IT still stands, that little house on the Wu-Family Bridge Street in which Hudson Taylor made his Ning-po home. To reach this somewhat retired spot one crosses the broad river from the Settlement, and enters the city by the Salt Gate on the east. Thence a walk of rather over a mile through the principal streets leads to the neighbourhood of the Lakes, between the ancient Pagoda and the southwest comer of the city wall. Here a small stone bridge over one of the many canals gives access to a narrow thoroughfare, at the end of which another bridge spans the junction of two large sheets of water, the Sun and Moon Lakes respectively. From the slightly elevated arch of either of these bridges one can look down the little street, and watch the tide of life that eddies in and out of its temple, shops, and homes.

And there on the left, after crossing the canal, stood and still stands the low two-storied building-just an ordinary shop in front and a little yard behind-destined to become the first home and preaching-station of the China Inland Mission. Dr. Parker was using the premises that winter for a boys' school and a dispensary, and was glad to let his former colleague do what he could with the spacious attic above.

" I have a distinct remembrance," said Hudson Taylor many years later, " of tracing my initials on the snow which during the night had collected on my coverlet in the large barnlike upper room, now divided into four or five smaller ones each of which is comfortably ceiled. The tiling of a Chinese house may keep off the rain, if it happens to be sound, but does not afford so good a protection against snow, which will beat up through crannies and crevices and find its way within. But however unfinished may have been its fittings, the little house was well adapted for work among the people, and there I thankfully settled, finding ample scope for service, morning, noon, and night."

The only other foreigners in the southern part of the city were Miss Aldersey with her helpers, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones of his own Mission. The latter had rented an unoccupied house belonging to the American Presbyterians, semi-foreign in style, and were doing their best to acquire the language and adapt themselves to the life of the people. 1-{1 Mr. and Mrs. Jones had been seven months in China ; but had not reached Ning-po until June of this year. Detained at Hong-kong by serious illness, and by the death of their eldest child, they had suffered much for the land to which their lives were given. But in it all their faith and love only deepened, and their longing to comfort others with the comfort wherewith they themselves were "comforted of God."}

Upon making their home at Fu-zin they had been visited by quite a number of Mandarins and other persons of influence, as well as by hundreds of poorer neighbours. These visits had to be returned as far as possible, and with three little children to take care of as well as the language to study, Mrs. Jones found her hands more than full.

Busy as he was in his own comer, almost a mile away, Hudson Taylor made time to go over, frequently to the help of his friends, and the more he saw of them the more he was impressed by their devotion and sweetness of spirit. With his assistance, Mr. Jones was soon able to begin regular meetings, -and many were the preaching excursions they made both in and around the city.

Meanwhile Mrs. Jones, too, had found a helper in the younger of the sisters associated with Miss Aldersey at Siao-kao-tsiang. When the new family came to settle near them, this bright attractive girl laid herself out to be useful to the busy mother. As often as possible they went visiting together, Miss Dyer's perfect fluency in the language enabling her to make the most of such time as they could give to this work. Young as she was (not yet twenty), and much occupied with her school-classes, Da-yia Ku-niang 1 {1- Ku-niang (aunt-mother) is the title in courtesy of an unmarried lady, and the combined, monosyllables Da-yia form the nearest Ning-po soundequivalent for the English surname Dyer.} could not be satisfied with anything less than soul-winning. With her, missionary work was not teaching the people .merely, it was definitely leading them to Christ.

" That was what drew out my interest," said Hudson Taylor long after. " She was spiritually-minded, as her work proved. Even then she was a true missionary."

For it could not but be that the young Englishman living alone on Bridge Street should meet Miss Dyer from time to time at the house of his friends, and it could not but be also that he should be attracted. She was so frank and natural that they were soon on terms of good acquaintance, and then she proved so like-minded in all important ways that, unconsciously almost to himself, she began to fill a place in his heart never filled before.

Vainly he strove against the longing to see more of her, . and did his utmost to banish her image from his mind. He was deeply conscious of his call to labour in the interior, and felt that for such work he should be free from claims of wife and home. Besides, all was uncertain before him. In a few weeks or months the way might open for his return to Swatow. Was he not waiting daily upon the Lord for guidance, with the needs of that region still in view? And if it were not to be Southern China, it was his hope and purpose to undertake pioneering work nearer at hand, work that might at any time cost his life. No, it was not for him to cherish thoughts such as would rise unbidden as he looked into the face he loved. And yet he could not but look, strange to say, and long to look again.

And then arguments were not wanting along other lines that would array themselves before him. What right had he to think of marriage, without a home, income, or prospect of any that he could ask her to share. Accredited agent of the C.E.S. though he was, it did not at all follow that they were to be depended upon for financial supplies. For months he had not drawn upon his Letter of Credit, knowing the Society to be in debt. Chiefly through the ministry of Mr. Berger, the Lord had supplied his needs. But this might not continue. It could not at any rate be counted on. And what would she say, and those responsible for her, to a life of faith in China, faith even for daily bread ?

Yes, it was perfectly clear : he was in no position to think of marriage, and must subdue the heart-hunger that threatened at times to overwhelm him. And to a certain extent he was helped in turning his thoughts to other matters by events transpiring in the South.

For like a bolt out of the blue had come the sudden tidings that England was involved again in war with China. On the spot and on the spur of the moment we had fanned a tiny spark into a blaze, and the Chinese, all unconscious of results, had dared to disapprove and even resent our high-handed conduct. But this meant war, if war it could be called between combatants so unequal, and within fortyeight hours British guns were thundering at the gates of Canton. 1-{1- Growing out of the paltry affair of the Arrow in October 1856, this war did not come to a final conclusion until four years later (October 1860), when Peking was in the hands of the enemy.}

All this had taken place earlier in the autumn, but it was only in the middle of November that the news began to reach the northern ports. When he first heard of it, and saw from the revengeful spirit of the Cantonese in Ning-po how they regarded the attack upon their native city, Hudson Taylor's first thought was for Mr. Burns. What a comfort that he was no longer at Swatow, exposed to the rage of that hot-headed southern people. Now at last a reason was manifest, not only for the removal of his friend, but also for his own detention on the very eve of returning.

" As you are aware," he wrote to his sister on November 16, " I have by various circumstances been detained in Ning-po, and a sufficient cause has at length appeared in the disturbances that have broken out in the South. The latest news we now have is that Canton has been bombarded for two days, a breach being made on the second, and that the British entered the city, the Viceroy refusing to give any satisfaction. We are anxiously waiting later and fuller accounts... . I know not the merits of the present course of action . . . and therefore forbear writing my thoughts about it. But I would just refer to the goodness of God in removing dear Mr. Bums in time, . . . for if one may judge of the feelings of the Cantonese in Swatow by what one sees here at present, it would go hardly with any one at their mercy."

But following on feelings of thankfulness for the escape of his friend would come sadder reflections as to the motive and the meaning of the war. He could not but know that for fourteen uneasy years 1 -{ 1- Fourteen years since the conclusion, in 1842, of England's first war with China, justly called " the Opium War." See Chap VII.} England had been pressing China by every argument that could be devised, to legalise the importation of opium ; that in spite of the refusal of the Emperor Tao-kwang to admit at any price " the flowing poison," the smuggling-trade had gone on growing in defiance of treaty rights ; that one war having failed to bring the Chinese to our point of view, there had long been an inclination in certain quarters to bring on a second ; and that although for the moment the British Admiral had suspended hostilities, the inevitable outcome of so one-sided a conflict must be the humiliation of China and the triumph of our opium-policy.

As to immediate results, they appeared for the moment to be in the other direction. The Cantonese, in the elation of their supposed victory over the British fleet, were trying high-handed measures against the hated foreigner. They could not know that although Admiral Seymour had withdrawn from Canton, evacuating the dismantled forts along the river, Sir John Bowring had sent home for reinforcements, and that in spite of the condemning voice of a large majority in the British Parliament, the war would be adopted by the nation. They only saw their chance of retaliation, and very naturally made the most of it. Thus the British factories were set on fire at Canton, and a price put on the head of every foreigner. The chief baker at Hong-kong thought to help on the cause by introducing into his bread sufficient arsenic to poison the European community. Happily he miscalculated the amount required, and though four hundred of his victims suffered more or less seriously, in only one case was the result fatal.

