J. Hudson Taylor's Thoughts
I went home after hearing the ship worker had run away and not honored his promise to send money for his wife. I loaned her the money and now would not be repaid.
My stomach grumbled. Since there wasn't a single coin in my pocket, I chose to ignore it and worked to prepare for my classes the next day. Every few evenings I sewed sheets of paper together to take notes on for class lectures. While I sewed I prayed. Talking to God kept my mind off of food. In truth, I was very hungry.
As the needle pushed in and through the sheets, I imagined life as a missionary in China, what the country looked like, what I would say to the people. I pushed and pulled the needle through thick pages practicing Scripture verses.
At one point the needle refused to push through the sheets. I set my first finger on the top sheet and pressed through from the bottom page with my thumb. After a hearty shove the needed popped through and pricked my finger. I hardly thought about the matter and kept working.
The next morning I took my newly sewn notebook and a half loaf of bread to the hospital.
One of my classes schedule for that day was dissection. The other students and I examined the insides of bodies to learn where, what, and why God put things there. The body given to us that day had experienced a deadly fever. So deadly, the professor said the powerful germ could still attack any of us through a simple cut in our skin.
The instructor refused to allow any student in the dissection room who had a cut. He asked us several times. "Do you have a cut. If, so, stay out of that room." We checked each other to insure no one entering the room had a cut.
I knew I didn't have a cut, and no one found any on my skin. I entered the dissection room with a few other students and participated in the dissection. We saw how the fever attacked the body. A terrible disease, indeed.
After class we visited the wards to check on patients. At lunch time I suddenly became sick. Quite sick. Since I rarely became ill, I hardly knew what to do. I sat in a room by myself and drank a class of cool water. After a short time I felt better and rejoined the students. But during the afternoon lectures, my energy left. I couldn't hold my pencil, or focus on the instructor's words.
A searing pain ran through my arm and down my right side. I left the lecture and went to the dissection room to pack my tools to go home. The demonstrator turned to me. "Why are you here, now?"
I rubbed sweat from my forehead. "I don't know what's happening to me. I can't focus, I have no energy, I feel awful."
He became quite angry. "The answer is clear. While dissection you became careless and cut yourself, and you knew this body had a malignant fever."
"No, please. I took great care to not cut myself. I know I didn't."
The surgeon shook his head. "You must have a cut!" He grabbed my hands and searched every inch but didn't find one.
Then I remembered the needle poke from the night before. "Excuse me, Sir, could a needle prick from last night still be unclosed this morning?"
He lowered his head. "Most likely. I recommend you get a taxi and go home as fast as you can. Take care of any will or other papers you have, because you will be a dead man very soon."
The only thought in my mind was: how could I be a missionary in China if I died right then? None of this new disease made sense to me.
Come back next week to read what happened.
J. Hudson Taylor
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Photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com
Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor.