J. Hudson Taylor in Early Years - Growth of a Soul

Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor

PART V, Chapters 26-30

Seven Months With William Burns



COULD it be really true ? A home of his own in the interior, and he himself in Chinese dress quietly living among the people, a day's journey from the nearest Treaty Port ? Often during those autumn days it must have seemed like a dream. Yet the dream lasted, with most encouraging results.

It was all in answer to prayer no doubt, but the Chinese dress he was wearing had had a great deal to do with it. As soon as he could leave the South Gate house in charge of Teacher Six he had set out on another evangelistic journey, which was to include a second visit to the island of Tsungming. But he had got no further than the first place at which he landed, for there within two or three days of his arrival he found himself in possession of this little house of his own.

The people simply would not hear of his leaving. Clothed like themselves and living much as they did, he did not seem a foreigner ; and when they heard that he must have an upstairs room to sleep in, on account of the dampness of the locality, they said, " Let him live in the temple, if no other upper room can be found."

And quite willingly the young missionary would have done so, if the semi-discarded idols could have been cleared out of one of the silent, dusty chambers looking down upon the court. But in this the priests foresaw a difficulty. Most of the idols, they said, were old and unimportant ; but there were some, even upstairs, that it would not do to interfere with. Could not the Foreign Teacher allow them to remain ? But when he explained that it was a question of his God-the true and living God, Creator of earth and Heaven, who could not be asked to company with idols, the work of men's hands, and dependent for power, if they had any, upon the presence of evil spirits-both priests and people saw the reasonableness of his position. But even so they dared not dispossess certain of those idols.

What made them want so much to have him does not appear. Perhaps it was the medicine chest. Perhaps it was the preaching. At any rate there was nothing in his outward appearance to frighten them away, and the difference between this experience and anything he had met with on previous journeys taught him afresh the value of Chinese dress.

The second day of his stay there was a Sunday, and already a house had been discovered with some sort of an upper story whose owner was quite willing to receive the missionary. Indeed he could rent the entire premises, if they pleased him, for a moderate sum. But keen as he was to secure the place Hudson Taylor would not go to see it on Sunday, and the people watching him received their first impressions of the day God calls His own.

The delay did but forward Hudson Taylor's interests, however ; and before Monday was half over the agreement was concluded that gave him possession of his first home in " inland China."

Busy indeed were the days that followed-one of the hardest-worked and happiest times the young missionary had ever known in his life. The house needed cleaning, not to speak of furnishing, before it could be considered habitable even from a Chinese point of view. But more important than all this was the stream of visitors who had to be received with courtesy-gentlemen from the town and country, patients eager for medicine, and neighbours who seemed never weary of dropping in to watch and listen to all that was going on. His servant Kuei-hua and an earnest inquirer from the South Gate named Ts`ien were invaluable in helping him to preach the Gospel, morning, noon and night. But even so he finished up the week with an attack of ague, due to over-weariness and the change to autumn weather.

All that was necessary, however, had been accomplished. The curiosity of the neighbourhood was satisfied, visitors had for the most part carried away favourable impressions, the house was whitewashed and sufficiently set in order, forms were ready for " the Chapel," and best of all, the conviction had gone abroad that the young missionary had come to Tsung-ming not for pleasure and comfort merely, 1-{1 It is a common impression among the Chinese, especially in places new to missionary work, that the attractions of their native land must be great in order to induce foreigners to travel so far to settle among them. Clearly they can have nothing so beautiful at home, or they would not leave it ! Material comfort especially, they conclude, must be immeasurably greater among themselves than anything " outside barbarians " know. This of course only applies in the present day to districts remote from the coast.} but to do good, to relieve suffering and to tell them something everybody ought to know.

After that things settled down to a regular routine. Patients were seen and daily meetings held, and to the thankfulness of the missionary and his helpers a few inquirers began to gather about them. One of these was a blacksmith named Chang, and another an assistant in a grocery store, men of good standing in the town " whose hearts the Lord opened." Ts'ien was invaluable in helping these beginners and in receiving guests, and both he and Kuei-hua were so eager to learn more themselves that they made the most of the little while Mr. Taylor could give them at night when outsiders had all gone home.

And all about them stretched the populous island-a parish of a million, every one of whom he longed to reach. The town itself contained only twenty to thirty thousand, but villages were numerous in every direction, and the medical work was making friends. Wherever Mr. Taylor and his helpers went they found somebody ready to welcome them, and as frequently as possible they spent a day in the country preaching the Gospel.

" It is almost too much to expect," he wrote at the beginning of this work, 1- {1 In a letter to an uncle by marriage, the Rev. Edward King, dated October 23, 1855, in which Mr. Taylor also says : "That I have succeeded in renting a house here so easily is due no doubt to my having adopted the native costume, not losing sight of the fact that the hearts of all are in the Lord's hands, to be moved by Him as He will."}" that I shall be allowed to remain on without molestation, so I must use every effort to sow the good seed of the Kingdom while I may, and be earnest in prayer for blessing. Should it please the Lord to establish me in this place and raise up a band of believers, it seems to me that by making a circuit somewhat on the Wesleyan plan we should be enabled to do the greatest amount of good... .

" Pray for me. I sometimes feel a sense of responsibility that is quite oppressive-the only light-bearer among so many. But this is wrong. It is Jesus who is to shine in me . . . I am not left to my own resources. The two native Christians are a great comfort. May I be enabled to help them by life as well as teaching, and see them continually grow in grace."

It seemed a matter for regret that after three weeks of this happy work supplies began to run short and Mr. Taylor had to return to Shanghai for money and medicines. Not anticipating a long absence, he arranged for the meetings to go on without him, and leaving Ts'ien in charge sailed for the mainland on Tuesday evening, November 5. Next day he wrote from the South Gate

MY DEAR MOTHER-I have returned here in safety, and the mail leaving to-day gives me an opportunity for answering your welcome letters... .

Last week on the island, to which I return as soon as possible, I saw more than two hundred patients and frequently preached the Gospel. But for a slight cold I am quite well, and am also very happy.. ... Kuei-hua is with me, but Ts'yen is left on the island to preach daily and carry on meetings with the inquirers. . . . The Lord be with and bless him. I hardly liked to leave so young a Christian in such a responsible position: But what was to be done ? . . . Do pray that he may be kept faithful and may be much used in the dissemination of the Truth.

Eager though Mr. Taylor was to go back at once he found it necessary to wait while a fresh outfit of Chinese clothing was prepared for the winter season. So far he had only used unlined garments, but now it was a question of wadded coats, shoes and trousers, not to speak of a gown lined with lamb-skins and a big red hood to cover head and shoulders. All this took time, and while the things were being made Mr. Taylor found he could fit in a visit to Sung-kiang to look up an inquirer in whom Ts'ien was interested. Sunday, November 11, was spent in his company, and then the young missionary hastened back to Shanghai on his return journey.

He had been absent little more than a week from the island, but much may happen in that time as he learned from the news awaiting him. A storm was brewing at Sin-k`ai-ho. Ts`ien had come over hurriedly, and finding no one at the South Gate had returned to his post leaving letters to explain the situation. Amid many exciting rumours one clear fact emerged : a proclamation had been issued to the effect that the foreigner who had unwarrantably taken up his abode on Tsung-ming was to be sent back to Shanghai at once where he would suffer the severest penalty, and that all persons who had aided his presumptuous action would also be punished after the strictest letter of the law.

All this seemed very serious, and it was with a heavy heart Mr. Taylor returned to the island as quickly as possible.

" I left my things on board the junk," he wrote to his parents a fortnight later, 1{1- Written from Sin-k`ai-ho at the end of November.} " and went up to see what was happening. After hearing all Ts'ien had to say I concluded to dismiss the junk, and now must tell you what has taken place as far as I have been able to gather it.

" Well, it seems that the two doctors and four druggists of this town have begun to find me rather a serious rival. Bad legs of many years' standing have been cured in a few days. Eye-medicine exceeding theirs in potency can be obtained for nothing. , A whole host of itch cases, regular customers for plasters (!) have in some way disappeared. Ague patients are saying that the doctors are without talent, and asthmatics are loud in praise of foreign cough-powders. What was to be the end of it all ? That was the question.

" So the fraternity met together, took tea, tobacco and counsel, and sent twelve dollars to the Mandarin to have the intruder expelled. I believe, however, that none of it ever reached him. It is much more likely to have been seized by rapacious underlings who forthwith took the matter into their own hands. But of this I have no positive proof. Here was a foreigner anxious to settle on the island ; the landlord, middle-man, and Elder of the town who had received him would doubtless be squeezable by threats of punishment ; while the doctors and druggists would be sure to give more, if necessary, to get rid of their rival. So down they came and ' soon managed to frighten the parties concerned, but not to get any money... .

