J. Hudson Taylor in Early Years - Growth of a Soul

Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor

Part 1, Chapters 1-6

Antecedents, Home and Early Years 1776-1849




It was James Taylor's wedding-day, a wintry morning long ago in the north country. The sun had not yet risen over Brierley Common, and in the snowy valley Royston still lay in shadow. But on Staincross Ridge the young stonemason was up betimes, making ready for his bride. Was there not water to carry from the well and wood to prepare for the fire, as well as wheat to thresh and take to the mill to provide for her first baking ?

Full of life and good spirits, " a noted singer and extremely fond of dancing." [Quoted from an address by Mr. Edward Taylor of Barnsley, Yorkshire, reported in the Barnsley Chronicle,January 1880.] Taylor had hardly given a serious thought to the step he was about to take. He had fallen in love with bright little Betty, one of the Johnsons of Royston, in the fine old church of which he was a bell-ringer and member of the choir. There he had heard the Banns of Marriage published, with much satisfaction, on three successive Sundays after the New Year. And now the auspicious day had come, Thursday the 1st of February, and all was ready for the festivities. There would be music dancing, feasting and merry-making, and he and Betty would be gayest of the gay. But beyond this they anticipated little save the cosy fireside in the home that was to be.

Now, however, as the young man went out into the frosty air to carry his sheaves to the barn, [It was the custom in that part of England to leave the sheaves in stacks instead of at once threshing out the wheat. As the flour was needed for use, two or three sheaves would be threshed at a time and the grain taken to the mill for grinding.] a new line of thought began to present itself. Was it the familiar cottage next door to his own that suggested it, the home of Joseph and Elizabeth Shaw, well known throughout the country-side? Was it the music of some hymn Dame Betty was singing as she plied her morning tasks ?

Not long ago, as he could well remember, there had been more sighing than singing in this good woman's lot. Crippled by an acute attack of rheumatism, she had been confined to bed month after month in weariness and pain. But since that memorable day when all alone in the house she had " trusted the Lord," as they put it, for immediate healing, great indeed had been the change. How astonished her husband must have been when he came back a little later and found her not only up but sweeping the kitchen, as well and happy as could be. [ See the Account of an Extraordinary Deliverance, by Rev. J. Pawson in the Arminian Magazine for 1796, pp. 409-411. This experience was related to him at Staincross by Dame Betty herself, in the year 1775, and confirmed by many witnesses.] It had made much stir in the neighbourhood, and Taylor, like every one else, was at a loss to account for what had happened-every one, that is, except the Methodists, who seemed to think it simple and natural enough. But what credulity could surprise one in people of such extreme religious notions ?

Those notions seemed to haunt him this morning, however, strange as it might seem. For what had he to do with religion! he, the leader rather in all that was opposed to the "revival" that had invaded the neighbourhood of late. Surely it was enough that Farmer Cooper and the Shaws had turned Methodist, bringing from Wakefield preachers of the new-fangled doctrines, who terrified people with their earnestness about " the wrath to come." Had not John Wesley himself appeared, one Mapplewell "Feast Monday," boldly addressing the crowds in the Market Place while the Midsummer Fair was going on? [ This, we learn from Wesley's journal, was on July 27, 1761. That it was Mapplewell "Feast Monday" is given on the authority of The Barnsley]. It was a courageous thing to do in that Yorkshire town, where "bating the Methodists " had become a favourite pastime with those of the rougher sort. But the white-haired preacher had so discoursed, that day, that all else had been forgotten, and he was allowed to pass unmolested to the Shaw's cottage on the Ridge, there to rest till the cool of the day. 1-[1- Mapplewell, as it was called in those days, is now the busy mining town of Staincross, near Barnsley, and the Shaws' cottage still stands on the Ridge which divides it from the neighbouring parish of Royston. Substantially built of stone, it hardly shows the wear and tear of two centuries, and is the best preserved of the few remaining dwellings that is the oldest part of the town. How interesting it was to find oneself in the pleasant kitchen in which Wesley was once entertained, talking by the fireside with a member of the very family that had shown him hospitality. For the cottage still belongs to the Shaws, who have occupied it from the first; and their next-door neighbours have been Taylors for many generations.] Perhaps it was from his lips young Taylor had caught the words that returned to him now so persistently, as he worked away in the barn:

"As for me and my house . . . me and my house . . . we will serve the Lord."

Yes, he knew what it meant to serve the Lord. His neighbors lived that sort of life. But he was no narrowminded Methodist ! Besides, it was his wedding-day. He was threshing wheat for Betty's home-coming. It was no time to be thinking of religion.

" As for me and my house."

Yes, he was about to establish a new household that day. I t was a serious step, a great responsibility. How careless had been his attitude hitherto, how unthinking ! But now the words would not leave him

" We will serve the Lord."

Hour after hour went by. The sun rose high over the hills, lighting the white-roofed village where the bride was waiting. Taylor was due there long before noon, and had yet to don wedding apparel. But all, all was forgotten in this first, great realisation of eternal things. Alone upon his knees among the straw the young stone-mason was face to face with God. " As for me " had taken on new meaning. The fact of personal responsibility to a living though unseen Being-Love infinite and eternal, or justice as a consuming fire-had become real and momentous as never before. It was the hour of the Spirit's striving with this soul, the solemn hour when to yield is salvation. And there alone with God James Taylor yielded. The love of Christ conquered and possessed him, and soon the new life from above found expression in the new determination: " Yes, we will serve the Lord." [ The definiteness of the stone-mason's conversion on the morning of his wedding-day, and under the circumstances narrated, is ascertained from the careful researches of Mr. Edward Taylor, embodied in several Lectures. Mr. Edward Taylor's name is one of the most respected in Barnsley. He was for many years a Local Preacher and leader in the Methodist " Reform Movement." Omnivorous in his reading and of strongly antiquarian tastes, he made it his business to search out all available information regarding early Methodism and its supporters in the district, and left a considerable library now in the possession of his widow, his son Mr. William Taylor, and his son-in-law Mr. John Knee, to whom belong most of his Lectures and other MSS. To each of these members of Mr. Taylor's family we are indebted for valuable help. Though not related to James Taylor the stone-mason, Mr. Edward Taylor was specially interested in his history as the pioneer and practically the founder of the Methodist Movement in Barnsley, and to his records we owe many of the facts related in this chapter concerning the marriage and after experiences of the great grandparent of Mr. Hudson Taylor.]

Thus the critical moments of life come with little warning, silently as the sunrise often, shedding Divine illumination upon things unseen. All unexpectedly, one day, we see as we have never seen before. Duty becomes plain in the light of eternity. Then we have reached a turning-point indeed, and everything depends upon the response of the soul to the claims and promises of God. Had young Taylor decided otherwise that winter morning how different the sequel must have been ! It was the little beginning, the tiny spring from which was to flow blessing not for himself only and his house from generation to generation, but for an ever-widening circle in England, China, and throughout the Church of God. Such a moment may come for us to-day, fraught with far-reaching issues. What is our response to be?

" Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth."

Were the church bells ringing over the valley when James Taylor returned to consciousness of earthly things ? It was almost noon. The wedding-guests must be in consternation as to what had become of him. Never surely the two miles to Royston seemed so endless as when, fearing he could not be in time, he ran down the long hill from Staincross Ridge, a new man in a new world.

Where the cross-roads met in the heart of the village he came in sight of the church at length. Glancing apprehensively at the clock by the oriel window, [This beautiful window high up beside the clock is one of the distinctive features of Royston Church. There is said to be only one other like it in England. Built by the monks of Bretton not far from their monastery, the church is provided with a chamber in the tower, designed apparently for meditation and prayer. Sunny and silent, lighted by the oriel window, it was probably a favourite resort of the monks through many generations.] what was his surprise to find that it had come to a standstill, as if in sympathy with his dilemma. Possibly it might not yet be too late!

Somewhere the bridal party was waiting. It was no moment for explanations. To church they went as speedily as possible. The Vicar asked no questions, unaware perhaps of the ruse whereby his bell-ringers had saved the day for their favourite. The service duly proceeded, the Register was signed in the vestry, and James Taylor and Betty Johnson were man and wife.

Very interesting it was more than a hundred years later to hunt up the old calf-bound volume and come upon the entry made that day-February 1, 1776. Much of the writing was faded on the discoloured page, but one signature stood out with startling clearness, vividly recalling the handwriting of another who long after was to bear the bridegroom's name. There was the same familiar shape of each if carefully formed letter, the same firm, characteristic style, as though the quill had been guided by the very hand that so often wrote in recent years: "Affectionately yours in Christ, JAMES HUDSON TAYLOR."

And not the signature only is noteworthy in connection with this old-time story ; the later experiences of the stonemason and his wife reveal traits of character that also appear, by the blessing of God, in the great-grandson whose life we trace. There is the same singleness of purpose, strength of principle, love for the Lord Jesus Christ and faithfulness in His service : a rich inheritance, bringing with it the blessing promised " to the third and fourth generation."

To begin with, there was no compromise about the James Taylor of long ago. Up to the hour of his wedding he had been as far from religious impressions as the most thoughtless of his companions. Now as they left the church he did not hesitate to confess all that had taken place. Simply and earnestly with his young wife on his arm he explained that he had enlisted in the service of a new Master. This meant among other things no dancing at his wedding or unseemly jollification. Hearing which the bride exclaimed in dismay:

" Surely I have not married one of those Methodists!" But that was just what she had done, little as either of them expected it. For the warm love and living faith of the Staincross Society soon drew James Taylor into its membership. From the Shaws, Coopers, and others he learned more of what it really means to serve the Lord. His voice and fiddle, formerly much in request for revels throughout the country-side, were now used only for his Master, and before long he was gladly telling what great things had been done for his soul.

And meanwhile what about Betty ? Well, she was far from happy. Her heart told her James was right, but she was most unwilling to share with him the reproach of Christ. So she grumbled and scolded, and managed to make things generally uncomfortable. From the first day of their life together James had commenced " family prayers," but Betty refused to join him and busied herself ostentatiously about other things. At last one evening she was more trying than usual, and more unreasonable in her reproaches. James bore it as long as he could, and then before she knew what was happening Betty found herself lifted in his strong arms and carried to the room upstairs. There he knelt down and keeping her still beside him poured out all his sorrow and concern in prayer. She had not realised before how much he cared. His earnestness solemnised and impressed her, and though she would not show it she began to be troubled by a sense of sin. All next day her distress deepened. How willingly, then, would she have been as her husband was ! In the evening the Bible was brought out as usual and Betty was glad enough to listen. The prayer that followed seemed just what she was needing, and that night while James was still on his knees she entered into peace with God. [. The details of Betty Taylor's conversion are gathered from an address by Mr. Edward Taylor, already quoted, and from the written Recollections of the Rev. Samuel Taylor, late of St. Leonards, the last surviving grandson of James and Betty Taylor, and uncle of the subject of this Memoir. With his death in 1904 there passed away a man of God indeed, whose memory will long be fragrant.]

Thus at the outset of their married life these two were united in the best of ways, and as the years went on they became increasingly happy and helpers of one another's faith.

It was a wonderful movement of the Spirit of God into which James Taylor and his wife were thus introduced in a remote corner of Yorkshire. All over Great Britain and Ireland similar conversions were taking place. Breaking in upon the darkness of the eighteenth century, a glorious Revival swept the land, saving it from threatened destruction. In the Established Church, dead though it was for the most part, mighty men of God were raised up-Whitfield, the Wesleys, Grimshaw, Rowlands, Berridge, and many another, with whom wrought a multitude of unlettered evangelists, proclaiming in humble spheres the saving grace of God.

How terrible was the state of things before this work began it is hard for us now to realise. In town and country alike, people were abandoned to vice and irreligion well-nigh incredible in our day, " for the most part," as the Churchman Southey records, " in a state of heathen or worse than heathen ignorance." The immorality of the wealthy classes and the indifference of the clergy were no less menacing than " the rudeness of the peasantry, the brutality of the town populace, the prevalence of drunkenness, the growth of impiety, and the general deadness to religion." [ " In this we cannot be mistaken," said an archbishop of the time, " that an open and professed disregard of religion is become, through a variety of unhappy causes, the distinguishing character of the age. Such are the dissoluteness and contempt of principle in the higher part of the world, and the profligacy, intemperance, and fearlessness of committing crimes in the lower part, as must, if the torrent of impiety stop not, become absolutely fatal." See Archbishop Secker's Eight Charges. Bishop Butler went further when he wrote in the preface to his Analogy: It has come to be taken for granted that Christianity is no longer a subject of inquiry, but that it is now at length discovered to be fictitious. And accordingly it is treated as if, in the present age, this were an agreed point among all persons of discernment, and nothing remained but to set it up as a principal subject for mirth and ridicule."]

Men who in the face of such conditions, with the pulpits of the land closed against them, fearlessly took their stand for God and righteousness, " stormed the strongholds of Satan, plucked thousands like brands from the burning, and altered the character of the age," needed an enduement of the Holy Spirit no less mighty than that of the first evangelists who " turned the world upside down." Like them too they had to be prepared to " die daily," that they might fill up that which was lacking of " the afflictions of Christ." For only through lives laid down could such regenerating work be done. And not the leaders only, men whose names are honoured now the wide world over:-the strength of the Revival lay in the great host of men and women, unknown to fame, who everywhere rejoiced to share their apostolic labours, sufferings, and success.

Amongst these came to be numbered James and Betty Taylor, in a peculiarly dark and needy corner of the dark and needy England of those days. And who shall say that the courage, steadfastness and dependence upon God developed by the conditions they had to face do not lie at the foundation of much that is recorded in this book ?

A serious accident some years after his marriage obliged James Taylor to face the fact that he must give up his work as a stone-mason and find other means of supporting his family. It was a gloomy outlook, for there were fewer ways of earning a livelihood in those days than at present, and country occupations to which he was accustomed were all beyond his strength. The only course open to him was to leave the little home on Staincross Ridge and seek in some manufacturing centre the lighter employment factory or workshop might afford.

Barnsley was the nearest place of the kind, a notoriously wicked, mining town, just across the valley of the Dearne. " Drunkenness, licentiousness, and gambling, the three great sins of the nation," were there especially rife, and " scarcely any people," William Bramwell tells us, " raged against the Methodists or persecuted them with such ferocity as the people of Barnsley." The churches were deserted and the ale-houses overflowing, with what results may be judged from notices such as the following which were only too common: "Drunk-a penny : dead-drunk-two-pence : clean straw for nothing."

It must have been hard for James and Betty Taylor to bring their children into the atmosphere of a place like this, but when employment was offered him in the linen-warehouse of Joseph Beckett, a local magistrate, at a wage of thirteen shillings and sixpence weekly they could no longer hesitate. At the top of Old Mill Lane on the outskirts of the town stood a four-roomed cottage from which might be seen the wooded hills of their childhood. It was a busy corner, for the cross-roads met at their door, and the London coach coming up from the Market Place paused there to adjust its brakes before turning down the steep lane on its way to Wakefield and Leeds. Travellers were constantly passing on the Sheffield highway, and so frequent were the inquiries as to various destinations that the occupant of the mansion opposite went to considerable expense to settle the questions once and for all. The obelisk he erected is useful still, with its modern lamps and full directions, and when the sun is setting its shadow falls upon the site once occupied by James Taylor's modest dwelling.1 (1. The Taylors' cottage has recently been demolished, with several others, to make room for a row of shops and houses at the top of Old Mill Lane.

