CHAPTER 21--OUR PLANS OF USEFULNESS INCLUDING SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH JOURNEYS. DECEMBER 1854-MARCH 1855. AET. 22.

USEFULNESS was what they desired most of all, and it was natural that as the year drew to a close they should consult together and work out careful plans to this end. Dr. Parker, an able, experienced man, had a family to think of, and Hudson Taylor, young as he was, was becoming an efficient missionary. Nothing had yet been heard of the missing Letter of Credit, so that their perplexity with regard to money matters was extreme, and tidings that new missionaries of the L.M.S. were about to sail for China reminded them that even the premises they now occupied would have to be vacated before long. This it was that gave urgency and definiteness to their consultations, and resulted in several letters setting forth " plans of usefulness," that for the next few months largely occupied their thoughts.

" We who are on the field," wrote Hudson Taylor at the end of December, " desire to be as efficient as possible ; and while relying on the blessing of God alone for success, we wish to employ every means in our power to attain it. In this I know you are heartily with us, and I trust that by united prayer and effort and above all through the influence of the Holy Spirit we shall not be disappointed."

And then he went on to outline to the Committee the thoughts they had worked out.

To begin with, a permanent centre was needed and must be obtained without delay. Of the five Treaty Ports open to the residence of foreigners, none was more suitable than Shanghai-within reach of many important cities, and holding a strategic position with regard to mid-China. In Shanghai, therefore, their headquarters should be located. And the next step was equally plain : in Shanghai they must have suitable premises, and that at once.

This again necessitated a certain adequacy of method and equipment, for other missions were there before them, and had established precedents that could not be ignored. Plan as simply as they might, they would at least require a doctor's house and a school-building, in addition to hospital and dispensary. For a chapel they could wait, using meanwhile the receiving-room of the hospital, specially adapted for meetings. From this central station, their plan was to visit the surrounding country and establish branch-schools and dispensaries wherever possible. These would be regularly supervised by one or other of the missionaries, and would become in their turn centres of Christian effort.

It was all admirable no doubt, and the estimate of a thousand pounds for land and buildings was not immoderate. But it was based upon conclusions that in their case were misleading, and just because the good is often the enemy of the best would have thwarted their real life-usefulness, fore-ordained in the purposes of God.

But the letters were sent off, and the New Year given to prayer with these thoughts specially in mind. It was now the depth of winter and exceptionally cold. Hudson Taylor had bought a native boat for half its value, and on frequent excursions to the country was able to purchase fuel and provisions at a lower rate than in Shanghai. This with Mrs. Parker's thrifty housekeeping made such means as they had last as long as possible, but even so it was with difficulty that they could keep one room warm enough for study. Hudson Taylor was working hard at two dialects, a Shanghai teacher coming to him in the daytime, and his Mandarin-speaking pundit at night. He was also carrying on a school, encouraged to find himself well understood by the children.

" I trust that by the time I have been here a year," he wrote, " I shall be able to preach both in Mandarin and in the Shanghai dialect. . . . I should have been further advanced in the latter, of course, had I commenced it on arrival. But I begin to think that I was directed by a higher Wisdom in taking up Mandarin first, and trust that though some delay has been occasioned in getting into work, I shall in the end be fitted for more extensive usefulness."

Eager as he was to make progress with his studies, it was all the more remarkable that the need of the unevangelised regions round about should press so heavily upon his heart. Certainly it was not the season, of the year that tempted him to another journey, nor was it pleasant companionship, for he had to go alone. The condition of affairs, politically, might in itself have been sufficient to hold him back, for a crisis could not long be delayed in the siege of the native city. But little as he realised what it foreshadowed, Hudson Taylor found himself unable to disregard the appeal of the unreached. The ice was broken. He had been on one evangelistic tour already, and had seen how such work could be done. Perhaps it was this that drew him on ? Perhaps it was something deeper, more significant.