" Again they came, hoping I might have returned, this time bringing a writ sealed with the Mandarin's seal, though I believe from subsequent events that this also was without his knowledge. The tenor of the document was that I was to be handed over at once to the Taotai in Shanghai, who with the British Consul would most severely punish me ; and that the Chinese, one and all, were to be brought before the Mandarin in Tsung-ming city and made to suffer according to their deserts.

" Ts'ien, fearing this might be serious, made a copy of the writ and came over to Shanghai, but as I was not to be found he went back at once. The messengers then came a third time, saying they had discovered my objects to be wholly virtuous, and if I would pay expenses (a sum of thirteen dollars) they would hush up the matter and there would be an end of it.

" On my return I felt a little anxious, not for my own sake but on account of those who would be implicated if trouble were to arise. But finally the `runners,' after lowering their demand to ten dollars and then to three, finding that I would not give them a cash, managed to squeeze thirteen dollars out of the doctors and druggists and came no more. All then seemed over. I continued to see patients as before, going every alternate day to preach in neighbouring towns and villages till Monday the 26th instant, which with yesterday have been days of intense anxiety.

" On Monday morning while we were at breakfast the Mandarin from Tsung-ming city passed by, his attendants making it known that he had come for the double purpose of seizing some pirates at a town below and of examining into our affairs. Ts ien and Kuei-hua were to be dragged before him, the landlord also, and an old man of over seventy who had acted as go-between ; and unless their replies were ` satisfactory' they' would be beaten from three hundred to a thousand blows each. We had morning worship, specially praying for protection, and then preached and saw patients as usual... . Toward the close of the afternoon we. were told that the Mandarin had gone to seize the pirates first, and would deal with our matters on his return journey.

" Next day I kept all who were concerned in the house, that none might be taken without my knowledge. We saw patients, some having come many miles, . . . and preached as usual. In the afternoon, as I was operating on the eye of a woman, who should pass but the Mandarin with all his followers. It was well that the operation was over, or I should have found it difficult to complete it, for I was trembling with excitement. It was not until two hours later that we definitely learned that he had gone on to the capital without stopping. Then our prayers were turned into praise indeed ! It may be that he is not even aware of my presence . and that the whole story was a further attempt to extort money on the part of his underlings. If so, finding it unsuccessful, I hope they will not repeat it.

" From that time to this, November 29, we have had no trouble. To-day I have been at a village seven miles away containing about four hundred inhabitants. We preached at some length and left a few tracts and Gospels, but I doubt whether more than one person in the place is able to understand what he reads. ... The truth is China must be evangelised like other heathen countries by the Word preached as well as written. So we need men, more men willing to deny themselves the pleasures of society and of the table, to live among the people and make the Gospel widely known. There is a blacksmith here who as far as I can judge is truly converted, thank God ! "

Thus in spite of persecution and threatened danger, the good work went on. Six weeks was a long time to have been enabled to reside in one place, preaching the Gospel daily, forty miles from the nearest Treaty Port. And now that the storm had blown over, the young missionary was more than ever earnest in making the most of his opportunities. To see the inquirers growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord was a joy no words could express. The blacksmith, Chang, now dosed his shop on Sundays, and both he and Sung openly declared themselves Christians. The change that had come over them awakened not a little interest among their fellow-townsmen, several of whom were attending the services regularly. So that the blow when it fell was all the more painful for being unexpected and it came from an unforeseen quarter.

It was December 1, and Hudson Taylor had gone over to Shanghai to obtain money and send off letters. To his surprise an important-looking document was awaiting him at the South Gate, which read as follows


British Consul to Mr. J.. H. Taylor.

SIR-I am directed by Her Majesty's Consul to inform you that information has been lodged at this office by His Excellency the Intendant of Circuit, to the effect that you have rented a house from a Chinese named Si Sung-an, at a place called Sin-k ai-ho in the island of Tsung-ming, and opened this house as a physician's establishment in charge of one of your servants named Lew Yang-tsuen, 1-{1- Presumably Kuei-hua's full literary name.} you your self visiting it occasionally. His Excellency refers to a former complaint lodged against you for visiting Ts`ing-kiang, upon which subject you appeared before Her Majesty's Consul .2- {2 This was in the summer after Mr. Taylor's return from his long journey up the Yang-tze. In a letter to his mother dated July 29 he referred to the circumstance as follows " The Chinese authorities have had me up before the Consul for violating the treaty with England by travelling in the interior. He said very little, not more than he was obliged to, but told me that if I continued to exceed treaty rights his position admitted of no respect of persons ; he must punish me as he would a merchant."} His Excellency also reports that Lew Yang-tsuen, Si Sung-an and Ts'ien Hai-yae have been arrested .3- {3 This was happily incorrect : no one had been arrested.}

Her Majesty's Consul has therefore to call upon you to appear at this office without delay, in order that he may investigate the matter above referred to.-I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, FREDERICK HARVEY (Vice-Consul).

Of course he went at once and explained the true facts of the case, which were listened to with interest. But his plea to be allowed to remain on at Sin-k'ai-ho where all now seemed peaceful and friendly was in vain. The Consul reminded him that the British Treaty only provided for residence in the five ports, and that if he attempted to settle elsewhere he rendered himself liable to a fine of five hundred dollars.4-{4- Worth at that time considerably over a hundred pounds.} But there was a supplementary treaty, as the young missionary well knew, in which it was stipulated that all immunities and privileges granted to other nations should apply to British subjects also. Roman Catholic priests, Frenchmen, were living on the island supported by the authority of their Government, and why should he be forbidden the same consideration ?

Yes, replied the Consul, that was undoubtedly a point, and if he wished to appeal for a higher decision, Her Majesty's representative (Sir John Bowring) would be arriving in Shanghai before long. But as far as his own jurisdiction went, the matter was at an end. Mr. Taylor must return to Tsung-ming at once, give up his house, remove his belongings to Shanghai, and understand that he was liable to a fine of five hundred dollars if he again attempted residence in the interior.

Well was it that next day was Sunday and he had time to lay it all before the Lord. Little by little as it came over him, and he began to realise that all the happy, encouraging work at Sin-k`ai-ho must be suddenly abandoned, it seemed almost more than he could bear. Those young inquirers, Chang, Sung and the others, what was to become of them ? Were they not his own children in the faith? How could he leave them with no help and so little knowledge in the things of God ? And yet the Lord had permitted it. The work was His. He would not fail nor forsake them. But for himself, the sorrow and disappointment were overwhelming.

"My dear mother," he wrote that evening (December 2), "My heart is sad, sad, sad. I came over to Shanghai last Friday ... and found a letter awaiting me from the Consul, dated a week or more previously. I lost no time in seeing him, and have been prohibited from residing any longer on Tsung-ming. I do not know what to think. If I disobey, I incur a fine of $5oo, and may bring my Chinese friends into trouble. All I can do is to give up the house and pray over my future course... .

" I leave to-night at 1 A.M. for the island.... Pray for me. I need more grace, and live far below my privileges. Oh to feel more as Moses did when he said, `Forgive their sin; forgive it, . ; . and if not, blot me I pray thee out of Thy book ' (Conquest's Version) ... or as the Lord Jesus when He said, ' I lay down my life for the sheep.' I do not want to be as a hireling who flees when the wolf is near, nor would I lightly run into danger when much may be accomplished in safety. I want to know the Lord's will and have grace to do it, even if it results in expatriation. ` Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say ? ... Father, glorify Thy Name.' Pray for me that I may be a follower of Christ not in word only, but in deed and in truth."

The last days on Tsung-ming, however, were not wholly sad. It was hard to pack up and send everything to the boat ; hard to answer the interrogations of neighbours and bid farewell to the old landlord and many friends. But the very parting brought with it elements of comfort.

Could he ever forget, for example, that last evening spent with the inquirers ?

" My heart will be truly sorrowful," said the blacksmith, " when I can no longer join you in the daily meetings."

"But you will worship in your own family," replied his friend. " Still shut your shop on Sunday, for God is here whether I am or not. Get some, one to read for you, and gather your neighbours in to hear the Gospel."

"I know but very little," put in Sung, " and when I read I by no means understand all the characters. My heart is grieved because you have to leave us ; but I do thank God He ever sent you to this place. My sins once so heavy are all laid on Jesus, and He daily gives me joy and peace.

"Come again, come again, Tai Sien-seng," the neighbours called the following morning. " The sooner you return the better ! We shall miss the good doctor and the Heavenly Words."

" It is hard indeed to leave them," he wrote in the freshness of his sorrow, "for I had hoped a good work would be done there, Much seed has been sown, and many books are in the hands of the people. It rests with the Lord to give the increase. May He watch over them, for Jesus' sake."


" 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 Burns, 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 Burns, 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. Burns.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. Burns 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. Burns 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. Burns 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


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. Burns 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 Burns, 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 street-preaching. 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 u-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 Buddhism which 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."'


BLACK TOWN would have been the last place to include in their itinerary had they been considering personal comfort or safety. Half-way between two great cities 1{1 The Fu cities of Hu-chow near the Great Lake and Ka-shing on the Grand Canal.}and near the border of the province it was a refuge for the unruly, many of whom were salt-smugglers of desperate character. But it was close at hand, only one day's journey from Nan-zin, and it had never yet been visited by messengers of the Prince of Peace. This in itself was sufficient to take our travellers thither, and though their visit was cut short by reason of serious danger, they were enabled to learn as well as teach important lessons.

Dropping anchor on Monday, January 7, near this busy market-town (Wu-tien), they commenced work by distributing several hundreds of sheet-tracts in the outlying streets. This aroused considerable interest, and of the crowds that gathered round them Mr. Taylor was able to write : " I never spoke to more attentive audiences, nor saw such seriousness among the Chinese before."

Following the same plan as at Nan-zin, they visited the suburbs on the farther side of the town next morning, and selected a tea-shop for the purposes of a street-chapel. Not far from the boats a great concourse of people was addressed later in the day.

" The Lord graciously helped us," wrote Mr. Taylor, and we were heard with marked attention. In the evening we went to the tea-shop and found several persons waiting who had come expressly to meet us. Our lips were opened, and people listened with evident interest... . Some even seemed to believe, and nearly all approved, or seemed to approve, what we were teaching."

Encouraged by this good beginning the missionaries were looking forward to much blessing, when all unexpectedly troubles arose from which they were delivered only by a series of remarkable providences.

It began quite suddenly through the annoyance of a group of men, afterwards found to be salt-smugglers, who could not obtain all the books they wanted. Tracts and Gospels were given freely to those who could read, but, as elsewhere, they were withheld from wholly unlettered persons. This resulted in an attack upon the boats in which happily no one was injured, though one of the cabins was battered in.

As soon as quiet was somewhat restored, we all met in Mr. Burns' boat and joined in thanksgiving for our preservation, praying for the perpetrators of the mischief and that it might be over-ruled for good. After lunch we went ashore, and but a few steps from the boats addressed a large concourse of people. We were conscious of being specially helped.. Never were we heard with more attention, and not one voice was raised in sympathy with those who had molested us. In the evening the same spirit was manifested in the tea-shop, and some seemed to hear with joy the tidings of salvation through a crucified Redeemer.

Again on the following day (January ii) the Word was in power. Visited by two northern men, Mr. Taylor was greatly helped in telling them of Jesus. One did not pay much attention but the other did, asking question after question that showed the interest he was feeling. After they left him, the young missionary went on shore and in a garden full of mulberry-trees found a company of people to whom Kuei-hua had been speaking. 1-{1 Tsien and Kuei-hua, Mr. Taylor's valued helpers, had just rejoined him, having returned from their visit to the island of Hai-men. See Chap. 27. p. 341.}

" The sun was just setting," he wrote, " and supplied me with a striking simile of life.... As I spoke of the uncertainty of its duration and the nearness of the Lord's return, deep seriousness prevailed. A Buddhist priest who was present was constrained afterwards to confess that Buddhism was a system of delusions and could give no peace in death. When I engaged in prayer all were silent and impressed, and my own soul was deeply moved with the solemnity of the scene."

Trouble was at hand, however, for the salt-smugglers were intent on getting more than a few books from the foreigners. On Saturday the 12th, fifty of these desperate characters assembled in a tea-shop near the river and sent one of their number, professing to be a constable, with a written demand for ten dollars and a pound of opium. If this were forthcoming the boats would be left in peace ; if not, fifty men were determined to destroy them before morning.

The day was already drawing in, and the missionaries had gone ashore to visit the farther end of the town. Sung, the teacher, was alone with the boat-people and, like them, not a little alarmed at the turn events were taking. Having no money and of course no opium, all he could do was to go in search of his employers, giving a hint to the boatpeople to make the most of any opportunity to get away. Knowing that the missionaries had planned to preach in a tea-shop at the east end of the town, he set off on a walk of two miles or more to find them ; and the constable, quite willing to let him go alone, returned to report progress to those who had sent him.

Meanwhile Mr. Burns and Mr. Taylor had been led to change their plans. As they were going eastward it occurred to them that some interested inquirers might be expecting them at the usual meeting-place, and, under a strong impression that they should return at once, they retraced their steps to the tea-shop nearer the river. Thus Sung was not able to find them, and while he was occupied in the search the boat-people had an opportunity to move quietly away.

For the night which had been fine and clear now became intensely dark. Knowing it would be some time before Sung could return, the men who were awaiting the missionaries called for more tea, for which the foreigners were to pay to the extent of three hundred cash, and settled themselves down to smoke and play cards. Unobserved for the moment, and aided by the welcome darkness, the boats weighed anchor and moved off, one in one direction and one in another, so that if either were discovered and attacked the other might afford a refuge for the missionaries. This done the captain went ashore, and, keeping out of sight among the shadows, watched anxiously for his passengers.

And strange to say he had not long to wait. No one had come to the tea-shop to meet the missionaries, and the few people they found there were singularly inattentive. Earlier than usual Mr. Burns proposed returning to the boats, and, leaving Ts`ien and Kuei-hua to talk with any who desired it, they set out for the river, hoping to distribute their remaining tracts by the way. But the night was so dark that few people were on the streets, and for the first time since they arrived in Black Town no one followed them.

Thus when Mr. Burns' lantern appeared, the boatman found to his relief that the missionaries were alone. Going up to them he took the light and blew it out, instead of carrying it on in front as they expected. Surprised at the strangeness of his manner they would have relighted it, seeing which he removed the candle, threw it into the canal, and walked down in silence to the water's edge. Fearful lest he had lost his reason and might drown himself, Mr. Taylor ran forward to restrain him ; but with a manner that effectually silenced them the captain said that a number of men were intent on destroying the boats which had moved away to avoid them. He then cautiously led the way to where one of the boats were waiting. Before long Ts`ien and Kuei-hua were brought on board, and Sung also joining them they were able to move off in safety.

The meaning of the mystery was then explained, and with thankfulness each one of the little party realised that the Lord had been thinking upon them in that hour of danger. Sung especially was conscious of His providential care, for on reaching the place where the boats had been moored when he left them, he found a dozen or twenty men searching among the trees, and heard them asking withastonishment what could have become of the foreigners. They even inquired of him, not recognising who he was, and he was just as puzzled as they were to know where the boats could be. Happily he met one of the boatmen a little farther on, who without word or sign led him to his companions.

" After a while the boats joined company," wrote Mr. Taylor, " and rowed together quite a distance. It was already late, and to travel by night in that part of the country was not the way to avoid dangers, so the question arose as to what should be done. This we left the boat-people to decide. They had moved off of their own accord, and we felt that whatever we personally might desire, we could not constrain others to remain in a position of danger on our account. We urged them to do quickly whatever they thought of doing, as the morrow was the Lord's Day and we should not wish to travel. We also reminded them that wherever we were we must fulfil our mission, to preach the Gospel. It would make but little difference where we stayed, for even if we passed the night unperceived we were sure to be found out the following morning. Upon this the men concluded that they might as well return to the place from which we had started, a decision with which we fully agreed, and they turned back accordingly. But whether by accident or on purpose, they got into another stream, and rowed on for some time they knew not whither. At last as it was very dark they dropped anchor for the night.

We then called them all together with our native assistants and read the ninety-first Psalm...


He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High

Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress

My God, in Him will I trust. . . .

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day. . . .

Because He hath set His love upon me, therefore will I deliver him.

I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.

He shall call upon Me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble:

I will deliver him and honour him.

With long life will I satisfy him, and show him My salvation.


Then committing ourselves to His care and keeping, Who had covered us with thick darkness and enabled us to escape the hand of violent men ... we passed the night in peace and quietness, realising in some measure the truth of that precious Word, ` He is their help and their shield.'

The following morning I was awakened about 4 A.M. by violent pain in the knee-joint. I had bruised it the day before, and severe inflammation was the result. To my great surprise I heard the rain pouring down in torrents, the weather having previously been particularly fine. On looking out we found ourselves so near our former stopping-place that had nothing happened to prevent it we should have felt it our duty to go into the town to preach as usual. But the rain was so heavy all day long that no one could leave the boats, and much inquiry about us was also prevented. We thus enjoyed a delightful day of rest, such as we had not had for some time. Had the day been fine we should most likely have been discovered even if we had not left the boats ; but as it was we were left to think with wonder and gratitude of the gracious dealings of our God, who had indeed led us apart into a desert-place to rest awhile.

Monday was a cloudless morning and Mr. Burns was preparing to go ashore when one of the assistants, who had been early to fetch some clothing left with a laundress, returned with serious tidings. In spite of the drenching rain of Sunday the salt-smugglers had been seeking them in all directions, and unless they made good their escape the boats would certainly be found and broken to pieces.

