By Mary Vee
Year: February 1872
Hudson Taylor: age 40
From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes
While I continue to work on unraveling these issues, I will tell you about Ning, a scholarly gentleman who was a Confucianist.
John Stevenson, one of our missionaries who stayed in China, devoted himself to prayer and the Lord's work. He prayed mostly for God to open the eyes of the Chinese people to see His love.
One day, in Sheng Xian, John met Ning, quite by accident.
Ning avoided the church services and anything to do with the Christian religion, but he had a curiosity about the Western sciences. He studied the books and had many questions. He decided to go to the missionary house to see if someone there might answer his questions.
John welcomed Ning into the mission home and agreed to listen to his questions. Fortunately, John understood the topic and answered everything Ning asked.
Before the conversation ended, John asked Ning, "Do you have the books of the Christian religion in your library?"
Ning answered, "Yes, but I don't think they are as interesting as the books on science."
John continued the conversation, trying to help Ning understand the existence of God and the purpose of prayer. Nothing he said, though, made sense to Ning.
John looked around the room and thought for a moment. God sparked an idea in his mind. The intellectual answers were not helping. John needed a simpler example, one that would fit Ning's cultural understandings.
John said, "Water and fire are very different elements. They can never mix. Water puts out fire and fire makes water evaporate. Yet look here at the kettle my servant has brought. The water has been raised to a boil by the fire, ready to make you a cup of tea.
"You say God does not exist, and even if He did, He would not listen to our prayers." John handed Ning a New Testament. "If you go home tonight and earnestly ask the God who lives in Heaven to give you the Holy Spirit to help you understand the words in this New Testament, this book will become a new book for you and will soon mean more to you than any other book in the world. Go ahead. Test my words. Whether you pray for yourself or not I will pray for you."
Next week, we'll see if Ning chose to read the New Testament and what happened if he did.
J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
So Very Blessed by God
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.and Mrs. Howard Taylor.