Here then the new arrivals settled, finding it a great change from their old surroundings. Living was more expensive than in the country, and though the father was earning what was then good wages it was far from easy to make both ends meet. Besides rent and taxes, there were two sons and three little daughters to provide for, and all they had to live on was the small sum of twelve shillings a week. But what of the remainder of the father's earnings, the extra one and sixpence he received weekly ? Was it reserved for special comforts, tobacco, tea, or snuff ? Was it set aside for winter clothing, or against "a rainy day" ? No, it was given, sacrificed rather, for love of One dearer to them than their children, more considered than themselves. Poor as they were in this world's goods, they had learned the secret of being " rich toward God."

In Betty's kitchen stood a corner-cupboard containing a special cup into which, as James brought home his earnings, one shilling and sixpence always found their way. This was consecrated money, never to be touched save for " the support of God's cause and the relief of the poor." 1.(1. From Rev. Samuel Taylor's Recollections.)Thus they always had something ready for the Master's use ; and the remainder of their little income proved sufficient and unfailing, because the blessing of God rested on it. It was the old story of the widow's meal and oil, for the Lord will be no man's debtor. Oh, that cup in the corner-cupboard, that faithful giving of a ninth of everything (a tenth could not suffice them) to the Lord, how much it explains of blessing in the lives of their children's children !

The loss of Christian fellowship was the change they felt most keenly during those early days in Barnsley. The beautiful church of St. Mary's a few steps from their door offered no substitute for the meetings in Betty Shaw's cottage, and of helpful, spiritual ministry there seems to have been none. True, the Friends had a Meeting House a mile or two from the town, and the Independents were building on Crow-well Hill the first Nonconformist place of worship. But there was little to choose between church and chapel in those days. Deadness and indifference paralysed both alike, so that as Bishop Ryle puts it they: " seemed at last agreed on one point, . . . to let the devil alone and do nothing for hearts or souls." [See The Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century, by Bishop Ryle.]

This state of things became a heavy burden on the new arrivals, and they longed unspeakably for some voice to tell the glad tidings that had set them free. But preachers rarely came from more favoured localities, and when they did it was a sorry welcome they found in Barnsley. Year in and year out James Taylor and his family were distressed to see " the Sabbath profaned and all kinds of brutal, ferocious, and licentious games practised." [.See Life of Henry Longden, by the Rev. William Bramwell.]It was little they could do to stem the torrent of iniquity, but it was better than nothing, and they could not hold their peace.

And so it came to pass that Betty's kitchen was swept and garnished, and a few neighbours gathered in for informal meetings. The singing no doubt was an attraction, and both James and his wife were among " the people that do know their God " and so can be a help to others. Some evidently received blessing, for in time a Class was formed which met regularly in the little cottage. [.The first Methodist Class Meeting in Barnsley was composed of seven members, i.e. James and Betty Taylor, Jonathan Pashley, John Denton, weaver, Timothy Peckett, mason, Thomas Blackburn, farmer, and his wife" Early Methodism in .Barnsley and District, by Mr. John knee).] Eventually a Methodist Society was fully organised, and James Taylor appointed as the first Class Leader and Local Preacher in Barnsley.

Long before this, however, he had been privileged to " make full proof " of his ministry in truly apostolic ways. Down on the Old Bridge and in the Market Place he had been in danger of his life once and again while preaching in the open air. Pelted with stones and refuse, struck down and dragged through the mire, he had been rescued at the last moment-only to preach again.

Returning from a meeting on one occasion he was accosted by a couple of men who appeared to be friendly. Engaged in conversation with one of them he did not notice the movements of the other, who suddenly rubbed into his eyes a mixture of pounded glass and mud calculated to blind him for life. Sightless and in desperate pain Taylor was wholly at their mercy, and there is no knowing what might have happened had not Joseph Beckett coming down Church Street at the time hastened to his assistance. Seeing the magistrate the ruffians made off, but not before Mr. Beckett had recognised one of them, a professed infidel and no friend to the Methodists in Barnsley. Poor Taylor was taken home in great suffering, and it was fully three months before he could return to work again. His employer urged him to take out a summons, having himself witnessed the occurrence. But James would not hear of it.

" No," he said, " the Lord is well able to deal with them. I would rather leave it in His hands."

This did not satisfy the magistrate, however, who decided to carry the Prosecution through on his own account. In the witness-box the culprit denied the charge, calling upon God to strike him blind if he had had anything to do with the outrage. Shortly after, all Barnsley knew that he had lost his sight. For the rest of his life he had to be led by a dog through the familiar streets, and ultimately sunk into extreme poverty. His accomplice also was obliged to confess that nothing ever prospered with him from the time of their cruel attack upon James Taylor.

Such experiences in common with others of a less serious character afforded abundant opportunity for putting into practice the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, opportunities not lost upon James Taylor and his fellow-Methodists.

It was an eloquent sermon he preached in Eastgate, for example, when an angry woman ran after him, frying-pan in hand. She had seen the good man go by wearing a light-coloured overcoat, and thought it an excellent opportunity of provoking him into a quarrel. Coming up behind, she vigorously rubbed the greasy, sooty utensil all over the back of his tidy garment, using her tongue meanwhile to the amusement of onlookers. But it was her turn to be discomfited when Taylor turned round with a smile, suggesting that if it afforded her satisfaction she might grease the front as well. Covered with confusion the woman retired, but the incident was not easily forgotten.

It is said that on his deathbed the infidel above-mentioned sent for the man he had injured, hoping to find comfort in his prayers. But eager as he was to help his former enemy, James Taylor could not pray. He tried and tried again, but his cry seemed to return from an unanswering heaven. The solemn words then came to mind : " He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be cut off, and that without remedy." To see an unrepentant soul pass into eternity was far more terrible to him than all the persecutions he had endured.

For none of these things moved him. He found that it was a safe thing and a blessed to trust in the living God. The little home at the top of Old Mill Lane was increasingly happy and a centre of blessing to others. Dame Betty in spite of her household cares found time to be useful as a Class Leader among the women. Their children grew up a joy and comfort to them, and in all that makes for true prosperity they were enriched of God. Attempts to do them harm were so manifestly overruled that they helped rather than hindered their influence. And one is not surprised to learn that as time went on they with others of these early Methodists, by their meekness, uprightness, and consistent conduct, lived down opposition and took their place among the most respected inhabitants of the town." [ Recollections of the Rev. Samuel Taylor.]

A like change was becoming apparent all over England. The close of the century that overwhelmed the land of Voltaire with the unspeakable horrors of the French Revolution witnessed, in the home of Whitfield and the Great Revival, a peaceful transformation of national life and character. [.Whitfield and Wesley transformed England by giving to conversion once more its proper value."-Rev. R. F. Horton, D.D.] Long surviving his own generation, Wesley eighty years of age could look out upon a revived and purified Church leading a people's progress toward righteousness, liberty and enlightenment, and welcome the dawning of the day of Modern Missions that was to extend these blessings to a waiting world. His evangelistic journeys were now " religious ovations," and he himself, " the best known man in England," was honoured and beloved for his work's sake where so long he had been hated and despised.[Well might John Wesley be called " the best-known man in England." His labours had been prodigious for well-nigh fifty years. Travelling on horseback or by chaise from four to five thousand miles annually, he had established in Great Britain alone more than a hundred circuits, in which three hundred ministers and over a thousand local preachers were making known the truth as it is in Jesus. Acting on his own memorable words, " simplify religion and every part of learning," he had enlisted the press in the work of popular reformation. " Cheaper, shorter, plainer books " was his motto. Amid all other labours he found time to keep up a constant supply of pamphlets, tracts and sermons, carried by his preachers to the remotest parts of the country, besides providing them with a library of over two hundred volumes on a great variety of subjects, written or edited by himself, five works on music and forty-nine collections of hymns. He preached in all 42,400 sermons after his return from Georgia, in 1738, an average up to the time of his death in 1791 of more than fifteen every week for fifty-three consecutive years. His last words were, " The best of all is God is with us." See History of Methodism, by Abel Stevens, LL.D., vol. ii. PP. 320, 494, 508, etc.]

This was the period of his long-expected visit to Barnsley, the first and only recorded occasion of his preaching there. Great must have been the joy of James Taylor and his friends as they prepared to welcome this father in the faith. In numbers the little Society had not made much progress, for those had been difficult years, but in knowledge of God and influence with those around them great headway had been won. They were able to look forward to the coming of the great evangelist without anxiety as to the reception that awaited him, and could even arrange with the landlord of the Old White Bear to make use of his spacious yard near the Market Place for an open-air meeting.

Wesley came to them from Epworth, the home of his childhood, having recently celebrated his eighty-third birthday. How unusual was the vigour he enjoyed both of mind and body may be judged from the following entry in his Journal, penned two days before he reached Barnsley.

Wednesday, June 28, 1786: I am a wonder to myself. It is now twelve years since I have felt any such sensation as weariness. I am never tired, such is the goodness of God, either with writing, preaching, or travelling.

Thursday night was spent at Doncaster, and from thence he drove over the Hickleton Hills and through the lovely valley of the Dearne. Somewhere on the road no doubt the Barnsley friends would meet him, but it is hardly likely that James and Betty Taylor were among their number. For them the morning hours would be busy, as theirs was to be the honour of entertaining the distinguished guest.

Picture then the preparations in the little cottage that was to shelter John Wesley that night beneath its roof. Thousands of homes he had visited, in which his chamber may have been finer and the table spread before him more ample in its provision, but it is doubtful whether he ever met with warmer welcome or more genuine love for himself and for his Master.

" Methodism had no truer friends than this worthy couple," writes a well-known citizen of Barnsley. [The late William Woodcock, Esq., one of the chief authorities upon the history of Methodism in the Barnsley district. This gentleman left a valuable library and collection of manuscripts, now in the care of his daughter Miss L. Woodcock, who generously spared no pains in making them available for the purposes of this book.] "Their devotion increased with their difficulties. Persecution did but sharpen the edge of their attachment to Wesley and his cause. Their home seems to have been the chief resort of preachers who came from Wakefield and other places. What more fitting than that they should entertain the great evangelist himself, and so receive a distinction not soon to be forgotten."

That June day of a hundred and twenty years ago has left its mark on Barnsley. The arrival and progress of Mr. Wesley through the crowded streets, the scene in the yard of the Old White Bear with its stone stairway from which his discourse was delivered, the excitement and eager attention of the multitude, the appearance of the venerable speaker, his earnestness and power in setting forth eternal things these and many other recollections are treasured on the library shelves of that Yorkshire town and in the warm hearts of its people.

But our present concern is chiefly with the close of the day when, the great meeting over, the preacher was escorted to the home of his humble friends. It had been a notable address, lengthened and increasingly earnest as the response of the audience was evident ; and now the simple meal was welcome and fellowship with the inner circle around Dame Betty's hearth. Interested in all that concerned them Wesley would soon make his sympathy felt, winning the hearts of the children and the confidence of the older people. He may even have heard the story of James Taylor's conversion on his wedding-day, and the consternation of the bride on learning that she had actually " married one of those Methodists ! "

And then as twilight deepened one can well imagine the earnestness with which he would seek to strengthen and encourage those he might never meet on life's pilgrimage again.

" Remember," we can almost hear him say, " remember, you have nothing to do to compare in importance with saving souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work. Observe, it is not your business to preach so many times a week, or to take care of this or that Society, but simply to save as many souls as you can, to bring as many sinners as you possibly can to repentance, and with all your power to build them up in that holiness without which no man can see the Lord.

" Only through unwearied labour and perseverance can we really be ` free from the blood of all men.' Go into every house and teach every one therein, young and old, if they belong to us, to be Christians inwardly and outwardly. Make every particular plain to their understanding, fix it in their memory, write it on their hearts. In order to do this there must be line upon line, precept upon precept. I remember to have heard my father say to my mother,' How could you have the patience to tell that child the same thing twenty times over ?' ` Why,' she answered, 'if I had told him but nineteen times, I should have lost all my labour.' What patience indeed, what love, what knowledge, is requisite for this !

" Oh, why are we not more holy ! " he would exclaim with loving insistence. " Why do we not live in eternity, walk with God all the day long ? Why are we not all-devoted to God, breathing the whole spirit of missionaries ?

" Alas, we are too much enthusiasts, looking for the end without faithfully using the means. Do we rise at four or even five in the morning to be alone with God ? Do we fast once a week, once a month ? Do we even know the obligation or benefit of it ? Do we recommend the five o'clock hour for private prayer, at the close of the day? Do we observe it ? Do we not find that ` any time ' is no time?

" Oh let us stir up the gift of God that is in us. Let us no more sleep as do others. Let us take heed to the ministry that we have received in the Lord, that we fulfil it. ` Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.' " [Quoted from the excellent Rules drawn up by John Wesley for the guidance of his young preachers; and from the bright, practical Conversations with his fellow-workers that have come down to us. The full title of this interesting work is : Minutes of several Conversations between the Rev. John Wesley, A.M., and the Preachers in connection with him, from the year 1744; published in Leeds in 1803.]

In some such helpful intercourse the hours would fly, until candles had to be lighted and the guest who was to depart on the morrow escorted to his chamber under the cottage eaves. Was it that night, beneath James Taylor's roof, he penned the entry in his journal that seems so pertinent to the story of this book ?

Friday, June 30, 1786: I turned aside to Barnsley, formerly famous for all manner of wickedness. They were then ready to tear any Methodist preacher in pieces. Now not a dog wagged its tongue. I preached near the Market Place to a very large congregation, and I believe the truth sank into many hearts. They seemed to drink in every word. Surely God will have a people in this place.





Hudson Taylor's Father James
Hudson Taylor's Father James



FOR myself and for the work I have been permitted to do for God I owe an unspeakable debt of gratitude to my beloved and honoured parents who have entered into rest, but the influence of whose lives will never pass away."

Thus wrote many years later the child who came to gladden James Taylor's home in Barnsley in 1832. This was not of course the first James Taylor, who had long since passed to his reward, nor was it even the son who had grown up to take his place. Two generations had come in between the visit of John Wesley to Barnsley and the birth of the child whose experiences we are to trace, in whose life the character-building of those early days was to bear rich fruit.

That at fifty years of age, amid all the responsibilities of a great mission in China, he should look back with " unspeakable gratitude " upon the training of his childhood, shows that there must have been right influences at work in that quiet home, What were they ? Wherein did these parents lay their son under such indebtedness ? What had they received themselves that was to prove of so much value to others ? These are important questions, the answers to which reveal the faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God, whose blessing is promised "unto children's children."

James Taylor the stone-mason, with whom our story opened, had the joy of seeing the beginning of this blessing before he passed away. The little Society he had been the means of founding seems to have grown rapidly after Wesley's visit. Dame Betty's kitchen was no longer able to accommodate the services, and step after step they were led into building for themselves a modest Chapel on Pinfold Hill, near the busiest part of the town.[ In the Public Library of Barnsley may be seen today a record of no little interest in this connection. It was penned by one Hugh Burland, who filled several large calf-bound volumes with the ancient " Annals " of the town, among which we come upon the following in his handwriting " 1791--The Wesleyans of Barnsley determined to build themselves a Chapel. Since the visit of John Wesley they had held Divine Service in a room in Eastgate. In about three years they accomplished their object ; for their Chapel, which was erected on Pinfold Hill, was opened for public worship in 1794. The whole was accomplished, including the cost of site, for the sum of 473 Sterling pounds:18 Schilling: 3 1/2 pence." But old Hugh Burland does not tell of all the love and self-denial, the faith and prayer that went into that building ; the hours of unpaid labour James and his friends devoted ; the care they lavished upon every detail, and the joy that came to them when at length the whole was completed and dedicated to the service of God.] Among the first to be received into fellowship in the newly completed building was young John Taylor, the stone-mason's eldest son. This double joy must have been the crowning experience in his father's life, which only a few months later drew to its unexpected close. Nothing is known about his passing away, save that it took place in 1795, and even his resting-place cannot now be traced. His was a lowly life, and he waits the resurrection in an unrecorded grave ; but in the family he founded and the cause he loved there remain, to this day better memorials of his faithful service than any the recognition of man can raise.

