"> '); Prevailing Intercessory Prayer : Hudson Taylor in Early Years - Growth of a Soul | Ch. 12-15

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

Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor

Part 3, Chapters 12-15

Preparation For China, in London and on the Voyage 1852-1854:



FOG-HORNS were sounding on every hand when a coasting steamer plying between Hull and London made her way slowly up the Thames. It was Saturday evening, September 25, and Hudson Taylor amongst others was expecting to land that night. But the pall of mist only gathered more and more heavily over the great city, until there was nothing for it but to cast anchor and wait till morning. By noon, it was possible to reach the Tower, and most of the passengers went ashore. A quiet Sunday followed for those who remained on board, of which Hudson Taylor was specially thankful in view of the new phase of life opening before him.

How new it was and how great his need of the strength that comes from God alone no one had any idea but himself. Not to his mother, nor even to the sister who spent the last days with him at Drainside had he spoken of the decision taken before leaving Hull that now filled his mind as he paced the deck. His friends and parents knew that he was going up to London to support himself, if possible, while completing his medical studies. They knew that the Chinese Evangelisation Society had offered financial help, and concluded that as he had declined similar offers from bane he must be sufficiently provided for. And so he was by nothing more and nothing less than all the promises of God. He had a little money in his pocket and a few pounds bid by toward an outfit for China. He had a promise also of help with _ his hospital fees, and an invitation to be the guest for a few days or weeks of his bachelor uncle, while looking for a situation. But beyond this there was nothing, humanly speaking, between him and want in the great city in which he was almost a stranger.

Yet this caused him no anxiety as he faced the coming winter. For the future, near as well as distant, he had one all-sufficient confidence. If that could fail, it were better to make the discovery in London than far away in China. Deliberately and of his own free will he had cut himself off from possible sources of supply that he might make full proof, under difficult circumstances, of the promised care of God alone. It was God, the living God he needed ; a stronger faith to grasp His faithfulness, and more experience of the practicability of dealing with Him directly about every need. Comfort or discomfort in London, means or the lack of means, seemed to him a small matter compared with deeper knowledge of the One on whom everything depended. And now had come an unexpected opportunity for putting that knowledge to the test, and he was going forward strong in the assurance that the Lord who had already responded so graciously to his little faith would see and would provide.

Of the way in which he had been led to this position just before leaving Drainside the following is his own account

By-and-by the time drew near when it was thought desirable that I should leave Hull to attend the medical course of the London Hospital .A little while spent there, and then I had every reason to believe that my life-work in China would commence. But much as I had rejoiced at the willingness of God to hear and answer prayer and to help His half-trusting, half-timid child, I felt that I could not go to China with out having still further developed and tested my power to rest upon His faithfulness ; and a marked opportunity for doing so was providentially afforded me.

My dear father had offered to bear all the expense of my stay in London. I knew, however, that, owing to recent losses, it would mean a considerable sacrifice for him to undertake this just when it seemed necessary for me to go forward. I had recently become acquainted with the Committee of the Chinese Evangelisation Society, in connection with which I ultimately left for China, and especially with its secretary, my esteemed and much-loved friend Mr. George Pearse, then of the Stock Exchange, but now and for many years himself a missionary. Not knowing of my father's proposition, the Committee also kindly offered to bear my expenses while in London. When these proposals were first made to me, I was not quite clear as to what I ought to do, and in writing to my father and the secretaries, told them that I would take a few days to pray about the matter before deciding any course of action. I mentioned to my father that I had had this offer from the Society, and told the. secretaries also of his proffered aid.

Subsequently, while waiting upon God in prayer for guidance, it became clear to my mind that I could without difficulty decline both offers. The secretaries of the Society would not know that I had cast myself wholly on God for supplies, and my father would conclude that I had accepted the other offer. I therefore wrote declining both, and felt that without any one having either care or anxiety on my account I was simply in the hands of God, and that He who knew my heart, if He wished to encourage me to go to China, would bless my effort to depend upon Him alone at home.


Enough, that God my Father knows!

Nothing this faith can dim

He gives the very best to those

Who leave the choice with Him.


And so Hudson Taylor was to find it, although his London experiences were not to be unmixed with trial.

It was with a brave heart, therefore, that he presented himself at Mr. Ruffles' boarding-house near Soho Square, early on Monday morning. Here lived his uncle, Benjamin Hudson, and a cousin from Barton-on-Humber who was apprenticed to Mr. Ruffles, a builder and decorator by, trade. The uncle, a bright, genial man, was not only a skilful portrait-painter, he was something of a poet also, and a clever raconteur with a remarkable memory for " good stories."' He was decidedly popular in the boarding house and among a large circle of acquaintances, including more than one medical man to whom he was willing to introduce his nephew with a view to an apprenticeship. I This uncle, a brother of Mrs. James Taylor's, was the seventh and youngest child of the Rev. Benjamin Hudson. He went to Calcutta, shortly after this period, and made quite a fortune by painting Indian princes and officials, entertaining them the while with amusing stories. The cousin too was friendly, offering to share his room with the new-comer and so lessen expenses, if he decided to remain in Soho. This arrangement Hudson gladly availed himself of, for it was a comfort to belong to some one, and Tom seemed almost like a breath of home.' [1-. It was Tom's elder brother, John Hodson, who had been apprenticed to Hudson Taylor's father in Barnsley for three years, and was now in Hull with Dr. Hardey.] Three long flights of stairs led to this attic-chamber, for part of which he had to pay as much as for the little room at Mrs. Finch's that now seemed so quiet and homelike by contrast. But it was a footing in London, a shelter in the big, busy city that he might call his own.

What a drop in the ocean he felt amid the tides of life now surging around him. All was so new and strange ! He was in anything but a religious circle, surrounded by people who moved in a world of which he knew next to nothing. Business, politics and pleasure-seeking absorbed their attention, and his uncle and cousin did their best to draw him into the same sort of life. They had quite approved his coming to London to study medicine, and were ready in their own way to give him a helping hand. But his point of view annoyed while it perplexed them.

" Talk about trusting God," his cousin would exclaim, " one must trust one's own exertions too ! " Which meant, " Do as everybody else does, and lose no time about it."

Then his unwillingness to bind himself by an ordinary apprenticeship on account of a call to missionary work in China was something they could not understand, especially when it seemed that the Society to which he was looking was more than indifferent about the matter. And this to Hudson Taylor was the most painful surprise of all.

From his own relatives he had not expected sympathy in these things, but. Mr. Pearse, with whom he had been in correspondence for more than two years, understood his position and would be ready with counsel and aid. As soon, therefore, as possible he set out from Soho to find the office of the Society, little anticipating the disappointment that awaited him.

For the Hon. Secretary, as it happened, was much occupied that day and could with difficulty spare time to see him.1- [1 Mr. Pearse, it should be remembered, while acting as Hon. Secretary to the Chinese Evangelisation Society, was at the same time much engrossed la business. It was no lack of interest that made him dismiss Hudson Taylor so curtly, but simply the pressure of other claims, and a failure to realise what this coming to London meant to his young friend.]No, nothing definite was arranged as yet. They were awaiting his arrival. Now that he was ready to begin work at the hospital the matter must be laid before the Committee. This would take time of course. Would he not come to Hackney for a Sunday before long, and talk over things more at leisure ?

Well was it for Hudson Taylor as he returned to his lodgings that he really was depending on God and knew something of His unfailing care. From a helper in the office he had learned that nothing definite could be done until a formal application was laid before the Committee. In all probability the Society would help, as he had been led to expect, but everything must be done in a certain order. The best thing if there were any urgency would be to send in his application at once, so that it might not miss the next Committee meeting on October 7, for they only gathered once a fortnight.

October 7-and it was not yet the end of September. If his case could not be dealt with at the first meeting, he would have to wait another two weeks, and perhaps another. Meanwhile he could take no position ; his store of savings was diminishing ; and what would they say at the boardinghouse where his indefiniteness was a source of amusement already ?

If he had known all this in Hull ! And yet what difference did it really make ? He had not come to London depending on his own resources or on the help of man. If the winds and waves were boisterous, was there not One beside him whose hand was strong to uphold as His word to bring peace ? He knew the end from the beginning ; and since He had been Alpha would surely be Omega, and everything between.

So the application was sent in, and while waiting the issue Hudson Taylor settled down to study as well as he could in the room shared with his cousin. The latter's occupation allowed him to be frequently at home, and his criticisms however good-natured were not a help to quietness of mind. But there is something better than outward ease and comfort, and in entirely new surroundings Hudson Taylor was learning the old lesson-to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.

" As to your inquiries," he wrote to his mother on October s, " I will try to answer them as well as I can, But really you know almost as much of my plans as I do. 'For there is nothing certain yet, except-' I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.'

" I have no situation and am not seeking one. I question whether I shall for some months at any rate. But I have commenced study at home. In accordance with Mr. M.'s advice I have written to the Committee formally requesting them to authorise me to attend the London Hospital practice and lectures. But they will have to meet in regular course before I can know the result... .

" London seems to me a trying place. There is so much noise and bustle, so much to distract one all the time. You can have no idea of the difference it makes to be among light, thoughtless, worldly minded people after the quiet I have enjoyed lately. But it is sweet to realise that we are `kept by the power of God'; to be enabled to say with the Apostle, ` Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.'

" I am altogether in the Lord's hands, and He will direct me."

But the uncertainty was not over when the Committee met. Strangely enough, they seem to have considered it necessary to inform themselves further about him ; and all the action taken was the passing of a resolution requesting him to procure an elaborate set of testimonials to be laid before them at their next meeting. It was Hudson Taylor's first experience of the working of a fully organised Society, and though he subsequently came to understand the need for a certain amount of " red tape " in such affairs it was an experience he never forgot in his own dealings with would-be missionaries.

That he was feeling the position keenly may be judged from a letter to his mother on hearing of the above requirements

How sweet it is to be dependent on the Lord for everything... . All, all is best as He sees fit to guide. And He does guide and provide, both in temporal and spiritual matters, as long as we trust in Him....

Never mind results.... Let us leave them all to Him. Never mind if like Abraham of old we have to go out, not knowing whither. He knows. While unbelief sees only the difficulties, faith sees God between itself and them.. .