All this of course raised a serious question : To what lengths would the revengeful spirit run ? How about others ports and Settlements, and especially Ning-po with its large proportion of Cantonese ? Hitherto they had contented themselves with threatenings merely ; but would it, could it, continue so much longer ?

Up to the end of the year all was quiet, and on Christmas Day Mr. Jones was able to write: " The disturbances in the South do not appear to affect the people here in any evil way against us, though there are rumours among them that the Emperor has ordered us all to be expelled. This is probably without foundation, but it makes us realise what it would mean if we were suddenly required to leave. We are just beginning to feel at home amongst the people. Our hearts are drawn out to them in proportion as we know them, and we are longing to enter fully upon our work. Oh, that these threatened hindrances may be averted !

Early in January, however, the hatred of the Cantonese began to take definite form, and a plot was hatched for the destruction of all the foreigners in the city and neighbourhood. It was well known that in the C.M.S. house (Mr. Russell's), not far from the Salt Gate, a meeting was held every Sunday evening, attended by a large proportion of the European community, Consuls, merchants and missionaries. They were of course unarmed ; and the plan was to surround the place on a given occasion and make short work of all present. A Mohammedan teacher who had once been employed by one of the missionaries was bought over to lead the assailants, and any foreigners who were not in the habit of attending the service were to be attacked and cut off simultaneously by the other parties.

" The sanction of the Tao-tai, the chief magistrate of the city," wrote Mr. Taylor, " was easily obtained ; and nothing remained to hinder the execution of the plot, of which we were of course entirely in ignorance. A similar design against the Portuguese community was actually carried out a few months later, between fifty and sixty being massacred in open daylight.

" It so happened, however, that one of those in the conspiracy was anxious for the safety of a friend engaged in the service of the missionaries, and went so far as to warn him of coming danger and urge his leaving the employ of the foreigners. The servant at once made the matter known to his master, and thus the little community became aware of their peril. Realising the gravity of the situation, they determined to meet together at the house of one of their number to seek protection of the Most High, and to hide under the shadow of His wings. Nor did they thus meet in vain.

" At the very time we were praying the Lord was working. He led an inferior Mandarin, the Superintendent of Customs, to call upon the Tao-tai, and remonstrate with him upon the folly of permitting such an attempt, which he assured him would arouse foreigners in other places to come with armed forces, avenge the death of their countrymen, and raze the city to the ground. The Tao-tai replied that when they came for that purpose he should deny all knowledge of or complicity in the plot, and so direct their vengeance against the Cantonese, who would in their turn be destroyed.

" 'And thus,' he said, ` we shall get rid of both Cantonese 1- {1 .. The rapacity and lawlessness of the Cantonese when away from their native province cause them to be both dreaded and disliked by the people in general. From their habit of confederating themselves together in secret clubs or societies, the local government officials are often powerless to act against them."} and foreigners by one stroke of policy.'

"The Superintendent of Customs persistently assured him that such attempts at evasion would be useless ; and finally the Tao-tai withdrew his permission and sent to the Cantonese prohibiting the attack.

" This took place, as we afterwards discovered, just at the time we were met together for special prayer and to commit the matter to the Lord. Thus again were we led to prove that

Sufficient is His arm alone,

And our defence is sure.

But the Cantonese were not pacified. Prayer had for the moment prevailed ; but such machinations might recur at any time, and the foreign community was so scattered and unprotected that the situation seemed one of special danger.

" The peril that threatened us," wrote Dr. Parker on the Both of January, " was so great, especially last week and this, that the merchants of the Settlement prepared for flight by keeping at single anchor the vessel on which their valuables had been stored. They and some others had their houses guarded by armed men; and after much prayer several missionaries, including Mr. Jones and myself, were led to send our wives and children to Shanghai."

One reason for this was that the great cold of winter was coming on, and, if flight were left till the last moment, it might mean fatal exposure, especially to delicate children. The wildest rumours were everywhere afloat ; and in the event of a general war with China, Shanghai might be the only port held by foreigners. It seemed desirable to secure accommodation there at once. And as it was accessible by regular steamer service, the removal could be accomplished without difficulty, and the return in the spring or summer would be equally simple.

