Page:China's spiritual need and claims.djvu/86

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Journeying with the Rev. W. C. Burns.

The next incident to which we will refer, occurred during a missionary journey taken in 1855–6, with the Rev. W. C. Burns, of the English Presbyterian Mission. We reached Wu-chen, or Black Town, in the province of Cheh-kiang, the inhabitants of which we had been told were the wildest and most lawless people in that part of the country. Such we found them to be: the town was indeed a refuge for salt-smugglers and other bad characters.

"January 8th, 1856.—Commenced our work in Wu-chen this morning by distributing about 300 handbill tracts, and some Testaments. The people seemed much surprised, and we could not learn that any foreigner had been here before. We preached twice, once in the temple of Kwan-ti, and afterwards in an empty space left by a fire, which had completely destroyed a great many houses. In the afternoon we preached again to a large and attentive audience, on the same site; and in the evening we all went to a tea-shop, where we had a good opportunity of speaking for some time: but it got noised abroad that we were there, and too many people coming in, we had to leave. The native assistants, Dzien and Kway-hwo, were,

Chinese Horizontal Bridge (China's Spiritual Need and Claims, 1887).png


however, able to remain. On our way back, we spoke to a number of people on a bridge, for a short time; and had abundant reason to be thankful and encouraged by the result of our first day's labours.

"January 10th.—First sent Dzien and Kway-hwo to distribute some sheet tracts. After their return we went along with them, and, in a space cleared by fire, we separated, and addressed two audiences. On our return to our boats for lunch, we found, as usual, people waiting and desiring books. Some were distributed to those who were able to use them; and then, desiring the people to wait till we took our lunch, I went into my boat and closed the door. I had only just poured out a cup of tea, when a battering began, andthe roof was at once broken in. I went out at the back, and saw four or five men taking the large lumps of frozen earth turned up in a field close by, and weighing, I should suppose, from seven to fourteen pounds each, and throw-