in their stay, a young man named King called one evening, with a book he had received elsewhere from other foreigners. He was evidently impressed, and told them that he wished to become a Christian. He knew very little of the truth, however, and was surprised to learn that the God of Thunder must be abandoned as well as other idols. Not worship the God of Thunder ? Why, that had seemed so obvious a divinity.. He remained to evening worship, kneeling for the first time in prayer to the true and living God. The following day was Sunday, and the missionaries were encouraged to see him at both services. But on Monday business called him away from the town, and they could but commend him to God and the Word of His Grace, hoping that sometime, somewhere, he might again be brought into touch with Christians.

Hardly had he left them when several visitors came on board, two of whom seemed specially interested. They made particular enquiries about prayer and the proper forms of Christian worship. But when after a good deal of conversation Mr. Taylor proposed to pray with them, one of the two looked very uneasy and declined, saying he was really too ignorant, and moreover was expecting to eat pork on the morrow.

On Christmas eve, a few days later, Mr. Taylor was explaining to some guests the folly and sin of worshipping idols when it is to the one, true and living God we are indebted for every good gift.

" But," said one of his hearers, " surely you are too general in your statement. There are good idols as well as many that are good-for-nothing."

" And which are the good idols ? " asked the missionary with interest.

Pointing through the window of the little cabin in the direction of a temple near at hand, "They are in there," he said. " Many years ago two men came to our town with a boat-load of rice to sell. It happened that the time was one of famine. There had been no harvest and the people were in much distress. Seeing this, the strangers took the rice and gave it away among the poorest. Then, of course, they had no face to go home again."

" And why not ? " questioned the listener. " Oh, because they had given away the rice instead of selling -it." " Then it was not their own ? " " No, it belonged to their master. And as they dared not meet him again they both drowned themselves here in the river, and the people said they were gods, made idols to represent them, and built this temple in which they have been worshipped ever since."" Then your `good idols,"' said the missionary, "are men, only men to begin with, who stole their master's property and then sinned yet further by taking their own lives."

It was a good starting-point from which to tell of the true and living God Who " gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

Again on the last Sunday in the year they were encouraged by really interested enquirers. Returning to their boats in the twilight after a long day's work ashore, Mr. Taylor found a young man waiting who had called several times previously. He seemed specially earnest that evening, and said

" I have read seventeen chapters in 'the first book of the New Testament, and find it very good."

He was soon joined by a friend who had also heard a good deal of the Gospel, and together they listened seriously while Mr. Taylor applied the truth to their own lives. Before leaving they knelt in prayer, and the first of the two at any rate seemed not far from the Kingdom.

On New Year's day a good opportunity was found in the tea-shop of emphasising the difference between Buddhism and Christian faith and experience. Seated as usual at one of the little tables, Mr. Taylor was speaking with a good deal' A liberty when a superior sort of man came and sat down beside him.

" Ah," he put in, " your doctrines-as to truth, they are true enough. But these people are Buddhists, and worship their meaningless idols. They will never believe you. Their hearts are in the midst of their internals ; who is able to turn them about ? It is a pity to waste time and strength on the 4-min, the stupid populace." 1 {1- Confucianists, i.e. scholarly men, affect to despise Buddhism and its grosser forms of idolatry, together with many superstitions of the uneducated.}

" Alas," replied the missionary, " what you say is but too true. The religion of Jesus is indeed good, but you are wedded to your idols and cannot turn your hearts about, neither can I change them for you."

He then dwelt for a time upon the evils of Buddhismwhich taught men to give to the work of their own hands the adoration due to God alone ; which made it meritorious, as in the case of priests, to cease to care about their parents even if they were aged and in want ; which forbade the eating of pork, but not the use of opium ; prevented marriage, but not adultery ; and taught that a bad man's soul might be released from hell if his friends would pay for the performance of certain, rites, while a good man would be left to suffer if his family happened to be poor and could not give all the priests demanded.

" But though our sins are heavy," he continued, " and we can do nothing to put them away, the Lord Jesus is able to save to the uttermost, and the Holy Spirit can not only turn but renew our hearts. Confucius cannot do this ; Buddha cannot do this ; but the Lord Jesus can. And this is the religion that not only scholars but the poor and unlearned need."

" True, true," said the listeners, many of whom had been following every word, and the self-satisfied first speaker moved silently away.

It was the following day that returning to their boats after dark they met with unexpected encouragement. Accompanied by a group of friendly people Mr. Burns paused on the river-bank, talking with them long and earnestly before parting for the night.

" What do you think of it all ? " said one man quietly to another. " Do you believe in this doctrine of Jesus ? " Believe ? I certainly believe ! " replied his friend, little thinking of the joy with which Hudson Taylor overheard his answer.

Thus day after day the good seed was scattered, and though there was no immediate ingathering such as Mr. Burns had seen previously in the neighbourhood of Amoy, he and his companion could not but feel that their prayers were being answered for Nan-zin.

" I wish I could tell you of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on this place," wrote Hudson Taylor to his sister. " The Lord has not been pleased to grant this. But there are many who have learned a good deal of the way of salvation, and some have bowed the knee with us in prayer, confessing that they believed in the truth of our teachings. As yet we have seen no deep conviction of sin, nor evidence of real change of heart. The seed when it is sown, however, rarely springs up at once. It often lies a winter, but harvest comes. So here, though we see not all we could wish at present, we know that our labour is `not in vain in the Lord."'

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