Thus it was that Hudson Taylor, three months after settling in Ning-po, found himself called to move again. No one else seemed so free to escort the party, and his knowledge of the Shanghai dialect made it easy for him to do so. He could be just as useful in Shanghai as in Ning-po, an important consideration when the stay might be a long one.

Personally he would have given a good deal to have remained in Ning-po just then, if only to watch over the safety of the one he loved. For Miss Aldersey would not leave, and her young helpers decided to stay with her. She was just handing over her school, from the superintendence of which she felt it wise to retire, to the American Presbyterian Mission. A connection of the Misses Dyer had come over from Penang, and into her hands the sixty girls with all the school affairs had to be committed. It was no time for unnecessary changes ; and, taking what precautions she could for her own safety and that of her charges, Miss Aldersey stayed to complete her work.

But to leave them then and so was no easy matter to Hudson Taylor. The elder of the sisters had recently become engaged to his friend Mr. Burdon, and seemed in consequence to have a special protector ; but the younger was left all the more lonely, and claimed for that very reason a deeper love and sympathy from his heart. Of course, he dared not show it. He had no reason to think that it would be any comfort to her, and-was he not trying to forget ? So he suffered keenly as he left his little home on Bridge Street, not knowing if he would ever see it or her again.

Four and a half months followed, in which the young missionary was engrossed in work in his old surroundings. Living as before in one of the London Mission houses, he might almost have imagined himself back in the old days with Dr. Parker and his family. Only Chinese dress, seven months with William Burns, and the great love that had come to him changed everything for Hudson Taylor. Then, too, he was by this time quite an efficient missionary. Three years in China had given him a good hold of several dialects and considerable experience in work of various kinds. One of the chapels of the London Mission placed at his disposal gave him important opportunities for preaching, besides which he daily addressed large and changing audiences in the Temple of the City God. Returning regularly to these places he and Mr. Jones came to be known and expected, and many were the conversations held with interested inquirers.

" When I first heard you preach," said a young incensemaker, " I found what I was longing for." Illness and desperate troubles had almost driven him to suicide, and he had tried by becoming a devout vegetarian to obtain the consolations of " religion." This involved the recitation of endless prayers to Buddha, and burning incense before many idols.

" It did me no good, however," he continued. " I got no better, until in the temple-garden I heard about Jesus. But He just suits my case ! . . . If you had instructed me to be immersed in fire instead of in water, I should have desired it with all my heart."

During the first three months of their stay in Shanghai (February to April) Mr. Jones and his colleague gave away in connection with such work more than seven hundred New Testaments, besides large numbers of Gospels and tracts. This meant hours and hours of conversation daily, for books were given only to those who could appreciate them, and they were keeping mainly to these two preachingstations, learning to value increasingly the steady, settled line of things that maintains its influence over the same hearers.

Meanwhile letters were reaching Hudson Taylor from Swatow, telling of the return of his dear and honoured friend, and the recommencement of work there with many tokens of encouragement. Mr. Burns wrote with all the old affection, anticipating a renewal of their partnership in service. But while rejoicing that Swatow was again occupied, and that Dr. De la Porte had undertaken the medical side of the work, Hudson Taylor had no longer any doubt as to his own relation to it. For him that door was closed. Again and again, while making it a matter of special prayer, hindrances had been put in the way of his return, until he had come to see that it was not of the Lord. That was enough. With him a question once settled in the faith and fear of God there was no reopening it. Throughout life it was one of his outstanding characteristics that he never went back on what had once been made clear to him as Divine guidance.

So the Swatow question was settled, hard though it must have been not to reconsider it in the light of Mr. Burns' letters, and the absence of any personal attraction toward remaining where he was. '

For their way was anything but easy at this time. During the whole period of their stay in Shanghai they were surrounded by suffering and distress of the most painful kind. Famine refugees from Nanking had poured into the city until there were thousands of destitute and starving persons added to the ranks of beggary. This meant that one never could go out without seeing heart-rending scenes, which the conditions of life around them made it almost impossible to relieve.

Returning from the city one evening Mr. Jones and his companion, were distressed to find the body of a dead beggar lying by the roadside. The weather was bitterly cold, and he had slowly perished for lack of food and shelter. No one seemed to notice, no one seemed to care. It was a sight too common, alas! But the missionaries could bear it no longer.

" We took food with us," wrote Mr. Jones, " and sought out others. Many of these poor creatures ... have their dwelling literally among the tombs. Graves, here, are often simple arches, low, and from ten to twelve feet long. One end being broken through, they creep inside for shelter, specially at night.... We found them in all stages of nakedness, sickness and starvation." This led to earnest work on their behalf, to the comfort of many.

" In our search," wrote Mr. Taylor, " we came upon the remains of a house bearing witness to the troublous times through which Shanghai had passed. . . . Affording some little shelter from the weather, it had been taken possession of by beggars, and in it we found a large number collected, some well and able to beg, others dying of starvation and disease. From this time we made regular visits to these poor creatures, and helped those who were unable to help themselves.. We found, as is always the case, how difficult it is to care for body and soul at the same time. We did, nevertheless, as far as we were able, and I trust the seed sown was not without fruit in the salvation of souls," 1-(1-One little orphan, Tien-hsi, adopted as a result of this work, grew up to be a valued helper at Shao-hing, and one of the first native preachers in connection with the China Inland Mission.}

Inwardly, too, it was a time of trial. A debt of over a thousand pounds burdened the Society to which they belonged, and burdened still more the consciences of Hudson Taylor and his companions. For some time he had been corresponding with the secretaries on the subject, feeling that, unless a change could be made in the home-management, he would be obliged to withdraw from the service of the Society. This he was most reluctant to do, although the term of years agreed upon in his engagement had expired. He had even suggested that remittances should only be sent when there was money in hand, as he would far rather look to the Lord directly for supplies than draw upon borrowed money. But it seemed as though the Committee could not see anything wrong in their position, and for this reason especially he was muck exercised about continuing his connection with them.

Not that he wished then or at any time to be " a free lance," independent of the support and control of others. But as he considered the practical working of things on the field, it was hard to see in what connection he could labour, seeing he was unordained and without a medical degree.

" I am not sanguine as to any other Society taking me," he wrote to his mother early in the spring : " but, as always, the Lord will provide."

It was in more personal matters, however, that the young missionary was specially cast upon God, through his deep and growing love for the one who he still felt could never be his. He had thought, he had in a sense hoped, that absence would enable him to forget ; that his love for her would be more under control when she was out of sight. And now quite the reverse was the case. Silently but steadily it gained a stronger hold upon his inmost being. He had loved before in a more or less- boyish way ; but this was different. A light beyond the brightness of the sun had risen upon him. It flooded all his being. Everything he thought, felt and did seemed permeated with the sense of that other life, so much a part of his own. He could not separate himself in thought from her ; and when most consciously near to God he felt the communion of her spirit, the longing for her presence most.

In everything she satisfied his mind and heart ; not only embodying his ideal of womanly sweetness, but being herself devoted to the work to which his life was given. As one who having put his hand to the plough dared not look back, he could rest in the assurance that she would help and not hinder him in his special service. And yet the old question remained : How could he marry-with such prospects, such a future ? And, if anything, more serious still-what would she say to it all ?

Of her thoughts and feelings about him, if she had any, he knew nothing. She had always been kind and pleasant, but that she was to every one, with a sweetness of spirit that was unfailing. Apparently she did not wish to marry. Far more eligible men than he had failed to win her ! What chance then could there be for one so poor and insignificant ?

If any one had known, if there had been any one with whom he could have shared the hopes and fears within him, those first months in Shanghai would have been easier to bear ; but it was not until the end of March, and through most unexpected circumstances, that the friends with whom he was living began to perceive the trouble of his heart. They had loved him from the first, and had been drawn very closely to him through their Shanghai experiences, but it was not until Mrs. Jones contracted smallpox among the people she was seeking to relieve, and had to hand over the care of household and children to their young fellow-worker, that they fully realised what he was. Devoted in his care of the little ones, he earned the parents' deepest gratitude, and in the weeks of convalescence that followed they were so united in prayer and sympathy that -how he could not tell-the love he had meant to hide was a secret no longer from his nearest friends.

And then he was even more surprised at the satisfaction they expressed. Far from discouraging him, they were full of thankfulness to God. Never had they seen two people more suited to each other. As to the outcome-his duty was perfectly clear : the rest must be left with Him to whom both their lives were given.

So the question was committed to writing that had been burning in his heart for months. Mr. Gough was just returning to Ning-po, and kindly undertook to place the letter in the right hands. And then Hudson Taylor could only wait : a week, ten days, two weeks, how long it seemed until the answer came !

But little was he prepared, in spite of all the prayer there had been about it, for the tone and purport of this communication. It was her writing surely ; the clear, pretty hand he knew so well. But could it, could it be her spirit ? Brief and unsympathetic, the note simply said that what he desired was wholly impossible, and requested him if he had any gentlemanly feeling to refrain from ever troubling the writer again upon the subject.

Could he have known the anguish with which those words had been penned, his own trouble would have been considerably lessened. But the one he loved was far away. He could not see her, dared not write again after such a request, and had no clue to the painful situation. Then it was that the tender, unspoken sympathy of his friends, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, became so great a solace. He could hardly have borne it without them, and yet the sight of their mutual happiness reminded him constantly of the blessing he had lost. Meanwhile, far away in Ning-po, that other heart was even more desolate and perplexed. For the love that had come to Hudson Taylor was no mistaken infatuation : it was the real thing, given of God. Impossible as he would have felt it, it was a love whole-heartedly returned on the past of the one who had always seemed so far above him. Maria Dyer's was a deep and tender nature. Lonely from childhood, she had grown up longing for a real heartfriend. Her father she could hardly remember, and from the mother whom she devotedly loved she was parted by death at ten years of age, just as she and her brother and sister were leaving Penang to complete their education. After this the doubly-orphaned children had been brought up under the care of an uncle in London, most of their time being spent at school. Then came the call to China, through Miss Aldersey's need of a helper in the Ning-po school. In offering for this post the sisters were influenced not so much by a desire to take up missionary work as by the knowledge that it was what their parents would have desired. Young as they were they had had some training as teachers (after several years in the Friends' School at Darlington), and as they were self-supporting and did not wish to be separated Miss Aldersey invited both to join her instead of only one.

To the younger sister the voyage to China was memorable as the time of her definite entrance into peace with God. Previously she had striven to be a Christian in her own strength, feeling all the while that she lacked the " one thing needful " and seeking vainly to obtain it. Now her thoughts were turned to Christ and His atoning work as the only ground of pardon and acceptance ; the allsufficient ground to which our prayers and efforts can add nothing at all. Gradually it dawned upon her that she was redeemed, pardoned, cleansed from sin, because He had suffered in her stead. God had accepted Christ as her substitute and Saviour, and she could do no less. Simply and trustfully as a little child she turned away from everything and every one else, content to take God at His word. " There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus," and to prove that " The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are " here and now children of God." 1 {1- See Romans 8:1,16 and indeed the whole chapter.}

This true conversion with all that flowed from it made her entrance upon missionary work very different from what it would otherwise have been. No longer a philanthropic undertaking to which she ' devoted herself out of regard for her parents' wishes, it had become the natural and even necessary expression of her great and growing love to Him who was her Saviour, Lord and King. He had changed everything for her, for time and for eternity, and the least she could do was to give herself entirely to His service. So with a peace and joy unknown before she took up her busy and often difficult life in Miss Aldersey's school.

It was a lonely post for a girl in her teens, and especially one of so thoughtful and loving a spirit. Her sister's companionship no doubt was precious, and the missionary circle in Ning-po gave her several attached friends. But her heart had never found its mate in the things,, that mattered most.

