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MR. BURNS AT SWATOW.
You remember that in January we told you, Mr. Burns had been put in prison by the Chinese people, for preaching the gospel at Swatow, and that, after he was liberated they forced him to go to Canton. Writing from Swatow on the 4th of December, he says," I left Hongkong in a lorcha a few days after last writing you, and after a pleasant coasting passage of nine days, I reached this place a fortnight ago, and found, in disappointment of my fears, all our things safe, and receiving a hearty welcome from our friends here. I am in hopes that all that has happened in connection with our arrest, may tend to improve our position and prospects of useful labour in this quarter. All our efforts previously to obtain such accommodation as was needful for preaching, &c., proved fruitless. But since my return the people, a part of whose house we occupied as a lodging, have almost volunteered to remove to another house and leave us in possession of this. They are this day nearly completing their removal, and I am expecting soon, if the Lord will, to be able to raise here a more audible testimony for his TRUTH, than it was permitted formerly to give.”
You will recollect that some native preachers were arrested along with Mr. Burns, and were not released at the same time as he was.
Of these he says, “ Orders have come down from the Governor-General at Canton, for the release of the native brethren arrested along with me, and we hope that soon these orders may be carried into effect; but the Chinese officials are very tardy in their movements, and try to keep hold so long as they can of all who fall into their hands, that they may by threats and hard usage extract as much money from them
as possible. These native brethren have been suffering not a little in this way, but we hope that soon they will be set free from the power of their covetous tormentors.
"How wonderful the Divine mercy to me, in disposing the Chinese officials to treat me with respect and kindness as they did; and in so ordering it that I should have been released at Canton before the troubles (that is, the wars) began."
Mr. Burns concludes his letter by making a request, with which we hope many of the readers of the Juvenile Messenger will comply. He says, “In these efforts to do good, we have much need to be remembered in the prayers of God's people; with prayer should also be joined thanksgiving for the mercy we have hitherto experienced in endeavouring to occupy this new and difficult field of labour.”
ALL IS OURS. ALL things are now at work to produce your future wel. " All things are for your
sakes." Keep your eyes fixed on the Lord in perplexity, and you are sure to come safely out of it.
All Christ possesses as Mediator is for your use and benefit: all things are yours, and ye are Christ's.
Seeming difficulties generally vanish before faith, prayer, and perseverance.
THE FUTURE. THE veil which covers the face of futurity is woven by the hand of mercy.
FOR EVER. A GRAIN of sand is a part of the earth ; a drop of water is a part of the ocean; but a thousand years is no part of eternity.
Every day is a little life, and our whole life is but a day repeated.
A woman in Jamaica was very fond of going to Missionary meetings, and singing with great apparent zeal and fervour, —
Fly abroad thou mighty Gospel!”
But whenever the plates went round for contributions, she always sung with her eyes fixed upon the ceiling. On one occasion, however, a Negro touched her with the plate, and
“Sissy, it no use for you to sing, 'Fly 'broad, mighty Gospel,' with your eyes fixed on the corner of the ceiling; it no use to sing 'Fly 'broad' at all, unless you give it something to make it · fly.'"
This Negro read a good lesson for more than Sissy. Reader, does it apply to you ?
A FEW SHORT YEARS AND THEN.
A Few short years—and then
The dream of life will be
In its reality!
On a winter's evening, near one hundred years ago, the tea-table was laid out, and the window curtains closely drawn, in the little parlour of a small house in the town of Greenock, in the West of Scotland. A tidy active woman was bustling about, spreading bread and butter; a blazing fire crackled, and gleamed, and roared in the grate, curling toward the black sides of a kettle, which sat in the middle of it. The water boiled with a faintly popping sound; and a stream of white vapour came whizzing out of the spout, with a shrill cheering hiss.
As the woman came to pour the boiling water into the tea-pot, her son James, a boy twelve years old, sat on a low stool in front of the fire ; his elbows rested on his knees, whilst his hands, placed under his chin, supported his head. The boy was intently gazing at the fire, the kettle, and the steam; he seemed lost in deep thought. While the boy looked at the fire, the woman looked at the boy,
A TALE OF A TEA-KETTLE.
and thought in her mind,“ Was there ever such an idle, good-for-nothing fellow in this world, as our Jamie ?"
A visitor stepped in at this moment. “ Mrs. Brown," said Jamie's mother, “ did you ever see the like of our boy? Look at him ; he will sit there for hours, staring at the kettle or the steam, till you would think his eyes would come out of his head."
And truly, there was something remarkable in the boy's eye; it was sharp, quick, and intelligent. He seemed as if he were gazing on some wondrous vision. He sat watching the escaping steam, while the thin vaporous column, casting itself upwards in fantastic changing shapes, and sometimes gathering in force and quantity, would gently raise one side of the lid of the kettle, emit a white puff, and then let the metal fall with a low clanking sound. There was power and strength in that watery cloud; and as the half dreaming boy saw this, all manner of strange thoughts came into his mind. Perhaps he saw ships sail. ing fast on the sea, without wind or sails; or carriages rapidly running over the country, without horses; wagons carried through deserts, by some power unseen to mortal eye.
At length the spell was broken, and his mother called out loudly, “ Jamie ! Jamie ! sit by to your tea. If I find ye staring at the fire again, ye'll feel the weight o' my hand." The boy rose meekly, and did as he was told.
And who was this boy? He was James Watt, afterwards Sir James. He was the first to apply the wonderful power of steam to useful purposes ; and, for his valuable discoveries, received the honour of knighthood. He was born in 1736, the son of a poor tradesman, at Greenock; and probably had never read a book, with the exception of his spelling-book and Bible.