As to my prospects, I cannot tell you much as yet. The Committee met on Thursday and considered my application, and on Friday night I received a, note from Mr. Bird containing a resolution desiring me to procure certain testimonials by next Thursday week for their further consideration. Now this is a very serious delay, and I intend to see Mr. Pearse to-day, if possible, and talk with him about it. The required testimonials I do not quite understand, and if they are all considered necessary I shall thank the Committee for their kindness and trouble them no further, as I do not see them consistent with my views, Thank God, I am quite as willing to lose as to gain their assistance. If I have time after seeing Mr. Pearse I will add a few lines, if not I will write by a later post.

" Let not your heart be troubled," dear mother. He who has hitherto provided for, protected and guided me, still keeps my mind in perfect peace ... and will do all things well. How sweet it is to be enabled to trust in Him for all. May He ever use us for His glory.

Surely his faith was growing, under these searching tests ! Apart from the Chinese Evangelisation Society what hope had he, humanly speaking, of completing his medical studies or entering upon his life-work ? No other door was open to him, after long years of prayer and waiting. To have been dropped by the Society or compelled to " trouble them no further " might have meant being stranded in London with nothing before him but to take a situation and indefinitely defer going to China. Yet he was " quite as willing to lose as to gain their assistance," if that were the will of God.

He had decided, however, to see Mr. Pearse and come to an understanding about the testimonials. Accordingly he was up early the following morning and went over to Hackney in time to catch the busy Secretary before he left for the Stock Exchange. As he explained his difficulties, Mr. Pearse seems to have understood at last. The result was that the testimonials were seen to be superfluous and only a letter or two required from those who knew him best.

Even so another ten days had to elapse before the meeting of the Committee, and during that time an opening that must have had many attractions was put before him. His father, concerned at the ordeal through which he was passing, wrote offering to take him into partnership with himself that he might have a home and " something to depend on." How easy it would have been, with the justification of this letter, to turn aside to an easier pathway. But his purpose never wavered. Holding simply to what he believed to be the guidance of God, he waited as those alone can whose expectation is from Him And before the end of the month faith was richly rewarded.

" I am happy to say that things seem to be assuming a more settled appearance," he wrote on October 24, " and I expect all being well to commence work at the hospital to-morrow.... Please thank Father for his generous offer ... but those whose trust is in the Lord always have something to depend on."

This was not the only answer to his prayers, however, that filled his heart with thanksgiving. Studying as well as he could in that little attic-chamber, he was unconscious that the one who shared it with him was being drawn in spite of himself to the only source of abiding joy and peace. Yet so it was. Tom Hodson, keenly watching his cousin's experiences, found himself face to face with conclusions he could neither escape nor gainsay. Nothing else, perhaps, would ever have made him feel his own distance from God and need of something more real and satisfying than he had ever possessed. But this did. And before the close of the year Hudson had the joy of seeing him brought to " like precious faith " in Christ, and openly taking his stand in the boarding-house as a Christian.


THE hospital at last ! It was now the end of October 1852, three years almost from the December day that had brought Hudson Taylor his definite call to China. Ever since that time he had had medical study in view as the best preparation he could make for future usefulness. With little help and in spite of many obstacles he had persevered, making considerable progress with the practical side of his work. But now the broad highway lay open before him-the lectures, the wards, and all the* advantages of a city hospital.

Not that " The London " of those days, on its broad expanse of Mile End Waste, was anything to compare with the noble institution that stands there now. Still, it could accommodate even then from three to four hundred inpatients, and its students had the benefit of an unusually large practice among the teeming population of the East End. It was a new world indeed to the north-country lad, and one in which no little courage was needed to maintain the standing of a consistent Christian.

But it is not so much with his outward experiences we are concerned, during this period in London, as with the development of his inward life-the growth of both faith and faithfulness amid the circumstances of his providential way.

That his temporal needs were met is manifest, for he was able to live on at Soho even after his little store of savings had been expended.

" I must not now attempt to detail," he wrote, " the way in which the Lord was pleased, often to my surprise as well as delight, to help me from time to time."

Many answers to prayer were given that are not recorded, and from this point of view the winter was a rich one, although we have it on his own authority that his spiritual life was not as bright as it had been in Hull. But, though there was less joy in the Lord, apparently, and less consciousness of His presence, the wonderful reality did not fail.

Owing to heavy rains, the season was specially depressing Much of the East End was flooded, with serious results for those who lived near the river or whose employment kept them in the damp, foggy streets. And Hudson Taylor, for a considerable part of every day, was among their number. Lodging at Soho for the sake of remaining with his cousin, he was fully four miles from the hospital in which most of his work was done. This meant a walk of at least two hours daily, from Oxford Street to Whitechapel, and back across the City to Oxford Street again. There was no " Tube " or " Underground " available. The only public conveyance was the old-fashioned omnibus with its three penny fare each way, a price that was quite prohibitive. So there was nothing for it but to walk.

For the young medical student was economising very strictly. How far this was necessary or desirable, it is not for us to say. He was inexperienced as yet in a life of faith, and felt it a matter of conscience to deny himself everything that could be done without, partly with a view to helping others.

" To lessen expenses," he wrote, " I shared a room with a cousin, four miles from the hospital, providing my own board ; and after various experiments I found that the most economical way was to live almost exclusively on brown bread and water. Thus I was able to make the means that God gave me last as long as possible. Some of my expenses I could not diminish, but my board was largely in my own control. A large twopenny loaf of brown bread, purchased daily on my long walk from the hospital, furnished me with supper and breakfast ; and on this diet with a few apples for lunch I managed to walk eight or nine miles a day, besides being a good deal on foot attending the practice of the hospital "

Remember it was winter, the month of November, just the most cheerless time of all the year. Trudging home long after dark, how tempting the restaurants would look to the tired, hungry student who had had no dinner for many a day ! Did the baker guess, who sold that large twopenny loaf of brown bread, why his customer always waited to have it cut in half ? Only half could be taken that night for supper : the remainder had to suffice for the morrow, and experience had proved how very hard it was to make such a division impartially. When at first he tried it for himself, supper had so much the advantage of breakfast that the lad often went hungry the following day. The baker, however, was disinterested, and laid him under obligation by settling the question on the spot.

Brown bread, apples and water, at a cost of threepence a day-a diet worthy of a Bedouin Arab, minus the fragrant coffee, and more suited to his tranquil surroundings. But for a delicate lad amid the stress and strain of London life it left much to be desired.

And all the while it was the greatness of the inward way that told upon him most. Hunger and weariness of body were of little moment compared with the longing of his soul. It was the end in view that meant so much-China in its unutterable need, and what he could do to meet it ; God and His purposes of blessing, to be apprehended only by faith and prayer.

Meanwhile he was getting on well with his work in the hospital.

" No," he wrote in reply to his mother's inquiries, " my health does not suffer.. On the contrary, every one says how well I look, and some even that I am getting fat ! Though this, I believe, can only be perceived by rather a brilliant imagination. The walks do not fatigue me as they did at first. But the profane conversation of some of the students is utterly sickening, and I need all your prayers.

"How precious the assurance,' Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end' ! He never forgets, He mesa tires.... The future, as you say, is all in His hands, and where else would we wish it ? "

Yet even as he wrote the words he was in a position that might well have given rise to anxiety, and was entering on a period of trial more severe than any he had previously known. As a background to this experience with which the year terminated, and of which he wrote as follows, precious indeed was the assurance, " He never forgets, He never tires."

One incident I cannot but refer to, that took place about this time. The husband of my former landlady in Hull was chief officer of a ship that sailed from London, and by receiving his half-pay monthly and remitting it to her I was able to save her the cost of a commission. This I had been doing for two or three months, when she wrote requesting that I would obtain the next payment as early as possible, as her rent was almost due, and she depended upon that sum to meet it, The request came at an inconvenient time. I was working hard for an examination, in the hope of obtaining a scholarship which would be of service to me, and felt that I could ill afford the time to go during the busiest part of the day to the city and procure the money. I had sufficient of my own in hand to enable me to send the required sum, and made the remittance therefore, purposing as soon as the examination was over to go and draw the regular allowance with which to refund myself..

Before the time of examination the medical school was closed for a day on account of the funeral of the Duke of Wellington, and I had an opportunity of going at once to the office, which was situated in a street off Cheapside, and applying for the due amount. To my surprise and dismay the clerk told me that he could not pay it, as the officer in question had run away from his ship and gone to the gold diggings.

" Well," I remarked, " that is very inconvenient for me, as I have already advanced the money and I know his wife will have no means of repaying it."

The clerk said he was very sorry,. but could of course only act according to orders. So there was no help for me in that direction ! A little more time and thought, however, brought the comforting conclusion to my mind that-as I was depending on the Lord for everything, and His means were not limited, it was a small matter to be brought a little sooner or later into the position of needing fresh supplies from Him. So the joy and peace were not long interrupted.

Very soon after this, possibly the same evening, while sewing together some sheets of paper on which to take notes of lectures, I accidentally pricked the first finger of my right hand, and in a few moments forgot all about it. The next day at the hospital I continued dissecting as before. The body was that of a person who had died of fever, and was more than usually disagreeable and dangerous. I need scarcely say that those of us who were at work upon it dissected with special care, knowing that the slightest scratch might cost our lives. Before the morning was far advanced I began to feel weary, and while going through the surgical wards at noon was obliged to run out, being suddenly very sick-a most unusual circumstance with me, as I took but little food and nothing that could disagree with me. After feeling faint for some time, a draught of cold water revived me and I was able to rejoin the students, I became more and more unwell, however, and during the afternoon lecture on surgery found it impossible to hold the pencil and continue taking notes. By the time the next lecture was over, my whole arm and right side were full of pain and I was both looking and feeling very ill.

Finding that I could not resume work, I went into the dissecting room to bind up the portion I was engaged upon and put away my apparatus, and said to the demonstrator, who was a skilful surgeon

" I cannot think what has come over me," describing the symptoms.

" Why," said he, " what has happened is clear enough.. You must have cut yourself in dissecting, and you know that this is a case of malignant fever."

I assured him that I had been most careful and was quite certain that I had no cut or scratch.

