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"May 17. I have now mastered the two hundred and fourteen radicals, which may be regarded as in some sense the Chinese alphabet. I congratulate myself, therefore, on having advanced one step toward the acquisition of that most difficult of all difficult languages. I hardly dare attempt another step without the guidance of a teacher, lest I go wrong. I shall at least, from choice as well as necessity, follow the advice of the old Latin motto, 'Festina lente.'
"May 22. Finished Smith's Researches in China;' and, on the whole, derive encouragement from his plain but interesting narrative. Little, indeed, has yet been accomplished; and so has it been in the early history of other missions, whose subsequent success has surprised and
STUDIES AT SEA.
delighted the whole Christian world. When the set time to favor Zion in China comes, we know not what wonders of grace may be exhibited. Happy shall I be, if I may but clear away a little of the rubbish, which has been accumulating there for centuries, in preparation for the erection of a spiritual temple, where God shall be worshiped in ages to come. I often feel like putting my hand to the work, not with a romantic, but with an enthusiastic spirit.
"May 27. I enjoy the hours set apart for direct communion with God, more and more. Heaven and the holy objects therein, are becoming, more than ever before, all in all to me. Not that I am impatiently awaiting the termination of my earthly toils and sufferings. I am willing to bear the burden and heat of the day, all my allotted time; but then, how I shall welcome the hour of full discharge! How gladly shall I ascend to the presence of my God, and to the perfection of his saints.
'May 28. In thinking of my future work in China, I have been comforted with the reflection that Bible Christianity is to be inculcated, and not American Theology. How simple a thing
the gospel is, adapted to every grade of intellect. How admirable the manner in which Christ impressed the truth upon his auditors. Fifty modern treatises on Theology are not so useful to a missionary as one of the New Testament parables. There is certainly little mystery or difficulty in the apostolical precept, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' All can understand it, all may obey it.
"June 11. This evening had personal conversation with two of the sailors. One of them seems to be very near the kingdom of heaven. On inquiring at the outset, 'How do you feel now in regard to this subject;' his reply was, 'Miserable! miserable!' I tried to direct him to the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. He seemed to feel all that was said; but pleaded the difficulties in the way of living a Christian life in the forecastle. Poor fellow! I pity him, but his duty is plain. I told him he must be willing to suffer for Christ's sake. Oh, that he may be brought savingly to Jesus.
"June 15. This evening the sailor mentioned, expresses the hope that he has given himself to Christ, and has been accepted. This will greatly
encourage us in our further labors among the crew. I have tried to give him such advice as I thought would be most serviceable to him. God grant that he may not be permitted to rest in a deception.
"June 23. A fit of industry which recently seized me, has resulted in leading me to devote my evenings, as well as mornings to the study of Chinese. At present I am reading, in order, Williams' Vocabulary; a dry, but I trust, not unprofitable task. It renders me familiar with the characters, and gives me an insight into the structure and genius of the language. No secular occupation affords me more real pleasure than this, uninviting as it may appear at first view. I would fain hope that the love of Christ sweetens this toil, and every other, which has for its object the salvation of men and the glory of God.
"July 3, Monday. 'Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name !' Such is the utterance of my heart in reviewing the last two days. We have been in imminent danger of shipwreck, and yet been mercifully delivered. The storm, which commenced on Saturday, increased in fury until last night at dusk.
It was made up of a succession of squalls, with intervals of comparative calm. Almost every
squall was accompanied by hail. The sky was clear, directly over head, a considerable part of the time, while dense masses of cloud rested on the horizon all around. The sea, raised to a fearful height, broke over the quarter deck continually, threatening to sweep the helmsman from his post. The barometer stood at 29.05. We scudded under close-reefed topsails and reefed foresails, till last evening about five o'clock, when we shipped a huge sea, which passed over the boat, carried away a large part of the monkey rail, stove the galley-door, and set adrift the scuttle-butt, hen coops, spars and the like.
"Knowing that a few more such seas would wreck us, the captain concluded to heave to, which he did under close-reefed main-topsail. This done he entered with the remark, 'Everything now depends on the good qualities of the vessel; if she ships a sea, it is all over with her.' Our gallant little bark behaved nobly, however, and rode like a sea-bird amid the hills and the valleys of water. She seemed like a thing of