Well it was for Dame Betty and the younger children that John was able in some measure to take his father's place. He was now seventeen and in regular employment, having learned the trade of a reed-maker, at which he ultimately achieved success. Linen-weaving was then as it still is one of the principal industries of Barnsley, and many were the hand-looms needing the slender reeds between which the shuttles flew. John Taylor worked hard and conscientiously, and by degrees became " of great consequence to the staple trade of the town." [ The following quaint epitome of the life of John Taylor appeared in the Leeds Intelligencer for October 11,1834 "October 6, Died, Mr. John Taylor, Linen-reed Maker, Barnsley, aged 56: an excellent man and most highly respected. Mr. Taylor has been an inhabitant of Barnsley a great number of years, and in his business has been of great consequence to the staple trade of the town. He was a member of the Methodist Connexion, and evinced a remarkable fondness for sacred music. His voice was a powerful counter, and was considered by men of science to possess great harmony."] He was able from the first to take his share in the support of the family, and ere long began to look forward to a home of his own on a very simple scale.

For hardly had he grown to manhood before he came to know and love Mary the daughter of William Shepherd of Bradford, who happily returned his affection. The parents seem to have been of Scotch extraction, and one cannot but be interested in them because of this union which was to bring into the Taylor family qualities of inestimable value. All researches hitherto have failed in discovering much about William Shepherd, save that he was Governor of a gaol, probably in Yorkshire, "the best tempered man in the world" and a consistent Christian. Tradition adds that he was one of Wesley's earliest preachers and occupied a position of influence among the Methodists. Be that as it may, he certainly handed on to his daughter unusual strength of mind and body as well as principles of sincere and simple godliness.

It was not in Bradford, apparently, that the Shepherds were living at the time of the engagement. That would have been a far cry for busy people-twenty miles coach ride from Barnsley. In the Register still preserved in the beautiful Church at Darfield, the bride is entered as " Mary Shepherd of this Parish," and Darfield is within easy reach of Old Mill Lane. There it was at any rate that the young folks did their courting, when Mary was a tall, stately lassie with a warm heart under a quiet exterior, and John with all his practical qualities was a music-loving, merry lad of only twenty-one.

But young as they were, he was able to provide for the girl he loved. On Pinfold Hill near the Chapel a little home was waiting, and Mary was fitted to make it all a home should be. And so in All Saints' Church overlooking the valley where the Dove runs into the Dearne they were married one May morning in 1799, and thence through blossoming hedgerows wended their way together to the neighbouring town.

It still stands, that quaint old cottage, with its sunny kitchen and hospitably open door : the last house in a quiet court that ere long was to resound with children's merry laughter.[The old home of John and Mary Taylor is now known as " Sten Court, five house," and is occupied by an elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. William Irving, who well remember its former owners.] Across the street, also, may still be seen the outside stairway leading to John Taylor's workshop. It was a steep climb for little feet, but doubtless they helped to wear the stones so smooth with many a journey to call father when he stayed away too long. For the cottage overflowed with boys and girls and the factory with business, till the reed-maker must often have been conscious of the blessing of his father's God. [ Seven of John Taylor's children lived to grow up : Elizabeth became Mrs. Cope ; John took up his father's business and left a large family ; Mary became Mrs. Norman ; James was the father of Hudson Taylor William was a stockbroker in Manchester ; Sarah died unmarried ; and Samuel was for many years useful and beloved as a Wesleyan Minister. He had a great admiration for his mother, and used to say that he owed everything to her, his father dying while he was still a child.]

In the Chapel, too, an overflowing blessing had been given. There John and Mary were both Class Leaders among the younger people, and his voice and musical ability were greatly valued. " Instead of the fathers shall be the children " was a promise so abundantly fulfilled that the premises, amply sufficient in James Taylor's day, were all too small for the succeeding generation. John Whitworth the young architect increased the difficulty when he started an excellent innovation known as the " Sunday School." Following the example of Mr. Raikes of Gloucester, he set about gathering in the untaught children of the streets. Few could be found to encourage, and even he had no idea of the magnitude of the work he was undertaking. But when on the day of opening no fewer than six hundred children crowded in, all eager to be taught, it was evident not only that the school was needed but that it must have larger premises.

And soon even opposers were surprised into approval. The changed demeanour of the children impressed the town so much that the landlord of a well-known tavern went in search of Mr. Whitworth and handed him a guinea with the request that he would never overlook the White Hart Inn when calling for subscriptions. Others helping in the same way it was soon possible to erect a suitable building near the Chapel, which gave the name of School Street to the hitherto quiet lane on which the Taylors lived.

Not long after, it became necessary to enlarge the Chapel also, which was so much altered and improved that James Taylor would hardly have recognised it had he come back again. The reopening just after Christmas, 1810, was a great occasion, when curly-headed little James, the grandson who bore his name, was not yet four years old. Young as he was, however, the rejoicings of that day, the decorations, singing and crowded meetings, made an impression that never passed away, and long years after he loved to recall the joy with which the Chapel his grandfather had helped to build was rededicated to the service of God.

From the first, the Divine hand was upon this little lad in the reed-maker's home, preparing him for usefulness. Educationally, he and his brothers had advantages unknown to the older generation, for their parents were able to keep them at school and let them choose their own line of life within reasonable limits. One took up the father's business, another became a stockbroker and a third a minister. James wished to be a doctor, and would have studied medicine had circumstances permitted. This being beyond his reach he went in for chemistry as the next best thing, and was indentured to a friend in a neighbouring town.

Seven years' apprenticeship away from home made a man of him before he was twenty-one, and the even tenor of a country business gave opportunities for study. He was quick and painstaking, an omnivorous reader and methodical in all his habits. Next to the Bible, theology was his favourite study. Sermons he read extensively, as well as good biographies. In order to make the most of his reading, he developed a system of shorthand on his own account, which he improved and made much use of in later years. He had some aptitude for music as well as mathematics, and was devoted to the study of birds, plants, and nature generally. Though not tall in figure he was strong and active, and with a bright smile and pleasant manner was decidedly prepossessing.

At least so thought his mother, when occasional holidays brought him home. And from the course of events it would appear that she was not alone in this opinion. " Home " was no longer the cottage near the Chapel to which Mary Shepherd had come as bride. Prospered in business, John Taylor had built a plain but substantial stone house at the corner of Pitt and York Streets. The situation was good and the property large enough for the erection of work-shops and other premises. Thither the family had moved some years previously, and a brighter spot it would have been hard to find when all the young folk gathered home.

Though the Manse near by need not have feared comparison. This was another roomy, pleasant home, on the opposite side of Pitt Street, occupied about this time by a family with the same number of girls and boys. Naturally there was a good deal of intercourse between the households. The eldest daughter of the Manse had a voice so sweet that John Taylor called her " the nightingale." The minister himself and Mrs. Hudson were among the reed-maker's warmest friends, and many were the Sunday evenings when they walked home together from Chapel and joined forces at the corner house for an informal service of song.

It was in 1824 that the minister's family was transferred to the Barnsley Circuit. To the parents it must have seemed like coming home, for their native place, the little town of Holmfirth, lay only a few miles westward on the edge of the great grouse moors. There both Benjamin Hudson and his wife had been born and bred, and from that Yorkshire valley, running back into the Peak country and many a mile of mountain, dale and moor, had come the artistic temperament and courageous spirit of their children, enriched by a heritage of godliness.

Mr. Hudson, though not a gifted speaker, was a faithful and devoted minister of the Gospel. He was an artist, with a decided talent for portrait-painting, inherited by three at least of his children. But his most prominent characteristic, and one that gave him difficulty at times, was an irrepressible fund of humour. Happily this also was passed on in measure to his descendants. Reproved in the Methodist " Conference " on one occasion for not sufficiently restraining this tendency, he apologised in a reply so witty that the whole assembly was overcome with laughter. But in Barnsley he was on his native heath. Yorkshire folk could appreciate his dry, droll speeches and pointed exhortations. There and in many other places he exercised a helpful ministry, and was valued not for his own sake merely, but also on account of his family.

As for Mrs. Hudson, one look at her face was enough to inspire confidence and esteem. The accompanying portrait painted by her daughter Hannah gives some idea of what she was in later years, though it reveals but little of the strength and sweetness of spirit that made the minister's wife a blessing to many. Three boys and four girls completed the family, Amelia the eldest being only fifteen when they first came to Barnsley.

Young as she was, however, this daughter was a comfort to her parents in no ordinary degree. In addition to careful home-training, she had had the benefit of several years in the Friends' School at Darlington. Sincerity, thoroughness, and love of industry had become as natural to her as the thoughtfulness for others that made her everywhere beloved ; and all she was and did told of a heart wholly given to the Lord.

Had it been financially possible Amelia would have continued her studies at Darlington. But younger sisters needed education, and with cheerful courage she took it for granted that she must make way for them and obtain remunerative employment. It was the only way to lighten home-burdens. And if her parents never knew how much she felt the sacrifice, Amelia on her part could little realise the mingled feelings of regret and thankfulness with which they saw her set to work before she was sixteen to earn her living. The right thing is not always the easiest ; but God has His schools for training, and a life left in His hands will never fail of its highest development here and hereafter.

So Amelia went to Castle Donnington as governess to three little children in the family of a gentleman-farmer. Her pupils were devoted to her and her surroundings congenial. But though happy in her work and gifted for it, she could not but long at times for home, and the holidays that enabled her to visit Barnsley seemed few and far between.

Thus it was that although a special favourite with John Taylor and his family she was rarely able to join the Sunday evening gatherings at the corner house. Like James in his apprenticeship, she was early feeling the discipline of life. Perhaps this very fact helped to draw them together. He was her senior by about a year, and prepared through what he had seen of the world to appreciate her brave, beautiful character. For as was purposed by the Heart that planned, those welcome holidays sometimes brought the young governess to the Manse just when James Taylor was also able to visit Barnsley. Short indeed would seem the ten miles' walk when he was homeward bound. And more than usual eagerness winged his feet when he came to know for himself the sweet singer of whom he had heard so much. To his delight he found Amelia to be lovely in disposition as well as in appearance, and that she thought and felt as he did about the deeper things of life.

The result was inevitable. A warm affection sprang up between these two, so suited to each other, and before the minister left Barnsley, an engagement had been hallowed by the love and prayers of both families that from that day united the names-Hudson Taylor.





Amelia, Hudson's Mother
Amelia, Hudson's Mother


IT was long, however, ere the young people were to see much of one another. James had his way to make in the calling he had chosen, and Amelia's holidays came no oftener than before, though more eagerly desired. But at sixteen and seventeen a long engagement is inevitable, and brings with it so much of hope and happiness that it is comparatively easy to bear.

When the young apprentice returned to Rotherham, it was with stronger incentives than ever to do well. There was new zest in business and study, and the blessing of the Lord so filled his heart that it could not but overflow to others. His employer perceiving his reliability, decided to put him in charge of a branch-establishment in the neighbouring town of Conisborough. Here James Taylor found, as others before him, that " prayer and pains with faith in Jesus Christ will do anything." The business prospered, and better still he prospered in it, according to the suggestive promise of the first Psalm.[In whatsoever he doeth, he shall prosper (Psalm 1:3, R.V. margin)].

With comparatively little leisure in the years that followed he had a growing love for study, especially of a kind that would throw light upon the word of God. The Bible was his chief delight, and he longed to share the wealth he found in it with others. At no great distance from Conisborough were many neglected villages to which he made his way Sunday by Sunday, telling in out-of-the-way places the wonderful love of God. He could not but speak, for his own heart was brimming over, and not a few among his hearers were awakened and blessed. Seeing which, the authorities of the Church to which he belonged recognised that the lad was called to this much-needed ministry, and at nineteen years of age his name was added to the list of Barnsley local preachers, of whom his grandfather had been the first.

Meanwhile his fiancee was still at Castle Donnington gaining health and experience for days to come. Constant reading kept her mind bright, and regular correspondence cultivated a habit of rapid, easy writing, of more value than she could suppose at the time. Her letters were full of interest and did much to encourage the one who received them as he took up on his own account the responsibilities of life.

His apprenticeship over James Taylor had returned to Barnsley, and with money advanced by his father rented one of the best shops in town. It was a step of faith, for 21 Cheapside was a serious undertaking for so young a man. But the premises were in a good situation, right on the busy Market Place, and large enough to afford a permanent home. One of his sisters took charge as housekeeper for the time, leaving him free to devote his energies to business six days a week and to his preaching appointments on Sunday. At least as much work and prayer were given to the shop as to his sermons, with the result that he succeeded in both and became known as a reliable man of affairs as well as a helpful, popular preacher throughout the Circuit. At length after years of uphill work the way seemed clear before him. He was able to repay his father's loan, and with a home and sufficient income of his own, felt he might claim his bride.

It was in the quaint old town of Barton-on-Humber that the Hudsons were living when the long engagement drew to a close. Seven years' friendship had done much to develop the boy and girl into earnest manhood and womanhood and to prepare them for the union to which they now looked forward. James had learned to pray his way through difficulties and was full of confidence in God, and Amelia at twenty-three more than fufilled the promise of her girlhood. Her father, whose ministry had taken him to Chesterfield and elsewhere since Barnsley days, was still in the North country, in charge of the Barton Circuit, and had it all been planned on purpose, nothing could have been more delightful under the circumstances than the Manse and its surroundings. No little comfort this, amid the varying fortunes of an itinerant preacher's life.

For a something indescribable of old-world loveliness pervaded the little town, seen at its best no doubt through lovers' eyes that sweet spring-tide in 1831. From the famous Ferry of the Doomsday Book to the fine old churches on the Green, dating back to Norman and even Saxon times, the cosy, straggling place breathed an air of comfort and repose. About it lay an undulating country noted for its corn, malt, bricks and tiles. The spacious Market Place and numerous windmills bore witness to a measure of commercial activity ; but the quaint, irregular streets and picturesque houses, half hidden among trees and flowering creepers, were more in keeping with the spirit of a bygone time.

In the very heart of the town, the preacher's house near the Chapel seemed specially a bower of greenery and bloom. " Maltby Cottage, Maltby Lane," was an address with which James Taylor was familiar, but even he can hardly have anticipated the charm of that sheltered home. Within the high, old-fashioned wall lay a spacious garden with its lawn and flowers, its fruit-trees all in blossom, and a green field beyond, where quiet cattle fed. Looking out upon this pleasant scene stood the square, red-brick house covered with creepers, whose wide windows welcomed the sunshine and almost made the lower rooms seem part of the out-of-doors. A sweeter spot could hardly be imagined for a homelike, happy wedding, nor a more charming bride than the minister's daughter whom James Taylor had loved so long.

Here then they were married on April 5, 1831, in the beautiful church of St. Mary's just beyond the trees.