SECOND JOURNEY : January 1855 At any rate he set out on January 25, travelling in his own boat. A few miles south of Shanghai, a tributary stream was reached, leading to a district little known to foreigners. Lying between the Hwang-poo river and the coast, the region was one infested with smugglers, and even its larger centres of population had rarely if ever been visited with the Gospel. It was a favourite resort of desperate characters throughout that borderland between two provinces,1 -{1 The province of Kiang-su in which Shanghai is situated, and the province of Cheh-kiang immediately to the south, with Hang-chow and Ning-po among its well-known cities.} and might well have been avoided -by the solitary evangelist had he desired an easy task. Travelling oil far into the night, however, he was conscious of a Presence that precluded fear, and robbed the unknown of its possible terrors.

Far from promising must have seemed the awakening when they found themselves next morning frozen in between high, snow-covered banks, the water covered with a thick coating of ice. To the uninitiated it may sound interesting enough to pole one's way along such a river, breaking a channel for the boat a foot at a time. But any one who has spent long days and nights on a leaky junk, under similar conditions, will not be anxious to repeat the experiment, except for the ends Hudson Taylor had in view.

And these ends were in no wise hindered by the slow progress that was all they could make. Accompanied by a servant to carry books, the young missionary went ashore and walked from hamlet to hamlet. His dress, speech and occupation everywhere aroused the intensest interest, and great was the eagerness to obtain his beautifully bound and printed books. 1- {1-Pah-ko ts'ien ih pun, " Eight cash a copy," is a phrase that early becomes familiar to the missionary who in these days presents his Scriptures for sale rather than free distribution. And certainly they are a wonder at the price (one farthing), printed in clear, large type, and attractively bound in tinted paper covers.}That he was giving these away was not the least part of the wonder, and as village after village turned out to meet him, the schoolmaster or some promising student was put forward to secure as many as possible. It was casting bread indeed " upon the waters," but very definite was his faith in the promise, " It shall accomplish that which I please and . . . prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

Two governing cities were visited on this journey, besides many villages, and a market-town whose population equalled that of both cities combined. It was lonely, trying work, for the people were rough, and the crowding dangerous, and in reading the journal one is surprised at the thoroughness with which it was done. Every street in Chwan-sha was visited, for example, and in each of the suburbs ; all the reading men he could find being supplied with Gospels and tracts. In several temples also addresses were delivered. There was no companion to fall back upon, and unless he preached himself the people might never hear. So looking to the Lord for help, Hudson Taylor made the most of his few sentences, following up long days ashore with hours of medical work and private conversation on the boat at night.

In Nan-hwei, 1-{1 Nan-hwei " Hsien," the latter word standing for a county-town or governing city next in importance to a " Fu."} the crowds were especially turbulent, and a Sunday spent there was memorable both to himself and the local authorities. Alarmed at the news that a foreigner was approaching, orders had been issued to close the principal gate of the city, and keep it locked and barred until after he had withdrawn. Knowing nothing of this defensive movement, Hudson Taylor spent the night outside a gate of secondary importance, unnoticed in his little boat, and early on Sunday morning passed in and went about his work. Meanwhile a sharp look-out was kept on the opposite side of the city, and it was a crestfallen messenger who bore tidings to the Ya-men 2 { 2- The Ya-men is the residence of the local Mandarin.}that the foreigner was already within its walls. Greatly taken aback, the Mandarin sent to learn all he could about the intruder ; and when it proved that he was alone and unarmed, a well-behaved person whose stay would be of short duration, his fears were dispelled, and the East Gate shortly after was reopened to traffic.

The excitement of the people, however, was not so easily allayed, and after a brave attempt at preaching Hudson Taylor had to retire before overwhelming crowds. Knowing that those who were interested would follow him, he took refuge on his boat at a little distance from the city. And a busy day he had of it-receiving the hundreds who came, supplying all who could read with Christian literature, giving medicines to the sick, telling over and over again the main facts of the Gospel, and answering endless questions as to personal matters. Several educated men paid him a visit, two of whom warned the boatmen that it was not safe for a foreigner to be in that district alone and unprotected. But Hudson Taylor, overhearing the conversation, assured them that he had no fear, for the Great God,Creator and Upholder of Heaven and earth, never fails to keep watch over those who put their trust in Him.

