Oh, Christ, He is the fountain, The deep, sweet well of love; The streams on earth I’ve tasted, More deep I’ll drink above. —A. R. Cousin
Thirty thousand miles the pioneers of the Mission traveled within the next two years, throughout the inland provinces of China, everywhere telling the tidings of redeeming love. And this brought to Mr. Taylor one of the biggest tests of faith he ever had to meet. For the country proved wonderfully open, and it was but natural, after years of hardship in preparing the way, that the young missionaries should wish to take advantage of suitable openings to establish homes of their own, from which to work as settled centers. This, of course, meant homemakers! Several of the pioneers were engaged to be married, and only waited Mr. Taylor’s approval to take the first white women, as their fellow workers, to the far interior. They could not foresee, perhaps, as their leader could, all that would be involved, and that before long other women would have to take those difficult journeys, to follow up work begun by busy mothers in those distant homes.
Years before, however, Mr. Taylor had faced it all, and had set out on the policy of encouraging women’s work. The outcry was tremendous, as he knew it would be, when he sanctioned the first departure of married couples to the far interior. Missionary work in China was taking on a new phase; new sacrifices were called for, new demands were to be made upon faith and endurance.
But the situation developed gradually. For a year or more the criticism Mr. Taylor had to face was directed chieﬂy against the widespread itinerations of the pioneers. Not all on these journeys was easy going. There were dangers and disappointments to record as well as glorious encouragement. “Without were fightings, within were fears,” as of old, and Mr. Taylor, detained at Chinkiang by the administrative work of the Mission, was glad to be at hand to guide and strengthen.
The secret of his own strength was not far to seek. Whenever work permitted, Mr. Taylor was in the habit of turning to a little harmonium for refreshment, playing and singing many a favorite hymn, but always coming back to — Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.
One of the eighteen evangelists, Mr. George Nichol, was with him on one occasion when some letters were handed in to his office, bringing news of serious rioting in two of the older stations of the Mission. Thinking that Mr. Taylor might wish to be alone, the younger man was about to withdraw when, to his surprise, someone began to whistle. It was the soft refrain of the same well-loved hymn:
Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art…
Turning back, Mr. Nichol could not help exclaiming, “How CAN you whistle, when our friends are in so much danger!”
“Would you have me anxious and troubled?” was the quiet reply. “That would not help them, and would certainly incapacitate me for my work. I have just to roll the burden on the Lord.”
Day and night this was his secret, “just to roll the burden on the Lord.” Frequently those who were wakeful in the little house at Chinkiang might hear, at two or three in the morning, the soft refrain of Mr. Taylor’s favorite hymn. He had learned that, for him, only one life was possible — just that blessed life of resting and rejoicing in the Lord under all circumstances, while He dealt with the difficulties, inward and outward, great and small.
* * * * * Mr. Taylor was at home again in London. Six millions of people in North China were facing starvation, in a province in which there were no missionaries save a few Inland Mission pioneers.
Children were dying in thousands and young girls being sold into slavery and carried away in troops to cities farther south. Mr. Taylor had come home burdened with the awful condition and was doing all in his power to forward relief work. Funds were available for the rescue of children, but where was the woman who could go to that stricken province to undertake the work? No white woman had ever been beyond the mountains that separated Shansi from the coast, and to get there meant a two weeks’ journey by mule-litter, over dangerous roads, with miserable inns at night.
Yet it was for this undertaking that Mr. and Mrs. Taylor separated when he had been home only a few months. A little worn notebook recalls the experiences through which her faith was strengthened as she waited upon God to know whether or not the call was really from Him. But once she did know, not even the sacrifice involved for Mr. Taylor, whose suggestion it had been, held her back.
Two little ones of her own, four older children and an adopted daughter made a young family of seven to leave behind. How were they to be cared for? All her hard questions she brought to God, and He not only answered them, meeting every need as it arose, but gave grace for the parting and all the difficult, dangerous work in China.
Cross-loving men are needed [Mr. Taylor had written before coming home]. Oh, may God make you and me of this spirit. … I feel so ashamed that you and the dear children should affect me more than millions here who are perishing — while we are sure of eternity together.
After that, it was easier for Mr. Taylor to let other women join the front ranks, when his own wife had led the way. And part of his reward when they were reunited, a year later (1879) was to have her with him in China as, in province after province of the interior, women’s work quietly opened up.
