CHAPTER 28--DAYS OF BLESSING--1886. Aet.. 54.

IT had come at last-the opportunity so long looked forward to ! For seven years Mr. Taylor had been planning to visit. Shan-si. Once he had even set out, only to be recalled by claims at the coast. But now, the better organisation of the Mission permitting an absence of several months from Shanghai, he hoped to strengthen the work not in Shan-si only but in other regions lying farther inland. For many desires were on his heart in connection with this journey. Each station to be visited had its problems, but greatest of all was the question how to evangelise the vast population to which the missionaries now had access. To bring help and encouragement to these lonely toilers was his chief object, and to confer with them about the organisation of the native church, which in some places was growing rapidly. It was also his hope to establish a Church of England district in the great western province of Sze-chwan, a matter which had long been under consideration. In the Rev. W. W. Cassels the Mission had for the first time one qualified to take the lead in such an enterprise, and Sze-chwan with its sixtyeight millions had as yet only two centres in which Protestant missionaries were to be found. Mr. Cassels with others of the Cambridge party had been gaining experience in Shan-si, where they were eagerly awaiting Mr. Taylor's coming, and he was looking forward with no less pleasure to seeing them in the midst of their work.

But first of all the desired province had to be reached, over the vast plains of Chih-li and the mountain passes beyond. Such travelling was strange to Mr. Taylor, hitherto accustomed to the endless water-ways of central and southern China. Springless carts and northern roads, consisting of unmade tracks over sun-baked or rain-flooded country ; rivers to be crossed without bridge or ferry, and dangerous passes braved in litters swinging from the backs of mules very prone to stumble ; these by day, and big, noisy inns at night, together with northern speech, food, and manners, all made large demands upon strength and patience. While a native junk on canal or river may leave much to be desired, it is at any rate a shelter you can call your own ; but to exchange the weariness of a cart in which you have been jolted and shaken for hours for a brick-bed shared with others in a close not to say filthy room, the minor occupants of which may be numbered by hundreds if not thousands, is quite another matter.

To Mr. Taylor and his companions the journey was memorable for its discomforts. Setting out toward the end of June, they found the heat intense. Flies swarmed everywhere ; food was difficult to obtain ; and at night the younger men, new to such conditions, were thoroughly "played out," and often too tired to unpack their provisions or forage for a meal. More than once they were roused after hours of slumber by Mr. Taylor's cheery invitation to come and share his " midnight chicken," prepared as likely as not with his own hands.1-{1 Who that ever travelled with him could forget his unfailing care and thought for others, and the practical way in which he could turn his hand to anything. Cooking was quite in his line. " All the way Mr. Taylor prepared food for me," recalled Miss Murray of the journey down the Kwang-sin river, when she was recovering from her serious illness. " He used to make omelets in the back of the boat. We would hear him beating up the eggs. He managed to get the things somehow ! "}

Two weeks even of such experiences soon passed, however, and great was the contrast when the hospitable home of Dr. and Mrs. Edwards was reached. There in the capital of the 'province (Tai-yuan-fu) most of the Shan-si missionaries were gathered to meet him, including five of the Cambridge band, who had now been fifteen months in China. Had Mr. Taylor been able, as he had planned, to follow them to their sphere of labour a year or so previously, he would have found them far less ready for his visit than they were now. Then, only two C.I.M. stations existed in the province, and in the southernmost of these they were beginning, under Mr. Baller's tuition, the study of the language. Now, with considerable fluency in Chinese, they had come up, - each from their own centre, full of the problems that press upon young missionaries in the midst of a large and growing work. 1-{1 With help from Mr. Baller, four new stations had been opened (1885-1886) by Messrs. Hoste, Cassels, Beauchamp and Stanley Smith, in the following order-Ku-wo, Si-chow, Ta-ning, and Hung-tung. In the extreme north of the province Kwei-hwa-ting and Ta-tung-fu had also been occupied by members of the C.I.M.}

For the district in which they found themselves was that of Mr. Hsi, the ex-Confucian scholar, and his friends Chang and Ch'u of the Buddhist temple and little city of Ta-ning among the Western Hills. On either side of the Fen river these men, full of their first love and zeal, were sounding out the glad tidings of salvation far and wide. Seventy-two baptisms at the Spring Gatherings, a few months earlier, had doubled the membership of the Ping-yang church, and made the need for wise and careful supervision all the more apparent. The time had come for setting apart some of the Chinese leaders as deacons and elders in the village gatherings, and for recognising the God-appointed ministry of Hsi and others who were doing pastoral work. But before going on to the native conference at which these ordinations were to take place, Mr. Taylor was thankful for the quiet days in the capital for united waiting upon God.

Days of Blessing 2 {2 Edited by Mr. (now Sir) Montagu Beauchamp.}-how truly the title of the book in which a record of these meetings has been preserved expresses what they were in reality ! As one turns the pages, the fragrance of the Lord's own presence cannot but be felt. HE never could be hid ; and from first to last it was His fulness that rejoiced those waiting hearts. Face to face with the overwhelming need around them and the insufficiency within, it was good to remember, as Mr. Taylor put it, that it is not a question of the supply at all, but of the Supplier. " He (the Lord Jesus) is enough for Shan-si, from the Great Wall to Ho-nan. We have a grander Saviour than we realise ! "

Upon the main theme of the conference-Christ our All-Sufficiency for -personal life and godliness, as well as for all the exigencies of our service-we must not dwell. Never was Mr. Taylor more helpful, more at his best, than in drawing upon the treasures of the Word of God, 1-{1- Speaking of the Lord Jesus as our Sufficiency, Mr. Taylor said It is well to remind ourselves of the close connection that exists between the written Word of God and the incarnate Word of God. We shall never enjoy the one apart from the other. It is through, God's own revelation in the written Word that we really see and know the Word Who was made flesh, and Who rose from the dead. It is through the written Word we shall feed on Him, not through our own speculations. It is important that we bear in mind that as the Incarnate Word is a 'Divine Person, so is the written Word a Divine Message ; and as we may rest all our soul's interests on Jesus Christ, so we may rest all our soul's weight on the Word of God. To be unsettled on the question of inspiration is to be overcome by temptation, and to be unable to accomplish God's work. The connection between full faith in God's will as revealed in His written Word and in the Incarnate Word is so close and intimate, that you can no more separate them than you can separate between body and soul, or soul and spirit. Begin to separate them, and to study theology instead of the Word of God (rather than as a mere aid in gaining a fuller grasp of it) and if it does not make you weaker rather than stronger you will be fortunate indeed. No I Take God's Word as it stands, and God's Christ as He reveals Himself to us, and enjoy all in Him " (Days of Blessing, p. 55).} and on his own experience, for the encouragement of fellow-workers. But the subject is too full for these pages. Some echoes, merely, of the conference may be gathered from suggestions made by Mr. Taylor as to the relation of the missionary to his work

How can we secure the development of strong, healthy, Christlike native Christians unless we are living strong, healthy, Christlike lives ourselves ? Very few have been long in connection with missions without hearing a great deal of the faults and failures of the native Christians. Is it not the case that their faults and failures are very much the reflection of our own ?

What the spiritual children will be depends on what the spiritual father is. . . . The stream will never rise higher than its source, but it will not fall-far short of it, circumstances permitting. The hardness of heart which is a hindrance to the Gospel is not that of the hearers ; it is the hardness of this heart of mine.

When God's grace is triumphant in my soul, and I can look a Chinaman in the face and say, " God is able to save you, where and as you are," that is when I have power. How else are you going to deal with a man under the craving for opium ? The cause of want of success is very often that we are -only half saved ourselves. If we are fully saved and confess it, we shall see results.

On the need for contact, close and real, not only with the Lord Himself but with those whose good we seek, Mr. Taylor dwelt with insistence. A very' thin film between surfaces will prevent their union ; and so also in things of the spirit. There must be heart-contact with the Chinese, and personal contact too, he urged, if our lives are to be invested to the utmost profit.

I do like to look at every practical question in connection with Christ. The Incarnation shows that, provided we keep from sin, we cannot go too far in meeting this people and getting to know them, getting to be one with them, getting into sympathy with them.