" Well," he replied, " you certainly must have had one " ; and he closely scrutinised my hand to find it, but in vain,

All at once it occurred to me that I had pricked my finger the night before, and I asked him if it were possible that a prick from a needle at that time could have been still unclosed. His opinion was that this was probably the cause of the trouble, and he advised me to get a hansom, drive home as fast as I could and arrange my affairs forthwith :

" For," said he, " you are a dead man,"

My first thought was one of sorrow that I could not go to China ; but very soon came the feeling, " Unless I am greatly mistaken, I have work to do in China and shall not die." I was glad, however, to take the opportunity of speaking to my medical friend, who was a confirmed sceptic, of the joy that the prospect of soon being with my Master gave me, telling him at the same time that I did not think I should die, as unless I were much mistaken I had work to do in China, and-if so, however severe the struggle, I must be brought

That is all very well," he answered, " but get a hansom and drive home as fast as you can. You have no time to lose, for you will soon be incapable of winding up your affairs."

I smiled a little at the idea of driving home in a hansom, for by this time my means were too exhausted to allow of such a proceeding, and I set out to walk the distance if possible. Before long, however, my strength gave way, and I felt it was no use to attempt to reach home by walking. Availing myself of an omnibus from Whitechapel Church to Farringdon Street, and another from Farringdon Street onwards, I reached, in great suffering, the neighbourhood of Soho Square, behind which I lived. On going into the house I got some hot water from the servant, and charging her very earnestly-literally as a dying man-to accept eternal life as the gift of God through Jesus Christ, I bathed my hand and lanced the finger, hoping to let out some of the poisoned blood. The pain was very severe. I fainted away, and was so long unconscious that when I came to myself I found I had been carried to bed.

An uncle of mine who lived near at hand had come in, and sent for his own medical man, an assistant surgeon at the Westminster Hospital. I assured my uncle that medical help would be of no service to me, and that I did not wish to go to the expense involved. He quieted me on this score, however, saying that he had sent for his own doctor and that the bill would be charged to himself. When the surgeon came and learned all particulars, he said,

" Well, if you have been living moderately you may pull through, but if you have been going in for beer and that sort of thing there is no manner of chance for you."

I thought that if sober living was to do anything, few could have a better chance, as little but bread and water had been my diet for a good while past. I told him I had lived abstemiously and found that it helped me to study.

" But now," he said, " you must keep up your strength, for it will be a pretty hard struggle." And he ordered me a bottle of port wine every day and as many chops as I could consume.

Again I smiled inwardly, having no means for the purchase of such luxuries. This difficulty, however, was also met by my kind uncle, who sent me at once all that was needed.

I was much concerned, notwithstanding the agony I suffered, that my dear parents should not be made acquainted with my state. Thought and prayer had satisfied me that I was not going to die, but that there was indeed a work for me to do in China. If my dear parents should come up and find me in that condition, I must lose the opportunity of seeing how God was going to work for me now that my money was almost come to an end. So, after prayer for guidance, I obtained a promise from my uncle and cousin not to write to my parents, but to leave me to communicate with them myself. I felt it a very distinct answer to prayer when they gave me this promise, and I took care to defer all communication with Barnsley until the worst was over. At home they knew that I was working hard for an examination and did not wonder at my silence..

Days and nights of suffering passed slowly by ; but at length, after several weeks, I was sufficiently restored to leave my room ; and then I learned that two men, though not from the London Hospital, who had had dissection wounds at the same time as myself, had both succumbed, while I was spared in answer to prayer to work for God in China.

One day the doctor coming in found me on the sofa, and was surprised to learn that with assistance I had walked downstairs.

"Now," he said, " the best thing you can do is to get off to the country as soon as you feel equal to the journey. You must rusticate until you have recovered a fair amount of strength, for if you begin your work too soon the consequences may still be serious."

When he had left, as I lay very exhausted on the couch, I just told the Lord all about it, and that I was refraining from making my circumstances known to those who would delight to meet my need in order that my faith might be strengthened by receiving help from Himself in answer to prayer alone. What was I to do ? And I waited for His answer.

It seemed to me as if He were directing my mind to the conclusion to go again to the shipping office and inquire about the wages I had been unable to draw. I reminded the Lord that I could not afford to take a conveyance, and that it did not seem at all likely I should succeed in getting the money, and asked whether this impulse were not a mere clutching at a straw, some mental process of my own rather than His guidance and teaching. After prayer, however, and renewed waiting upon God, I was confirmed in my belief that He Himself was directing me to go to the office.

The next question was, " How am I to go ? " I had had to seek help in coming downstairs, and the place was at least two miles away. The assurance was brought vividly home to me that whatever I asked of God in the name of Christ would be done, that the Father might be glorified in the Son ; that what I had to do was to seek strength for the long walk, to receive it by faith, and set out upon it. Unhesitatingly I told the Lord that I was quite willing to take the walk if He would give the strength. I asked in the name of Christ that the strength might immediately be given ; and sending the servant up to my room for my hat and stick, I set out, not to attempt to walk, but to walk to Cheapside.

Although undoubtedly strengthened by faith, I never took so much interest in shop windows as I did upon that journey. At every second or third shop I was glad to lean a little against the plate glass, and take time to examine the contents of the window before passing on. It needed a special effort of faith when I got to the bottom of Farringdon Street to attempt the toilsome ascent of Snow Hill ; but there was no Holborn Viaduct in those days, and it had to be done. God did wonderfully help me, and in due time I reached Cheapside, turned into the by-street in which the office was found, and sat down much exhausted on the steps leading to the first floor, which was my destination. I felt my position to be a little peculiar, sitting there on the steps so evidently spent, and the gentlemen who rushed up and downstairs looked at me with an inquiring gaze. After a little rest, however, and a further season of prayer, I succeeded in climbing the staircase, and to my comfort found in the office the clerk with whom I had hitherto dealt in the matter, Seeing me looking pale and exhausted he kindly inquired as to my health, and I told him that I had had a serious illness and was ordered to the country, but thought it well to call first and make further inquiry, lest there should have been any mistake about the mate having run off to the gold diggings, " Oh," he said, " I am so glad you have come, for it turns out that it was an able seaman of the same name that ran away. The mate is still on board ; the ship has just reached Gravesend and will be up very soon. I shall be glad to give you the half-pay up to date, for doubtless it will reach his wife more safely through you. We all know what temptations beset the men when they arrive at home after a voyage." But before giving me the sum of money, he insisted, on my coming inside and sharing his lunch. I felt it was the Lord indeed who was providing for me, and accepted his offer with thankfulness. When I was refreshed and rested, he gave me a sheet of paper to write a few lines to the wife, telling her of the circumstances. On my way back I procured in Cheapside a money-order for the balance due to her, and posted it ; and returning home again felt myself now quite justified in taking an omnibus as far as it would serve me.. Very much better the next morning, I made my way to the surgery of the doctor who had attended me, feeling that although my uncle. was prepared to pay the bill it was right for me now that I had money in hand to ask for the account myself; The kind surgeon refused to allow me as a medical student to pay anything for his attendance, but he had supplied me with quinine which he allowed me to pay for to the extent of eight shillings; When that was settled, I saw that the sum left was just sufficient to take me home ; and to my mind the whole thing seemed a wonderful interposition of God on my behalf.

I knew that the surgeon was sceptical, and told him that I should very much like to speak to him freely, if I might do so without offence ; that I felt that under God I owed my life to his care, and wished very earnestly that he himself might become a partaker of the same precious faith that I possessed. So I told him my reason for being in London, and about my circumstances, and why I had declined the help of both my father and the officers of the Society in connection with which it was probable that I should go to China. I told him of the recent providential dealings of God with me, and how apparently hopeless my position had been the day before when he had ordered me to go to the country, unless I would reveal my need, which I had determined not to do; I described to him the mental exercises I had gone through ; but when I added that I had actually got up from the sofa and walked to Cheapside, he looked at me incredulously and said,

" Impossible ! Why, I left you lying there more like a ghost than a man."

And I had to assure him again and again that, strengthened by faith, the walk had really been taken.

I told him also what money was left to me and what payments there had been to make, and showed him that just sufficient remained to take me home to Yorkshire, providing for needful refreshment on the way and the omnibus journey at the end.

My kind friend was completely broken down, and said with tears in his eyes,

" I would give all the world for a faith like yours." I on the other hand had the joy of telling him that it was to be obtained without money and without price,

We never met again. When I came back to town restored to health and strength I found that he had had a stroke and left for the country, and I subsequently learned that he never rallied. I was able to gain no information as to his state of mind when taken away, but I have always felt very thankful that I had the opportunity, and embraced it, of bearing that testimony for God. I cannot but entertain the hope that the Master Himself was speaking to him through His dealings with me, and that I shall meet him again in the Better Land. It would be no small joy to be welcomed by him when my own service is over.

The next day found me in my dear parents' home. My joy in the Lord's help and deliverance was so great that I was unable to keep it to myself, and before my return to London my dear mother knew the secret of my life for some tithe past. I need scarcely say that when I went up again to town I was not allowed to live, as indeed I was not fit to live, on the same economical lines as before my illness; I needed more now, and the Lord did provide.


THE joy of these experiences was very great and had much to do with Hudson Taylor's return to a fuller consciousness of fellowship with God. His early months in London had not been helpful spiritually, but now as winter passed away a springtide of blessing seemed to awaken in his soul.

" I do not need to be told that you have been praying for me," he wrote to his mother in February. " I have been sure of it. For though at times the heavens have seemed as brass and I have felt myself left and forsaken, I have been enabled to cling to the promises by simple, ` naked faith,' as father calls it x and never have I enjoyed more happy seasons than of late."

He had been passing through deep waters since his return to London, not in connection with financial matters, but through the mistakes and suffering of some dear to him that cost him more than words can say. But by Easter these troubles were beginning to pass away, and he was rejoicing once more in inward and outward deliverance. His Sunday visits to Tottenham were very helpful at this time, especially the hours spent at Bruce Grove and with Miss Stacey. The latter had a way all her own of finding out what people needed, and the young medical student with his bright face, spare figure, well-worn clothes and burning love for China told a story that touched her heart.

