From J. Hudson Taylor's Journals
It seems to me that without my knowledge, I tend to act and speak like my relatives. My great grandfather, James Taylor, for one, knew how to get the attention of anyone standing around him.
He became the popular one in his school, at dances, and at parties in Barnsley England. I suppose if they had prom kings, he would have been chosen. Of course, he fell in love with the most popular girl at school, Betty Johnson.
Between the two of them, they were invited to every party. Great grandfather knew all the dances and told jokes that made everyone laugh.
During the daytime, great grandfather trained as a stone mason. He even did that well. It didn't take long before people came directly to him to do their mason work.
On Sundays, great grandfather attended the Staincross Ridge Anglican Church. Like any other fine, up and coming citizen of the community he sang in the church choir to prove himself an upstanding Christian. He even came early to services to ring the bells.
The people from the Anglican Church were nothing like those who attended Charles, and John Wesley and George Whitefield's services, which were held out in some field. Why would thousands of men and women leave the Anglican Church of those days to follow the spiritual teachings of Wesley and Whitefield? Their lives changed in strange ways. They read the Bible a lot, like every day. Even great grandfather's neighbors changed.
He didn't want anything to do with the changes. His neighbors and the other followers were nothing more than religious crazy people. Men and women from the Anglican Church became angry at those who left their church and the social gatherings to spend time studying the Bible. They threw rocks, rotten eggs, and manure, and started fires to hurt followers of the Wesleys and Whitefields who had called themselves Methodists.
One day John Wesley visited great grandfather's neighbor. The man spoke loud enough to be heard across the yard and out at the barn. Great grandfather picked up the sheaves faster to ignore the man and his teachings. After all, there were more important events, like his own wedding that would take place later that day.
He hurried to finish stacking wheat sheaves before getting ready for the big event. As he worked, though, his thoughts ran to something quite different.
Maybe words he'd overheard Wesley speak spilled into his memory. He didn't know but he couldn't push them away. The verse: As for me and my house we will serve the Lord Joshua 24:15 played again and again in his mind. He thought about the words. His heart and mind wouldn't let go.
Finally, he dropped to his knees and prayed. "God this is what I want for my life. I want to surrender everything I have to you including my family."
He looked at the time and gasped. "I'm late!" He rushed into the house, changed clothes, and ran to the church. Poor Betty probably thought he changed his mind about getting married.
After the wedding and reception, great grandfather took his new wife home. He told her what happened in the barn that morning and the promise he made God. "Sweet Betty, my love, I don't want to go to the dances and parties anymore. I want to serve the Lord."
Betty pushed away from his arms. "No! This can't be true. Don't tell me I've married one of those Methodists!"
Well, great grandfather had a problem, now didn't he?
I will continue my story next week.
J. Hudson Taylor
Picture courtesy of visualbiblealive.com
In the meantime, if you'd like a head start reading, here are a few well written books to check out.
J. Hudson Taylor,
An Autobiography .
J. Hudson Taylor,
A Man in Christ
by Roger Steer
It is Not Death To Die,
A New Biography of Hudson Taylor
by Jim Cromarty
Founder, China Inland Mission,
by Vance Christie
Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret
by, Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor