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people at their own homes. The illness of Mr. Tomlin, however, disarranged their plans, and withheld him from the contemplated scene of labour. Gutzlaff was also detained till after the loss of his wife by death, when he made preparations, although oppressed with sickness, to proceed on his voyage. His aiin was to reach, if possible, Teentsin, the cominercial emporium of the capital. It was not till after he had met with several other delays, that he finally embarked on board a Chinese junk destined for that place.
The following extract from his journal will serve to illustrate his condition on board one of these vessels. “The Chinese sailors are, generally, from the most debased class of people. The major part of them are opium-smokers, gamblers, thieves, and fornicators. They will indulge in the drug till all their wages are squandered; they will gamble as long as a farthing remains. They are poor and in debt; they cheat, and are cheated by one another, whenever it is possible; and when they have entered a harbour, they have no wish to depart till all they have is wasted, although their families at home may be in the utmost want and distress. Their curses and imprecations are most horrible, their language most filthy and obscene; yet they never condemn theinselves to eternal destruction. A person who has lived among these men would be best qualified to give a description of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as to appreciate the blessings of christianity ; which, even in its most degenerate state, proves a greater check on human depravity, than the best-arranged maxims of men."
Such was his state of weakness on his embarkation, that he soon after seemed near his end; his
breath failed, and he lay stretched out in his berth, without the assistance of a single individual. “Zu, a Fuhkeen man,” he says, “ thought and acted like all his countrymen, who give a man up and leave him to his fate as soon as he is unable to eat rice.” But, though deserted by all his fellow-inen, among whom his lot was cast, his gracious God watched over him, and guided him on in safety. Previous to leaving Siam, he lost his infant daughter; but, happily, the melancholy intelligence did not reach him till after his restoration to health, when he was more able to endure the additional stroke which he was thus called to experience. On his passage, he was distressed to witness the degradation of his fellow-passengers, in their idolatrous reliance on their imaginary deities, and their indulgence of the most grovelling passions and appetites. But, in reference to his unfailing resource for comfort in the word and promises of God, he remarks: “ The perusal of John's gospel, which details a Saviour's transcendent love, was encouraging and consoling, though as yet I could not see that peculiar love extended to China ; but God will send the word of eternal life to a nation hitherto unvisited by the life-giving influences of the Holy Spirit. In these meditations I tasted the favours of the world to come, and lost myself in the adoration of that glorious name, the only one given under heaven whereby we must be saved. Under such circumstances, it was easy to bear all the contempt that was heaped upon me; neither did the kindness of some individuals make me forget that there were dishonest men around me, and that I owed my preservation entirely to Divine protection."
These dangers were not imaginary, for observing his trunks well secured, it was surmised by the sailors, that they contained silver and gold ; and a conspiracy was formed to cleave his head with a hatchet, to seize the trunks, and to divide the money among themselves. All the persons who formed this plot were opium-smokers; the leader was an old sailor, and nominally, his friend. But just as they were about to execute their plan, an old man came forward, and declared that a few days before he had seen the trunks opened, and that they contained nothing but books, which they might obtain without cleaving his head. This fact being satisfactorily ascertained, they all agreed to desist from the execution of the plot.
On another occasion there was a storm, which greatly increased, and threatened to whelm them in the foaming billows. The junk was exposed to the united fury of the winds and waves, and it was expected every moment that she would be dashed in pieces. For several days Egyptian darkness hung over them, but, notwithstanding this, the sailors formed a plot, principally on account of the riches which they supposed Gutzlaff to possess, to sink the junk, to seize on the riches, and then to flee in a small boat to the neighbouring shore. Having gained some information of this treacherous scheme, he left his cabin, and walked near them with wonted cheerfulness. The ringleaders seeing this, and observing the approach of a Canton junk at the same time, desisted.
In 1834, Mr. Gutzlaff was appointed to an office in the Company's service. He writes from Macao : “ Great are the numbers of tracts which I have distributed this year,—I should venture to say thrice as many as last year; yet I consider the circulation of many ten thousand volumes as a mere drop in the ocean.
“I am engaged with the re-translation of the Chinese New Testament, which is now very desirable. You will hear that I am, for the present, a king's officer in the Chinese department: it was a matter of necessity, but my hands are not tied; and I shall have in this capacity, an ample opportunity of co-operating for the propagation of the gospel, by procuring permission for the heralds of salvation to settle in China. Several missionaries are expected; and the great object is, to procure full access to the celestial empire. I have, therefore, felt it my duty to make a formal representation for permitting a free and unrestrained intercourse with China.”
In March 1835, Mr. Gutzlaff, in company of the Rev. Edwin Stevens, and an English gentleman from Bengal, lest Canton on another voyage up the coast; but of this, a discouraging view is given in the American Missionary Herald.
“On the 6th of May it is said they entered the Min River, which they ascended in boats four days to the distance of about seventy miles, receiving no intimations from any quarter of disapprobation of their enterprise. On the fifth day they were fired on by the military stationed on both sides of the river: two of the boatmen were slightly wounded; and so determined seemed the opposition, that it was thought inexpedient to attempt to proceed further.
“ Mr. Stevens is confident that missionaries cannot openly enter the empire, or prosecute their work in it, not because the common people are averse to having intercourse with foreigners and receiving their books, but the policemen, especially in the densely peopled portions of the country and the large towns, seem disposed to enforce the law of the government excluding strangers."
Mr. Gutzlaff has entered the empire about forty miles, but in a district where the inhabitants were scattered. The coast is open for the distribution of books ; but the only facility offered to the missionaries, for this work, are the opium ships, which are undesirable modes of conveyance; not only from the character of the traffic, but on account of their being specially obnoxious to the governinent.
CHAPTER IV. Sumatra.- Baptist Missionary Society. Visit of Rev. Mr.
Burton to Padang. — The Battas — Their Religion.Schools established. -- Importance of a knowledge of Geography. — Conversation with a Priest.
- Cruel Sport.Indifference of the Natives. - The principal Padra. State of the Battas.-Amboyna.- Rev. Mr. Kam.-His Visits to several Islands.-Interesting Results.-Apparent
Preparation for the Scriptures. The island of Sumatra being considered a station of peculiar importance, not only as affording access to great numbers of heathen, but as a central spot in which some acquaintance may be gained with the numerous languages spoken in the eastern Archipelago, Mr. Nathaniel Ward, of the Baptist Missionary Society, was sent thither from Calcutta with a printing press, in the spring of 1819; and Messrs. Evans and Burton having been designated in London for the same station, arrived in safety at the place of their destination, on the 9th