CHAPTER 32--WHO SHUTTETH AND NO MAN OPENETH--AUGUST OCTOBER 1856. AET. 24.

AND now the question arose as to what was to be done about the servant who had made off, apparently, with Mr. Taylor's belongings. There was just a possibility that official interference might lie at the root of the matter, and that Yoh-hsi was in detention in one of the Yamens. Before concluding therefore that he had acted dishonestly a messenger was sent to make careful inquiries. But it soon transpired that the case was one of deliberate robbery, Yoh-hsi's own letters bringing the final proof. For the recovery of the property it would not have been difficult to institute legal proceedings, and Mr. Taylor was strongly urged to secure the punishment of the thief ; but the more he thought about it the more he shrank from anything of the sort.

Yoh-hsi was one whose salvation he had earnestly sought, and to hand him over to cruel, rapacious underlings who would only be too glad to throw him into prison that he might be squeezed of the last farthing would not have been in keeping, he felt, with the spirit of the Gospel. Finally concluding that his soul was worth more than the forty pounds worth of things he had stolen, Mr. Taylor decided to pursue a very different course.

" So I have sent him a plain, faithful letter," he wrote in the middle of August, " to the effect that we know his guilt, and what its consequences might be to himself ; that at first I had considered handing over the matter to the Ya-men, but remembering Christ's command to return good for evil I had not done so, and did not wish to injure a hair of his head.

" I told him that he was the real loser, not I ; that I freely forgave him, and besought him more earnestly than ever to flee from the wrath to come. I also added that though it was not likely he would give up such of my possessions as were serviceable to a Chinese, there were among them foreign books and papers that could be of no use to him but were valuable to me, and that those at least he ought to send back. " If only his conscience might be moved and his soul saved, how infinitely more important that would be than the recovery of all I have lost. Do pray for him."

In course of time, and far away in England, this letter came into hands for which it had never been intended. Mr. George Muller of Bristol, founder of the well-known Orphan Homes, read it with thankfulness to God, finding in the circumstances an exemplification of the teachings of the Lord Himself. His sympathies were drawn out to the young missionary who had acted in what he felt to be a Christ-like spirit, and from that time Hudson Taylor had an interest in his prayers.

But more than this. As soon as the incident became known to him, he sent straight out to China a sum sufficient to cover Mr. Taylor's loss, continuing thereafter to take a practical share in his work, until in a time of special need he was used of God as the principal channel of support to the China Inland Mission. And all this grew out of one little act, as it might seem, of loyalty to the Master at some personal cost. Only there are no little acts when it is a question of faithfulness to God.. And it was just his simple adherence, in every detail, to Scriptural principles that gradually inspired confidence in Hudson Taylor and his methods, and won for the Mission the support of spiritually minded people in many lands.

This matter settled, it only remained to set out once more to obtain from Dr. Parker the supplies needed for the medical work at Swatow. This time the journey was accomplished in safety ; and. just before setting out Mr. Taylor was encouraged by an unexpected letter that relieved him of what might have been financial embarrassment. For he had declined the generous offer of fellow-missionaries in Shanghai to subscribe towards replacing the most necessary things he had lost. Their own resources as he knew were none too ample, and he felt sure the Lord would provide without drawing upon the little they could spare. The sale of furniture left at the South Gate brought in something, and then-how wonderful it seemed-just as he was starting came this letter that had been eight or ten weeks on the way

" Please accept the enclosed," it said, " as a token of love from myself and my dear wife." Arm the enclosed was a cheque for no less than forty pounds from Mr. and Mrs. Berger.

Posted long before Mr. Taylor had left Swatow, it arrived by the very first mail after the robbery : for the promise still holds good, " It shall come to pass that before they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear." 1 (1- Isaiah 65:24)

" The City of the Peaceful Wave " in which the young missionary now found himself proved even more interesting on this occasion than on his previous visit 2- {2 Arriving at Ning-po (the " City of the Peaceful Wave" as the Chinese characters imply) on August 22, Mr. Taylor remained for seven weeks with Dr. Parker, taking an active share in his work.} Then an attack of illness had obliged him to seek the cooler air of the hills. Now though it was again summer he was able to throw himself heartily into all that was going on, prepared by the experiences of another year in China more fully to appreciate both the missionaries and their work. Never before had he realised the comfort and advantage of labouring among comparatively friendly people, not embittered against the missionary simply on account of his being a foreigner. Although there was of course the usual ignorance and superstition in Ning-po, and at times much anti-foreign feeling, there was also a large element of interest and even inquiry about the Gospel. And then the missionaries themselves-how delightful to be in the midst of so united and efficient a. community

In point of time the two American Missions had the priority, as well as in strength of numbers ; and an interesting feature in connection both with them and with the Church Missionary Society was that the pioneers were all still on the field, men rich in experience and devotion.