Fascinating and heart-moving as any novel is the story of those years. Wrecked in the Yangtze gorges, the first women who went to the far west spent a strange Christmas amid their bridal belongings spread out to dry upon the rocks. And what crowds overwhelmed them upon arrival at their destinations!
“For nearly two months past,” Mrs. Nichol wrote from Chungking, “I have seen some hundreds of women daily. Our house has been like a fair.”
More than once she fainted from weariness in the midst of her guests — the only white woman in a province of some sixty millions of people — returning to consciousness to find the women fanning her, full of affection and concern. One lady, who cared for her like a mother, would send round her own sedan chair with an urgent request for Mrs. Nichol to return in it immediately. The most comfortable bed in her own apartment was waiting, and sending out all the younger women she would sit down herself to fan the weary visitor till she fell asleep. Then an inviting dinner was prepared, and on on account was Mrs. Nichol allowed to leave until she had made a proper meal.
That was the surprise that everywhere awaited the first women who went — the people were glad to see them, were eager often, to hear their message, showing not only natural curiosity but real heart sympathy. And how soon it began to tell — this living and preaching Christ so openly! By the end of the second year after missionary women came on the scene, the pioneers were rejoicing in sixty or seventy converts gathered into little churches in the far inland provinces.
First to go to the women of the Northwest, three months’ journey up the Han River, Emily King was the first also to be called Home (May 1881). But before her brief course ended, she had the joy of seeing no fewer than eighteen women baptized in confession of their faith in Christ. Dying of typhoid fever in the city of Hanchung, this it was that raised her above the grief of leaving her husband desolate and their little one motherless. The Man of Sorrows was seeing of “the travail of his soul” among those for whom He had waited long — and she, too, was satisfied.
No one understood better than Mr. Taylor the cost at which such work was done; no one followed it with more unfailing prayer.
I cannot tell you how glad my heart is [he wrote to his mother in the midst of much trial] to see the work extending and consolidating in the remote parts of China. It is worth living for and worth dying for.
After that, developments were rapid and wonderful. But associated with every fresh advance, every access of power and blessing, there was in Mr. Taylor’s own experience a corresponding period of suffering and trail. Deeper down, deeper down that life had to go, in God. Outwardly it might seem at times, that the work was carried on a ﬂoodtide of success. Glorious steps of faith were taken; glorious answers to prayer were received. But the preparation of heart beforehand and the steady burden-bearing afterwards were known only to those who shared them behind the scenes. One stands silenced before such profound heart-searchings, such trials of faith, such exercise of soul. Given a man prepared to go all lengths with God, prepared to die daily in quiet, practical reality, prepared to be the servant of his brethren (least of all and servant of all), prepared to stand for them in ceaseless intercession, not only bearing with their failures and weaknesses, but bearing them up in creative faith and love that lift to higher levels — thus and thus only is such spiritual success possible.
Before the forward movement which had brought new life to the work — when women missionaries first went inland — there had been a period of intense and prolonged suffering. Three times over in 1879 Mr. Taylor’s life was in danger through serious sicknesses, and in the year that followed, while the new line of things was being tested and established by God’s blessing, the Mission was faced with intense and accumulated trials. Mrs. Taylor touched upon a deep principle when she wrote at that time:
Don’t you think that if we set ourselves not to allow any pressure to rob us of communion with the Lord, we may live lives of hourly triumph, the echo of which will come back to us from every part of the Mission? I have been feeling these last months that of all our work the most important is that unseen, upon the mount of intercession. OUR faith must gain the victory for the fellow-workers God has given us. They fight the seen and we must fight the unseen battle. And dare we claim less than constant victory, when it is for HIM, and we come in His Name?
But times of trial, as by a spiritual law, always led on to enlargement and blessing. It was so, for example, when, after parting from Mrs. Taylor who could no longer be spared from home, the leader of the Mission set his face westward for conference with some of the younger workers.
You are ploughing the Mediterranean [he wrote] and will soon see Naples. … I am waiting for a steamer to Wuchang. I need not, cannot tell you how much I miss you, but God is making me feel how rich we are in His presence and love. … He is helping me to rejoice in our adverse circumstances, in our poverty, in the retirements from our Mission. All these difficulties are only platforms for the manifestation of His grace, power and love.