So real was this faith that he did not even hesitate, the following day, when urged to go he knew not whither to visit a dying woman. He had just completed a morning's work in the city, and upon reaching the boat found several men from a distance, one of whom had brought a chair and bearers to carry him back to see his suffering wife. They were all earnest in their entreaties that he would accompany them, so in spite of the risk involved in going off with entire strangers, the young missionary set out.

Mile after mile they hurried over the frozen paths until almost benumbed with cold he wondered whether it would be possible to get back that night. Even so he seems to have had no fear. Yet how easily the whole thing might have been a trap ! In that lawless part of the province, with the country in the disturbed state in which it was, nothing was more likely than that he should be seized and held to ransom, or even tortured and killed as a hated foreigner. But, as he had written home the night before

I knew that I was where duty had placed me, unworthy as I am of such a position, and felt that though solitary I was not alone.

The visit proved interesting when their destination was reached. The poor woman was suffering from dropsy, and though great relief could have been afforded under suitable circumstances, it was not possible to operate where she was. Mr. Taylor urged her husband to take her to Shanghai, regretting that he had no hospital into which he could promise to receive her ; and after making what arrangements he could for her comfort, he explained to them simply and fully the message he had come so far to bring. Of course all the village and surrounding hamlets turned out to look and listen, so that his audience was considerable, nor had they ever heard the tidings of redeeming love.

As he was leaving, the husband came up with a fine fowl tied by the legs, which he presented to the " foreign doctor," with many apologies for the insufficiency of his offering. And it was his turn to be surprised when the stranger begged him to set it free, saying with many thanks, that his medicine, like his message, was " without money and without price." Tired though he was on reaching the boat, he had the joy of knowing that in one more home and district the name of Jesus was as ointment poured forth-a sweet fragrance at any rate to God.

Two days later, on the last of January, he was leaving the market-town of Chow-pu, anxious to reach Shanghai that night. But though the boatmen travelled on till nearly morning, it was not until late on February 1 they dropped anchor at their starting-point. Then there were provisions to unload and carry home to replenish Mrs. Parker's supplies before Hudson Taylor could give attention to a matter that was specially on his heart.

A few weeks previously, three men of his acquaintance had been seized in the North Gate house, dragged out of bed in the middle of the night, and handed over as rebels to the local authorities. Upon hearing of it the young missionary had at once sought their release. But though assured that they would soon be at liberty, no charge having been proved against them, the poor fellows were only hurried from prison to prison, everywhere starved and tortured to make them confess alleged crimes. Again and again Hudson Taylor had appealed on their behalf, but as long as there was any chance of extorting money the case seemed hopeless. Now, returning encouraged from his journey, he went once more and to his great joy was successful. The men still lived, and before long he had the satisfaction of seeing them in such comfort as their homes could afford.

But how small a thing it seemed to relieve the sufferings of one group of people amid all the horrors that were going on ! Shanghai was in a worse condition than ever, if that were possible. After more than a year of desultory fighting, the Imperial forces seemed roused at length to take the city. A large new camp quite near the Settlement had cut off the last hope of relief on the landward side, and among the beleaguered garrison famine and disease were doing their deadly work. Terrible indeed was the strain of those days for foreigners and natives alike, for it was only too evident that a wholesale massacre would be the end of the tragedy before their eyes.

Even in the Settlement the position was one of danger. The attempts of the French to take the city had been unsuccessful, and by their manifest futility had impaired the prestige of all the European forces.

" It is openly announced," wrote Hudson Taylor on February 3, " that foreigners are no longer to be feared.... Added to this, the Imperial soldiers are nearer and more numerous than ever, their new Camp being hardly more than a stone's throw from this house. Dr. Parker has already told you of a ball and shell thrown into our compound. . . . So you see we are safe only as protected by Him who is the Shield as well as Sun of His people."