Dr. Macgowan, for example, of the American Baptist Union, was still the leader of their important mission, and with Miss Aldersey divided the honour of having been first to settle permanently in Ning-po. With him were now associated Dr. Lord and the Rev. M. J. Knowlton. Living outside the city wall, these brethren carried on wellorganised and extensive operations, extending as far as the island of Chusan, in which they had several converts.

Across the river from this group lived Dr. Parker and his friendly neighbours the American Presbyterians. Splendidly manned from the first, this mission was still represented by its founder, Dr. McCartee, and a group of younger men destined to make their mark in China-including Messrs. Way and Rankin, Dr. W. A. P. Martin, 1- {1 The first President of the Peking University, author of A Cycle of Cathay and many other works, and now the oldest representative of the missionary body in China.} and the late beloved Dr. Nevius.

Within the city itself, enclosed by the five-mile circuit of its ancient wall, lived the pioneers of the Church Missionary Society, and Miss Aldersey, with her young companions. From the Taoist Monastery. with its surrounding moat, Messrs. Cobbold and Russell had moved as occasion required into school and chapel buildings in various parts of the city, and with their colleague the Rev. F. F. Gough had established themselves in the affections of the people.

So also had Miss Aldersey and her fellow-workers, the only unmarried ladies in that missionary circle. In a large native house in the southern part of the city they were carrying on, it will be remembered, the first girls' school ever established by Protestant missionaries in China .2 { 2 See Chap. 24. p. 308}

" It was a model institution," wrote Dr. W. A. P. Martin, with the interest of a contemporary and friend. 3- { 2 Quoted from his well-known book, A Cycle of Cathay.} For three years at her request I ministered to the Church in her house, and I cherish a vivid impression of the energy displayed by that excellent woman, notwithstanding a feeble frame and frequent ailments. The impression she made on the Chinese whether Christian or pagan was profound, the latter firmly believing that as England was ruled by a woman so Miss Aldersey had been delegated to be the head of our foreign community. The `British Consul, they said, invariably obeyed her commands.

" Several shocks of earthquake having alarmed the people, they imputed the disturbance to Miss Aldersey's magic power, alleging that they had seen her mount the city-wall before dawn of day, and open a bottle in which she kept confined certain strong spirits which proceeded to shake the pillars of the earth.

No wonder they thought so ! The only wonder is that they did not burn or stone her as a witch. Her strange habits could not but suggest something uncanny. The year round she was accustomed to walk on the city-wall at five o'clock in the morning, and with such undeviating punctuality that in winter she was preceded by a man bearing a lantern. A bottle she carried in her hand did really contain ` strong spirits,' spirits of hartshom, which she constantly used to relieve headache and as an antidote for ill odours. In summer, unwilling to leave her school for the seaside, she would climb to the ninth storey of a lofty pagoda and sit there through the long hours of the afternoon, sniffing the wind that came from the sea. At such times she was always accompanied by some of her pupils, so that her work was not for a moment suspended. So parsimonious was she of time that she even had them read to her while she was taking her meals.

" Many indeed . . . are the households that call Miss Aldersey blessed, and I can truly say that in the long list of devoted women who, have laboured in and for China, I know no nobler name than hers."