There is wonderful instruction in the way in which the Lord Jesus wrought His works of mercy. He touched the leper and the blind when He healed them. . . . The woman felt that if she only touched the hem of His garment she would be sure to be healed ; and the Saviour felt that virtue had gone out of Him. If we keep, so far from the people that they cannot even touch the hem of our garment, how will virtue go out of us ? Sometimes they are not clean, and we are tempted to draw our skirts together ; but I believe there is no blessing when this is the case. The Lord Jesus became a curse for us, and in that way delivered us from the curse. There is power in drawing near to this people. A poor woman in Cheng-tu, when she heard of Mrs. Riley's death said " What a loss to us ! She used to take hold of my hand and comfort me so." If you put your hand on the shoulder of a man, there is power in it. Any Christian, full of the Holy Ghost, may often impart blessing thus. Contact is a real power that we may use for God.

For consistent lives he pleaded, telling lives, lives not out of sight. We are to manifest the truth, as well as preach it (2 Cor. 4: 2. Cp. Acts 20: 26-35)

We tell this people that the world is vain ; let our lives manifest that it is so. We tell them that our Home is above, that all these things are transitory ; does our dwelling look like it ? Oh, to live consistent lives ! The life of the Apostle was thoroughly consistent. . . . No one could feel that his home was here: all saw that it was up there.

But it is no use living lives such as would emphasise our teaching, if our lives are out of sight and our teaching only is in evidence. Must we not seek to make our lives as open as our teaching ?? This is no easy matter. The man who lives two or three miles away from the chapel, and merely goes and preaches to his audience is often disappointed. . . . What wisdom we need to live lives that do emphasise our teaching, and to see that our lives are so ordered that those who receive the teaching may catch the emphasis too.

Hard missionaries are not of much use : they are not like the Master. He is, never hard. It is better to be trusting and gentle and sympathising, even if often taken in, rather than sharp and hard. The converts of Paul saw that the Apostle deemed it a small thing to die for them. To the Philippians he wrote : " Yea, and if I be offered-my blood poured out as a drink-offering-upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all."

It is 'not preaching only that will do what needs to be done ... Our life must be one of visible self-sacrifice. There is much sacrifice in our lives of which the Chinese cannot know. God knows all about it, and we can well afford to wait His declaration of it and His award. There is much we have left for the sake of the Chinese which they have never seen. That will not suffice. They must- see self-sacrifice in things they cannot but understand 1-{1- It was remarkable that in that city (Tai-yuan-fu) where the blood of martyrs was to be so freely shed, Mr. Taylor should dwell upon the necessity for sacrifice, and the certainty not .only that persecution must come, but that it-would be overruled for blessing. " Paul was in bonds in Rome, and we might have imagined that his position was one that would have deterred the brethren. But what does he tell us ? That they waxed confident through his bonds. So far from his sufferings taking courage out of the believers, when they found what a little thing a chain was to an Apostle, they felt, 'we can preach with good courage! What is it, after all, if only Christ is in us ? ' Christ living, Christ reigning, made the Apostle so superior to these things that it encouraged others to go forward, though at the risk of the-same trials.... "There is no better way of proving to the world that the devil's power is not so great after all than by letting him have his fling, and showing in the midst of it what a triumph over him the believer has in Christ.Just as Jesus, by dying, conquered him who had the power of death, so frail, feeble martyrs, many of them women, were able to show that all the power of Pagan Rome could do nothing against those who were filled with Christ. Hence there were many conversions in the very arena . . and the blood of the martyrs proved itself to be indeed the seed of the Church. . . Their foes thought they had succeeded ; it was even announced in their edicts that Christianity was defunct ; but it was paganism that tottered."We need not be afraid of persecution. It is coming ; it is sure to come. Only let us have such success as to make the people fear the abolition of their customs, and we shall see severe persecution. But are we to fear lest the Gospel should triumph sufficiently to bring such results about ? Or are we to feel that, when it does come, it will bring to us the very conditions that will ensure still greater success ? " (Days of Blessing, PP. 41-43.)

