MARCH winds, tossing the big elms at Saint Hill and sweeping round the house that had so warmly welcomed Mr. Taylor on his return from China, did but make the fireside more home-like when at length he had time to sit down quietly and talk over with Mr. and Mrs. Berger all that was on their hearts. Six years almost had elapsed since the outgoing of the " Lammerrmuir Party," years of wonderful progress considering the initial difficulties. The mission which up to that time had had but two stations and seven members, now numbered more than thirty foreign and fifty native workers, in thirteen central stations at, an average distance of a hundred miles apart. Nothing could have exceeded, as we have seen, the devotion with which Mr. and Mrs. Berger had watched over its interests, giving their time and substance, their home, themselves indeed to its service. And now, all that must change. The love and prayers would continue, but to younger hands must be committed the task that had proved too much for their strength. Saint Hill was to be sold, its beloved owners finding it needful to winter abroad, and to them no less than to Mr. Taylor the parting was painful, and the position full of problems. For who was to take their place, and bear all the responsibility of the home-work of the mission ? Who would edit its Occasional Paper, test and train its candidates, carry on its correspondence, keep in touch with its friends, and do all the thousand and one things they had done without expense to its funds, prompted by a love that felt it never could do enough ? Such co-operation could no more be replaced than parental care in a family, and the need for the change had come so suddenly that Mr. Taylor had no plans in view. The work in China was now a large one, entailing an expenditure of about three hundred pounds a month. His own health was much impaired by those six strenuous years, and rest of mind and body would have been grateful in view especially of a speedy return to the front. But the home base could not be neglected. Unequal as he felt to the task, there was nothing for it but to take up the entire responsibility himself, looking to the Lord to liberate him when and as He should see fit. " Thou remainest " was a certainty that meant much to Hudson Taylor in those days.

" My, path is far from easy," he had written in February. " I never was more happy in Jesus, and I am very sure He will not fail us ; but never from the time of the foundation of the

Mission have we been so utterly cast upon God. It is well doubtless that it should be so. Difficulties afford a platform upon which He can show, Himself. Without them we could never know how tender, faithful and almighty our God is. How much we may and ought to trust Him." 1-{1 To Miss Desgraz at Yang-chow, written from Salisbury at 5 AM, on a wintry morning, February 8. 1872.}

" The change about Mr. and Mrs. Berger's retiring has tried me a good deal," he wrote a little later to the same correspondent. " I love them so dearly ! And it seems another link- severed with the past in which my precious departed one (who is seldom absent from my thoughts) had a part. But His word is, ` Behold, I make all things new."'

The week spent at Saint Hill in March enabled Mr. Taylor to go through all the accounts of the mission, the balance handed over by Mr. Berger being 336: 1 : 9. It is, interesting to note that the first entry in the cash-book after this transaction was a gift of fifty pounds from the retiring Home Director. To the friends of the mission" Mr. Berger wrote that same day (March 19, 1872)

It is difficult to describe the feelings with which I commence this letter.... You will gather from the notice on the face of this Number 1-{1- The letter appeared in Occasional Paper, No. 29.} that the management of the home department of this Mission is about to pass into other hands. Failing strength on the part of myself and my dear wife, combined with increasing claims, unmistakably indicate the necessity for this step. Our sympathies for the work are as warm as ever, and we would fain hope that our future efforts in China's behalf, if they should be of a less active nature, may not prove less serviceable.

My relation with dear Mr. Taylor has been one of unbroken and harmonious fellowship, to which I shall ever look back with feelings of satisfaction and gratitude. Mr. Taylor purposes taking the management of the home department upon himself pro tem, to which I think there can be no objection, as none of the funds subscribed for the Mission are ever appropriated to his private use. It is sincerely to be hoped that in taking this responsibility he will not overtax his powers, and that ere long he may succeed in finding efficient and permanent helpers... .

Writing to his parents, a few weeks later, Mr. Taylor used note-paper bearing the modest heading,

China Inland Mission, 6 Pyrland Road, Newington Green, N.

It was a far cry from Saint Hill to a little suburban street on the outskirts of London, such as Pyrland Road was in those days ; and the change from Mr. Berger's library to the small back bedroom which had to do duty as study and office in one was equally complete. But how dear and sacred to many a heart is every remembrance of number six and the adjacent houses-numbers four and two-acquired as need arose. For more than twenty years the entire home-' work,of the Mission was' carried on from this centre, a few steps only from its present quarters. The weekly prayermeeting was held in the downstairs rooms, two of which could be thrown together ; and many a devoted band of missionaries, including " the Seventy " and " the Hundred, were sent forth from these doors, from which no suitable candidate for work in China was ever turned away. But we are running far ahead of the small beginnings of 1872, when Mr. Taylor was himself the whole executive of the Mission, and it is well to be recalled by one who cherishes a vivid memory of those early days.

In the busy world of London, a bright lad full of life and spirits had given his heart to the Lord, and his life also, for whatever service He might appoint. Hearing an address from Mr. Meadows, recently returned from China, he had a strong desire to learn more about the Inland Mission, little thinking that he would one day be its chief sinologue as well as one of its most useful workers. 1-{1 The name of Mr. F. W. Bailer is well known to students of Chinese, who are indebted to him for many valuable helps, including his Primer and Dictionary. A member of the Mandarin Bible Revision Committee, his work is now chiefly literary ; but it is interesting to recall that long before he became distinguished in this realm he was among the early pioneers of the Mission whose itinerations did so much to open inland China to the Gospel.}

" After a good deal of thought and prayer," he wrote, " I determined to seek an interview with Mr. Taylor ; and in company with a friend started out one Saturday afternoon for the north of London, to find Pyrland Road, where the headquarters of the Mission were located. When we reached the place, we found that but half the street was built, and away to the north stretched open fields. Traces of this state of things still exist in the name' Green Lanes' borne by a busy street close by... . The house we sought was number six, and on reaching it we were shown into the room where the meeting was to be held. Strictly speaking it was two rooms, divided by folding doors, but these were thrown open and the two rooms turned into one. A large harmonium- stood at one side, and various Chinese articles were arranged in other parts of the room but beyond this there was little either of furniture or decoration. A large text, 'My God shall supply all your need,' faced the door by which we entered, and as I was not accustomed to seeing texts hung on walls in that way, decidedly impressed me. Between a dozen and twenty people were present, including the late Miss Blatchley.

" Mr. Taylor opened the meeting by giving out a hymn, and seating himself at the harmonium led the singing. His appearance did not impress me. He was slightly built, and spoke in a gentle voice. Like most young men, I suppose I associated power with noise, and looked for great physical presence in a leader. But when he said, ' Let us pray,' and proceeded to lead the meeting in prayer, my ideas underwent a change. I had never heard any one pray like that. There was a simplicity, a tenderness, a boldness, a power that hushed and subdued one, and made it clear that God had admitted him into the inner circle of His friendship. He spoke with God face to face, as a man talketh with his friend. Such praying was evidently the outcome of long tarrying in the secret place, and was as a dew from the Lord. I have heard many men pray in public since then, but the prayers of Mr. Taylor and the prayers of Mr. Spurgeon stand all by themselves. Who that heard could ever forget them ? It was the experience of a lifetime to hear Mr. Spurgeon pray, taking as it were the great congregation of six thousand people by the hand, and leading them into the Holy Place ; and to hear Mr. Taylor plead for China was to know something of what is meant by ' the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man.'

