CHAPTER 5--ACCORDING TO HIS WORKING--1866. AET. 34.

To understand aright the fruitfulness of this period it should be borne in mind that Mr. Taylor, among others, was reaping the aftermath of the great Revival of 1859. That wonderful spiritual awakening had not only swept thousands into the Church of Christ ; it had prepared the way for a new order of things, an up-springing of individual faith and effort, characterised by love for souls and new resourcefulness in seeking their salvation. It was a day of new departures in the development of lay agency, and a striking fulfilment might be seen in many directions of the prophecy of Joel : " Also upon the servants and the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit."

To mention a few only of the evangelical movements that had their beginnings in that formative time : Mrs. Ranyard was pioneering a way for the work of Biblewomen, and Mrs. Bayley for that of Mothers' Meetings ; Miss Macpherson had just commenced Gospel services in Bird Fair, and the rescue of little waifs from the lowest slums of London ; Miss Robarts, Mr. (afterwards Sir George) Williams, and others, were laying the foundations of the Young Men's and Young Women's Christian Associations ; Mrs. Daniels and her helpers were developing work for soldiers, with their special needs ; and Mr. and Mrs. Pennefather, at Mildmay, were launching out in the training of Deaconesses for all manner of home missions. All these were making use of the consecrated energies of young converts in their first love, many of them- comparatively unlearned and ignorant men," but no opening had as yet been found for a similar employment of lay agency on the foreign field.

" When travelling in England, Scotland, and the north of Ireland in 1859 and '6o," wrote a Christian leader from the Continent, " I repeatedly asked myself, `Where is the channel through which simple-hearted labourers brought to Christ through these remarkable Revivals, wishing to devote themselves to missionary work in foreign lands may reach their object ? ' But I found no such channel. All the colleges for missionary training require a preliminary education which one would seek in vain in youths of this sort. To raise a missionary agency of a humbler kind seems to me to be a special design of our Lord at this juncture, for the carrying out of which He has prepared His instruments in different countries, independently of each other."1-{1 Herr Spittler, connected with " The Pilgrim Mission " of St. Chrischona, near Basel, Switzerland.}

Into this prepared soil the seed-thought of the China Inland Mission was providentially cast. It could not have come at 'a better time. Christian hearts were kindled to fresh devotion, drawn together in a new sense of oneness, and awakened to the fact that God by His Holy Spirit was using a class of workers hitherto largely excluded from the spiritual ministries of the Church. Manifestly the Mission was suited to meet an urgent need. New fields must be entered, new gifts called forth, and here came an organisation embodying these very ideas with a quiet faith and simplicity that commended itself to the spiritually minded.

" The very thing, come let us help it I " was the response awakened in many a heart.

Young people in workshop and office heard of it and were encouraged. Perhaps in such a mission, place might be found for faith and love even without much learning of the schools ? So thought Rudland, for example, at his forge in a Cambridgeshire village, when a printed report of Mr. Taylor's address at Perth came to him as a call from God, In a neighbouring farmhouse lived Mr. Merry, his Sunday School teacher, who with Mrs. Merry and her sister, Miss Annie Macpherson, had been the means of blessing to many in the neighbourhood. They had visited London to see something of the Revival movement, and through them its quickening influences had reached Eversden and the surrounding villages. Meetings had been held in the farmhouse kitchen at which Rudland and several of his companions were converted, and great was the joy with which they gathered round the open Bible with Mr. Merry as their teacher, beside the big log-fire. When the young man wanted to know more about China and the Inland Mission it was to these friends he turned. But the, Merrys could tell him nothing, Miss Macpherson could tell him nothing, and even a minister in Cambridge whom he walked miles to consult was unable to supply information. Still, Rudland could not forget the appeal of those Christless millions ; and when Miss Macpherson, on her return to London, sent him a ticket for the Mildmay Conference (1865) it immediately came to him that there he might meet Mr. Taylor.