Busy and happy were the days that followed when Amelia found herself again in Barnsley. The John Taylors were still living in the house on Pitt Street, and both there and in the Chapel the welcome she received was warm and true. And the more she became known among her husband's friends the more she was beloved for the sweet spirit that seemed to have no thought or consciousness of self. Intelligent and attractive as she was, there was no desire to shine or make an impression on others. Her voice alone would have brought her notice, but there was a shrinking from display of this or any other gift. Yet she enjoyed society, loved to see others admired, and was so good a listener that men and women alike found her companionship delightful.

But it was the chemist's home on the Market Place that really saw her shine. There the qualities that made her an ideal wife could not be hidden, and James Taylor must often have realised at his own fireside the truth of that word "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord."

In all his work and interests she bore a cheerful part, while caring for domestic matters with a thoroughness and perfection of detail that characterised all she did. His "Class" of forty or fifty lads felt the influence of her sympathy and prayers only less than the girls who became her special care, and one of the joys of their early married life was an old-time revival in the Chapel that resulted in the conversion of many of these young people. [The revival commenced in Westgate Chapel, as it was then called, with the Watch Night Service on December 31, 1832, and one of the lads converted in James Taylor's class was his cousin John Bashforth, whose mother was a daughter of James and Betty Taylor, brought up in the little cottage on Old Mill Lane. The Bashforths became one of the leading families in Barnsley. Young John Bashforth from this time onward lived a consistent Christian life, and was for many years Superintendent of the Sunday School.]

In his preaching engagements throughout the Circuit she also proved an unexpected help. Preparing his sermons was no longer the solitary task it had been. Together they prayed and studied, and when James Taylor's heart was full and his pen could not keep pace with the thoughts he longed to utter, his wife would take rapid notes and write out for him many a sermon delivered as he paced the little room behind the shop. He was a gifted speaker, and gave much care to the preparation of his discourses. ["Possessing good natural abilities, which he carefully improved by study, James Taylor was a most able and effective preacher. His manner was at once pleasant and dignified. His sermons bore evidence of much thought and study, and as literary compositions were considerably above the average of lay discourses " (from the Obituary Notice in The Barnsley Chronicle]. In this work Amelia's pen proved invaluable through many a long year, and the joy of seeing souls brought into blessing through his ministry more than repaid the sacrifice of time and strength.

And then the young wife had the happiness of finding her expectations more than realised in the character her husband sustained as a business man. He was an excellent chemist and highly respected for his influence in the town. So scrupulous was he in financial matters that he made it a rule to pay every debt the very day it fell due.

If I let it stand over a week," he would say, " I defraud my creditor of interest, if only a fractional sum."

In dealing with his customers he was upright to a farthing or a grain, and full of genuine sympathy. He never sued for a bill, and did not think it desirable for Christians even to press for the payment of an account. On the contrary, he frequently returned in whole or part sums that his customers could ill afford to spare. More than one neighbour barely able to settle an account was cheered by his generosity.

It's all right, John," he would exclaim. " We'll send that bill up to heaven and settle it there."

Genial and kindly to all he was specially so to the poor and to strangers in sickness or trouble. A foreigner or traveller far from home could always find a friend in the busy chemist.

"Come again, come again," he would say if he thought they needed help. " Bring the bottle back when the medicine is done and I will gladly fill it."

Yet he was a keen man of affairs and made his business successful. This was partly on account of skill in the management of money-matters, and partly through careful attention to detail. His fellow-townsmen recognising his financial ability appointed him Manager of their " Building Society," an office he continued to fill for two-and-twenty years. That he did not regard lightly the duties of such a position may be judged from the fact that he worked out lists of interest at various rates to four or five places of decimals, and compiled tables of logarithms to assist his calculations. Public funds were to him a sacred trust, demanding the greatest care and fidelity in their administration. [ "He was one of the founders and for many years Acting Manager of the Barnsley Permanent Building Society. . . . After his retirement from business, about 1864 or 1865, he was able to devote a considerable amount of time to the work of the Society, which had by this time attained important dimensions, and all its members will agree that from first to last he had its interests thoroughly at heart. . . . On the eve of his leaving Barnsley he was presented by the directors, officers, and members of the Society with a solid silver tea-service and an illuminated address ' as a mark of their esteem for his personal character, and in recognition of his faithful services as Manager of the Society from 1853 to 1875. " During the long period of his residence in Barnsley, Mr. Taylor enjoyed the confidence and esteem of all sections of his fellow-townsmen, and of him it could with truth be said as his active, well-knit figure was seen passing -along our streets: 'An honest man, close-button'd to the chin, Broadcloth without, and a warm heart within.' " Ibid.]

But it was to God above all James Taylor sought to be faithful, and he was possessed by a profound conviction of His infinite faithfulness. He took the Bible very simply, believing it was of all books the most practical if put to the test of experience. In this too he met with fullest sympathy from the young wife who was herself so loyal to the Lord.

On a day they could never forget, in their first winter together, he sought her Bible in hand to talk over a passage that had impressed him. It was part of the thirteenth chapter of Exodus, with the corresponding verses in Numbers " Sanctify unto me all the firstborn ..." " All the firstborn are mine .." " Mine shall they be . . " Set apart unto the Lord."

Long and earnest was the talk that followed in view of the happiness to which they were looking forward. Their hearts held back nothing from the Lord. With them it was not a question of how little could be given, but how much. Did the Lord claim the best gift of His own giving ? Their child was more their own for being His. To such parents what could be more welcome than the invitation, nay command, to set apart their dearest thus to Him ? And how precious the Divine assurance, " It is Mine," not for time only but for eternity.

Together they knelt in the silence to fulfil as literally as possible an obligation they could not relegate to Hebrew parents of old. It was no ceremony to be gone through merely but a definite transaction, the handing over of their best to God, recalling which the mother wrote long after:

" This act of consecration they solemnly performed upon their knees, asking for the rich influence of the Holy Spirit," that their firstborn might be "set apart" indeed from that hour.

And just as definitely the Lord responded, giving them faith to realise that He had accepted the gift ; that henceforth the life so dear to them was their own no longer, but must be held at the disposal of a higher claim, a deeper love than theirs.

Thus spring-time came again touching with tender loveliness those Yorkshire hills and valleys, and on May 21, 1832, this child of many prayers was born, and named after both parents, James Hudson Taylor.



HE was a sensitive, thoughtful little fellow from the first, though bright and winsome as any heart could wish. It almost seemed as though he brought more love than usual into the world, with his great capacity for loving and the frailty of health that drew forth all the tenderness of those about him. For he was delicate, unusually so, as his parents soon discovered. This was no little sorrow, and added difficulty to the task of bringing him up to be a brave and faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. As time went on he was often so far from well that it seemed almost impossible to insist upon obedience and self-control. Yet the very difficulty only made it the more necessary. For nothing in after-life, his parents realised, could ever compensate for the injury of an undisciplined childhood. But they knew where to turn for strength and grace. Were they not workers together with God in moulding this little life for His holy service ? If they lacked wisdom for so high a task, as indeed they did, would He not give it liberally according to His promise ?

So the child grew under a watchful care that could not in present happiness forget its responsibility to coming years. And his parents grew with him. The young mother, lovely as she had always been, developed new depth of character in dealing with this son, and into the father's life came added sympathy and strength.

It was around his grandfather's figure, strange to say, and the Chapel on Pinfold Hill that his earliest recollections centred. Taken almost from infancy to the House of God, he retained a distinct remembrance of the old-fashioned gallery as it then was, and his father's pew right opposite the pulpit. Immediately behind was the seat occupied by John and Mary Taylor, whose presence usually inspired a wholesome sense of awe. But Hudson only remembered the smile that lighted his grandfather's face. For when he had been specially good he was sure to be handed over the back of the pew, at the close of the long proceedings, to receive his grandfather's commendations and be carried home to sit on his knee by the fireside and at the well-filled table. This was a regular custom as long as the reed-maker lived and kept open house on Pitt Street. That dizzy transit from pew to pew and the clasp of his grandfather's arms bringing a consciousness of duty well done were the first memories of his childhood.

And with them came another, of the last time he saw that dear, familiar face. His grandfather was lying very quiet then, and the wondering child was told that he had gone to be with Jesus. There was no fear in the impression, only surprise that he should be so cold and still. It was his first sight of death, and never to be forgotten, although at the time he was only two and a half years old.

There were other childish memories also of an unusual kind. One was of learning the Hebrew alphabet as he sat on his father's knee, and another his first attempt at authorship a little later. By this time he was four, and could read and write a little, for he embarked courageously on this literary effort.

" Was it a fairy-tale or story of adventure ? " we inquired when he spoke of this recollection.

" No, it was a serious recital of a matter that was burdening my mind. It was about an old man of eighty, who had led a very improper life and had not truly repented. His chances were growing small. I only finished one chapter, laboriously inscribed in large print. It was not very long."

From which it will be seen that this child of quick susceptibilities entered more perhaps than was good for him into the life of older people, until little playfellows grew up to claim their share of attention. This happily was the case before long, and by the time he was five years old a younger brother and sister were quite companionable. They were a merry trio, and kept each other busy all day long. Teaching Amelia (1 Afterwards Mrs. Benjamin Broomhall.) to walk became a great interest to the boys, as Hudson recalled long after, when writing from China for her nineteenth birthday. Another performance into which they put their whole hearts was the Sunday evening "meeting" in which one of the brothers was audience and the other speaker. The father's chair was pulpit in the little sitting-room behind the shop, and it was doubtless his example and the stories told them of James Taylor and the days of Wesley that fired their imagination and made them want to be " brave preachers " too.



Hudson's Sister Amelia
Hudson's Sister Amelia


For at no time is there greater capacity for devotion or more pure, uncalculating ambition in the service of God than in early childhood, when the heart is full of love to Christ. Little Hudson, for example, was deeply impressed at four or five years of age by what he heard about the darkness of heathen lands.

" When I am a man," He would often say, " I mean to be a missionary and go to China."

It was only a childish impulse ? Yes, but he meant it with all his heart, and meant it because he loved the Lord and wanted to please and follow Him. In the same spirit was the prayer of another little one of five years old

" Lord Jesus, help us to be good brothers to You, and to do some of Your hard work in Africa and in China." {2." Whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." (St. Mark 3:35)}.

The first sorrow that overshadowed Hudson's life was the death of his brother, called after their great-grandfather, William Shepherd. This was a loss indeed, for they had been inseparable companions, and there was no one to fill the empty place. Theodore was still a baby, and he too was taken before long to be with Jesus. Hudson from this time onward was an only son ; but two little sisters were spared to grow up, the elder of whom was near enough in age to become his special friend. These early bereavements, following the loss of their grandfather, could not but make him feel the reality of unseen things and develop his thoughtful tendencies.

But though he took life seriously from the first, he was sunny and bright by nature and dearly loved boyish fun. He had eyes and a heart for everything, and retained to the end a capacity for enjoyment that was remarkable. Nature was his great delight, and he had the patience, sympathy and power of observation needed for entering into her secrets. He would take any amount of trouble to cultivate a little fern or flower brought home from the woods, or to learn about the ways of birds, animals and insects. All living, growing things seemed to possess a charm for him that years only increased.

On one occasion in his early childhood a fair of unusual interest was held in the town. The open space behind St. Mary's Church was covered with stalls and shows of every kind, and the usual attractions of circus, music, and merry-go-round were not lacking. But this fair was specially fascinating to Hudson on account of an exhibition of stuffed birds and animals, in which their natural habitats were reproduced as far as possible. Nothing could exceed the expectation with which he set out for the Green, the proud possessor of a penny, that open-sesame of all delights.

Now it was a rule of the family that pennies could be had if they were earned, but not otherwise. The parents recognised the importance of teaching their children the value of money, and that honest work is necessary if it is to be obtained. Simple tasks suited to their capacity were devised, such as hemming dusters, cleaning windows, or helping in the shop. When they were too young to do anything but play, small coins might be earned by what was called " a game of still," which meant just sitting perfectly quiet for a measured time by the clock, five or ten minutes or longer as the mother might decide. And Mother had more in view than the children thought, having discovered how much good was accomplished by these resting-times for mind and body. Of course all this was much more troublesome than the ordinary methods of obtaining pocket-money, but it had the desired effect, and the pleasure of giving and receiving pennies genuinely earned was sufficient reward for parents and children alike. Thus the unfortunate habit of teasing for money was entirely obviated. " Work for it and you shall have it " proved a much more satisfactory basis.

Well, this particular fair came just when Hudson was rejoicing in the possession of his first whole penny, obtained at what had been to him no little cost. Of course it seemed a fortune. The largest, most precious coin he had ever possessed, what would it not purchase of delight ?

Joyfully he climbed the hill to St. Mary's, ran along the lane to Church Fields, and sought among the bewildering variety of attractions for the birds and animals of his dreams. It was disconcerting to find a fence around the enclosure, and at the gate an imposing personage of doubtful disposition toward little boys. But producing his penny he summoned up courage to ask admission. To his surprise this was denied, the man gruffly intimating that the entrance fee was " tuppence."

In a moment the child's mind grasped the unreasonableness of the situation. No doubt the man would like to have two pennies. So would he himself. But that was out of the question. There was only one.

" I haven't got another penny," he explained timidly. " But I will give you this one, if you will let me in ; and wouldn't it be better for you to have one penny than none at all ? "

But the man in uniform was not able to see the point.

Nothing daunted, the curly-headed little fellow continued his attempt. Reasonableness and perseverance were among the strongest traits in his character, and surely even a grown-up person would see, in time, what a mistake it was to refuse one penny just because you could not have two at once. But alas, the gate-keeper was obdurate.

At length the failure of his arguments and the inaccessibility of the treasures beyond that closed door were too much for the sensitive child. Turning away with tears in his eyes, he ran home sobbing as if his heart would break.

Happily his mother found him and was able to understand. Taking him in her arms she said quietly, " But the man was doing his duty, my son. He didn't mean to be unkind. Every one has to pay two pennies to see those lovely birds and animals. You have been so good and industrious lately that Mother will give you another penny as a reward. Run off again, now, and the man will be glad to let you in."

This unexpected turn of events put everything right, and sent such gladness thrilling through the little heart that seventy long years after it had not died away.

The mother's gentle discipline had much to do with the happiness of his childhood, and gave rise to more than one situation that was long remembered. Such, for instance, was the company dinner when in attending to her guests she overlooked the needs of her little son. The meal went on and still the child said nothing, knowing he must not ask for things at table. At length, however, an expedient suggested itself, and a little voice was heard requesting for salt. That at any rate was permissible.

" And what do you want the salt for ? " questioned his neighbour, seeing the empty plate." Oh," he replied, " I want to be ready. Mamma will give me something to eat by-and-by."

On another occasion he called attention to his needs by inquiring in a pause in the conversation " Mamma, do you think apple-pie is good for little boys ? "

It was not often he attempted to evade home-regulations, partly no doubt because he knew it would be useless, and partly for fear of giving his mother pain. In all her dealings with the children she was reasonable and consistent. She made few rules, and avoided unnecessary commands. But they well knew that what she said she meant, for she never gave instructions she was not prepared to see carried out. Sometimes Hudson was tempted, like other boys, to see how far he could go in taking his own way ; but one distressing experience taught him a lesson that was not soon forgotten.

He was intensely fond of reading, and was absorbed one winter in a delightful book. He was all eagerness to finish it, but daylight hours were short and full of other occupations, and bed-time could not be postponed. If only he might read at night ! But Mother always came to tuck him up and take the light away. The story grew in interest, and at length a plan suggested itself. He knew, as every one did in that orderly household, just where the candle-ends were kept for use in kitchen or cellar. It would never be noticed if he took a few of these. Then he could light them, one by one, and lying cosily in bed make progress with his book. At first the thought was startling and not to be entertained for a moment. But it came again and again, until conscience was silenced and he decided to carry it out.

