CHAPTER 24--EMPTIED FROM VESSEL TO VESSEL INCLUDING SEVENTH JOURNEY--JUNE-AUGUST 1855, AET. 23.

SUMMER was now in possession of the Settlement, and it was a warm welcome Hudson Taylor received in more ways than one on his return to Ma-ka-k'uen. The little house was still as crowded as ever, and there seemed no prospect of relief for this season at any rate ; but grace was found sufficient for the daily needs, even when these extended into long, breathless nights, when sleep was well-nigh impossible for the heat. If only the rats had not been so lively the nights would have been less trying. But whether the temperature excited them or not, they were aggressive in the extreme, running all over the room and even jumping on the beds in their nocturnal carousals.

Yet, how thankful Hudson Taylor and his fellow-workers were for the shelter of even these indifferent quarters ! Anything better, indeed anything they could live in at all 1 was still unattainable, in spite of the reconstruction that was going on apace. So that worse than staying on in those three rooms all summer would be having to leave them when they were needed for reinforcements expected by the L.M.S. This could not be for several months however, and meanwhile provision would surely be made for mission-premises of their own. Hope deferred, they found, was but poor diet for cheerfulness under the circumstances ; but the Committee was slow in replying to their communications of the previous December, and there was nothing for it but to wait on, working in such ways as were open to them through the hot season. All through July and August, while travelling was impracticable, Hudson Taylor carried on a daily service in the Shanghai dialect for their teachers, servants and others who wished to join them. This opportunity of giving regular instruction to the same set of people was a great joy to him, and all the more so when it seemed to be bearing fruit. A sudden death occurring in the neighbourhood from cholera, he made the most of the opportunity to urge the importance of immediate salvation from sin and its eternal consequences. A few days later he alluded to the circumstances again, asking if any of his hearers had definitely come to God for pardon through faith in Jesus Christ. Pausing a moment, perhaps hardly expecting an answer, what was his thankfulness when Kuei-hua the young cook said earnestly, " I have."

This open confession before his fellow-servants meant a great deal.

" I do hope," wrote Hudson Taylor, " that he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Though not without faults, he is greatly changed for the better. For some months we have not detected him in falsehood or dishonesty of any kind, which is saying a good deal." 1 {1-This young man, a brother of the pupil they had adopted on the strength of Mr. Berger's gift, proved increasingly satisfactory as time went on, and was the first convert Mr. Taylor baptized in China.}

The school meanwhile was also doing well, though their adopted pupil was still the only boarder. On his return from the Yang-tze Mr. Taylor had found a room to let in the native city, in a quarter where no missionary work was being carried on. This he gladly rented, moving the school from the Settlement early in June. Now, with an excellent teacher, it was exercising an influence for good amid the large population of the South Gate and its busy suburb.

On Sunday, when the ordinary routine was suspended, the schoolroom was well filled for a Gospel service, and several times through the week Dr. Parker came down to see patients and dispense medicines. Both there and in a room he had secured across the river,2 {2- This dispensary and " outstation " Dr. Parker opened in May, when he had been about six months in China. It was in the town of Yang-king, across the Hwang-poo river, a few miles east of Shanghai.} the medical work brought large numbers of people round them and afforded excellent opportunities for preaching. These Mr. Taylor supplemented with excursions to the surrounding country, often walking many miles from village to village and preaching four or five times in the open air. All this in addition to language-study made it necessary somewhat to curtail his correspondence as compared with the previous summer, but on Sunday evenings when the work of the day was done he still found time for letters that revealed much of his inner life.

" I have been spending an hour," he wrote one close evening in August, " in happy communion with Him whose wondrous grace has called and numbered me with His people. The more I see of myself and the more I learn of Him, the more I am astonished that He can ever have given me a place among His children. It is only at the foot of the cross we see ourselves, the world, and God in the true light..:. There alone can we form true impressions ... and how far short they still fall of the reality ! But I must conclude. My walking to-day (about six miles) and three services, with the thermometer at goo F. in the shade, has made me feel worn out."

