SPARED thus in the mercy' of God the loss of his own loved one, Hudson Taylor felt the more deeply for Dr. Parker when the angel of death visited his home. With scarcely any warning, on August 26, Mrs. Parker was stricken with dangerous illness, and passed away at midnight leaving four little ones motherless. The young missionaries at Bridge Street did what they could to come to the help of their friend, and others were ready with practical sympathy, but the shock proved too much for the bereaved husband. One of the children was seriously ill, and amid the difficulties of his changed position the doctor began to realise how much his own health was impaired by five years spent in China. He had neither heart nor strength for added burdens and decided before long to take his family home to the care of relatives in Scotland.

But what about the medical mission, outcome of so much prayer and labour ? The hospital was full of patients, and the dispensary crowded day by day with a constant stream of people, all of whom needed help. No other doctor was free to take his place, and yet to stop the work seemed out of the question with the winter coming on. How would it be, in default of better arrangements, to ask his former colleague, Hudson Taylor, to continue the dispensary at any rate ? He was quite competent for this, and with the hospital closed would not have much financial responsibility.

The suggestion, it need hardly be said, came as a great surprise to Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, and sent them to their knees in earnest prayer. All they wanted was to know the Lord's will in the matter, and as they waited upon Him for guidance it was clearly given, but in a direction they little anticipated.

Yes, the dispensary must be kept open ; and more than that, the hospital must not be closed. The Lord had given them helpers just suited for such an emergency, a band of native Christians who would rally round them and make the most of the opportunities which the hospital especially afforded. And as to funds, or lack of funds-for Dr. Parker had very little to leave-the work was not theirs but the Lord's. To close it on account of the small balance in hand would practically mean that prayer had lost its power; and if so they might as well retire from the field. No, for the good of the native Christians, the strengthening of their own faith and the comfort and blessing of many, they must go forward, and above all for the glory of God.

" After waiting upon the Lord for guidance," wrote Hudson Taylor, " 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.

" At times there were no fewer than fifty in-patients, besides a large number who daily attended the dispensary. Thirty beds were ordinarily allotted to free patients and their attendants, and about as many more to opium-smokers who paid for their board while being cured of the habit. As all the wants of the sick in the wards were supplied gratuitously, as well as the medical appliances needed for the out-patient department, the daily expenses were considerable. A number of native attendants also were required, involving their support.

"The funds for the maintenance of all this had hitherto been supplied by the proceeds of the doctor's foreign practice, and with his departure this source of income ceased. But had not God said that whatever we ask in the name of the Lord Jesus shall be done ? And are we not told to seek first the kingdom of God-not means to advance it-and that " all these things " shall be added to us ? Such promises were surely sufficient."

Strong therefore in the Lord and in the inward assurance of His call to this enlarged service, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor prepared to move over to Dr. Parker's. The care of the Bridge Street Christians remained in the hands of their beloved colleague Mr. Jones, who from the first had been Pastor of the little Church, and cordial indeed was the prayer and sympathy with which all its members endorsed the action of their missionaries.

To Mrs. Taylor, as she thought over it all, it must have seemed very wonderful, this sudden change that brought her husband into a position of usefulness he was so well qualified to fill. They had sought nothing for themselves, but in going about their work had quietly lived down misunderstandings, leaving their reputation in the hands of God. And now He had led them out into " a wealthy place," putting them in charge of a work second to none in Ning-po in its importance, and the common meeting-ground of all the other missions.

Looking across the river to the Presbyterian Compound, Mrs. Taylor could not but recall a conversation of the previous summer, to which she alludes in the following letter.

NING-PO, September 30, 1859.

MY DEAR MOTHER-Hudson has again been prevented from writing to you, which makes the fourth fortnightly mail since he was able to send off a letter. I hope you will not ... I know you will not ... begin to think that his dear little daughter is winning his heart away from his beloved parents. If he could steal some hours from the night he would do so, as he often has before, but his occupations leave him none to steal. He comes upstairs usually between ten and eleven o'clock, tired out with the long day's work, and after resting a little down he goes again to see some of his patients or make up medicine for others.

You will no doubt be surprised at my speaking of patients in this way, but perhaps still more so when I mention that Dr. Parker is leaving his hospital in dear Hudson's care. A few months ago I was walking with a friend (Mrs. M'Cartee) in one of the gardens of the Presbyterian Mission, when she said

" Do you know what I prophesy ? That in a few years Dr. Parker will be taking his family home, and that you and Mr. Taylor will come to live in his large house and carry on the work."

I reminded her that Hudson was not a qualified medical man, and said I did not, think we should ever live outside of the city.

Little could we have imagined that in a few short months Dr. Parker would be on his way home with his motherless children, and that we should be in his house and Hudson taking charge of his work.

She herself, far though she was from supposing it, was one of the most important elements in his success at this time. For God works through human means, and but for his wife and Chinese helpers this winter could never have been what it was in Hudson Taylor's experience and in the annals of the Ning-po hospital. Thoroughly competent to undertake the direction of their enlarged establishment, Mrs. Taylor relieved him of account-keeping, correspondence and all household cares, managing the servants and to a certain extent the staff so admirably that his strength was conserved for the medical and spiritual part of the work. She even found time to do a good deal in the wards herself, especially among the women patients, and spent many an hour caring both for body and soul in the dispensary.

