CHAPTER 22--HE GOETH BEFORE THEM--1879-1880. AET. 47-48.

MRS. HUDSON TAYLOR had come to Shanghai. All the way from Shan-si she had travelled upon an uncertainty-yet sure in her own mind that she was being led of God. Was her husband on his way to China ? Was he ill and needing her urgently, as she had seen in that curiously vivid dream ? And how could she help him best ?

A thousand miles away from the port at which he would land, she had felt painfully out of reach ; and though he had suggested joining her there, to see something of the northern provinces, she knew how unlikely it was that he would be able to escape from claims nearer the coast. The work she had undertaken for the famine orphans was well established, and her companions were now able to carry it on. Two of the missionaries at the capital (Tai-yuan-fu) had been joined by their wives, so that there was no longer the same need for her presence. And that dream, fitting in with other elements of guidance, had decided her to cross the mountains and return to Shanghai, that she might be at hand in case of need.

It led also to definite and earnest prayer for Mr. Taylor, which was sorely needed. For he was on his way out, as we have seen, and in the Indian Ocean had become so seriously ill that a Singapore doctor doubted whether he could reach Hongkong alive.. He decided to go on, however ; and the news that reached him in the latter port of Mrs. Taylor's being actually in Shanghai, when he had thought her far away and inaccessible, was so cheering that it helped him over the rest of the voyage. Her letters too were encouraging.

" I have been spreading before the Lord," she had written soon after reaching Shanghai, 1-{I A letter dated March 18, 1879.} " some of the numerous difficulties that await you, and thinking of them with something of rejoicing. What a platform there will be for our God to work and triumph on ; and how clearly we shall see His hand! May He keep you without care, and bring you up like Jehoshaphat, your mouth filled with songs of praise in prospect of certain victories. . . . Oh, the resources of the grace you have to draw upon! `According to His riches in glory,' . . . ` According to your need.' Surely, to need much grace and therefore to have much given is not a thing to be troubled about, is it ?

" Don't you think that if we set ourselves not to allow any pressure to rob us of communion with the Lord, we may live lives of hourly triumph, the echo of which will come back to us from every part of the Mission ? I have been feeling these last months that of all our work the most important is that unseen -upon the mount of intercession. Our faith must gain the victory for the fellow-workers God has given us. They fight the seen, and we must fight the unseen battle : and dare we claim less than constant victory when it is for Him, and we come in His Name ? "

Met by Mr. Weir with his private launch, Mr. Taylor was carried without fatigue to the very door of the Missionhouse, then on the Soo-chow Creek, where he found quite a party awaiting him. Each one had special needs or problems to be dealt with ; and Mr. and Mrs. Dalziel, in charge of the home and business department, were keeping open house for seamen, among whom an encouraging work was going on. This thoroughly suited the earnest band Mr. Taylor had brought with him, several of whom decided to give their first night in China to prayer and praise. They gathered in a room next to Mr. Taylor's, and had a memorable time, full of liberty and blessing, never realising that to the invalid on the other side of the partition it meant hours of wakefulness and pain. Nothing would have induced Mr. Taylor to stop them, however ; he rejoiced, far too much in their fervent spirit, but it proved scarcely the best preparation, in his own case, for the busy days that followed.

At first, in the joy of reunion, he was full of plans for visiting the stations and helping the new missionaries who had been sent out (thirty-four in number) during his recent visit to England. But the strain of all that had to be attended to was more than he could bear, and within a fortnight he was so ill that again life itself was hanging in the balance. The physician consulted had little hope, unless he could at once be removed to a more bracing climate. Summer was coming on, and it was useless to attempt to remain anywhere in the Yangtze valley. The northern port of Chefoo, with its freedom and freshness, he recommended as the best available refuge : but how to get there was the difficulty.

It was an anxious journey, from the Monday evening, when they went on board, through the long hours of Tuesday -moving slowly in a damp sea-mist, while the fog-horn droned its melancholy sound-and especially that second night when Mrs. Taylor was almost at her wits' end. All the milk she had brought for the invalid had curdled, in spite of being boiled and put in the ice-chest, and some things he might have fancied she reproached herself for having failed to bring. He was so low that he could hardly take anything, and she feared he would be too weak to be moved from the steamer when Chefoo was reached. Weary though she was she dared not sleep, for Mr. Taylor could do nothing for himself, and from time to time was very faint.

