James Hudson Taylor

James Hudson Taylor was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England on 21st May, 1832, the son of a pharmacist and Methodist lay preacher James Taylor and his wife, Amelia Hudson. After a brief period of teenage skepticism, he came to Christ by reading a Christian tract in his father's apothecary store. A few months after his conversion, he consecrated himself wholly to the Lord's work. He sensed the Lord was calling him to China and lived on as little as possible, trusting God for his every provision. At this time, he contacted Dr.Edward Cronin of Kensington - one of the members of the first missionary party of the Plymouth Brethren to Baghdad. He practiced distributing gospel tracts and open-air preaching among the poor. In 1852, he began studying medicine at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, London, the great interest awakened in England about China through the civil war.

Taylor's House in Yangzhou

Taylor left England on 19th September, 1853, before completing his medical studies and arrived in Shanghai, China, on 1st March 1854 as an agent of a new mission society. In China, he was faced with civil war, throwing his first year there into turmoil. He immediately began learning Chinese, though the funds from home rarely arrived, but Taylor was determined to rely upon God for his every need and he never appealed for money to his friends in England. He made eighteen preaching tours in the vicinity of Shanghai, started in 1855 and was often poorly received by the people, even though he brought with him medical supplies and skills. At the time Scottish evangelist, William Chalmers Burns of the English Presbyterian Mission began work in Shanghai and Taylor joined him. After leaving, he later found that all of his medical supplies stored in Shanghai had been destroyed by a fire. In October 1856, while traveling across China he was robbed everything. Relocated in Ningbo by 1857, Taylor received a letter from a supportive George Muller which led to Taylor and his co-worker John Jones deciding to resign from the problematic mission board which had sent them and instead work independently in what came to be called the "Ningpo Mission". Four Chinese men joined them in their work. In 1858, Taylor married Maria Jane Dyer, the orphaned daughter of the Rev.Samuel Dyer of the London Missionary Society, who had been a pioneer missionary to the Chinese in Penang, Malaysia. Taylor met Maria in Ningbo where she lived and worked at a school for girls. The married couple took care of an adopted boy named Tianxi. They had a baby of their own that died late in 1858. Their first surviving child, Grace was born in 1859.

Taylor used his time in England to continue his work, in company with Frederick Foster Gough of the Church Missionary Society translating the New Testament into a Romanised Ningbo dialect for the British and Foreign Bible Society. He completed his diploma at Royal College of Surgeons in 1862. He also wrote a book called China's Spiritual Need and Claims in 1865 which was instrumental in generating sympathy for China and volunteers for the mission field. He traveled extensively around the British Isles speaking at churches and promoting the needs of China. At home in the East End of London, he also ministered at Newgate Prison. During this time he became friend with Charles Haddon Spurgeon who became a life-long supporter of Taylor and Charles Spurgeon supported the work of the mission financially and directed many missionary candidates to apply for service to him.

Their second child, a son, was born in London, Herbert, in 1861. More children were born to the Taylors in 1862 Frederick, in 1864 Samuel and in 1865 Jane who died at birth. On 25th June 1865, at Brighton, Taylor definitely dedicated himself to God for the founding of a new society to undertake the evangelization of the “Un-reached” inland provinces of China. He founded the China Inland Mission together with William Thomas Berger shortly thereafter. In less than one year, they had accepted 21 missionaries and raised over £2,000. In early 1866 Taylor published the first edition of the Occasional Paper of the China Inland Mission which later became China's Millions. On 26th May 1866, after over five years of working in England, Taylor and family set sail for China with their new missions team "the Lammermuir Party" aboard the tea clipper Lammermuir. They arrived safely in Shanghai on 30th September 1866. The arrival of the largest party of missionaries ever sent to China gave the foreign settlement in Shanghai much to talk about and some criticism began for the young China Inland Mission. They traveled down the Grand Canal of China to make the first settlement in the war-torn city of Hangzhou. Another daughter, Maria Hudson Taylor was born to them in China. Taylor began practicing much sought-after medical work and preaching every day under an exhausting schedule. Hundreds came to hear and be treated. Conflicts within the Lammermuir team limited their effectiveness, but when Taylor's daughter Grace died of meningitis in 1867, they united for a time and sorted out their discord after witnessing Taylor place the cares of his fellow missionaries above even the concern that he had for his ailing daughter.

Hudson Taylor's Group

In 1868, the Taylors took a party of missionaries up to Yangzhou to start a new work. But problems continued in 1868, when their mission premises were attacked, looted and burned during the Yangzhou riot. Despite the violence and injuries no one was killed. Unfortunately, the international outrage at the Chinese for the attack on these British nationals caused also the China Inland Mission and Taylor to be criticized in the British press for almost starting a war. Taylor never requested military intervention, but some voices in the British Parliament called for "the withdrawal of all missionaries from China". However, the Taylors returned to Yangzhou later that year, to continue in the work and many converts to Christianity were made.

