CHAPTER 41--HIS WAY IS PERFECT 1904-1905. AET. 72--73

AFTER that the end came quietly. A few more helpful messages and letters, showing how her heart went out to loved ones near and far ; a last gift to the Mission of a hundred pounds as " a thank-offering for mercies received and expected " ; a few days so peaceful and tender that those about her caught the reflection in those deeply shining eyes of a Presence to them unseen, and then the silent crossing of the swift, dark river.

" No pain, no pain," she said repeatedly, though for some hours the difficulty in breathing was distressing. Toward morning, seeing Mr. Taylor's anguish:

" Ask Him to take me quickly," she whispered.

Never had he had a harder prayer to pray ; but for her sake he cried to God to free the waiting spirit. Five minutes later the breathing became quiet-and in a little while all was peace.

Before the world, 0 soul, I longed for thee, And still I long, and thou dost long for Me ; And when two longings meet, for ever stilled, The cup of love is filled.

But for him the desolation was unutterable. On the wall of the little sitting-room hung a text, the last purchase they had made together, and many a time during the days that followed did he look up through his tears to the-words in blue, shining out from their white background

" Celui qui a fait les promesses est fidele." 1-{1- To a friend called to pass through similar sorrow Mr. Taylor wrote on August 6, one week after his own bereavement : " You may have noticed the French version of Heb. 10:23, ' Celui qui a fait les promessesest fidele ' (' Faithful is He who made the promises '). All we have to do is to look out with patience to see how He will prove it true."}

" MY grace is sufficient," had been almost her last words to him, and then-" He will not fail." Upon this certainty he rested now in the desolation he had so little strength to endure, remembering her constant joy in the will of God, and that, as he recalled again and again, "she never thought anything could be better."

Cheered by the companionship of his niece, Miss Mary Broomhall, Mr. Taylor remained on in the Pension that had become a second home. Week by week he gathered strength for the walk down to Blonay Castle and the village and church of La Chiesaz, where his loved one lay sleeping. It was a lovely spot-the grey old tower of the church, draped in crimson creepers, seen through the branches of a spreading cedar, with all the background of lake and mountains. There Mr. Taylor spent many an hour, planting seeds and flowers, or quietly resting before he turned to climb the hill again.

He was not without congenial society at Chevalleyres that winter, some old friends from Toronto making a stay of several months and entering into all his interests with kindness that could not be exceeded. A decided improvement in health encouraged him to hope that with the spring he might even think of returning to China ; and the desire gaining ground, the writers were set free to accompany their father by way of America.

On Mr. Taylor's seventh visit to the United States we must not dwell, save to say how great was his interest in the new centre of the Mission in Philadelphia. In the pleasant suburb of Germantown almost a fortnight was spent as the guests of Miss C. L. Huston, close to the Missionhouse which her generosity and that of Mr. H. C. Coleman, a member of the American Council, had provided. Very refreshing was the intercourse with these beloved friends, as well as with the larger circle who welcomed the coming of Mr. and Mrs. Frost into their midst, and found the Mission-house to be a centre of blessing. There in the Saturday prayer-meeting, and in the church of the Rev. D. M. Steams near by, Mr. Taylor was able to give brief addresses.

" Every remembrance of your dear father stirs my heart," wrote Dr. Steams a few months later, " and awakens new gratitude to God for that Sunday morning when you and he sat in the little church at Germantown, knelt together at the chancel-rail to commemorate our Lord's death, and afterwards stood by me (your dear father standing between us) while he gave my people an after-Communion message-reminding us that, in love, the Lord Jesus Christ had died for us, and that His love can never die. In all my twenty-five years' ministry I never saw any one so moved at the thought of the love of God, and in receiving the emblems of our Lord's body and blood, as your dear father was that morning.... I have wondered whether he commemorated our Lord's death again, after that, in the little while that remained before his Home-going ? "

How short the interval was to be, and how full of precious experiences, no one anticipated. . Only six weeks lay before him in China, but frail though he was for the long journeys undertaken, there was no sign that the end was near, and least of all did he himself expect it.