I am very busy [he continued from Wuchang when the meetings had begun]. God is giving us a happy time of fellowship together, AND IS CONFIRMING US IN THE PRINCIPLES ON WHICH WE ARE ACTING.
That one brief sentence, taken in connection with the crisis to which they had come, lets in a ﬂood of light upon the important sequel to those days of fellowship at Wuchang. For unconsciously to the younger missionaries, it was a crisis, and more was hanging in the balance than Mr. Taylor himself could realize. After years of prayer and patient, persevering effort, a position of unparalleled opportunity had been reached. Inland China lay open before them. At all the settled stations in the far north, south and west, reinforcements were needed. Not to advance would be to retreat from the position of faith taken up at the beginning. It would be to look at difficulties rather than at the living God. True, funds were low, had been for years, and the new workers coming out were few. It would have been easy to say, “For the present, no further extension is possible.” But NOT to go forward would be to cripple and hinder the work; to throw away opportunities God had given, and before long to close stations opened at great cost. This, surely, could not be His way for the evangelization of inland China.
What then was the outcome of those days of quiet waiting upon God? It was a step of faith so startling that, for a time, the sympathy of friends at home seemed doubtful. For it was no less than an appeal to the home churches — later on signed by almost all the members of the Mission — for SEVENTY NEW WORKERS to be sent out within the next three years. The entire membership of the Mission numbered barely a hundred, and funds had long been straitened. Yet, so sure was the group at Wuchang of being guided of God in their definite prayer and expectation that one of them exclaimed:
“If only we could meet again and have a united praise meeting, when the last of The Seventy have reached China!”
Three years had been agreed upon as the period in which the answer should be looked for (1882-84), as it would hardly be possible to receive and arrange for so many new workers in a shorter time.
“We shall be widely scattered then,” said another, of a practical turn of mind. “But why not have the praise meeting now? Why not give thanks for The Seventy before we separate?”
This was approved and the meeting held, so that all who had joined in the prayer united also in the thanksgiving.
And The Seventy WERE given, wonderfully given, in the next three years. But faith was thrown into the crucible in many ways.
Trial as to funds continued to be serious, but was surpassed by trial connected with the work itself. And yet Mr. Taylor was able to write:
I do feel more and more the blessedness of real trust in God. Faith, He tries, but sustains. And when our faithfulness fails, His remains unshaken. “He cannot deny himself.” …
The Lord Jesus, this year of very peculiar trial from almost every quarter, does make my heart well up and overﬂow with His love. He knows what separations and other incidents of our service mean, and He so wonderfully makes all loss to be gain! … Excuse my running on in this way. My glad heart seems as if it must have vent, even among figures and remittances.
As the first of the three years wore on, years in which The Seventy were looked for, it became evident that there was serious misgiving at home as to the appeal. Mr. Taylor was at Chefoo at the time, and felt it laid on his heart to ask the Lord to put His seal on the matter in a way that could not be mistaken. It was at one of the daily prayer meetings, on or about the second of February, and the few who were present were conscious of much liberty in laying this request before God.
We knew that our Father loves to please His children, and we asked Him lovingly to please us, as well as to encourage timid ones at home, by leading some one of His wealthy stewards to make room for a large blessing FOR HIMSELF AND HIS FAMILY by giving liberally to this special object.
A few days later Mr. Taylor sailed for England and it was not until he stopped at Aden that he learned the result. No account of that special prayer meeting had been sent home; but at Pyrland Road they had had the joy of receiving ON THE SECOND OF FEBRUARY a sum of three thousand pounds, with the words: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Nor was this all. The gift was sent in an unusual way, the names of FIVE CHILDREN being added to those of the parents. What could have been more encouraging than to see how literally God answered prayer?
It was the same some years later, when another great step forward was taken in faith.
God had so blessed with the going out of The Seventy that the Mission had been lifted on to a new plane of inﬂuence at home.
During those years something of the pioneering character of the work had become known. “They are opening up the country,” wrote Alexander Wylie of the London Missionary Society, “and this is what we want.