" The meeting lasted from four to six o'clock, but seemed one of the shortest prayer-meetings I had ever attended. Most present took part audibly. There were no long, awkward pauses ; but the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of liberty, was manifestly present. The meeting over, tea was served, giving an opportunity for friendly intercourse. I 'Introduced myself to Mr. Taylor, who asked me to stay till others were gone, when he would see me alone. This he did, taking me upstairs to a room on the first floor. He was the soul of kindness--drawing me out, making me feel quite at home, and encouraging the hope that I might one day see China and labour there. This was more indeed than I had anticipated when I set out to seek him. My idea was that perchance I might some day go as a helper to a missionary : to be a missionary myself seemed too great an honour. . . . Seeing I was young, scarcely twenty, Mr. Taylor gave me some good advice as to what to do until the Lord's way should be made plain. The interview over, I went home with a light heart, filled with gratitude to God for His goodness in thus encouraging me to hope in Him."

Longing to press forward with the great task before the Mission, it must have been difficult indeed for Mr. Taylor to curb himself to the routine of office work as the days and weeks went by. He was not in haste to rush into new arrangements, having no indication as to what might be the mind of the Lord. But when prayer for the right helpers seemed to bring no answer, and the work to be done kept him busy morning, noon and night, it would have been so easy to be impatient or discouraged ! But in the dark days of 1870 he had learned some deep lessons about waiting for, as well as waiting upon God.

" Beloved Brother," he had written in this connection to one with him in China, " you are passing through a time of trial --or to change the word to bring out the meaning more clearly, a time of testing, proving. The Lord make you to stand the test, and when proved enable you to approve yourself before God and man as a labourer who needeth not to be ashamed. I ought to be able to sympathise with you, and I am. . . . This year has been by far the most painful of my life, but also by far the most blessed. In all these trials I have had the assured confidence that the work is His, not mine ; that He had permitted, or ordered, the very things which my short-sightedness would fain have removed or prevented ; that He could terminate our difficulties at any moment, and sooner or later would terminate them, if that should be for His glory... .

" Then again, it is no small comfort to me to know that God has called me to my work, putting me where I am and as I am. I have not sought the position, and I dare not leave it. He knows why He places me here-whether to do, or learn, or suffer. 'He that believeth shall not make haste.' That is no easy lesson for you or me to learn ; but I honestly think ten years would be well spent, and we should have our full value for them, if we thoroughly learned it in them.... Moses seems to have been taken aside for forty years to learn it. . . . Meanwhile let us beware alike of the haste of the impatient, impetuous flesh, and of its disappointment and weariness."

The deepened current of Mr. Taylor's own life could not but be felt throughout the circle of the Mission. His chief reason for settling in North London had been to be in touch with " Mildmay " and all it stood for-the far-reaching institutions founded by the Rev. W. ' Pennefather, Vicar of the parish, whose ministry he greatly valued. The annual Conference convened by him for Christians of all denominations was still the only one of its kind in England, and made the neighbourhood a gathering ground for spirituallyminded people to whom oneness in Christ was more than minor differences. Mr. Taylor had been in touch with the Conference from its early days at Barnet, and now that he was a near neighbour Mr. Pennefather soon discovered qualities that fitted him to take a leading place among its speakers. The meetings of 1872 were largely attended, visitors coming from the Continent as well as from all parts of the United Kingdom to be present. Two thousand five hundred people crowded the great hall daily, and among the ministers on the platform were D. L. Moody, and the leaders of the movement for Scriptural holiness which had already brought so much blessing through the pages of The Revival. It was a surprise to Mr. Taylor, and doubtless to many who heard him, that a missionary, comparatively young and little known, should be asked to give the opening address, but the promise he had learned to claim was fulfilled that day in his experience as never before-" from him shall flow rivers of living water."

Not the great meetings, however, or that address so full of blessing, made the deepest impression on the young visitor from Barnstaple who was staying at Pyrland Road. Memorable as they were, she was more interested and even more helped by the family life she was sharing day by day. The place at Mr. Taylor's side that had been so empty was now taken by one fitted in every way to be a help and comfort. It had been his loved one's wish for his own sake, as well as that of the children and the Mission, that Mr. Taylor should marry again, and very unexpectedly his thoughts had been turned in that direction. Miss Faulding, the life by God's blessing of the women's work in Hang-chow, had been obliged to come home on furlough, and travelling by the same steamer-other arrangements having fallen through at the last moment-Mr. Taylor found the regard he had long felt for her developing into something more than friendship. The marriage had not been long delayed, and he was thankful for the children to see as much of her as possible before she returned with him to China. But though it was the home of a bride, the arrangements at Pyrland Road were just as simple as at Coborn Street in the early days, and Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were carefully economising in order to add to the funds of the Mission.