Landing at Shanghai on the 17th of April (1905), he was welcomed by a representative company at the Missionhouse, for the Spring Council Meetings were in session. Mr. Hoste and Mr. Stevenson were there, together with some who had come through the worst of the Boxer outbreak, and from the Che-kiang stations Mr. Meadows had come up, whose association with Mr. Taylor went back to the old days of the Ningpo Mission. The love and veneration for their leader of these long-tried friends was beautiful to see, as were also the tokens of welcome from far and near-the flowers that filled his rooms, the comforts forethought had provided, and the letters of love and sympathy that flowed in.

Easter was spent' with Miss Murray at Yang-chow, home of so many memories I There and at Chin-kiang: the old headquarters of the Mission, early prayers and longings could not but come to mind-now abundantly fulfilled. How weak the human instrumentality had been all through ! " A work of God,',' that alone explained it ; and a remark Mr. Taylor made before leaving the training home was long remembered. " We cannot do much, but we can do a little, and God can do a great deal."

From the new Mission-house near the hills at Chin-kiang it was an easy walk to the cemetery overlooking the river, where in the long-ago years that seemed somehow not far away he had laid his heart's best treasures. There the names of four of his children were engraved beside their mother's ; and the memories were sweet rather than sorrowful, for the partings were long since past and reunion must be at hand. To a group of young workers just setting out for inland stations he spoke a few words of loving counsel.

It is a great privilege to meet many of you here. I have met many here in days gone by. My dear wife died by me here....In spirit our loved ones may be nearer to us than we think ; and HE is near, nearer than we think. The Lord Jesus will never leave nor forsake us. Count on Him : enjoy Him : abide in Him. Do, dear friends, be true to Him and to His Word. He will never disappoint you.

" You may be tired often and lonely often," he said to one in parting, " but the Lord knows just how much each cup costs. Look to Him ; He will never disappoint you."

Steamer to Hankow was an easy stage that brought him once again to that busy centre of the Mission at which there was so much coming and going for the far interior. Here the welcome was just as warm as at Shanghai, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Jones lavishing love and care on the dear traveller, and old friends of other Societies gathering round him with every token of affection. It was touching to see the meeting, of the veteran Dr. Griffith John, still in the ripeness of his strength, with one whose course had run parallel with his own for nearly fifty years in China. He seemed to remember Mr. Taylor's love of music, and sang hymn after hymn with him in his own home, with all the old Welsh fire. Dr. W. A. P. Martin, too, came over from Wu-chang to join the circle, a friend of very early Ningpo days, the missionary life of the three together amounting to no less than a hundred and fifty-six years.1-{1 Dr. Martin, who reached China in 1850, was seventy-eight years of age ; Mr. Hudson Taylor, who arrived in 1854, was seventy-three ; and Dr. Griffith John, who arrived in 1855, was a year older. They were photographed together at Hankow on the 29th of April 1905.}

The journey to Hankow having been accomplished in safety, Mr. Taylor felt encouraged to go 'a little farther and make trial of the new railway running northward to Peking. If he could only reach one or two of the stations in Ho-nan, it would be so good to be right in the interior again ! Thus with no definite plan, but looking to be guided day by day, he set out, every arrangement being made with the utmost helpfulness by those in charge of the BusinessDepartment.2-{2-With reference to the Business Department, Mr. W. E. Geil, author of A Yankee on the Yangtze, wrote to Mr. Stevenson after his journey across China : " I am emphatically endorsing (in my book) the management of the missionary merchandise by the C.I.M. Never have I seen the people's money made to go so far as under your wise administration. As to my own accounts, without exception they were promptly, politely, properly attended to. In an age of commerce and high-pressure commercial enterprises worked by vast combinations, it is good to find equally wise methods applied to the gifts of the Church in this economical and wise distribution.... I have been impressed too when among the C.I.M. workers by a spiritual atmosphere saturated with two good things, kindness and common sense.... Your missionaries receive very small pay, but never once have I heard complaint, and never has-salary been mentioned but the ready reply has come, ' It is sufficient.' God bless the self-sacrificing missionaries in Inland China."}

" It was so interesting at all the wayside stations to notice the pleasure the sight of dear Father called forth," wrote one of his companions. " Whenever he appeared at the window or on the platform, young and old seemed drawn to him, and looks of kindliness and interest made even the dullest faces attractive. Every one seemed anxious to show him attention. The Belgian officials kindly arranged for us to sleep on the train at night, to save him the trouble of going to an inn, and all along the way he was the centre of smiling interest.