In her garden stood a fine old cedar, a landmark in the neighbourhood and a delightful retreat on sunny days, and the library indoors was of the same restful character, a place seemingly apart from the hurry and care of life. Miss Stacey lived alone, and was quite mistress of the situation even when surrounded as she frequently was with visitors. Hudson Taylor needed rest : she would have him left quiet. So it became an understood thing whenever he was in the house that the library and cedar tree were not invaded save by this privileged but most unconscious guest.1 {1- " It has been one of the privileges of my life," wrote Miss Elizabeth Wilson of Kendal, " to have known so much of your beloved and honoured father. The first time I ever met him was when as a young girl I was on a visit to Miss Stacey. He came for one of the little rests he so much needed and that Miss Stacey rejoiced to give him, leaving him the run of the garden and library and protecting him from much company or conversation. He was then a medical student and living I think on very little. For years after, when I asked him how he had been able to afford the omnibus so often, he replied, 'Miss Stacey was not one who could forget details of that sort. She never let me pay my fare.' So no doubt the excellent dinners now and then did him good, as well as the ministry of the Tottenham meeting." Little could Miss Wilson have imagined at that time that she too would be called to China, and used as one of the most devoted pioneers of the Inland Mission. Another friend of those days, though still a lad at school, was Theodore Howard, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Howard of Bruce Grove : now and for many years Home Director of the China Inland Mission. " I do certainly think," he wrote concerning Mr. Taylor's visits to Tottenham, " that the intercourse he had with friends there must have considerably influenced his views of Christian faith, doctrine, and practice. Those were palmy days in which there was much of the Holy Spirit's teaching, and I believe they have left their mark on many branches of the Evangelical Church. And they were followed by the blessed gatherings at Barnet and Mildmay, through which the same truths became the heritage of an ever-widening circle of believers. Thank God that light has never died away, but has grown brighter and brighter amid the darkness of sacerdotalism, ritualism, and scientific criticism in these days of 'modem thought."'}

A change in his circumstances too proved helpful, when after six months at Soho he obtained a position as assistant to a surgeon in the City.

It was good to be at work again under experienced supervision, and a matter for thankfulness to have only a mile and a quarter to walk to the hospital, instead of four. He seems to have been living with his employer, Mr. Thomas Brown of St. Mary Axe, near Finsbury Circus, and it is comforting to read of family meals, including tea and supper. His life was necessarily a strenuous one-attending the hospital all the morning and working for Mr. Brown until nine o'clock at night, after which the time was his own for study. But his heart was at rest in God. The depression of spirits from which he had been suffering passed away, and after fifteen months of " boarding himself " on next to nothing, the change was in every way beneficial.

China was much on his heart this spring, and his outlook upon the life-work awaiting him there was becoming more definite. Previously, in Barnsley and in Hull, he had rather taken it for granted that the difficulties connected with his future would all vanish if some Society could be found to send him out. It was a youthful way of looking at things, and' now with more experience he began to see that the very opposite might be the case. In London he had come to understand something of the working of a Society with its necessary rules and regulations, and he could not but see that to be under the direction of a Committee, while it would secure him a salary and other advantages, might greatly curtail his freedom of action, and in this way increase rather than lessen his trials.

At the same time events were transpiring in China that deepened his longing to give himself to work in the interior. This had always been his desire, in spite of the fact that inland China was inaccessible to foreign missionaries. Gutzlaff's effort to send the Gospel to the distant provinces had proved a signal failure, and Protestant Missions were still confined, and that very strictly; to the Treaty Ports. But for Hudson Taylor, the vast, dark, waiting interior, with its millions who had never heard of a Saviour's love, called with a claim and insistence that could not be disregarded. And now, through the amazing trend of events within that great Empire itself, it seemed as though his desire might be nearer accomplishment than he could ever have anticipated.

For wonderful news was slowly filtering its way from the inland provinces, news that filled the Western world with astonishment. The Tai-ping Rebellion, first recognised in 1850, had not only attained remarkable 'proportions under the leadership of Hung Siu-ts'uen. Arising in. southern China, it had swept over the central provinces and was now in possession of the larger part of the Yangtze Valley, including the famous city of Nanking. There, in the former capital of the Empire, the new ruler had established his seat of government, and with a conquered country behind him had rallied his forces for the march upon Peking. But it was not only the success attending this movement that made it a matter of such extraordinary interest in Christian lands. There was about it a character such as no analogous events in history had ever before possessed.

Arising among a heathen people, entirely apart from foreign influence, this mighty upheaval, as far as it had yet developed, appeared to be a crusade upon distinctively Christian lines. Its basis, was the Bible-but little understood, alas, in its spiritual teachings ! The Ten Commandments formed the moral code of the new kingdom. Idolatry in all its phases was abolished with unsparing hand, and the worship of the true and living God substituted, in purpose at any rate. The Christian Sabbath was recognised as a day of rest and prayer, and all restrictions were removed from the preaching of the Gospel.

" I have promulgated the Ten Commandments," wrote the Taiping leader to the only missionary of his acquaintance,1- {1- This was the Rev. F. J. Roberts of the American Baptist Missionary Union. Hung Siu-ts'uen, founder and leader of the Tai-ping movement, first learned the Truth from a tract given him during a literary examination in Canton, by Liang A-fah, one of Morrison's converts. Subsequently he returned to Canton to hear more of the New Doctrine, and spent two or three months in studying the Scriptures under the direction of Mr. Roberts. Though he did not remain long enough to be baptized and received into Church fellowship, he had learned enough of the spirit and teaching of Christianity to make him a missionary to his own people on his return to Kwang-si, the province in which his fervent propaganda began. It was not until bitter persecution from the Chinese authorities had driven his followers to arms, that the movement took on a revolutionary character.}" throughout the army and the rest of the population, and have taught them all to pray, morning and evening. Still those who understand the Gospel are not many. Therefore I deem it right to send the messenger in person to wish you peace, and to request you, Elder Brother, if you are not disposed to abandon me, to (come and) bring with you many teachers to help in making known the Truth and to administer the ordinance of baptism....

" Hereafter, when my enterprise is successfully terminated, I will disseminate the Doctrine throughout the whole Empire, that all may return to the one Lord and worship the true God only, This is what my heart earnestly desires."

Scarcely less surprising was their attitude toward Western nations. Opium-smoking was utterly prohibited, and T'ienteh-1 {1- The title taken by the Tai-ping leader or " Emperor." } made no secret of his purpose to stop the importation from abroad. But for foreigners as such, their Christian " brothers " from across the seas, they expressed a cordiality of feeling wholly contrary to Chinese pride and prejudice.

" The great God," they said, " is the universal Father of all under Heaven. China is under His government and care. Foreign nations are equally so. There are many men under heaven, but all are brethren. Many women are under heaven, but all are sisters. Why should we continue the selfish practice of regarding a boundary here or a limit there?? Why indulge the wish to devour and consume one another ? "

In a word, it seemed as though the hoary exclusiveness of China as well as its heathen systems would soon be swept away before Christian light and teaching, and the whole country thrown open to the influence of the Gospel.2- {2 -T'ien-teh was probably the only aspirant to a throne who ever made it a chief object to print and circulate the Christian Scriptures. So eager was he that his people should possess the Word of God that he kept four hundred men employed in Nanking, under his own supervision, printing and binding various books of both the Old and New Testament. The version used was that of Dr. Gutzlaff, which thus found its way in actual fact to the remotest part of the empire. The title-page of every copy bore the inscription : " A new edition, published in the third year of the Tai-ping Dynasty. " Around the title itself, the imperial arms were emblazoned, and a large red stamp, four inches square, stated that the book was sent out on the authority of the new emperor, the man before whom Peking itself trembled.}From every standpoint the prospect was inspiring, and Christian hearts could not but beat high with hope and expectation. No wonder Hudson Taylor with many others saw in all this the moving of God's providence. What kings and governments could never have accomplished, was not He in His .own wonderful way rapidly bringing to pass ? But how immense the responsibility thus imposed upon the Church, and how little prepared was she to meet it !

No wonder' also, in view of -all these happenings, that though he was studying medicine Hudson Taylor felt no inclination to tie himself down to distinctively medical work. His desire was to use his knowledge rather as an aid to evangelisation in districts that had never yet been reached. This was the work to which the Lord had called him ; deep down in his own soul he knew it beyond a doubt. But whether the Chinese Evangelisation Society would approve was quite another question.

To judge from their Rules and Regulations they would expect, at any rate, to maintain absolute control over the movements of their representatives. These were spoken of as Agents, and were expected to subscribe to by-laws that perplexed him with their detailed requirements ; and over against all this was his growing conviction about the work to which he personally was called. The hand of God was upon him. So far as he was concerned, this was the great fact, the chief consideration. And if the rightful authority of the Committee in London had to be considered as well, how would the two fit in ?

" There is one point about which I have not yet made up my mind," he wrote to his mother on April 5. " If at the expense of the Society I pass my examinations, take one or more degrees, go out to China and commence hospital work, how could I feel myself at liberty to sever the connection and go into the interior if called to do so ?

" It certainly does not seem to me that permanent work in one place, medical or otherwise, has been the way most used of God in the conversion of multitudes, Paul and the apostles of old, Wesley, Whitfield, and others largely used in modem times have been travelling preachers and I do not feel at all sure that I should be right in binding myself to a different course of action. I shall be thankful to have your opinion on these points, and your prayers for Divine guidance in all my ways.

" That the Rules I mention," he continued a little later, " are reasonable and necessary for the Society, I do not doubt. I see also that after three years and a half I might be legally free to act independently, if I so desired. But I put it to you, Mother, would it be honourable, would you like me to take advantage of such a situation ? After the Society had borne the expense of my medical education and of sending me to China, and I had been there long enough to begin to be useful, would you approve my leaving them just as soon as I could do so legally ?

" And since it is my decided opinion that such would be my course, how can I honestly accept their aid ? Where is the probability that I should ever be able to refund such an expenditure ? These difficulties seem to me insurmountable. "He was acting, certainly, on principles the Master commended ; sitting down to count the cost before beginning to build. Well would it be if all intending missionaries would do the same to-day. And as he prayed and pondered he began to see that even his present position was compromising. The Society was already bearing, in part, the expense of his medical education. If he went on and completed it, it would cost them over a hundred pounds. Already he was letting himself be involved in obligations he might not be able to discharge without unfaithfulness to the most binding thing in all his life, the will of God.

This was a serious matter, and one that called for immediate consideration. Should he go on as he was, allowing the Society to misunderstand to some extent his intentions? Or should he explain all, and run the risk of losing their aid ? Must he abandon his medical studies now, when he really seemed on the way to completing them, and work his way out to China as a self-supporting missionary?

