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RETURN TO SHANGHAI.
casion. All of us in succession offered prayer. It was, I think, the most profitable communion season I ever enjoyed.
"Feb. 4. Long before daylight we were on the way to Shanghai. The wind soon rose and we were unable to proceed. Our little boat was tossed like an egg-shell on the river. After the wind moderated a little we again got under way. About half-past six o'clock we anchored at Shanghai."
The summer of 1856 was spent in Shanghai,
as it would have been fool-hardy," Mr. Aitchison writes, "to brave the fierce sun of this climate. As soon as the cool weather came on," he adds, "I took to the boat again, in company with my beloved Brother Burdon. He is a true yokefellow in the Lord. His society has been a rich boon to me. We sympathize perfectly on all subjects but that of church government, and there we agree to differ."
August 10th he wrote, "We were quite interested last week in three Mohammedans who introduced themselves to us. One was from Nanking, one from Hangchau, and one from Suchau. It was refreshing to hear them affirm that they
worshiped the 'one true God.' They seemed to know little more of the peculiar sect to which they belong than the name of its founder, the impostor of Mecca. According to their account, there are vast numbers of Mohammedans scattered through the empire. They worship God five times a day, turning their faces toward the west. Strangely enough they profess their belief in Jesus as a Saviour, drawing some distinction between him and the false prophet which I could not fully understand. Such men as they seem not far from the kingdom of God.
"It is known also for a certainty that there is a community of Jews in the interior, who have manuscript portions of the Old Testament in the original Hebrew. Such things are a pleasing testimony to the truth of some parts of biblical and even profane history.
TRYING TO SETTLE DOWN.
Ping-Hoo-Reasons for being there-Cheerless Abode-Joy in God-Importance of the Step-Darkness of Heathenism.
THUS Mr. Aitchison passed the second year of his missionary life, "not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." But he and Mr. Burdon had felt for some time, that, although their boat-life had some advantages, yet it lacked that permanency and concentration of effort necessary to the most enduring results; and they began to cast about for some place where they might settle down, at least for a time, and try what might be done by another mode of operation. The following letter to Rev. Dr. Anderson contains a deeply interesting account of their attempt to establish themselves in a large town, at a considerable distance from the coast.
PING-HOO, Dec. 31, 1856. "REV. AND DEAR SIR:-You will begin to think my correspondence with the Board is likely
to take the shape of an annual letter. For myself I can scarcely believe that a whole year has passed since my last communication. True indeed is the Chinese proverb, 'Time is like an arrow-days and months are like a weaver's shuttle.' When I become better acquainted with this most difficult of all languages, and am able to give more of my strength to the direct preaching of the gospel, I hope to write more frequently.
"So far as my missionary life is concerned, the last twelve months may be divided into three periods. Up to the early part of July, I continued my labors as an itinerant, sometimes penetrating to a considerable distance into the interior. The three hottest months of summer were spent in Shanghai, Rev. Mr. Burdon and myself taking our meals and studying together in the city, but sleeping at the houses of friends outside the walls. Early in October we took to our boats again, with the intention, however, of doing our best to secure a permanent footing in some place more or less remote from the influence of the foreign community. Through the blessing of God this intention has been carried into effect, and we
now occupy our own hired house in the city whose name heads this sheet.
"Ping-Hoo is situated in the northern part of Chekiang Province, about seventy miles from Shanghai. Its population, including the suburbs, we estimate at nearly 100,000. It stands in the midst of a vast plain, thoroughly cultivated and densely populated. One solitary mountain is visible in the Southern horizon, a peak of the range which forms the barrier of Hangchau Bay. Were the entire country open to us, we would by no means select this as the most promising place for a missionary station. But in present circumstances we must do as we can, not as we would. While the people remain as prejudiced and proud as they now are, while jealous authorities watch with a suspicious eye every movement of the foreign barbarians, and while human treaties exclude us from the perishing millions of the vast interior, we gladly take possession, in Christ's name, of any spot outside the 'five ports.'
"But I must tell you how we came here and what we are doing. Feeling the importance of permanency and concentration, we have from the first cherished the hope of establishing the centre