" Once before on just such a May morning we had left Hankow on the same journey, but then it was by barrow, and many a weary day lay between us and our destination. Now, two weeks of strenuous travelling was replaced by a run of twenty-four hours. It was a wonderful change, and as we glided swiftly over the iron road we felt as if there must be a rude awakening. But no, it went on and on, fresh surprises meeting us at every point, until only six hours after leaving Hankow we steamed through the long tunnel under the mountains between Hu-peh and Ho-nan, and found ourselves once again in that familiar province."

A delightful visit at Yen-cheng, a station to which the railway brought them, gave- Mr. Taylor the . opportunity of seeing something of the work of Australian members of the Mission. In Mr. and Mrs. Lack he found missionaries after his own heart, and so also in Mr. and Mrs. Joyce in the neighbouring station to which he ventured on, though it involved an overland journey. A night, indeed, had to be spent in an inn, which was an outstanding experience for its strangeness and yet familiarity just an ordinary wayside inn Iike so many hundreds Mr. Taylor had known in earlier days.

" We made dear Father as comfortable as we could," continued the story written at the time, " and though he was very weary he seemed to enjoy the Chinese supper and arrangements, and was full of interest in the people who thronged about us listening to the Gospel. After he had gone to rest a touching little incident- happened, which we did not hear of until morning.

" It was between ten and eleven at night, and we were all soundly sleeping, when Mr. Joyce, who had come to meet us, was awakened by some one calling him outside the window. It proved to be one of his own church members, who had heard in his village not far away of our being in the inn that night, and had come over after his long day's work to pay his respects to the Venerable Chief Pastor. Mr. Joyce explained that Mr. Taylor was now sleeping ; that the journey had tired him very much, and that it would hardly do to awaken him.

" ` Never mind, never mind,' said the visitor, though much disappointed. And then, fumbling with something he was carrying, he pushed a little bundle through the paper window.

" ' Why, what is this ? ' asked Mr. Joyce. " ` Oh, nothing ! It is only my poor little intention. It is my duty to provide for the Venerable Pastor while he is near our village.'

It was two hundred cash, money the dear man had brought for our expenses at the inn. And when he had given it he slipped away, leaving us all to rest. We were so sorry in the morning not to have seen him ; but on Sunday he came in to the services and Father was able to thank him in person."

The Sunday at Hiang-cheng was full of interest ; and as heavy rains came on, an easier method of returning to the railway was suggested. Hour by hour the river rose behind the Mission-house, until with a good current boats were going down stream cheerily. On one of these, in company with Mr. and Mrs. Joyce and their children who needed change, the journey was made, and instead of parting when the railway was reached Mr. Taylor decided to go right on to a station where his daughter (Mrs. Coulthard) had been the first lady missionary. Sunday the 14th of May was spent at this important place, and there Mr. Taylor preached a sermon two miles long, which would never be forgotten. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Brock, in which Mr. Taylor's party were entertained, was at a considerable distance from Mr. Shearer's compound, where the principal services were held, and the question arose as to how Mr. Taylor was to cross the city that hot summer morning. A beautiful sedan-chair with eight bearers had been sent over from a neighbouring station, in the hope that he might be persuaded to go over on Monday to visit the ladies working there. It would have been easy to let four of the men carry him through the crowded streets to the meeting. But no, Mr. Taylor would not hear of it! Not to set such an example had he come up to Ho-nan. If he went to church at all, he would walk; and walk he did, the whole way there and back. One of his companions carried a folding chair, and when Mr: Taylor was too tired to go further he just sat down and rested.

" ` Tsa puh k'iah ko kiao lai ?' ` Why don't you bring a sedan-chair ? ' exclaimed the people who gathered in crowds about him ; which gave an opportunity for explaining that Sunday was God's day of rest, and that, it was His will that men should keep it holy. Great was the astonishment with which onlookers heard that there was, even then, a sedan-chair with bearers waiting at the Mission-house, but that the white-haired missionary would not use it, on this account. It was a theme for several little discourses by the way, and went further to impress the meaning and duty of Sabbath-keeping on the Christians than many a sermon could have done."

And so, just a step at a time, the way opened and Mr. Taylor was led on until he had visited five of the centres in Ho-nan, meeting with the missionaries from as many others. To his companions the latter part of the journey was of special interest, as the two stations to which he travelled by sedan they had had a part in opening.., Oh, that familiar road-how often they had traversed it in all weathers! Every tree and house looked just as they had seen them scores of times, until they neared the first of the two cities (Chen-chow-fu) and there something unusual arrested their attention.