But his employer had also a great desire to go to the Conference. He and Rudland could not both be spared from the forge. It cost a struggle-but the younger man, feeling it was what the Lord would have done in his place, gave up his cherished hope and offered his master the ticket. Before leaving, the latter promised to write 'about the meetings and bring back a full report, but for reasons best .known to himself he said nothing about China or the Inland Mission. Unable to learn even whether Mr. Taylor had been at the Conference, and not knowing where or how to reach him, Rudland was much perplexed. He could not get away from the burden of souls in China-a thousand every hour of the day and night perishing " without God." On the wall of the forge two passages of Scripture daily confronted him, " Quench not the Spirit " and "'To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin." Yet what could he do but pray ?

Meanwhile his master, loath perhaps to lose so good an assistant, sought to discourage the ambition Rudland had at heart.

" See," he said one day with a Chinese book in his hand," this is the language they talk over there ! Do you think you could ever learn it ? "

" Has anybody else learned it ? " was the quiet reply.

" A few."

" Then why not I ? "

And the yellow pages with their strange hieroglyphics only made him pray the more that the Lord would open his way to China.

After that it was not long before another book reached him with a letter from Miss Macpherson. Settled now in East London she had found the answer to Rudland's question. The pamphlet was China's Spiritual Need and Claims, and the letter asked him to join her the following Saturday in going to the prayer meeting at Coborn Street. Too thankful for words, the young man put the letter before his master.

Yes, you must take a day or two," said the blacksmith. But as sure as you cross this threshold you are on your way to China ! "

With what interest the pamphlet was studied as Rudland travelled up to London, and how eagerly he drank in every impression of the missionary circle at Coborn Street ! That prayer meeting-could he ever forget it? The crowded room, the map on the wall, the freedom of spirit, the unceasing flow of prayer and praise all deeply impressed him. But it was the manifest presence of God and earnestness of all concerned that drew to the Mission that day one of its most successful labourers.1 {1 From Mr. Rudland's centre at Tai-chow-fu three other cities were opened during his lifetime and thirty-seven out-stations. In connection with these, over 3000 persons have been baptized ; and at the time of Mr. Rudland's death, in 1912, there were more than 1500 communicants. He had translated into the local dialect the whole New Testament and a large part of the Old, printing himself edition after edition on the Mission press, for which he was responsible.}In Mr. Taylor he found a man of absorbing purpose, to whom perishing souls in China were real, and who lived for one thing only, to fulfil the purpose of God in their salvation. Reality, simplicity, intensity it was the same impression everywhere, the very essence of the new Mission.

But how easy with such a spirit to overlook the consideration due to the work of others ! Mr. Taylor had now many openings. He was a man with a message, and a message Christian people wanted to hear irrespective of the denomination he or they might represent. The Mission drew its friends and workers from church and chapel alike, and the proposed sphere of its operations was so vast as to call forth unusual interest.

It might have been, as Mr. Taylor felt from the first, quite possible to rob Peter to pay Paul, or- in other words to deflect interest and gifts from previously existing channels. Every effort on behalf of China and other heathen lands was more than needed, and he longed that the new work should, by the blessing of God, be helpful to all and a hindrance to none. But how to avoid trespassing, in this sense, on the preserves of others was a problem not easy of solution.

To cut at the root of the difficulty, he and Mr. Berger, his chief adviser, saw that the faith-principles of the Mission must be carried to the point of making no appeals for money nor even taking a collection. If the Mission could be sustained by the faithful care of God in answer to prayer and prayer alone, without subscription lists or solicitation of any kind for funds, then it might grow up among the older societies without the danger of diverting gifts from their accustomed channels. It might even be helpful to other agencies by directing attention to the Great Worker, and affording a practical illustration of its underlying principle that God Himself, God alone, is sufficient for God's own work."