A visitor came to spend the evening with his parents just when this stage was reached, and perceiving his opportunity the child filled his largest pocket with the coveted candle-ends and went in earlier than usual to say good-night. In the drawing-room the older people were gathered round the fire. The visitor was fond of children, and taking the little fellow on his knee asked if he would like to hear a story. Dearly as Hudson loved stories, however, especially at bed-time, the warmth of the fire made him anxious to escape. He was painfully conscious that the pocket full of candle-ends was on the fireside, and eagerly explaining that it was time to go to bed, tried to slip off the too-friendly knee.

But his mother's voice detained him. It was early yet, and as a special treat he might stay a little longer to hear the story. But instead of being delighted, the poor child was restless and miserable. The candles must be melting. He knew they were ! What if Mother should smell the tallow, or it should trickle down upon the carpet ? At the first pause in the recital, he urged again, more earnestly than before, that it really was bed-time and he ought not to stay up any longer. The gentleman was disappointed and the parents greatly puzzled. But still the story went on.

Finally, after what seemed hours of suspense, he was released and hurried away to his room. His mother quickly followed, to find him weeping bitterly over a pocketful of melted tallow and a story of his own that he was only too glad to pour forth without extenuation. Needless to say her sorrow over it all impressed the lesson for which in afterlife he could not be too thankful.

One chief advantage of his childhood was that he was so continually under his mother's care. This in itself was sufficient compensation for the limited means that made it necessary. The father's business prospered and brought in more than enough for present needs. But with the welfare of his family at heart, he felt it desirable to lay by for the future, as well as to purchase the premises in which they lived and other properties. This necessitated careful economy in everyday matters. Household expenditure was reduced as far as possible, luxuries were unknown, and active, practical habits were the order of the day. The children learned to be independent and were well drilled in thoughtfulness for others. But above all they grew up in close contact with their parents, as children never can in a house with many servants, or if they are sent to school. The mother was their companion from morning till night. She it was who worked with them, taught them, did everything for them, and was the sun and centre of their little system, radiating light and love without end.

This accounted largely for the influence she exerted over her little people. It was second nature to obey her, and she was always there to encourage or restrain. She was a woman of few words and unusual tact, with a quiet way of saying and doing things that was very effective. A mere suggestion from her lips went further than repeated injunctions from some people.

" My dear, it is nearly time for dinner," or " for tea." This meant clean hands, fresh pinafores, tidy hair, and a race to see who would be first at table before Father appeared.

How she managed it no one could tell ; but with the entire care and education of the children, cooking to attend to, washing to be done at home, and all the housework, sewing and mending necessary, and the help of only one maid, she invariably kept her surroundings neat and attractive, down to the brightly burning fire and clean-swept hearth. The little parlour behind the shop, though constantly in use for meals and lessons, needlework and play, was a picture of comfort and good order ; and this not by virtue of the distracting process known as "setting-to-rights " so much as by a happy knack of never letting things go wrong or stray far out of place.

It was a cosy spot, this family sitting-room, and well in keeping with the simple life to which Hudson Taylor owed so much. Entering from the shop, a long, old-fashioned couch occupied the wall to the right, beyond which a china cupboard filled the corner with shining rows of crockery and glass. Next came the fireplace at a right angle with the sofa, making that end of the room attractive on winter evenings. The other end. was taken up with a window and door, leading to the little yard, across which was the warehouse where the father's stores were kept. This window, facing west, let in the sunshine when the children were busy in the afternoon with needlework and lessons. A spacious bookcase filled the wall between the fireplace and window, and opposite stood a chest of drawers used as a sideboard, between two doors, one leading upstairs and the other down to the kitchen premises. A square table in the middle of the room was protected from draughts by a folding screen in the corner farthest from the fire. And last, but not least in the estimation of the children, a little window over the sofa afforded interesting glimpses into the shop and Market Place beyond.

The chief feature in the room, undoubtedly, was the bookcase, and it had also much to do with the order that prevailed. Over the lower shelves hung a curtain, concealing a characteristic device of the mother's household management. Everything in use for meals or lessons, work or play, had its appointed place in sideboard or cupboard, while magazines, books, and papers found hospitality upon the ample shelves. But one shelf behind the crimson curtain was unappropriated. Clean and empty, it stood ready for emergencies. Was the room needed for unexpected visitors? The work in hand, whatever it might be, was laid away without embarrassment and just as easily brought out again. Were the older people busy with letters or accounts when the table was wanted for a meal? A place was ready in which ink and papers would be accessible and out of danger. It was a convenient receptacle at tea-time for the mother's sewing or the children's toys. But whatever its uses in the day-time, it was always cleared and dusted before night. Simple as such a plan may seem, it was effective because of the orderly mind that carried it out, and went far toward solving the problem of how to turn one room to so many uses without litter or confusion.

Not that a litter was objected to at the right time and in the proper place ; but the little hands that made it were expected to put things straight, before turning to other work or play. The children came to feel that their amusements must never give other people trouble, and that it is wiser to do at once what has to be done, rather than leave it to another time. " A place for everything and everything in its place " was the working rule of the household ; and that extra, empty shelf behind the curtain was more effective than many exhortations. One thing only made a deeper impression in this connection, and that was the fact that Mother's belongings never needed tidying. Other people's possessions might be more or less topsy-turvy on occasion, as bright eyes had not failed to discover. But Mother's drawers and cupboards stood the test. They never needed setting to rights, because, strange as it might seem, they were never out of order.

Personal neatness she taught them in the same practical way, until it became second nature to feel that one must be clean and tidy, however simply dressed. A fresh apron was ready for their father's use in the shop every morning, and the mother's print gown and closely fitting cap were just as pretty for breakfast, six days in the week, as her black satin and white crepe shawl reserved for Sunday. She was very pleasing in appearance, and the children were like her. The muslin cap tied under the chin, with its soft tulle edging and white ribbons, well became her calm, sweet face. She had donned it on her wedding-day according to the custom of the times, when a dainty cap was always waiting the bride's return from church. Mother would hardly have seemed Mother without that modest headgear. But whether it were the Sunday cap, its gauze ribbons edged with satin, or the more durable muslin for daily use, it was equally fresh and becoming.

Slovenliness in dress under any circumstances she could not endure. Pretty washing frocks were prepared for the little girls, with black alpaca aprons piped at the edges, and they were trained to feel that it was just as important to be neat and attractive for household work before breakfast as for entertaining friends at tea. A work-basket was always ready on their dressing-table, and stitches were put in as soon as needed. Even if it meant getting up ten minutes earlier on a winter morning, clean tuckers must be sewn in to everyday dresses just as carefully as to best ones. And their brother too was made to realise that clean hands and shoes, nicely kept nails, and well-brushed garments were quite as necessary at home as in any company. It was a question of thoroughness and self-respect, and those were essentials their parents required in everything.

In the same way the servant, probably an inexperienced little maid when she came to them, was taught to leave the kitchen in order before she went upstairs to other duties. The mother herself undertook most of the cooking, and it was while dinner was preparing that the morning's lessons were done. But thanks to careful management, the kitchen was just as pleasant as the parlour. The stone floor was well scoured, and a white border made on all four sides to match the spotless hearth. The kitchen range was clean and bright, no matter what might be cooking, and Mother's rocking-chair made the whole room look cosy. Here at a table reserved for the purpose, the little girls worked at their lessons, while Hudson was similarly employed under his father's supervision upstairs. There was no shirking work or playing truant if their parents were called away. Lessons had to go on just the same, and did with wonderful regularity.

Then in the afternoon, their mother had the older children with her while she was busy with her needle. A great deal of sewing had to be done, but she was able to go on with it while they read aloud or wrote from dictation. Many were the hours thus spent over history, literature and travels. Hard names or unfamiliar words they might not hurry over. No, the dictionary had to be brought and each difficulty mastered as they came to it. A real lover of books herself, she early inspired them with a taste for reading, and to her accuracy and thoroughness may be traced the unusual power of attention to detail that characterised her son in later years. Industry and perseverance also the children could not but learn from her example. So busy was she that it was the rarest thing to see her take time to enjoy a book, but she often had one propped up before her while her needle flew, that she might catch a sentence now and then without interrupting her work.

And the father in his department was just as busy. Through the little window over the sofa, he might be seen hard at work in the shop, morning, noon and night. The children lived in touch with him almost as much as with their mother, and he felt himself no less responsible for their training.

Though stern and even quick-tempered at times, the influence James Taylor exerted in the life of his son can hardly be overestimated. He was decidedly a disciplinarian. But without some such element in his early training who can tell whether Hudson would ever have become the man he was, by the grace of God. Do we not suffer in these days from too great a tendency to slackness and easy-going ? Even Christian parents seem content if they can keep their children moderately happy and good-tempered. But with James Taylor this was not the point. Life has to be lived. Work must be accomplished. People may be consecrated, gifted, devoted, and yet of very little use, because undisciplined. He was a man with a supreme sense of duty. The thing that ought to be done was the thing he put first, always. Ease, pleasure, self-improvement had to take whatever place they could. He was a man of faith, but faith that went hand in hand with works of the most practical kind. It was not enough for him that his children were happy and amused, well-cared-for and obedient even. They must be doing their duty, getting through their daily tasks, acquiring habits that alone could make them dependable men and women in days to come.

The importance of punctuality, for example, he impressed both by teaching and example. No one was allowed to be late for meals or any other engagement. The mother called the children herself, at seven every morning. No bells were rung, but when the clock struck eight every one had to be at table.

" If there are five people," he would say, " and they are kept waiting one minute, do you not see that five minutes are lost that can never be found again ? "

Dinner was at half-past twelve and tea at half-past four ; but if these meals were delayed five minutes it would mean nearly an hour wasted out of one little day. And what would that amount up to in a week, a month, a year ?

Dilatoriness in dressing or undressing, or in beginning when the time came to begin, he also reprehended as a serious waste of time. " Learn to dress quickly," he would say, " for you have to do it once, at least, every day of your life. And begin promptly whatever the work in hand. To loiter does not help, it only makes the task more difficult."

" See if you can do without " was another of his maxims. This of course applied, among other things, to the simple pleasures of the table. Porridge with bread and butter for breakfast, meat once a day, and bread and butter or toast for tea was the usual routine. But sugar and preserves were allowed in moderation, and extra-nice cakes or puddings occasionally found a place. As a rule the children shared whatever was provided, their parents delighting to give them pleasure no less than other fathers and mothers the wide world over. At the same time they fully realised the lifelong influence of little habits. At any cost to themselves and within wise limits to the children, they felt they must secure to them the power of self-control.

" By-and-by," the father would explain, " you will have to say ` No ' to yourself when we are not there to help you ; and very difficult you will find it when you want a thing tremendously. So let us try to practise now, for the sooner you begin the stronger will be the habit."

It was a principle difficult of application, no doubt, when a favourite dish was in question. But though it was at least as hard for him as for them, he would encourage them to go the whole length on occasions, saying cheerfully, " Who will see if they can do without today? "

The children were not blamed if they could not respond as he desired, but were commended if they did, the mother generally arranging some little surprise at night-a few almonds and raisins, or an orange, with an extra-loving kiss.

Sweets or confectionery they never thought of buying for themselves. Pennies honestly earned were far too precious to be squandered thus. Each one had a little brown earthenware jar in the sitting-room cupboard, in which their savings were kept. Whenever eleven pennies could be produced, their father would add one, giving in exchange a bright new shilling. This was a transaction much looked forward to, and encouraged the children in thoughtfulness about the use of money. These may seem trivial details, scarcely worth recording, but it is just such little habits that in the long run strengthen character and make all the difference between weakness and power to do and be one's best.

The spiritual life of his children was equally the father's care. Family worship he conducted regularly, after both breakfast and tea. Every member of the household had to be present, and the passage read was explained in such practical fashion that even the children could not fail to see its application. He was very particular about giving them the whole Word of God, omitting nothing. The Old Testament as well as the New was taken in regular course, and at the close of every day's reading the date was carefully entered in the family Bible. On Sundays he gave even more time to this home-ministry, in spite of the services for which he was responsible, and that often involved a considerable journey on foot. While thoroughly approving of Sunday Schools for those who needed them, he did not consider his own children to be among the number, and would relinquish to no one the privilege of teaching them in the things of God.

He gave time also to earnest, detailed prayer on their behalf, and taught them to pray. From infancy, the little happenings of every day were made occasions for drawing near to God. Nothing was too trivial to interest Father and Mother, because the little folk were dear to them, and nothing was too small to bring to Him who loved them better still. If there were something to thank their parents for, or obtain help in, they would not wait till the end of the day to do so. And in the same way they learned to come " without ceasing," with thanksgiving and prayer, to the greater Father in heaven. It was just as natural to Amelia at three years old to say reverently, " O Lord, take away my naughty temper and give me a new heart," as to ask pardon of the mother she had grieved ; and, baby as she was, she felt it no less important.

At one time the father made it a practice to take the older children to his room everyday for prayer. At the big four-post bed, all three would kneel beside him while with his arm about them he poured out his heart to God for each in turn in a way they never could forget. It was not much he could give them of wealth or worldly advantage, but he could and did imbue them with a strong, simple faith like his own. He taught them to reverence the Bible as the Word of God from cover to cover, trusting every promise to mean at least all it says. " God cannot lie," he would exclaim with intense conviction, " He cannot mislead you, He cannot fail." And instinctively the children began to trust in the same way.

As they were able to understand, he explained to them the necessity for maintaining the life of the soul by prayer and Bible study, as the life of the body is maintained by exercise and food. To omit this was to neglect the one thing needful. He spoke of it frequently as a matter of vital importance, and arranged for every one in the house to have at least half an hour daily, alone with God. The result was that even the little ones began to discover the secret of a happy day. Before breakfast in the morning, and again as evening was drawing in, they went up to their own rooms for reading and prayer. They needed it just as much as older people, and in their childish way came to realise that no one can be good and happy all day long without heart-to-heart fellowship with the Lord. But it was example that impressed these things upon them more than precept. " Let them see thee talking to thy God " was golden counsel these parents did not fail to improve.

Thus the children grew in body, mind, and spirit as the days went on. Hudson was still too delicate to go to school, but the education he received at home more than made up for this loss. Not only were his studies systematic and his general intelligence developed, but the conversation of his parents and their visitors awakened thought and purpose to which the average schoolboy is a stranger, and his father's daily life, as he grew old enough to share it, in no wise weakened these impressions.

James Taylor was sociable and talked freely in congenial company. He was gifted with warm sympathies and sound common sense ; so much so indeed that few men in Barnsley were more sought after for advice in temporal as well as spiritual things. Over the counter and in the little room behind the shop, many an hour was spent with those who came to him in trouble. On Market Days another class of visitors would drop in-friends from the country, to many of whom he was indebted for Sunday hospitality, and brother local preachers sure of a welcome. A cup of tea by the fireside gave opportunity for many a " dish of chat," seasoned with kindly humour, in which the children could not fail to be interested.

