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a writer to the signet in Edinburgh, when that remarkable change came over his character and spirit, which gave direction and tone to his after life. He returned to Aberdeen and resumed his studies, with a view to the ministry in the Church of Scotland; took his degree with honourable distinction; and in 1834 proceeded to the University of Glasgow, where he studied theology under the then venerable professor, Dr. Stevenson Macgill, a nan who, without being conspicuous for more than average talent, left his mark upon many a minister who has ably served the cause of Christ during the last thirty or forty years, and that mainly by the weight and consistency of his personal character. Whoever has read the “Life of James Halley," or the recently published “ Memoir of Dr. James Hamilton," of London, knows something of the Students' Missionary Society in the University of Glasgow. This association was in full force when young Burns was a divinity student; and it is to be noted, that it was at one of its meetings, and while listening to the earnest words of Dr. Kalley, (then looking forward to missionary life in China, but prevented by the state of his health from following out his purpose, and afterwards distinguished, it may be remembered, by his Christian labours in Madeira,)“that he first rose to the full idea of that entire and absolute consecration of his whole being and life to the service of Christ, which in his subsequent ministry so remarkably distinguished him, as well as formed his first definite purpose of devoting himself to the missionary field.” Of his inner life about this time we catch glimpses in letters written to his sister, and, subsequently, in his diary; but on these our limits forbid us from entering. With what a profound and absorbing earnestness he was now contemplating his life-work, however, may be illustrated by an incident remembered by his mother. Having occasion to be in Glasgow, she met him unexpectedly in the Argyle Arcade, and on going up to him he seemed for a space unconscious of her presence, and spoke as if awakening from a dream. At length he said, with deep emotion : "O mother, I did not see you; for, when walking along Argyle Street just now, I was so overcome with the sight of the countless crowds of immortal beings hasting hither and thither, but all posting onward towards the eternal world, that I could bear it no longer, and turned in here to seek relief in quiet thought.” He was licensed to preach the Gospel by the Presbytery of Glasgow on the 27th day of March, 1839. The writer of these lines happened to be present, and on meeting Mr. Burns some hours afterwards, took the liberty of congratulating him on the auspicious occasion; and he has found much in the character delineated in the Memoir to recall vividly to his mind the direct and earnest

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reply he received: “Well, now, you will not forget to pray for me.” He opened negotiations with the India Committee of the Church for the purpose of proceeding to that country, but some temporary interruption having occurred, he was induced to take the place of Mr. M'Cheyne of Dundee, during the absence of that sainted minister as one of the Church of Scotland's deputation to Palestine. Mr. Burns's pulpit labours, and his intercourse with the people in Dundee, soon became wonderfully blessed; his preaching was emphatically “with demonstration of the Spirit, and with power.” A season of revival followed. Preaching at a communion in his father's pulpit in Kilsyth, in 1839, there happened such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the people, and these of all classes, including many of the most careless of the villagers, as had not occurred in Scotland since the same parish witnessed a similar effusion under the preaching of Robe, nearly a century before. The sacred influence reacted upon the preacher's charge at Dundee, and extended to other parts of the country, carrying the sympathies of good men everywhere, and securing the co-operation of many of the most wise, godly, and soberminded ministers of the day. On being relieved from his temporary charge, Mr. Burns was for some time occupied in evangelistic labours throughout Scotland. These were subsequently transferred to England, then to Ireland, and even to Canada. In the latter country his talent for acquiring languages with facility served him in good stead; in a brief space

he mastered French, and was able to preach in that language to the French Canadians. At Montreal he ministered to the 93rd regi. ment of Scottish Highlanders with much acceptance; and some of the brave fellows of that distinguished corps rescued him, bleeding, on one occasion, when he was dangerously assaulted by a Romish mob, while he was preaching in the streets. Returning home in 1846, not without visible traces of the hardness he had been enduring as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, yet still in vigorous health, his attention was turned towards China. He would probably have sought a position in the India mission, had there been a special opening ready to receive him; but a remarkable providence all at once put it in his option to proceed to China as a missionary of the English Presbyterian Church. He was ordained to the work by the Synod, which met at Sunderland, in April, 1847. Being publicly asked, in presence of the court, how soon he could be ready to enter on his work, his prompt and characteristic answer was, “To-morrow!" On the 8th of June, he was in the act of entering the Scottish church at Woolwich, to fulfil a preaching engagement, when an express from London reached him, with instructions to proceed without an hour's

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delay to Portsmouth to join the ship, which was just about to start on her voyage to China. He hastened to the latest train, and missed it; but his anxiety was relieved next morning, by the discovery that the departure of the vessel had been postponed for a few hours. He was accompanied on board by his brother, and now his biographer, who gives a very touching account of how they spent the brief space that elapsed before they parted, and the ship went on her way. Three hours afterwards, the missionary was in his cabin, pouring out his heart in a letter to his mother, the first of a series from which we learn many particulars of his subsequent career in China, and obtain not a little insight into his affectionate, devout, self-denying, and resolute character. On settling at Hong-Kong, he began to labour amongst the British population, preparing himself, meanwhile, by acquiring a knowledge of the Chinese language, for undertaking the primary work of his mission. “As before, (says his biographer,) as in the case of the French in Canada, so here, he might be said for the time to have almost lived in the element of Chinese thought and Chinese speech. He spoke Chinese, wrote Chinese, heard Chinese, sang in Chinese, prayed in Chinese." In short, he mastered that very difficult language, spoke it with the fluency and propriety of a native, and was at length able to translate into it religious writings, including the Pilgrim's Progress, a book which, from its peculiar structure, soon became a favourite with the people. The missionary assumed the native costume, and carried on evangelistic operations far and wide. We hear of him at Canton, at Amoy, at Changchow; on journeys by land, on voyages by sea and canal; sometimes robbed and maltreated, but never weary, uever disheartened, never without faith in the spiritual issue of his work. Although occasionally subjected to rough handling by robbers and government officials, he was singularly favoured in everywhere obtaining access to the people. “It was stated by one who knew him and his work in China well, that during the time of the insurgent movements in the Amoy district, when no other European could venture out among the rebels, he was free to go where he liked. “That's the man of the Book,' they would say; "he must not be touched." He was reaping the fruits of the Spirit's blessing on his labours, when, at the call of duty, he accompanied Dr. Young, on his being disabled from further labour in the mission, to Scotland, in 1854. After a brief sojourn, he sailed for China early in 1855, taking with him the Rev. Carstairs Douglas as a fellow-worker. Mr. Burns resumed his evangelistic labours with fresh energy, continuing them for thirteen years more, when they were closed by his lamented death in 1868, at the age of 54. He was chary of dilating either upon his difficulties or his successes; and what trials he endured, what dangers he dared, what labours he underwent, and what were the fruits of his work, the great day alone will declare; but in this interesting volume we have ample evidence that William Burns is entitled to a place amongst the most self-denying, laborious, and successful missionaries of modern times.

