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Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret

Chapter 10. A MAN SHUT UP TO GOD

Nothing before, nothing behind: The steps of faith Fall on the seeming void, and find The rock beneath. —J. G. Whittier

Summer had come again, and the streets were hot and dusty in East London. Seeing that Mr. Taylor was not looking well, an old friend invited him down to the coast to spend a few days at Brighton.

Mrs. Taylor, who was concerned about his health, was glad to see him go, though she understood only in part the experiences through which he was passing. Even to her, he could not fully show the exercise of soul that was becoming unbearable.

So it was alone on the sands at Brighton that Sunday morning, that he met the crisis of his life. He had gone to church with others, but the sight of multitudes rejoicing in the blessings of salvation was more than he could bear. “Other sheep I have” — the lost and perishing in China, for whose souls no man cared — “them also I must bring.” And the tones of the Master’s voice, the love in the Master’s face pleaded silently.

He knew that God was speaking. He knew, as we have seen, that if he yielded to His will, and prayed under His guidance, evangelists for inland China would be given. As to their support, he had no anxiety. He who called and sent them would not fail to give them daily bread. But what if THEY should fail? For Hudson Taylor was facing no unknown situation. He was familiar with conditions in China, the real temptations to be met, the real enemy entrenched on his own ground. What if fellow workers were overborne and laid the blame on him?

It was just a bringing in of self through unbelief; the devil getting one to feel [he recalled]that while prayer and faith would bring one into the fix, one would have to get out of it as best one might. And I did not see that the power that would give the men and the means would be sufficient to keep them also, even in the far interior of China.

Meanwhile, a million a month were dying in that great, waiting land — dying without God. This was burned into his soul. A decision had to be made and he knew it, for the conflict could no longer be endured. It was comparatively easy to pray for workers, but would he, could he accept the burden of leadership?

In great spiritual agony, I wandered out on the sands alone. And there the Lord conquered my unbelief, and I surrendered myself to God for this service. I told Him that all the responsibility as to the issues and consequences must rest with Him; that as His servant it was mine to obey and to follow Him, His to direct, care for and guide me and those who might labor with me. Need I say that at once peace flowed into my burdened heart?

Then and there I asked Him for twenty-four fellow-workers, two for each of the eleven provinces which were without a missionary and two for Mongolia; and writing the petition on the margin of the Bible I had with me, I turned homeward with a heart enjoying rest such as it had been a stranger to for months, and with an assurance that the Lord would bless His own work and that I should share in the blessing. …

The conflict ended, all was peace and joy. I felt as if I could fly up the hill to Mr. Pearce’s house. And how I did sleep that night! My dear wife thought that Brighton had done wonders for me, and so it had.

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