CHAPTER 25--DEEPER DOWN--1882. AET. 50.

FIRED with new faith and refreshed with spiritual blessing, the little party scattered from Wu-chang. What a message was theirs to take and send throughout the Mission !

" The Lord has been with us indeed," Mr. Taylor wrote on his way down river. " We have been guided, I believe of Him, to ask for ' other Seventy also,' and if He tarry He will send them I am sure. I am now on my way to Chin-kiang, where I hope to have some meetings for spiritual blessing... .

God is faithful, and expects us to walk by faith.... We have our definite lines of working : we must not leave them, nor grow weary in them. If any leave us on account of them, they, not we, are the losers. . . . God remains faithful. Do not be cast down if you meet with difficulties at home. All things are working together for good, as in due time we shall see. Pray much for me. . . . Satan is a terrible reality, so is the flesh ; but more is He Who is within us. If God be for us, who, what can overcome us ? " 1-{ 1 This letter to Mrs. Taylor was written, as it happened, on the very day of her arrival in England, December 1, 1881. Tidings of a fresh bereavement awaited her, for Mr. Taylor's father had passed away a few weeks previously.' My dear and honoured father," he wrote on hearing of it, " has been taken Home, painlessly and -without a moment's warning. None was needed : to him, to die was gain. I realised very thankfully that the long, dreary winter we had dreaded for him, alone-without my dear mother, for fifty years his companion-would not distress him now ; but I could not help a feeling of desolation at the thought of no more Father's or Mother's welcome ; no old home to go to, should I return to England again. But it dawned on, me that not only are they both at rest, in the presence of the Lord Jesus, but they are reunited, freed from infirmity and imperfection for ever : and then the old home feeling came back to my heart--only centred there, where I would have it, instead of down here. It has made me so happy!"}

The meetings at Chin-kiang early in December were fully as encouraging as those at Wu-chang had been. All the members of the Mission present agreed to pray daily for the Seventy until they should be given. When Mr. Taylor left, several of the young men went down with him to the steamer.

" We had prayer in his cabin," Mr. Parrott wrote. " Five 'of us prayed for the Seventy, and Mr. Taylor promised to telegraph home and ask them to receive and send out this number, if we would continue praying.... Certainly the Lord is reviving us : other missionaries at Chin-kiang have also been present in our meetings."

From that time on it was a constant joy to Mr. Taylor to see how the prayer for reinforcements was taken up throughout the Mission. No one knew better than he did what it meant to his fellow-workers to be not willing only, but earnestly desirous that the staff of the Mission should be so largely increased, when funds were and had long been low. But he knew too that it is a safe thing to launch out upon a course of obedience, no matter what testings may be involved.

" I do feel more and, more the blessedness of real trust in God," he wrote to Dr. Harold Schofield before the close of the year (Dec. 23). " Faith, He tries, but sustains : and when our faithfulness fails, His remains unshaken. ' ' He cannot deny Himself.'

" I have asked Mr. Pigott to hand you some silver which he took back with him to Shan-si : I enclose receipts. It comes as the answer to more than usual prayer ; may I not hope that a more than usual blessing will rest on it ? It is not the much or the little that is all-important. The handful of meal in the widow's barrel might last longer than a store on which God's blessing did not rest. I do feel that our adorable Master has made us so rich in Himself, has so given us the wealth of His own heart's love and all that that includes and implies, that we can do without any one else, or anything else, as He may see best. It is yet true that 'man doth not live by bread alone' ; and equally true that yearning human hearts are not to be satisfied with earthly love alone. How many have to feel, if not say,

' Whoso drinketh of this water shall thirst again' ! But we can sing,... Thy love so pure and changeless,satisfies my heart; Satisfies its deepest longings ; meets,supplies its every need Compasses me round with blessing Thine is love indeed.

" The Lord Jesus, this year of very peculiar trial from almost every quarter, does make my heart well up arid overflow with His love. He knows what our separations and other incidents of service mean, and He so wonderfully makes all loss gain, as many seem unable to understand. Excuse my running on in this way. My glad heart seems as if it must have vent, even among figures and remittances."

A few days later, in the scene of his early labours at Ningpo (January 1882), Mr. Taylor was drafting an appeal to the home churches which in due course was signed by seventy-seven members of the Mission in China. The sense of responsibility that lay behind it, as well as its quiet confidence in God may be judged from the following extracts:

Souls on every hand are perishing for lack of knowledge ; more than a thousand every hour are passing away into death and darkness. . . . Provinces in China compare in area with kingdoms in Europe, and average between ten -and twenty millions in population. One province has no missionary ; one has only one, an unmarried missionary ; in each of two other provinces there is only one missionary and his wife resident ; and none are sufficiently supplied with labourers. Can we leave matters thus without incurring the sin of blood-guiltiness ?

