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wide, was moving on before our eyes, almost touching our feet; until accumulating in large masses, over it thundered into the valley beneath. Down, down, we watched the red line in the distance, burning and destroying everything it met with. A whole plantation of chestnut trees yielded to its power; they twisted and screeched, and groaned like martyrs in an auto du , and then gave sigoals, by a bril liant flame, that their sufferings were over. Moving away from this point, we descended a little, by jumping from mase to mass, and crossing channels of fire, until we were in face of the cataract. The noise of the advancing stream was that of an Alpine flood over a shingly bed, sh-sh-sh-sh; such was the continued murmur of the thousands of tons of burning coke which were ever moving on, and tumbling mass over mass. The outer crust here and there became cooled and blackened, and then detaching itself, the burst of heat and light was sufficient for a moment to blast and scorch us. Involuntarily we held up our hands as if to shield ourselves; but unable any longer to resist it, were compelled to retire,”

Now in this last eruption of Vesuvius, we seem to see something very like that, in the present state of Italy, which shall ere long fix the anxious gaze of the rest of Europe. For years, ever since the revolutions of 1848, an unwonted stillness has reigned over Italy. But underneath that sullen silence, there have been seething and working elements of a blasting destruction to her present delusive kind of peace. How soon the report may be heard of the bursting forth of a new political eruption no man can tell. But this we know, that Popery is doomed, An utter destruction shall ere long burst upon Rome as the head of the Anti-Christian apostacy. Any power the pope may seem to have any quietness the Jesuits may enjoy, to push their secret schémes in the merchandise of the souls of men—are but the delusive calm preceding their awful overthrow.

That fair city of Naples is known to stand upon a mere crust, with an abyss of volcanic fires beneath it. Any moment these fires might burst forth-or, the crust giving way, the city might be swallowed up in utter destruction. The same thing is said to be true of Rome itself. But whether or not such be indeed the kind of judgments reserved by God for that overthrow in which the Romish Babylon is to be destroyed—the certainty of its destruction is clear and positive. The state of Italy is surely therefore a matter of deepest interest and of the most prayerful anxiety to every true Christian. How watchful ought the Church to be to take advantage of every possible opening for saving souls perishing in Popish error, in a land where the plagues which are coming upon the Romish Babylon are likely to be felt with so terrible severity !

MISSIONS IN CHINA. THERE are at present eighty-six Protestant missionaries busy doing their Master's work in China. Some of our readers will remember with interest, the name of Leang Afa, who was one of the first converts to the faith of Jesus in that heathen land. This aged Chinese Christian minister, after spending many years in zealously preaching the Gospel among his fellow-countrymen, has recently been removed to his rest and his reward. His labours in the ministry are said not to have been very successful, but who can tell ? we are told that the pious old man toiled on in his work, and who can tell what the final issue of his labours may be ? “ Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.“For thus saith the Lord : as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater; 80 shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it sball not return unto me void ; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

BOOK AND TRACT DISTRIBUTION. We have sometimes referred to this as a very valuable means of spreading the truth in such a country as China. Most of the inhabitants of that thickly-peopled nation can read, and throughout its many provinces, the same lan. guage and books are understood when read. But the spoken dialects differ so much in the various provinces that when a missionary has at a great cost of time and labour learned to speak so as to be understood in one province, he would after all, be quite unintelligible if he were to attempt to preach in the other provinces. We give some extracts from the Journal of Mr. Taylor, who has been making excursions into the interior for the purpose of distributing books and tracts.