And on a later Sunday : " I do indeed need your prayers. To work on without seeing results takes much faith, and mine is so weak. What a beautiful hymn that is of Wesley's,

Give to the winds thy fears;

Hope and be undismayed:

God hears thy sighs, and counts thy tears;

God shall lift up thy head. 1-{1-Paul Gerhardt ; translated by John Wesley.}

" What I need is more faith, more intimate communion with God.... We can impart that only which we first receive.. The disciples could make the people sit down, but Jesus must bless the bread and give it to them ere they could break it to the multitude. Oh that we may be much with Jesus ; may be enabled to feed many with the Bread of Life, and finally have an abundant entrance into the abode where holiness ever reigns."

But all the while he was carrying on this settled work in and around Shanghai, Hudson Taylor was longing to be farther afield. Only the heat of summer that made travelling dangerous kept him so in Shanghai, for all he had seen and experienced on recent journeys was calling with the claim of a greater need.

One itineration indeed had been attempted since the beginning of June, which though cut short by illness was to have an important bearing on his future as well as on that of Dr. Parker. Accompanied by Mr. Burdon they had set out on a preaching tour that was to include a visit to Ning-po for partial rest and change. Missionaries of several societies were at work in that important city, and the blessing of God was manifestly resting upon their labours. Hudson Taylor and his colleague looked forward therefore to much help from this visit, far though they were from realising all it was to bring into their lives.

SEVENTH JOURNEY : June 11-25

On the way down to Ning-po, four governing cities and a number of towns were visited. Forty miles south of Shanghai they reached the coast at Che-lin, a deserted Hsien. Pirates swarmed in the neighbourhood, and people had taken refuge further back from the seashore.

Next day, at the border of the Cheh-kiang province, Mr. Taylor separated from his companions in order to visit on foot several places to which the boat could not take them. This gave him an opportunity of climbing the Cha-pu bills, from which an extensive view was obtained over Hangchow Bay, with its beautiful islands. Reaching the city of Cha-pu some hours before sunset, he preached in the temple of the Mother of Heaven, the sailor's special divinity, and distributed his remaining books.

A comfortless night followed, for he missed his friends and was not able to get back to the boat. Having no bedding or luggage, he might have hunted in vain for an inn that would receive him, and it is more than likely that he and his servant would have had to spend the night in the streets but for the kindness of an elderly woman who had compassion on them. It was already late when she took them into her house, the first Chinese home to welcome the young missionary, and glad enough he was of the rice-gruel and straw bed that was all it could afford.

After a long hunt, his missing companions were found the following morning, and together they spent the day in preaching and tract-distribution throughout the city. Cha-pu, a large and busy place, was protected from pirates by a garrison of Manchu soldiers, and the trade carried on in salted fish and such-like commodities was considerable. It was the point of embarkation also for Ning-po and other great cities, and was well supplied in consequence with seagoing junks.

Engaging one of these to take them across the Bay, the missionaries went on board in the evening to find the cabin they had expected to occupy full already with passengers, and that more were crowding in. This was disconcerting, and it did not mend matters when the captain, siding with the majority, declared that his boat was a passenger-boat, although the missionary party had paid for all the accommodation. Finally a compromise was arranged. As many as could find room enough to lie down were allowed to remain, including the foreigners, and the rest were turned away without compunction. It was Hudson Taylor's first night on a passenger-boat-first of so many !

Starting at midnight, they found themselves at Ha-pu the following morning, and all that day was spent in rowing up one of the many streams by which Ning-po is reached. Twilight fell upon the guardian hills as the travellers made their way through the multitudinous craft that line the chief approaches to the city, and from the darkness of the narrow streets it was good to be welcomed in the hospitable mission-house to which Mr. Burdon led the way.

Here as guests of Mr. and Mrs. Cobbold the next few days were spent, days which to the visitors were full of interest, introducing them to a peculiarly united community in which they were received with great kindness. Eleven foreigners in all represented several English and American Societies, and there was in addition an excellent school carried on by a lady of independent means, 1-{1 Miss Aldersey, an English lady who six years before China was opened to the residence of foreigners had settled in Java to work among Chinese women there. After the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 she was the first to commence a school for girls on Chinese soil-coming to Ning-po in 1843 as one of the pioneer missionaries to settle in that city.} assisted by the orphan daughters of the Rev. Samuel Dyer. His had been a much-loved name among the earliest group of missionaries to the Chinese, and these young ladies though only eighteen and twenty years of age were already fluent in the language and very useful in the work to which their lives were given.

One thing only seemed lacking to the all-round development. of the Ning-po Missions. There was no hospital. The missionaries felt this drawback keenly, and as they came to know something of Dr. Parker a new hope sprang up which resulted in a unanimous invitation to the Scotch physician to join them. But this was not until he and his companions had returned to Shanghai, greatly benefited by their change, and linked for the future, little as they suspected it, with lives in Ning-po that had touched their own.

The return journey was to have been given to further evangelisation ; but hardly had they left the city when a messenger overtook them, bringing news of the serious illness of Mr. Burdon's only child. It was not yet a year since the young mother had been taken, and the thought of the little one suffering and perhaps dying in his absence was too much for the father's heart. He felt he must hasten back at once, and his friends decided to accompany him. It was well they did, for Hudson Taylor had already been very poorly in Ning-po, and further illness was only warded off until Shanghai was reached, showing that he was in no condition for travelling during the hot season.

The next two months were spent, therefore, as we have seen, in and around the Settlement. But though this temporary work was encouraging and full of promise, it was accompanied by no little trial as to their position and prospects. Gradually it was becoming evident that the Society was not prepared to endorse their suggestion with regard to mission headquarters in any of the Treaty Ports. It was a matter of principle with the Committee not to put money into bricks and mortar, even though it seemed that their representatives could be housed in no other way. But their veto upon the carefully thought-out scheme laid before them did not come all at once ; and meanwhile the far-away missionaries were not forgotten by Him who sees the end from the beginning.

It is easy enough now for us to realise that the Shanghai idea, as far as they were concerned, was a mistaken one, but it was anything but easy for them. Dr. Parker had not yet received the invitation to Ning-po, and Hudson Taylor, eager though he was to go inland, knew all too well the seriousness of such an undertaking and the need for a good home base.

" It is hard to be ever on the move," he had written to his sister after their return from Ning-po,1- { 1 In a letter dated June z8, 1855} " and to have no settled dwelling. I have some thought of buying a set of Chinese garments soon, and seeing how I could get on with them. If I could get a little place somewhere in the interior, perhaps I might settle down and be useful.As things are at present, we cannot hope to see much fruit-for we have no station, no chapel, no hospital, no house even of our own....

" The future is in the hands of God.... There we must leave it. . . . Pray for me, for I am very weak and unworthy, and have been a good deal tried of late."

And no wonder, when one considers the conditions under which they were living, and the exhausting heat of summer. But the point specially worthy of notice is the changed attitude of the writer since his last letter on the subject three months previously.2- {2- See Chap 22, P. 273.}Then it had been-Our plans are laid before the Society : if they do nothing, we mean to try and carry them out ourselves : if they oppose, it may become a question as to which we shall dispense with, the Society, or our plans of usefulness. Now it was -Chinese dress, a little place somewhere in the interior, and, above all, a future left in the hands of God. How great a difference ! The Lord had had time to work. And as always in His providence, the moulding force came not only from outward circumstances, but from the development of His life within.

Do we not need to remind ourselves in these days especially in connection with His service, of the danger of impatience and taking things too much into our own hands ? If we are really waiting on God and doing His will, hindrances that are not removed are safeguards, keeping us from mistaken courses, and bringing about the preparation of spirit necessary in ourselves before His best can be given.

It does not always seem so. How little could Hudson Taylor have imagined that, even before the answer to those January letters could be received, his own outlook would be so changed that he would no longer cling to what had then seemed desirable ? How little could Dr. Parker have foreseen that before summer was over he would be called to a more important and congenial sphere ? And how little can we tell all we are being delivered from by our very limitations, or the wider service to which the Lord is leading in ways beyond our ken ? So let us thank God from our hearts for trials that are not removed, though brought before Him in believing prayer, and praise Him for answers that seem long in coming, knowing the delay is needed to make us ready to receive them.

Thus Hudson Taylor and his colleague were being really led of God, though August only seemed to bring a climax to their difficulties. What was the Lord's guidance in it all ? That was the question.

" Many reasons," wrote Hudson Taylor, 1-{1 A letter to his parents dated July 24. 1855.} " make me desire to go to Ning-po with the Parkers, but there are also many against it. There are already fourteen missionaries there, . . . and they are working the field well and in much peace and unity. Shanghai is not nearly so well worked, with more than double the number of missionaries.The Ning-po dialect, I must confess, is no attraction, though once learned it would no doubt increase my opportunities of usefulness.There may be something of laziness in it, but I do feel this is an objection against going to a new district.... Expenses are less there than in Shanghai. If I stay here I shall certainly have to move, for our co-tenants are leaving in about a month (their new house is just finished), and the whole rent of these premises would be far more than I can afford.

" So you see that I am as unsettled as to my future prospects as the first day I landed in China. I am waiting on the Lord for guidance. Meanwhile, my thought is to stay on here in Shanghai if possible, at any rate for the present. I feel as if my work here were not done. But eventually I may go to Ning-po, if my efforts to obtain a footing in the interior should fail in this district. It does seem as if I never should be settled ! I do long for a helpful companion with whom I could take counsel and have real sympathy of mind and feeling, and to be fixed somewhere in good, regular work."

But there was something more important still, if his prayers for usefulness were to be answered as fully as the Lord was able and willing to answer them. Moab, we are told, was." at ease from his youth, . . . settled on his lees, . . . not emptied from vessel to vessel "-a poor, inferior quality of wine of which nothing could be made." Therefore, his taste remained in him and his scent is not changed." 1 {1- Jeremiah 48:11}. But the life that was to be made a blessing the wide world over must pass through a very different process, including much of that emptying and re-emptying " from vessel to vessel," so painful to the lower nature, from which we are being refined.

Leave to His sovereign sway

To choose and to command ;

So shalt thou wondering own His way,

How wise, how strong His hand.

Far, far above thy thought

His counsel shall appear,

When fully He the work hath wrought

That caused thy needless fear.

It was August 6 when the long-expected came at length, and Hudson Taylor and his colleague received notice that the house they were occupying must be vacated by the end of September. Two new missionaries were on the way from England and would require the premises.

And just then, strangely enough, further letters from their own Committee put a final veto upon their plans for Shanghai as a permanent centre. No, they were not to build, though permission was given Dr. Parker to rent rooms for a dispensary. How or where they were to live was left a matter of uncertainty, the Committee apparently having no suggestion to make. 1-{1- On September 7, writing to his mother, Hudson-Taylor alluded to their disappointment as follows " The hospital project for here, as you will see, is over. The Society's objection is not, 'We cannot do it.' . Had that been all, I believe we here could. But they say, ' Our professed intentions are not to work in the five Ports, but in the interior. We do not wish our representatives to spend money in Shanghai.' "} Well was it for the much-tried missionaries that the Lord had not overlooked this im portant detail, but was caring for His workers as well as for the best interests of His work.

Another letter, also received early in August, gave full proof of this. Several weeks previously the unanimous invitation of the missionaries in Ning-po had reached Dr. Parker, earnestly requesting that he would go and settle among them. He had replied that he could not feel justified in doing so unless assured that it would open to him a wider door of usefulness. For a home and practice of his own, no matter how attractive, he could not sacrifice missionary work. But if in connection with such a position he could see his way to the support of a hospital for the Chinese, the expense of which would be at least eight hundred dollars per annum, the matter might look very different. And now the answer reached him. Just when he was ready for it-eight months in the country having given him some familiarity with the people and language-then, and not before, the opening came that was to determine his life-work.

" You will be glad, I am sure, to learn," he wrote to his Committee on August 22, " that the friends in Ning-po have become surety for the amount required, and rejoice in the prospect of a missionary hospital there-the only Treaty Port without one.

" This, of course, shuts me up to taking this step, unless I set at nought the plain indications of Providence. And as I believe it to be God's will, I have resolved to go, and to do so at once."

The resolution come to thus opportunely, while it cleared the way for Dr. Parker and his family, only left Hudson Taylor the more cast upon God. Now he would be lonely indeed, bereft of companionship as well as home. Feeling, as he did, so definitely that his work in Shanghai was not yet finished, he had at once to set about seeking quarters to which he might remove his belongings. But, as before, the search proved useless. Nothing was to be had at a price within his means.

Day after day went by in weary trampings up and down the city, and at the end of three weeks the hope of finding what he needed seemed farther off than ever. Many thoughts had been in his mind during this time, some idea of which may be gathered from a note to his sister of August 19:

Dr. Parker has accepted the invitation to Ning-po, and will be going down in a few days to arrange accommodation for his family. Nearly the whole of last week I spent in seeking a house to move into here myself, but I have not found one. They all want heavy deposits that I am not able to pay.. It is wearisome work, and if I do not succeed soon I shall adopt Chinese dress and seek a place in the country.... These changes are not easy, Do pray much for me.

Chinese dress and a home somewhere in the country--the thought was becoming familiar. But it was an expedient almost unheard of in those days. Sometimes on inland journeys a missionary would wear the native costume as a precautionary measure, and Dr. Medhurst himself had suggested to Hudson Taylor that he might find it helpful. But it was invariably discarded on the traveller's return, and he would have been careless of public opinion indeed who would have ventured to wear it always, and in the Settlement.

But it was nothing less than this that the young missionary was meditating, driven to it by his longing to identify himself with the people and by the force of outward circumstances. If he could not find quarters in Shanghai he must go to the interior, and why add to his difficulties and hinder the work he most desired to accomplish by emphasising the fact that he was a foreigner ?

Another week went by in almost incessant house-hunting, and the time drew near when Dr. Parker was to leave for Ning-po. Hudson Taylor had promised to escort him as far as Hang-chow Bay, to see him through the more difficult part of the journey. They were to start on Friday morning the 24th, and up to Thursday afternoon the search for premises had been in vain.

Yes, it was growing clearer. For him, probably, the right thing was a closer identification with the people ; Chinese dress at all times and the externals of Chinese life, including chop-sticks and native cookery. How much it would simplify travelling in the interior ! Already he had purchased an outfit of native clothing. If, after all the prayer there had been about it, he really could not get accommodation in Shanghai, it must be that the Lord had other purposes. He would send his few things down to Ning-po with Dr. Parker, who had offered to store them, and living on boats would give himself to evangelistic work until his way opened -UP somewhere in the interior.

Thursday night came, and Dr. Parker was to leave the following morning. It was useless to seek premises any longer, so Hudson Taylor went down to engage the junk that was to take them to Hang-chow Bay with their belongings. His Chinese dress was ready for the following morning when he expected to begin a pilgrim life indeed.

And this, apparently, was the point to which it had been necessary to lead him. He had followed faithfully. It was enough. And now on these new lines could be given the answer to weeks and months of prayer.

As he was on his way to make arrangements for their journey, a man met him. Did he want a house in the Chinese city ? Would a small one do, with only five rooms ? Because near the South Gate there was such a house, only it was not quite finished building. The owner had run short of money and hardly knew how to complete the work. If it suited the Foreign Teacher, no deposit would be asked it could be had in all probability for an advance of six months' rent.

Feeling as though in a dream, Hudson Taylor followed his guide to the southern quarter of the city, and there found a small, compact house, perfectly new and clean, with two rooms upstairs and two down, and a fifth across the courtyard for the servants-just the very thing he needed, in the locality that suited him best, and all for the moderate sum of ten pounds to cover a half-year's rent.

What it must have been to him to pay the money over that night, and secure the premises, is more easily imagined than described. The Lord had indeed worked on his behalf. Prayer was being answered. He had not missed or mistaken the guidance for which he had waited so long. It almost seemed as if the Lord had broken silence, to confirm and encourage His servant at this critical time. And best of all was the wondering consciousness that He Himself had done it when, humanly speaking, it seemed impossible : " I being in the way, the Lord led me."

That night he took the step he had been prayerfully considering-called in a barber, and had himself so transformed in appearance that his own mother could hardly have known him. To put on Chinese dress without shaving the head is comparatively a simple matter ; but Hudson Taylor went all lengths, leaving only enough of the fair, curly hair to grow into the queue of the Chinaman. He had prepared a dye, moreover, with which he darkened this remaining hair, to match the long, black braid that at first must do duty for his own. Then in the morning he put on as best he might the loose, unaccustomed garments, and appeared for the first time in the gown and satin shoes of a " Teacher," or man of the scholarly class.

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