J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), In China For God (Part 7)
Arranged from the book, "Hudson Taylor And The China Inland Mission. The Growth Of A Work Of God" by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor.
Leading missionaries into the remote western part of the vast country of China had been a great venture of faith for J. Hudson Taylor. But after a time there were one hundred missionaries pioneering in western China. Still, there were many villages, many cities still unreached, and the whole of western China was open to them.
Mr. Taylor, after prayerful consideration, felt led to ask God for seventy more missionaries in three years’ time. How encouraging it was that his fellow missionaries agreed to pray with him daily that God would bring it to pass and this in spite of the fact that finances were low, and the missionaries could well have felt that the funds that came were needed for their own support and not for support of additional missionaries. God had "made their hearts rich in His own love." They must do their part to stop the endless flow of Chinese souls into a Christless eternity – more than a thousand every hour in China alone!
As the missionaries took the step of faith of praying for seventy missionaries, God encouraged their hearts by pouring out of His Spirit upon them in fresh blessing. But faith and love were tested, too. Funds were often short of what was needed. Sometimes only about one-tenth of what was needed came in the homeland remittance. As earnest prayer was made, funds came from friends in China until the basic needs were met. This encouraged the missionaries and reminded them to look to God and not England for their supply.
God gave a special blessing to the China Inland Mission when the "Cambridge Seven" volunteered for service with the mission. These were athletic, scholastic young men of high spiritual caliber who extolled Christ above man and were used to improve the spiritual life of collegians as well as challenge them for China. This was the start of a great movement among university students.
When it again became necessary for Mr. Taylor to part from his wife to preach the Gospel, he was sustained by Jesus and the thought of His sacrifice. As he journeyed into the interior, he had the joy of having one of his sons, now a mature missionary, join him. For twenty-four days they journeyed without passing a single mission station – for there was none.
After the seventy missionaries were given, they began to pray for one hundred fresh laborers. That year ended with one hundred on their way. Then burdened by our Lord’s command to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15), he began to ask the Lord for 1,000 missionaries within the next five years for all forms of missionary work in China. By the close of that period, 1,153 had come, but few of this number went to inland China.
Gradually Mr. Taylor turned over the leadership to other reliable hands. Offices were set up in Canada and the United States. This was by God’s direction, and not by Mr. Taylor’s planning. Christians in Australia also began taking part in the missionary work in China.
A Life That Stood Looking Into
At times things were full of stress and trouble. Days of prayer and fasting helped wonderfully to clear up matters. Mr. Taylor was careful to walk uprightly before God. He would go much out of his way if necessary to do the right thing.
At times the antiforeign feeling was high. Riots ensued. Mr. Taylor’s chief concern was that the missionaries should exhibit true faith at such a time, "setting an example of quietness and confidence in God to the Chinese Christians." Although many stations were threatened, none was actually attacked.
Within thirty years of that memorable morning on the beach when Mr. Taylor had yielded himself to the will of God to evangelize inland China, there were 552 missionaries working with him, mostly in the interior. Most of these had gone out with no means of their own. Their only promise of support was from the One of whom it is written: "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19). God had proved Himself faithful and true to this Word.
Mr. Taylor’s tender, affectionate nature and his self-sacrificing life of arduous toil to take them the Gospel endeared him to the Chinese Christians. The love and gratitude of many of the converts knew no bounds. The rich life in Christ that was now their treasure was due, humanly speaking, to this humble man. One lowly coolie wrote to tell his master that if he suddenly died, it would be because he had prayed that the Lord might take the future years of his own life and add them to the life of Hudson Taylor that he might be spared to labor longer among them.
"Worn Out by Love"
But it was the sad duty of loving hands to lower the body of Hudson Taylor into the soil of the China he loved. There alongside the bodies of his wife and three of his children, overlooking one of China’s great rivers that had carried him on many missions of love, his body awaits that resurrection morning, when amidst thousands of his spiritual children, it will rise at the shout of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Taking the Gospel to the untold millions of inland China was one of the great missionary challenges of the ages. An ordinary, humble, dedicated man who had full trust in the Lord was the instrument God could use to spearhead this thrust. What a lesson to us who live in this hour of great missionary challenge, when millions of souls need to hear the Gospel. The united faith, prayers and dedicated labors of God’s people will, with His blessing, accomplish the impossible. Can God count on you?