CHAPTER 10--FROM FAITH TO FAITH--JANUARY-MARCH 1852. AET. 19.

" I NEVER made a sacrifice," said Hudson Taylor in later years, looking back over a life in which to an unusual extent this element predominated. But what he said was true. For as in the case in point, the first great sacrifice he was privileged to make for China, the compensations that followed were so real and lasting that he came to see that giving up is inevitably receiving when one is dealing heart to heart with God.

It was so, very manifestly, this winter. In the hour of trial, a step of faith had been taken and a victory won that made it possible for the Holy Spirit to lead him on. Not outwardly only but inwardly he had accepted the will of God, giving up what seemed his best and highest, the love that had become part of his very life, that he might be unhindered in serving and following Christ. The sacrifice was great, but the reward far greater.

" Unspeakable joy," he tells us, " all day long and every day was my happy experience. God, even my God, was a living, bright Reality, and all I had to do was joyful service."

A new tone is perceptible about his letters, which are less introspective from this time onward and more full of missionary purpose. China comes to the front again in all his thinking, and there is a quickened longing for likeness to Christ and unbroken fellowship with Him. Jesus Himself was filling the empty place and drawing His servant on to deeper love and closer following.

" I feel my need of more holiness," he wrote to his sister early in the New Year, " and conformity to Him who has loved us and washed us in His blood. Love so amazing should indeed cause us to give our bodies and spirits to Him as living sacrifices.... Oh, I wish I were ready ! I long to be engaged in the work. Pray for me, that I may be made more useful here and fitted for extended usefulness hereafter." And again a few weeks later:

I almost wish I had a hundred bodies. They should all be devoted to my Saviour in the missionary cause. But this is foolishness. I have almost more than I can do to manage one, it is so self-willed, earthly-minded, fleshly. Constantly I am grieving my dear Saviour who shed for me His precious blood, forgetting Him who never has relaxed His watchful care and protection over me from the earliest moment of my existence. I am astonished at the littleness of my gratitude and love to Him, and confounded by His long-suffering mercy. Pray for me that I may live more and more to His praise, be more devoted to Him, incessant in labours in His cause, fitted for China, ripened for glory.

But though he was happy and full of blessing, his mother at home was not a little troubled. She had a good idea by this time of his surroundings at Drainside, and read between the lines of his own cheery letters. It distressed her to think of what seemed unnecessary privations, especially when she learned from others that he was looking pale and thin.

" I am sorry you make yourself anxious about me," he wrote in January. I think it is because I have begun to wear a larger coat that everybody says, ` How poorly and thin you look ! ' However, as you want to know everything, I have had a heavy cold . . . that lasted a week. But since then I have been as well as ever in my life. I eat like a horse, sleep like a top and have the spirits of a lark. I do not know that I have any anxiety save to be more holy and useful.

"I was in Garden Street on Sunday. We seemed welcome and were heard with great attention. When there, it would save me ten or fifteen minutes' walk if I came home by Drainside.{ 1- Along the little canal, in the dark.} But I always go round at night, though ever so tired, because you wish it. So I am sure you need not be concerned about me. As to my health, I think sometimes I have too much ; for I have such. a flow of spirits ! and often have to restrain myself from idle conversation and jokes. ` In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin.'

"Praise God, I have much to be thankful for. `The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places.' Dr. Hardey talks to me more like a friend than an employer. Of course I know how to keep my place. And I can truly say I am thankful for the reading habits you implanted in me that make me more or less independent of companions."

But the one he sought to comfort was far from satisfied. He was well apparently for the moment, and happy in the Lord, but if this were the line he was taking up what would it mean for the future ? Yes, the future-that was the trouble. In the light of present privations she saw with painful clearness all that life in China might bring. And he was her only son.