Was money after all the chief thing, or was it really true that a walk that pleases God and ensures spiritual blessing is of more importance in His service ? But for the quiet years in Beaumont Street in which, like Paul in Arabia or Moses at the backside of the desert, Hudson Taylor had been shut in with God, he might have given a different answer to this and many other questions.

" In my shortsightedness," he wrote of that period largely occupied with work on the Ningpo Testament, " I had seen nothing beyond the use that the book with its marginal references would be to the native Christians. But I have often realised since that without those months of feeding and feasting on the Word of God I should have been quite unprepared to form, on its present basis, a mission like the China Inland Mission. In the study of that Divine Word I learned that to obtain successful labourers, not elaborate appeals for help, but first, earnest prayer to God ` to thrust forth labourers,' and second, the deepening of the spiritual life of the Church, so that men should be unable to stay at home, were what was needed. I saw that the Apostolic plan was not to raise ways and means, but to go and do the work, trusting in His sure promise Who has said, `Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.' "

The chief need, as he saw it, was faith in God for such an increase of spiritual life among His people as to produce the missionary spirit. Not money, not the collection was to him the object of a meeting, but to get people under the power of the Word and into fellowship with God.

" If our hearts are right," he often said, we may count upon the Holy Spirit's working through us to bring others into deeper fellowship with God-the way the work began at Pentecost. We do not need to say much about the C.I.M. Let people see God working, let God be glorified, let believers be made holier, happier, brought nearer to Him, and they will not need to be asked to help."

And the satisfaction of that way of working was that people would be sure to help their own missions first, the Church work for which they were responsible. They would probably increase their gifts, indeed, to those' objects, for there is no heart as generous as one that is " satisfied with favour and full with the *blessing of the Lord." And if they wanted, over and above, to help the China Inland Mission, such gifts would be given with prayer and followed by prayer that would immeasurably increase their value. It was no figure of speech with Mr. Taylor when he said, as he often did, that he would rather have a consecrated shilling, representing real spiritual fellowship, than an unconsecrated pound ; and gifts given spontaneously, apart from solicitation or the pressure even of a collection, were more likely to have that quality: It was a strange sort of deputation work, perhaps, but it left the speaker free in spirit, occupied with God rather than man, and more eager to give than to get.

Then there were other problems, many of them-such as how to test and train candidates, how to organise the Mission in China and carry on the- work at home. But though these were duly considered among the friends who met at Saint Hill, Mr. Berger's illustration of the tree was manifestly in point.

" You must wait for it to grow," he said, " before there can be much in the way of branches. First you have only a slender stem with a few leaves or shoots. Then little twigs appear. Ultimately these may become great limbs, all but separate trees but it takes time and patience. If there is life, it will develop after its own order."

Thus they were content with little to begin with in the way of organisation. Essential, spiritual principles were talked over with the candidates, and clearly understood as the basis of the Mission. A few simple arrangements were agreed to in Mr. Berger's presence, that was all.

" We came out as God's children at God's command," was Mr. Taylor's summing up of the matter, " to do God's work, depending. on Him for supplies ; to wear native dress and go inland. I was to be the leader in China, and my direction implicitly followed. There was no question as to who was to determine points at issue."

In the same way Mr., Berger was responsible at home. He would correspond with candidates, receive and forward contributions, publish an Occasional Paper with audited accounts, send out suitable workers as funds permitted, and keep clear of debt. This last was a cardinal principle with all concerned.

" It is really just as easy," Mr. Taylor pointed out, " for God to give beforehand ; and He much prefers to do so. He is too wise to allow His purposes to be frustrated for lack of a little money ; but money wrongly placed or obtained in unspiritual ways is sure to hinder blessing.

" And what does going into debt really mean ? It means that God has not supplied your need. You trusted Him, but He has not given you the money ; so you supply yourself, and borrow. If we can only wait right up to the time, God cannot lie, God cannot forget : He is Pledged to supply all our need."