With all his desire that the gifts of the native church should be developed, Mr. Taylor was keenly conscious of the danger of allowing education, medical work, or any other auxiliary to usurp the foremost place.

Let us feel that everything that is human, everything outside the sufficiency of Christ, is only helpful in the measure in which it enables us to bring the soul to Him. . . . If our medical missions draw people to us, and we can present to them the Christ of God, medical missions are a blessing ; but to substitute medicine for the preaching of the Gospel would be a profound mistake. If we put schools or education in the place of spiritual power to change the heart, it will be a profound mistake. If we get the idea that people are going to be converted by some educational process, instead of by a regenerative re-creation, it will be a profound mistake. If we put our trust in money or learning or eloquence, or in anything but the living God, it will-be a profound mistake. Let all our auxiliaries be auxiliaries means of bringing Christ and the soul into contact -then we may be truly thankful for them all.... Let us exalt the glorious Gospel in our hearts, and believe that it is the power of God unto salvation. Let everything else sit at its feet. . . . We shall never be discouraged if we realise that in CHRIST is our Sufficiency.

What is the object of being apprenticed to a builder but to learn to build ? What is the outcome of being joined to a Saviour if we do not learn to save ? Though we might ourselves be saved, should we be His disciples indeed ?

In its practical influence on Christian character, Mr. Taylor felt that the truth of the Second Coming-the personal return of the Lord Himself to reign upon earthwas of paramount importance.You will often read in missionary reports that the people have turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, but not in one out of ten do you hear anything about their waiting for His Son from heaven (1. Thess. 1:9). I believe that the ignorance of the native Christians generally of the fact that Christ is coming again, and that the present state of things is to be utterly overthrown, is one reason for the selfishness and worldliness to be found in some branches of the Church in China.

Well do I remember the effect, when God was pleased to open my own heart to this great truth that the Lord Jesus was coming again, and that He might come at any time. I had not many books, but it sent me to see if I could give a good account of all I had, and also of the contents of my little wardrobe. The result was that some of the books disappeared before long, and some of the clothing too.. It was an immense spiritual blessing to me. When I go home from China, and can make time to go through my house from attic to basement with my dear wife, to review our things in the light of His speedy return, I always find it a profitable spiritual exercise to see what we can do without. It is important to remember that we are stewards who have to give an account of everything that we retain ; and unless we can give a good reason for the retention, shall we not be ashamed when the Master comes ? And since He may come any day, is it not well to be ready every day ? I do not know of any truth that has been a greater blessing to me through life than this.

Very practical, too, was his attitude as to the fulness laid up for us in Christ.

God is willing to, give us all we need, as we need it. He does not equip for life-service all at once. He does not expect us to toil along, burdened with next year's provisions on our back. There are fresh supplies on the way, fresh light, fresh power, fresh revelations as circumstances require.

Oh, to be filled with the knowledge of God's will! to be so filled with the presence of the Lord Jesus, so one with Him, that His life may flow through our veins ; that He may borrow our lips to speak His messages, borrow our faces to look His looks of patience and love, our hands to do His service and our feet to tread His weary journeys. The dear Master can never be weary again by the side of any well, but we may be weary by the side of many for Him.

Whatever the sufficiency of Christ is for us, there is the same sufficiency in Him for our native converts.

In times of discouragement it is a great help to remember that the Lord's work is not our-work for the Lord, but the Lord's own work through us and others. " HE will not fail, nor 'be discouraged."

Refreshed in spirit, it was time for the workers from the south of the province to hasten back to their stations after this week of meetings. The rainy season had set in, and it would be all they could do to make final arrangements for the native conferences before Mr. Taylor's arrival at Hungtung. Mr. Stevenson -was there already, having come over from the neighbouring province of Shen - si to join Mr. Taylor in this part of his programme. Finding the missionaries absent, he had spent several weeks among the Chinese Christians, glad of the opportunity for coming into close -touch with the leaders and their work. To him as to Mr.Taylor it was a new experience to find, in these northerners, men of such vigorous independence of character, and he was not slow to see how much it meant for the future of the native church.

But it was more than energy and initiative that impressed him, about Mr. Hsi especially. - During the five or six weeks spent in his district Mr. Stevenson travelled with him, visited his home and Refuges, listened with delight to his preaching, and saw him among the church members, to whom he was a shepherd indeed.

"I was profoundly interested," he recalled. " His spirituality and earnestness ; his prayer and fastings ; the intensity of his purpose-nothing in the world but the one thing-and his ability as a practical leader were most remarkable. I had never seen such influence over others! He was so strong that all seemed to yield to him, and yet humble too. I was specially struck by the way people came to consult him. He had everybody's burdens to bear, and was always ready to advise and pray with those who needed help.

" His knowledge and use of Scripture also impressed me. One sermon on the temptation of Christ that he preached was very striking. Familiar passages seemed to unfold new meaning under his touch and in the light of his spiritual experience. God was to him a tremendous reality. Constantly and in everything he dealt with God. In a very real way he dealt with Satan too. His conflicts with the evil one at times were such that he would give himself for days to fasting and prayer. Even when travelling, I have known him fast a whole day over some difficult matter that needed clearing up. That was always his resource-fast and pray."

That such gifts and grace should be taken full advantage of in the organisation of the church was evident, and Mr. Stevenson was ready to confirm the judgement of the local missionaries by which Mr. Taylor had largely to be guided in the steps to be taken at the conference. It had been easier to set out for Hung-tung than to get there. Held up by the rain in that loess region, Mr. Taylor and his companions had had exciting experiences in some of the deep gullies worn in the friable soil. A hundred feet below the surface, in places, the 'road was sometimes a quagmire, sometimes a rushing torrent, and turbulent streams among - the hills had to be crossed. Two weeks of such travelling brought them to their destination, however, on July 30, to find the Hung-tung Christians assembled in force for the conference.

What it was to Mr. Taylor to meet these men and see for himself the inspiring work of which he had heard may be better imagined than described. When one thinks of all that it had meant to him of faith and toil and prayer-all that he had done and suffered that inland China might have the Gospel-one can understand that to be welcomed by such a company of believers on his first visit to the far interior would be one of the most moving experiences of his life. With Mr. Hsi he was impressed no less than Mr. Stevenson had been," and it was a wonderful meeting, that first day of the conference, when they took the Sunday morning service between them (August 1).

" There cannot have been fewer than three hundred listeners in the court," wrote Mr. Stanley Smith. " It made our hearts glad to think of Mr. Taylor's joy as he saw those earnest worshippers, and in that sight some outcome of years of prayer that has known no ceasing, of labour that has known no respite above all, it raised our hearts to Him Who in that gathering was, seeing further of the travail of His soul and being satisfied."

It was not easy to get Mr. Hsi to accept the position to which Mr. Taylor, as leader of the Mission, wished to appoint him. But for Mr. Stevenson's influence he would probably have held back, so deep was his sense of unworthiness. But the latter was sufficiently intimate with him for Mr. Hsi to feel that he really understood the local problems as well as his own limitations ; and when the Deputy Director led him to see that Mr. Taylor was but confirming what was manifestly a divine appointment, he could no longer demur. From that Saturday until the Ordination Service of the following Monday he gave himself to fasting and prayer, literally touching no food ; and the sense of the presence of God with him was deeply solemnising.

" Mr. Hudson Taylor, inviting the brethren working in the district to unite with him in the laying on of hands," Mr. Stanley Smith recorded, " after a few words of fervent prayer, set him apart to be a watcher over and feeder of the sheep of God. Mr.Hsi was ordained pastor of no particular district. He has done such an extensive work, and been so owned of God, that it was thought best that he should be free to go anywhere for the work of God in these parts, knowing well how he would be welcomed by all the churches.. Mr. Song - was then set apart as native Pastor of the Ping-yang church."

The appointment of two elders followed and of sixteen deacons, after which over seventy baptized believers united in the Communion Service led by Pastor Hsi.