Ah, that shrinking of mother-hearts ! God only who made us fully, understands. " He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all," how shall He not fathom the depth of even that anguish. Yes, He has borne it too. God Himself suffered most for a sinning, sorrowing world, and He does not forget. He knows all it costs to give up home and loved ones and go alone to earth's dark places to lay down life itself, it may be, in seeking souls for whom the Saviour died. And He knows too the sacrifice of those who cannot go, but send their dearest-life of their life, soul of their soul-and with bleeding, thankful hearts look up into His face saying, and saying truly, " I have nothing too precious for Jesus."

He did not blame this mother that for a moment she seemed to waver. It is only " through the Eternal Spirit " such sacrifices can ever be unreservedly offered. And for the passing hesitation we may well be thankful, seeing it called forth the following, that might not otherwise have been written.

Do not let anything unsettle you, dear Mother. Missionary work is indeed the noblest mortals can engage in, and angels would be proud,if I may use such an expression, if they could be permitted to share so glorious an undertaking. We certainly cannot be insensible to the ties of nature, but should we not rejoice when we have anything we can give up for the Saviour ? You would be far more unsettled if I were to turn away from this work, and if the Lord were to withdraw His restraining grace and I fell into sin in consequence, would you not ? It is all of His mercy that I am preserved from many of the pitfalls that ensnare other young men.

As to my health, I think I never was so well and hearty in my life. The winds here are extremely searching, but as I always wrap up well I am pretty secure. . . . The cold weather gives me a good appetite, and it would be dear economy to stint myself. So I take as much plain, substantial food as I need, but waste nothing on luxuries. In going to my lodgings I have somehow got into one particular route, and always go the same way and cross at the same place. I have never passed the gate once, and at night the reflection of the lamps and windows opposite are always shining on the Drain.

I have found some brown biscuits which are really as cheap as bread, eighteen pence a stone, and much nicer. For breakfast I have biscuit and herring, which is cheaper than butter (three for a penny, and half a one is enough) with coffee. For dinner I have at present a prune-and-apple pie. Prunes are two or three pence a pound and apples tenpence a peck. I use no sugar but loaf, which I powder, and at fourpence halfpenny a pound I find it is cheaper than the coarser kind. Sometimes I have roast potatoes and tongue, which is as inexpensive as any other meat. For tea I have biscuit and apples. I take no supper, or occasionally a little biscuit and apple. Sometimes I have a rice pudding, a few peas boiled instead of potatoes, and now and then some fish. By being wide awake, I can get cheese at fourpence to sixpence a pound that is better than we often have at home for eightpence. Now I see rhubarb and lettuce in the market, so I shall soon have another change. I pickled a penny red cabbage with three halfpence worth of vinegar, which made me a large jar-full. So you see, at little expense I enjoy many comforts. To these add a home where every want is anticipated, and " the peace of God which passeth all understanding," and if I were not happy and contented I should deserve to be miserable.

I am enlarging on these trifles, though they are not worth writing about, because I know they will interest you and perhaps help you to feel more settled about me. If not, please tell me and I will not do so any more... .

Continue to pray for me, dear Mother. Though comfortable as regards temporal matters, and happy and thankful, I feel I need your prayers. . . . Oh Mother, I cannot tell you, I cannot describe how I long to be a missionary ; to carry the Glad Tidings to poor, perishing sinners ; to spend and be spent for Him who died for me. I feel as if for this I could give up everything, every idol, however dear.

Think, Mother, of twelve millions-a number so great that it is impossible to realise it-yes, twelve million souls in China, every year, passing without God and without hope into eternity, Oh, what need for earnestness in the Church and in individual believers ! Do we not deserve, by our worldly-mindedness, our indolence, our apathy, our ingratitude and disobedience to the Divine command, " Go teach all nations," do we not deserve to experience little of the love of God and the peace of Christianity ?

Oh, it is a noble, an honourable calling I feel my utter unworthiness and unfitness for it. I want more of the Divine life, more of the Spirit of God to make me a faithful servant and witness. Oh for more grace, love, faith, zeal, holiness !

Please tell Father that I have been going to write to him several times this week to say, If he will only go to China and preach the Gospel, I will work like a slave, and live cheap, and send him twentyfive or thirty pounds a year myself until he gets established. Or if he prefers it I will give up my situation and come home and manage the business for him for five or six years. Tell him the voyage would probably lengthen his life. He has a gift for languages. The Rev. William Burns preached his first sermon in Chinese only six months after landing. Does he not think there are plenty of Christians in Barnsley ? But who cares for China ? They are dying, dying, dying, 250,000 every week, without the knowledge of God, of Christ, of salvation. Oh, let us look with compassion on this multitude ! God has been merciful to us : let us be like Him. The cry comes " Help us, Help us ! Will no man care for our souls ? " Can we refuse ?

Shall we whose souls are lighted
With wisdom from on high ;
Shall we to men benighted
The lamp of Life deny ?

I must conclude. Would you not give up all for Jesus who died for you ? Yes, Mother, I know you would. God be with you and comfort you.

Must I leave as soon as I can save money enough to go ? I feel as if I could not live, if something is not done for China.

What a glimpse is here afforded into his deeper life during that winter at Drainside ! " I cannot tell, I cannot describe how I long to be a missionary, to carry the Glad Tidings to poor, perishing sinners. . . . For this I could give up everything, every idol, however dear . . . I feel as if I could not live if something is not done for China."

This was no mere emotion, no superficial interest that might give place to considerations of personal advantage.

It was not that he had taken up missionary work as a congenial branch of Christian activity, but that the need of the perishing in heathen lands, the need and longing of the heart of Christ-" them also I must bring "-had gripped him and held him fast. He believed that the heathen are perishing, and that without a knowledge of the one and only Saviour they must be eternally lost. He believed that it was in view of this, and because of His infinite love, that God had given " His only-begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." And these convictions pledged him to the only life possible in view of such stupendous facts-a life wholly given to making that great redemption known, especially to those who had never heard.

Yet much as he longed to go, and go at once, there were considerations that held him back.

" To me it was a very grave matter," he wrote of that winter, " to contemplate going out to China, far from all human aid, there to depend upon the living God alone for protection, supplies, and help of every kind. I felt that one's spiritual muscles required strengthening for such an undertaking. There was no doubt that if faith did not fail, God would not fail. But what if one's faith should prove insufficient ? I had not at that time learned that even 'if we believe not, yet He abideth faithful, He cannot deny Himself.' It was consequently a very serious question to my mind, not whether He was faithful, but whether I had strong enough faith to warrant my embarking in the enterprise set before me.

O 'When I got out to China,' I thought to myself, ' I shall have no claim on any one for anything. My only claim will be on God. How important to learn, before leaving England, to move man through God by prayer alone."'

He knew that faith was the one power that could remove mountains, conquer every difficulty and accomplish the impossible. But had he the right kind of faith ? Could he stand alone in China ? Much as he longed to be a missionary, would such faith as he possessed be sufficient to carry him through all that must be faced ? What had it carried him through already, here at home ?

He thankfully realised that faith, the faith he longed for, was a " gift of God," and that it might " grow exceedingly." But for growth, exercise was needed, and exercise of faith was obviously impossible apart from trial. Then welcome trial, welcome anything that would increase and strengthen this precious gift, proving to his own heart at any rate that he had faith of the sort that would really stand and grow.

And here it should be remembered that in taking this attitude before the Lord, Hudson Taylor was wholly earnest and sincere. He was bringing " all the tithes into the storehouse," a most important consideration ; living a life that made it possible for him to exercise faith to which God could respond in blessing. In a word, there was no hindrance in himself to the answer to his prayers ; and experiences followed that have been made an encouragement to thousands the wide world over.

The story though well known will bear repeating here, illustrating as it does the only principle of growth in spiritual things, " From faith to faith " ; the law reiterated by our Lord Himself, " He that hath, to him shall be given."

" To learn before leaving England to move man through God by prayer alone," this and nothing less was the object Hudson Taylor had before him now, and it was not long before he came to see a simple, natural way of practising this lesson.