But upon the many conferences on these and kindred' subjects at Saint Hill we must not linger. Time was getting short. It was hoped that Mr. Taylor and his party would sail in May, and much had to be got through in the way of preparation. In answer to all inquiries as to how many would be going with him, the leader of the Mission could only reply

If the Lord sends money for three or four, three or four will go ; but if He provides for sixteen, we shall take it as His indication that sixteen are to sail at this time.

Not that this meant uncertainty in his own mind. He had little doubt that the larger number would be provided for, and though no solicitation was made for money, the matter was not left to drift. He believed that to deal with God is at least as real as to deal with man ; that when we get to prayer we get to work, and work of the most practical kind. Two thousand pounds, as nearly as he could tell, would be needed if the whole party were to be sent out ; and in preparing the first Occasional Paper of the Mission, early in the new year (1866), Mr. Taylor mentioned this sum. The MS. went to press on the 6th of February, and that very day a noon prayer meeting was begun at Coborn Street for funds. Faith did not mean inaction. From twelve to one the households gathered for daily united waiting upon God, the would-be missionaries realising that their first work was to obtain-from Him Who was so ready to give-whatever would be necessary for as many of their number as He was sending forth.

Mr. Taylor was not able to be present, himself, on many of these occasions. Invitations for meetings were so pressing that, the Bible Society having released him from his long task,1- {1 In January 1866 Mr. Taylor relinquished into the hands of his colleague, the Rev. F. F. Gough, the work that had occupied so large a part of his time fog four and a half years. Finally completed by the Rev. George Moule (afterwards Bishop in mid-China), the book became, as a C.M.S. authority stated, " of the greatest value to Christians throughout the province " (Che-kiang).}he was giving as much time as possible to deputation work. Day by day he was with the little group at Coborn Street, however, in spirit, and they rejoiced to hear how their prayers for him were being answered.

For in the midst of many responsibilities he was kept wonderfully free from anxiety, and ready to take advantage of every opportunity for deepening interest in China. With little experience in such matters, he was scarcely conscious, perhaps, of the way in which he was gaining the confidence of spiritually minded people wherever he went. He only knew that in answer to prayer many were moved to help ; that one opening led to another, and that the Lord seemed to have prepared hearts in all the Churches, upon which He was laying the burden of China's perishing millions.

Meeting in Liverpool, for example, the young evangelist H. Grattan Guinness, Mr. Taylor accepted his invitation to Dublin to address the members of a theological class Mr. Guinness was teaching in his own house. Going ahead to make preparations, the latter had much to tell about the new Mission, and especially its leader, who, in faith, was attempting no less a task than the evangelisation of inland China. Needless to say, the young men' assembled at the hour of Mr. Taylor's arrival were on the tip-toe of expectation. John McCarthy was there, and Charles Fishe and his brother, little thinking they were that night to hear the call of God to their life-work. Tom Barnardo was there also, a bright lad of twenty whose interest in China, dating from that evening, was to bring him to his own among the waifs and strays of East London.1-{1 T. J. Barnardo, coming to Coborn Street as a candidate for the China Inland Mission, was advised by Mr. Taylor to study medicine, and introduced accordingly to the London Hospital. His sayings and doings were a source of constant amusement to the missionary household. In his Bible he had written " Tom Barnardo, China " ; and long after the work for waifs and strays began which has attained such wonderful proportions, he fully intended leaving it to others and going out himself to the land of his prayers and longings.}Mr. and Mrs. Guinness, too, were unconsciously waiting the touch that was to lead first themselves, then all their children, into the work of foreign missions and thus to result in the training of more than a thousand evangelists for the dark places of the earth.2 -{2- Mr. and Mrs. Grattan Guinness were also attracted to East London by their interest in the new Mission. " Strangely enough," as he wrote of this experience, "Harley House--for more than thirty years our Missionary Training Institute--is but a few steps from Coborn Street, where Mr. Taylor received his first volunteers for the China Inland Mission. How little when I visited the small, crowded home of the out-going 'Lammermuir party,' did I imagine that close to that spot we were to build a college which should train more than a thousand evangelists for the foreign field. .....About a hundred of our students have become missionaries in China, some of them being numbered amoung the martyrs of the Boxer Outbreak. The acquaintance between Dr. Howard Taylor and our beloved daughter Geraldine, which subsequently led to their marrige, arose from Dr. Taylor's residence in East London while studying for several years at the London Hospital. All these things were linked together and connected with Hudson Taylor's choice of that humble home in Coborn Street, amid the poverty and obscurity of East London, for the reception of the 'Lammermuir party.' It would be impossible to estimate the results for good in East London and throughout the world which have followed the selection of that lowly dwelling in the mighty city."}It was a company worth coming over to meet; hidden though these developments were in the unknown future.