" In my distress I cried to God to help me," she wrote to Miss Desgraz at Chin-kiang. " I asked Him either to enable Mr. Taylor to take the food we had, or to show me what I could get for him, or to make him better without anything-as He had said, ` Man doth not live by bread alone.' I pleaded too that the fog might clear away, and that God who loved His own child would undertake for him, as the responsibility was too great for me to bear. I thought of ` God is a refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,' and ` Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with, me.' ` He doeth all things well ' came to my mind with comfort, and ` All the way my Saviour leads me.' Then I turned to Mr. Taylor and was able to prevail upon him to take a little food. In the night he had a cupful of arrowroot, and next day was decidedly better. . . . That afternoon I went on deck, and fell in with an officer with whom I was able to have some earnest talk about spiritual things. I began about the improvement in the weather, and he said : `Yes, it was remarkable! About 9.30 the fog cleared right away, and we had a splendid, moonlight night.'

" It was between 9 and 9.30 that I had been praying about it, before going to rest."

Next morning she could not but feel a little anxious as they neared Chefoo. The vessel was only staying an hour, to discharge passengers and cargo, and there had been no time to make arrangements as to where to take the patient on landing. Eagerly she looked out for the Customs House officer, a kindly Christian man whose acquaintance she had made on her recent journey from Shan-si ; but when his boat came alongside Mr. Ballard was not on board. The illness that kept him at home deprived her of a helping hand when one was most needed ; and for the moment it seemed desolate to transfer their belongings to a native sampan and take Mr. Taylor ashore, ill as he was, with no idea where to go. Had it not been for the fog, however, their vessel would have come in some hours earlier, and they would have had to land in the middle of a cold night. So the morning sunshine was a token of the loving care of One Who had gone before them, and to Whom their every need was known.

Lying there in the little boat while his companions went in search of quarters,1-{1 Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were accompanied on this journey by Mr. J. J. Coulthard, one of the party just arrived from England who was much with them this summer, acting as Mr. Taylor's secretary ; and who afterwards became his son-in-law.} how far was Mr. Taylor from imagining all that his illness and forlorn arrival were to mean of help and comfort for his fellow-labourers ! He' had come to China full of hope for extension, especially in the field of Women's Work. The success that had attended Mrs. Taylor's efforts proved that the interior was no less accessible to women missionaries than to men ; and having sent his own wife first, he felt the more free to encourage others in following her example. But it was a great task that lay before him, a great responsibility, calling for all he could give of time and strength. Did it not mean coming into personal touch with the new workers, as well as gathering up the threads at all the older stations, that he might know where reinforcements were most needed and who could best be spared for the forward movement ? And here he was, laid aside, able to do nothing ; and though happily he did not know it, long months were to lapse ere he would leave that silent shore again.

That silent, waiting shore-how much of help it was to afford in the practical problem of reaching the far interior with the Gospel ! Scattered homes, missionary homes, centres of light and love among the people-yes, that was what he longed to see all over inland China. And what about the little children sent in love to such homes ; sent to be not only their parents' joy and comfort, but an incalculable help in the- work to which their lives were given ? What about the need that must arise in the not distant future for a more favourable climate for those little ones than inland cities could afford, and for mental and physical training that should not separate them wholly from the influence of parents who must remain in China ? What about the need of those parents, and others throughout the Mission, for rest and refreshment from time to time, and for a health resort in cases of illness like his own ? All this Mr. Taylor could foresee but dimly, nor did he then imagine the extensive and complete equipment of buildings that was to arise on that far sweep of shore-the hospital, sanitarium, schools of the Mission ; the bright, breezy centre of young life from which incalculable influences for good were to flow, on and on through long years and to the ends of the earth. But the Lord knew, the Lord foresaw, the Lord planned it all. And was He not beginning, even then, to answer the countless prayers with which each of those young lives would be received and surrounded, though for love of Christ the parents might have little they could do for their children but pray. Such sacrifices mean much to the infinite Father-heart.