Miss Soltau, who had come up from Barnstaple with the earnest desire to give her life to China, was in no way deterred by the real self-sacrifice she saw at the heart of things. ' Hudson Taylor valued and sought after among the leaders of the Conference, and Hudson Taylor in the little office and daily prayer-meeting of the mission house hard by, might seem to be living two very different lives ; but the reality of the one explained to her the growing influence of the other, and carried home many a lesson.

" I remember dear Mr. Taylor's, exhortation," she wrote long after, " to keep silent to all around and let our wants be known to the Lord only. One day when we had had a small breakfast and there was scarcely anything for dinner, I was so thrilled to hear him singing the children's hymn

Jesus loves me, this I know,

For the Bible tells me so.

Then he called us all together to praise the Lord for His changeless love, to tell our needs and claim the promises-and before the day was over we were rejoicing in His gracious answers."

Far from discouraged by the shortness of funds after Mr. Berger's retirement, Mr. Taylor was praying and planning more definitely than ever for advance to the unreached interior of China. During the week of the Conference a few special friends were at Pyrland Road between the meetings, and standing before the large map in the sittingroom their hearts were moved by the thought-How are these Christless millions to be reached ? Miss Soltau was of the number, and well remembered Mr. Taylor saying " Have you faith to join me in laying hold upon God for eighteen men to go two and two to those unoccupied provinces ? "

They knew what he meant, and then and there covenanted with one another to pray daily in definite faith for this, until the Lord should bring it to pass. Then all joined hands, and Mr. Taylor led in a prayer never to be forgotten.

It was about this time that, from unexpected quarters, guidance began to come as to the future management of the home side of the Mission. It was but natural that Mr. Taylor had, perhaps unconsciously, been looking for helpers who, like Mr. and Mrs. Berger, could assume the whole responsibility. But , none such were forthcoming. The burden, meanwhile, of directing the work in China from a distance, as well as attending to all that had to be done at home, was very heavy. He was toiling far beyond his strength. " The thing thou doest is not good," wrote two old friends, business men in London ; " thou wilt surely wear thyself away ; . . . thou art not able to perform it thyself alone." They urged the advice of Jethro-to divide among a number such responsibility as could be delegated, offering themselves a measure of help with correspondence, accountkeeping, etc.

At Greenwich also, one evening in July, the matter was brought up still more definitely. Mr. Taylor was visiting Mr. and Mrs. Richard Hill, who would gladly have given themselves to the work of the Mission had family claims permitted. As it was, Mr. Hill suggested the formation of a Council of Christian friends, not to take any responsibility with regard to the management of affairs on the field, but to divide among 'themselves the home work of the Mission, thus setting Mr. Taylor free to return to China.

This suggestion, reinforced by Mr. Hill's offer to become Hon. Secretary to such a Council, proved a seed thought. The more Mr. Taylor considered it, the more he saw that it was simply an enlargement of the plan upon which the C.I.M. had been worked from the beginning. A Council, not a Committee of Management, could undertake many of Mr. Berger's former responsibilities. Mr. Taylor was purposing to leave Miss Blatchley in charge of his children at Pyrland Road. Intimately acquainted with the work both at home and in China, she would be of the greatest assistance to the Council, and would be able to keep up the prayer-meeting and provide a centre for returning missionaries.- Passing through her hands the daily correspondence could be attended to, and only necessary letters forwarded to the Secretary, while the Council would deal with candidates and with funds, keeping in touch with the friends of the Mission through its Occasional Paper. After some weeks of thought and prayer, therefore, he wrote to Mr. Hill on the 1st of August