At Hull my kind employer, always busy, wished me to remind him whenever my salary became due. This I determined not to do directly, but to ask that God would bring the fact to his recollection, and thus encourage me by answering prayer.

At one time as the day drew near for the payment of a quarter's salary I was as usual much in prayer about it. The time arrived, but Dr. Hardey made no allusion to the matter. I continued praying. Days passed on and he did not remember, until at length on settling up my weekly accounts one Saturday night, I found myself possessed of only one remaining coin, a half-crown piece. Still, I had hitherto known no lack, and I continued praying.

That Sunday was a very happy one. As usual my heart was full and brimming over with blessing. After attending Divine Service in the morning, my afternoons and evenings were taken up with Gospel work in the various lodging-houses I was accustomed to visit in the lowest part of the town. At such times it almost seemed to me as if heaven were begun below, and that all that could be looked for was an enlargement of one's capacity for joy, not a truer filling than I possessed.

After concluding my last service about ten o'clock that night, a poor man asked me to go and pray with his wife, saying that she was dying. I readily agreed, and on the way to his house asked him why he had not sent for the priest, as his accent told me he was an Irishman. He had done so, he said, but the priest refused to come without a payment of eighteen pence which the man did not possess, as the family was starving. Immediately it occurred to my mind that all the money I had in the world was the solitary half-crown, and that it was in one coin; moreover, that while the basin of water-gruel I usually took for supper was awaiting me, and there was sufficient in the house for breakfast in the morning, I certainly had nothing for dinner on the coming day.

Somehow or other there was at once a stoppage in the flow of joy in my heart. But instead of reproving myself I began to reprove the poor man, telling him that it was very wrong to have allowed matters to get into such a state as he described, and that he ought to have applied to the relieving officer. His answer was that he had done so, and was told to come at eleven o'clock the next morning, but that he feared his wife might not live through the night.

" Ah," thought I, " if only I had two shillings and a sixpence instead of this half-crown, how gladly would I give these poor people a shilling ! " But to part with the half-crown was far from my thoughts. I little dreamed that the truth of the matter simply was that I could trust God plus one and-sixpence, but was not prepared to trust Him only, without any money at all in my pocket.

My conductor led me into a court, down which I followed him with some degree of nervousness. I had found myself there before, and at my last visit had been roughly handled. My tracts had been torn to pieces and such a warning given me not to come again that I felt more than a little concerned. Still, it was the path of duty and I followed on. Up a miserable flight of stairs into a wretched room he led me; and oh, what a sight there presented itself ! Four or five children stood about, their sunken cheeks and temples all telling unmistakably the story--of slow starvation, and lying on a wretched pallet was a poor, exhausted mother, with a tiny infant thirty-six hours old moaning rather than crying at her side, for it too seemed spent and failing.

" Ah ! " thought I, " if I had two shillings and a sixpence, instead of half-a-crown, how gladly should they have one-and-sixpence of it." But still a wretched unbelief prevented me from obeying the impulse to relieve their distress at the cost of all I possessed.

It will scarcely seem strange that I was unable to say much to comfort these poor people. I needed comfort myself. I began to tell them, however, that they must not be cast down ; that though their circumstances were very distressing there was a kind and loving Father in heaven. But something within me cried, " You hypocrite! telling these unconverted people about a kind and loving Father in heaven, and not prepared yourself to trust Him without a half-a-crown."

I was nearly choked. How gladly would I have compromised with conscience, if I had had a florin and a sixpence ! I would have given the florin thankfully and kept the rest. But I was not yet prepared to trust in God alone, without the sixpence.

To talk was impossible under these circumstances, yet strange to say I thought I should have no difficulty in praying. Prayer was a delightful occupation in those days. Time thus spent never seemed wearisome and I knew no lack of words. I seemed to think that all I should have to do would be to kneel down and pray, and that relief would come to them and to myself together.

" You asked me to come and pray with your wife," I said to the man, " let us pray." And I knelt down.

