CHAPTER 19--A WAY OF ESCAPE NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1854. AET. 22.

IT is put before us as an evidence of the faithfulness of God that for those who trust Him He always has " a way of escape," that no trial may be greater than they can bear. Strong consolation this for the troubled soul ! And Hudson Taylor was to make full proof of it now in his extremity.

For extremity it really was, just after the foregoing letter had been written. Where to go and what to do he knew not, and the Parkers were drawing nearer every day. Without authorisation from the Committee or instructions from Dr. Parker himself, how could he venture upon the expense o( Mr. Burdon's house? And yet it was just what they needed, and might be lost by delay. He had no money to furnish, nor did he know where the rent was coming from ; but at the end of October, looking to the Lord for help and guidance, he obtained at least the refusal of the premises.

Meanwhile the situation of the native city was becoming desperate. The French, in defiance of international law 9 and treaty obligations, were openly taking part in the siege. Their soldiers, " bloodthirsty as tigers," seemed bent as slaughter, and the house at the North Gate daily witnessed scenes of almost fiendish cruelty. It became unendurable at last. The premises next door were deliberately set as fire, with intention to drive the foreigner out, and just at this juncture another offer was made for Mr. Burdon's house. Word was sent to Hudson Taylor that if he wanted it he must take it at once. And so, paying the rent out of his own meagre resources, a home was secured for the family so soon to arrive in the Settlement.

And then, providentially no doubt, he was urged to sublet half the premises. Another missionary was in distress, not knowing where to take his wife and children with safety, and for three rooms was thankful to pay half the rent. True the house was very small for two families, but it was a relief to have his financial obligations lessened and a comfort to be able to help somebody else. So with many regrets at parting from his school-children and neighbours, Hudson Taylor left the scenes in which he had commenced his first direct missionary work, and on Saturday, November 25, returned to a house shared with others on the familiar compound of the London Mission.

Two days later he was again at the North Gate to remove the last of his belongings, when he was recalled by a message from Dr. Lockhart. Hurrying back with many conjectures as to what the summons might mean, he found the doctor at lunch with a pleasant-looking stranger-none other than his own long-expected colleague Dr. Parker. So they had come at last ! And he was only just in time with arrangements for their accommodation.

At first in the joy of meeting and all the excitement of bringing up their belongings from the ship, Hudson Taylor had hardly time to realise how the narrowness of their quarters would strike his new-found friends. But when they were all in them, including the baby whose first appearance had been made at sea, the three rooms seemed even more crowded than he had feared they would be. Strong, sensible Scotch people, the Parkers were quite prepared to put up with hardships, and accommodated themselves to the situation as well as could be expected. But to Hudson Taylor it was a painful experience to have to reveal the pitifulness of his preparations.

If the rooms had been suitably furnished it would have been another matter ; but his Chinese bed, two or three square tables, and half a dozen chairs seem to have been all that he possessed. He had only just moved in on Saturday night, and had not had time to get into working order, and now the sudden advent of a family with all their paraphernalia made confusion worse confounded, and the despair of a thrifty housewife with three little children to provide for may be better imagined than described.

Oh, the trying, difficult days that followed, could they ever be forgotten ! For to make matters worse, the Shanghai community began to call upon the new arrivals, and those with whom Hudson Taylor was acquainted were not sparing in their comments upon what seemed his negligence.

It was all very well for him to live in Chinese style if he liked, and put up with a hundred and one discomforts. But people who knew what was what could not be expected to fall in with such ways. Why had he not furnished their rooms properly, and provided warm carpets and curtains ? Did he not know that children must be protected from the bitter cold of winter ? Had he no stoves in readiness, no proper supply of fuel ? Had he not written to tell them that they would need warm clothes and bedding on their arrival in November ? And as to unpacking and getting settled, how could it be done without shelves or cupboards, chests of drawers or book-cases in which to bestow their belongings ?

All of which was true, no doubt, and unanswerable ; for how could the young missionary let it be known that he had gone far beyond the limits of authorised expenditure in taking the house at all; that he had done it entirely on his own responsibility, and that after paying the first instalment of rent he had been left with only two or three dollars in hand, not enough to cover a week's expenses ?

His hope was, of course, that Dr. Parker would be supplied with all that was necessary, and would be the bearer of instructions from the Society about Missionheadquarters in Shanghai or elsewhere, as well as some more satisfactory arrangement for financial transactions in the future. The very reverse, however, was the case. Dr. Parker had nothing with him but a few dollars for immediate use. He was expecting a Letter of Credit to be awaiting him in Shanghai, understood to have been sent off before he left England. As to supplies, they had abundance of clothing for the Tropics, but had not been at all prepared for cold weather, so that the children were in immediate need of winter outfits. And for the rest, nothing had been said about how they were to live and work in Shanghai, or in what way their salary was to reach them. All this they seem to have taken ,for granted that Hudson Taylor would be able to arrange.

No special anxiety was felt as yet, however. A large mail was waiting their arrival, and among the letters would doubtless be one containing the document on which so much depended. The Secretaries had assured Dr. Parker while he was still in London that his Letter of Credit, if not already on its way to Shanghai, would be there long before his own arrival. But on going through his mail no trace of it appeared. Carefully they read and reread the letters, but although it was taken for granted that he would be at the end of his journey when they reached him, there was no mention whatever of money-matters, or how his needs were to be supplied. The Letter of Credit had evidently been overlooked and forgotten.

Happily another mail was due within a day or two, and that no doubt would put matters right. In the meanwhile, they were thankful for the little preparation Hudson Taylor had been able to make, and with his few dollars and their own laid in a small supply of what was indispensable.

The mail came in. Yes, there were letters from the Secretaries dated September 15, more than three months after the Parkers had left London. There seemed to be no enclosures ; but perhaps they had sent the Letter of Credit direct to their Shanghai Agents, and would mention having done so. No, nothing was said about it. There was positively no allusion to the matter. What could be the meaning of such an omission ? To Dr. Parker it seemed inexplicable. But Hudson Taylor, with more experience of the working of things, was not altogether surprised, and found it less easy to be hopeful, though he acceded to the only suggestion that could be made, that they should go at once to the Agents and enquire. Dr. Parker was satisfied that this must bring a conclusion to their difficulties, so with a light heart as far as he was concerned they presented themselves at the office of Messrs. Gibb, Livingston and Co.

Hudson Taylor had had dealings before with the manager of this firm, and though he had found him a friend in need on more than one occasion, it was not possible to forget the sarcasm of some of his remarks, nor the emphasis with which he said, " the management or rather mismanagement of your Society is very bad." It was with some trepidation, therefore, he introduced Dr. Parker and asked if any advice had been received as to his Letter of Credit.

" No," answered the manager promptly, " none."

" Was it possible," queried Dr. Parker, " that they had heard nothing from the Society as to the amount he was entitled to draw ? "

" It was more than possible," replied the manager, " to judge by past experiences" ; though when he saw how this information was received, he was inclined to be more sympathetic.

Painful as the position was in itself, it was rendered still more so by the necessity they were under of explaining matters to this comparative stranger, with his prompt, efficient, business-like ways, upon whom for the time being they were dependent. If he had not seen fit to advance them money upon such evidence of their genuineness as they could afford, they would have been reduced to sore straights indeed. But his friendliness, both then and after, was the Lord's way of answering their prayers, and providing for them in the absence of the Letter of Credit that for long months did not make its appearance.

Dr. Parker said little about all this, but he must have felt it keenly, and probably all the more so as he came to realise the tempting possibilities opened to him as a medical man in China. How easily he could have supported his family in comfort, had he been willing to turn aside from missionary work. But in spite of poverty and many privations, prolonged all through the winter, spring, and following summer, he and Mrs. Parker held on their way with quiet self-sacrifice that never wavered.

From the first Sunday after landing, he went out regularly with Hudson Taylor to evangelise in the city or surrounding villages, and frequently made longer excursions, giving away tracts and attending to simple ailments, while others more familiar with the language did the talking. And at home in their crowded quarters, he devoted himself assiduously to study. How difficult it was in that small house, shared by another family, no one who has not laboured at Chinese under similar circumstances can begin to imagine. Poor Mrs. Parker did her best to keep the children quiet. But there were three of her own, besides those of the American missionaries, and she often had to go downstairs to attend to household affairs or receive visitors. The lower apartment being necessarily devoted to the uses of drawing-room and dining-room in one, there was nowhere for the doctor to study, a difficulty that could only be met by his sharing Hudson Taylor's room next to the nursery. What they did with their Chinese pundits does not appear. But if both teachers had to work with their respective pupils in that one small chamber, separated only by a partition from a busy mother and three little children, one can well understand Hudson Taylor's difficulty in preserving an unruffled spirit.

" No one who has not experienced it," he wrote, " can understand the effect of such incessant strain on mind and body. 1 {1- Though written at the North Gate house just before the arrival of the Parkers, what he said then seems even more applicable a little later.} It makes one so nervous and irritable that we sorely need your prayers as well as our own to enable us at all times to manifest a proper spirit.