It is easy enough in these very different days to smile at what may seem over-conscientious scruples, but to Hudson Taylor it was a more perplexing position than we can readily understand. Missionary agencies were comparatively few and far between, and he knew of only this one with which he as an unordained man could become connected. Individuals did not then send out and support their own representatives, nor was he in fellowship with any Church that could sustain him. Practically it meant that he must either become an agent of the C.E.S., subject to all their regulations, or else go out in faith, looking to the Lord to supply his needs or provide him with employment in which he could be self-supporting. And the choice had to be made immediately.

From early April till the end of May these problems exercised his mind. He could not let things drift, but still less could he act before he was sure of the guidance of God. Full many a prayer in those lovely spring days might have been measured by the mile, as he went up and down between the hospital and St. Mary Axe, but when the time came to go forward he did so without hesitation.

" With regard to my passing the College of Surgeons," he wrote to his mother in May, " I have written to Mr. Bird stating the reasons that appear to me as obstacles to my entering at their expense. It is necessary for the well-being of the Society that its missionaries should be subject to the Board of Management.... Their rules are no doubt reasonable and essential for such an organisation. But to me, to be educated at their expense and of course subject to these regulations would be like removing myself from the direct and personal leading of God, because I should become the servant of the Society; Having no money I could not release myself honourably, and in any case, for nine months at least (the period required as notice) I should be unable to act. Now, it is possible to pay too dearly even for great advantages, and this is more than my conscience allows me to do.

" If I am guided by God in going out, He will open the way and provide the means required.. If a degree is necessary, He will supply the means• for that also. If it is not necessary, it will be better for the time and money to be otherwise employed. And if I am not called to go, far better for all concerned that I should not leave England..

" But do not think from my using this form of expression that I am at all doubtful, for I never have had a doubt on the subject. My mind is kept in perfect peace, stayed on Him who is the Rock of Ages ; and I am willing either to take a degree or not, as He sees fit to order..:. I have been enjoying great rest of heart lately .... and often feel the goodness of God in a way that cannot be expressed. .

'If in the time required to make me an M.D. or M.R.C.S., or both, I am instrumental in leading any poor Chinese to the feet of Jesus, how much better would that appear in the eternal ages 1 Oh for grace really to live out that beautiful verse


I all on earth forsake,

Its wisdom, fame and power ;

And Him my only Portion make,

My Shield and Tower.


" How very little many considerations that weigh with us now will appear as we look back upon them from the eternal ages ! Then we shall reckon indeed that ` the sufferings of this present time' were `not worthy to be compared' with the glory that was to follow. Would that we always did so here and now."

But all this preoccupation with important matters was not allowed to interfere with daily duties and with thoughtfulness for those around him.1- {1- The impression made by the young assistant upon those with whom he lived at this time may be judged from the following recollections, kindly communicated to the writers more than fifty years later by a member of Mr. Brown's family." Early in 1853, Mr. Hudson Taylor went to assist Mr. Thomas Brown, Surgeon, who then resided at the comer of St. Mary Axe and Camomile Street, London. Mr. Brown's youngest child was a baby of a year old. Dr. Brown did not approve of perambulators for children living in the city, so on week-days the baby went out in his father's carriage. On Sundays, however, Dr. Brown never took any of the children -with him on his necessary rounds. As little Henry was too heavy for his nurse to carry, he would have had to remain indoors all Sunday, if Mr. Taylor had not taken compassion on him. But he was fond of children, and before church time on Sunday used to carry the little fellow in his arms around Finsbury Circus which was near at hand. Soon after Mr. Taylor left for China, Dr. Brown and his family moved to Finsbury Circus, where one of his sons still practises.-MARY E. BROWN."} Like Dr. Hardey in Hull, Mr. Brown soon discovered that he had a valuable assistant, and among the patients for whom Hudson Taylor cared more than one had reason to thank God for his solicitude for soul as well as body. For he did not attempt to evade or to defer the supreme duty of leading men to Christ.' The unsaved at home were just as much a burden on his heart as the unsaved in China. Always and everywhere' he was a soul-winner.

One among Mr. Brown's patients, for example, caused him no little concern at this time. He had been a hard drinker, and now in middle-life was suffering the bitter, consequences of sin. His condition was serious, and his hatred of everything to do with religion so intense that it seemed hopeless to try to influence him.

" The Lord had given me the joy of winning souls before," wrote Hudson Taylor, recalling this experience, " but never in surroundings of such peculiar difficulty. With God, however, all things are possible, and no conversion ever takes place save by the almighty power of the Holy Ghost. The great need of every Christian worker is to know God I was now to prove His willingness to answer prayer for spiritual blessing under most unpromising circumstances, and thus to gain an increased acquaintance with the prayer-answering God as One' mighty to save.'

" A short time before leaving for China it became my daily duty to dress the foot of a patient suffering from senile gangrene. The disease commenced as usual insidiously, and the patient had little idea that he was a doomed man and probably had not long to live. I was not the first to attend him, but when the case was transferred to me I naturally became very anxious about his soul. The family with whom he lived were Christians, and from them I learned that he was an avowed atheist and very antagonistic to anything religious. They had without asking his consent invited a Scripture reader to visit him, but in great passion he had ordered him from the room. The Vicar of the district had also called, hoping to help him, but he had spit in his face and refused to allow him to speak. His temper was described to me as very violent, and altogether the case seemed as hopeless as could well be imagined;

" Upon first commencing to attend him I prayed much about it, but for two or three days said nothing of a religious nature. By special care in dressing his diseased limb I was able considerably to lessen his sufferings, and he soon began to manifest appreciation of my services. One day with a trembling heart I took advantage of his grateful acknowledgments to tell him what was the spring of my action, and to speak of his solemn position and need of God's mercy through Christ. It was evidently only a powerful effort of self-restraint that kept his lips closed. He turned over in bed with his back to me, and uttered no word;

" I could not get the poor man out of my mind, and very often through each day I pleaded with God, by His Spirit, to save him ere He took him hence. After dressing the wound and relieving the pain, I never failed to say a few words to him which I hoped the Lord would bless. He always turned his back looking annoyed, but never made any reply.

" After continuing this for some time my heart sank. It seemed to me that I was not only doing no good but perhaps really hardening him and increasing his guilt. One day after dressing his limb and washing my hands, instead of returning to the bedside, I went to the door and stood hesitating a moment with the thought in my mind, ` Ephraim is joined to his idols, let him alone.' Looking at my patient I saw his surprise, as it was the first time since opening the subject that I had attempted to leave without saying a few words for my Master.

" I could bear it no longer.. Bursting into tears, I crossed the room and said : 'My friend, whether you will hear or whether you will forbear, I must deliver my soul,' and went on to speak very earnestly, telling him how much I wished that he would let me pray with him,. To my unspeakable joy he did not turn away, but replied

"'If it will be a relief to you, do.'

" I need scarcely say that falling upon my knees I poured out my soul to God on his behalf. Then and there, I believe, the Lord wrought a change in his soul. He was never afterwards unwilling to be spoken to and prayed with, and within a few days he definitely accepted Christ as his Saviour. " Oh the joy it was to me to see that dear man rejoicing in hope of the glory of God ! He told me that for forty years he had never darkened the door of a church or chapel, and that then, forty years ago, he had only entered a place of worship to be married, and could not be persuaded to go inside when his wife was buried. Now, thank God, his sin-stained soul I had every reason to believe was washed, was sanctified, was `justified, in the Name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.' Often in my early work in China, when circumstances rendered me almost hopeless of success, I have thought of this man's conversion and have been encouraged to persevere in speaking the Word, whether men would hear or whether they would forbear.

" The now happy sufferer lived for some time after this change, and was never tired of bearing testimony to the grace of God. Though his condition was most distressing, the alteration in his character and behaviour made the previously painful duty of attending him one of real pleasure. I have often thought since in connection with this case and the work of God generally of the words, ` He that goeth forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.' Perhaps if there were more of that intense distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts and our own feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things may be the true cause of our want of success."

Very shortly after this the way cleared suddenly for Hudson Taylor. All had seemed uncertain before him, and especially since his letter to Mr. Bird about discontinuing his studies he had scarcely been able to see a step ahead. Very earnestly had he been in prayer for guidance, longing with all his heart to know and do the .will of God. And now the light shone suddenly, and in the way. he had least expected : because the time had come, and there is behind events, as the old prophet tells us, "a God . . . which worketh for him that waiteth for Him." 1- {1- Isaiah 64: 4, R.V.}

In the room of the C.E.S. sat one of the secretaries writing a letter. It was June 4, and events had succeeded one another in China with startling rapidity. Since their conquest of Nanking in March, the Tai-pings had carried all before them, sweeping over the central and northern provinces until Peking itself was almost within their grasp. Nothing, it seemed, could save the tottering dynasty, unless foreign powers could be persuaded to intervene. Sir George Bonham, the British Representative, after a visit to Nanking had brought back a report very favourable to the Tai-pings. " The insurgents are Christians," wrote the North China Herald for May 7 ; and the religious aspect of the movement seemed to keep pace with the increase of their power.1 {1- What the Tai-ping propaganda might have become, had it retained its earlier )characteristics, who can say? Success, as is so often the case, led to dissension and decline. From the zenith of its triumphant advance on Peking commenced this summer (1853), it degenerated into a corrupt political movement, deluging the country with blood and sufferings untold during the eleven remaining years of its course. Even so the Imperial Government was powerless to bring it to an end until succoured by Western Powers. England, in the person of General Gordon, Chinese Gordon as he is still appreciatively called, delivered the empire at last from what had become an intolerable evil. Nanking fell before General Gordon in 1864.}

This could mean but one thing : if Peking surrendered, the seclusion of ages was at an end and China would forthwith be thrown open to the Gospel. The very possibility, imminent as it was, proved a powerful stimulus to missionary effort. Christian hearts everywhere were aflame. Something must be done and done at once to meet so great a crisis. And for a time, money poured into the treasuries. 2- {2 So great was the interest in the Tai-ping Rebellion and the hope that by the sympathetic co-operation of Christian nations it might lead to the conversion of multitudes to Christianity, that in September of this year (1853) the British and Foreign Bible Society decided to celebrate its Jubilee by printing a million New Testaments for use in that country, an undertaking almost incredibly great in those days.}

In the light of these new developments the Committee of the C.E.S. had been reconsidering their position. The only representative they had in China was the German missionary Lobscheid, labouring near Canton. They had long wished to supply him with a fellow-worker, and now decided to send two men to Shanghai also, to be ready for pending developments. Money was not the difficulty, their income having considerably increased within the last few months, but men, suitable men, would not be easy to find.