Right in front of us on the main highway a crowd of men and boys were gathered near a table, and as they stood there in the sunlight, several bright gleaming objects held up in their hands puzzled us not a little. They looked like the instruments of a brass band : but surely that could hardly be ? Then in a moment it flashed upon us-they were the Christians from Chen-chow-fu who had come out to meet us. The table we now saw was spread with refreshments for dear Father on his journey. The glittering objects shining in the sun were four large golden characters held up to greet him-the motto to be fixed on a banner they were probably preparing to present when he arrived.

And so it proved. For in a few minutes they were all about us, the love and enthusiasm of their welcome defying description. The beautiful characters, Nui-ti en-ren, were their chosen greeting to dear Father-literally " Inland China's Grace-man," or " Benefactor of Inland China."

A little farther on a group of women Christians met us, and when we reached the house inside the city we found the whole courtyard covered in, with a broad platform arranged at one end, draped in red, and welcome written large on everything. When the red satin banner was hung up over the platform, and the crowd of smiling, happy, hearty friends trooped in for the afternoon meeting, filling every corner to overflowing, it was a beautiful sight, not soon to be forgotten.

Oh, the happy days spent there, how they live in our memory! Dear Father was much among the Christians, and spoke to them once or twice by interpretation. At a Christian Endeavour meeting we were all presented with silver badges, and enrolled as members of the Chen-chow branch. Father was very pleased with the way in which it was done, and wore the sign of membership on his coat right on to the end.

At Tai-kang, the last station visited, the same love and lavish kindness were displayed. Some of the Christians hired a, cart and came to Chen-chow, a whole day's journey, to meet us. On the way they passed a letter-carrier, who said that Father was not well and that he would have to turn back without visiting their city. Upon this the Tai-kang friends were greatly distressed, and stopped in the middle of the road to pray that the Lord would strengthen him and help him to undertake the journey.

" Oh, Lord, what have we done," they said, " that the Venerable Pastor should come thousands of miles from the other side of the world, and after months of travelling stop short just one day's journey from our city ? Oh, Lord, we too are his little children ! Help him to come on and visit us."

Great was their joy a few hours later, when they reached Chen-chow, to find a baptismal service in progress, and Father taking part and addressing the newly received believers, and to hear that he had already made up his mind to go on to Tai-kang next day. What a journey that was, in their escort! Kuo Lao-siang, a very Greatheart, bore us' along in triumph ; insisted on paying himself all expenses by the way, and delighted us hour after hour by the story of all the Lord had done for the Tai-kang Church since we left it seven years ago, and especially during the troubles of 1900.

Outside the city gate the Christians met us, with Mr. Ford and Mr. Bird, their missionaries. Mr. and Mrs. Joyce had arrived already, so we were a large party-old friends and fellow workers, reunited after long years. With hearts full of thankfulness we recalled early experiences, hopes, and prayers ; how the Lord brought us through the terrible riot of 1896, and how He had blessed and increased the work ever since.

Time fails to tell further of those happy days at Tai-kang ; of the long talks and meetings with the Christians, the beautiful banner they too presented to dear Father ; the return journey all the way to Yen-cheng and much besides. One meeting at-Chowkia-kow, however, must be mentioned. We found ourselves there for a Sunday, and as it happened for Sunday the 21st of May. The Christians came to know it was Father's birthday, and to our surprise prepared a beautiful scarlet satin banner to present to him, bearing the inscription, 0 man greatly beloved." He was not well enough to walk to church that day, so they all gathered at Mr. Brock's for an afternoon meeting. Numbers had come in from the country and from distant out-stations, a dozen or more of the leading men being present from all over the district. One after another they rose and made little addresses to dear Father, some of them very heart-moving. He spoke to them too for a few minutes.

It was Friday the 26th of May when the party reached Hankow once more, the thirty-ninth anniversary of the , sailing of the Lammermuir. In the train on the way down they had had precious times of prayer, joined by Miss af Sandeberg, whose relatives had been the first to show Mr. Taylor hospitality in Sweden. At Hankow Dr. Whitfield Guinness, among others, was waiting to meet them, and with thankfulness for the three and a half weeks in Ho-nan they sought renewed strength from the Lord and guidance as to the next stage of their journey.