Still more threatening in some ways was the attitude of the rebel party. Their indignation at French interference knew no bounds, and had resulted in a Secret Society for purposes of revenge in which no distinction would be possible between one nationality and another. Alarming rumours were afloat of an attack to be made on the Settlement, and it was well known that should such plans be carried out no help could be relied upon from the Government soldiery, who would gladly see the foreigners massacred that they might share the spoils.

So they were anxious times indeed after Hudson Taylor's return from this second journey, and might well have hindered further aggressive work. But in the midst of it all he was quietly planning another preaching tour, to be taken in company with older missionaries.

THIRD JOURNEY : February to March 1855

Proceeding in a westerly direction, the little party seems to have travelled as far as Tsing-pu on their way to the Soochow Lake. Only the briefest record remains of this itineration, probably because it was curtailed by the fall of the doomed city. For they had not been absent many days when they saw from the top of a hill the smoke of an immense conflagration. So great a fire in that direction could mean but one thing. Shanghai was in flames ! And what of their families in the foreign Settlement ?

Setting out at once to return, their apprehensions were confirmed by Rebel soldiers who came seeking protection. This, of course, the missionaries, themselves defenceless, were unable to afford; and shortly after the poor fellows were taken and beheaded before their eyes. Sadly continuing their journey, they soon came upon abundant traces of the catastrophe that had taken place, and as they passed the native city had to turn away from sights of horror on every hand. But the Settlement was in peace. The uprising of the Triad Society had been averted, and the Imperialists, satiated with slaughter, were too exultant over their achievements to pay much attention to foreigners.

Thus ended in a holocaust of human lives the sufferings of the siege that had been in progress ever since Hudson Taylor's arrival in China, twelve months previously.

Shanghai is now in peace," he wrote on March 4, " but it is like the peace of death. Two thousand people at the very least have perished, and the tortures some of the victims have undergone cannot have been exceeded by the worst barbarities of the Inquisition. The city is little more than a mass of ruins, and many of the wretched objects who have survived are piteous to behold....

" How dreadful is war ! From the South to the North Gate of Shanghai, on one side only, sixty-six heads and several bodies are exposed by the sanguinary Imperialists, including those of old men with white hair, besides women and children. . . . These terrible sights are now so common that they do not upset one as they did at first. But it is impossible to witness them without feelings of intense abhorrence for the Government that permits and even perpetrates such atrocities."

Still the worst was over, and relieved from the strain of that terrible winter the missionaries looked forward to largely increasing their work. Surely now had come the moment for advance. Before the energy of the population round them, a new Shanghai would soon arise upon the ruins. Thousands of people would be flocking in to share the prosperity that enterprise and commerce would create.As far as possible they must purchase land before it was taken up, enlarge their schools, open preaching halls, found hospitals, and take a front rank among the builders of the new time.

All this, it goes without saying, stirred the hearts of Hudson Taylor and his colleague, still anxiously waiting the reply of the Committee. Three months had now elapsed since their plans had been laid before the Society, and communications that had crossed their own had not been encouraging. Old objections had been raised against building in the Treaty Ports, and arguments reiterated in favour of opening new fields to the Gospel. But how they were to live and work until this was possible the letters did not suggest. The missionaries themselves could not believe that this point of view was unalterable. They had stated the case so clearly that its importance must be felt, and surely when their well-considered scheme was laid before the Committee it would be seen to forward the very ends they had themselves in view.

Meanwhile it was more and more difficult to wait on in uncertainty. The American missionary who shared their little house was building premises of his own, but with no hope of completing them before summer. Dr. Parker's Letter of Credit had not come, nor did the Society seem to remember that he had any financial needs. If their privations through the winter had been severe, what would the hot season mean-the dreaded months of summer-in those crowded rooms ?