" Her influence over the patients," wrote her husband, " was great and most beneficial. They saw and felt that there must be something deserving of attention in the religion that led an English lady to labours so peculiar and naturally repulsive. Over her domestics, too, she exerted an influence only to be won by genuine sympathy and continuous efforts for their good. She looked upon them not so much as persons paid for serving her, but as persons brought under her care that she might seek to lead them to Christ. She encouraged and helped them to learn to read and had some of them taught to write, and not a few who for longer or shorter periods were connected with her in this way came to know and love the Master she so faithfully served....

" She was accustomed to take real comfort from a heart-felt belief in the overruling providence of God in small as well as great matters. If His Word said `The very hairs of your head are all numbered,' she did not, could not doubt it. She was accustomed, too, to seek His counsel in all things, and would not write a note, pay a call, or make a purchase without raising her heart to God."

In the same way he too drew upon divine resources. Outwardly he was carrying on a great work ; inwardly he was conscious of a great cry to Him without whom it could not be sustained for a moment. Had he been depending upon man for help, he would have waited until the need could be made known before assuming such heavy responsibilities. But it had come about so- suddenly that no one at any distance was aware of the position or could be more prepared than he himself.

" Eight days before entering upon the care of the Ning-po hospital," wrote Mr. Taylor, " I had not the remotest idea of ever doing so ;still less could friends at home have foreseen the need."

But the Lord had anticipated it, and already His provision was on the way, as events were happily to prove.

The first step taken by the young missionary upon assuming independent charge of the hospital was to call together the assistants and explain the real state of affairs. Dr. Parker, as he told them, had left funds in hand for the expenses of the current month, but little more. After this provision was used up they must look to the Lord directly for supplies ; and it would not be possible to guarantee stated salaries, because whatever happened he would not go into debt. Under these circumstances, any who wished to do so were at liberty to seek other employment, though he would be glad of their continued service if they were prepared to trust the simple promises of God.

This condition of things, as Mr. Taylor had expected, led all who were not decided Christians to withdraw and opened the way for other workers. It was a change Dr. Parker had long desired to make, only he had not known how to obtain helpers of a different sort. But Mr. Taylor did ; and with a greatly lightened heart he turned to the little circle that at this critical juncture did not fail him. For to the Bridge Street Christians it seemed quite as natural to trust the Lord for temporal as for spiritual blessings. Did not the greater include the less ? And was He not, as their " Teachers " so often reminded them, a real Father, who never could forget His children's needs ? So to the hospital they came ; glad not only to strengthen the hands of their missionary friends, but to prove afresh both to themselves and all concerned the loving-kindness of God.

Some worked in one way and some in another ; some giving freely what time they could spare, and others giving their whole time without promise of wages, though receiving their support. And all took the hospital and its concerns upon their hearts in prayer.

No wonder a new atmosphere began to permeate dispensary and wards. Account for it the patients could not at any rate at first-but they enjoyed none the less the happy, homelike feeling, and the zest with which everything was carried on. The days were full of a new interest. For these attendants-Wang the grass-cutter and Wang the painter, Nyi, Neng-kuei and others-seemed to possess the secret of perpetual happiness, and had so much to impart. Not only were they kind and considerate in the work of the wards, but all their spare time was given to telling of One who had transformed life for them, and who they said was ready to receive all who came to Him for rest. Then there were books, pictures and singing. Everything indeed seemed set to song ! And the daily meetings in the Chapel only made one long for more.

There are few secrets in China, and the financial basis upon which the hospital was now run was not one of them. Soon the patients knew all about it, and were watching eagerly for the outcome. This too was something to think and talk about ; and as the money left by Dr. Parker was used up and Hudson Taylor's own supplies ram low, many were the conjectures as to what would happen next. Needless to say that alone and with his little band of helpers Hudson Taylor was much in prayer at this time. It was perhaps a more open and in that sense crucial test than any that had come to him, and he realised that the faith of not a few was at stake as well as the continuance of the hospital work. But day after day went by without bringing the expected answer.

At length one morning Kuei-hua the cook 1-{1-This was the same valued servant who had been with Mr. Taylor in Shanghai, Tsung-wing and elsewhere; and who was now a bright Christian. appeared with serious news for his master. The very last bag of rice had been opened, and was disappearing rapidly.

" Then," replied Hudson Taylor, " the Lord's time for helping us must be close at hand."

And so it proved. For before that bag of rice was finished a letter reached the young missionary that was among the most remarkable he ever received.

It was from Mr. Berger, and contained a cheque for fifty pounds, like others that had come before. Only in this case the letter went on to say that a heavy burden had come upon the writer, the burden of wealth to use for God. Mr. Berger's father had recently passed away, leaving him a considerable increase of fortune. The son did not wish to enlarge his personal expenditure. He had had enough before, and was now praying to be guided as to the Lord's purpose in what had taken place. Could his friends in China help him ? The bill enclosed was for immediate needs, and would they write fully, after praying over the matter, if there were ways in which they could profitably use more ?

Fifty pounds ! There it lay on the table ; and his far-off friend, knowing nothing about that last bag of rice or the many needs of the hospital, actually asked if he might send them more. No wonder Hudson Taylor was overwhelmed with thankfulness and awe. Suppose he had held back from taking charge of the hospital on account of lack of means, or lack of faith rather ? Lack of -faith-with such promises and such a God !

There was no Salvation Army in those days, but the praise-meeting held in the chapel fairly anticipated it in its songs and shouts of joy. But unlike some Army meetings it had to be a short one, for were there not the patients in the wards ? And how they listened-these men and women who had known nothing all their lives but blank, empty heathenism.

" Where is the idol that can do anything like that ? " was the question upon many lips and hearts. " Have they ever delivered us in our troubles, or answered prayer after this sort ? "

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