And oh, how tender was His watchful care over every step of the way that remained ! Only eight days were left of dear Father's earthly pilgrimage, five in May and three in June-and then the " far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." If only we had known ! But He knew who was planning all.

After a quiet Sunday in Hankow, Mr. Taylor decided to go on by steamer to Chang-sha, capital of the province of Hu-nan, which he had never visited. First of the far inland provinces the Mission had attempted to enter, it had been the last in which settled residence had been obtained, and for more than thirty years Mr. Taylor had borne it specially upon his heart in prayer. Only since the troubles of 1900 had it been fully opened, and he greatly desired to see the work of Dr. Keller and others in the capital, described with graphic interest by Dr. Harlan Beach in a recent number of China's Millions. Strangely enough, when all arrangements had been made and the berths taken, unlooked - for circumstances prevented their travelling among the native passengers as Mr. Taylor wished.

It was the last, last journey dear Father was to take in China ; the days were very hot and the nights trying, and it was to be made as cool and comfortable for him as possible. Nothing would have persuaded him to travel foreign passage had the less expensive accommodation been available, but the matter was taken out of our hands. The Japanese steamer for which we were waiting ran aground in the Tong-ting lake, and a wire was received in Hankow saying it was quite uncertain as to when she would arrive. We were expected at Ch'ang-sha for Sunday, and the only thing to do was to take the China Navigation Company's steamer sailing that same evening, and even then waiting off shore. But it had to be by saloon cabin, as they`do not issue tickets to foreigners travelling Chinese passage. Thus when we went on board it was to find a beautiful new boat, the best on the upper river, the kindest of captains and officers, and the entire saloon accommodation at our disposal. We were the only foreigners on board, and under the circumstances nothing could have been more delightful.

Those two days with Captain Hunter on the s.s. Shasi could hardly have been more perfect: Dear Father was just himself, and though the weather was intensely hot he enjoyed the cool saloon, the comfortable chairs on deck, and the fresh breezes. It meant much to him to have us all with him and to see the friendship between the younger members of our party deepening, 1-{1 Miss J. of Sandeberg and Dr. Whitfield Guinness were engaged a few days later.} and his joy in the answer to the prayers of a life-time in the opening of China's last unreached province to the Gospel was very great.

As they crossed the far-reaching lake and steamed up the river, passing well-built cities, beautiful pagodas and temples, rich plains covered with ripening crops, and noble mountain ranges near and distant, they could not but think of all the toil and prayer of years gone by, of buried lives and dauntless faith, richly rewarded at last in the change that was coming over the attitude of the people. Until eight or nine years previously there had not been one Protestant missionary settled in the province. None had been able to gain a footing. No fewer than a hundred and eleven missionaries were to be found there now, connected with thirteen societies, working in seventeen central stations and aided by a strong band of Chinese helpers.

It was Thursday afternoon the first of June when we reached the capital (Chang-sha) and were welcomed by our dear friends Dr. and Mrs. Keller and Dr. Barrie. Twenty minutes in chairs brought us to the Mission-house, in which we felt quite at home already, having carefully studied Dr. Harlan Beach's ground-plan and article Of the two days that followed, how can I write ? They were so calm and peaceful, so full of interest and encouragement, so rich in love and sympathy and the tender care: surrounded our beloved one, that our hearts overflow on eves remembrance of the Lord's goodness up to the very end.

Friday was a quiet, restful day. It rained all the morning and we could not go out. After lunch, chairs were called and we visited the T'ien Sin Koh, a lofty building on the highest point of the city' wall. Father was delighted with the wonderful view of mountains, plain, and river, surrounding the city outspread at our feet. He climbed to the second story without being overtired, and afterwards went to see the site for the new hospital several acres of land in a good situation that the Governor hopes to give for the work off our medical mission.

On Saturday, Father did not come down to breakfast, but was dressed and reading when we carried up his tray. He was to speak to the Chinese friends that morning, so as soon as the daily service was concluded he went to the Chapel and said a little through interpretation. They were deeply interested in seeing him, many of them having just read the Retrospect translated by Mr. Baller into Chinese. Mr. Li the evangelist responded, expressing the love and joy with which they welcomed him to Chang-sha.