But Quarter Day was looked forward to with still more lively expectation. For then fellow-workers came in from every part of the circuit, bringing the contributions of those they represented toward the support of the ministry. In the Chapel on Pinfold Hill their business was transacted. Arrangements for the following quarter were considered, missionary meetings planned, and financial matters settled; after which, luncheon was served in the vestry by the Circuit stewards and their wives. Then came an opportunity for private hospitality, which James Taylor frequently improved by inviting one and all to tea at 21 Cheapside. This was a favourite rendezvous, and at five o'clock the drawing-room over the shop would be well filled with guests. Those were times when conversation was at its best ; good, homely Yorkshire talk, as racy as it was profitable. And how the children listened ! Half a century later the remembrance had not faded from their minds.

I used to love to hear them talk-those local preachers gathered round our table for high tea. Theology, sermons, politics, the Lord's work at home and abroad, all were discussed with so much earnestness and intelligence. It made a great impression upon us as children. (1.To Mrs. B. Broomhall, the " little Amelia " of those days, we are indebted for many of the recollections incorporated in this chapter.)

It was on these occasions, chiefly, that the subject of Foreign Missions came up, and the little folk were delighted by many a story from far-off lands. China still held, as it always had, the first place in their father's sympathies, and he used often to lament the indifference of the Church to its appalling need. It specially troubled him that the denomination to which he belonged should be doing nothing for its evangelisation. Methodists, who in the days of Thomas Coke had been foremost in sending missionaries to the heathen, still gloried in Wesley's motto, " The world is my parish." A hundred years had passed since the birth of the great Revival, and in the summer of 1839 (when Hudson was seven years old) the " Centenary jubilee " was celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic in a spirit worthy of the memories it recalled. Methodists everywhere exceeded themselves in liberality and zeal for the cause of God. Thank-offerings filled their treasuries, world-wide prayer resulted in a great increase of spiritual blessing, and notable advance was made in evangelistic labours both at home and abroad. But among the new Missions projected and the new workers sent out, none were destined for China. It seemed to be taken for granted that nothing could be done or even attempted there. Morrison, the lonely pioneer of Protestant Missions in that land, had passed away five years previously, and no one had been able to take his place. Canton was still the only mission station, recently manned by a few American workers, including Dr. Peter Parker, who had just opened the first hospital on Chinese soil. But beyond the narrow limits of that one settlement lay the whole vast empire with its four hundred millions, amongst whom no one was living and preaching Christ. (1-Romanism in China was just recovering from its second period of decline, and foreign priests were to be found at a few points in the interior on the ground of ancient rights. The Order of Jesuits, suppressed by Pope Clement XIV. in 1773, had been re-established half a century later, and from that time (1822) the Roman Catholic Church entered upon a stronger, more aggressive policy in China.)These things pressed as a burden on the heart of Hudson Taylor's father.

" Why do we not send our missionaries there ! " he would exclaim. " That is the country to aim at, with its teeming population, its strong, intelligent, scholarly people."

He could not understand the apathy of the Church about this magnificent field, the Gibraltar of heathenism. And the listening children were confirmed in their conviction that this was indeed the greatest, the most neglected and most promising of missionary lands.

Later on their interest was increased by Peter Parley's China, a little book they read and reread until they knew it almost by heart. It had many illustrations, tiny pictures of the old-fashioned kind, and so impressed Amelia that she decided to cast in her lot with Hudson, who had long ago made up his mind to go to China as a missionary. The parents did not fail to notice these childish purposes, though with some sorrow of heart. It had been their chief desire that Hudson might be called to just such service, but on account of his continued delicacy the hope had been gradually abandoned. He, at any rate, would never be strong enough for such a life.

It was manifest, however, that the Holy Spirit was working in his heart, for nothing interested him so deeply as the things of God. He loved to go with his father to the country chapels in which he was preaching Sunday by Sunday. The quickening impulse of the great Centenary was being felt in that Yorkshire district, and James Taylor's ministry was in power and blessing. Even his little son entered into the spirit of the time. Love for Christ, the master-passion of his life, and the unquenchable longing to bring others to know and love Him too, evidently had their beginning as early as the jubilee of 1839 ; for it was of those days his mother wrote

When about seven years of age, Hudson frequently accompanied his father into the country, when he was going to preach. It was a time of religious revival, and an after-meeting was usually held at the conclusion of the service to pray for blessing upon the Word and for the conversion of sinners. On such occasions persons deeply convinced of sin and desiring to obtain peace with God were invited to come forward to be prayed with and pointed to " the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." In these meetings his devout and prayerful earnestness were often remarked ; and when, as was frequently the case, burdened souls found comfort by resting on Jesus and His atonement, and believers sang " Praise God, from whom all blessings flow," he would join as heartily as any, while his face glowed with delight. But this spirit of joy in the Lord and concern for the welfare of others did not depend upon revival meetings. It was fostered by the influence of his parents and the daily atmosphere of home. Much of their conversation was about spiritual things, and of a kind that made salvation and living for God appear, as indeed they are, the most important matters under the sun. And the children could easily see that this was no mere talk, but that their parents were consistent in putting God first and in seeking to help others to do the same. The mother was for many years too delicate to carry on her weekly class or attempt much outside work. Her hands were more than full with household duties. But in her own circle her heart still burned with love for souls that could not rest till all within its reach were won. The children knew how she thought of and prayed for the servants that came under their roof and for the successive assistants in the shop. Did they not share her joy when these young people were brought, as sooner or later they always were, to a living faith in Christ ? Mother's closed door in the middle of the busy day had a world of meaning for the household. Those were the seasons of quiet waiting upon God that renewed her strength, and enabled her to make so attractive to others her unseen Friend. Happy the son whose every remembrance of his mother affords fresh inspiration to a life of Christlike love and service. Happy too the children so trained in habits of obedience to their earthly parents that they learn almost instinctively to obey and honour God. To James Taylor this was a matter of supreme importance. He felt with a deep sense of responsibility that Christian parents are placed at the head of the family as the direct representatives of Him " from whom every fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named." To permit disobedience would be not only unfaithfulness to God, but cruel injustice to the children, wholly misleading them as to the character of the Heavenly Father with whom through life they have to do. His duty on the contrary was to train them to such prompt and loyal obedience to their earthly parents that they would be prepared to render like submission to the will of God. He showed them that such obedience requires the exercise of the highest powers, faith, love, patience, self-control, and is a faculty not easily acquired. Unless they learned the lesson in childhood, they would grow up with unyielded wills, too wayward and undisciplined to be of use in the service of God. The sorrow and danger of such a position he showed them from many passages of Scripture, dwelling especially on Eli's failure in governing his sons, the sin and misery it entailed, and the dishonour brought upon the name of God.

So much did he dread the consequences of over-indulgence that he went, perhaps, too far in the opposite extreme. But even when he seemed most severe and the children were tempted to rebel, their mother's voice quickly recalled them, " My dear, he is your father. Not a word! Remember, ` Honour thy father.' "

But there were aching hearts, at times, over what seemed a reproof or punishment of needless asperity, as when Amelia was sent to bed one Sunday afternoon for leaving a morsel on her plate at dinner, unfinished. But though it cost tears at the time, she came to feel that Father had erred on the safe side, if he had erred at all, and that he and Mother sacrificed themselves in this as in everything else for the good of those entrusted to their care.

For the children's pleasures too their parents thought and planned, and many were the red-letter days that dotted the calendar throughout those early years. Saturday afternoon was always much looked forward to, for then visits might be paid to their friends across the Green, to the Neatbys, or the Cope cousins whose beautiful garden offered endless attractions. Or better still, Hudson and Amelia would take their hoops in spring and summer, and run off alone to the Lunn Woods down the Cudworth Road. Perfectly happy in each other's company, they would wander for hours up and down those shady glades, chasing butterflies and gathering flowers to their hearts' content. They never thought of quarrelling. Hudson was his sister's protector rather, and considered himself responsible to take care of and keep her happy, though he could not always overcome a boyish tendency to tease.

" Now, my child, don't be teased, and he will soon leave off," the mother would say with a smile, well knowing that Hudson's teasing was never more than fun.

As a matter of fact there was nothing he would not have denied himself for the good of this dearly loved sister. While she was still little and afraid to be left in the dark, he would frequently sacrifice an hour with his book-by the fireside to keep her company. When it was cold he would sit beside her on the pillow with his feet under the bedclothes, telling the most fearsome, fascinating stories, until she drifted happily into the land of dreams.

Their enjoyment of the country was greatly increased by the companionship of their father, who often went with them on Saturday afternoon for long, delightful walks. How they loved the butterflies, birds, and flowers about which he told them ! It was better to wander with him in such company than even to visit the wonderful fairs on the Green. Twice every year these great occasions came, with all the excitement of shows, menageries, and merry-go-rounds, to say nothing of stalls passing description. But though they enjoyed the bewildering scene, keeping close to their father's side as he led them through the crowds, it was a different and doubtful joy, not to be compared with the other. The green woods never palled, or left one jaded and dissatisfied. And then at home one could pursue the subject still. Careful and orderly as she was, the mother fully entered into the feelings of her little naturalists, and afforded every facility for the wonderful collections that grew from these country walks. Their father encouraged them too, and subscribed for a magazine of Natural History that coming month by month did not a little to deepen intelligent interest.

One thing the parents specially inculcated was thoughtful consideration for living creatures. To wilfully hurt a fly would have been an offence severely punished ; and from babyhood the children were made to realise that all cruelty to dumb, helpless creatures was a sin against God Himself.

" What you sow in this way," the father would assure them, " you will certainly reap. You will be made to suffer for all the suffering you inflict, as God is God and knows everything."

Even flowers they might not gather unless they really wanted to keep them, and over their collections of insects and butterflies the greatest care was exercised. Hudson, who was intensely interested in these beautiful creatures, fully shared the solicitude of his parents that they should not be made to suffer. Pill-boxes large and small were supplied him from the shop, in which air-holes were carefully pricked, so that he might bring home his treasures " comfortably," and then a little chloroform precluded the possibility of pain.

Other happy memories for children and parents alike centred round the festivities that once a year gathered the family circle at " Grandmamma's." On Christmas Day her sons and daughters dined with her in state, and on New Year's Day she resigned possession to the younger generation. Tall and stately as she was, Mary Shepherd of the long-ago days inspired only gratitude and affection among her numerous grandchildren. Troops of merry boys and girls played hide-and-seek all over the house, and revelled in the good things her hospitality provided. They were quite a clan by this time, though the invitation extended to first cousins only ; and certainly none among them had more capacity for enjoyment than the unspoiled little people from the chemist's home on the Market Place.

But to them the happiest days of all were not those high days and holidays. Through the mists of childhood the brightest associations lingered about one dear figure in the repose that always seemed to accompany a white crepe shawl and satin gown. Sunday was the day on which Mother gave herself to them as she could not through the week, and if there was one thing she cared about, it was that that day should be to every member of the household the happiest and most helpful of the seven. In the morning the children went with her regularly to the House of God, and there was more leisure to enjoy companionship at home on Sunday. But in addition, Mother had ways and means for making that day different from all others and much to be desired. The nicest toys and picture-books belonged to Sunday, as well as the prettiest frocks and a cosy fire in the drawing room because the piano was there. Mother's sweet voice made hymn-singing a delight. No talks were like her talks over the Bible, not to speak of Pilgrim's Progress and other books that only- appeared that day. Then she always had a basket of fruit for her little people in the afternoon. And just to see her looking so sweet and restful as she shared their enjoyments was not the least part of the happiness of the day.

Yes, home was home indeed and the nearest place to heaven, because it held that mother in whose heart was shed abroad the very love of God.



Upon a life I did not live,

Upon a death I did not die

Another's life, Another's death,

I stake my whole eternity.

THUS childhood's years passed by, and all unconsciously Hudson Taylor was drawing near the crisis of his life.

Outwardly he was now a bright lad of seventeen, with few anxieties or cares, but inwardly he was passing through a period of trial. Events that had transpired since the close of the preceding chapter had brought him into contact with the world as it is beyond the shelter of a Christian home. Under the stress of new experiences he had begun to think for himself and live his life more or less independently of others, and a difficult business he found it, until he learned to trust a higher strength than his own.

His troubles seem to have begun when at eleven years of age he was first sent to school, though it was only a dayschool, conducted by Mr. Laycock, a friend of the family. After John Taylor's death and the removal of the reed-making business to larger premises, Mr. Laycock had rented the long, low factory near the corner of Pitt and York Streets and had turned it into class-rooms for the accommodation of fifty or sixty lads. The situation was good, and his able management attracted the best pupils in town. Here then, close to the home in which his grandmother still lived, Hudson began his brief career as a schoolboy.

It was brief for several reasons, one of which was the continued delicacy of health that made it impossible for him to be regular in attendance. Hardly a week passed without his having to miss one or more days on account of illness, and at other times it was difficult to avoid over-study. Still, association with boys of his own age was felt to be so desirable that every effort was made to continue it.

He intensely enjoyed study, and was so eager to work that the arithmetic master often handed over to him problems that he had hardly time for himself. " See that you bring them back in the morning," he would say with a smile. And Hudson, who knew why they were wanted, worked with a will, falling back upon his father's help if they proved too intricate. He was not sufficiently a lover of boyish sports to become a general favourite, but some enduring friendships were made, and the pursuits of the playground, though not for him specially attractive, had their valuable effect on character.

On the whole, however, his school-life seems to have been neither happy nor helpful. It was a great change from home, and he missed the spiritual atmosphere to which he had been accustomed. Needing more than ever the resource of prayer, he allowed the busy days to pass without taking time to be alone with God.

" His religious earnestness began to abate," his mother tells us, " and gradually declined, until he lost peace with God."

The joyous faith of childhood passed away, and he awoke to find the world a very different place without the sunshine of the Presence he had loved in earlier days. His mother's concern was deep and prayerful, but do what she would, nothing seemed to restore that lost God-consciousness.

For six years altogether he was in an unsettled state spiritually, trying hard to " make himself a Christian," but finding it of all efforts the most discouraging, and sure to end in failure if not despair. He was early proving the truth of the profound though simple warning : " Without Me ye can do nothing."

Yes, those are difficult years, from eleven to seventeen. The young heart finds itself assailed by perplexing problems, attracted by undreamed-of possibilities, disturbed by unreasoning hopes and fears. They are often lonely years, for we outgrow the associations of childhood and do not quickly find our own real friends ; years in which God is more than ever needful to us, and yet the first force of temptation, the first glamour of the world, the first suggestion of doubt, reinforced it may be by love, or sin, or sorrow, obscure the shining of His face. Many a seemingly careless lad and-schoolgirl carries an aching heart, a heart just hungry for the touch of sympathy older people often fail to give, because they do not understand. But often, too, that touch can come from God alone. Surely, did we see but deep enough, the spiritual needs and longings of childhood would drive us to our knees in earnest prayer. For only God can make us wise to speak the " word in season " to the soul whose very existence perhaps we hardly realise, because it dwells in the boy or girl to whose noise and merriment we are so accustomed. Pray, pray ! These young souls are awake, and moving rapidly for good or ill beyond our care.

Such a word in season came to Hudson Taylor in his first year at school, and was never forgotten. It was the summer of 1844, and he went with older people to a Camp Meeting in a park near Leeds. Among the speakers was Mr. Henry Reed of Launceston, Tasmania, who in the course of his address told the story of a man named Gardener whom he had known in the Colonies years before. His subject was the sin and peril of resisting the Holy Spirit, and upon the little lad from Barnsley it made an impression that never passed away. (1- Long years after, when Mr. Henry Reed had become a warm friend and supporter of the China Inland Mission, Mr. Hudson Taylor, writing to him about other matters, recalled these facts." It must be about thirty years ago that I had the privilege of hearing you speak at a missionary meeting in a park near Leeds. I was then a boy, and unconverted. But one incident you narrated, showing the danger of quenching the strivings of the Spirit of God, riveted itself on my memory, and in after years has been often repeated by me to Chinese audiences. . . I believe that in several instances in China it has been used of God to bring persons in a hesitating state of mind to the point of decision for Christ.")