In 1868, Maria brought another child, Charles into the Taylor family and in 1870, Taylor and his wife made the difficult decision to send their older three surviving children to England with Miss Emily Blatchley. In July, Noel was born, though he died of malnutrition and deprivation two weeks later due to Maria's inability to nurse him. Maria herself died several days later, with the official cause of death being cholera. Her death shook Taylor deeply and in 1871, his own health began deteriorating further, leading to his return to England later that year to recuperate and take care of business items. Back in England, Taylor was married to Jannie Elizabeth Faulding, in 1871who had been a fellow missionary since 1866. Taylor and Jannie returned to China in late 1872. They were in Nanjing when Jannie gave birth to stillborn twins - a boy and a girl in 1873. Two years later, the Taylors were forced to return once again to England because of the death of the mission secretary and their children's caretaker, Emily Blatchley.

During the winter of 1874 and 1875 Taylor was practically paralyzed from a fall he had taken on a river boat while in China. In this state of crippling physical hindrance, Taylor confidently published an appeal for 18 new workers to join the work. When he did recover his strength, Jane remained with the children and in 1876 Hudson Taylor returned to China and the 18 requested missionaries followed him. Meanwhile, in England, the work of General Secretary of the China Inland Mission was done by Benjamin Broomhall, who had married Hudson's sister, Amelia. It was at this time that Hudson's evangelical work in England profoundly affected various members of the famous cricketing Studd family, resulting in three of the brothers converting and becoming deeply religious themselves; one of them, cricketer Charles Studd, became a missionary to China along with fellow Cambridge University converts, known as the Cambridge Seven. From 1876-1877 Taylor traveled throughout inland China, opening missions stations. This was made possible by the 13th September 1876 signing of the Chefoo Convention, a settlement between Britain and China that made it possible for missionary work to take place legally in inland China. In 1878, Jennie returned to China and began working to promote female missionary service there. By 1881 there were 100 missionaries in the CIM.

Taylor returned to England in 1883 to recruit more missionaries speaking of China's needs, and returned to China, working now with a total of 225 missionaries and 59 churches. In 1887 their numbers increased by another 102 with The Hundred missionaries, and in 1888, Taylor brought 14 missionaries from the United States. In the USA he traveled and spoke at many places, including the Niagara Bible Conference where he befriended Cyrus Scofield and later Taylor filled the pulpit of Dwight Lyman Moody as a guest in Chicago. Moody and Scofield thereafter actively supported the work of the China Inland Mission of North America. In 1897 Hudson & Maria's only surviving daughter, Maria - the wife of John Joseph Coulthard died in Wenzhou, leaving four little children and her missionary husband. She had been instrumental in leading many Chinese women to Christianity during her short life.

News of the Boxer Rebellion and the resulting disruption of missionary work in 1900 distressed Taylor, even though it led to further interest in missions in the area and additional growth of his China Inland Mission. Though the CIM suffered more than any other mission in China (58 missionaries, 21 children were killed), Taylor refused to accept payment for loss of property or life, to show the ‘meekness and gentleness of Christ’. Though criticised by some, he was commended by the British Foreign Office, whose minister in Beijing donated £200 to the CIM, expressing his ‘admiration’ and sympathy. The Chinese were also touched by Taylor's attitude.

Taylor in Old age
Due to health issues, Taylor remained in Switzerland, semi-retired with his wife. In 1900, Dixon Edward Hoste was appointed the Acting General Director of the CIM and in 1902, Taylor formally resigned. His wife, Jennie died of cancer in 1904 in Les Chevalleyres, Switzerland and in 1905, Taylor returned to China for the eleventh and final time. There he visited Yangzhou and Zhenjiang and other cities, before dying suddenly while reading at home in Changsha and he died on 3rd June 1905 at the age of seventy three at Changsha, Hunan, China. He was buried next to his first wife, Maria in Zhenjiang near the Yangtze River. The small Protestant cemetery in Zhenjiang was destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution by Red Guards in China as part of the Destruction of the Four Olds campaign. Today there are industrial buildings over the site. However, the marker for Hudson Taylor was stored away in a local museum for years. His great-grandson, James H. Taylor III, found the marker and was able to help a local Chinese church re-erect it within their building in 1999. His re-erected tombstone reads: Sacred to the memory of the Rev.J.Hudson Taylor, the revered founder of the China Inland Mission. Born May 21, 1832, Died June 3, 1905 "A MAN IN CHRIST" 2 Cor. XII:2. This monument is erected by the missionaries of the China Inland Mission, as a mark of their heartfelt esteem and love.

Taylor was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM), now OMF International. He spent 51 years in China. The society that he began was responsible for bringing over 800 missionaries to the country who began 125 schools and directly resulted in 18,000 Christian conversions, as well as the establishment of more than 300 stations of work with more than 500 local helpers in all eighteen provinces. Taylor was known for his sensitivity to Chinese culture and zeal for evangelism. He adopted wearing native Chinese clothing even though this was rare among missionaries of that time. Under his leadership, the CIM was singularly non-denominational in practice and accepted members from all Protestant groups, including individuals from the working class and single women as well as multinational recruits. Primarily because of the CIM's campaign against the Opium trade, Taylor has been referred to as one of the most significant Europeans to visit China in the 19th Century.


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