From Hudson Taylor's Notes
|picture courtesy of visualbibleimages.com|
We hired a Chinese crew and their single masted, forty foot sailing ship and stowed clothes, bedding, medical instruments, medicine, food, books, and tracts in the only cabin on board.
We sailed up the Huagnpu River for one day and stopped at Sonjang, an ancient city with a rather large Buddhist temple. We made our way up the road to the temple and asked to preach to the priests living there.
We were guided to a large court where the priests sat on mats. Edkins preached to the large crowd of men with shaved heads while I gave away copies of the Bible and tracts. They were very polite and seemed to listen to Edkins message with a tremendous amount of interest.
When Edkins closed the meeting with prayer, the leaders came to us. "We appreciate your visit and invite you to stay and rest for a while in our monastery. And if you would also please visit our holy man. He could not hear your earlier message."
Edkins and I looked at each other. Who were we to turn down an opportunity given by God? "Yes, we'd like to stay and are happy to visit with the holy man."
The man lead us through corridors, down stairs, and deep into the temple. I don't think I could have found my way out without help. The priest lead us to a small room that had a tiny hole in the wall, barely enough room for a man's hand to squeeze through.
The man walked to the hole and stopped. "You can see the holy man through this small hole."
Edkins first looked inside. He stayed until his eyes adjusted to the dark then stepped back for me to look. In a few minutes my eyes focused on a small man sitting on a mat. He didn't move. The room had no windows or doors. He had no way to leave.
I realized as I looked at the poor man that he had sacrificed himself to be walled off from the world. He could only speak with people who visited him and brought the little food and drink which could fit through the hole.
The priest told us this holy man hoped to keep himself from the evils of the world and to gain complete holiness. This was how he hoped to find salvation for his soul. This is how the man lived every day. Unable to clean himself, rarely hearing, seeing or speaking with anyone.
Our hearts ached for this poor deceived man. He did not need to live this way to have salvation. Edkins spoke in a language the man understood. He explained the free gift of salvation and Jesus' sacrifice to pay the punishment for our sins. All he had to do was accept the free gift.
I won't know if the holy man listened or believed until we get to heaven. I do know we prayed for this poor deceived man who thought he had to hide from the world and live without anyone or anything to please God.
God did not created us for misery. Instead, He showed love for us by sending his Son Jesus to give us the gift of salvation. God loves you and offers you the free gift of salvation. If you want to know more, ask your parents, a pastor, or email Miss Mary who is writing this for me at firstname.lastname@example.org
J. Hudson Taylor
Do you have any questions?
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.