Gardener was one of six convicts under sentence of death, with whom Mr. Reed spent the last, terrible night before their execution. Condemned for murder, he had long denied the charges brought against him, but finally through his own confession the truth was brought to light. It then appeared that shortly before the crime was committed he had been conscious as never before of the pleading of the Holy Spirit, and of the nearness of God.

Walking up Cataract Hill, a beautiful spot near Launceston, he had even been startled by a voice behind him, earnestly saying " Gardener, give Me thy heart."

He turned to face the speaker, but no one was in sight. He was alone under the open sky, alone with an awakened conscience and the all-seeing God." My son, give Me thy heart."

His Maker must have spoken. No other voice could stir the soul like that. What should he do ? Yes, that was the question.

Long and troubled were his ponderings, for the call was unwelcome. He did not want, just then, to be a Christian. It would upset his plans, interfere with his prospects of success. No, he must make money first, come what might. Later on, at another time, a " more convenient season," he would reconsider the matter. God was merciful. There would be another chance. And so, deliberately resisting the Holy Spirit, he went on up the hill-went on to meet the tempter in his own strength.

That night alone in their shack he saw his partner begin to count a little store of savings as he sat over the fire. Seven one-pound notes lay in his hand. Gardener became interested. Then all at once an overwhelming desire to obtain that money took possession of him. Never before had he felt such a passion for gold. All restraints of conscience were swept away. His one, his only thought became:" I must and will have it. But how ? "Then followed the awful suggestion, " Dead men tell no tales."

Though it meant murder, this aroused neither fear nor compunction. A few hours before he had been powerfully drawn toward God and happiness and heaven. Now he seemed given up to evil. Three days and nights went by, while he waited his opportunity. It came at last, and Gardener's hands were stained with the blood of one who had trusted him as a friend.

As Mr. Reed described that last, long night, when at their request he had been locked up with this man and five others about to be ushered into the presence of God, a profound impression was made on many a listener besides young Hudson Taylor. Returning to Barnsley, and for long after, he was deeply troubled about spiritual things. Amid all his waywardness he was conscious of that inward pleading," My son, give Me thy heart." But the change went no further while he remained at school.

This was two years in all, a period that transformed the open-hearted child into a boy of thirteen with some experience of the sadder side of life. His education had made progress, but on account of changes in the school that were not satisfactory it was decided he should leave. His father needed assistance in the shop, and Hudson was delighted to be earning his own living, in part at any rate, while carrying on his studies at home. Thus ended, just before Christmas 1845, his first and only experience of school-life.

The new arrangement worked well. In his white apron behind the counter, the curly-headed boy with his bright face and pleasant ways soon became a favourite among the customers. He was keenly interested in compounding and dispensing medicines and everything to do with doctor's work. His father's library afforded all the books he required, and in the helpful companionships of home the troubles of his inner life began to pass away.

To this time he himself attributed (in a letter printed later in this book) the first conscious surrender of his heart to God. A leaflet published by the Religious Tract Society brought him blessing. It was the story of a poor, half-witted fellow who was only able to grasp one great truth, but rested his soul upon it as he passed into the unseen.

" Yes, Joseph is the chief of sinners," he kept repeating. " But it is ' a faithful saying ' that Jesus Christ, the great God who made all things, ` came into the world to save sinners.' And why not poor Joseph ? "

The question brought its own answer.

While reading this little tract, the simplicity of faith was made clear to him as never before, and then and there he took the sinner's place and came back to God.

The days that followed were quiet and happy. He was busy with his lessons and work in the shop, and resumed the habits of prayer and Bible study in which he had been trained from childhood. But another testing-time awaited him, a further experience of the weakness of his own heart, out of which he was to be brought into a life of stedfast dependence upon the Lord for keeping as well as saving grace.

For though real and true as far as it went, this improvement in his spiritual condition was more or less evanescent. There were the ups and downs so characteristic of childhood, and from the point of view of later years he seems hardly to have considered it a true " conversion " at all. At any rate it did not stand the test when, a little later, he found himself plunged into an atmosphere of worldliness and unbelief.

This unlooked-for experience began in 1847, when at fifteen years of age he went as junior clerk into one of the best banks in Barnsley. An opening having occurred, his father was anxious that he should avail himself of it, feeling that whatever the future might bring he would always be thankful for a thorough business training. Out of many applicants Hudson was chosen, and after eighteen months at home entered with high hopes upon the duties of his new position.



Frudd's Bank where Hudson Was Employed
Frudd's Bank where Hudson Was Employed


The daily routine in which he was now engaged did undoubtedly prove of value in preparing him for responsibilities as yet unforeseen. He was well drilled in account-keeping and business correspondence, and in the absolute necessity for promptness and accuracy in financial matters. He also found his level in a little corner of the busy world, and learned to do his part as a man among men. But he was not ready, spiritually, to stand alone. Indeed he was not standing firm in Christ at all, and was easily carried away by the ungodliness of those around him.

For most of his new associates were thoroughly worldly. Sceptical views to which he was a stranger were freely discussed among them, and religion seldom spoken of without a sneer. To add to these dangers, the lad came under the influence of an older clerk who, though handsome and popular, was anything but a desirable friend. He took every occasion to laugh at what he called Hudson's "old fashioned notions," and did all he could to make him as light-minded as himself.

" I well remember," Hudson wrote a few years later, " how I used to wish for money and a fine horse and house when I was in the Bank. Then my whole heart was set on this world's pleasures, and I longed to go hunting as some did who were about me. What a mercy that I had to leave that place ! "

It was weary work, with a heart set on this world's pleasures, to try to keep up the outward forms of Christian life. Yet he struggled to do so for a time. " Religious duties," however, could not satisfy, and were a poor substitute for the living Christ. He longed for gaiety and distraction ; ambitions that could not be realised made him miserable, and the sceptical views of his companions for a time carried him away. But the faithfulness of God did not fail.

In another letter he wrote of this period: I began to set too great a value on the things of this world, and to neglect private prayer. Religious duties became irksome to me, and I fell from grace. But God in His infinite mercy caused my eyesight to fail, and I had to leave the Bank.

This was no doubt a bitter disappointment to the lad himself if not to his parents. Overtime-work by gas-light had brought on serious inflammation of the eyes. Nothing seemed to relieve them, and after nine months at bookkeeping he was obliged to resign his position and return to the more varied duties of assistant in his father's shop.

But the unhappy state into which he had fallen continued long after he left the bank. His sight recovered and outwardly all went well, for the restraining grace of God kept him from open evil. But inwardly he was rebellious and full of unbelief. At times he knew himself to be in " a sinful and dangerous state " from which he struggled in vain to be free. At other times he tried to believe that his friends in the bank were right, and there really was no God and no hereafter.

There is something deeply touching about his own reference to these experiences, revealing as it does the exercise of soul through which an apparently careless lad may pass unknown to those around him

Often had I tried to make myself a Christian, and failing of course in such efforts, I began to think that for some reason or other I could not be saved, and that the best I could do was to take my fill of this world, as there was no hope for me beyond the grave. While in this state of mind I came in contact with persons holding sceptical and infidel views, and quickly accepted their teachings, only too thankful for some hope of escape from the doom which if my parents were right and the Bible true awaited the ungodly.

He had certainly travelled far in those difficult years from the love and faith of childhood. And there had yet to be sad revelations of his own heart ere he was to know that wonderful rest of faith into which he was privileged to lead so many others. Meanwhile the unrest deepened, and he began to prove how little the world has to give in exchange for the presence and blessing of God.

Needless to say, this state of things marred the happiness of home and overclouded his naturally sunny disposition. He was all wrong, and his parents could not but see it. The father tried to help him, but found it hard to be patient with the phase through which he was passing. The mother understood him better, and redoubled her tenderness and prayers. But it was his sister Amelia, now thirteen years of age, who was nearest to him and best able to win his confidence.

To her he could speak more freely than to grown-up people and his indifference and unhappiness so affected her that she determined to pray for him three times everyday until he was really converted. This she did for some weeks, going alone to plead with God for the salvation of her brother, and even making a note in her journal that she would never cease to pray for him until he was brought into the light, and that she believed her petitions would be answered before long.

Thus wearied by failure, harassed by doubt, disappointed in all he had most wished to do and be, Hudson Taylor drew near the crisis of his life, held by the faith and prayers of a few loving hearts that did know their God.

" It may seem strange," he said in later years, " but I have often felt thankful for this time of scepticism. The inconsistencies of Christian people who while professing to believe the Bible were yet content to live just as they would if there were no such book, had been one of the strongest arguments of my sceptical companions ; and I frequently felt at that time, and said, that if I pretended to believe the Bible I would at any rate attempt to live by it, putting it fairly to the test, and if it failed to prove true and reliable, would throw it overboard altogether. These views I retained when the Lord was pleased to bring me to Himself. And I think I may say that since then I have put God's Word to the test. Certainly it has never failed me. I have never had reason to regret the confidence I have placed in its promises, or to deplore following the guidance I have found in its directions.

" And now let me tell you how God answered the prayers of my mother and of my beloved sister, now Mrs. Broomhall, for my conversion.

" On a day I can never forget, . . . my dear mother being absent from home, I had a holiday, and in the afternoon looked through my father's library to find some book with which to while away the unoccupied hours. Nothing attracting me, I turned over a basket of pamphlets and selected from amongst them a Gospel tract that looked interesting, saying to myself : ' There will be a story at the commencement and a sermon or moral at the close. I will take the former and leave the latter for those who like it.'

" I sat down to read the book in an utterly unconcerned state of mind, believing indeed at the time that if there were any salvation it was not for me, and with a distinct intention to put away the tract as soon as it should seem prosy. I may say that it was not uncommon in those days to call conversion `becoming serious'; and judging by the faces of some of its professors it appeared to be a very serious matter indeed ! Would it not be well if the people of God had always tell-tale faces, evincing the blessings and gladness of salvation so clearly that unconverted people might have to call conversion ' becoming joyful ' instead of ' becoming serious ' ?

" Little did I know at the time what was going on in the heart of my dear mother, seventy or eighty miles away. She rose from the dinnertable that afternoon with an intense yearning for the conversion of her boy ; and feeling that, absent from home and having more leisure than she could otherwise secure, a special opportunity was afforded her of pleading with God on my behalf. She went to her room and turned the key in the door, resolved not to leave the spot until her prayers were answered. Hour after hour that dear mother pleaded, until at length she could pray no longer, but was constrained to praise God for that which His Spirit taught her had already been accomplished, the conversion of her only son.

" I in the meantime had been led in the way I have mentioned to take up this little tract, and while reading it was struck with the phrase : ` The finished work of Christ.'

"'Why does the author use this expression?' I questioned. `Why not say the atoning or propitiatory work of Christ ? '

" Immediately the words ` It is finished ' suggested themselves to my mind." ` What was finished ?'

" And I at once replied,' A full and perfect atonement and satisfaction for sin. The debt was paid for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.'

" Then came the further thought, ` If the whole work was finished and the whole debt paid, what is there left for me to do ?'

" And with this dawned the joyful conviction, as light was flashed into my soul by the Holy Spirit, that there was nothing in the world to be done but to fall down on one's knees and accepting this Saviour and His salvation praise Him for evermore."


Nothing either great or small,

Nothing, sinner, no:

Jesus died and did it all,

Long, long ago.


“It is finished," yes, indeed,

Finished every jot.

Sinner, this is all you need,

Tell me, is it not ?


When He from His lofty throne

Stooped to do and die,

Everything was fully done

Listen to His cry.


Weary, working, burdened one,

Wherefore toil you so?

Cease your doing, all was done,

Long, long ago.


Cast your deadly doing down,

Down at Jesus' feet ;

Stand in Him, in Him alone,

Gloriously complete.


"Thus while my dear mother was praising God on her knees in her chamber, I was praising Him in the old warehouse to which I had gone alone to read at my leisure this little book.



" Several days elapsed ere I ventured to make my beloved sister the confidante of my joy, and then only after she had promised not to tell any one of my soul-secret. When Mother returned a fortnight later I was the first to meet her at the door and to tell her I had such glad news to give. I can almost feel that dear mother's arms round my neck as she pressed me to her heart and said:

"' I know, my boy. I have been rejoicing for a fortnight in the glad tidings you have to tell.'

" ` Why,' I asked in surprise, ' has Amelia broken her promise ? She said she would tell no one.'

" My dear mother assured me that it was not from any human source she had learned the tidings, and went on to tell the incident mentioned above. You will agree with me that it would be strange indeed if I were not a believer in the power of prayer.

" Nor was this all. Some time after, I picked up a pocket-book exactly like my own, and thinking it was mine, opened it. The lines that caught my eye were an entry in the little diary belonging to my sister, to the effect that she would give herself daily to prayer until God should answer in the conversion of her brother. One month later the Lord was pleased to turn me from darkness to light.

" Brought up in such a circle and saved under such circumstances, it was perhaps natural that from the commencement of my Christian life I was led to feel that the promises were very real, and that prayer was in sober matter of fact transacting business with God, whether on one's own behalf or on the behalf of those for whom one sought His blessing."



IT was the month of June 1849, when this definite apprehension of the atoning work of Christ changed the whole of life for Hudson Taylor. Henceforward he rejoiced in conscious acceptance with God, not on the ground of anything he could do or be, but simply because of what the Lord Jesus is and has done. " Not I, but Christ," brought freedom, joy and rest. It was the turning-point in his experience, the commencement of a new order of things that little as he realised it at the time meant for him-China.

And now became apparent the unspeakable value of early training such as he had received, and years of steady discipline in a Christian home. He was in a position to make rapid progress. The Bible was no strange book to him, but familiar territory, a land of promise waiting to be possessed. Prayer was no unwonted effort, but the natural outgoing of a heart long accustomed to turn to God. There was much yet to learn, but mercifully there were few habits or memories of evil to erase. The Holy Spirit had, comparatively, a free field in his heart. And at seventeen years of age, all life was yet before him in which to spend and be spent for the Lord he loved.

It is a little difficult at this point to determine the exact order of the spiritual experiences that follow. They were such importance, however, in the light of after-events, that nothing has been omitted, and it will readily be seen how true to life the record is and how encouraging to other far from perfect people.

Very manifest for one thing is the joy that overflowed those summer days, as Hudson Taylor realised himself to be indeed a child of God. He was happy. He found it a glad life, full of heart-rest and satisfaction. For " the Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God." And the sweetness of this fellowship could never be forgotten. It embraced all who were dearest to him on earth. For he found that being right with God put things right with those around him. It restored the happiness of home, made him a better son and more useful assistant to his father, and deepened especially the love that bound him to the dear sister whose prayers for him had been unfailing. Well may we doubt the reality of any blessing that does not make us easier to get on with, sweeter and more loving, especially at home.

Another outcome of the change that had taken place was a longing every true child of God must know, the longing to give all in return for all that has been given. In the spirit of the Hebrew bondman this young heart cried : " I love, I love my Master, I will not go out free." He longed for some work to do for God, some service that might prove his gratitude, some suffering even that might bring him into deeper fellowship with the Lord he loved. A leisure afternoon gave opportunity for prayer, and with this desire filling his heart he went up to his room to be alone with God. And there in a special way the Lord met him.