When all these circumstances are considered, and it is further taken into account that missionaries, even the most devoted, are only human after all, it will not be wondered at that some things were said and felt that hardly seem in keeping with Hudson Taylor's simple faith in God. He was passing through a period of peril for his spiritual usefulness, and was under the influence of friends called to a line of things entirely different from his own. But though carried away for the time, as may be seen from his letters, he was not allowed to involve himself in responsibilities that would have hindered his life-work.

" You are going to have a fine Chapel in Barnsley ! " he wrote to his parents in March. " I wish some wealthy friend would send us a thousand pounds to put up our hospital, school, and other premises, for we are in a shocking position now. With only three rooms to live in, we are obliged to set apart one for callers . . . so that my bedroom has to do duty as study for both Dr. Parker and myself, and I have no place to which I can retire for a moment's privacy from morning till night. . . . What we are to do when the hot weather comes, I cannot imagine.

" We have written to the Society laying a definite plan before them,_ and if they do not take it up we mean to try and carry it through without their aid. If they oppose it, as contrary to their principle of not working in the Ports, we must try to have the principle modified. And if they will not alter and we cannot find other better means of working, it may become a question as to which we shall dispense with-the Society, or our plans of usefulness.

" But you need be under no apprehension on this score.. Our plans will be formed with prudence, in the fear of the Lord, and not without seeking His direction, But useful we must and will be, if the Lord bless us, at any cost.

" Do you think a Bazaar could be got up anywhere, to assist us in the purchase of ground and erection of suitable buildings ? ... . If you could get the ladies interested, it would be sure to succeed.. The sum we want is really so trifling that a few good collections would soon raise either the whole or the greater part."

But side by side with this, which one cannot but see was unlike him, went another, very different development. Strangely the currents mingled at this time-one drawing him to the settled life of the Ports, the other carrying him far afield, to regions beyond any that had yet been reached. He could not even wait for the expected reply of the Committee, so eager was he to set out upon another evangelistic journey. The local Rebellion was at an end, Dr. Parker needed change from study, their boat was lying in the Creek -was it not just the opportunity for a preaching-tour which should include a good deal of medical work ?

FOURTH JOURNEY : March 1855

Deeply interesting was the week that followed. Leaving Shanghai by the Soo-chow Creek they travelled north and west to the county-town of Kia-ting. Many busy places were passed en route, and remarkable openings found for the Gospel ; but limits of space will only admit of our dwelling upon the visit to the Hsien itself, where a novel experience awaited them.

Accustomed as they were to large, excited crowds, they hardly knew what to make of it when grown-up people as well as children fled in terror, so that the streets were literally cleared at their approach. Yet this was what happened in Kia-ting. No one would venture near them, and it was strange to see people of all classes hurrying to the nearest buildings as if for protection from imminent danger.

" Even men," remarked Dr. Parker with grave amusement, " took refuge in their houses as we drew near, hastily shutting the doors ; to which, however, they crowded to look after us as soon as we had passed."

So strong were these unreasoning fears, due to the " bogy stories " in circulation about foreigners, that it is doubtful whether any entrance could have been gained for more favourable impressions but for the influence of the medical work. They were there to heal the sick as well as preach the Gospel, and were wise enough to put it in this order until the hearts of the people were won.

Realising that in all probability they were the first foreigners to visit the city, Dr. Parker and his companion let themselves be seen as much and as openly as possible. They made it known that they were physicians, " able to prescribe for both external and internal complaints," and that on the morrow they would k'an ping, or " investigate diseases," providing each patient gratuitously with the appropriate remedy. This seemed to turn the tide of popular feeling, and as they went about the streets and made the circuit of the city-wall they heard many remarks as to their being span-yen, or " doers of good deeds." The crowds that followed them, still at a respectful distance, so increased that shop-fronts were in danger and the goods exposed for sale were trampled under foot. By retiring to more open parts of the city they were able to save the business-people annoyance, and at the close of a tiring day had the satisfaction of feeling that not a little prejudice had been overcome.