But what a shock of surprise, not to say disappointment, the members of the class experienced when the door opened and their visitor appeared ! Or, had he not come after all ? What-that young, slender, fair-haired man, so small in contrast with their teacher's familiar figure ! Surely there must be some mistake? But no, Mr. Guinness was undoubtedly introducing Hudson Taylor : and taking it all in in a flash, Barnardo-who was less in stature, even, than the stranger-whispered to McCarthy, " Good, there's a chance for me ! " and was all attention.

Oh, the riveted interest, the burning hearts of that hour, as the young men listened to all Mr. Taylor had to tell !

" I think I see him now," wrote John McCarthy after nearly forty years in China, " so quiet, so unassuming in manner and address, but so full of the power of God ! I found that night not only the answer to many prayers as to my sphere of service,but the God-given leader in the work to which the Lord had called me. The little talk in his room after the meeting, and the simple prayer to God for guidance, are among the most treasured memories of my life. The bond then formed between us has only grown and strengthened : it has never known a strain. And the blessing his love and prayers have been to me,eternity alone can reveal."

Ten or more promising candidates for the Mission resulted from that Irish visit, and permanent friendships were made with Henry Bewley, William Fry, and other leaders in Christian work. In Belfast Mr. Taylor had remarkable openings among the Presbyterians. He had recently given several days in Liverpool and Manchester to meetings of the English Presbyterian Synod, speaking by request on his association in China with their beloved missionary, the Rev. William Burns. To stimulate ministers and people to more generous support of their own Swatow mission was his object, and he rejoiced in the successful issue no less than when gifts and prayers were called forth for the Inland Mission.

" I feel little doubt," he wrote to Mrs. Taylor from Belfast, " that this effort to stir up the Presbyterians here will result in their sending several additional missionaries to China. If the English Presbyterian Mission will only follow up the interest awakened in Liverpool, etc., they will easily obtain funds for the support of three or four men."

Long long after, impressions made by this work were still fresh in the minds of many with whom Mr. Taylor then came in contact. A man burdened, deeply burdened, a man God-conscious had moved from place to place, everywhere awakening longing for the same God-consciousness. It made no difference whether meetings were large or small, influential or apparently otherwise ; he gave the best he had to give, and so earnestly that other hearts could not but come to share the burden. At Birmingham, for example, the night was so stormy that it seemed as if there could be no meeting at all. Mr. Taylor was tired, and the fireside at Spark Hill looked specially attractive as the rain poured in torrents. No one could get to the Severn Street School- - room, his kind hostess assured him, and it would be taken for granted that the meeting would not be held.

" But was it not announced for to-night ? " asked Mr. Taylor quietly. " Then I must go, even if there is no one but the doorkeeper."

And there, in that almost empty schoolroom, the presence of the Lord was so real that both speaker and hearers felt it to be one of the best meetings they ever attended. Half the little audience of eight or ten, as Mr. Taylor often mentioned, either became missionaries themselves or gave one or more of their children to the foreign field, while the remaining half were from that day earnest and prayerful supporters of the C.I.M.

