Tonight was our annual biography evening at church. You can listen to the talk here.

However, if you do so, you might find the handout that we used helpful to follow along. It is reproduced here:


Early Life

Born in 1832 to godly parents in Barnsley

Converted as a teenager after a period of misery

Read a tract based on the words “It is finished”

The light was flashed into my soul by the Holy Spirit that there was nothing in the world to be done but to fall down on one’s knees and, accepting this Saviour and His salvation, to praise Him forevermore.”

“Again and again confessing my grateful love to Him who had done everything for me, who had saved me when I had given up all hope and even desire for salvation, I besought Him to give me some work to do for Him as an outlet for love and gratitude…Well do I remember as I put myself, my life, my friends, my all upon the altar, the deep solemnity that came over my soul with the assurance that my offering was accepted…A deep consciousness that I was not my own took possession of me.”

Strong early conviction that he should go to China.

Got up at 5am- “I must study if I mean to go to China

Think, Mother, of twelve million- a number so great that it is impossible to realise it- yes twelve million souls in China, every year passing without God and without hope into eternity…let us look with compassion on this multitude.”

Studied the language; trained in medical work; lived very frugally.

Having now the twofold object in view of accustoming myself to endure hardship of economizing in order to help those among whom I was labouring in the Gospel, I soon found that I could live upon very much less than I had previously thought possible.”

The story with the last half-crown:

Conscience said within, “Dare you mock God? Dare you kneel and call him Father with that half crown in your pocket?”

Faced probable death after dissecting a corpse:

Unless I’m greatly mistaken, I have work to do in China and shall not die. But if I don’t recover, then I look forward to going to be with my Master.”

Broken engagement to Marianne

Though he does not deprive me of feeling in my trial, He enables me to sing, ‘Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

Accepted by CES- Chinese Evangelization Society


Travelled into the unknown in 1853; endured a storm en route. Shanghai was in the midst of civil war.

Difficult early period- lack of support from home. Riots; loneliness etc.

The very kindness of the missionaries who have received me with open arms makes me fear to be burdensome.”

I would give anything for a friend with whom to consult freely”

“Pray for me, for I am almost pressed beyond measure”

Jesus is here, and though unknown to the majority and uncared for by many who might know Him, He is present and precious to His own.”

“The reading of the Word and meditation on the promises have been increasingly precious to me of late.”

Letter to sister: “You ask how I get over my troubles. This is the way…I take them to the Lord.

Ten journeys into inland China

“The vision of the interior was clenched with suffering.”

First convert in 1855

I do thank God that He ever sent you to this place. My sins, once so heavy, are all laid on Jesus and He daily gives me joy and peace.”

Wrote to his mother: “If one soul is worth worlds, am I not abundantly repaid and are not you too?”

Decision to wear Chinese dress- 1855

1855-56 He built a strong friendship with William Burns.

Such a friendship is one of the crowning blessings of life

1857 Resigned from CES

1858 Married Maria Dyer

Mr.Taylor! That poor, young, unconnected Nobody. How dare he presume such a thing?”

The four month wait- “Let us take it all to the Lord in prayer.”

I cannot tell you how much I love my precious wife”

1859 Takes responsibility for hospital in Ningpo

After waiting upon the Lord for guidance I felt constrained to undertake not only the dispensary but the hospital as well, relying solely on the faithfulness of a prayer-hearing God to furnish means for its support.”

The bag of rice incident: “Then the Lord’s time for helping us must be close at hand.”

Sixteen patients baptised.

Back in UK- establishing a broader work 1860-1866

Has to return because of illness

During his years back home he was involved in translation work and raising support

Prayer was the only way by which the burdened heart could obtain any relief.

1865 Significant visit to Brighton

Unable to bear the sight of a congregation of a thousand or more Christian people rejoicing in their own security, while millions were perishing for lack of knowledge, I wandered out on the sands alone, in great spiritual agony

Founded China Inland Mission- Ten pounds and all the promises of God”

“Then and there I asked Him for 24 fellow workers, two for each of the eleven provinces which were without a missionary and two for Mongolia.

Wrote a book “China: Its Spiritual Need and Claims” in 1865.

We came out as God’s children at God’s command to do God’s work, depending on Him for supplies, to wear native dress and to go inland. I was to be the leader in China…

They were very young- HT at 34 was the oldest.

Back to China

A period of many trials: 1866-1870

Burdens such as I never before sustained, responsibilities such as I had not hitherto incurred, and sorrows compared with which all my past sorrows were light have been part of my experience”

Division in the mission

First daughter- Grace- dies in 1867

Death through sickness was a common experience for missionaries.

Of first 200 male missionaries- 40 died and 51 lost wives

Severe violence leading to injuries and debates in the House of Lords

HT showed symptoms of stress- both physically and spiritually

I felt the ingratitude, the danger, the sin of not living nearer to God”

“On looking back in the evening, alas! There was but sin and failure to confess and mourn before God

It was around this time that he discovered something of union with Christ- see later

1870- Samuel died. Decided to send rest of children home with Emily Blatchley.

Noel born but dies shortly afterwards; subsequently Maria dies aged 33.

I cannot be sorry to go to Him, But I am sorry to leave you alone at this time. Yet He will be with you and meet all your need”

Mr.Taylor knelt and committed her to the Lord, thanking Him for…twelve and a half years of perfect happiness together.”