Other missions are doing a good work, but they are not doing THIS work.” So that, when John McCarthy reached England, after walking clear across China, from east to west, preaching Christ all the way; when J. W. Stevenson and Dr. Henry Soltau came home, the first to enter western China from Burma, following the Yangtze to Shanghai; and then they were joined in England by Mr. Taylor with the appeal of the Mission for seventy new workers, Christian hearts were deeply stirred. The way had been prepared by the devoted labors of Mr. Taylor’s brother-in-law, Mr. Benjamin Broomhall, who for seven years had represented the Mission in London, and who with Mrs. Broomhall made its headquarters at Pyrland Road a center of love and prayer.
With a genius for friendship and a heart to embrace the whole Church of God, Mr. Broomhall found openings in many directions for the testimony of the Mission; for people were keen to hear how the seemingly impossible had been brought to pass, and how without appeals for money, or even collections, the growing work was sustained.
If you are not dead yet [was the charming communication of a child at Cambridge to whom “Hudson Taylor”
was a household word] I want to send you the money I have saved up to help the little boys and girls of China to love Jesus.
Will you do me the kindness [urged Canon Wilberforce of Southampton] to give a Bible-reading in my house to about sixty people … and spend the night with us? PLEASE do us this favor, in the Master’s name.
Much love to you in the Lord [wrote Lord Radstock from the Continent]. You are a great help to us in England by strengthening our faith.
From Dr. Andrew Bonar came a hundred pounds forwarded from an unknown Presbyterian friend “who cares for the land of Sinim.”
Spurgeon sent his characteristic invitations to the Tabernacle, and Miss Macpherson to Bethnal Green.
My heart is still in the glorious work [wrote Mr. Berger with a check for five hundred pounds]. Most heartily do I join you in praying for seventy more laborers — but do not stop at seventy! Surely we shall see greater things than these, if we are empty of self, seeking only God’s glory and the salvation of souls.
And Mr. Berger’s faith was justified: “Surely we shall see greater things than these.” The Seventy as God gave them proved to be an overﬂowing answer to prayer. Before the last party sailed, they had been overtaken by the well-known “Cambridge Band,”
whose consecrated testimony before they left England swept the British universities with a profound spiritual movement which reached on and out to the ends of the earth. It was a rising tide indeed of spiritual blessing, and the new edition Mr. Taylor found time to publish of CHINA’S SPIRITUAL NEED AND CLAIMS deepened and continued the work.
Before the Cambridge party could sail, detained as they were by revival in university centers, Mr. Taylor went on ahead to China, missing the final farewell meeting at Exeter Hall. The contrast could hardly have been more marked between the enthusiasm of that great gathering for all the Mission stood for and the solitary man alone upon his knees, day after day, in the cabin of the ship that was carrying him back to the stern realities of the fight. “Borne on a great wave of fervent enthusiasm,” as the editorial secretary of the Church Missionary Society expressed it, the work had been swept into a new place in the sympathy and confidence of the Lord’s people. “The Mission has become popular,” Mr. Broomhall was writing, not without concern. But out in China, Hudson Taylor had to face the other side of that experience.
Soon we shall be in the midst of the battle [he wrote from the China Sea], but the Lord our God in the midst of us is mighty — so we will trust and not be afraid. “He will save.” He will save all the time and in everything.
And again, some months later:
Flesh and heart often fail: let them fail! He faileth not. Pray very much, pray constantly, for Satan rages against us. …
There is much to distress. Your absence is a great and ever-present trial, and there is all the ordinary and extraordinary conﬂict. But the encouragements are also wonderful — no other word approaches the truth, and half of them cannot be told in writing. No one dreams of the mighty work going on in connection with our Mission. Other missions too, doubtless, are being greatly used. I look for a wonderful year.
And a wonderful year it was (1886), leading up to the next forward movement with its outstanding answers to prayer alluded to above.
Mr. Taylor had spent several months inland, visiting districts in which many of the new workers were located. He had traveled through Shansi, holding conferences which were reported in a precious little book entitled, DAYS OF BLESSING. The quiet power of his life and testimony opened up to younger workers the deep things of God. “Days of Blessing” they were indeed, especially in Pastor Hsi’s district, when Mr. Taylor met the converted Confucian scholar for the first time. Their mutual love and appreciation it was beautiful to see, as they conferred together about the future of the work.
