Hudson Taylor married Maria Dyer in 1859, but health problems caused them to return to England in 1860, seven years after he first left for China. While in England he first commenced a five-year project of the translation and revision of the Ningpo New Testament. He returned to China with his wife and three children in 1866. He had opened a bank account with $50.00 for the China Inland Mission; volunteers followed, and C. H. Spurgeon, known as the prince of preachers, was so impressed when he listened to Hudson Taylor, that he raised $13,000.00 for the Mission.
Hudson Taylor’s methods in China for evangelizing came under scorn by the Western community. His Chinese dress annoyed them the most. How foolish the pride of man! He had labored more abundantly than they all, yet he was the most criticized. They attacked him and his coworkers, looted and burned their homes; all this added to “the endurance” by Mrs. Taylor with her children. Their story is one of remarkable courage. The British Navy, hearing of their problems, intervened with protest to the Chinese Authorities. This produced an excuse for the infiltration of the Communist regime.
Possibly the worst of all trials was the perverted stories, circulated by critics in their native country, England. However, George Mueller of Bristol, England, that Christ-like servant of the Lord, refused to believe the distorted stories about them. How cruel humans can be! George Mueller continued to contribute $10,000.00 to Hudson annually, which made up for the support that stopped. Hudson Taylor became so depressed and exhausted that only his wife’s love stood between him and total despair! It finally dawned upon him while reading a missionary friend’s letter: “I have striven in vain to abide in Him; I’ll strive no more, for has He not promised to abide with me, never to leave me, never to fail me?” He entered from that moment into what he called an “Exchanged Life,” where the work of the Lord was no longer done in his own strength.
In 1870 the Taylors made the heart-rending decision that some of their children should return to England, leaving only baby Charles with them. Before parting with them, one died on the boat on the Yangtze River. They wept as they said farewell to the others. Little did Mrs. Taylor know then how wise the decision would be, for she died fours months later. She was only 33, gallant and devoted, a tower of strength to her husband. She was one of the most heroic wives in Christian history. We must never forget that there are “women of faith” as well as men (Hebrews 11). Many will rise and call her blessed on resurrection morning. The next year Hudson himself had a breakdown and returned to England to recuperate. They suffered much persecution, opposition, and severe trials, but faith conquered all. They sowed much but also reaped a harvest. What China owes to Hudson Taylor will not be fully known until the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Eventually Hudson Taylor re-married, and with his new wife continued his labors for China. In April 1884, he wrote a friend, “We have 87 cents and all the promises of God.” In June he received a letter from an unknown friend in England with $4000.00 marked for the extension of his work into new, untouched provinces. What a cheer to this tireless soldier of the Cross!
Hudson Taylor had tremendous accomplishments during his 51 years of service. The following record speaks for itself.
1. He witnessed 100 missionaries land in China in 1881 to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. At the end of 1883 another 70 arrived in China, which included the Cambridge Seven. The Cambridge Seven were educated in Cambridge University, England. They heard the call to China, and left all to follow Christ. The renowned C.T. Studd was among this group.
3. When Hudson Taylor left China there were 225 missionaries, 59 churches, and 1,665 members.
4. Hudson Taylor called for 100 new missionaries to evangelize China from East to West. He screened 600, and 102 went to China.
5. His faith in God to supply all needs to advance the missionary work was amazing. On one occasion, he asked God for $50,000 and received $105,000.
6. At the Moody’s Northfield Conference in Chicago (1888) his ministry resulted in 14 committing themselves to go to China with him. What power and influence in one Spirit-filled message!
He returned to England with ill health and was brought to the very doors of death by the terrible news of the Boxer Rebellion in May 1890. The disruption of the work and the murder of hundreds of missionaries along with native Christians caused him to say, “I cannot read, I cannot pray, I can scarcely think… but I can trust.” “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee” (Psa 56:3).
In the year 1905 he took his 11th trip to China and visited the scenes of his labors. He spoke to Christians, and visited the site for a new hospital. He was to speak at a reception given in his honor, but he died suddenly before this event and went swiftly to the land where trials and troubles are forever past. His precious remains were laid to rest beside his beloved Maria in China, waiting the day of resurrection and reward. The rest of the story concerning Hudson Taylor is in heaven’s records. In the year 2003, who will hear the challenge and take up the cross and follow Christ?