CHAPTER 25--SOME BETTER THING--INCLUDING EIGHTH JOURNEY--AUGUST-OCTOBER 1855. AET. 23.

How it all opened up after this step had been taken ! Returning alone from Hang-chow Bay, Hudson Taylor hardly knew himself for the same person who had so often been tried by the petty annoyances and more serious hindrances to his work by curious and excited crowds. Plenty of people still followed him whenever he became known as a foreigner, and it was not difficult to gather an audience to listen to the Gospel. But the rowdy element seemed somehow to have disappeared with his European dress, and if he wished to pass unnoticed he was able to do so, even in the busiest streets. This, of course, greatly lessened the strain of being much alone among the people, and at the same time gave him access to a more respectable, serious-minded class.

Not suspected even of being a European until his speech betrayed him, he had a far truer, more natural point of view from which to study conditions round him, and found himself coming into touch in a new way with people and things Chinese. It was natural now to adopt their point of view as he could not before, and instinctively he began to identify himself with those toward whom he had hitherto occupied the position of a foreigner. Now he was one of them in all outward respects-dressing, living, eating as they did, and greatly lessening the cost and difficulty of providing for his needs by doing so. Altogether the change was one for which he found himself increasingly thankful, and that made this August journey of peculiar interest.

EIGHTH JOURNEY : August 24-31

Working his way back by places he had not hitherto visited, he saw a good deal of new country, and was able to observe more closely its character and needs.

" I parted from Dr. Parker last night," he wrote on August 28, {1- A letter to a friend in Hull}"and am now alone for the first time in the interior in Chinese costume. . . . I have been travelling through beautiful scenery to-day, and among some rough people. How I wish you could have seen their gratitude for medical aid ! Men and women, old and young, all seemed thankful to receive it, and much groundless suspicion against foreigners must have .been removed. Of course I am known to be a foreigner by my accent as soon as I begin to speak... .

" As you may suppose I am not yet quite at home in my new dress . . . the turned-up shoes being especially uncomfortable ; but I shall get used to them soon.. The worst inconvenience is the head being uncovered, as the Chinese wear no cap at this time of year... 2 {2- For protection from sunstroke Mr. Taylor carried a native umbrella.}

" I do not think I told you that the very evening before we left Shanghai I obtained a house in the native city for quite a moderate rent. From repeated disappointments I had quite given up the hope of getting one, . . . when just as I was preparing to send my things to Ning-po with Dr. Parker, the Lord providentially opened my way. I have every reason to be thankful for this, for I thought I was going to be houseless and homeless for the time being. How true it is that ` Man's extremity is God's opportunity.' .. .

" The change from a large household, two families besides myself, to living quite alone will no doubt have its trials, but I hope to be rewarded by increasing fluency in the language, leading to greater usefulness. Will you join me in constant prayer for more close and abiding communion with Him who never forsakes His own ? :. , May He fulfil His gracious promise, and bless my efforts to the conversion of sinners.. Oh, to walk blameless in love before Him myself, and to be used in turning many from their idols ` to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven."'

As to the discomforts of Chinese dress, of which he was fully conscious, he was enabled from the first to make light of them, as may be seen from a letter to his sister written just after parting from Dr. Parker

HAI-YEN CITY, August 28, 1855.

MY DEAR AMELIA---By way of surprise I mean to write you a letter-for I know you have never received one before from a man with a long tail and shaven head ! But lest your head should be bewildered with conjectures, I had better tell you at once that on Thursday last at 11 P.M. I resigned my locks to the barber, dyed my hair a good black, and in the morning had a proper queue plaited in with my own, and a quantity of heavy silk to lengthen it out according to Chinese custom. Then, in Chinese dress, I set out with Dr. Parker, accompanying him about a hundred miles on his way to Ning-po. This journey we made an occasion for evangelistic work, and now that I am returning alone I hope to have even better facilities for book-distribution and preaching.

But I have not commenced the recital of my tribulations, and as there is some doubt as to whether they will all go into a single letter, the sooner I begin the better.

First then, it is a very sore thing to have one's head shaved for the first time, especially if the skin is irritable with prickly heat. And I can assure you that the subsequent application of hair-dye for five or six hours, (Litharge x part ; quick lime, freshly slaked, 3 parts ; water enough to make a cream) does not do much to soothe the irritation. But when it comes to combing out the remaining hair which has been allowed to grow longer than usual, the climax is reached ! But there are no gains without pains, and certainly if suffering for a thing makes it dearer, I shall regard my queue when I attain one with no small amount of pride and affection.

Secondly, when you proceed to your toilet, you no longer wonder that many Chinese in the employ of Europeans wear foreign shoes and stockings as soon as they can get them. For native socks are made of calico and of course are not elastic . . . and average toes decidedly object to be squeezed out of shape, nor do one's heels appreciate their low position in perfectly flat-soled shoes. Next come the breechesbut oh, what unheard-of garments ! Mine are two feet too wide for me round the waist, which amplitude is laid in a fold in front, and kept in place by a strong girdle. The legs are short, not coming much below the knee, and wide in proportion with the waist measurement. Tucked into the long, white socks, they have a bloomer-.like fulness capable, as Dr. Parker remarked, of storing a fortnight's provisions ! No shirt is worn. But a white, washing-jacket, with sleeves as wide as ladies affected twenty years ago, supplies its place. And over all goes a heavy silk gown of some rich or delicate colour, with sleeves equally wide and reaching twelve or fifteen inches beyond the tips of one's fingers-folded back of course when the hands are in use. Unfortunately no cap or hat is used at this season of the year, except on state occasions, which is trying as the sun is awfully hot.