After requesting prayer for more workers " in connection with every Protestant missionary society on both sides of the Atlantic," the needs of the C.I.M. were specially referred to.

A careful survey of the spiritual work to which we ourselves are called . . . has led us to feel the importance of immediate and large reinforcements,, and many of us are daily pleading with God in agreed prayer for forty-two' additional men and twenty-eight additional women, called and sent out by God, to assist us in carrying on and extending the work already committed to our charge. We ask our brothers and sisters in Christ at home to join us in praying the Lord of the Harvest to thrust out this " other seventy also." We are not anxious as to the means for sending them forth or sustaining them. He has told us to look to the birds and flowers, and to take no thought for these things, but to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and, that all these things shall be added unto us. But we are concerned that only men and women called of God, fully consecrated to Him, and counting everything precious as dross and dung " for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord," should come out to join us ; and we would add to this appeal a word of caution and encouragement, to any who may feel drawn to offer themselves for this blessed work. Of caution, urging such to count the cost ; to wait prayerfully on God ; to ask themselves whether they will really trust Him for everything, wherever He may call them to go. Mere romantic feeling will soon die out amid the toilsome labour and constant discomforts and trials of inland work, and will not be worth much when severe illness arises and perhaps all the money is gone. Faith in the living God alone gives joy and rest in such circumstances. But a word also of encouragement, for we ourselves have proved God's faithfulness and the blessedness of dependence on Him.' He is supplying. and ever has supplied all our need. And if not seldom we have fellowship in poverty with Him Who for our sakes became poor, shall we not rejoice if the Day prove that we have been, like the great missionary Apostle, " poor, yet making many rich ; having nothing, yet possessing all things " ? He makes us very happy in His service, and those of us who have children desire nothing better for them, should the Lord tarry, than that they may be called to similar work and similar joys.1-{1 Shortly before this was written, Mr. Taylor had' welcomed his eldest son to China, Mr. Herbert Taylor, who for thirty-six years has continued in faithful labours-first in the Chefoo Schools, and subsequently in evangelistic and pastoral work.}

What should we not expect from 1882 after this beginning, with the prayer for the Seventy being taken up in such a spirit throughout the Mission ? Should we not confidently look for a rising tide of spiritual blessing both at home and in China, and that Mr. Taylor especially, as representing the movement, should be led on from strength to strength ? Perhaps a deeper knowledge not only of the " acts " but of the " ways " of God would modify such expectations, and lessen the surprise with which one finds the reality to have been very different. For in England as in China, difficulties did not lessen. Working to the limit of his powers, Mr. Broomhall was not able to report any decided increase either of funds or of service. Eleven new workers were sent out, but three only of the number were men, when five times as many had been hoped for. So great was the trial as to shortness of supplies that Mr. Taylor could scarcely wonder at the retirement of one and another from the Mission whom he knew to be loosely attached to its principles. Government posts were to be had at a salary of fifty pounds a month, in which it was easy to think that exceptional opportunities for usefulness would be found. And, most sorrowful of all, as he moved from place to place the work in some important stations seemed to be going back rather than forward.

Faith was thus thrown into the crucible in many ways, and the reality behind outward seeming, both as to Mr. Taylor's own position and that of others, was tested as never before. Weaknesses were brought out with startling clearness-need of spiritual power, of organisation, of leaders of more calibre. With answered prayer on the one hand as to the opening up of inland China, and a growing faith for large reinforcements on the other, they were forced to a realisation of the utter inadequacy of existing arrangements to carry on the work even as it was. And in and through it all, Mr. Taylor himself was assailed by such depression, loneliness and forebodings, due in part to illness, that one stands amazed at the record merely-the little that could be put into letters of those long painful months.

Yet the soul was sustained upon its inward way. Wonderful indeed is the conflict, the dimly-seen midnight wrestling of this man of prayer with his God. Much he had known already of Him Whose larger blessing he so deeply craved. Did it seem in the darkness as if all were failing him ? Strengthened and upheld by the Hand that seemed against him, he was yet to prove the faithfulness of Him to Whom he clung with the heart-cry, " Show me now Thy Name."

Wilt Thou not yet to me reveal

Thy new, unutterable name ?