On his return to London, Mr. Taylor took the opportunity of going over the Mission cash-book to see how far the daily prayer for funds had been answered. In the first five weeks of the year, up to the 6th of February, when the noon meeting was begun, a hundred and seventy pounds had been received. Another five weeks had now elapsed, and eagerly he made the reckoning necessary to compare the periods.' Only the day before he had received from Liverpool, as a result of his recent visit, a gift of no less than six hundred and fifty pounds, from a gentleman who upon reading Mr. Taylor's pamphlet was impressed with the importance of making sacrifices that the Gospel might be preached to the Christless millions of inland China. Deeply interested, Mr. Taylor was anxious to see how far other hearts had been moved in the same direction, and what was the surprise and thankfulness with which he discovered that all they were praying for-not the smaller but the larger sum-was actually in hand I Mr. Richard Houghton's generous gift had made up the contributions of that second period of five weeks to almost two thousand pounds ; so that not only was prayer answered, it was manifest also that all the praying band were to go forward without delay to China.

The question then was what to do with the Occasional Paper, which had not yet been sent out. Delayed by a fire at the printing office, it had only been received that very day (March 12), and already the need of fifteen hundred to two thousand pounds of which it made mention had been supplied. Some explanation must be made to this effect ; and so it came about that the first issue of the magazine which was to represent the Mission had to have an inset slipped into each number saying that the whole sum needed for passages and outfits was already in hand-" the response of a prayer-hearing God through His believing people."

"We were reminded of the difficulty of .Moses," wrote Mr. Taylor some years later, " and of the proclamation he had to send throughout the Camp to prepare no more for the building of the Tabernacle, as the gifts in hand were more than sufficient.We are convinced that if there were less solicitation for money and more dependence upon the power of the Holy Ghost and the deepening of spiritual life, the experience would be a common one in every branch of Christian work."

One more campaign of meetings was fitted in after this, in response to urgent invitations from the western counties. Mr. Taylor was specially glad to be going in that direction, as it gave the opportunity of paying a farewell visit to Bristol. In spite of many responsible and pressing occupations in caring for a family of over eleven hundred orphans,1-{1 Shortly thereafter increased to two thousand, and later on to double that number.}Mr. Muller followed with keen interest the development of the China Inland Mission. He gave time whenever Mr. Taylor visited him to careful consideration of matters connected with the work, his judgement being no less valued than his helpful spirit. Only a few months previously Mr. Taylor had taken an outgoing party to Ashley Down, that they might have the privilege of meeting this man of God.

" Had an hour with Mr: Muller," he wrote on August 2." He spoke most preciously on the call and spirit of the missionary ; on the consecutive reading of the Scriptures ; on prayer and faith in God ; on obstacles and thorn hedges." And again next day: Mr. Muller spoke on communion with God being before work for God ; on the need of not acting uncertainly ; on mixing freely with the people, and restraining the speaking of English among ourselves (in the presence of Chinese who could not understand) ; and finally promised to pray for the party.

How much his prayers meant the outgoing missionaries could not but realise when they went over the Orphan Houses and saw those hundreds of children, sheltered and provided for without a penny of endowment, without an appeal of any kind for help, or even making their wants known. From the very commencement of his Christian life Mr. Taylor had been profoundly influenced by this quiet consistent testimony to the faithfulness of God ; and now that he was himself being led out along similar lines, he valued more than ever Mr. Muller's prayerful sympathy.

In Malvern, Bath, and other places no little interest was aroused by the story Mr. Taylor had to tell and the spirit in which he came. Rising early to travel, and speaking once, twice, and three times a day, he found his strength taxed to the utmost ; but in spite of a large correspondence which kept him busy even in the train, he managed to write a pencilled line to his mother as he was nearing Exeter (April 18, 1866)

It is joy to work for such a Master ! My soul is often filled to overflowing, and it is an honour to be spent in such a cause. If the labour is great, and the difficulties numerous and formidable, the strength-" all might, according to His glorious power " -is greater, and the reward will be so too. No service can be happier even now, but the reward is not yet, and it is eternal.

