I had heard of Hudson Taylor, British Missionary to China, many times over the years, but never read the book for myself. I can easily recommend it to you and say this was the best biography I have ever read. There were numerous books on His life and works; the one I chose was by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, his son. Hudson Taylor was a prolific letter writer and kept many journals from which the biography was taken, in addition to interviews with those who had personal knowledge or had corresponded about him as well, so there was never any question about the facts or veracity of the book.
Even more than the various evidences of God’s work through him or the miracles that surrounded the work in China, I think the foundation of the work was in the relationship that Mr. Taylor had with the Almighty and the Faith that was a basis for such a relationship. He was born in 1824 and died in 1905. Early on he had a calling of God to reach China with the Good news of Christ Jesus. He was of humble beginnings and was not completely qualified according to the standards of the various British Missionary Societies who were funding, managing and administrating the British outreach to China. Mr. Taylor was submissive in all respects to the authorities and church of his day, yet he never allowed his faith and calling of God to be subordinated to the plans of men. This required considerable wisdom, grace and prayer, and in fact, was what I consider a foundational tenant of his ministry and success. For example, through faith and prayer he decided early on that his needs and the needs of those who were working with him would not be made public. This he considered would be opposed to faith, as God’s Word assured him that all his needs were both known by God and His responsibility. This is perhaps the greatest of his foundational principles. As a consequence of keeping his needs before God alone, he avoided any appearance of competition with the other Missionary Societies and as a direct consequence enjoyed great favor of both man and God.
Hudson Taylor was a devoted man of prayer and all he did was bathed in prayer before, during and after decisions were made. Faith in God’s goodness and provision were given priority over timing and decisions. God’s faithfulness is shown again and again in both the abundance of provisions, even lavish at times, and in the perfect timing which God alone is able to carry out. Mr. Taylor was willing to lay down his life for this mission of taking the Good News of Jesus to the millions in China who were dying without any knowledge thereof. He suffered many severe illnesses, threats and persecutions from the Chinese, as well as other foreigners. He suffered the death of family members and children, all for this calling of God, and without any remorse or regret of his calling to China.
He learned to be flexible to Gods ways and means. He believed through prayer that he was to dress and look like the Chinese, so he wore their clothing and dyed and cut his hair to match that of a typical Chinaman. This was God’s wisdom and Mr. Taylor was sorely treated by his own people because of it, but never retaliated, complained, or conceded to their vanities. Mr. Taylor also learned flexibility as the mission grew and expanded to included American’s, German’s, and others whom God was calling to bring the Salvation message to China.
When certain of his own group turned against him, he took the high road of love and worked through prayer and much humility to reconcile and keep the enemy from bringing division and bitterness among the group. Mr. Taylor’s prayer life was fitted to the Word of God and through prayer and the Scriptures, he gained much wisdom, guidance, peace, faith, hope and the unimaginable spread of the Good news of Jesus throughout every province of China. Over the years God orchestrated millions of dollars to and through Mr. Taylor and his organization, China Inland Missions, without one request for funds. Mr. Taylor did ask for workers to be sent into the harvest as the scripture directs, but with each one that was selected considerable prayer and wisdom were sought of God. It had not been a set of skills or learned degrees that had qualified Mr. Taylor and his selections were not based on worldly wisdom or what might seem impressive to men, but rather on God’s leading and guidance.
What I take away from this book is a renewed measure of what faith is and should be considering the Almighty God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God called forth men, servants who would obey him, to reach China with the Message of Salvation in Christ Jesus. I believe that today there is a remnant, perhaps a massive underground church in China, who still believe and like those who were sent to them, they are now carrying the Salvation message to the millions in China today.