Thus it was that early in June, as we have seen, Mr. Bird sat in his office writing as follows to one in whom they had every confidence, the young medical student, Hudson Taylor.


June 4, 1853.

MY DEAR SIR-As you have fully made up your mind to go to China, and also not to qualify as a Surgeon, I would affectionately suggest that you lose no time in preparing to start. At this time we want really devoted men, and I believe your heart is right before God and your motives pure, so that you need not hesitate in offering, I think you will find a difficulty in carrying out your plan [of self-support], as even Mr. Lobscheid could not get a free passage. It is a very difficult thing to obtain. The expense for a single man is about £6o. Might not the time you want to spend in acquiring a knowledge of Ophthalmics be spent more profitably in China ? If you think it right to offer yourself, I shall be most happy to lay your application before the Board. It is an important step, and much earnest prayer is needed. But guidance will be given. Do all with thy might, and speedily.-I am, my dear sir, very truly yours,


It was Saturday afternoon and the letter still lay on the desk, when a knock came, and the young man to whom it was addressed quietly entered.

" Why," exclaimed the Secretary, " I have just been writing to you ! The letter is not yet posted."

Long and earnest was the conversation that followed, for the suggestion made was a great surprise to Hudson Taylor. Constantly as China had been before his mind for three and a half years, it seemed rather overwhelming to think of sailing as soon as a vessel could be found. Besides, there were all those questions about the future and his uncertainty as to whether he ought to connect himself with any Society. Mr. Bird was evidently sympathetic and helpful, and the younger man went home with much to lay before the Lord.

How strange the difference that had come over everything as he retraced his steps toward St. Mary Axe. The same June sunlight shone on London streets, the same birds twittered in the open spaces, but he walked as in a new world-that far vista opening before him. Could it be possible that all that had hitherto blocked his way to China had indeed vanished ; that the Society was not only willing but anxious to send him out ? Then God's time surely must have come, and he could not hold back.

" Mr. Bird has removed most of the objections and difficulties I have been feeling," he wrote to his mother the following day, " and I think it will be well to comply with his suggestions and at once propose myself to the Committee. I shall await your answer, however, and rely upon your prayers. If I should be accepted to go at once, would you advise me to come home before sailing ? I long to be with you once more, and I know you would naturally wish to see me ; but I almost think it would be easier for us not to meet, than having met to part again forever. No, not forever !


A little while : 'twill soon be past !

Why should we shun the promised cross ?

Oh let us in His footsteps haste,

Counting for Him all else but loss

Then, how will recompense His smile

The sufferings of this little while!


" I cannot write more, but hope to hear from you as soon as possible. Pray much for me. It is easy to talk of leaving all for Christ, but when it comes to the proof-it is only as we stand `complete in Him' we can go through with it.

" God be with you and bless you, my own dear, dear mother, and give you so to realise the preciousness of Jesus that you may wish, for nothing but ` to know Him ' ... even in ` the fellowship of His sufferings.' "

"' Pray for me, dear Amelia,' he continued later, `that He who has promised to meet all our need may be with me in this painful though long-expected hour.'

" When we look at ourselves-at the littleness of our love, the barrenness of our service, and the small progress we make toward perfection-how soul-refreshing it is to turn and gaze on Him ; to plunge afresh in ` the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness' ; to remember that we are ` accepted in the Beloved ' . , . ` who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.' Oh the fulness of Christ : the fulness of Christ !"


MOORED at her landing in a Liverpool dock lay the double-masted sailing-ship Dumfries, bound for China. A little vessel of barely four hundred and seventy tons, she was carrying but one passenger, so there were few well-wishers to see her off. Repairs that had delayed her sailing had just been hurried to completion, and the crew were still busy getting the cargo on board. But in the stern cabin, amid the din and hubbub, all was peace as Hudson Taylor knelt in prayer for the last time with his mother.

Hardly could they realise that it was indeed the last time for so long. Since the decision of the Committee there had been much to do and think of, and they had had little time to dwell upon the meaning of it all. And now the parting had come. After -a visit to Barnsley where he took leave of his sisters, and meetings at Tottenham and in London commending him to God, 1- {1 The following paragraph gives all the notice that appeared in The Gleaner of Hudson Taylor's departure for China: " On Friday, the 9th of September, a meeting was held at the rooms of the Chinese Evangelisation Society at 7 o'clock in the evening, for the purpose of commending to the protection and blessing of God, Mr. James Taylor, on going out as a missionary to China. Mr. J. H. Taylor embarked on the Dumfries, Captain A. Morris, for Shanghai. The vessel left Liverpool on the 19th of September." It is interesting to notice that the same day witnessed also the departure for China of the Rev. J. L. Nevius (of the American Presbyterian Mission) with his bride. They sailed from Boston " in a small, old, unseaworthy vessel," and after a trying voyage round Cape Horn arrived in Shanghai just three weeks later than Mr. Hudson Taylor. These distinguished missionaries became, and continued through life, sincere and valued friends of Mr. Taylor's. But September 19 is chiefly memorable as the day upon which the following decision was reached by the British and Foreign Bible Society. "The attention of the British and Foreign Bible Society having been directed to the unprecedented movement in China, and to the hopeful prospects thereby presented for the wider introduction of the Sacred Scriptures into that extensive and densely populated empire, it was resolved, September 19,1853, 'that the Committee, relying upon the sympathy of the British public in this desirable object, are prepared to take upon themselves all measures necessary for printing, with the least practicable delay, one million copies of the Chinese New Testament." -Robert Frost, George Brown, Secretaries.}the outgoing missionary had come on to Liverpool, where he had been joined by his mother. His father too had been there, and Mr. Pearse representing the Chinese Evangelisation Society, but on account of delays in the sailing of the ship they had been obliged to return. So the mother and son were much alone as the time drew near, and her account of the parting written for those at home is of special interest.

On Sunday, September 18, Hudson was much blessed through the services of the day. His soul was filled with the love of God, and in the evening he wrote a few farewell letters to relatives and friends, full of affection, and bearing such testimony to the sustaining power of grace as made it evident that he could freely and cheerfully leave all, to carry the light of the knowledge of God to those regions of spiritual darkness so long the object of his desires, and for which he had studied, laboured and prayed.

Seeing me in tears, he said " Oh mother, do not grieve ! I am so happy, I cannot ! I'll tell you what I think is the difference between us. You dwell on the parting ; I look on to the meeting : " alluding to their reunion in the Better Land.

Before retiring for the night he read aloud part of the fourteenth chapter of John, " Let not your heart be troubled," and engaged in prayer. The throne of grace was easy of access ; and while offering thanks for mercies received and imploring continued blessings for himself, for those he was leaving, for the Church and for the world yet lying in the arms of the wicked one, it was evident that to him this was no strange work.

Next morning he went to breakfast at the house of a friend with Mr. Arthur Taylor (no relative) who was to embark a fortnight later for Hong-kong-a fellow-missionary also sent out by the Chinese Evangelisation Society. About ten o'clock we met in the cabin of the Dumfries, and were shortly afterwards joined by Mr. Plunkett,an aged minister with whom we had become acquainted during our stay in Liverpool.

After a little conversation, singing and prayer were proposed, and Hudson gave out in a firm, clear voice, the beautiful hymn ;


How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

In a believer's ear !

It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,

And drives away his fear.


The good old tune "Devizes " was struck up, and he sang with the utmost composure through the whole hymn. Mr. Plunkett prayed for us all as believers in one common Saviour, and for his two young friends in particular, just going out as ambassadors for the Prince of Peace.

Dear Hudson then engaged in prayer, and a stranger would little have thought that the firm tone, composed manner and joyous expressions were those of a youth who in a few minutes was to bid adieu to parents, sisters, friends, home and country. But his heart was strong in the mighty God of Jacob, therefore his spirit quailed not. Only once was there a slight falter, while commending the objects of his love to the care of his Heavenly Father-a momentary struggle, and all was calm again. Yet he did not forget that he was entering upon a course of trial, difficulty and danger ; but looking forward to it all he exclaimed, " None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God." It was a time ever to be remembered.

After Mr. Arthur Taylor had offered prayer, we rose from our knees and Hudson read a Psalm. Soon after we went on deck, intending to go ashore, when to our surprise we found that the vessel had left her moorings and was nearly out of dock... .

Then came my moment of trial-the farewell blessing, the parting embrace. A kind hand was extended from the shore. I stepped off the vessel, scarce knowing what I did, and was seated on a piece of timber lying close at hand. A chill came over me and I trembled from head to foot. But a warm arm was quickly round my neck and I was once more pressed to his loving breast. Seeing my distress he had leaped ashore to breathe words of consolation.

" Dear Mother," he said, " do not weep. It is but for a little while, and we shall meet again. Think of the glorious object I have in leaving you. It is not for wealth or fame, but to try to bring the poor Chinese to the knowledge of Jesus."

As the vessel was receding he was obliged to return, and we lost sight of him for a minute. He had run to his cabin, and hastily writing in pencil on the blank leaf of a pocket Bible, " The love of God which passeth knowledge-J. H. T." came back and threw it to me on the pier.

By-and-by the vessel neared again to receive the Mate, who shook us warmly by the hand

" Keep a brave heart," he said, " I will bring good news back again."

Once more our Dear One reached out his hand which was eagerly grasped. Another " Farewell, God bless you " was reciprocated, and the deep waters of the Mersey became a separating gulf between us.

While we still waved our handkerchiefs, watching the departing ship, he took his stand at its head and afterwards climbed into the rigging, waving his hat, and looking more like a victorious hero than a stripling just entering the battlefield. Then his figure became less and less distinct, and in a few minutes passenger and ship were lost to sight.

His own recollections of that parting, recorded long after, show how deeply the son too shared its cost.