Thoroughly alarmed, the boat-people would remain no longer in the neighbourhood of Wu-tien, and Mr. Taylor being quite unable to walk, the missionaries had no choice but to leave with them. This also seemed providential, for by evening it was evident that he was really ill and must return to Shanghai for rest and treatment. They had been absent already more than a month, and much as he regretted leaving Mr. Burns to continue the work alone, he did so in the assurance that


Ill that God blesses is our good,

And unblest good is ill

And all is right that seems most wrong,

If it be His sweet will.


IT was the middle of February, and Mr. Burns and Mr. Taylor were again in Shanghai after some weeks' absence. It had been a keen disappointment to them to leave the neighbourhood of Wu-tien where the openings had seemed so promising, and now they had returned from another journey 1{1- This second campaign with Mr. Burns lasted between two and three weeks. They left Shanghai for Sung-kiang Fu on January 28 or 29, returning about February 18, 1856. It was Mr. Taylor's Eleventh Evangelistic Journey since reaching China.}to obtain fresh supplies and go back if possible to that part of the country. But the Lord had other plans in view.

" He was leading us," wrote Mr. Taylor, " by a way that we knew not : but it was none the less His way."


0 Lord, how happy should we be

If we would cast our care on Thee,

If we from self would rest ;

And feel at heart that One above In perfect wisdom, perfect love,

Is working for, the best.


Glad to be once more among fellow-missionaries, Mr. Burns and Mr. Taylor had come up from their boats that wintry night to the prayer-meeting at Dr. Medhurst's near the British Consulate. This weekly gathering was a rendezvous for all in Shanghai who cared about the Lord's work, and on this occasion a Christian captain was present whose vessel had just arrived from Swatow.

His heart was unspeakably burdened with the condition of things in that southern port to which he carried cargo and passengers from time to time. An important and growing centre of commerce, it was the resort of increasing numbers of people greedy of gain and wholly unscrupulous in their ways of obtaining it. The opium trade and the equally iniquitous " coolie traffic " were carried on with shameless activity. Piracy flourished to such an extent that even Chinese merchants had taken to shipping their goods in foreign vessels that they might obtain the protection of British and other flags. Thus, although Swatow was not an open port and foreigners had no business to be there as far as treaty rights were concerned, quite a European settlement had sprung up, connived at by the local authorities. On Double Island, five miles out of Swatow, captains of opium-ships and other foreigners had bought land and built . houses just as they might at Hong-kong, their presence, sad to say, only increasing the vices of this notoriously wicked place. And neither there nor in Swatow itself was there any witness for Christ or any influence that made for righteousness. No missionary, minister, or foreign lady was to be found nearer than Amoy, a hundred and fifty miles away ; and in the absence of family life, as well as the restraints of law and order, the condition of things was as bad as it could be.

From this place Captain Bowers had just come, and he could not but seek prayer on its behalf in the meeting at Dr. Medhurst's. In conversation afterwards, especially with Mr. Burns and Mr. Taylor, he urged the importance of Swatow as a centre for missionary operations. If merchants and traders could live there, of all nationalities, why should not ministers of the Gospel ? But the missionary who would pioneer his way amid such darkness must not be afraid, he said, to cast in his lot with " the off-scourings of Chinese society, congregated there from all the Southern ports." It was Wu-tien truly, but on a more desperate scale.

Silently that evening the friends returned to their boats, thinking of what they had heard. To Hudson Taylor, at any rate, the call of God had come while Captain Bowers was speaking, and he was struggling against rebellion of heart in view of the sacrifice involved.

" Never had I had such a spiritual father as Mr. Burns," he wrote long after ; " never had I known such holy, happy intercourse ; and I said to myself that it could not be God's will that we should separate."

Thus several days passed by, and he could not escape the conviction that Swatow was where the Lord would have him.

" In great unrest of soul," he continued, " I went with Mr. Burns one evening to visit some American friends near the South Gate of Shanghai.1- { The Rev. and Mrs. Robert Lowrie, of the American Presbyterian Mission.} After tea, Mrs. Lowrie played over to us `The Missionary Call.' I had never heard it before, and it greatly affected me. My heart was almost broken before it was finished, and I said to the Lord in the words that had been sung


And I will go.

I may no longer doubt to give up friends and idol hopes,

And every tie that binds the heart . . .

Henceforth then it matters not if storm or sunshine be my earthly lot, bitter or sweet my cup ;

I only pray, God make me holy, and my spirit nerve for the stern hour of strife.


Upon leaving, I asked Mr. Burns to come to the little house that was still my headquarters, and there with many tears I told him how the Lord had been leading me, and how rebellious I had been, and unwilling to leave him for this new sphere, He listened with a strange look of surprise and pleasure rather than of pain, and replied that he had determined that very night to tell me that he had heard the Lord's call to Swatow, and that his one regret had been the severance of our happy fellowship."

Thus the Lord not only gave, but gave back, the companionship that meant so much in the life of Hudson Taylor. Together they went next morning to Captain Bowers and told him that the way seemed clear for them both to go to Swatow. So overjoyed was the captain to hear it that he offered them forthwith a free passage on his ship which was returning in a few days. This was gratefully accepted, and on March 6, two years from Mr. Taylor's first arrival in Shanghai, they sailed for their new field of labour.

Anchored in a fog that night off Gutzlaff Island, everything must have recalled to Hudson Taylor the February Sunday when he first reached that spot.{' February 26, 1854.} Then he had never seen the shores of China nor looked into the face of any one belonging to that land. Now how familiar it had grown. Many and varied had been his experiences, transforming the lad fresh from the old country into a useful missionary. At home in two dialects, one of which was the language of four-fifths of China, he was about to learn a third as an incident of his service. Seasoned as a good soldier of the Cross by many a trial and hardship, he was ready to stand alone in a peculiarly difficult sphere. War, with all its horrors, prolonged distress through insufficient supplies, the discipline of indebtedness to others, even for a home, and then of loneliness in his own quarters, sickness, change, uncertainty, and great discomfort as to material surroundings-all these had schooled his heart to quietness and patience, and brought a deeper dependence upon God. And then evangelistic journeys, alone or with other missionaries, had greatly widened his outlook. Eleven such itinerations now lay behind him within these first two years. How much each one had meant, with its necessary exercise of mind and heart, its strain upon endurance, dangers by land and water, " perils in the city, . . . perils of robbers,. . labour and travail," and all its secret springs of faith and prayer.

And now encouragement had come - all the more precious for many a disappointment : some souls brought into endless blessing through his ministry, nearness to the people that made up for all the trial involved in wearing native dress, and a friendship richer and deeper than any he had given up or ever hoped to know. Freedom also as to funds was a new and welcome experience. Friends whom the Lord had raised up now helped so liberally that for a good many months he had not needed to draw at all upon the Letter of Credit from his society. Apart from them, his needs were all supplied in a way that greatly strengthened his faith in God.1-{1 "Faith looks to Jesus," he wrote in April of this year, "and walks the troubled sea in spite of winds and waves. I understand that the funds of the Chinese Evangelisation Society were much reduced a short time ago, on account, I suppose, of the [Crimean) war. It does not affect me, however.... as I have not needed to draw on my Society for the last two quarters, and have now in hand enough for six months to come. Only by last mail a valued friend and devoted servant of Christ who has sent me one hundred pounds since last October, wrote urging me to tell him of any additional way in which he could forward the work by supplying the means. So as you truly say, if we are in the will of God, difficulty or trial as to circumstances cannot hinder us. Nothing can by any means harm us or frustrate His designs."}

In one thing only the years since he came to China seemed to have made no advance : he had still no home, no permanent work, no settled plans ahead. Where or how he was ultimately to labour was no more clear than it had been at the beginning. But the way of faith was clearer, and he had learned to leave the future in the hands of God. One who knew the end from the beginning was guiding and would guide. So a great rest had come about it all, and he was not concerned to make everything fit in. How this visit -to Swatow would eventuate for him personally, how it would affect his life-work he could not tell. He only knew the Lord had set before him this open door, and he was growingly content to walk a step at a time.


And feel at heart that One above

In perfect wisdom, perfect love,

Is working for the best.


" As to Swatow," he wrote just before leaving, " we go looking to the Lord for guidance and blessing.... As we are led, we shall return sooner or later or not at all.... Having no plans, we have none to tell. May the Lord be with us, bless us abundantly, and glorify His own great name.... Pray for us ; pray for us. You little know where or how we may be when you receive this note. Oh, pray that we may be kept from sin and used of God in the conversion of sinners."