Scarcely less interesting than Miss Aldersey, if one may venture to say so, were the young sisters Burella and Maria Dyer who so ably filled their place as self-supporting workers in the school. Born under the tropical sun of the Straits Settlements and brought up in a missionary home, theirs had been an inheritance of no ordinary kind. Their father, one of the earliest agents of the London Missionary Society, came of a family in Government service, 1-{1- He was the son of a certain John Dyer, who held a post in the Admiralty about the time of the accession of Queen Victoria.}and was educated at Cambridge for the English Bar. Burning with love to Christ he had left all to go as a missionary to China, " The Gibraltar of Heathenism," almost as unknown in those days as it was inaccessible. Unable to effect a landing upon its shores, he had devoted himself for sixteen years to work among the Chinese in and near Singapore, and especially to the perfecting of a process -by which the Word of God might go where the missionary could not, and the printed page be produced with a facility impossible before. 1- {1-To this devoted missionary belongs the honour of introducing a process which greatly Simplified the manufacture of movable Chinese type, thus facilitating the way for the rapid production of Christian literature for one-fourth of the human race.} In this task he had been prospered, and though cut off by fatal illness just after the opening of the Treaty Portswhen he with many another was rejoicing in freedom to enter the land for which they had so long prayed and laboured-Samuel Dyer possesses more than a missionary grave upon its shores, the first to mark that great advance.

Acting as Secretary to the General Missionary Conference, the first ever held on Chinese soil, Mr. Dyer spent a week or more at Hong-kong in August 1843.

" From my windows," he wrote to his wife in Singapore, 2-{ He was singularly happy in his marriage with Miss Maria Tam, eldest daughter of Joseph Tam, Esq., one of the early directors of the London Missionary Society.} " I look across to the lofty summits of the Chinese hills.... The sight is almost overwhelming. In -my happiest moments just two thoughts seem to concentrate every longing of my heart. One is that the name of Jesus may be glorified in China, and the other that you and I and each of our dear children ... may live only to assist in bringing this to pass.... Cease to feel the intensest interest in the spiritual prosperity of China I never can, while this bosom has a heart to feel. Cease to serve the cause of Christ among the Gentiles I never may, while I have head and hands to work. . . . I am as happy as I can be without you, though nothing can compensate for the absence of one who is the joy of my heart.... Still, I am about my Father's business. And if I may but do something for the evangelisation of that benighted land, come sorrow, come joy, come grief, come delight, ally all shall be welcome for the love I bear to Him Who bled on the mount of Calvary."

And though even then his work was done, and a few weeks later he was laid to rest beside Morrison in the little lonely churchyard at Macao, that spirit still lived on-both in the son, whose life was subsequently given to China, and in the daughters who had already been several years with Miss Aldersey. With an exceptionally good knowledge of the Ning-po vernacular these young missionaries were as efficient as they were beloved, and added not a little to the brightness of the foreign community. Such then was the circle into which Hudson Taylor was introduced for the second time by this visit, and greatly must he have rejoiced to see the value set upon his former colleague by its members. Welcomed in a most generous spirit, Dr. Parker had been successful in building up a practice among the foreign residents, the proceeds of which he devoted entirely to his Medical Mission. Rapidly acquiring the local dialect, in spite of every hindrance to study, he had made the spiritual care of the patients his first work. In this he was assisted by both English and American missionaries, who took in turn to preach in the dispensary (in which nine thousand patients received treatment within the first twelve months) and to visit the temporary hospital.

When as was not infrequently the case these labours resulted in blessing, the converts were free to join any of the Churches, Dr. Parker declining to influence them and making it very clear that his sympathies were with all. At the time of Mr. Taylor's visit he was rejoicing in the conversion of a man whose baptism in connection with the C.M.S. had taken place the week before, and was full of thankfulness also for a forward step in the interests of his projected buildings.

With money contributed in Ning-po he had been enabled to purchase a site on the city-side of the river. And such a site-open, central, commanding, on the brink of the great water-way and close to the Salt Gate with its constant stream of traffic. A better position could hardly have been found for the permanent hospital, and already the energetic doctor was having the ground levelled for building operations.

All this, of course, was deeply interesting to the visitor from Swatow who was expecting to return to such very different scenes.

" I am now enjoying a season of rest with the friends here," he wrote early in September. " It must be of short duration, however, for long repose begets indolence and weakness, and ill becomes a soldier of the Cross. To me it would be very pleasant to remain on here or at Shanghai, among more civilised and friendly people than we have in Swatow. But my call is to a more arduous post ; and, in my dear devoted brother Mr. Burns I have an inestimable companion whom I shall rejoice to meet again.

" I sometimes wonder whether I shall ever be settled, and long for permanent work and a partner to share all my joys and sorrows. I think in His own time I shall be so circumstanced . The Lord .knows.. But the only true rest is in following Jesus ` whithersoever He goeth ' ; the only satisfaction is in labouring for and with Him. And while one longs for quiet, even now after a week of it I am eager to be at work again, telling of His surpassing love, His glorious redemption."