" Long before breakfast," wrote Dr. Parker of the following morning, " the banks of the river were crowded with persons desiring medical aid.... After working hard until 3 P.M., finding we could not possibly see them all, Mr. Taylor selected the more urgent cases and brought them on board the boat. No sooner were those attended to than we were taken to see patients in their own homes who were unable to come to us, and were much gratified to find that we had access to and were welcomed in some of the very houses the doors of which had been shut against us the day before."

What a turning of the tables in favour of the missionary and all due to ointments, pills, and powders, prescribed with sympathy and prayer. After this there was nothing but friendliness as they walked through the city, and they had all they could do during the remainder of the day to supply books to those who came for them. In a temple near the West Gate, a parting address was given to a large concourse of people, many of whom would gladly have detained the visitors. But time and experience alike warned them to leave while they were still welcome, in the hope of repeating the visit later. Even then they were not too weary to land at a neighbouring village before nightfall and seek out those who could read ; after which, travelling slowly on till morning, they were lulled to, sleep by the monotonous rhythm of the oar.

Throughout the remainder of their journey the value of the medicine-chest as an aid to evangelisation was still further proved in a variety of ways. This encouraged Dr. Parker not a little, as did also the eagerness of the people to obtain books and the relative number of those who could read. At one important city the missionaries were kept busy all day long handing Gospels and tracts from the boat to a steady stream of applicants.

" Never have I seen or imagined," wrote the Scotch physician," such opportunities for giving the Word of Life to those who seem anxious to obtain it."

Amongst others who came to them in boats were not a few scholarly men and officials, drawn through interest in the medical work. These visitors were in many cases friendly, and stayed long enough to gain a clear idea of what the missionaries were teaching.

In his report of this journey Mr. Taylor stated that with Dr. Parker's help he had distributed since the beginning of the year,1- {1 A period of only three months : January-March 1855.} three thousand New Testaments and Scripture portions, and more than seven thousand other books and tracts.

" The excursion from which we have just returned," he continued, " was particularly interesting on account of unusually good opportunities for seeing patients as well as scattering the good seed of the Kingdom, and for the illustration it afforded of the scarcely to be exaggerated value of medical work as an aid to missionary labour... .

" The crying need for a hospital was brought home to us afresh by cases in which life or limb could have been saved and chronic diseases relieved had we been able to care for the sufferers.... I sincerely trust that funds for this purpose, and instructions to purchase land and build without delay, are on the way to us ; for we could easily carry on efficient medical work without. interfering with our present operations. . . . The door is widely open and no man can shut it. . . . May our united prayers and efforts result in abundant blessings."

But though these accounts and others of later journeys aroused much interest at home, the thousand pounds needed was not forthcoming. Great indeed was the trial of this long waiting and uncertainty. But the Lord Who understood all that it meant to His servants did not leave them without tokens for good, two of which taking the form of financial help were especially encouraging.

Of these gifts in aid of the work, one was handed to Dr. Parker by a resident, and consisted of fifty dollars toward the purchase of land for a hospital. The other, received by Hudson Taylor himself, had a special interest as being the first that ever came to him apart from the Society for the cause so dear to his heart.

And when one records the name of the donor, Mr. W. T. Berger of Saint Hill, near London, what a vista is opened up into the providence of God. Mr. Berger, a frequent visitor at the Tottenham Meeting, had met the young missionary on one or more occasions before he sailed for China. From his friends the Howards of Bruce Grove and from Miss Stacey he would hear sufficient to awaken interest in the Yorkshire lad, an interest Hudson Taylor's letters from Shanghai could not fail to deepen. The result was this gift of ten pounds, thankfully appropriated toward the support of a child the missionaries were anxious to adopt ; a first step, as they hoped, toward a permanent boarding-school.

But how much more was in the plan of the Great Giver Could Hudson Taylor have foreseen how many hundreds, even thousands of pounds would come to him through the same channel, and the still more important gifts of counsel, sympathy, and brotherly love in the work he and Mr. Berger were to do together for the Lord, how amazed and overwhelmed he would have been ! But all this, and far, far more was being brought to pass by Him Who even then was working out His own purposes in the life of His servant, as in our lives to-day.

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