In the home of Mr. Ballard, meanwhile, Mrs. Taylor had met with a cordial welcome. His illness proved only a passing indisposition, and he and his wife were given to hospitality. They were young, newly married people, and had room for visitors, so the missionary party soon found themselves received into a real home, as paying guests.

" Under the shadow of a high cliff and quite on the seashore," was Mrs. Taylor's description of their new surroundings.

" Mr. Taylor bore the moving better than I expected," she continued to Miss Desgraz, " though in his weak state, of course, he felt it. When, however, we had been a little while here, the sense of rest among kind people, in such a pleasant spot, seemed to refresh him, and every hour since has done him good. It is so quiet about here, with only Mr. and Mrs. Ballard. Mr. Taylor can sit on the verandah and drink in the sea-air-looking out on the hills-all round the bay, and on the junks and steamers. The sea-weed smells so refreshing! Has not God been good to us ? "

The summer that followed proved exceptionally trying. Few could remember a hotter season in China. Work such as Mr. Taylor had planned, down in the Yangtze valley, would in all probability have cost his life ; and the illness of one and another made him long to share with them the very real benefit he was deriving from Cliefoo. Several of the newly-arrived young missionaries were sent for first of all, and an unused building known as " The Bungalow " was called into requisition. With three small rooms and an empty warehouse or " go - down " it possessed possibilities, and was soon occupied by a student party. But, for them, it was found possible to rent premises over at the Bluff-the fine headland with its purely Chinese villages, across the bay. And this arrangement was made none too soon ; for even before the young men could vacate it, the Bungalow was needed for other occupants.

Far away in Wu-chang, Mr. and Mrs. Judd were breaking down under the strain of their work and the overpowering heat, and it seemed as though they and their family would be obliged to return to England. " Come up here if you can," wrote Mr. Taylor, telling them how wonderfully Chefoo was answering in his own case ; but he had to pray that their way might be opened, as he had no money to send them just then for travelling. Under these circumstances, Mr. Judd was glad of an opportunity to sell the furniture they would no longer need ; and with the proceeds took his suffering wife and five little boys down the Yangtze and' up to the northern port, at which a warm welcome awaited them.

To see those children playing on the beach was as much joy, almost, to Mr. Taylor as to their own parents, and he longed to bring the same relief to other fellow-workers and their families. But nothing was to be had in the way of accommodation, save The Bungalow, in which Mr. and Mrs. Judd were ingeniously making the best of circumstances. Boxes and packing-cases they turned into chairs and tables, in default of better, spreading their Chinese bedding on the floor at night.

" There was no furniture to be had in Chefoo in those days," wrote Mr. Judd, " save one kind of chair made of willow. It was altogether a new place ; besides which, we had no money for anything except necessaries. Seeing a number of Chinese houses at no great distance however, I went over, and found a shopman selling off his shelves very reasonably. These I bought, and adapted to our requirements. Some of them did for beds, like berths on a ship, and didn't our boys enjoy them! I can truly say we lacked nothing-though it was a case of picnicking on the floor at first, which we did very willingly."

When things had got thus far, Mr. Taylor was so much better that he felt he must go down to Chin-kiang to see about certain rather surprising developments. For while he had been laid aside, unable to do anything in the matter most upon his heart, the Lord Himself had been working. His time had come, indeed, for opening the door of faith to the long-waiting womanhood of the recently entered provinces. Cost what it might, the Gospel must be carried to them too " according to the commandment of the eternal God " ; and He had His messengers ready. Providentially, it was the pioneers themselves who broke the ice. After repeated journeys, the far interior did not seem to them so very different from inland districts near the coast. Prospered in obtaining houses, they were quite at home among the people, and saw the advantage of having some settled stations. What more natural than that they should wish to be married, and take the first foreign women to those outlying regions as their own home-makers and fellow missionaries ? To this Mr. Taylor, who had himself led the way, could raise no objection. Thus when he came down in August to the Yangtze valley, one young couple had already started for the far north-west, and others were preparing for similar journeys.

Meeting a terrific gale on the way from Chefoo to Shanghai, the steamer by which Mr. Taylor travelled had come very near shipwreck. It was one of the worst typhoons recorded on that stormy coast, and for some time even Mr. Taylor felt doubtful as to the issue. He knew the vessel was not a strong one, and while earnestly praying for deliverance and the lives of all on board, blew up his swimming-belt and put it on, to be ready for the worst. And then, great calmness came to him in the assurance that his prayers, definitely offered in the Name of Jesus, would be answered.