Thus in prayer and faith they drew near the great province of Kwang-tung, and on March 12 anchored off Double Island a few miles from their destination. It would have been quite possible to settle here among other Europeans, and from comfortable headquarters to visit the mainland for their missionary operations. But such a plan had no attractions for either William Burns or Hudson Taylor. Avoiding even proximity to the vice and luxury of the Settlement, they went on to Swatow itself, to seek a footing among the people they had come to reach. In this their Chinese dress was of great assistance ; and though at first it seemed that not a corner could be found, prayer was again answered and their faith strengthened by one of those " chance providences " so often prepared for the children of God.

Situated on the delta of the Han between two of its principal channels, Swatow has little room to extend save by banking out its water-frontage, an operation in which hundreds of workmen were engaged. Houses were running up as rapidly as possible, for the supply was altogether unequal to the demand ; and meanwhile the missionaries almost despaired of finding quarters.

After two days' fruitless search during which they were thankful for Captain Bowers' continued hospitality, they " happened " to meet a Cantonese merchant whom Mr. Burns addressed in his mother-tongue. Delighted at hearing excellent Cantonese from a foreigner, and a foreigner wearing Chinese dress, this gentleman interested himself on their behalf, and through a relative who " happened " to be the highest official in the town succeeded in securing them a lodging. It was not much of a place, it is true, just a single room over an incense-shop in a crowded quarter, but how glad they were to take possession before Captain Bowers had to sail for Singapore.

That it did not meet with their kind friend's approval is hardly to be wondered at. Great was his love and admiration for Mr. Burns, and he could not bear to leave him in such surroundings. Of his visit to the incense-shop he wrote to a mutual friend, Mrs. Barbour of Bonskeid

Seeking out his wretched lodging in Swatow amongst the degraded of every class, I remarked, "Surely, Mr. Burns, you might find a better place to live in." He laughingly told me that he was more content in the midst of this people than he would be at home surrounded with every comfort. He said his expenses amounted to ten dollars a month.. " Mr. Burns," I exclaimed, " that would not keep me in cigars ! " He said it was sufficient for him.

But to the missionaries themselves, ten dollars a month and a single room, into which they had to climb through an opening in the floor, did not seem so bad. It was in touch with the people, that was the chief thing, and they were very conscious that the Lord was with them. The single room they divided as well as they could into three tiny apartments-two running east to west, and one north and south, which included the hole in the floor.

" My bedroom is on the south," Mr. Taylor explained in his first home-letter. " Mr. Burns takes the north side, and the strip on the west we use as our study. The partitions are made of sheets and a few boards.... We have only just obtained exclusive possession, 1-{1-1 Written on March 29, after they had occupied the room for two weeks.} a passage having been needed for the landlord's family until alterations were made in the house. We are promised a trap-door next week, and then shall have more privacy.

" Our beds are a few deal boards, and our table the lid of a box supported on two bags of books. We may get a better some day, but nothing of that sort is to be bought ready-made in Swatow. So for the present, at an outlay of two hundred and thirty cash [one shilling and a penny], we have completely furnished the house-with two bamboo stools and a bamboo easy-chair."

Here, then, amongst the worst and lowest, the little seed was planted that was to result in the abundant harvest seen to-day. 2-{2- Although in the first five years after Mr. Burns commenced work in Swatow only thirty-nine converts were received into church fellowship, more than 4400 adults have been baptized since that time in connection with the English Presbyterian Mission alone, of whom 2700 are actual communicants to-day (1911). A strong native ministry has been developed which is now entirely supported by the native Church.} Years before, a solitary missionary had laboured there in face of overwhelming odds. Driven from place to place he had widely itinerated in the surrounding country, living a life of Christlike patience and love.3-{3 This devoted servant of God, the Rev. R. Lechler, was sent out by the Basel Missionary Society in 1846, and with the Rev. Th. Hamburg was the first representative of the Society in. China. Mr. Lechler went to Swatow in 1848, and did not retire from that difficult field until obliged to do so in 1852. For more than fifty years he was almost continuously at work in China, witnessing the development of a Church which now numbers, by the blessing of God, over 5700 communicants.} But from the time that Mr. Lechler had been driven back to Hong-kong, no one had taken his place, and Swatow had remained without testimony to the Gospel.

His knowledge of Cantonese enabled Mr. Burns to make himself understood from the first, and greatly helped him in acquiring the local speech. For his companion this was a much more serious matter. They had not been long in Swatow, however, before they both felt that so important a centre must never again be left unoccupied, and as the only way to usefulness was to be able to talk freely with the people, Mr. Taylor set himself once more to study.

" There is plenty of work to be done," he wrote to his mother soon after their arrival, " but I cannot do it. It is a great trial after being able to speak freely to begin again in a place where one cannot understand a single sentence. But if only we are used here, what a privilege is ours. All my previous experience I find of the greatest value, for one without knowledge of Chinese, dressed as a foreigner, and unaccustomed to living as we do among the people would not be able to stay on at all.... How gracious the Lord is and how wonderful His ways. . Pray for me, and do not be uneasy about me. The Lord will undertake."

If his mother and friends could have realised the conditions under which he was living, they would have felt more concern at this time than probably they did. For Swatow was a dangerous as well as difficult field. Two great evils already mentioned flourished under the protection of foreigners, and made the very sight of a European odious to the people.

" About two hundred boxes of opium are imported monthly," Mr. Taylor stated in the same letter ; " each box contains forty balls of about four pounds in weight. Thus not less than thirty-two thousand pounds weight of opium enter China every month at this port alone, the cost of which is about a quarter of a million sterling. After this you will not be surprised to learn that the people are wretchedly poor, ignorant, and vicious..

" A cruel slave trade also is carried on under the name of the ` coolie traffic.' The men are engaged (nominally) for a certain term of years, but few live to return. A bounty is paid them, and they are told that they are going to make their fortunes, or they are entrapped by worse means. Once on the ship the agent receives so much a head for the poor fellows who soon find themselves in captivity of the most horrible kind. Some jump overboard in their efforts to escape, but they are generally retaken and flogged.' Some ships carry a thousand and others three or four hundred, and very many die before reaching their destination-Cuba, Havanna and Callao. . . . Of one ship with several hundreds on board, I heard the surgeon say that not more than two-thirds would survive the voyage. Poor people ! ONE only is able to help them. Oh, for His blessing ! "

It was little wonder under such circumstances, and with many of the traders of Double Island living lives worse than those of the heathen, that the missionaries endeavouring to obtain a foothold in Swatow should be regarded with hatred, suspicion, and scorn. But it was a painful experience none the less, and as new to Mr. Burns as to Hudson Taylor.

" The people have no love for foreigners," wrote the latter, " and we never go out without being insulted and laughed at. 1- {1 The usual term " Foreign Devil " was here reinforced by more offensive epithets, " Foreign Dog," " Foreign Fig " and worse, hissed out with bitterest scorn.} ... I think I never was in such a wicked place Pray much for us, that we may have grace and patience, and strength of body and mind to pass through all unharmed and even find it a blessing." In towns and villages at a little distance a more friendly spirit was manifested, but the same poverty and degradation prevailed, and the people were so turbulent that those who went amongst them had to face constant danger. In their visits to the country the missionaries were liable to be seized at any moment and held to ransom, and they frequently heard the saying that the whole district was without Emperor, without rulers and without law." One small town in which they were preaching had recently captured a wealthy man belonging to a neighbouring clan. Refusing to pay the exorbitant sum demanded for his release, he had been subjected to cruel tortures, his ankle-bones finally being smashed with a club, after which his tormentors succeeded in obtaining all they desired.

" There was nothing but the protection of God," wrote Hudson Taylor, " between us and the same sort of treatment. The towns were all walled, many of them containing ten or twelve thousand people who might be and frequently were at war with a neighbouring town.. To be kindly received in one place was often a source of danger in the next. But amid such circumstances the preserving care of our God was the more manifest."

Trusting in His unfailing presence, the missionaries were enabled to go on stedfastly through all, embracing many opportunities for bringing light into the darkness. Mr. Burns frequently visited Double Island, holding services in English that were well attended, and Mr. Taylor, whenever he could spare a day from study, joined him in expeditions to the surrounding country.

One such journey together toward the end of March brought them to a busy place called Hwa-wu, where they came across an old farmer who could read intelligently. Failing any other teacher, they were glad to secure his services, and for the local dialect could hardly have wished a better. Talking and reading with him for several hours daily, Mr. Taylor made such rapid progress that by the middle of April he was able to undertake a little work on his own account.

" The country is very beautiful," he wrote. " Fine ranges of hills enclose fertile valleys, watered by many channels through which the Han empties itself into the sea. I have been out to-day (April 17) with my servant for a little air and exercise.... After climbing several hills and getting a good idea of the neighbourhood we went to the first village I have visited alone.. Great is the change that has taken place in three and a half weeks. When we first came into this district, I could understand nothing. Now, by the blessing of God, I am able to talk a little as well as understand a good deal. As we had books with us, I asked if there were a teacher in the village and a school.

