At first glance this is little more than a children’s book, or at least one aimed at the young teenage market. I picked it up as it was on my shelves and I was conscious that I hadn’t ever read it. I am glad that I did as it was an easy and heart warming read that did my soul good.
Hudson Taylor lived his life in a transparently similar way to Billy Bray and George Muller – in that he simply trusted on the Lord to supply his temporal needs. The book begins with an account of the nineteen year old Hudson, who is set on mission work to China, meeting a stranger. The man asks him to pray with his wife which Hudson Taylor does. He has one coin in his pocket and enough oats for two bowls of porridge at home, yet when Hudson sees the poverty in the home, he feels obliged to give away his remaining coin. He sees the desperate condition of the couple and feels the words of the Sermon on the Mount about ‘Give to him that asketh’. Later in the evening, at home and having eaten one of two remaining bowls, he remembers the words ‘he that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord’, which he takes to his Saviour in prayer. The next day, an unexpected parcel arrives with a pair of leather gloves inside which when he opens he finds also includes a gold coin. While he remained unaware of the sender, he could see that his silver coin had been replaced ten times over – and was a good rate of return.
Hudson Taylor grew up in Barnsley in the North of England. He moved to London to take a medical course and to be in touch with the Chinese Evangelisation Society. While training as a Doctor he was determined to live as economically as possible and learn to trust God to meet his needs. His diet seemed to consist of bread, water and apples. In medical school, they were working on a dissection of a body that had died from a fever, Hudson managed to contract the infection from a small prick on his hand. As he lay in his bed, thinking he was dying, he was struggling to believe that he was mistaken that the Lord had intended for him to go to China. After weeks of struggling with the illness, the doctor concluded that the only thing that had been keeping him alive was the moderate way in which he had been living.
The story takes you through his experiences of life in China. The difficulties he faced with the conflict in the region. His getting married and eventually his labours in setting up a systematic mission effort for the whole of China.
Well worth a read. It isn’t academic reading but it will do you good. We need more Christians like Hudson Taylor.