One day's journey farther south--at Ping-yang-fu-another conference was held, attended by as many of the Ta-ning Christians as could come down from the mountains. It was a busy season for farming folk, and unusually heavy rains had made travelling in such regions almost impossible, but a warm-hearted company responded to the invitation of their beloved missionary, Mr. Cassels, to meet " the Venerable Chief Pastor," whose children in the faith they also were. Tenderly he spoke to them of the deeper lessons of his own life, and how, through its sorest trials, he had learned what the Lord Jesus Christ can be to those who simply trust Him. The ordination of Ch'u, the fervent and scholarly evangelist of the Ta-ning district, and the appointment of five deacons, fitly closed the meetings, after which Mr. Taylor had to turn his face westward for the long journey to Han-chung-fu.

A brief visit first to Pastor Hsi's home, ten miles across the plain, gave him the opportunity of seeing more of this remarkable man and the Opium Refuge work for which he was responsible. Accompanied by quite a party, Mr. Taylor arrived in the cool of the day.1-{1 Dr. Edwards and Messrs. Stevenson, Stanley Smith, and Beauchamp were with him , as well as his son, Mr. Herbert Taylor, who had been his companion all the way from Shanghai.} Everything was beautifully arranged for their coming, the guest hall being fitted up as a state chamber, and, the courtyard on which it opened covered with an awning that it might do duty as a chapel. Here the principal meetings were held, the joy on all faces reflecting the golden characters of welcome above the guest hall, shining out from their crimson background" Ta Hsi Nien," or " Year of Great Happiness."

Interesting as it all was, perhaps the best part of the visit to Mr. Taylor was the account he heard of the opening of a Refuge in one of the cities he had passed on his journey through the province. The place had long been on Pastor Hsi's heart, though he little anticipated the way in which his desire to commence work there was to be granted. Having no means in hand that he could use for the purpose, he prayed the more earnestly day by day at family worship that the Gospel might be given to the Christless population of Hwo-chow.

" We have prayed very often for that city," his wife said at length, " is it not time to do something there ? " - " Gladly would I," responded her husband, " but money is lacking. I have nothing to use for the purpose, and renting houses is expensive."

" How much would it require ? " was her next question. And on hearing his reply she went away and said no more about it.

But she too could not forget Hwo-chow ; and next morning it was an unadorned little figure that came up and laid some packages on the table after family worship.

" I think," she said, " that God has answered our prayers about that city."

Missing something in her appearance as well as surprised at her words, Pastor Hsi opened one of the packets, to find nothing less than all her jewelry-the gold and silver ornaments, bracelets, rings, and even hair-pins so indispensable to a Chinese lady and that form her marriage dower.

" You cannot surely mean," he began, " you cannot do without-"

" Yes, I can," she said joyfully. " I can do without these : let Hwo-chow have the Gospel."

And with the money they had brought, the Refuge had been opened and a good work begun. 1-{1 For the remarkable sequel see Miss Cable's The Fulfilment of a Dream, published by Messrs. Morgan & Scott and the China Inland Mission.}

But do you not miss your beautiful things? " said Mr. Taylor, turning to his hostess.

" Miss them ! " she replied, almost with surprise. " Why, I have Jesus : is not He enough? "

Little wonder it was hard to part from friends like these, and from the fellow-missionaries he was leaving behind to share with them the great work developing in all that part of the province. Messrs. Studd and Beauchamp were going on with Mr. Taylor to take part in opening up the Church of England district he hoped to arrange for in Sze-chwan. Mr. Cassels was to follow shortly ; but Messrs. Hoste and Stanley Smith were remaining in south Shan-si, and for them the parting was hardest.

" Their first stage was by moonlight," wrote the latter, " and we accompanied them out some way. A few last words of helpful counsel, a few last words of mutual love, a few last words in solemn stillness as with hands locked in his we each received his parting blessing, and the visit to Shan-si, so long expected, so long deferred, but now so blessed in its outcome, was over."

To fruitful fields ready for the reaper they went back, but on beyond there was no sign of harvest. Out-distancing his companions, all but Mr. Beauchamp, that he might save a mail at Han-chung, Mr. Taylor pressed forward ; but even so, twenty-four travelling days were occupied on the journey, in which not a single-Mission station was passed, because in all that populous region there was none.