" I took off my swimming belt," he wrote next day (Aug. 1), "turned' the bedding over and found the under side moderately dry, and taking off my wettest things lay down in the others.... I had a good night-a much more quiet and restful one than the night before. It was a little before one that I felt God had answered prayer. The Captain put the ship's head round,I learn, and ran before the wind for some hours. But what interests me most is to hear from one of the officers to-day that the barometer, which had been very low, began to rise soon after 1 A.M. I had asked that if it were His will, the Lord would shorten the storm. . . . It was of course some time later before it perceptibly abated. To God be all the thanks and praise. Will He not go on to help in all things?"

A busy month was spent in Shanghai and Chin-kiang, with visits to Yang-chow, where Mr. Taylor was altering the old premises to fit them for more aggressive work.

" It does seem so homelike," he wrote of the latter place " how I should like to settle there for the remainder of my days and be a missionary again I "

In letter after letter to Mrs. Taylor he spoke of being so thankful he had come ; of seeing the Lord's hand manifestly working in the removal of difficulties and the solution of problems ; of his purpose to go on to Hankow, despite the fresh heat-wave that could not last long, etc. Then came a break in the correspondence, and for the fourth time in as many months it looked as though his work were to be cut short, his earthly service ended. Dysentery returned with the overpowering heat, and very near the spot where his loved ones lay sleeping Hudson Taylor came once more to the borderland.

But the life that had not yet attained its widest usefulness was still prolonged. Nursing him day and night with the utmost devotion, Rudland managed to get the patient down to Shanghai and on board the coasting steamer, and indeed would not leave him till he was safely back in Chefoo once more. And there again the bracing air did wonders, and Mr. Taylor was lured into spending much time out of doors by a new project that almost thrust itself upon him.

Delighting day by day in that long sweep of sandy shore, he and his fellow-workers could not but see how much it would mean to the Mission to have a sanitarium there, and some day, perhaps, a school for missionaries' children. But they knew from experience the difficulty of obtaining land in China, and that when property has to be acquired peace is more than likely to be destroyed. They contented themselves; therefore, with looking longingly at the hills, where a retired spot with nicely rising ground offered an attractive situation. How well it would suit them :with its freshwater stream running down to the shore ! But, for the time being, they could only pray. They did not often go over there even, knowing how prices are apt to go up if any interest is shown in a possible purchase. But one day Mr. Taylor was walking over the ground with Mr. Judd when a farmer came up and asked, to their surprise, if they wanted to buy land. They had just been saying, as a matter of fact, what an admirable site that bean-field would afford, if only they could get it.

" Do you want land ? " repeated the man, seeing their hesitation.

With little apparent interest they indicated that they might be prepared to buy some.

".Then will you buy mine ? " was the next surprise.

He was offering that very bean-field ; and at no unreasonable price, as they soon discovered.

"Then and there the bargain was struck," recalled Mr. Judd. " I never knew a piece of business settled so easily. The money was paid and we got the field, with a gully and fresh water running down beside it. Then neighbouring farmers were willing to sell theirs as well ; and we bought -all we wanted at a remarkably fair price. Now, of course, it is much more valuable."

The land given thus in answer to prayer, it was a question of how to utilise it at the least possible expense for the purpose of a sanitarium. Stones, brick and timber, if brought from a distance, would cost a good deal, and locally little or nothing was obtainable.

" Let us quarry our own stone," said Mr. Taylor, " and make bricks as we require them." He was his own architect, and Mr. Judd's account of the whole proceeding original and enterprising as it was-is not lacking in interest.

Neither Mr. Taylor nor I had any experience in house-building. We employed men to quarry stone out of the gully, and made most of our bricks from the surface soil, which did well for that purpose. Then it occurred to us to make use of a ship called the Christian which had been wrecked in the 'bay. It had been built chiefly of oak and Norwegian pine, which served our purpose splendidly. We bought a large part of the wreck, using the deck for rafters and the oak for heavy beams. A Shanghai newspaper remarked, I remember, that the Christian had ceased going to sea, and had joined the C.I.M.

