[In August of 1869, J. Hudson Taylor of the China Inland Mission (see photo) read the book Christ is All: The Gospel of the Pentateuch by Henry Law, and left it in Hang-chow. There God was illumining Taylor’s friend and coworker, John McCarthy about the reality and implications of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). The following text is from a letter that McCarthy wrote to Hudson Taylor that was instrumental in the pioneer missionary’s spiritual breakthrough.]
“I do wish I could have a talk with you now about the way of Holiness. At the time you were speaking to me about it, it was the subject of all others occupying my thoughts — not from anything I had read, not from what my brother had written even, so much as from a consciousness of failure; a constant falling short of that which I felt should be aimed at; an unrest; a perpetual striving to find some way by which I might continuously enjoy that communion, that fellowship at times so real, but more often so visionary, so far off! … Do you know, dear brother, I now think that this striving, effort, longing, hoping for better days to come, is not the true way to happiness, holiness or usefulness: better, no doubt far better, than being satisfied with our poor attainments, but not the best way after all. I have been struck with a passage from a book of yours left here, entitled Christ is All. It says:
“The Lord Jesus received is holiness begun; the Lord Jesus cherished is holiness advancing; the Lord Jesus counted upon as never absent would be holiness complete.
“This (grace of faith) is the chain which binds the soul to Christ, and makes the Saviour and the sinner one. … A channel is now formed by which Christ’s fulness plenteously flows down. The barren branch becomes a portion of the fruitful stem. … One life reigns throughout the whole.
“Believer, you mourn your shortcomings; you find the hated monster, sin, still striving for the mastery. Evil is present when you would do good. Help is laid up for you in Christ. Seek clearer interest in Him. They who most deeply feel that they have died in Christ, and paid in Him sin’s penalties, ascend to highest heights of godly life. He is most holy who has most of Christ within, and joys most fully in the finished work. It is defective faith which clogs the feet, and causes many a fall.”
“This last sentence I think I now fully endorse. To let my loving Saviour work in me His will, my sanctification is what I would live for by His grace. Abiding, not striving nor struggling; looking off unto Him; trusting Him for present power; trusting Him to subdue all inward corruption; resting in the love of an almighty Saviour, in the conscious joy of a complete salvation, a salvation ‘from all [willful] sin’ (this is His Word); willing that His will should truly be supreme — this is not new, and yet ’tis new to me. I feel as though the first dawning of a glorious day had risen upon me. I hail it with trembling, yet with trust. I seem to have got to the edge only, but of a sea which is boundless; to have sipped only, but of that which fully satisfies. Christ literally all seems to me now the power, the only power for service; the only ground for unchanging joy. May He lead us into the realisation of His unfathomable fulness.”
“August 21: How then to have our faith increased? Only by thinking of all that Jesus is, and all He is for us: His life, His death, His work, He Himself as revealed to us in the Word, to be the subject of our constant thoughts. Not a striving to have faith, or to increase our faith, but a looking off to the Faithful One seems all we need; a resting in the Loved One entirely, for time and for eternity…”
[A letter penned in the New Testament has the same heartbeat:
“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Eph. 1:15-23 NKJV).
May every believer count on this Good News as personally true! Then we can experience the presence of the indwelling Christ as sufficient for all of our ultimate needs.]
This excerpt is from Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission, by Howard Taylor (1918). Hudson Taylor’s famous testimonial letter to his sister follows this one. It is in a Grace Note here: https://gracenotebook.com/hudson-taylors-spiritual-secret/
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The book Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor (Moody Publishers), has inspired many: “A spiritual biography of the ‘father of modern missions,’poses one question: What empowered Hudson Taylor’s ministry in China? The answer is unfolded in these pages. Written by Taylor’s son and daughter-in-law, it shows us a man with fierce faith who believed that God truly would fulfill all He promises in Scripture.”