It was strenuous travelling, for which Mr. Beauchamp's athletic training stood him in good stead. With a couple of pack animals they were able to carry a few necessaries, Mr. Taylor riding most of the way, for his companion preferred to walk.

" Our great difficulty was in getting anything to eat," Mr. Beauchamp recalled, when the overpowering heat by day obliged them to travel at night, " and we constantly lost our way for want of some one to direct us. At first Mr. Taylor was greatly troubled that I should carry him across rivers, and also that I was unable to get much sleep ; but having once overruled his objection I carried him many a time. With Mr. Taylor on my shoulder and a Chinaman on either side to weigh us down, we were able to cross in safety some strong streams, waist deep.

" Night travelling was one of the hardest experiences I ever had, because I could not sleep by day. Occasionally, when I did drop off, I would wake to find that Mr. Taylor had been looking after me, rigging up mosquito-netting to keep the flies away. Walking at night, I have been so sleepy that even the motion could not keep me awake, and have fallen right down while plodding on-the tumble rousing one for the time being!

" The inns being closed at night, we used often to lie down by the roadside, when the animals had to be fed. Our own fare consisted chiefly of rice and millet. Occasionally we were able to purchase a chicken, eggs, cucumbers, or a little fruit. But we did not stop at regular stages, and as it was the rainy season nothing was brought out for sale in the places through which we passed. With so much rain, we often got soaked through. The way we managed was to take off our garments one by one and dry them in front of the fire. On one occasion this so offended the ` Kitchen God' that Mr. Taylor had to come and make peace. Of course we carried no bedding, though Mr. Taylor always had two pillows, one for the head and one for the thigh, and we each carried a plaid. The medicine-chest sometimes came in useful as an extra pillow."

Again and again it seemed as if they must be stopped by the rain, but in answer to definite prayer help was given at every point.

" I remember coming to one river," continued Mr. Beauchamp, " where there were a few houses and people who made a harvest by carrying travellers over. They met us saying the river -was impassable, nevertheless for a thousand cash apiece they would take us across. This was outrageous : so I went into the water which was rising by inches, the rain being a perfect deluge. When the men saw we were not to be deterred, they came and gave some help, glad to be paid a fair price for their work. After we were over, the water rose by feet. Had we been half an hour later, no crossing would have been possible. The river was by that time a wild, raging torrent.

" On the farther side there was a small village, but no inn. To go on was impossible. Stay we must, though the only shelter we could find was apparently a pig-sty. So we turned the occupant out, borrowed a few forms, took the doors off their hinges to lie on, and rolling ourselves in our plaids prepared to pass the night as comfortably as circumstances would admit. We were only masters of the situation for a short time, however ; for the pig came back, charged the make-shift door, which at once fell in, and settled down to share the apartment with us. After reflection, I concluded that it was too cold to turn out on the chance of ignominious defeat at the hands of the enemy.

" Next day was still cold-high mountains instead of the Si-an plain, drenching rain instead of burning sun. The road was washed away in places, but still Mr. Taylor would push on. Where the river side was impassable, we had to-clamber up steep banks as best we could, and follow crumbling tracks on the mountains. Nothing would-stop him, though he often begged me to remain behind. We had several narrow escapes from landslips-the path giving way behind us and rolling stones and earth into the stream. We had no fear of robbers ; and the wolves, though we saw them, did not attack us. We went forty-eight to fifty miles one day ; and the last three stages we made into two, not to miss the mail at Han-chung."

Mr. Taylor's cheerfulness and power of endurance greatly impressed his fellow-traveller. Hearing him singing on one occasion when they were very hungry, and catching the words " We thank Thee, Lord, for this our food," Mr. Beauchamp could not but inquire where the food was.

" It cannot be far away," was the smiling reply. " Our Father, knows we are hungry and will send our breakfast soon : but you will have to wait and say your grace when it comes, while I shall be ready to begin at once ! "

And so it proved ; for just ahead they met a man with ready-cooked rice to sell, which made an excellent meal.

But the soul never went hungry. A box of matches, a, foreign candle, and his Bible in four small volumes were included in Mr. Taylor's travelling kit whatever else had to be left behind.