" ` No,' said an elderly man who had just left his work in the fields to join us. `Last year we had one, but now we are too poor. We have scarcely clothes to cover us.' And he pointed to the only garment he was wearing, a very small and scanty pair of trousers.

"`If you would not smoke opium,' I answered, `and spend so much money worshipping dead relatives, and the Queen of Heaven and other idols, you would be far better off than you are at present. You hope to be preserved, enriched, and prospered, but evidently you are disappointed. Your idols have eyes, but do they see ? They have ears, but can they hear when you pray ? They have mouths, but do they speak? Can they preserve you from robbers, from quarrels, sickness, or disaster ? '"' True ! True!' some replied. `They are certainly not much use.'

"I then went on to tell them of the living God, the great Father they ought to worship, who had made heaven, earth, man, and all things, and would forgive their sins, for Jesus' sake, if they would turn to Him. Believing in this precious Saviour, I told them, they would find peace in life or death, and possess a satisfying portion.

" Some thirty or forty people, besides children, listened under the shade of a magnificent banyan tree, and seemed friendly. But very few could read. So that had it not been for junks on the river most of my stock of books would have returned with me."

These visits to the country were helpful and refreshing in spite of attendant danger, especially as the heat of summer came on. Even in May it was intensely hot, and Mr. Taylor wrote that sitting quietly at study he had to keep a towel by him to wipe the perspiration streaming from face and hands. Oh, those little rooms under the naked tiles, how they did glow in the pitiless glare of the sun ! They would have been unbearable during the daytime but that Mr. Taylor rigged up a sort of punkah to stir the air a little and give relief. Mr. Burns, already acclimatised to a southern summer, was able to be out at all hours without danger, but his companion suffered seriously. Still, right on into June, he worked with unremitting diligence, eating hardly anything till evening came, when, with the help of a breeze that usually sprang up, they made their evening meal.

But more distressing than the heat, harder to bear than sleepless nights and all the weariness their work involved, was the sin and suffering that surged around them.

" If ever there were a place needing the blessings of the Gospel," Hudson Taylor wrote to his sister, " it is certainly this place. Men are sunk so low in sin as to have lost all sense of shame, . . . lower even than the beasts that perish. The official classes are as bad as the rest, and instead of restraining evil are governed themselves by opium and love of money. And if it be possible to live worse lives than the heathen, then the sailors and others who frequent Double Island carry off the palm. There may be exceptions, so I had better say at once that there probably are, but I do not know of any save Dr. De la Porte 1-{1- A Christian man, who entertained the warmest friendship for Mr. Taylor and Mr. Burns, and subsequently joined the latter as a medical missionary in Swatow.} who is there just now... .

"Sin does indeed reign here, and, as always, those most to be pitied and whose case seems most hopeless are the women. However low men sink in heathen lands, women sink lower. Looked upon as hardly having` any soul, girls are sold here for wives or slaves, and are left entirely without education. Married women and families are not numerous in proportion to the population, but the number of unfortunate women is very great. I say unfortunate advisedly, for they are bought and brought up for this very purpose. They are the absolute property of their owners, and have no escape from that which many of them abhor. Only a few nights ago I was distressed by heart-rending screams from two female voices, and, on inquiring, was told that they were most likely newly bought women in a house near by, who were being tortured into submission. ` And that,' added my informant, 'is very common here.' The cries went on for about two hours. Poor things 1 poor things !

"This is hardly a fit subject to write to you about, but, unless you know, how can you pity and pray for them ? English women little realise all they owe to the Gospel. And how few have love enough for Christ to come out here and seek to save the perishing. It does mean sacrifice ; but low as they would have to stoop, Jesus stooped lower."

Here, then, amid such surroundings, he quietly endured week after week, month after month, drawing his strength from God. Frequently separated from Mr. Burns for the work's sake he was much alone. Keenly the people watched him coming and going from the incense-shop, and inquired into every detail of his life and doings. It was an open life, lived within sight of his neighbours all day long-a life whose love and purity told on their sad, dark hearts far more than he had any idea. Three years later in London, at the Annual Meeting of the Society to which Mr. Taylor belonged, Dr. De la Porte from Double Island was one of the speakers.

He had had the pleasure and honour, he said, of an intimate acquaintance with one of the agents of the Society, labouring at the time in Swatow-a Mr. Hudson Taylor, to whose zeal and devotion he could bear the most cordial testimony.

He had seen that young man come home at the close of the day footsore and weary, his face covered with blisters from the heat of the sun, and throw himself down to rest in a state of utter exhaustion, only to rise again in a few hours to the toil and hardship of another day. It had been very evident that he enjoyed the highest respect from the Chinese, and was doing a great amount of good among them, His influence was like that of a fragrant flower, diffusing the sweetness of true Christianity around him.

Among the bright spots in his life at Swatow this summer were the red-letter days when the mail arrived from home. Always eagerly welcomed it had now an added value, cut off as they were in large measure from the outside world. Some mails even there would come in without any tidings from those he loved, but others made up for the disappointment by spreading before him a feast that made him forget his surroundings. Such for example was the April day on which he wrote to his sister

The mail has just arrived from Shanghai, bringing amongst others your letters of two months, one from Mr. Broomhall, two from mother, and one with an enclosure from Mr. Berger.

All letters of special interest: Those from his mother and sister, as it happened, brought their first comments on his adoption of the native dress, and to his surprise they did not like it. So conscious had he been o£ its advantages, that he had almost forgotten how it might appear to them. They could not bear to think of his shaven head, blue cotton gown, and Chinese appearance.

" I am sorry that the change is disagreeable to you," he wrote in answer, " but you will regret it very little when you learn that without it we could never have gained a footing in this important place....

" A little thought will, I am sure, enable you to realise that if the Chinese costume seems so barbarous to us, our English dress must be no less so to them, and that it cannot but be a hindrance in going amongst them in the friendly way necessary to securing their confidence and affection.... Without it we could not stay on here a single day. That Miss does not like it I am very sorry to hear, but that does not make me regret that I have adopted it. It is one of those matters about which I and my devoted companion, Mr. Burns, thank God almost every day."

But his disappointment over their feeling in this matter was soon lost sight of in the all-important news contained in these letters. Could it be-his own dearest sister and friend, in -a sense going from him to another, a deeper love ? And yet the thought was not new to him, and there was no one to whom he would more gladly have given her. A letter from Mr. Broomhall made it pretty clear that matters would soon be settled between them, and all the far-away brother could do was to write his heartfelt congratulations.

A little later, he learned that they were not only engaged, but thinking of China, and the hope grew strong that they might become his fellow-workers. He had written to Mr. Broomhall several times already on the subject, and now mentioned. it again in a June letter to his sister. The prospect was a delightful one, but knowledge of his own heart taught him how easily they might be misled by natural inclinations.

" I long for you to be working here," he wrote, " not for my sake only, but for Jesus' sake, and for the sake of the poor Chinese. Look to the Lord for guidance, and see your way very clearly as to the will of God before you leave dear mother. If you do come, let it not be to live with or near me. If God grant it we shall be very thankful ; if not we must be submissive. What He is training me for I cannot tell. May it be for His glory. You will not imagine from this that my love to you is in any way lessened. What I do want you to do is-to give up all to the Lord. And the more fully you do that the more He will give you back again, yes, more by far than you ever gave up for Him. May He guide and bless you for Jesus' sake."

To a friend in need of guidance he also wrote in a similar strain Light will no doubt be given you. Do not forget, however, in seeking more, the importance of walking according to the light you have. If you feel called to the work, do not be anxious as to the time and way. He will make it plain.... I desire increasingly to leave all my affairs in the hands of God, who alone can, and who assuredly will, lead us aright if humbly and in faith we seek His aid....

I am sure you will forgive me if I urge on you, as I have on Amelia, the importance of seeking guidance from God for yourself personally, apart from the movements of others. Each one of us has an individual duty and responsibility toward Him. The conduct of others cannot make duty, for me, of that which is not so ; nor can the claims of duty be lessened because of the action, right or wrong, of others. We may and should thank God for all the help He gives us through others in the performance of duty. But let us seek to see our own way clearly in the light of His will, and then in trial and perplexity we shall be " stedfast, unmovable," not having trusted to an arm of flesh. The Lord guide and bless you, and give you ever to lean unshaken on His faithfulness.


Six months of intercourse with William Burns had now gone by, and little as either of them expected 'it they were nearing the close of their helpful, happy fellowship. To them it seemed on the contrary that their work together was only just beginning. The needs around them were so great and the help they were to one another so evident that they could not but look forward to doing something really adequate together by the blessing of God for the important region to which He had called them. But Swatow was only one needy field out of the vast whole of unreached China. For that wider work to be done the Lord was making preparation, as well as for widespread blessing in the region He had specially laid upon their hearts. William Burns for Swatow and other strategic points in the great seaboard provinces, and Hudson Taylor, by and by, for far-reaching inland China :-such' was the purpose of Him who sees the end from the beginning. So the days of their pilgrimage together drew to a close, filled as all that went before had been with helpful fellowship in the Lord.