When I think of my loss, my heart, nigh to breaking, rises in thankfulness to Him who spared her such sorrow and made her unspeakably happy.”

Meanwhile the work was expanding: baptism, schools, training of locals…

Married Jennie Faulding in 1871- though they were forced to spend considerable periods of married life apart

(Manages to have a baby during a prayer meeting in 1874!)

Wider Responsibility

During the remaining years HT travelled frequently between China and UK; towards the end visited America and Australia.

In 1874 was forced to be flat on his back for a considerable period. Emily Blatchley had died.

Chinese studies at his bedside

Had I been well and able to move about, some might have thought that my urgent appeals, rather than God’s working, had sent the eighteen to China. But utterly laid aside, able only to dictate a request for prayer, the answer to our prayers was the more apparent.”

Started “China’s Millions” in 1875

Praying for workers for the harvest field:

1878 Women missionaries- led by Mrs Taylor

1881 Prayed for 70 workers

1885 Cambridge Seven went to China including CT Studd, English cricket player:

I had fervently as much love for cricket as any man could have; but when the Lord Jesus came into my heart I found that I had something infinitely better”

1887 Prayed for a further 100 workers

Prayers were answered despite the fact that they turned down five out of six applicants

1888 Visited America for the first time. Inadvertently started America wing of CIM. Australia- 1890.

Wrote in China’s Millions of the responsibility to get the Gospel to every creature

1900 Had some sort of mental breakdown when speaking in America

Combined with the Boxer Massacres: CIM lost 58 missionaries and 21 children

I cannot read; I cannot think; I cannot pray but I can trust

Also the period of the largest number of baptisms

1904 Jennie dies; HT in increasing ill health:

It’s hardest of all to do nothing for His sake.”

1905 Final visit to China

Birthday “O man greatly beloved

Died- “You opened for us the road to heaven”; “A man in Christ”

The Emphases of Hudson Taylor

A Passion for Souls

When a dying patient was converted after HT shed tears over him:

Perhaps if there was more of that intense distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts and our own feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things may be the true cause of our want of success.

Despite initial opposition

“I feel a great love for these dear people

A Chinese friend of his drowned- ignored by local fishermen

Were not these fishermen actually guilt of this poor Chinaman’s death in that they had the means of saving him at hand, if they would but have used them? Assuredly they were guilty. And yet let us pause ere we pronounce judgement against them lest a greater than Nathan answer ‘Thou art the man’”.

A Chinese convert on how many years there had been Christians in England:

What, several hundreds of years! Is it possible that you have known about Jesus so long and only now have come to tell us? My father sought the truth for more than twenty years and died without finding it. Why didn’t you come sooner?”

Suffering and Weakness

Said this to the new missionaries in 1866:

The missionaries of almost all the societies have better houses, finer furniture, more Eurpoean fare than we have or are likely to have. But there is not one of them settles in the interior amongst the people.”

“China is not to be won for Christ by self-seeking, ease-loving men and women…the stamp of men and women we need is such as will put Jesus, China, souls, first and foremost in everything.”

Is anything of value in Christ’s service that costs little?”

“The cross does not get comfortable but it bears sweet fruit.”

In 1900 he was asked to speak on “The source of power for foreign missionary work”

There is a wonderful power when the love of God in the heart raises us to this point that we are ready to suffer…It is ever true that what costs little is worth little.”

Awareness of his own weakness:

He did go through periods of depression and poor health

I am the little servant of an illustrious Master

Received criticism in America for his weak voice and poor oratory:

This is very just criticism for it is all true…but I have often thought that God made me little in order that He might show what a great God He is.”

Union with Christ

During his period of great distress:

The Spirit of God revealed the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it before”

“Oh, my dear sister, it is a wonderful thing to be really one with a risen and exalted Saviour, to be a member of Christ! Think what it involves. Can Christ be rich and I poor?…In other words, do not let us consider Him as far off, when God has made us one with Him, members of His very body.”

“Can Jesus meet my need? Yes, and more than meet it. No matter how intricate my path, how difficult my service, no matter how sad my bereavement, how far away my loved ones, no matter how helpless I am, how hopeless I am, how deep are my soul-yearnings- Jesus can meet all and more than meet

Favourite verses were John 7:37-39

Only a thirsty man knows the value of water and only a thirsty soul the value of the Living Water.”

To Emily Blatchley:

In all your intercourse with friends of the Mission, seek to deepen their realisation of the value of Christ, and our union with Him.


Hard pressed…but not crushed

Pray for us. At times I seem altogether overwhelmed with the internal and external trials connected with our work. But He has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” and “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” So be it.”

“My need now is great and urgent but God is greater and more near.”

“I could not possibly get through the work I have to do without the peace of God which passeth all understanding keeping my heart and mind.”

“It doesn’t matter, really, how great the pressure is, it only matters where the pressure lies. See that it never comes between you and the Lord- then the greater the pressure, the more it presses you to His breast.”

“How do you get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One.”

Favourite hymn was “Jesus I am resting”. Rebuked for singing it when hearing of riots:

Would you have me anxious and troubled? That would not help them and would certainly incapacitate me for my work. I just have to roll the burden on the Lord.

13000 baptisms…

Further Reading:

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret- Mr and Mrs Howard Taylor

J Hudson Taylor- a Man in Christ- Roger Steer