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The conversion of J. Hudson Taylor

Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission out of his vision to move beyond the coastal cities into the vast unreached interior of that Asian country

"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 God.

"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, used here in accordance with the educational "fair use" provisions of U.S. copyright law.

Taylor's describing his 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 this service.

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. 74. Used here in accordance with the educational "fair use" provisions of U.S. copyright laws

Option or command? -- a mini-essay on Taylor's classic slogan

     -- Howard Culbertson

"One element to Hudson Taylor's story that was impactful to me was his level of surrender to the ways of the Lord. Taylor's life and legacy bear witness to the potential fruit of complete surrender." -- Banning Dawson, Northwest Nazarene University student


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