And then he came-the young missionary who impressed her from the first as having the same longings after holiness, usefulness, nearness to God. He was different from everybody else ; not more gifted or attractive, though he was bright and pleasing and full of quiet fu!. ; but there was a something that made her feel at rest and understood. He seemed to live in such a real world and to have such a real, great God. Though she saw little of him it was a comfort to know that he was near, and she was startled to find how much she missed him when after only seven weeks he went away.2-{2- In the previous October, when he had left Ning-po to return, as he hoped, to Mr. Bums.}

Very real was her, joy, therefore, as well as surprise, when from Shanghai he had to turn back again. Perhaps it was this that opened her eyes to the feeling with which she was beginning to regard him. At any rate, she soon knew, and with her sweet, true nature did not try to hide it from her own heart and God. There was no one else to whom she cared to speak about him ; for others did not see in him, always, just what she saw. They disliked his wearing Chinese dress, and did not approve his making himself so entirely one with the people. His Chinese dress-how she loved it 1 or what it represented, rather, of his spirit. His poverty and generous giving to the poor-how well she understood, how much she sympathised. Did others think him visionary in his longing to reach the great Beyond of untouched need ? Why, that was just the burden on her heart, the life she too would live, only for a woman it seemed if anything more impossible. So she prayed much about her friend though to him she showed but little. For the love of her life had come to her, and nobody knew but God.

And then he went again, went in the interests of others, and she did not know it cost him anything to leave her. But all the while he was away she prayed to be more like him, more worthy of his love, if that should ever be hers.

Month after month went by, and then, at last-a letter ! Sudden as was the joy, the great and wonderful joy, it was no surprise, only a quiet outshining of what had long shone within. So she was not mistaken after all. They were for one another ; " two whom God hath chosen to walk together before Him."

When she could break away from her first glad thanksgiving she went to find her sister, who was most sympathetic. The next thing was to tell Miss Aldersey, then living on the north side of the city with her former ward and fellowworker, Mrs. Russell. Eagerly the sisters told their tidings, hoping she would approve this engagement as she had Burella's. But great was the indignation with which she heard the story. " Mr. Taylor ! that young, poor, unconnected Nobody. How dare he presume to think of such a thing ? Of course the proposal must be refused at once, and that finally."

In vain Maria tried to explain how much he was to her. That only made matters worse. She must be saved without delay from such folly. And her kind friend proceeded, with the best intentions, to take the matter entirely into her own hands. The result was a letter written almost at Miss Aldersey's dictation, not only closing the whole affair but requesting most decidedly that it might never be reopened.

Bewildered and heartbroken, the poor girl had no choice. She was too young and inexperienced, and far too shy in such matters, to withstand the decision of Miss Aldersey, strongly reinforced by the friends with whom she was staying. Stung to the quick with grief and shame, she could only leave it in the hands of her Heavenly Father. He knew; -He understood. And in the long, lonely days that followed, when even her sister was won over to Miss Aldersey's position, she took refuge in the certainty that nothing, nothing was too hard for the Lord. " If He has to slay my Isaac," she assured herself again and again, " I know He can restore."

To Hudson Taylor in his sorrow, sympathising hearts were open, but for her there was none. And she did not know that he would ever cross her path again. After such a refusal, if he really cared, he would surely stay away from Ning-po, especially in view of the recommencement of work at Swatow which she knew he longed to share. Nothing was more probable now than that he would return to his friend Mr. Burns. And this, no doubt, he would have done had he been acting on impulse and not holding stedfastly to the guidance of God. As it was, though he knew nothing of her feelings and had little if any hope of a more favourable issue, he was winning in the depths of his sorrow just the blessing it was meant to bring.

" We have need of patience," he wrote to his sister in May, " and our faithful God brings us into experiences which, improved by His blessing, may cultivate in us this grace. Though we seem to be tried at times almost beyond endurance, we never find Him unable or unwilling to help and sustain us ; and were our hearts entirely submissive to His will, desiring it and it only to be done, how much fewer and lighter would our afflictions seem.

" I have been in much sorrow of late ; but the principal cause I find to be want of willing submission to, and trustful repose in God, my Strength. Oh, to desire His will to be done with my whole heart .. . to seek His glory with a single eye ! Oh, to realise more of the fulness of our precious Jesus, . . . to live more in the light of His countenance; to be satisfied with what He bestows, . . . ever looking to Him, following in His footsteps and awaiting His glorious coming. Why do we love Him so little ? It is not that He is not lovely. `Fairer than the children of men ! ' It is not that He does not love us: .. . that was for ever proved on Calvary. Oh, to be sick of love for Jesus, to be daily, hourly longing, hungering, thirsting for His presence ! , , . May you find your love to Him ever increasing, and His likeness in you be apparent to all.... Continue to pray for me . . . that God will supply all my need, Jesus be all my delight, His service all my desire, rest with Him all my hope."