Thursday, 19th April.—I determined to give away a few books, if possible, to the multitude assembled. The only place I could find to stand on, to raise me a little above the immense concourse of people, and which was strong enough to resist the pressure of the crowd, was an iron incense vase. I mounted it with a carpet-bag of books. The noise and clamour instantly raised were deafening; and it was impossible to proceed, till something like a calm was produced. At the lowest computation, there must have been five or six hundred people present; in fact, I do not think that a thousand was above the mark. As soon as I could get silence restored, I addressed them at the top of my voice; and I must say that a more quiet, attentive audience I never saw in the open air. It was very encouraging to hear them call out, as they frequently did, puh chow, puh chow, - not incorrect, not incorrect. When I exhorted them to be still, and let me quietly distribute my books, they promised to do 80; but no sooner was my hand raised to open the bag, than the noise commenced. Twice, when Mr. Bur. don left the yard, a diversion was formed, which I availed myself of for distribution, but ere long had to stop. At last a young man, making a desperate snatch and spring at the bag, pulled it and me down-a mode of descent not very ceremonious, but certainly quick, and one which, for a moment, made the people stand back; but this result was but momentary. Once in the crowd, I found it no easy thing to get out, and had much difficulty to distribute well the remaining tracts. At length, however, I succeeded in doing 80, and having got into a sedan chair, and about leaving the city, my servant came up, and requested me to take in with me another bag, in which a few tracts remained, to keep them from the people, to which I consented; but was not quick enough to avoid being seen by the people, who pressed on the chair, so as to break it; and I had to spring out, to prevent its coming about my ears. The man was now separated from me, and I was unable to give him either of the bags; and so had to set off, to walk to the boat, which was more than a mile distant. This was the most difficult task I ever attempted; for I was determined to give books to none who were not able to profit by them; and a mob of uneducated people was gathered round me, determined to have some, by one way or another. To this resolution I adhered; but when I opened my bag to get out some books to give to sume respectable persons, a dozen hands were inserted, and it was not the easiest thing in the world to get them out again. In ope street, the small bag was snatched from me, and when I recovered it had one in each hand, at which they were pulling in opposite directtions; and thus I was left comparatively helpless. One of the handles of the large bag was now pulled off, and it was got open, and the people began to snatch at the books. A few were obtained when, with a sudden swing round, I got the bag from them, closed it, and as it had only one handle, they were not able to open it again. In performing this latter movement, I had astonished the people, and made them laugh heartily, as well as cleared a small space around me; but when they closed, my hat and spectacles were knocked off; the former I recovered, but the latter it was impossible to save, on account of the crowd ; and I was only too glad to get off to attempt it. Many of the people followed me a long way, some even to the boat, but after I got out of the city I was little troubled by them. It may be well to add, to prevent misconception, that there was not the slightest approach to ill-feeling manifested by any; it was simply the desire to possess themselves of our books that caused the stir. Being thoroughly tired when I reached the boat, and it being nearly dark, this adventure closed the labours of the day.


The following interesting account of the power of the truth, and of the spread of its influence from one to another, proves what may be expected to be the progress of the Gospel when the time for China's conversion is come :

"The whole family, consisting of the two parents and three sons, are now members of the Christian Church. An united family on earth-I hope to meet them an unbroken family in heaven. The oldest son, Gong-lò, was the first to receive the truth from Mr. Burns; then his second brother, Kwai-a, who is now living with me, prosecuting his studies, and will, I hope, make an excellent evangelist or pastor, if he is spared, and continues to prosper as he now does; then the old nan followed, giving striking evidence of a deep work of the Spirit of God. His youngest son, Son-á, on asking to be allowed to go to Amoy with his father to be baptized, was told that he was too young; he might fall back if he made a profession when he was only a little boy. To which be made the touching reply, Jesus bas promised to carry the lambs in His arms. As I am only a little boy, it will be easier for Jesus to carry me.'

“This was too much for the father; he took him with him, and Som-á was ere long baptized, with some other applicants.

“ The most interesting circumstance in the conversion of He-se, the mother, is that she never had any instruction, except from the members of her own family; and as soon as they apprehended the truth themselves, they began to communicate it to her; and they found a mind well prepared to receive the good seed of the word. From an early period she manifested a lively interest in the Saviour, and encouraged her children to obey the new doctrine. She, by the tyranny of Chinese custom, dare not come to hear for herself, but her sons were in the habit of repeating to her as much of the sermons they heard as they could carry home; and when, at any time, they heard any exposition of scripture, during their intercourse with their teachers, they would set off to tell their mother, and return for more to convey. And so well had she profited by their instruction, that all who heard her examination were surprised at the extent and accuracy of her information, not less than at the courage she manifested in coming openly forward, with no other woman to bear her company, and in a place where she was the first, as well as the solitary confessor of her sex. It says the more for her moral courage that she is naturally timid and retiring."

In addition to those already named, he says that two other women have applied for baptism, and that six or eight hopeful male applicants were waiting for admission. At Peh-chu ia he has been enabled to make an addition to the accommodation, by which the women can now come and hear the word preached without mixing with the men, which in China is cause of great scandal. On some occasions eight or ten women come in by their own private door, hear the sermon, and leave again, without being seen by the other worshippers.

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