“We all saw visions at that time,” recalled Mr. Stevenson who was with them. “Those were days of Heaven upon earth. Nothing seemed difficult.”
Coming down the river Han on the last stage of this journey, it was quite natural for Mr. Taylor to take charge of a little girl five years of age, whose missionary parents realized that only a change to the coast could save the child’s life. There was no woman in the party, and they knew that for a month or six weeks little Annie would have no one to care for her, day or night, save the Director of the Mission. But they were more than satisfied.
My little charge is wonderfully improving [he was able to write from the boat]. She clings to me very lovingly, and it is sweet to feel little arms about one’s neck once more.
Straight from this journey, Mr. Taylor came to the first meeting of the China Council of the Mission, as the year drew to a close. The newly appointed superintendents of the provinces gathered at Anking, including Mr. Stevenson and Mr. McCarthy, and a whole week was given to prayer and fasting, so that with prepared hearts they might face the important issues before them. With wisdom born of twenty years’ experience as Director of the work, Mr. Taylor sought to lead to wise and helpful organization with a view to larger developments, but even he was startled by the suggestion that grew out of the conference — that for anything like advance, A HUNDRED NEW WORKERS were urgently needed.
Very carefully the situation was gone over, and Mr. Taylor had at last to agree that with fifty central stations and China open before them from end to end, a hundred new workers in the following year would be all too few for hoped-for developments. Mr. Stevenson, by this time Deputy Director of the Mission, was full of faith and courage. He sent out a little slip, explaining the situation to all the members of the Mission, and cabled to London with Mr. Taylor’s permission — “Praying for a hundred new workers in 1887.”
But what a thrill that meant at home! A HUNDRED NEW RECRUITS FOR CHINA IN ONE YEAR! No Mission in existence had ever dreamed of sending out reinforcements on such a scale. The China Inland Mission then numbered only a hundred and ninety members; and to pray for a more than fifty per cent increase within the next twelve months — well, people almost held their breath! but only until Mr. Taylor came home. “Strong in faith, giving glory to God,” he brought a spiritual uplift that was soon felt throughout the fellowship of the Mission.
The three-fold prayer they were praying in China was taken up by countless hearts: that God would give the hundred workers, those of His own choice; that He would supply the fifty thousand dollars of extra income needed, no appeal or collections being made; and that the money might come in in LARGE sums, to keep down correspondence, a practical point with a small office staff.
And what happened in 1887? Six hundred men and women actually offered to the Mission in that year, of whom ONE HUNDRED AND TWO were chosen, equipped and sent out. Not fifty but FIFTY-FIVE thousand dollars extra were actually received, without solicitation, so that every need was met. And how many letters had to be written and receipts made out to acknowledge this large sum? Just ELEVEN GIFTS covered it all, scarcely adding appreciably to the work of the staff, taxed to the utmost in other ways. And best of all, faith was strengthened and hearts were stirred with new and deeper longings wherever the story of “The Hundred” became known.
One unexpected result was a visit to London of a young American businessman, who was also an evangelist, upon whose heart it had been laid to invite Mr. Taylor to come to the States. Mr. Henry W. Frost was so sure that his visit to England for this purpose had been guided of God that the disappointment when Mr. Taylor did not respond was overwhelming. Drawn to the Inland Mission by all he had seen and heard, and to Mr. Taylor in particular, it was in much perplexity he returned to New York, feeling that his mission had been in vain. But God’s working in the matter had only just begun.
Mr. Taylor did come to America the following summer (1888)
and was cordially received by D. L. Moody and the leaders of the Niagara Bible Conference among others. There and at Northfield surprising developments took place in answer to prayer — chieﬂy the prayers that went up from the heart that had known such disappointment and was now rejoicing to see the hand of God working far beyond anything he had asked or thought.
For when Mr. Taylor went on to China, three months later, he did not go alone. Fourteen young men and women accompanied him, a precious gift of God to the Mission from this great continent.
Various denominations were represented, both from the States and Canada, and the gifts and prayers so unexpectedly called forth were but the beginning of a steady stream which has ﬂowed out for China ever since. So great was the interest that a North American Council had to be formed, and at no little sacrifice to himself and his family, Mr. Henry W. Frost, whom God had used to bring it all to pass, undertook to represent and guide the work. It was one of the most fruitful developments to which the Lord ever led in connection with Mr. Taylor’s ministry, and filled with new faith and courage he went on to meet all that was to grow out of it.