But no sooner had I opened my lips with " Our Father who art in heaven," than conscience said within, " Dare you mock God ? Dare you kneel down and call Him Father with that half-crown in your pocket ? "

Such a time of conflict then came upon me as I have never experienced before or since. How I got through that form of prayer I know not, and whether the words uttered were connected or disconnected I cannot tell. But I arose from my knees in great distress of mind.

The poor father turned to me and said, " You see what a terrible state we are in, sir. If you can help us, for God's sake do ! "

At that moment the word flashed into my mind, " Give to him that asketh of thee. " And in the word of a King there is power.

I put my hand into my pocket and slowly drawing out the halfcrown, gave it to the man, telling him that it might seem a small matter for me to relieve them, seeing that I was comparatively well off, but that in parting with that coin I was giving him my all ; what I had been trying to tell them was indeed true-God really was a Father, and might be trusted. The joy all came back in full floodtide to my heart. I could say anything and feel it then, and the hindrance to blessing was gone-gone, I trust, forever,

Not only was the poor woman's life saved ; but my life, as I fully realised, had been saved too. It might have been a wreck-would have been, probably, as a Christian life-had not grace at that time conquered, and the striving of God's Spirit been obeyed.

I well remember how that night, as I went home to my lodgings, my heart was as light as my pocket. The dark, deserted streets resounded with a hymn of praise that I could not restrain. When I took my basin of gruel before retiring, I would not have exchanged it for a prince's feast. I reminded the Lord as I knelt at my bedside of His own Word, " He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord " ; I asked Him not to let my loan be a long one, or I should have no dinner next day. And with peace within and peace without, I spent a happy, restful night.

Next morning for breakfast my plate of porridge remained, and before it was finished the postman's knock was heard at the door, I was not in the habit of receiving letters on Monday, as my parents and most of my friends refrained from posting on Saturday, so that I was somewhat surprised when the landlady came in holding a letter or packet in her wet hand covered by her apron. I looked at the letter, but could not make out the handwriting. It was either a strange hand or a feigned one, and the postmark was blurred. Where it came from I could not tell. On opening the envelope I found nothing written within ; but inside a sheet of blank paper was folded a pair of kid gloves, from which, as I opened them in astonishment, half-a sovereign fell to the ground.

"Praise the Lord," I exclaimed. "Four hundred percent for twelve hours' investment-that is good interest! How glad the merchants of Hull would be if they could lend their money at such a rate." Then and there I determined that a bank that could not break should have my savings or earnings, as the case might be--a determination I have not yet learned to regret.

I cannot tell you how often my mind has recurred to this incident, or all the help it has been to me in circumstances of difficulty in afterlife. If we are faithful to God in little things, we shall gain experience and strength that will be helpful to us in the more serious trials of life.

But this was not the end of the story, nor was it the only answer to prayer that was to confirm his faith at this time. For the chief difficulty still remained. Dr. Hardey had not remembered ; and though prayer was unremitting, other matters appeared entirely to engross his attention.. It would have been so easy to remind him. But what then of the lesson upon the acquirement of which Hudson Taylor felt his future usefulness depended-" to move man through God, by prayer alone. "

" This remarkable and gracious deliverance," he continued, " was a great joy to me as well as a strong confirmation of faith. But of course ten shillings however economically used will not go very far, and it was none the less necessary to continue in prayer, asking that the larger supply which was still due might be remembered and paid. All my petitions, however, appeared to remain unanswered, and before a fortnight elapsed I found myself pretty much in the same position that I had occupied on the Sunday night already made so memorable. Meanwhile I continued pleading with God more and more earnestly that He would Himself remind Dr. Hardey that my salary was due.