That afternoon a reception had been arranged to give all the missionaries in the city an opportunity of meeting Mr. Taylor, and before the time appointed he came down seasonably dressed in a suit of Shantung silk.

It was cool and pleasant in the little garden on to which the sitting-room opened, and tea was served on the lawn, surrounded by trees and flowers. Father went out and sat in the midst of the guests for an hour or more, evidently enjoying the quiet, happy time, and interested in the photographs that were being taken.

After all had left, Howard persuaded him to go upstairs, and as we were busy sending our things to the steamer (we were to walk down ourselves on Sunday evening after the service) Dr. Barrie remained with him for half an hour. It was a still evening, and while they were talking Father rose and crossed the room to fetch two fans. One of these he handed to Dr. Barrie, who exclaimed " Oh, why did you not let me bring them ? "

" I wanted to get you one," was the reply, in a tone which deeply touched his companion.

Speaking of the privilege of bringing everything to God in prayer, Dr. Barrie said that he was sometimes hindered by the feeling that many things were too small, really, to pray about. Father's answer was that he did not know anything about it--about such a distinction, probably. Then he, added " There is nothing small, and there is nothing great : only God is great, and we should trust Him fully."

When the evening meal was ready Mr. Taylor did not feel inclined to come down, and a little later he was preparing to go to rest when his son brought him his supper. While waiting for him to be comfortably settled, his daughter-in-law spent a few minutes alone on the little roof-platform which is such a pleasant addition to many Chang-sha houses.

Twilight had fallen then, and darkness veiled the distant mountains and river. Here and there a few glimmering lights dotted the vast expanse of grey-roofed city. All was silent under the starlit sky. Enjoying the cool and quietness I stood alone awhile, thinking of Father. But oh, how little one realised what was happening even then, or dreamed that in less than one halfhour our loved one would be with the Lord ! Was the golden gate already swinging back on its hinges ? Were the hosts of welcoming angels gathering to receive his spirit ? Had the Master Himself arisen to greet His faithful friend and servant ? What was happening, oh, what was happening, even then, over the sleeping city ?

Knowing nothing, realising nothing, I went down. Dear Father was in bed, the lamp burning on the chair beside him, and he was leaning over it with his pocket-book lying open and the home letters it contained spread out as he loved to have them. I drew the pillow up more comfortably under his head, and sat down on a low chair close beside him. As he said nothing, I began talking a little about the pictures in the Missionary Review lying open on the bed. Howard left the room to fetch something that had been forgotten for supper, and I was just in the middle of a sentence when dear Father turned his head quickly and gave a little gasp. I looked up, thinking he was going to sneeze. But another came, then another ! He gave no cry and said no word. He was not choking or distressed for breath. He did not look at me or seem conscious of anything.

I ran to the door and called 'Howard, but before he could reach the bedside it was evident that the end had come. I ran back to call Dr. Keller, who was just at the foot of the stairs. In less time than it takes to write it he was with us, but only to see dear Father draw his last breath. It was not death-but the glad, swift entry upon life immortal.

My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof ! "

And oh, the look of rest and calm that came over the dear face was wonderful ! The weight of years seemed to pass away in a few moments. The weary lines vanished. He looked like a child quietly sleeping, and the very room seemed full of unutterable peace.

Tenderly we laid him down, too surprised and thankful to realise for the moment our great loss. There was nothing more to be done. The precious service of months was ended. Mr. Li and other Chinese friends went out to make arrangements, but we could hardly bring ourselves to leave that quiet room. All the house was still, hallowed by a serenity and sweetness that hardly seemed of earth. Though he was gone, a wonderful love and tenderness seemed still to draw us to his side. Oh, the comfort of seeing him so utterly rested. Dear, dear Father, all the weariness over, all the journeyings ended-safe home, safe home at last !

One by one or in little groups the friends who were in the house and the dear native Christians gathered round his bed. All were so impressed with the calm, peaceful look that lingered on his face, and many touching things were said, showing that even in these short days the sweetness and simplicity of his life had won their hearts.

" Oh Si-mu," whispered one dear woman as she left the room, " ts'ien ts'ien wan-wan-tih t'ien-shi tsiek t'a liao ! " (thousands and myriads of angels have welcomed him)-and in a flash one almost seemed to see it.