By this time it was the middle of June, and more than ever trying in the little rooms over the incense-shop. It seemed really imperative to get other quarters ; and as this was out of the question in Swatow, they extended the search to neighbouring towns and villages.

" It is much more difficult to itinerate here than it was around Shanghai," Hudson Taylor wrote to his father on June 16." There the boat one travelled in supplied a home. Here it is not so, excepting in places so near at hand that we should naturally return at night. You must go in most cases on foot, not knowing where or how you will pass the night, and ready to take such accommodation as may offer. It is, of course, an entirely new line of things to me and requires far more faith and self-denial than anything I have hitherto known. But we have the promise that His grace shall be sufficient for us, and we know that in our weakness He will perfect His strength."

All this was of the greatest importance for one who was to be the leader of an evangelistic, pioneering mission. It was needful that he should have a practical, intimate knowledge of many phases of life and work ; and to this end his Swatow experiences were " well and wisely chosen," difficult as they seemed at the time.

On one of these overland journeys, for example, he was brought to the point of having nowhere at all to shelter for the night, a serious position in China. It was in the little town of Yo-Vu, whither he had gone on May 2o to take possession of a cottage they had been enabled to rent. One room below and one above, in the more open surroundings of this country place, promised welcome relief from their overcrowded city quarters. But all unwittingly they were reckoning without their host. For the landlord who had been willing to have them the day before met Mr. Taylor on his arrival saying

" Go back, go back at once I My neighbours will not allow me to let you have the house."

A moment's prayer, however, satisfied Mr. Taylor that he must not go back, and dismissing his boat accordingly he went about his Master's business. His servant, who knew the character of the Tie-chin 1-{1 Dialect for Ch'ao-chow, the name, of the Prefecture of which Swatow is the commercial centre.} people, kept asking anxiously:

" What will you do ? Where shall we go when darkness comes on ? We cannot stay out all night." 2-{2- On account of danger from evil men, not to mention the malarial climate.}

Never fear," was the quiet answer ; " the Lord knows and He will provide."

So in temple and tea-shop and along the busy streets, the young missionary gave books to all who could read them and delivered his message. Rarely had his heart been so filled with the joy of the Lord in this work, and the people noticed it.

" Where are you going to sleep," they asked, as the inwardness of the situation became generally known.

" That I cannot tell you," he frankly replied. " But my Heavenly Father knows. He is everywhere present, and never forgets the needs of His people. Nor does He ever leave them unsupplied."

" Are you not anxious lest you should get into trouble ? " " No, I am not anxious," he was able to say with a smile. " My heart is in perfect peace, because the Lord will provide."

" And so it proved," his own letter continued. " I went on distributing books and talking with the people until dark, and then was invited to sleep over a barber's shop the owner of which was a Ha-ka man. Some congee (rice and water gruel) was prepared, and of this we made our supper....

" In the evening a great many people came to see me, one man bringing a present of two very pretty, fragrant flowers. I pointed out to my visitors that the beauty and sweetness of these flowers was given them by God ; that birds and insects are all cared for by Him ; that the many blessings enjoyed even by those who know Him not and sin against Him by worshipping idols, the work of their own hands, are still given and continued by His grace ; and how much more may the children of this Heavenly Father look to Him with confidence, knowing He will supply their every need in life, in death, and in the world to come ? I was much blessed in soul and greatly helped in testifying to the love and care of God.

"'It is curious,' one man remarked, `how he speaks of God in connection with all things.'

" Poor people ! Truly of them it may be said, `God is not in all their thoughts.' "

But the little town of To-p`u had the opportunity at this time of really understanding the message that had awakened so much interest. For Mr. Burns came over the next day and stayed almost a fortnight, though his companion had to return to Swatow.

Later in the month (June) two Chinese Christians joined them, sent by a missionary friend at Hong-kong. They were natives of the Tie-chiu district, and after a brief visit to their homes up-country were to remain with and assist Mr. Burns who was greatly needing such helpers. And the first work with which he entrusted them was the search for a room that could be used for a " street-chapel." As natives of the place he knew they were more likely to be successful than foreigners ; but do what they would, no premises of any kind could be obtained.

Realising afresh through this unsuccessful search the value of the footing they had already, Mr. Burns and his companion were more than ever thankful for their little home over the incense-shop, in spite of discomforts that only seemed to multiply with the heat of summer. Some idea of these minor trials may be obtained from a lively passage in a letter from Hudson Taylor to his younger sister, written about this time.

SWATOW, June 9, 1856.

My DEAR Louisa--I must try to answer your note by this mail, or run the risk of leaving it undone. And this I hope to accomplish, if the mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches (two inches long and flying about in all directions), centipedes, lizards, crickets, fleas and all the rest of the tormentors will allow.

While writing these few lines, I have made one successful and two unsuccessful attacks upon as many fleas, so you may imagine how plentiful they are. Sometimes I stop in the middle of a sentence, catch three or four of these unwelcome visitors, kill a few cockroaches and then go on again. The other night I felt something very strange inside my Chinese garments, and on looking to see what it was, found a centipede two or three inches long. It bit me severely before I could eject it, and the place swelled up and was very painful; but I applied carbonate of ammonia with immediate relief. The people of the house made a great stir about it (these bites are very venomous) and soon brought in a hen 1 for what purpose I do not know.... But I sent the poor creature away, explaining the virtues of my white powder, at which they looked respectfully enough. It was well that I had some. Father's medicine-chest has been about the most valuable thing I brought to China. . . .

The rest of the letter is in a more serious strain, for the spiritual welfare of this dear sister was much upon his heart. She was just leaving school to take up the more leisurely life of home, and as he thought of the opportunities and special dangers this would present, he longed to safeguard her as well as at that distance he was able.

" If you want blessing," he had written in an earlier letter, "'seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,' and you will be on the high road to all other good. Some people forget this and seek happiness in the world, but it eludes their grasp.... They think, plan, contrive, and try this means and that, but get no nearer the mark. While there are others who, seeking nothing for themselves, have joy and peace poured into their hearts. For they put first ` the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,' and `all these things' are ` added to them: This I have proved by my own experience, and I can assure you that so it is.

" Pray earnestly, perseveringly, till your prayers are answered, to be truly made a child of God. Then remember you are His .. . but still a child, Your Father knows best where you should be and how, So ask to do His will as the true, the only way to happiness and content. Remember too, when saved you are His servant. All you possess is His. Use it as such. . . . If as His servant you are true to Christ, He as your Master will provide for you and that liberally. It is the Principal of any concern who has the burden of responsibility. So avoid seeking to be head. . . . Be the servant and child in all things. ..: Look for guidance, and commit your way unto the Lord. Thus you will prosper in temporal as in spiritual things, and avoid those grinding cares which wear one down more than actual labour, and sometimes make life itself a burden; And remember to pray for your absent brother, who finds it much easier to tell you what to do than to act it out himself. But he does try to do so, and can tell you that he has never tried altogether in vain; for if he has not come up to the mark he is always blessed in his own soul for trying."

Another paragraph from the same letter is well worth quoting.

There is one thing I would specially warn you against . . . one of the greatest curses I believe of the present day-the practice of novel-reading. If you value your mind and soul, avoid it as you would a dangerous serpent. I cannot tell you what I would give to be able to forget certain novels I have read and to efface their influence from my memory. And I firmly believe, though some would deny it, . . . that no Christian ever did or ever will read them without injury, … very serious injury too, if the habit is indulged in. It is like opium- smoking, and begets a craving for more that must be supplied. Better books are neglected, and no one can estimate the mischief that results. Few, I believe, could honestly ask God's blessing upon the reading of a novel, and few would venture to assert that they read them to the glory of God. I dread them for you especially as a temptation to which you are constitutionally disposed . . . for you and I resemble one another very much as to temperament. . . . The only safety lies in avoiding them as one of Satan's most subtle snares.

I often fear that while I may be remembered by you as your brother the missionary in China, you will not feel towards me as to one who has a deep, a constant, and increasing interest in your welfare... . May God bless you, my dearly-beloved and often prayed-for sister, and make you all that He Himself would have you be. Good-night, my oil is done. Once more, God bless you.

This was the summer of the disastrous floods, when in the low-lying parts of the Tie-chin district several cities were inundated and more than two hundred towns and villages. The rice crop, just ready for reaping, was swept away in many places by the tremendous rush of water, that even unearthed coffins and carried them out to sea. Not a few lives were lost, and the distress among all classes was very great. Mr. Burns returned in the middle of June from the neighbouring town of Am-po, where he had been living for ten days. He only came just in time, for the house he had been enabled to rent was flooded breast-high the following day.

He had had an encouraging stay in this busy, important place, a larger town than Swatow though not so crowded. Not only was there a constant stream of visitors coming for books and conversation, but several interested neighbours were regularly attending morning and evening worship. The change back to Swatow was not a little trying, especially as the continued downpour prevented outside work. But it gave a welcome opportunity for prayer and conference over many problems connected with their position.

By the close of the week Mr. Taylor was far from well. The close confinement to their narrow quarters was telling upon him, especially when-with their servants and two native helpers-they were " so thick on the ground " as he, expressed it.

" The dark, rainy weather has a depressing effect on one's spirits," he wrote. " I do not feel very well, but trust that in a few days a change of weather will put things right and let me go on with my work again."

Brighter days came and Mr. Burns was able to return to Am-po with his Chinese helpers, but not until it had become evident that he must bid farewell to his English companion for a time. The greatest heat of summer was still before them, and Mr. Taylor was in no condition to meet it under existing circumstances. Providential indications also were not lacking that for the good of the work he ought to pay a visit to Shanghai.

Disappointed as they were about premises for a chapel, their thoughts had naturally turned to other methods of evangelisation. The people of Swatow were far too suspicious of foreigners to let them have a room for nothing but preaching. How could any one be willing to pay the rent of a shop merely to have a place for talking in about religious doctrines ? Clearly there must be something behind such a proceeding. But premises for medical work would be quite another matter. The foreign doctor was always persona grata, and if he must tell more or less about his religion-well, his medicines were so good that the preaching could be tolerated.

This being so even in Swatow, Mr. Burns and Mr. Taylor had almost decided to begin hospital work, or at any rate to open a dispensary. They were still praying about it, wondering whether the latter should take the long journey to Shanghai to fetch his instruments and medicines, when the chief Mandarin of the place was taken ill and the native doctors were unable to relieve him. Hearing from a friend that one of the foreigners in native dress was a skilful physician, he sent for Hudson Taylor and put the case into his hands. The treatment proved beneficial, and, no sooner was he well himself than he strongly advised his benefactor to commence medical work in Swatow for the assistance of other sufferers. This seemed very like the guidance they were seeking, especially when the Mandarin, in the grateful spirit so characteristic of his people, under- took to help them about premises. Backed by his approval they were soon enabled to rent the entire house in which they had hitherto occupied a single room, which gave them the advantage of beginning in a neighbourhood in which they were already known and respected.

As though the shadow of a longer parting lay upon his heart, Hudson Taylor was very reluctant, even then, to leave his loved and honoured friend. But when just at this juncture a free passage was offered him all the way to Shanghai by an English captain, the matter seemed taken out of his hands. Mr. Burns would not be left alone or without fellow-workers. One of the native Christians would assist him in Swatow, and one at Am-po and in the country districts. It really seemed, at last, as though the way were opening before them, and all they needed was the medical outfit waiting in Shanghai to enable them to enter upon fruitful labours.

And so early in July the parting came ; and full of thankfulness for the past and hope for greater blessing in the days to come they committed one another to the care and keeping that had never failed them hitherto.

" Those happy months were an unspeakable joy and comfort to me," wrote Hudson Taylor long after, looking back upon the companionship thus ended with William Burns. " His love for the Word was delightful, and his holy, reverential life and constant communings with God made fellowship with him satisfying to the deep cravings of my heart. His accounts of revival work and of persecutions in Canada, Dublin, and Southern China were most instructive as well as interesting ; for with true spiritual insight he often pointed out God's purposes in trial in a way that made all life assume quite a new aspect and value. His views especially about evangelism as the great work of the Church, and the order of lay-evangelists as a lost order that Scripture required to be restored, were seed-thoughts which were to prove fruitful in the subsequent organisation of the China Inland Mission."

For, in the providence of. God, they never met again. All unexpectedly Hudson Taylor found his path diverging from that of his friend. Dark clouds were gathering over Southern China, soon to lead to war. On a boat near Swatow Mr. Burns was taken prisoner and sent under escort, by river and canal, a journey of thirty-one days to Canton and the nearest British authorities. Returning to Swatow some months later he was enabled to take advantage of the growing feeling in his favour to establish a permanent work. Known as " The Man of the Book," he was allowed to go in and out freely, the trusted friend of the people, when all other Europeans were confined to their houses and in considerable danger on account of the iniquities of the coolie traffic ; and the Swatow Mission of the English Presbyterian Church flourishes to-day as an outcome of those early labours.

Passing on to other fields when initial difficulties were conquered, Mr. Burns was led to Peking at length, and there spent four years in literary and evangelistic work. And then, true to the commanding vision of his life, the veteran missionary turned his face once more to the " regions beyond." North of the Great Wall and stretching far away-an almost unknown world-lay the fair and fruitful plains of Manchuria. A few foreigners were living at the Treaty Port, but as yet no minister or missionary _ was among their number.1-{1- One missionary journey had been made in Manchuria some time previously, that of Dr. Alexander Williamson, who as Agent of the Scottish Bible Society traversed this important region between the years 1866 and 1868, even reaching a point-San-sin, on the Sungari river-which the Church has not yet overtaken. See A Century of Missions in China, p. sob.}Alone, with a single native helper, Mr. Burns set out for Newchwang, his life and teachings so impressing the captain of the junk on which they travelled that he would take no fare from the man whose very presence seemed a blessing.

Then came the closing days, setting the seal of God's own benediction upon this life of singular devotion. Four months of earnest, pioneering work-preaching in English on Sundays to the handful of fellow-countrymen in the Settlement, and in Chinese all through the week in thenative quarter in which he lived-and after that an illness, the result as it seemed of chill, brought the quiet, unexpected end.2- {2 The Rev. Wm. C. Burns passed away on April 4, 1868, just two years after the formation of the China Inland Mission which he had watched with the warmest interest. To the far-away homeland he sent as his last message an appeal to tab up the work he was thus laying down ; an appeal nobly responded to by the arrival of the first representative of the Irish Presbyterian Mission in the following year, and of the sister Church in Scotland three years later. The united Irish and Scotch Presbyterian Missions in Manchuria (one Chinese Church) now number no fewer than 16,075 actual communicants, with a missionary staff of sixty-nine Europeans. Thus blessedly has the confidence of William Burns been justified : " God," he said, “ will carry on the good work. Ah no, I have no fears for that ! "}

Alone among the Chinese to the last, planting with his dying hand the standard of the Cross far afield amid the darkness, gathering round it those whose hearts the Lord had opened-a little company, loved, prayed for, taught, and comforted almost to his latest breath, who watching beside him as he passed through the valley learned not only how a Christian should live, but also how he can diewhat could be more after the pattern of his whole life, more in keeping with his heart's desire ?


As gazed the prophet on the ascending car,

Swept by its fiery steeds away, afar,

So with the burning tear and flashing eye,

I trace thy glorious pathway to the sky.

Lone like the Tishbite, as the Baptist bold,

Cast in a rare and apostolic mould

Earnest, unselfish, consecrated, true,

With nothing but the highest ends in view ;

Choosing to toil in distant fields, unsown,

Contented to be poor and little known,

Faithful to death : Oh, man of God, well done!

Thy fight is ended and thy crown is won.

God shall have all the glory. Only grace

Made thee to differ. Let us man abase.

Deep with emphatic tone, thy dying word,

Thy last was this : " Thine is the kingdom, Lord,

The power and glory." Thus the final flame

Of the burnt offering to Jehovah's Name

Ascended from the altar. Life thus given

To God, must have its secret springs in heaven.

Oh, William Burns, we will not call thee dead!

Though lies thy body in its narrow bed

In far-off China.Though Manchuria keeps

Thy dust, which in the Lord securely sleeps,

Thy spirit lives with Jesus ; and where He

Thy Master dwells, 'tis meet that thou shouldst be.

There is no death in His divine embrace ;

There is no life but where they see His face.

And now, Lord, let Thy servant's mantle fall

Upon another. Since Thy solemn call

To preach the Truth in China has been heard,

Grant that a double portion be conferred

Of the same spirit on the gentler head

Of some Elisha-who may raise the dead

And fill the widow's cruse, and heal the spring,

And make the desolate of heart to sing ;

And stand, though feeble, fearless, since he knows

Thy hosts angelic guard him from his foes ;

Whose life an image fairer still may be

Of Christ of Nazareth and Galilee,

Of Thine, oh, spotless Lamb of Calvary!

China, I breathe for thee a brother's prayer,

Unnumbered are thy millions. Father, hear

The groans we cannot. Oh, Thine arm make bare,

And reap the harvest of salvation there.

The fulness of the Gentiles, like a sea

Immense, oh, God, be gathered unto Thee.

Then Israel save, and with His saintly train,

Send us Immanuel over all to reign.—H. GRATTAN GUINNESS, D.D.