Tell me, I still beseech Thee, tell ;

To know it now resolved I am:

Wrestling, I will not let Thee go,

Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

What though my shrinking flesh complain,

And murmur to contend so long ?

I rise superior to my pain,

When I am weak, then I am strong;

And when my all of strength shall fail,

I shall with the God-Man prevail.

Yield to me now ; for I am weak,

But confident in self-despair ;

Speak to my heart, in blessings speak,

Be conquered by my instant prayer ;

Speak, or Thou never hence shalt move,

And tell me if Thy name is Love.

'Tis Love ! 'tis Love ! Thou diedst for me !

I hear Thy whisper in my heart ;

The morning breaks, the shadows flee,

Pure, universal Love Thou art ;

To me, to all, Thy mercies move

Thy nature and Thy name is Love.

My prayer hath power with God ; the grace

Unspeakable I now receive ;

Through faith I see Thee face to face,

I see Thee face to face, and live !

In vain I have not wept and strove

Thy nature and Thy name is Love.

I know Thee, Saviour, who Thou art,

Jesus, the feeble sinner's Friend ;

Nor wilt Thou with the night depart,

But stay and love me to the end ;

Thy mercies never shall remove

Thy nature and Thy name is Love.

1-{1 From Wesley's noble hymn commencing, " Come, 0 Thou Traveller unknown," familiar to Hudson Taylor from childhood.}

Thus it was that Hudson Taylor held on-hard pressed in faith and circumstances, sustained, borne down at times, but strengthened. Thus it was that he was brought out victorious.

" Were not my hope in God, I should be terribly discouraged by my recent visits," he wrote on February 13. " But the Lord' reigneth." 1-{1- This and the following quotations are all from letters to Mrs. Taylor.}{

Feb. 17: I do trust that good may result from these visits. They cost me a good deal, physically and mentally, and do not effect nearly as much as I could wish.

Feb. 21: May the Lord have mercy upon us, and purge out from among us every false and vain thing, and make us pure and holy before Him in love. . . . These things almost break my heart. I do not know what to do, sometimes. But if I grieve over . . . want of Christlike devotion, what must He feel Who shed His blood for souls ? Blessed Jesus I how unworthy of Thee I am. Make me more like Thyself.

June 16: There are many and serious difficulties to be met, but the Lord is at our right hand, and we shall not be moved by them if He uphold us. All the way my Saviour leads me, What have I to ask beside ?

July 7 : Travelling by foot-boat. I do live in your love, during this long, long separation. If the Lord do not come first, it will end ; but oh, the end seems so far off ! And you are, perhaps, longing for me, I will not say as much, but in the same way. I am so glad we can both say " All for Jesus " ; and He fully knows how much that " all " means sometimes, does He not ? May He be gracious to us, and keep our hearts full of His manifested love and conscious presence, and then we shall not faint nor be weary by the way.

July 22: Chefoo. I do believe God is doing and will do great things for us. As to health, I never was better.

July 31 : 4 A.M.... I have had a trying time here, and it is not. altogether past yet. One is very much tempted to say or to think, Satan is too much for us, and thus to dishonour our almighty Saviour. . . . By God's help, I do manage to get things through.

Aug. 7 : I feel sure that if we are only simple in faith and loyal in service, God will teach us much that at present we have little practical knowledge of. . . . Here, we all feel that blessing is not far off. . . . If I were to tell you the mercies we have had of late, the interpositions of God's hand, it would be a long letter ! and " yet there's more to follow." I feel sure God will do, is doing, great things for us. Let us open wide our mouths and enlarge our hearts, for He is faithful.

September and October were specially trying months ; since the formation of the Mission, Mr. Taylor had never been more overwhelmed. But for the reality of that inward sustaining, he must have broken down physically, if not in faith and courage. As it was, he was consciously shaken,though not " moved."

" Pray especially for guidance in the organisation of the work," he wrote on October 21, " and for men of calibre to carry it on.... Abundant spiritual power and some considerable capacity in leadership are just now great desiderata. If I could be free from all but the spiritual oversight, I might do good for some time to come."