After being set apart with many prayers for the ministry of God's Word among the heathen, I left London for Liverpool, and on the 19th of September, 1853, a little service was held in the stern cabin of the Dumfries which had been secured for me by the Chinese Evangelisation Society, under whose auspices I was going to China.

My beloved, now sainted mother, had come over to Liverpool to see me off. Never shall I forget that day, nor how she went with me into the cabin that was to be my home for nearly six long months. With a mother's loving hand she smoothed the little bed. She sat by my side and joined in the last hymn we should sing together before parting. We knelt down and she prayed-the last mother's prayer I was to hear before leaving for China. Then notice was given that we must separate, and we had to say good-bye, never expecting to meet on earth again.

For my sake she restrained her feelings as much as possible. We parted, and she went ashore giving me her blessing. I stood alone on deck, and she followed the ship as we moved toward the dock-gates. As we passed through the gates and the separation really commenced, never shall I forget the cry of anguish wrung from that mother's heart. It went through me like a knife. I never knew so fully, until then, what " God so loved the world " meant. And I am quite sure my precious mother learned more of the love of God for the perishing in that one hour than in all her life before.

Oh how it must grieve the heart of God when He sees His children indifferent to the needs of that wide world for which His beloved, His only Son suffered and died.

The voyage thus begun proved a time of blessing to the solitary passenger on board the Dumfries. It was long and tedious in some ways, five and a half months during which they touched nowhere and heard no tidings of the rest of the world. But it was a health-giving, enjoyable experience on the whole, after the first terrible days were over.

For never surely did vessel weather worse perils than this little sailing ship before she could reach the open sea. It almost seemed as though the great enemy, " the prince of the power of the air," knowing something of the possibilities enfolded in one young life on board, were doing his utmost to send her to the bottom. For twelve long days they beat about the Channel, alternately sighting Ireland and the dangerous Welsh coast. During the first week they were almost continuously in the teeth of an equinoctial gale, until driven into Carnarvon Bay they were within two boats' length of being dashed to pieces on the rocks. That midnight scene amid the foaming breakers, and the way in which they were delivered when all hope seemed gone made so profound an impression upon Hudson Taylor that some account of this part of the voyage must be culled from his journal and letters.

" With heartfelt gratitude," he wrote on Monday, September 26, " I record the mercy of God. He and He alone has snatched us from the jaws of death. May our spared lives be spent entirely in His service and for His glory.

" All day on Saturday [the 24th] the barometer kept falling, and as darkness came on the wind began to freshen. The sailors had a hard night of it, so the Captain did not call them aft as is his custom to read prayers on Sunday morning. At noon it was blowing hard and we took in all possible sail, leaving only just as much as would keep the ship steady. I distributed some tracts among the crew and then came down to my cabin, as the increased motion was making me sick... .

" The barometer was still falling, and the wind increased until it was a perfect hurricane. The, Captain and Mate said they had never seen a wilder sea. Between two and three in the afternoon I managed to get on deck, though the pitching made it difficult. . .. The scene I shall never forget. It was grand beyond description: The sea, lashing itself into fury, was white with foam. There was a large ship astern of us and a brig to our weather side. The ship gained on us, but drifted more. The waves, like hills on either side, seemed as if they might swamp us at any moment . but the ship bore up bravely. On account of the heavy sea we were making little or no headway, and the wind being from the west we were drifting quickly, irresistibly, toward a lee-shore.

" ` Unless God help us,' said the Captain, ` there is no hope.'" I asked how far we might be from the Welsh coast." ` Fifteen to sixteen miles,' was his reply. 'We can do nothing but carry all possible sail. The more we carry the less we drift. It is for our lives. God grant the timbers may bear it.'" He then had two sails set on each mast.

" It was a fearful time. The wind was blowing terrifically, and we were tearing along at a frightful rate-one moment high in the air and the next plunging head foremost into the trough of the sea as if about to go to the bottom. The windward side of the ship was fearfully elevated, the lee side being as much depressed ; indeed the sea at times poured over her lee bulwarks.

" Thus the sun set, and I watched it ardently.

"'To-morrow thou wilt rise as usual,' I thought, `but unless the Lord work miraculously on our behalf a few broken timbers will be all that is left of us and our ship' ... .

" The night was cold, the wind biting, and the seas we shipped continually, with foam and spray, wet us through and through."

Earlier in the afternoon he had had a remarkable experience of " great joy and peace," in spite of their desperate situation, but now as the sun went down a sense of loneliness and desolation began to come over him, so that for a time he was " much tried and very anxious." He thought of the sorrow involved to his loved ones should the Dumfries be lost ; of the expense to the Society, his passage and outfit having cost little short of a hundred pounds ; of the unprepared state of the crew, as well as of " the coldness of the water and the struggle of death." About his eternal happiness he had not a moment's doubt. Death itself was not dreaded. But death under such circumstances! No one who has not faced it can realise its terrors.

" I went below," the journal continues simply, " read a hymn or two, some Psalms and John 8:15 , and was comforted ; so much so that I fell asleep and slept for an hour. We then looked at the barometer and found it rising. We had passed the Bardsey Island Lighthouse, between Cardigan and Camarvon Bays (running up the Channel) and I asked the Captain whether we could clear Holyhead or not." ` If we make no lee-way,' he replied, 'we may just do it. But if we drift, God help us ! ' " And we did drift.. :

" First the Holyhead light was ahead of us, and then on our outside. Our fate now seemed sealed, I asked if we were sure of two more hours. The Captain could not say we were. The barometer' was still rising, but too slowly to give much hope, I thought of my, dear father and mother, sisters and special friends , .. , and the tears' would start... , The Captain was calm and courageous, trusting in the Lord for his soul's salvation. The steward said he knew that he was nothing, but Christ was all. I felt thankful for them, but I did pray earnestly that God would have mercy on us and spare us for the sake of the unconverted crew ... as well as for His own glory as the God who hears and answers prayer. This passage was then brought to my mind : `Call upon Me in the day of trouble ; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me ' : and very earnestly I pleaded' the promise, in submission to His will.

" Our position was now truly awful. The night was very light, the moon being unclouded, and we could just see land ahead. I went below. The barometer was improving, but the wind in no way.. abated. I took out my pocket book and wrote in it my name and home-address, in case my body should be found. I also tied a few things in a hamper which I thought would float and perhaps help me` or some one else to land. Then commending my soul to God my' Father, and my friends and all to His care, with one prayer that if it were possible this cup might pass from us, I went on deck.

" Satan now tempted me greatly and I had a fearful struggle. But the Lord again calmed my mind, which from that time was so stayed upon Him that I was kept in peace,

" I asked the Captain whether boats could live in such a sea. He answered, 'No.' Could we not lash the loose spars together and make some sort of raft ? He said we should probably not have time.

" The water was now becoming white. Land was just ahead.. .

"'We must try to turn her and tack,' said the Captain, ` or all is over. The sea may sweep the deck in turning and wash everything overboard . . . but we must try.'

" This was a moment to make the stoutest heart tremble, He gave the word and we tried to turn outwardly, but in vain. This would have saved us room. He then tried the other way, and with God's blessing succeeded, clearing the rocks by not more than two ships' length. Just as we did so, the wind most providentially veered two points in our favour, and we were able to beat out of the Bay,

" Had not the Lord thus helped us, all our efforts must have been in vain. Truly His mercy is unfailing. 'Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men."' 1{1- " One thing was a great trouble to me that night. I was a very young believer, and had not sufficient faith in God to see Him in and through the use of means. I had felt it a duty to comply with the earnest wish of my beloved and honoured mother, and for her sake to procure a swimming belt. But in my own soul I felt as if I could not simply trust in God while I had this swimming-belt, and my heart had no rest until on that night, after all hope of being saved was gone, I had given it away. Then I had perfect peace, and strange to say put several light things together, likely to float at the time we struck, without any thought of inconsistency or scruple... Ever since, I have seen clearly the mistake I made ; a mistake that is very common in these days, when erroneous teaching on faith-healing does much harm, misleading some as to the purposes of God, shaking the faith of others and distressing the minds of many. The use of means ought not to lessen our faith in God, and our faith in God ought not to hinder our using whatever means He has given us for the accomplishment of His own purposes. For years after this I always took a swimming-belt with me and never had any trouble about it ; for after the storm was over, the question was settled for me through the prayerful study of the Scriptures. God gave me then to see my mistake, probably to deliver me from a great deal of trouble on similar questions now so constantly raised. When in medical or surgical charge of any case, I have never thought of neglecting to ask God's guidance and blessing in the use of appropriate means, nor yet of omitting to give thanks for answered prayer and restored health. But to me it would appear as presumptuous and wrong to neglect the use of those measures which He Himself has put within our reach, as to neglect to take daily food, and suppose that life and health might be maintained by prayer alone " (from Mr. Taylor's Retrospect). }

Safe for the present, it was with unspeakable thankfulness they saw the sun rise on Monday morning and the storm gradually pass away.

A week later they were in the Bay of Biscay and there also came in for rough weather, one heavy sea carrying away the fore skylight and seeming almost to swamp the ship. Three weeks from the day of sailing, however, saw them in calmer waters, the worst of their dangers past. During all that time it had been cold and wet, and everything on board seemed either damp or soaking, which meant constant discomfort.

" These things make one long for fine, dry weather," runs the journal for October 5. " Most of my belongings are damp, the floors are wet, and all our boots and shoes are saturated with water. The poor. steward's cabin is soaking, the sea having poured into it, and now mine is the only one that has not been flooded.... But how thankful I ought to be that it was not the after skylight that gave way, for then all my clothes, books and papers would have been deluged."

And they had no means of drying them.

It was with no little satisfaction, therefore, that favourable winds were welcomed, bearing them to warmer latitudes. But the earlier stages of the voyage had not been lost. Even in the Bay of Biscay, Hudson Taylor had discovered that there was one more earnest Christian on board, the Swedish carpenter, and assured of his help had asked the Captain's permission to commence regular services among the crew. And now in the hot, still days that found them becalmed near the Equator these were continued with much acceptance.

Whole-heartedly the young missionary threw himself into this work. He had been reading the life of Hewitson since coming on board, and had found it stimulating both to faith and zeal.

" How he seems to have fed on the Lamb," he wrote, " and to have ministered the Spirit. Oh for more of the love of God, that out of a full heart I might proclaim it !