From another wreck, the Ada, we were able to buy teak, which made the floors. The cabin-fittings from that wreck came in most usefully. There was a splendid sideboard. We bought doors, locks, cupboards, everything we liked to take, at two dollars a hundredweight.1-{' The dollar was 35. 9d. that summer.} We squared the doors as well as we could, got keys for many of the locks, and they answered all right. , The worst of the teak was the holes that the bolts had left. We filled them up, but the filling was very apt to come out, leaving openings in inconvenient places. I do not say that the house was well built, but it was wonderfully good considering our lack of experience. There were five rooms upstairs and about as many down, with outhouse and lean-to rooms besides. It was marvellously cheap ; and the Europeans in the Settlement were amazed at the rapidity with which it was put up. They could hardly believe their eyes when they saw it finished!

All this meant a new lease of life to Mr. Taylor. The complete change of occupation and long hours spent in the open air did wonders for him physically.

How you would like to go out to the ground and see the operations," Mrs. Taylor wrote in November. " It is quite a busy scene. Builders, brickmakers, stonemasons and carpenters all have their matting tents, while others you might find occupied by 'Mr. Judd and Mr. Coulthard, or Mr. Taylor and Mr. Hunt. Looking well after the men is necessary to save expense and mistakes. The young men are finding it a capital school for the language, and are looking twice as robust as when they came out. The Gospel is explained to the workmen daily, at an enlarged sort of family prayers, and on Sundays they refit, at half pay, and one or two services are held for them. The young men find it an excellent opportunity for living Christ as well as speaking of Him, for patience is often exceedingly tried. The front of the house will face the sea, from which it is five minutes' walk, , and the back looks on the hills. . . . It is so bracing and pleasant here. Mr. Judd is hardly like the same person."

It long stood, that simple, first construction in which began the justly famous Chefoo Schools of today. Two of Mr. Judd's sons, now valued members of the Mission, were the first pupils ; and Lao Chao, converted among the workmen on the building, grew into the trusted head-servant of a large staff of helpers. For gradually, hospital and private houses, school after school and the new sanitarium have sprung up, transforming those sunny slopes, that silent shore into a scene of delightful activity. There, with its competent teachers, every one of whom is a full member of the Mission, the C.I.M. cares for its children from Kindergarten up to College years, giving them a thorough Christian education, and at the same time cherishing family relationships ; brothers and sisters meeting from the various schools, and parents coming from time to time to rest in the sanitarium.

Far in the future, however, were these developments as the year 1879 drew to a close. Busily occupied though he was, Mr. Taylor had still in mind the special purpose with which he had come to China ; and leaving Mr. Judd in charge of building operations he set out, as soon as health was re-established, for the advance post of the Mission at Wu-chang. The young couples who had left for the interior some months previously were now in their distant homes, beginning work for the first time among the women of the western and north-western provinces. What that work would mean, Mr. Taylor largely realised, and how great would be the need for sisterly help and companionship. Never in all the history of the Mission had he been called to take a step which cast him more in faith upon the living God. What, send women-unmarried women, young and defenceless-into all the dangers and privations, the hardship and loneliness of life in the far interior of China? Let them take those perilous journeys of weeks and months at a time, and condemn them to isolation in crowded cities, hundreds of miles from any other foreigner ? The responsibility was great indeed, and keenly he felt it. He was but a servant, however, not the Master. And if women were waiting to go at the Master's call, surely the time had come to help them rather than hinder.

Travelling by mule-litter with Mr. Coulthard from Chefoo to the Grand Canal, Mr. Taylor had leisure for thought and prayer over the situation. Three and a half weeks brought them to Chin-kiang, by roughest roads, with inns so poor that they even had to share their accommodation with the mules at night, when those voracious animals fell to eating the straw pillows on which their fellow -travellers were sleeping. Disturbed as might be their rest, however, and chilly as were their comfortless quarters that- Christmas season,1-{1 The journey occupied from December 9 to January 3 (1880), when they rejoined Mrs. Taylor at Chin-kiang, the latter having gone round by sea.} the younger missionary never failed to see, if he woke early enough, the little candle burning that told of Mr. Taylor's quiet hour over the Word of God.