" He would invariably get his quiet time an hour before dawn," Mr. Beauchamp wrote, " and then possibly sleep again. ... When I woke to feed the animals I always found him reading the Bible by the light of his candle. No matter what the surroundings or the noise in those dirty inns, he never neglected this. He used to pray on such journeys lying down, for he usually spent long times in prayer, and to kneel would have been too exhausting."

Kept thus in touch with unfailing springs, the travellers reached Han-chung-fu to bring as well as find a blessing. Much as Mr. Stevenson's report had led him to expect of the converts in this centre, Mr. Taylor was not disappointed. In the intervals of attending to a heavy mail, he saw a good deal of Dr. Wilson's medical work and of the schools and native helpers. The earnest spirit of the Christians greatly rejoiced him, especially in view of their interest in the adjacent province of Sze-chwan, from which not a few of them had come as emigrants. Their keen desire to carry the message of salvation back to their own people encouraged the hope Mr. Taylor entertained-that of seeing eastern Sze-chwan, as yet almost entirely destitute of the Gospel, opened up by the Church of England workers of the Mission. 1-{1 With regard to the denominational position of the Mission, Mr. Taylor had written as early as 1866 (a few weeks only after the arrival of the Lammermuir party) in reply to an inquiry from the Rev. W. Muir head of the. L.M.S., Shanghai: " Those already associated with me represent all the leading denominations of our native land-Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregational, Methodist, Baptist and Paedobaptist. Besides these, two are or have been connected with the 'Brethren' so called. It is intended that those whose view of discipline correspond shall work together, and thus all difficulty on that score will be avoided. Each one is perfectly at liberty to teach his own views on these minor points to his own converts ; the one great object we have in view being to bring heathen from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God. We all hold alike the great fundamentals of our faith, and in the presence of heathenism can leave the discussion of discipline while together, and act as before God when in separate stations."

For the moment, the outlook was not encouraging. A serious riot had taken place at Chung-king-one of the only two centres in Sze-chwan at which Protestant missionaries were working-and easy as it would have been for Mr. Taylor to enter the province from Han-chung; he might have found it impracticable to leave again without delay by the Yangtze. Tidings received from the coast had made' it clear that he must return to Shanghai as soon as possible. Mission affairs required his presence, and he was still a month's journey from civilisation in the shape of a foreign steamer. But though he had to leave the actual pioneering in Sze-chwan to others, he could at any rate help in opening the way by definite waiting upon God. A day was set apart therefore for fasting and prayer, when Mr. Taylor united with the Han-chung circle in seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a fresh baptism of love and power upon those who were to go forward. Very conscious were the missionaries, so soon to be scattered, of access to God in the all-prevailing name of Jesus, and the answer to their prayers was apparent not only in the occupation of Eastern Szechwan before the close of the year, but in a quickened sense of responsibility which led to extension in other directions also.

We may almost feel ourselves one with that little group, far in the heart of China, through the recollections jotted down at the time of one of the last meetings before Mr. Taylor left. In the twilight of a summer evening they had gathered in Dr. Wilson's courtyard. Lamps were lighted under the broad eaves of the open guest-hall, and beyond were the shining stars.

Mr. Taylor's subject was Phil.3: that what we give up for Christ we gain, and what we keep back is our real loss. We seemed to lose sight of the speaker and to hear only the voice of the Holy Spirit. It was a time of humbling and confession, nearly every one was broken down. . . . I cannot tell you what it was to sit there and hear Mr. Taylor tell of the hundreds of towns and cities he had passed, and not a single Christian in any of them! Vividly he described all this and the condition of the people : and there were we, comfortably settled down, taking for granted perhaps that we had obeyed our Master's command, practically forgetting that Han-chung-fu was not. the world, and that people even in the villages at hand might never hear of Christ unless we set ourselves to go to them. The way in which he spoke of eternity-life eternal or death eternal -must have moved the coldest heart. One sentence I specially remember

" Let us make earth a little less homelike, and souls more precious. Jesus is coming again, and so soon ! Will He find us really obeying His last command ? "

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