How gracious of God thus to keep us from being deluded into supposing that we are free from the evils that belong to fallen nature, and to make us long the more earnestly for the time when we shall see our blessed Master and be perfected in His likeness. Thank the Lord, there does remain a rest for us. I am so apt to grow weary and selfishly wish I were there, instead of desiring only to do His will and wait His time ; to follow the footsteps of Jesus and finish all that He will give me to do. Indeed, the work of grace seems only just begun in my heart. I have been an unfruitful branch, and need no small amount of pruning. May these present trials result only in blessing, preparing me for more extensive usefulness here and a crown of rejoicing hereafter."

" The continued strain to which I have been subjected of late,"he wrote in another letter, 1-- { 1 To his intimate friend Mr. B. Broomhall, dated November 19, 1854.}" has caused a degree of nervous irritability never before experienced, requiring the greatest watchfulness to prevent the manifestation of an unsuitable spirit before those by whom I am surrounded. What a solemn thing it is to be a witness for God, sent into the midst of heathen darkness to show forth in our lives all that by our words we teach. . . . Pray for me that I may have more grace, humility and reliance on the power of God, that I - may prove henceforth more efficient, by His blessing, in this holy service."

Somewhat different in tone though not less humble in spirit was the first letter addressed to Mr. Pearse after the arrival of Dr. Parker and .his family. In addition to their own difficulties about which he had to write, Hudson Taylor was suffering from imprudent statements in The Gleaner calculated to give serious offence to the L.M.S. missionaries in Shanghai ; " men who," as he put it, " however much you may differ from them in judgment, are more thoughtful for the shelter and support of your missionaries than the Society that sends them out . . . if not more wishful."

" I trust you will not deem it unkind or disrespectful of me," he continued, " to write thus. For though I feel these things and feel them keenly, were it not for the sake of others and the good of the Society I would pass over them in silence. To do this, however, would be unfaithfulness on my part. For not only is it morally wrong and thoughtless in the extreme to act as the Society has acted towards Dr. Parker, but you must surely see that men who can quadruple their salary by professional practice, or double it by taking a clerk's berth will not be likely, if they find themselves totally unprovided for, to continue in the service of the Society. I do not make these remarks with respect to Dr, Parker, who seems thoroughly devoted to the work and by his spirit has encouraged me not a little. But they are true none the less. And I may add that a vacant post at £20o a year, the whole duties of which would not occupy two hours in the evening, did look inviting to me at a time when I had been obliged to incur a responsibility of £120 for rent, and a Resolution upon my last letter to the Committee informed me that missionaries drawing more than was authorised would not have their bills honoured by the Society.

" Dr. Parker arrived on Monday, a week ago to-day, calling forth true gratitude to God for deliverance from the many dangers that had beset their path. Of course he found our half of the house nearly empty, as my few things did not go far in furnishing. The missionaries, when they discovered this lack of preparation, blamed me very much. Could' I. tell them that having paid nearly twenty pounds for rent I had only three dollars left . . . a sum not sufficient to purchase provisions for a week at the present high rate of prices ?

" Fortunately Dr. Parker had a few dollars, for which, however, we had to give twenty to thirty per cent discount to get them into cash. He was not a little surprised to find that Mr. Bird's communication contained no Letter of Credit nor allusion to one. And when I learned that he had none with him, I was no less astonished that my last letter from the Society did not bring it, as you expressed the expectation that by the time of its arrival he would be here.

" The following day we were cheered by receiving another letter from you, dated September r5, but the . . . expectation that it contained the all-important document was soon turned to dismay when it proved that hope deferred was all there was to live on. Now you cannot but see, I am sure, what evidence this is of gross neglect. We do, at any rate. And while we both cherish the warmest and most affectionate regard for many members of the Committee personally, and especially for its Secretaries, we cannot but feel that the Society had acted disgracefully.

" We went to Messrs. Gibb, Livingston and Co., for Dr. Parker felt sure that you had communicated with them, as Mr. Bird promised to do (if it were not already done) when he asked for his Letter of Credit. But they had heard nothing of it, and we could get no money. I asked if any alteration had taken place in my Letter of Credit since the Society augmented my quarterly allowance, but was informed that they had heard nothing of it. To relieve us of our painful embarrassment, Mr. - offered on his own responsibility to cash a Bill for my extra £20, if I would write requesting him to do so, enclosing a copy of that part of your letter which authorised it, and get the extract signed by two merchants. This I have done. He also promised on our producing evidence from the Society's letters or magazines, to cash a Bill for Dr. Parker, endorsed by me, if I would assure him that it was right to do so. But when we went with the necessary papers we found them so busy that they could not attend to us until Tuesday (to-morrow).