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SABBATH AFTERNOON SERVICES IN CHURCHES

FOR BOYS AND GIRLS.-NO. II.

SINCE January, when we drew attention to the commencement of a movement for bringing the boys and girls of our schools and forenoon meetings into the church on Sabbath afternoons, and having special services then for them, we are happy to report, that very gratifying progress bas been made in carrying out so desirable an object. The memorial on this subject, prepared by the committee of the Glasgow Foundry Boys Religious Society, a copy of which we then inserted, has been laid before various sessions in the districts where the meetings are held, and the replies received give the committee every encouragement to continue their efforts. And although a few sessions have seen cause to postpone, at present, the immediate commencement of these special juvenile services, it is proper to state, that all express their sincere desire for the ingathering to churches of our non-church-going youthful population. We may therefore not be trespassing when we here note a few of these replies, more especially as our former notice contained only those favourable to the object. Our aim ought to be, not to carry out our own plan, but to adopt the best; and we thus hope to draw the consideration of those engaged in religious work among the young to all the aspects of this question. One minister writes :

“I fully realize the importance of haring church-services suited for the young I appreciate the loving care and pains expended by your Society in the effort to bring the power of the Gospel and Church of Christ to bear upon the neglected children. I regret, however, that there are so many difficulties in the way of the fixed arrangement proposed by your society, that it is for me impossible, at present, to agree to it.” Another minister writes :

“The session met a few days ago, but do not see their way, at present, to a monthly service for the young. They are willing, however, to see on this occasion (the sermon to the Sabbath school children) as many of your boys as you can get to come.” Another minister writes :

The session feel the difficulty of deciding upon a monthly service for the young on any particular Sabbath; and also of asking members and seatholders to leave their seats in the area so frequently in favour of the children. At the same time, we will be happy to see the young people you refer to at our church any or every Sabbath, and are hopeful that they will not be uninterested in the service." Another minister writes :

“ Your memorial was laid before the session the other evening. Great sympathy with your movement was expressed; but we did not see that it was possible for us at once to accommodate our own ordinary hearers and the young people under your care. Trusting that you will find suitable accommodation elsewhere, or

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that you may be able to carry out your most desirable object by some other scheme.”

This last communication leads us to mention a scheme adopted by one session, which may be considered even more valuable than that advocated in the memorial. After a conference with the committee, the session and managers have set apart upwards of fifty sittings in the church for the use of the more advanced boys and girls of one of the meetings every Sabbath. A few ladies and gentlemen connected with the church and the meeting have transferred their seats to this part of the church; and it is intended, that by the occasional friendly visits of some of the elders to the meeting, a very close intimacy may be fostered between the church and the meeting. It is too soon to come to any conclusion upon this plan; but at present there is a regular attendance of about forty boys and girls every Sabbath ; and those more immediately interested in them have good hopes as to the ultimate success of this scheme. And the minister, of whose interest in the Society this is by no means the first proof, has not invited these young people to be present every Sabbath without the expressed intention of setting before their opening minds the way of salvation in a manner calculated to win them to "the paths of righteousness."

may also be permitted to notice another plan, more especially as it has been adopted by the minister, not at the instance of the Society's memorial, but from his own zeal in the cause of the young. It consists in giving to the young present a quarter of an hour during the regular service; and it is pleasing to state, that this is most warmly approved by the grown-up people also. Doubtless, this is a very admirable plan for all churches, especially when we consider that from one-third to one-half of those connected with every church are young people.

There are at present six regular monthly Sabbath afternoon services for juveniles conducted in the mission districts of the city; and the attendance of the children, and their attention during the service, have been such as to give every cause for satisfaction. It is quite possible, that if such a method of bringing the young people into the church is continued, and consolidates into a custom, we may soon be able, through them, to draw in their parents also. We surely do not over-estimate the interest of the generality of fathers and mothers in their boys and girls, when we expect them to come to a place about which they are hearing so much, and to which they will be made most welcome. And the committee are therefore going on, gradually adding to the number of these services in each district, until they have each fully overtaken.

But we must not leave this subject, at this time, without indicating a difficulty which has for some time past been under the consideration of the committee. It must be evident that when, say 200 or 300 boys and girls go from any meeting to a church, there must be a staff competent to place them in the proper pews in the church, and to maintain order there, and at the dismission. It is also evident, that the parties who can most efficiently do this, are those who manage the forenoon meeting. And it is also evident, that they will more readily secure a large attendance in church, by intimating that they themselves will be there to give the boys and girls a good seat; in short, by saying,

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