To the young people with whom he came in contact this joy in the Lord was no less attractive than to their elders. The missionary was young himself, and his burning words had the more power.

" They gave several of us a sleepless night," recalled Miss H. E. Soltau, whom Mr. Taylor met on this visit for the first time, " and linked myself and dear Agnes (then about to be married to Mr. Richard Hill) with the Mission from that hour." 1-{1 No fewer than six members of this family (of which the father, Mr. Henry W. Soltau, was then at the height of his great usefulness by voice and pen as a Bible teacher) have for longer or shorter periods been connected with the C.I.M.-as well as the son-in-law mentioned above and a grand-daughter, Miss Mabel Soltau, now in China. Messrs. George and Henry Soltau were members of the first Council, formed in 1872, and the latter went with Mr. J. W. Stevenson to Burma to attempt the opening up of Western China. Mr. William Soltau, prior to his devoted work in France, gave much assistance in the home department. Mr. Richard Hill, who had been largely instrumental in forming the Council, became its Hon. Secretary, and rendered valued service in this and other capacities for nearly forty years. Mrs. William Warren (Miss Charlotte Soltau), in her Training Home for missionaries in Melbourne, prepared not a few of its first Australian workers ; and Miss H. E. Soltau (assisted latterly by Miss Elsie Soltau and Miss Edith Smith) was for many years entirely responsible for the Women's Department in London, sending out hundreds of workers and following them with helpful ministrations.}

When one remembers how much that one life has meant to China, and the love and veneration with which the writer of those lines is regarded by the women of the Inland Mission, one cannot but realise that Mr. Taylor's brief visit to Exeter, difficult though it had been to fit in, resulted in one of the best gifts God ever gave to the work of foreign missions.

Back again in London, for we must not dwell upon his intercourse with the saintly Robert Chapman and others,1-{1 Saturday was the day Mr. Robert Chapman set apart for special waiting upon God, though it was his habit to rise always at or before daylight and give hours to fervent intercession-and this until he was well over ninety years of age. His " workshop " claimed him, however, in a special way at the close of every week. It was his sanctum, containing little but his turning-lathe and a shelf on which he could lay his open Bible. Here he spent hours at a time, denying himself on Saturdays to any and every visitor, and going without his midday meal that he might be the more free in spirit. The mechanical occupation of the lathe he found helpful to a connected line of thought; so looking at the Bible from time to time, or dropping on his knees in prayer, he would turn out plates and trenchers, his mind occupied the while with the eternal interests of the Kingdom of God. " Dear Brother," he exclaimed on meeting Mr. Taylor again six or seven years later, I have visited you every day since you went to China." Who can tell how much the Inland Mission owes to the prayers that went up from that hidden corner in Barnstaple?} a Mr. Taylor found himself plunged in a very vortex of business and farewell meetings. It was the end of April, and in May the party was to sail for China. Apart from Mrs. Taylor, who was slowly convalescing from her recent illness, there was no one who had any experience of the conditions to which they were going. Everything had to pass through Mr. Taylor's hands ; yet, as the candidates from Dublin noticed, he was ready with helpful sympathy to meet the endless requests with which he was greeted and followed.

" Whatever needed doing, he seemed to know just how to do it," wrote Mr. McCarthy. " Questions as to printing (lithographic or common), engraving, purchase of materials for outfits or supplies, and the thousand-and-one things that come up in connection with a large party setting out for a foreign land, all were found to have light thrown upon them by a reference to the leader who was supposed to know everything, and who really did seem to have learned something about any and every matter however remotely connected with the work."