For a great step forward had been taken, and from that time onward the China Inland Mission, which had always been interdenominational, became international. Twelve years remained of the active service of Mr. Taylor’s life, and they were years of world-wide ministry. A visit to Scandinavia opened to him the warm hearts of Swedish and Norwegian Christians; Germany sent devoted contingents to work in association with the Mission; Australia and New Zealand welcomed Mr. Taylor as one long known and loved, and the China Council in Shanghai became the center of a greater organization than its founder had ever imagined.
The spiritual overﬂow of those last years was best of all — just the same streams of blessing, only reaching now to the ends of the earth. The impressions of an Episcopalian minister who was Mr. Taylor’s host in Melbourne are interesting in this connection.
He was an object lesson in quietness. He drew from the bank of heaven every farthing of his daily income — “My peace I give unto you.” Whatever did not agitate the Savior or rufﬂe His spirit was not to agitate him. The serenity of the Lord Jesus concerning any matter, and at its most critical moment, was his ideal and practical possession. He knew nothing of rush or hurry, or quivering nerves or vexation of spirit. He knew that there is a peace passing all understanding, and that he could not do without it. …
“I am in the study, you are in the big spare-room,” I said to Mr. Taylor at length. “You are occupied with millions, I with tens. Your letters are pressingly important, mine of comparatively little moment. Yet I am worried and distressed, while you are always calm. Do tell me what makes the difference.”
“My dear Macartney,” he replied, “the peace you speak of is, in my case, more than a delightful privilege, it is a necessity. I could not possibly get through the work I have to do without the peace of God ‘which passeth all understanding’ keeping my heart and mind.”
That was my chief experience of Mr. Taylor.
Are you in a hurry, ﬂurried, distressed? Look up! See the Man in the Glory! Let the face of Jesus shine upon you — the wonderful face of the Lord Jesus Christ. Is He worried or distressed? There is no care on His brow, no least shade of anxiety. Yet the affairs are His as much as yours.
“Keswick teaching,” as it is called, was not new to me. I had received those glorious truths and was preaching them to others. But here was THE REAL THING, an embodiment of “Keswick teaching” such as I had never hoped to see. It impressed me profoundly. Here was a man almost sixty years of age, bearing tremendous burdens, yet absolutely calm and untroubled. Oh, the pile of letters! any one of which might contain news of death, of lack of funds, of riots or serious trouble. Yet all were opened, read and answered with the same tranquility — Christ his reason for peace, his power for calm. Dwelling in Christ, he drew upon His very being and resources, in the midst of and concerning the matters in question. And this he did by an attitude of faith as simple as it was continuous.
Yet he was delightfully free and natural. I can find no words to describe it save the Scriptural expression “in God.” He was in God all the time and God in him. It was that true “abiding” of John fifteen. But oh, the lover-like attitude that underlay it! He had in relation to Christ a most bountiful experience of the Song of Solomon. It was a wonderful combination — the strength and tenderness of one who, amid stern preoccupation, like that of a judge on the bench, carried in his heart the light and love of home.
And through it all, the vision and spiritual urgency of earlier years remained unchanged. Indeed the sense of responsibility to obey the last command of the Lord Jesus Christ only increased, as he came to see more clearly the meaning of the Great Commission.
I confess with shame [he wrote as late as 1889] that the question, what did our Lord REALLY MEAN by His command to “preach the gospel to every creature” had never been raised by me. I had labored for many years to carry the Gospel further afield, as have many others; had laid plans for reaching every unevangelized province and many smaller districts in China, without realizing the plain meaning of our Savior’s words.
“To every creature”? And the total number of Protestant communicants in China was but forty thousand. Double that number, treble it, to include adherents, and suppose each one to be a messenger of light to eight of his own people — and, even so, only one million would be reached. “TO EVERY CREATURE”: the words burned into his very soul. But how far was the Church, how far had he been himself from taking them literally, as intended to be acted upon!
How are we going to treat the Lord Jesus Christ [he wrote under deep conviction] with regard to this last command? Shall we definitely drop the title “Lord” as applied to Him? Shall we take the ground that we are quite willing to recognize Him as our Savior, as far as the penalty of sin is concerned, but are not prepared to own ourselves “bought with a price,” or Christ as having claim to our unquestioning obedience? …
How few of the Lord’s people have practically recognized the truth that Christ is either LORD OF ALL or He is NOT LORD AT ALL! If we can judge God’s Word, instead of being judged by it, if we can give God as much or as little as we like, then we are lords and He is the indebted one, to be grateful for our dole and obliged by our compliance with His wishes. If on the other hand He is Lord, let us treat Him as such. “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
So, all unexpectedly, Hudson Taylor came to the widest outlook of his life, the purpose which was to dominate the closing years of its active leadership: nothing less than a definite, systematic effort to do just what the Master commanded; to carry the glad tidings of His redeeming love to every man, woman and child throughout the whole of China. He did not think that the China Inland Mission could do it all. But he did believe that with proper division of the field the missionary forces of the Church were well equal to the task.
* * * * * But he was not see it in his day. With the willing co-operation of the Mission, a beginning was made in Kiangsi, and plans were maturing for advance all over the field. But in the providence of God a deep baptism of suffering had to come first. The Boxer madness of 1900 swept the country, and the Inland Mission was more exposed to its fury than any other. Mr. Taylor had just reached England after a serious breakdown in health, and under a feeling of concern that she hardly understood, Mrs. Taylor persuaded him to go on to a quiet spot in Switzerland where his health had been restored some years previously.
And there it was the blow fell, and telegram after telegram came telling of riots, massacres, and the hunting down of refugees in station after station of the Mission — until the heart that so long had upheld these beloved fellow-workers before the Lord could endure no more and almost ceased to beat. But for the protection of the remote valley (Davos) where news could in measure be kept from him, Hudson Taylor would have been himself among those whose lives were laid down for Christ’s sake and for China in the oversweeping horror of that summer. As it was, he lived through it, holding on to God.
“I cannot read,” he said when things were at their worst; “I cannot pray, I can scarcely even think — but I can trust.”
* * * * * The Boxer crisis passed and the calm words of a white-haired pastor in Shansi came true:
“Kingdoms may perish,” he said, almost with his last breath, “but the Church of Christ can never be destroyed.”
In this confidence, he and hundreds of other Chinese Christians sealed their testimony with their blood; and in this confidence the witness of faithful lives that had been spared began again.
Mr. D. E. Hoste, whom Mr. Taylor had appointed as his successor, was enabled to deal so wisely with the situation that enemies were turned to friends and the Chinese authorities were not slow to express their appreciation of a literal carrying out of the commands of Christ which meant more, from their point of view, than all the preaching that had gone before.
And Mr. Taylor lived to see the new day of opportunity opening in China; lived to return to the land of his love and prayers. But he returned alone. The beloved companion of many years, who had so brightened the closing days of their pilgrimage together, rests above Vevey, by the Lake of Geneva, where they made their last home. With his son and daughter-in-law — the present writers — he turned his face once more toward China, and at seventy-three years of age made one of the most remarkable itinerations of his lifetime.
How the Christians loved and revered him as he passed from station to station, everywhere welcomed as “China’s Benefactor,” the one through whom the Gospel had reached those inland provinces! After traveling up the Yangtze to Hankow and spending some weeks in the northern province of Hunan, Mr. Taylor was strengthened to undertake one more journey. Little had he ever expected to find himself in Hunan. First of the nine unevangelized provinces to be entered by pioneers of the C.I.M., it had proved by far the most difficult. Adam Dorward, after more than eight years of toil and suffering — homeless, persecuted, escaping from a riot to die alone at last — had rejoiced to give his life in hope of the results we see today. For more than thirty years Mr. Taylor had borne that province upon his heart in prayer, and it was fitting that the last rich joy to come to him should be the loving welcome of Hunan converts. Eagerly the Christians gathered at the capital, in the home of Dr. Frank Keller — the first to obtain permanent residence in the province — looking forward to the services of Sunday with the beloved leader of whom they had heard so much. Those who had come in early enough, met him on Saturday, when also the missionaries in the city attended the reception hospitably planned by Dr. and Mrs. Keller.
* * * * * But it was that evening the call came. No, it was hardly death — just the glad, swift entry upon life eternal.
“My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof!”
And the very room seemed filled with unutterable peace.