Wednesday, August 29.-I do not know, dear Amelia, whether you are weary of these details. But I have no time for more upon the subject, so will dismiss it with only a mention of the shampooing I got from the barber the other day. I thought I had better go in for it as part of the proceedings, for I might be in difficulty some day if found to be uninitiated.. So I bore with an outrageous tickling as long as I could, and then the beating commenced ! And my back was really sore in places before it was over. On the next occasion, however, I stood it better, and I hope to acquit myself creditably in time with regard to this phase of the barber's art.

While still with Dr. Parker on the way to Hang-chow Bay I was frequently recognised as a foreigner, because of having to speak to him in English, but to-day in going about Hai-yen City no one even guessed that such a being was near. It was not until I began to distribute books and see patients that I became known. Then of course my men were asked where I came from, and the news soon spread. Dressed in this way one is not so much respected at first sight as one might be in foreign clothing. But a little medical work soon puts that all right, and it is evidently to be one's chief help for the interior. Women and children, it seems to me, manifest more readiness to come for medical aid now than they did before . . . and in this way too, I think the native costume will be of service.

Thus he returned to Shanghai as summer merged into autumn, to take up in the old surroundings a very different life. For the change he had made after so much prayer was soon found to affect more than his outward appearance. The Chinese felt it, Europeans felt it, and above all he felt it himself-putting an intangible barrier between .him and foreign associations, and throwing him back as never before upon the people of his adoption. This, while he rejoiced in it for his work's sake, was not without its sting.

The covert sneer or undisguised contempt of the European community he found less difficult to bear than the disapproval of fellow-missionaries. But this also had to be faced, for he was practically alone in his convictions, and certainly the only one to carry them into effect. The more he suffered for them, however, the more they deepened ; and the more he gave himself to the Chinese in consequence, the more a new and wonderful joy in the Lord flooded his soul.

" The future is a ravelled maze," he wrote to his mother early in September, " but my path has always been made plain just one step at a time. I must wait on God and trust in Him, and all will be well. I think I do love Him more than ever, and long increasingly to serve Him as He directs. I have had some wonderful seasons of soulrefreshing lately, unworthy of them as I have been."

And to his sister a few days later: The love of God is indeed wonderful to contemplate. His longsuffering how unbounded ! If ever there was one who deserved eternal banishment from His presence, it is I ; and yet I have had such melting seasons in prayer, such manifestations of His love, and such strong faith and confidence in Him of late that I have been quite astonished at His abounding grace to one so lukewarm and unfaithful. His grace, even exceeds our unworthiness. Can we say more than this ? What a happy day it will be when, seeing Him as He is, we shall be made like Him-free from sin and perfect in purity !

And these experiences only deepened when he left the Settlement, parting from the friends with whom he had lived for months.

" Dr. Parker is in Ning-po," he wrote a little later, 1-{1- A letter to his sister Amelia, dated October 3.}" but I am not alone. I have such a sensible presence of God with me as I never before experienced, and such drawings to prayer and watchfulness as are very blessed and necessary."

Yet his surroundings were far from attractive within the walls of the native city, and his arrangements of the simplest, providing only for the bare necessaries of life. Chinese food and cooking were something of a trial at first, especially while the weather continued warm, and so were the sights and smells that could not be avoided amid that teeming population devoid of the most elementary ideas of sanitation. But the principal remains the same throughout the ages : " As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ " : and the consolation, or " encouragement," as it may be read, far exceeds the loneliness and sacrifice.

It was Monday, September 17, when he resumed upon moving into his new quarters a solitary life, and only three weeks later he wrote to tell his mother of the sweetest joy he had ever known. For those three weeks had told. It is always " overflow that blesses," and a heart so full of the love of God could not but awaken in others a hunger for more than they had known. The boys in the school felt it ; the enquirers felt it, coming daily to the meetings ; patients crowding the little dispensary felt it, and stayed to hear what " the foreign doctor " had to say ; and above all Kuei-hua felt it, his own faithful servant and friend.

Fully instructed in the truths of the Gospel, the latter had for some time been a sincere believer, but now he could no longer refrain from confessing his master's God. Early one morning, therefore, he sought the young missionary, with the earnest request that he might be baptized. The day that followed was a busy one, but Hudson Taylor could not let it pass without communicating so great a joy.

" This morning," he wrote just as the mail was leaving, " my heart was gladdened by the request of Kuei-hua (my adopted pupil's brother) to be baptized. The Lord has been working a manifest change in him of late ... but not until to -day has he asked to be admitted into church membership. I cannot tell you the joy this has brought me. . . . ` My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.' Were my work ended here, I feel I could say with Simeon, `Lord now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace ... for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.' If one soul is worth worlds, mother, am I not abundantly repaid ? And are not you too ? "

But this was not the only encouragement of which he had to tell before the month was over. For that October mail brought another letter from Mr. Berger. Satisfied with the use made of his first gift of ten pounds, this kind friend now repeated it, undertaking to do so every half year, and thus provide entirely for Han-pan's education. But more than this, he wrote " a very affectionate letter," urging the young missionary to expect great things from God, and enclosing a further sum of forty pounds to be used as he thought best in the interests of the work.

It seems to have been with an almost solemnised sense of the goodness of God that Hudson Taylor pondered all this in the light of the past, and in its relation to the future. How long he had looked forward to the joy of winning his first convert among the heathen. How keenly he had felt lack of means properly to develop the work ! Now souls were being given, not Kuei-hua only, but one or two other promising enquirers ; and this generous friend in England was being drawn more and more into sympathy with the line of things to which he felt himself called. It was all so wonderful, so like God !

What the future held he could not tell. But already the Lord was more than making up for plans they had had to abandon, and for all the trials undergone. And straight to his heart came the message of Mr. Berger's letter

" Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." Oh yes ! God is not straightened. If we expect much from Him, He surely will not disappoint us.

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