Last of all a dear young evangelist and his wife, a bride of eighteen, came up.. They had journeyed in from an out-station on purpose to meet us all, and especially Father, whose Retrospec t they had been reading. Arriving in the afternoon while tea was going on, they did not like to ask to see him, and when the guests had left he was tired. So they put it off till morning, as we were to spend Sunday with them all. And then, suddenly, they heard of his departure to be with the Lord.

Full of sorrow, they sent in to ask if they might come and look upon his face. Of course we welcomed them, telling them all that had happened and how grieved we were that they had not seen him earlier in the day. Together they stood beside the bed in silence, until the young man said

" Do you think that I might touch his hand ? "

Then he bent over him, took one of Father's hands in his and stroked it tenderly, while to our surprise he began to talk to him just as if he ,could hear. He seemed to forget us and everything else in a great longing just to reach the one who still seemed near, and make him feel his love and gratitude.

" Lao Muh-si, Lao Muh-si," he said so tenderly (Dear and Venerable Pastor), " we truly love you. We have come today to see you. We longed to look into your face. We too are your little children-Lao Muh-si, Lao Muh-si. You opened for us the road, the road to heaven. You loved us and prayed for us long years. We came today to look upon your face.

' You look so happy, so peaceful! You are smiling. Your face is quiet and pleased. You cannot speak to us tonight. We do not want to bring you back:' but we will follow you. We shall come to you, Lao Muh-si. You will welcome us by and by."

And all the time he held his hand, bending over him and stroking it gently, his young wife standing by.

Downstairs, meanwhile, another touching scene was taking place. Mr. Li and others who had been out to make arrangements returned, bringing a coffin and bearers and everything necessary for the last journey. They had hoped when first they learned of dear Father's Home-call that he would be buried in Hu-nan, and had rejoiced to think that in this way they might keep him among them still. But when it was explained that .we must leave at once for Chin-kiang, as his family grave was there, and he had always wished to be laid beside his loved ones should he die in China, they set aside their own desire and did all they could to forward our departure.

When everything had been brought to the house they sent word to my husband asking if they might speak with him. He went at once, and was touched by the many evidences of their thought and care. Then, gathering round him, they said that they had wished to obtain a more beautiful coffin, but had been obliged to be satisfied with the best they could find ready-made ; that he need not ask the price, for it was their gift, the gift of the church ; for if they could not be allowed to keep the Venerable Chief Pastor in Hu-nan, they must at any rate do everything for him at their own expense.

It was a great surprise, but they would take no denial. Had not the Lord brought their beloved father in the faith to Changsha, and permitted them to look upon his face ? From their midst had he not been translated ? Hu-nan Christians had been the last to hear his voice, to receive his blessing. Theirs must be the privilege of providing for his last needs.

Yes, it was beautiful and right. It meant a large sum to them, and they would feel it. But the joy of sacrifice was in their hearts, and we could not but stand aside and let them do as they would. So Hu-nan hands prepared his last resting-place, Hu-nan hearts planned all with loving care-one little company of the great multitude his life had blessed. Not in vain, ah, not in vain the faith and toil and suffering, the ceaseless prayer and soul-travail of fifty years. Inland China open everywhere to the Gospel proclaims the faithfulness of God, and these strong Hu-nan men with hearts as tender as children's, these women with tear-dimmed eyes helping in the last ministries of love, attest the gratitude of a redeemed and blood-washed company no man can number.

By the mighty river at Chin-kiang they laid him, where it rolls its waters two miles wide toward the sea. Much might be said of the love and veneration shown to his memory ; of Memorial Services in Shanghai, London, and elsewhere ; of eulogies in the public press ; of sympathetic resolutions passed by missionary and other societies, and of personal letters from high and low in many lands. From the striking tribute of a High Church Bishop in The Guardian to the tender reminiscences of fellow-workers, many were the written and spoken words that showed him to have been not only " the heart-beat felt throughout the Mission," but a vital force of life and love in every part, one might almost say, of the body of Christ. But the voices that linger longest are those he would have loved the best-the voices of Chinese children singing sweet hymns of praise as they laid their little offerings of flowers upon his restingplace.

" Thus one by one the stars that are to shine for ever in God's firmament appear in their celestial places, and the children of the Kingdom enter upon the blessedness of their Father's house not made with hands."

Chapter 40Table of ContentsChapter 42