the pioneers of Protestant missions in regions where Christ had not been named.

And now also the ardent desire which Mr. Aitchison had so long cherished that he might effect a permanent residence somewhere in the interior, might find indeed a more promising field of labor than any he had yet seen, seemed about to be realized. He had, in fact, turned his longing eyes to the grand capital itself, hoping that he might some day get within its sacred walls, and even there "where Satan's seat is," have the unspeakable honor and privilege of planting the standard of the cross. Or, if he could not reach the capital, he had thought that Tung-Chow, a large city only twelve miles from Peking, might be his residence. For this purpose he had studied the Mandarin dialect, and held himself in readiness. "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth"-this was his waiting attitude, as it is always the glory of the creature.

So he and Mr. Macy were planning all the earlier part of the year, and fully expected to be able to start on their new and interesting expedition by the middle or end of April. But the Master had other plans for his servants; and



never was the motto, "Man proposes; God disposes," more strikingly exemplified. Before the April showers began to fall, Mr. Macy was prostrated by sudden sickness, which proved to be confluent small-pox in its worst form. For eleven days Mr. Aitchison watched most tenderly over the sick, did all in his power to minister to his comfort, bathing his eyes and face during the violence of the disease, reading to him, and praying with him; and when death had done its work, with Mr. Blodget, he prepared the poor mortal remains for the tomb.

To Mr. Aitchison this new dispensation of Providence seemed dark indeed. He knew not what it meant, or which way to turn. Writing to his beloved friend Mr. Burdon he says:

"Thus, once more my cherished hopes are dashed, and my favorite plans frustrated. I trust, however, I am able to look up, and say to God, in this dispensation, as in all others, 'Not my will, but thine be done.' If years of labor are still allotted me, as on the whole I anticipate, I know not at present what course to steer. My aspirations are still interiorwards, either in the direction of the north or west. Should some

[ocr errors]

happy turn of Providence make your path and mine coincident, I should esteem myself highly favored. Doubtless the Lord will order our steps aright, if we sincerely look to him for guidance."

In the same letter he reviews his past connection with China, and dedicates himself anew to his Master. "This is the anniversary of my sailing from America. Five years ago, just at this hour of noon, the good ship Candace cast loose from the wharf, and turned her prow toward the far east.

"Truly goodness and mercy have followed me during all this time. How much occasion I have for gratitude and praise! And yet how little have I accomplished in the cause of my Lord and Master! It is high time to gird on my armor anew; it is high time to enter in earnest upon the conflict with the powers of darkness, both in me and around me. Do, my dear brother, lend me the aid of your prayers."

[ocr errors]

Attending upon a friend in that fearful disease as Mr. Aitchison did, was not, of course, without serious exposure of his own life; but God was merciful, and he was spared. And yet, breath

[ocr errors]



ing, for eleven successive nights and parts of days, the pestilential air of such a sick room, together with the fatigue of protracted watching, had sensibly affected his health.

[graphic][merged small]


Still Planning-Joins the Embassy to Peking-Repulse at the Peiho-Negotiations and Hopes.

STILL hoping that some kind providence would prepare the way for his access to some one of the Northern provinces, or to the capital itself, early in June Mr. Aitchison most unexpectedly received an invitation to join, as one of its interpreters, the American Embassy, then about to proceed to Peking. This seemed to be the very thing for which, in substance, he had been so long waiting and praying. It would at least give him an opportunity to explore the country; and if he found it possible to remain in the Capital, and be the first to live and labor as a true missionary of the cross, in that great centre of the most populous kingdom of the globe, he would consider himself the most favored and most happy man on earth.

« VorigeDoorgaan »