And work he did with all his usual energy in spite of summer heat. Careful attention to the peculiarities of local speech soon enabled him to make himself understood even by Ning-po people, and there were so many strangers settled there from other 'places that he found all the dialects he knew of service.

" The weather is very warm," he continued a little later, " nevertheless I have been twice in the country, once with Mr. Jones to Tse-ki and once with Mr. Quarterman to Chin-hai Hsien, . . . To-day I have been to a small village a mile or two away with Mr. Jones.. He took some Portuguese Testaments and found three men able to read them, a Singapore man also who could read English and to whom he gave a Bible ; while I had an attentive audience to whom I told of pardon, peace and heaven through the once-offered sacrifice of Jesus, leaving with them a number of Chinese tracts and Scriptures.

" Oh what an abundant harvest may soon be reaped here ! The fields are white . . . and so extensive round us . . . but the labourers are few ! I do thank God that he has given me such opportunities.... I have met with a good many even from Formosa with whom I have been able to speak of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I sometimes wish I had twenty bodies, that in twenty places at once I might publish the saving Name of Jesus."

The place where the need was greatest, however, had for him the strongest claim, and before the month was over he was ready to return to Mr. Bums at Swatow. Dr. Parker had fitted him out' with medicines, the cost of which bad no doubt been covered by Mr. Berger's recent gift, and much benefited by his change of work and surroundings Mr. Taylor was just setting out for Shanghai when a delay arose. Mr. and Mrs. Way of the Presbyterian Mission had to take the journey too. They would have little children with them, and travelling is always so precarious if Mr. Taylor could wait a day or-two, they would hurry their preparations for the sake of joining his party. He was already escorting Mr. Jones and his little son, newlyarrived members of his own Mission, and it would mean a great deal to the Ways to travel in their company.

Regretting the delay but having no reason against it Hudson Taylor waited, and almost a week went by before the final start could be made. And when they did get away the journey proved specially trying. For the winds were against them, which made the actual travelling tedious, and serious illness in the party caused Mr. Taylor much anxiety. His colleague Mr. Jones, to whom he had become sincerely attached during the weeks spent together at Dr. Parker's, developed a painful malady, and as the child was ill too it meant constant nursing.

Early in October they reached their destination, and thankfully exchanged the draughty boat for a missionary home in which they were received as paying guests. And then, having discharged his commissions and handed over the patients to the care of Dr. Lockhart, it only remained for Hudson Taylor to put his things on board the vessel that was taking him to Swatow.

Recent letters from that port made him feel afresh how much he was needed. Though not expecting him back till the great heat was over, Mr. Burns had been sorely missing him, and was now daily awaiting news of his return to take up the work they had planned for the winter. Providentially as it seemed Captain Bowers was again in Shanghai, on the eve of sailing, and cordially welcomed the young missionary as his passenger. So with as little delay as possible Hudson Taylor sent his belongings on board the Geelong and prepared to leave Shanghai, it might be permanently.

And then the unexpected happened. A letter from the South coming to one of the members of the London Mission made him go hurriedly in search of Hudson Taylor.

" If he has not started," wrote Mr, Burns, " please inform him at once of this communication."

It was to the effect that all they had looked forward to in Swatow was at an end for the time being, Mr. Burns having been arrested in the interior and sent to Canton. Happily he had escaped summary punishment at the hands of the Chinese, but in all probability it would be long before he could return to the district from which he had been ejected.

It was Thursday morning, October 9. The Geelong was sailing in a few hours for Swatow, and all his things were on board. What could be the meaning of these tidings ? Mr. Bums imprisoned and sent to Canton ? The native helpers still in confinement, wearing the terrible cangue and in danger of their lives ? The mission-premises empty ? The British authorities unwilling that they should return ?

Almost dazed, it all came over him. First one check and then another ; medicines destroyed, robbery and all it had entailed, visit to Ning-po, delay in getting away, tedious return journey, and now at the last moment a closed door, nothing but a closed door and a dear, sick brother waiting to be taken back to the city from which they had come.

Yes, there was no question but to go. But what about Mr. Burns ? Could it be that all they had looked forward to was not of the Lord ?

" Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee saying, This is the way, walk ye in it " . . .

But for the moment the path that had seemed so clear before them was lost in strange uncertainty.

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