Could you take tea with us on Tuesday next about 6 P.M. and spend the evening ? I would ask one or two friends interested in the work, and Mr. George and Mr. Henry Soltau, to join us, and we might have some quiet prayer ' and conversation about the Mission and those whose co-operation it would be well to seek ; after which, perhaps, we might see our way to further action more dearly. It seems to me that a little time thus spent would be helpful, before asking many either to meet or to join us in the proposed Council. -

Quietly, thus, the way opened. The meeting was held and the Council practically formed that night (August 6, 1872), which in the goodness of God has so faithfully stood behind the work for more than five-and-forty years.1-{1 At the first regular meeting of the Council, October 4, 5872, Mr. Henry Soltau was appointed to act as joint Honorary Secretary with Mr. Richard Hill. The remaining members were Messrs. John Challice, William Hall, Joseph Weatherley, and George Soltau. The late Mr. Theodore Howard, for thirty-five years the Home Director of the Mission, and Mr. William Sharp, now the senior member of the Council, joined a little later-the former in 5872 and the latter in 1879.}

It was not a large balance Mr. Taylor was able to hand over to the Secretaries when he set out for China a couple of months later. A little over twenty-one pounds was all they had in hand ; but there was no debt, and with all the `promises of God for the future as in the past they were without carefulness. With regard to the new arrangements, Mr' Taylor wrote to the friends of the Mission:

We trust none will think that because the form of the homework is changed the character of the work itself is altered. Now that the Mission has grown, more workers are needed at home, as abroad. But the principles of action will be the same. We shall seek pecuniary aid from God by prayer, as heretofore. He will put it into the hearts of those He sees fit to use to act as His channels. When there is money in hand, it will be remitted to China ; when there is none, none will be sent ; and we shall not draw upon home, so that there can be no going into debt. Should our faith be tried, as it has been before, He will prove Himself faithful, as He has ever done ; nay, should our faith fail, His faithfulness will not-for it is written, " If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful."

Candidates for the Mission, he was glad to be able to announce, would have the benefit of practical training in London, in connection with the Lamb and Flag Schools and Mission carried on by Mr. George Soltau. Love radiated from that centre amid the slums of Clerkenwell-warm, practical Christian love, drawing young and old, men, women, and children, to the Source whence it came. This was the power Mr. Taylor longed to see at work all over China, and he was thankful that those who wished to join the C.I.M. should be tested and trained in such an atmosphere. On this important subject he continued:

One thing, and one only, will carry men through all, and make and keep them successful ; the LOVE OF CHRIST, constraining and sustaining, is the only adequate power. Not our love to Christ, nor, perhaps, even Christ's love to us personally ; rather His love to poor, ruined sinners in us. Many waters will not, quench that love, nor floods drown it. That love will seek the wandering sheep until they are found ; and if, when found, they are but wayward, wandering sheep still, will yet love and care for them. Oh, beloved friends, pray that this love may be in us, abide in us, dwell richly in us all who are already on the field, and in those who join us. But this love will not be put into any one by a journey to China. If it be not there already, a change from a more to a less favourable sphere is not likely to produce or develop it. Our aim, therefore, must be to ascertain as far as possible whether it exists, and is combined-with the needful grace, ability, perseverance and tact, and is operative here in England in those who desire to go out.

In the work itself our aim will be, as heretofore, to encourage as much as possible the gifts of the native Christians, and to lead them on to an ever-deepening knowledge of and love for the Word of God, so that as soon as possible they may be able to stand alone. We shall seek, by God's help, to plant the standard of the cross in new and unoccupied regions ; to get as near to the people, and to be as accessible to them as possible, that our lives may commend the Gospel to the heathen whom we endeavour by word to instruct : and ' you will seek grace and wisdom from God, that it may really be so. Pray that we may daily follow Him Who took our nature that He might raise us to be partakers of the Divine nature. Pray that this principle of becoming one with the people, of willingly taking the lowest place, may be deeply inwrought in our souls and expressed in our deportment.

Chapter 14Table of ContentsChapter 16