" The weather is now exceedingly cold, and not having been led to expect it the Parkers needed an immediate supply of warm clothing. Beds and other articles of furniture were also necessary, as well as food and firing, all of which run into a considerable sum. Though he has said little, I am sure Dr. Parker has felt it keenly. I do trust that you will avoid such occurrences in future, that your missionaries may be spared unnecessary suffering."

Difficulties notwithstanding, they tackled their work bravely, and between long, busy Sundays among the people, settled down as well as they could to study. It was almost impossible to concentrate attention upon the language at this time, for the condition of the people around them was heart-rending. Hundreds were dying . of cold and starvation, and there seemed no hope of relief until one side or other could win a decisive victory.

For still the Rebels would not yield, although the French in violation of their promised neutrality were taking sides more and more against them. A French frigate and steamer stationed opposite the native city deliberately cut off supplies that might have come to it by water, while on land the same end was served by a massive wall built and guarded by French forces. All this, it was becoming evident, was part of a Jesuit policy bent on supporting the reigning dynasty. For the Tai-pings and other insurgents were confessedly hostile not only to idolatry in all its forms, but to Roman priestcraft and image-worship, and to the growing habit of opium-smoking. If success crowned their long and desperate struggle, Romanism as well as opium and idolatry were bound to fall before them, and this was known at the Vatican as well as at the Court of St. James. First the French, therefore, and later on the English lent efficient aid to the Imperial cause, and the activity of the former in Shanghai at this time was the beginning of the foreign interference which ultimately led to the suppression of the Tai-ping movement. Whether this was on the whole a benefit to China is a question beyond the scope of these pages, but what does concern us here is the added misery and suffering that Hudson Taylor and his colleagues were compelled to witness

" From the present aspect of affairs," wrote the former, " I think it all but certain that the French will shell and take the city before long.... If they do it will be an awful affair, for there are thousands of innocent people in the city who will suffer with the guiltiest of the Rebels. It is heart-rending to see and hear what we must from day to day ; and to think of the horrors yet to be endured makes one sick and faint. Oh, when will Jesus come and put an end to all this sin and misery! "

One opportunity Hudson Taylor had of trying to avert the final catastrophy. He had gone into the city to obtain permission for his teacher Si to bring out some members of his wife's family, and was talking with the Rebel leader, Chin A-lin, when a letter was brought in from the English and American Consular authorities. The letter was read aloud and interpreted to the general in the young missionary's presence. It urged upon him the duty of saving the lives of the helpless and innocent people for whom he was responsible, and offered to undertake to have matters peaceably settled on condition of an immediate capitulation upon the best terms the Imperial party could be prevailed upon to make. Hudson Taylor seems to have been the only foreigner present, and realising the issues at stake he did his best to persuade the irate general to consider the letter favourably. -

" I had a great deal of conversation with him," he wrote on the day in question, December 11, " and endeavoured to induce him to accept the mediation proposed.... But he seemed desperate, and would not hear of capitulation, declaring that he would fight to the last and die if need be, but not alone. Dusk compelled me to leave the city, as there seemed no hope of influencing him for the better."

Ever since the arrival of Dr. Parker, this open interference on the part of the French had been rousing the hatred of the Rebel soldiery. Their attitude was becoming menacing, and the Chinese who favoured their cause, both in and around the Settlement, were plotting revenge upon the whole European community. This made evangelistic work both difficult and dangerous, and might not unreasonably have formed an excuse for lessened activity for the time being. But as far as the missionaries on the L.M.S. compound were concerned it had no such effect. Dr. Medhurst and his-colleagues still planned and carried out their excursions to the interior, as well as constant evangelisation in the neighbourhood of Shanghai ; and Dr. Parker made many visits in company with Hudson Taylor to towns and villages within a radius of ten or fifteen miles. Down the Hwang-pu River they went, and up the creeks and canals where shipping congregated, everywhere searching out serious and intelligent persons with whom to leave Scriptures and tracts. In this way in the month of December alone they distributed many hundreds of New Testaments and Gospels, together with a still larger number of tracts explaining the way of life.1-{1- During October, November and the first part of December, Hudson Taylor distributed, with help from Dr. Parker, more than eighteen hundred New Testaments and Scripture portions and two thousand two hundred Christian books and tracts.}

" These have been given with all possible care," wrote Hudson Taylor to the Committee, " and in most cases to men whom we knew were able to read. A considerable number were taken on junks travelling to the northern provinces."

But before the year closed an opportunity came for more aggressive efforts. Mr. Edkins was about to pay his long-deferred visit to Ka-shing, and renewed the invitation to his young friend to accompany him. Eight months previously they had been stopped by the Battle of Muddy Flat, but now the way seemed open, and in spite of the threatening aspect of Shanghai affairs they determined to set out at any rate, and see what could be done.

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