" Well do I remember that occasion," he wrote long after, " how in the gladness of my heart I poured out my soul before God, and again and again confessing my grateful love to Him who had done everything for me-who had saved me when I had given up all hope and even desire for salvation-I besought Him to give me some work for Him, as an outlet for love and gratitude ; some self-denying service, no matter what it might be, however trying or however trivial ; something with which He would be pleased, and that I might do for Him who had done so much for me. Well do I remember, as in unreserved consecration I put myself, my life, my friends, my all upon the altar, the deep solemnity that came over my soul with the assurance that my offering was accepted. The presence of God became unutterably real and blessed, and I well remember . . . stretching myself on the ground, and lying there before Him with unspeakable awe and unspeakable joy. For what service I was accepted I knew not. But a deep consciousness that I was not my own took possession of me, which has never since been effaced."

It was an hour that left its mark on life ; an hour in which the soul began to apprehend " that for which also " it " was apprehended by Christ Jesus." The lad who closed his door that day to be alone with God was a very different being from the lad who rejoined the family-circle some hours later. A purpose and a power possessed him, unknown before. He had given himself to God. His offering had been accepted. And though he knew not for what special service the Lord had need of him, he knew that he was no longer his own, and must be ready for the call whenever it might come.

One result of this definite consecration was that he began to care about the welfare of others. Hitherto he had been concerned chiefly with his own growth in grace ; now he must be about his Master's business, which was the salvation of those around him. He was not deterred by the fact that he could do but little, nor did he excuse himself on the ground of unworthiness. If he could not preach or lead a class as yet, he could at any rate give away tracts and invite people to the House of God. Busy from morning till night in the shop, it was not easy to make time for this work. But he found that by denying himself one of his chief pleasures on Sunday, he could gain a few hours just when people would be most accessible. The enjoyment that had to be forgone was the Sunday evening service to which he had been accustomed from childhood. But much as he loved those helpful seasons, he could no longer be satisfied to feed his own soul continually and do nothing to carry the Bread of Life to the perishing around him. It was " a day of good tidings." He was rejoicing in wealth and blessedness untold. And like the lepers in the Syrian camp, he and his sister Amelia felt as they talked it over, " we do not well to hold our peace."

Instead of attending chapel therefore on Sunday evenings, they went out as soon as tea was over and made their way the poorest parts of the town. In Wilson's Piece behind their own home and Kingston Place toward the race-course, they became familiar figures, passing from door to door with bright faces and kindly words. Tracts were handed to all who would receive them, and the message of salvation simply given as opportunity offered. Even the poorest lodging-houses were not passed over. And though it cost an effort to go down those dark, narrow passages into the crowded kitchens, they were more than rewarded by a sense of His approval whose they were and whom they sought to serve.

But joy in the Lord and in His service was not the only experience as summer passed away. There were also " times of painful deadness of soul and much conflict." The heart that had so gladly accepted the finished work of an all-sufficient Saviour, now knew what it was to be " wearied and disappointed in its struggles with sin." Somehow there seemed a gap between the power of the Lord Jesus to save " to the uttermost " and the needs of everyday life in shop and home. He found himself yielding to temptation, ease-loving, self-indulgent, and often disinclined for private prayer and study of the Word of God. Nothing can have been more real than his consecration ; nothing plainer than the disappointment that followed when he discovered his inability to do and be what he would. It even seemed to make matters worse instead of better. For things that before would not have troubled him were now intolerable. He had given himself to God without reserve, longing to be always and only His. And yet he could not maintain that attitude. Coldness of heart crept in, forgetfulness, indifference. The good he longed to do he did not, and the evil he hated too often had the mastery. He did delight in the law of God after the inward man, but there was that other law bringing him into captivity to sin with all its deadening influences. And he had not yet learned to cry : " Thanks be to God. . . . The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

At such times two courses are open to the perplexed and troubled soul. One is to abandon, the ideal, and gradually sink down to a low-level Christian life in which there is neither joy nor power. The other is just to go on with the Lord, and because of His " exceeding great and precious promises " to claim complete deliverance not from the guilt only, but also from the mastery of sin ; just to go on with the Lord, trusting His strength and faithfulness to pardon, loose and cleanse, to sanctify us wholly, and make our own every blessing promised in the eternal covenant.

Nothing less than this could satisfy Hudson Taylor. Conversion with him had been no easy-going assent of the mind to an abstract creed. No, it was a change deep and real. The cross of Christ had cut him off forever from the old life, and from rest in anything the world could give. Nothing could satisfy him now but genuine holiness, unbroken fellowship with God who was his life, his all. Hence times of spiritual lethargy and indifference were alarming. Deadness of soul was painful beyond endurance. He could not take backsliding easily. Thank God, even the beginnings of backsliding were worse to him than death.

Moreover he recognised that he was saved to serve, and that a work was waiting for which a life of inner victory and power would be essential. He had had his unsatisfactory experiences, and deeply knew how little a man has for others who is not himself walking at liberty within. During his sceptical days he had seen that the only logical position for the Christian is to go all lengths with God. He had then determined to throw off religion altogether, unless it were possible to obtain in actual reality the promises held out to simple faith. There could be no middle course for him. If his life were to be of any use to God or man he must have that " love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned " which is sanctification indeed. This was the only power to make even the most wholehearted consecration practical and enduring.

And this was a gift from above, like the fire that fell in answer to Elijah's prayers ; the supernatural, Divine response to a heart that having laid all upon the altar would not be denied the cleansing, sanctifying power.

It is not to be wondered at that in seeking this promised blessing the Barnsley lad should have times of conflict and defeat. In comparing his experience with that of other men of God one is surprised, rather, that he did not suffer more from the opposition and assault of the devil. For it was nothing less than full deliverance upon which he had set his heart : that was the point-real holiness, and daily victory over sin.

The conflict lasted all through the autumn, apparently, and outward circumstances were not wanting to increase his sense of failure and need. For September brought the first break in the family circle, when Amelia went from home to complete her education, and her place was taken by a lad of his own age who was not a Christian. At Bartonon-Humber their mother's sister, Mrs. Hodson, had an excellent school for girls and received a few resident pupils under her own roof. Her eldest son, John, was apprenticed to his uncle in Barnsley, and it was arranged that the cousins should exchange homes for the time being, without additional expense to either family. To the brother and sister who had never been parted before it was a painful separation, and Amelia was hardly more lonely during those first few weeks in Barton than Hudson was in the old home without her. The cousin who shared his room, though bright and attractive, was no help spiritually, so that with less privacy for prayer and Bible study Hudson had also less fellowship in the things of God. There was more provocation to exuberance of spirits in the presence of such a companion, and more tendency to friction in business hours, especially as the busy season drew on. With all his excellent qualities the father had a somewhat hasty spirit, and as Hudson grew to manhood it was a discipline that called for constant grace. All this combined to make things difficult, until early in December it would seem a crisis was reached.

Outwardly things were much as usual, but inwardly he was almost driven to despair. A terrible deadness of soul had begun to steal over him. Prayer was an effort and the Bible devoid of interest. Christmas was close at hand and business correspondingly pressing. There seemed no time for quiet waiting upon God, even had the desire been present. But it was not. And at times a terrible fear assailed him, that he was drifting he knew not whither and might " fall away from grace," missing the purpose of God for his life now, if not hereafter.

Just how and when he was recalled from this dangerous state does not appear, but there are indications of some providential happenings that could not but be helpful. His attention was arrested, for example, by an article in the November Wesleyan Magazine, setting forth in glowing terms the very experience he needed. It was entitled " The Beauty of Holiness," and quickened again the longing of his heart for victory over self and sin. Then, in the Pitt Street Chapel, {1- Three years before, in 1846, the congregation had migrated from the Chapel on Pinfold Hill to larger premises. The new building on Pitt Street was very near the Methodist Manse in which the Hudsons had lived.) a mission was held that resulted in so real a revival of spiritual blessing that within a few days more than a hundred converts were gathered in. This was encouragement indeed, and Hudson as he sought to lead others into blessing found himself drawing nearer the One for whom his heart longed supremely and through all. And finally a definite promise from the Word of God came home to him with power.

I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean : from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you : and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (2-Ezekiel 36:25-27 )

Sunday morning came, December 2, 1849. He was not able to go out as usual, and was glad rather than otherwise of the cold that gave him time to be quiet and alone. The Lord was consciously with him, and yet things were far from right. He rejoiced as he remembered one after another entering a few days previously into the rest of faith, but mourned his own inability to possess to the full his possessions in Christ. His thoughts turned naturally to the beloved sister far away, and taking up his pen he poured out his heart to her in the following simple, earnest letter.

BARNSLEY, December 2, 1849.

MY DEAR SISTER-" Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ " : " Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world." . . . " The very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it. "Pray for me, dear Amelia. Thank God, I feel very happy in His love, but I am so unworthy of all His blessings. I so often give way to temptation. I am apt to be frothy and giddy, and I sometimes yield to my teasing disposition. Pray for me, dear Amelia, pray for me. I am seeking entire sanctification. Oh that the Lord would take away my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh ! Mr. Simmons gave us our tickets last Sunday. The verse is : " Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean" (Ezekiel 36:25 etc.). Oh that I could take hold of the blessed promises of God's Holy Word ! My heart longs for this perfect holiness. I have read a very interesting paper on the beauty of holiness in the Wesleyan Magazine for November. What a happy state it must be !


Oh, for a heart to praise my God!

A heart from sin set free ;

A heart that always feels Thy blood,

So freely shed for me.


A heart in every thought renewed,

And full of love divine ;

Perfect, and right, and pure, and good,

A copy, Lord, of Thine !


Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart ;

Come quickly from above ;

Write Thy new name upon my heart,

Thy new, best name of Love.


I never can sufficiently praise God for all His mercies to me. He has striven with me times without number, and I have resisted Him. And yet after all, He has pardoned all my sins. The earnest desire of my heart is that He will sanctify me wholly and make me useful in His cause.

When Mr. Greenbury was here, in only four nights the names of more than one hundred persons were taken who had found peace. I went to the prayer-meeting on Wednesday night after shutting up shop. I sat in the free seats as there was no room elsewhere, and asked several to go to the penitent form. One went. He told of it afterwards in the Class Susan attends, and said he had found peace. I was very thankful to hear it. It shows the necessity for doing all the good we can. I went again on Thursday night, after eight o'clock, and got a place on the pulpit stairs. There was no standing room in either pews or aisle. I took down the names of those who found the Lord. On Friday John and I were both there. I got six names and addresses. Mr. Keeling told me to go inside the communion rail to talk to the inquirers better. Oh we had a gracious time of it !

Our cousin John is deeply impressed. He is not far from the Kingdom. I believe he would have gone to Class with me if I had been able to go today. I have been so poorly that I have not been out. But the Lord has been with me. God bless you, my dear sister. I cannot help wishing that instead of a slight cold I had some sickness that would take me to heaven. For though to me to live is Christ, still, to die is gain, eternal gain. I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far, far better... .

We all unite in love to you.-Believe me, your very loving brother, J. H. TAYLOR.

That night upon going to bed he was deeply troubled. His soul was athirst for God, and yet an intense realisation of failure and unworthiness almost overwhelmed him." Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you " is a promise always fulfilled to the sincere and humble spirit, but how often the vision granted calls forth the cry, " Woe is me! for I am undone ; because I am a man of unclean lips." Nor was this all.

Absorbed in his own need the lad was longing for true holiness, the life that is " no longer I, but Christ " in everything. The Lord with wider needs in view was seeking him for this, but not for this only. In His great purposes the time had come when the Gospel could no longer be withheld from the " uttermost parts of the earth." China even must be opened, and its most distant provinces gladdened with tidings of a Saviour's love. There it lay in agelong darkness, its teeming millions-a quarter of the human race-living, dying without God. It was of China the Lord was thinking, may we not say it reverently, as well as of Hudson Taylor. But the lad was not ready yet to hear the call, " Whom shall I send, and who will go for us ? " The work of the convicting Spirit must go deeper ere he could be fully blessed and brought into harmony with the mind of God. Thus his sense of sin and need became more intense as he wrestled for the deliverance without which he could not, dared not go on.

What was it that kept him from the life for which he longed ? What was the secret of his frequent failure and backsliding in heart ? Was there something not fully surrendered, some disobedience or unfaithfulness to light ? Fervently he prayed that God would show him the hindrance whatever it might be, and enable him to put it away. He had come to an end of self, to a place where only God could deliver, where he must have His succour, His enlightenment, His aid. It was a life and death matter. Everything seemed at stake. Like one of old he was constrained to cry, " I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me."

And then, alone upon his knees, a great purpose arose within him. If only God would work on his behalf, would break the power of sin and save him, spirit, soul and body, for time and for eternity, he would renounce all earthly prospects and be utterly at His disposal. He would go anywhere, do anything, suffer whatever His cause might demand, and be wholly given to His will and service. This was the cry of his heart ; nothing held back-if only God would deliver him and keep him from falling.

Instinctively we pause and turn aside from a scene so sacred. The place is holy ground. Of what transpired further we know no more, save for a few lines written when occasion required it in the following year. For he rarely referred to this experience, though all life lived it out.

" Never shall I forget," he wrote, " the feeling that came over me then. Words can never describe it. I felt I was in the presence of God, entering into covenant with the Almighty. I felt as though I wished to withdraw my promise, but could not. Something seemed to say ` Your prayer is answered, your conditions are accepted.' And from that time the conviction never left me that I was called to China."

For distinctly, as if a voice had spoken it, the command was given : " Then go for Me to China." (1- This is stated in his mother's written recollections.)

Silently as the sunrise over a summer sea dawned this new day upon his waiting soul. China ? Yes, China. That was the meaning of his life-past, present, and to come. Away beyond himself, outside the little world of personal experiences, lay the great, waiting world, those for whom no man cared, for whom Christ died. " Then go for Me to China." Your prayer is answered : your conditions are accepted. All you ask and more, far more, shall be given. There shall be deeper knowledge of the Lord ; fellowship in His sufferings, His death, His resurrection ; a life of inner victory and power. " For to this end have I appeared unto thee, to appoint thee a minister and a witness both of the things wherein thou hast seen me, and of the things wherein I will appear unto thee ; delivering thee from the people and from the Gentiles unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God."

A little slip of paper tells the rest-all, that is, that can be told ; a brief postscript to his letter written that very night, the outpouring of a heart so full that it must overflow.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me shout His praise ! Glory to God, my dear Amelia. Christ has said " Seek and ye shall find," and praise His name, He has revealed Himself to me in an overflowing manner. He has cleansed me from all sin, from all my idols. He has given me a new heart. Glory, glory, glory to His ever blessed Name ! I cannot write for joy. I open my letter to tell you.

Yes, it was done. From that day onward life was on another plane. The Lord had met him, satisfied his soul, and spoken again the sweet, compelling word " Follow Me." Outwardly it was manifest that a great change had come over him.

" From that hour," the mother wrote, " his mind was made up. His pursuits and studies were all engaged in with reference to this object, and whatever difficulties presented themselves his purpose never wavered."

For inwardly there was a deep subjection to the will of God, resting upon a profound and unalterable sense of what that will was for him. And with this came new purity and power, a steady growth in grace, and fulness of blessing that carried him through all the testing and preparation of the next few years." Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it."

That was what made him and kept him, the real beginning of his walk with God as a man set apart.

Click for the next chapter: Hudson Taylor in Early Years - Growth of a Soul | Ch. 7-11