" This evening [Sunday, October 9] we had a good attendance at our little service. We began with a hymn, and good it was to hear them sing ! Then I asked the Lord's blessing with great liberty, for He was indeed present. After a short address, I read the fourth chapter of Romans, and explained the way of salvation by faith, dwelling on the love of the Father and the Son, the value of a soul, and the necessity for flying at once for mercy to ` the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.' Then the steward prayed and we concluded the meeting.

" It was encouraging afterwards to hear that some of the men had been much affected, tears chasing down the weather-beaten faces of one or two. May God, who alone giveth the increase, bless His Word and use it for His glory."

Sixty times during the remainder of the voyage such meetings were held, Hudson Taylor giving unwearied prayer and preparation to this ministry. It was a great blessing to him personally and did much to save him from the spiritual declension that so often accompanies life at sea with its lack of helpful influences. To him the journey was a time of marked blessing, his only sorrow being that so little permanent change was found in the lives of the men. They were interested, and would come to him at times for private talk and prayer. But though some were very near the Kingdom, none of them came out fully on the side of Christ. This was a keen disappointment and cast him much on God. No doubt in some ways the experience was useful, preparing him to " sow beside all waters," even when for a long time no fruit appeared.

Much more might be said about that five months at sea, did space permit.1- {I They rounded the Cape of Good Hope early in December, and soon after Christmas Day " began to make northing,' having run 14,500 miles since leaving the Mersey. On January 5 they reached the nearest point to Western Australia, only 120 miles away, and thence steered a perilous course through the East Indian Islands to the Pacific Ocean and the China Sea, dropping anchor at Woo-sung, in the mouth of the Shanghai River on March 1, 1854. }The journal is full of the variety and interest, the occasional excitements and more frequent monotony of twenty-three consecutive weeks on a sailing ship without touching land. There are glimpses of moonlit nights in the tropics ; of illuminated seas, gemmed with trails of light from innumerable Acephalae ; of exciting situations over the capture of a shark or albatross, and perilous ones when becalmed in southern waters they were borne by unseen currents towards sunken reefs or more dangerous cannibal islands.

Still more the journal is taken up with the inner life that meant so much more than outward surroundings. Side by side with his prayers and efforts for the good of the crew went deepened longings for a closer walk himself with God, and entries such as the following abound

Oct. 30: Have been much blessed to-day, The Lord is indeed precious to me. Oh that I loved Him more !

Nov.1 : Another month has been spent, how unprofitably ! How little to the honour of that glorious Being in whom we live and move and have our being. May the next be used more faithfully in His service and to His glory.

Dec. 26 : Enjoying sweet fellowship with the Lord Jesus, and great liberty of access to the throne of grace.


What is earth with all its treasures

To the joy our Saviour brings ?

Well may we resign its pleasures,

Satisfied with better things.

All His people

Draw from Heaven's eternal springs.


Oh to be ever seeking " the things that are above," as risen indeed with Christ ; ever standing on the watch-tower, ready to welcome the glad word, " Behold the Bridegroom cometh."

Dec. 31 : On reviewing the mercies of the year and the goodness of God to me in it, I am lost in wonder, love and praise. . . . Here then I raise my " Ebenezer " : Hitherto hath the Lord helped me... .


And since my soul bath known His love,

What mercies He has made me prove!

Mercies that do all praise excel

My Jesus hath done all things well.


Spent the last moments of the year in prayer . . . and found the Lord present and very precious.

There were times in his solitude when home seemed far away and the longing for those he loved became intense.

" How widely we are separated," he wrote, " who last year were so near.... Praised be God, He is unchangeable ; His mercy never fails... .

" Found in a book lent me by Captain Morris, The Hebrew Mother, and was much affected by it. Never shall I forget the last time I heard it. Mother was present ; my dearest played it ; and when we came to the lines


I give thee to thy God,

The God that gave thee


Mother broke down, and clasping me in her arms wept aloud at the thought of parting. May the Lord bless her and comfort her heart day by day... .

" Jesus is precious. His service is perfect freedom. His yoke is easy and His burden light. Joy and peace His people have indeed. Absent from home, friends, and country even, Jesus is with me. .. . He is all, and more than all. Much as my heart yearns to see them, the love of Christ is stronger, more constraining."

This love then for the souls of men, the love of Christ in him, did not fail under the test of pain and loss. If anything it was deepening, face to face with facts that had been only hearsay before. The lonely inhabitants of many an island, for example, between Java and the Philippines drew forth his compassion. They had already sighted land some weeks before, in rounding the Cape of Good Hope, but not until the nearest point to Australia was reached did they begin to enter the Archipelago lying between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. This proved a region of fascinating interest, though not without its special dangers. For almost a month from January 12, when they first hailed with delight the green hills and valleys of Sandal Wood Isle, until they looked their last on the sandy beach of Angour (Pelew Group) shining in the sun, they were hardly ever out of sight of beautiful, fertile, populous islands, in which no witness for the dying, undying love of Calvary was found.

" Oh what work for the missionary!" wrote Hudson Taylor. " Island after island, many almost unknown, some densely peopled, but no light, no Jesus, no hope full of bliss ! My heart yearns over them. Can it be that Christian men and women will stay comfortably at home and leave these souls to perish ? Can it be that faith has no longer power to constrain to sacrifice for His sake who gave His life for the world's redemption ? . .


Shall we whose souls are lighted

With wisdom from on high ;

Shall we to men benighted

The lamp of Life deny ?


" Shall we think ourselves free from responsibility to obey the plain command, 'Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature ' ? Is that word of our Saviour no longer true, 'As My Father hath sent Me ... even so send I you' ? Oh that I could get to them ! Oh that I had a thousand tongues to proclaim in every land the riches of God's grace ! Lord, raise up labourers, and thrust them forth into Thy harvest."

A little later no small stir was occasioned when, in passing close to one of these islands at night, a light was seen ashore. More than sixteen weeks had elapsed since the beacons of St. George's Channel had faded from sight, and in all that time no sign had been seen of a human habitation. But that light, that little moving light in Dampier Strait told of fellow-men near at hand, and aroused sensations that were indescribable.

Becalmed next day within reach of Waygion, they attracted the attention of a few poor islanders who put off in their canoes to make trade with the foreign ship. But the fresh cocoa-nuts, shells, parrots, and even the bird-of-paradise they offered had little interest for the missionary compared with the sight of those faces-gentle, intelligent, appealing-and the sound of their soft speech in, an unknown tongue.

" The men seemed very poor," he wrote, " and those in the last two boats, timid. They had probably been taken in by previous travellers. They were a little lighter in colour than burnt coffee-bean, and but for a narrow cloth around their loins were entirely naked. Their faces, however, were intelligent and pleasing....

" What would I not have given to be able to tell them of a Saviour's love ! I longed to go and live among them, poor and degraded as they are, and lead them to that blissful home where sin and sorrow are no more. . . . Let us pray the Lord to send them missionaries who shall be willing to sacrifice earthly comforts that they may win souls to Christ."

But with all its interests the voyage seemed tedious toward the close, especially in the frequent calms of this Eastern Archipelago. Only for a single day during that month among the Islands had they a steady wind, and more than once their log did not exceed seven miles in the twentyfour hours. Such experiences were more than trying, they were accompanied with serious danger.

" Never," as Hudson Taylor put it, " is one more helpless than in a sailing ship with a total absence of wind and the presence of a strong current setting toward a dangerous coast. In a storm the ship is to some extent manageable, but becalmed one can do nothing ; the Lord must do all."

One definite answer to prayer under such circumstances was a great encouragement to his faith. They had just come through the Dampier Strait but were not yet out of sight of the islands. Usually a breeze would spring up after sunset and last until about dawn. The utmost use was made of it, but during the day they lay still with flapping sails, often drifting back and losing a good deal of the advantage gained at night.

This happened notably on one occasion when we were in dangerous proximity to the north of New Guinea. Saturday night had brought us to a point some thirty miles off the land, and during the Sunday morning service which was held on deck I could not fail to see that the Captain looked troubled and frequently went over to the side of the ship. When the service was ended I learnt from him the cause a four-knot current was carrying us toward some sunken reefs, and we were already so near that it seemed improbable that we should get through the afternoon in safety. After dinner the long-boat was put out and all hands endeavoured, without success, to turn the ship's head from the shore.

After standing together on the deck for some time in silence, the Captain said to me " Well, we have done everything that can be done. We can only await the result."

A thought occurred to me, and I replied " No, there is one thing we have not done yet."

" What is that ? " he queried.

" Four of us on board are Christians. Let us each retire to his own cabin, and in agreed prayer ask the Lord to give us immediately a breeze. He can as easily send it now as at sunset."

The Captain complied with this proposal. I went and spoke to the other two men, and after prayer with the carpenter we all four retired to wait upon God. I had a good but very brief season in prayer, and then felt so satisfied that 'our request was granted that I could not. continue asking, and very soon went up again on deck. The first officer, a godless man, was in charge. I went over and asked him to let down the dews or corners of the mainsail, which had been drawn up in order to lessen the useless flapping of the sail against the rigging," What would be the good of that ? " he answered roughly.

I told him we had been asking a wind from God ; that it was coming immediately ; and we were so near the reef by this time that there was not a minute to lose..

With an oath and a look of contempt, he said he would rather see a wind than hear of it, But while he was speaking I watched his eye, following it up to the royal, and there sure enough the corner of the topmost sail was beginning to tremble in the breeze.

"Don't you see the wind is coming? Look at the royal!" I exclaimed.

" No, it is only a cat's paw," he rejoined (a mere puff of wind).

" Cat's paw or not," I cried, " pray let down the mainsail and give as the benefit."

This he was not slow to do. In another minute the heavy tread of the men on deck brought up the Captain from his cabin to see what was the matter. The breeze had indeed come ! In a few minutes we were ploughing our way at six or seven knots an hour through the water ... and though the wind was sometimes unsteady we did not altogether lose it until after passing the Pelew Islands.

Thus God encouraged me ere landing on China's shores to bring every variety of need to Him in prayer, and to expect that He would honour the name of the Lord Jesus and give the help each emergency required.

Click for the next chapter: Hudson Taylor in Early Years - Growth of a Soul | Ch. 16-25