The conversion of James Hudson Taylor
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Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission out of his
zeal to move beyond the coastal cities to vast unreached interior of that Asian
"For a time in his early teens it seemed that young Taylor might not respond to the family
tradition and to his rearing. To be sure, in later years he said that many times he had tried to make
himself a Christian but had failed and that when he was about 14 years of age he had given
himself to God. However, some months later he began to think that he could not be saved and
that he had best take his 'fill of this world.'
"It was in this frame of mind that he worked for a time in the
local bank. There, under the influence of associates, he became skeptical and gave to himself as
the reason the inconsistencies of Christians, who, professing to believe the Bible, actually lived
as though there were no such book. Then, when seventeen, in other words not too far from the
age at which Carey and Mills were struggling their way to faith, came a transforming experience.
"One holiday, while alone in his father's library, Taylor
picked up a gospel tract hoping for an interesting story before the inevitable moral at the end. As
he read, the phrase the finished work of Christ caught his attention. He asked
himself: 'What is finished?'
"Reared as he had been, the answer came quickly to him:
'A full and perfect atonement and satisfaction for sin; the debt was paid by the Substitute;
Christ died for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.'
Then flooded in the joyous conviction that if the whole work was finished and the whole debt
paid, all that was left for him to do was to accept it. That he did and fell on his knees, praising
"He soon discovered that at that very hour in a distant town
his mother, driven by an inner compulsion to pray for him, had had the quiet assurance that her
prayer had been granted. A little later he also learned that his sister Amelia had for exactly a
month been praying for his conversion. All of this helped to give him a confidence in concrete
answers to explicit requests in prayer."
— from Kenneth Scott Latourette,
These Sought a Country, p. 64
Taylor's call to inland China
"On Sunday, June 25th, 1865, unable to bear the sight
of a congregation of a thousand or more Christian people rejoicing in their own security, while
millions were perishing from lack of knowledge, I wandered out on the sands alone, in great
spiritual agony; and there the Lord conquered my unbelief, and I surrendered myself to God for
I told Him that all the responsibility as to issues and
consequences must rest with Him; that as His servant, it was mine to obey and to follow Him
— His to direct, to care for, and to guide me and those who might labor with me. Need I
say that peace at once flowed into my burdened heart?
There and then I asked Him for twenty-four fellow-workers,
two for each of eleven inland provinces (of China) which were without a missionary, and two for
Mongolia; and writing the petition on the margin of the Bible I had with me, I returned home
with a heart enjoying rest such as it had been a stranger to for months, and with an assurance that
the Lord would bless His own work and that I should share in the blessing."
— J. Hudson Taylor,
quoted by Kenneth Scott Latourette in These Sought a Country, p.
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Updated: January 30, 2019
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