Nov. 23: Sometimes I venture to indulge the hope that I shall be able to get away in January, and reach you early in March. It seems too good to be true, and I feel afraid to build upon it ; for, if hindered, the disappointment will be so great. If I really do know my heart, my first wish is to do God's will in the matter ; but you and the dear children do draw so, that I am often afraid lest my motives in wishing to go home quickly are not so purely for the furtherance of God's work as I could wish. Oh, how graciously God has ordered it that we are accepted in the Beloved," " Complete in Him " 1-{1 The " Shanghai Free Christian Church " was by this time well established, and had been meeting in the Masonic Hall for twelve months. Mr. Taylor was so much interested in its beginnings and preached for them so frequently that he was practically its first Pastor. He was succeeded by Messrs. Pearse, Judd, and other members of the Mission, for longer or shorter periods. Notes of many of Mr. Taylor's sermons are preserved, showing how faithfully he gave himself to this ministry.}

Dec. 5 : I would not withhold anything from the Lord Jesus. I do want to finish the work He has given me to do. . . . But I think that ere long He will restore us to. one another, and I hope the days of our parting may then be ended, and no more such lengthened separations be our lot.

Dec. 30: Shanghai. Tomorrow (Sunday) I preach at the Masonic Hall-the last morning sermon of 1882, as I preached the first.' May God give me the message. I am glad to serve Him here. It is heavy and constant labour, but very happy. My path will not be easy, with regard to leaving. So little is coming in at home. . . . The Lord will provide, no doubt ; but it seems as if I must be near, to pray and to divide as closely as possible. Well . . . I am praying for guidance, and He will give it. Many enjoy our meetings. They- little know what they cost you and me. Is anything of value in Christ's service which costs little ? Upon the cross of Jesus, mine eye at times can see, The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me.

How light our burdens, how small our love, compared with that ! "

Yet there were gleams of brightness, all the more welcome ,for the shadows, and some outstanding experiences that told of a deepening work of God. Memorable among these was the Conference at An-king in June, when Mr. Taylor spoke on a subject that was filling his. heart. To some it may seem strange that the Scripture from which he derived most of the " power of endurance and encouragement " 1-{1 A literal "rendering of Romans 15: 4. See The New Testament in Modern Speech-Dr. Weymouth.} he so sorely needed at this time was the Song of Solomon ; but those who have been brought by the King into " His chambers " in the treasure-house of its inspired pages will know the matchless revelation they contain of " the love that passeth knowledge " and the response it seeks from its own. This was Mr. Taylor's theme at the Conference, and much of the most helpful ministry of his later years may be traced to the same source. 2-{2- It is worthy of notice that just as Mr. Taylor's first insight into the spiritual teaching of the Song of Solomon was obtained in the period of trial and testing that preceded his first marriage (see Hudson Taylor in Early Years, p. 426), so now in heart-loneliness and prolonged separation from home and loved ones it became as never before his "garden of delights." In Union and Communion will be found the line of thought which made him to many the most practically helpful expositor of this book.}

" I have gone through the Canticles in the way, of exposition during this visit," he wrote to Mrs. Taylor from An-king, " and the Lord has wonderfully opened His heart to us all. We have also dwelt on some of the distinctive principles of our position and work, I think with great profit."

And a few days later: " I wish I could give you any adequate idea of the blessing we have had in An-king. . . . So long as God gives us such times as these, we will not be cast down, however great the difficulties and trials by the way.

It was chiefly for an outpouring of a spirit of prayer that this Conference was memorable, and for the manifest presence and power of the Holy Ghost. Seven months had now elapsed since in a similar gathering the decision had been reached to ask in faith for seventy new fellow-workers, and to this little company on their knees at An-king came a wonderful confirmation of their convictions as to that purpose.

" We have had a day of united fasting and prayer to-day," Mr. Taylor wrote on June 30, " and a wonderful time of blessing it has been. The Holy Spirit seemed so to fill us this morning that several of us felt as if we could not bear any more."

And to another correspondent: I wish it were possible to give you any idea of the wonderful time of blessing we have had at An-king. They are a band of fully consecrated workers there, and were ready for blessing.... We arranged on my arrival for two meetings each day, 7-9 A.M. and P.M., and often went beyond these hours ; and some of the stronger ones "spent a large part of several nights in prayer. On the morning of our fast-day the Holy Spirit seemed so to fill several of us that each felt (as we found in private conversation afterwards) that we could not bear any more and live.

Mr. Parrott wrote of one meeting in which prayer with thanksgiving, especially for the Seventy, continued without intermission for almost two hours ; and one cannot but trace the rising tide of spiritual blessing that began to make itself felt, to the waiting upon God of this and of other special meetings toward the close of the year.

Meanwhile, Mr. Taylor had paid another visit to the district in which he had found a few months previously so much to discourage. Then he had written of his efforts being all or " nearly all in vain, so far as this part of the work is concerned." Now, baptized afresh with a spirit of love, he was enabled to find his way to hearts that had seemed closed against him, and a work of grace was the result, that was not only to save valuable workers from being lost to the Mission, but was to set them in its front rank as regards fruitfulness in soul-winning.