" Of course it was not the want of money that distressed me. That could have been had at any time for the asking. But the question uppermost in my mind was this : `Can I go to China ? or will my want of faith and power with God prove so serious an obstacle as to preclude my entering upon this much-prized service ? '

" As the week drew to a close I felt exceedingly embarrassed. There was not only myself to consider. On Saturday night a payment would be due to my Christian landlady, which I knew she could not well dispense with. Ought I not, for her sake, to speak about the matter of the salary ? Yet to do so would be, to myself at any rate, the admission that I was not fitted to undertake a missionary enterprise. I gave nearly the whole of Thursday and Friday, all the time not occupied in my necessary employment, to earnest wrestling with God in prayer. But still on Saturday morning I was in the same position as before. And now my earnest cry was for guidance as to whether I should still continue to wait the Father's time. As far as I could judge I received the assurance that to wait His time was best, and that God in some way or other would interpose on my behalf. So I waited, my heart being now at rest and the burden gone.

" About five o'clock that Saturday afternoon, when Dr. Hardey had finished writing his prescriptions, his last circuit for the day being taken, he threw himself back -in his arm-chair, as he was wont, and began to speak of the things of God. He was a truly Christian man, and many seasons of happy fellowship we had together. I was busily watching, at the time, a pan in which a decoction was boiling that required a good deal of attention. It was indeed fortunate for me that it was so, for without any obvious connection with what had been going on, all at once he said

'By the by, Taylor, is not your salary due again ? '

" My emotion may be imagined. I had to swallow two or three times before I could answer. With my eye fixed on the pan and my back to the doctor, I told him as quietly as I could that it was overdue some little time. How thankful I felt at that moment ! God surely had heard my prayer and caused him in this time of my great need to remember the salary without any word or suggestion from me. He replied,

"'Oh, I am so sorry you did not remind me ! You know how busy I am. I wish I had thought of it a little sooner, for only this afternoon I sent all the money I had to the bank. Otherwise I would pay you at once."

" It is impossible to describe the revulsion of feeling caused by this unexpected statement. I knew not what to do. Fortunately for me the pan boiled up and I had a good reason for rushing with it from the room. Glad indeed I was to get away and keep out of sight until after Dr. Hardey had returned to his house, and most thankful that he had not perceived my emotion.

" As soon as he was gone I had to seek my little sanctum and pour out my heart before the Lord for some time before calmness, and more than calmness, thankfulness and joy were restored. I felt that God had His own way, and was not going to fail me. I had sought to know His will early in the day, and as far as I could judge had received guidance to wait patiently. And now God was going to work for me in some other way.

"That evening was spent, as my Saturday evenings usually were, in reading the Word and preparing the subject on which I expected to speak in the various lodging-houses on the morrow. I waited perhaps a little longer than usual. At last about ten o'clock, there being. no interruption of any kind, I put on my overcoat and was preparing to leave for home, rather thankful to know that by that time I should have to let myself in with the latchkey, as my landlady retired early. There was certainly no help for that night. But perhaps God would interpose for me by Monday, and I might be able to pay my landlady early in the week the money I would have given her before had it been possible.

"Just as I was about to turn down the gas, I heard the doctor's step in the garden that lay between the dwelling-house and Surgery. He was laughing to himself very heartily, as though greatly amused. Entering the Surgery he asked for the ledger, and told me that, strange to say, one of his richest patients had just come to pay his doctor's bill. Was it not an odd thing to do ? It never struck me that it might have any bearing on my own case, or I might have felt embarrassed. But looking at it simply from the position of an uninterested spectator, I also was highly amused that a man rolling in wealth should come after ten o'clock at night to pay a bill which he could any day have met by a cheque with the greatest ease. It appeared that somehow or other he could not rest with this on his mind, and had been constrained to come at that unusual hour to discharge his liability.

"The account was duly receipted in the ledger, and Dr. Hardey was about to leave, when suddenly he turned and handing me some of the banknotes just received, said to my surprise and thankfulness

"'By the way, Taylor, you might as well take these notes. I have no change, but can give you the balance next week.'

" Again I was left, my feelings undiscovered, to go back to my little closet and praise the Lord with a joyful heart that after all I might go to China. To me this incident was not a trivial one ; and to recall it sometimes, in circumstances of great difficulty, in China or elsewhere, has proved no small comfort and strength."

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