But all this time, strange to say, they had no ship in view to take them to China. Avoiding the expensive " overland " route, via Suez, Mr. Taylor wished to travel round the Cape, and was seeking a sailing-vessel of which they might engage the entire accommodation. As the party was to consist of eighteen adults and four children, the cabin space of an ordinary three-master would be none too much, and there were decided advantages for so long a voyage in being the only passengers. But here was already the beginning of May and a suitable ship had not been found. Daily the matter was remembered in the noon prayer meeting at Coborn Street, the out-going missionaries not only asking for a Christian captain, but for a crew every one of whom might find blessing through the voyage. Mr. Taylor was not anxious ; he was sure the Lord would meet the need in good time, though he would have been glad to have it settled.

Just then, on the 2nd of May, he was due in Hertfordshire for an important meeting, Colonel Puget, brother of the Dowager Lady Radstock, being his host and Chairman. To this new friend it seemed a peculiar arrangement to have a missionary meeting without a collection, but understanding it to be Mr. Taylor's wish the announcement had been made accordingly. When the time came, however, and the speaker proved unusually interesting, Colonel Puget realised that people would give generously if only they had the opportunity.

Rising therefore at the close of the address, he said that interpreting the feelings of the audience by his own, he took it upon himself to alter the decision about the collection. Many present were moved by the condition of things Mr. Taylor had represented, and would go away burdened unless they could express practical sympathy. Contrary therefore to previous announcements, an opportunity would now be given But at that point Mr. Taylor interposed, asking to be allowed to add a few words.

It was his earnest desire, he said, that his hearers should go away burdened. Money was not the chief thing in the Lord's work, especially money easily given, under the influence of emotion. Much as he appreciated their kind intention, he would far rather have each one go home to ask the Lord very definitely what He would have them do. If it were to give of their substance, they could send a contribution to their own or any other society. But in view of the appalling facts of heathenism, it might be much more costly gifts the Lord was seeking ; perhaps a son or daughter of one's own life-service. No amount of money could save a single soul. What was wanted was that men and women filled, with the Holy Spirit should give themselves to the work in China and to the work of prayer at home. For the support of God-sent missionaries funds would' never be lacking.

" You made a great mistake, if I may say so," remarked his host at supper. " The people were really interested. We might have had a good collection."

In vain Mr. Taylor explained the financial basis of the Mission and his desire to avoid even the appearance of conflicting with other societies. Colonel Puget, though sympathetic, was unconvinced.

Next morning, however, he appeared somewhat late at breakfast, explaining that he had not had a good night. In the study, after handing Mr. Taylor several contributions given for the Mission, he went on to say

" I felt last evening that you were wrong about the collection, but now I see things differently. Lying awake in the night, as I thought of that stream of souls in China, a thousand every hour going out into the dark, I could only cry, `LORD, what wilt Thou have me to do ? ' I think I have His answer."

And he handed Mr. Taylor a cheque for five hundred pounds.

"If there had been a collection I should have given a five-pound note," he added. " This cheque is the result of no small part of the night spent in prayer."

It was Thursday morning the 3rd of May, and at the breakfast-table, a letter had reached Mr. Taylor from his shipping agents offering the entire accommodation of the Lammermuir, about to sail for China. Bidding farewell to his now deeply interested host, he returned to London, went straight to the docks, and finding the ship in every way suitable, paid over the cheque just received on account. This done, with what joy he hastened to Coborn Street with the tidings I

So the time came at length for the quiet; unostentatious start. To see God working-to look up to Him moment by moment, conscious of " His arm " to enfold, " His right hand " to protect and guide, and " the light of His countenance "-was more to that little band than thousands of gold and silver.

" Utter weakness in ourselves," Mr. Taylor wrote before setting out, " we should be overwhelmed at the immensity of the work before us, were it not that our very insufficiency gives us a special claim to the fulfilment of His promise, 'My grace is sufficient for thee ; My strength is made perfect in weakness ' "

Chapter 4Table of ContentsChapter 6