It is perhaps not surprising that one book in the Bible, that had never meant much to him before, should have opened up at this time in undreamed-of beauty. His deep understanding of the Song of Solomon seems to have begun in these days, when the love that welled up so irresistibly within him could only be given to God. Never had he understood before what the Lord can be to His people, and what He longs to find in His people toward Himself. It was a wonderful discovery, and one that only grew with all the glad fruition that lay beyond this pain. To those who knew Hudson Taylor best in later years, nothing was more characteristic than his love for the Song of Solomon and the way in which it expressed his personal relationship to the Lord. 1- {' Mr. Hudson Taylor's Bible Readings on the Song of Solomon are published under the title Union and Communion.} Here is the beginning of -it all, culled from letters to his mother and sister in that sad spring of 1857.

My dear Amelia, it is very late, but I cannot retire without penning a few lines to you. All below is transitory ; we know not what a day or an hour may bring forth. . .. One thing only changes not-the love of God. Our precious Jesus is the same and ever will be, and soon He will come and take us to Himself.

What will it be to see Him with unclouded vision, and be ravished with His transcendent loveliness ? ... And not only shall we be with Him ; we shall be His. " My Beloved is mine and I am His " is true for us even now. But then He will share with us not only His power and glory, but the very beauty of His character and person. When we see Him " we shall be like Him ; for we shall see Him as He is." Precious Jesus, oh, to be more like Thee now ! to manifest Thy grace as Thou didst the Father's.

Have you thought much about the Song of Solomon ? It is a rich garden to delight in, and so is the forty-fifth Psalm. To think that even the sweetest, dearest of earthly ties but faintly shadows forth the love of Jesus to His redeemed ... to me . . . is it not wonderful ? ... Oh, how can we love our precious Jesus enough, how do enough for Him ! . . . Soon will He call us to a wedding-feast, the marriage supper of the Lamb. Not as guests, but as the bride shall we take our place with joy, arrayed in the spotless robe of His righteousness. The time is short. May we live as those who wait for their Lord, and be ready with joy to meet Him.

And again, in connection with the happiness of her engagement to Mr. Broomhall

These feelings are implanted by God Himself, and all the circumstances connected with them are ordained or permitted by Him for our highest spiritual good as well as temporal happiness.... In nearly every book in the Bible they are used by the Holy Spirit to illustrate the relationship between God and His people, and very specially do they belong to those who have been " espoused . . . as a chaste virgin to Christ." With the love with which you love your husband (in fact or in anticipation) you are to love the Lord Jesus, nay more. Are you lonely when he leaves you? So you should be while Jesus is absent. Do you long for the time when you can always be together ? So you should for the return of Jesus to take you to Himself. Is service for your loved one freedom? "No," you will say, "that is far too cold a word. Freedom ! It is joy, delight, the desire of my heart." So should you serve Jesus. Would you do what you could to remove the obstacles and hasten the day of your union ? Then look for and hasten the day of His return.... See Jesus in everything, then in everything you will find blessing. Keep looking to Jesus. Do nothing but for Him, but as in Him and by His strength and direction. Christ all and in all ! And may He abundantly and personally manifest Himself to you."

God's plans ever go forward, though to us they may appear at times to retrograde. That is due to our imperfect point of view. May we ever grow in grace, and be made vessels such as our Master can use. We have our portion-the " chiefest among ten thousand," and the " altogether lovely." All that my soul has tried Left but an aching void ; Jesus has satisfied, Jesus is mine.

May we daily see more of Him, daily see more in Him... .I have been much tried of late. Seeking to do all to the glory of God, I do nothing that is not mixed with self and sin. Oh, how fit is our Jesus for us 1 perfect righteousness for ruined sinners, a glorious robe for the tattered and filthy, gold, fine gold for the poor, sight for the blind-all, all we need or could desire. Precious Jesus, may we love Thee more, and more manifest our love by deadness to the world. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly !

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