And it all came about so naturally, when at length Mr. Taylor reached Wu-chang. A number of C.I.M. people were there, for various reasons, with Mr. and Mrs. Bailer in charge. Daily they met for Bible reading and prayer, the needs of the lonely workers at the distant outposts burdening their hearts. A thousand miles up the Yangtze, Mr. and Mrs. Nicoll had just reached Chung-king, where she was the only foreign woman in the great province of Szechwan. For hard as it had been to part, Mr. and Mrs. George Clark had gone on further-another seventeen days' journey to the capital of Kwei-chow, where Mr. Broumton was holding the fort alone. This latter post was very distant, very isolated and Mr. Trench, on his next evangelistic journey, was to call in and see the little party. Yes, he could act as escort, if there were ladies willing and ready to go. And there were. Mrs. William McCarthy, newly widowed, whose husband had been designated to that very province, only asked to give her life to what was to have been their united task ; and Miss Kidd, beloved by the Chinese no less than her fellow-workers, was more 'than willing to accompany her. So the week of meetings was followed by one of busy preparation.

" Such a venture of faith as it was! said Mr. Coulthard, looking back with more understanding than he or any of the young missionaries could have had at the time. " The last meeting to commend them to God was deeply solemn. Mr. Taylor no doubt felt it as we could not. We never thought of danger ; but he realised what might be involved, and his heart was moved accordingly."

For the route decided upon lay across Hu-nan, turbulent and anti-foreign ; and in addition to the Chinese Christian woman who had volunteered to accompany the ladies, Mr. Bailer was to be spared to reinforce the party. This practically exhausted the resources of the station, and when a call came for the help of ladies in quite another direction, no foreign escort was available. Mrs. Taylor had just comic up-river, with a young worker who had already been two years in China. Miss Fausset, with true courage, was ready to go at once to the help of Mrs. King ; but it meant a three months' journey by house-boat, without coming to a single place at which there were foreigners, and there was no one save Miss Wilson to accompany her.

Then it was that advancing years and silvery hair came to their own in a new way ; for Miss Wilson's venerable appearance, from the Chinese point of view, made it possible for the ladies to travel without foreign escort, and they were quite prepared to undertake the journey with the Lord alone as their Protector. It is easy to write the words, easier still to read them with passing interest ; but only those who have known from experience what such journeys meant in the early days can at all appreciate the situation. Mr. Taylor knew ; yet he encouraged these brave women, and assumed the responsibility of letting them go.

Not lightly, however, or at little cost did he go through with this matter. No one of experience being left in the Mission-house, he engaged the boat himself and made all arrangements, even to packing food-baskets and rolling up their bedding with his own hands. Delayed after they had' gone on board, he spent the first night with them among the crowded shipping at the mouth of the Han-sharing the only available cabin with Miss Wilson's protege, a leper lad rescued at Yang-chow, who had become an earnest Christian and proved invaluable as a helper.

" I complained," wrote Miss Fausset, " about the unpleasant odour of his bedding," forgetting the hundred and one other things about which she did not complain, " and the worst of it was discarded next day. But Mr. Taylor had slept in the same compartment with the poor fellow all night."

Seeing that the vegetable oil, which was all they had been able to procure for cooking, made their food unpalatable, Mr. Taylor went ashore next morning and was gone some time.

"When he returned," Miss Fausset continued, " he was carrying a basket on his arm (having no servant with him) in which were sweet potatoes, eggs and lard. One never could have thought a little lard capable of doing so much good, or making so enduring an impression ! "

When the boatmen really started (March 1, 1880) Mr. Taylor still remained on board till they got well out on the Han ; then after a helpful time of prayer, while the attention of the ladies was occupied, he slipped into his little sampan and was gone. Never were travellers more faithfully escorted than by his prayers. Day and night he went with them in spirit, as they had the comfort of knowing, and Miss Fausset could never forget the earnestness with which he said on meeting her again

" I have prayed for you thousands of times."

As news began to come from distant stations in which these and other pioneers were winning their way to the homes and hearts of the people, Mr.Taylor rejoiced with new, unutterable joy.

" I cannot tell you how glad my heart is," he wrote to his mother in July, " to see the work extending and consolidating in the remote parts of China. It is worth living for and worth dying for."

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