It was at Chefoo that the later months of the year were spent and some of its most important work accomplished; 1-{I One outgrowth of the manifold testings of this year was the increasing attention given to the question of organisation within the Mission, about which several circular letters were sent to all the stations. One of them, dated August 12, 1882, gave permanence to the arrangement by which Mr. Coulthard had for some time been acting as Mr. Taylor's representative at Wu-chang, especially in financial matters for the western and north-western provinces, and Mr. Parrott as Corresponding Secretary dealing with letters that did not need the Director's personal attention.} and there Mr. Taylor begun to see his way at length to returning to England. There, too, faith was encouraged by definite answers to prayer in the matter of funds. Early in October, for example, they were looking with special expectancy for the home remittance, autumn journeys having to be provided for those who were going up country, to whom Mr. Taylor would have been glad to entrust extra supplies for their own and other stations.

"We were at table," he recalled, " when we received our letters (the home mail) ; and when on opening one of them I found, instead of seven or eight hundred pounds for the month's supplies, only 96:9: 5, my feelings I shall not soon forget! " I closed the envelope again, and seeking my room, knelt down and spread the letter before the Lord, asking Him what was to be done with less than ninety-seven pounds-a sum it was impossible to distribute over seventy stations in which were eighty or ninety missionaries, including their wives, not to speak of about a hundred native helpers, and more than that number of native children to be fed and clothed in our schools. Having first rolled the burden on the Lord, I then mentioned the matter to others of our own Mission in Chefoo, and we unitedly looked to Him to come to our aid ; but no hint as to our circumstances was allowed to reach any one outside.

" Soon the answers began to come-kind gifts from local friends who little knew the peculiar value of their donations, and help in other ways, until the needs of the month were all met without our having been burdened with anxious thought even for an hour. We had similar experiences in November and again in December ; and on each occasion, after spreading the letter before the Lord and leaving the burden with Him, we were `helped.' Thus the Lord made our hearts sing for joy, and provided through local contributions in China for the needs of the work as never before nor since."

Encouraged in this way to remember that it was the Lord to Whom they must look, and not to friends in England, the little circle at Chefoo were the more prepared for Mr. Taylor's suggestion that they should unite in asking some definite " token for good " of the same sort to strengthen faith at home. Letters received had shown how really concerned were some of the workers and friends of the Mission as to the appeal for the Seventy. It had been kept in the background as much as possible, just because it seemed too great an advance to contemplate at such a time ; and Mr. Taylor, who by no means ignored the difficulty, felt it laid on his heart to ask the Lord to put His seal upon the matter in a way that could not be mistaken. It was at one of the daily prayer meetings at Chefoo, on or about the first of February (1883), and the few who were present were conscious of much liberty in laying their request before God.

" We knew that our Father loves to please His children," Mr. Taylor wrote in recalling this experience, "what father does not ? And we asked Him lovingly to please us, as well as to encourage timid ones at home, by leading some one of His wealthy stewards to make room for a large blessing for himself and his family by giving liberally to this special object."

A few days later Mr. Taylor sailed for England, and it was not until they stopped at Aden that he learned the sequel. No account of that special prayer-meeting had been written home, nor could a letter of that date have reached London until the end of March. But at Pyrland Road, Mr. Broomhall had the great and unexpected joy of receivingon the second of February-a sum of three thousand pounds for work in China, contributed by friends whose confidence he enjoyed in a special way.

Nor was this all. On landing at Marseilles, Mr. Taylor took the opportunity of visiting Mr. and Mrs. Berger at Cannes.

" The April China's Millions there came to hand," he wrote, " and I found in the list of donations this three thousand pounds, acknowledged under the date of February 2, with the text, `Ask of ME, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.' as follows

Father 1000

Mother . . 1000

Mary . 200

Rosie 200

Bertie . 200

Amy -200

Henry 200

Total: 3000

" It was most striking to see how literally God had fulfilled our prayer, and led His faithful steward to make room for a large blessing for himself and his family. Never before was a donation sent to us in such a way, and never since, save on one occasion, a year and five months later, when a donation for the same fund is entered thus in China's Millions

Father . . 200

Mother . 200

Mary 200

Rosie 200

Bertie . 200

Amy 100

Henry 100

Baby 100

Total: 1000

" A beautiful instance, this, of a father who seeks that each member of his family should have' treasure in heaven."'

Chapter 24Table of ContentsChapter 26