Today in Christian History – Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

On September 4, 1869, Hudson Taylor, known for his pioneering work as a missionary in inland China, returned home to his wife and family residing in Zhenjiang  – a man deeply depressed. He had prayed and fasted through the summer  – praying for more faith, for holiness, and for peace but had only felt conflicted and exhausted in his ministry work.

After greeting his family he retired to his study to read correspondence and discovered a letter from his friend John McCarthy, who had similarly struggled.

As he read the letter he realized that McCarthy had discovered the secret to the Christian faith which he so desired. He wrote: “To let my loving Saviour work in me His will…abiding, not striving or struggling, looking off unto Him; trusting Him for present power…resting in the love of an almighty Saviour in the joy of a complete salvation.” The final paragraph of the letter read: “Not striving to have faith, or to increase my faith but a looking at the faithful one seems all we need. A resting in the Loved One entirely, for time, for eternity. It does not appear to me as anything new, only formerly misunderstood.”

In this reading, Hudson Taylor’s spiritual struggle was resolved. He later wrote: “As I read, I saw it all. I looked to Jesus, and when I saw–oh how joy flowed.” This became known as Hudson Taylor’s spiritual secret – that it is no longer I, but Christ alive in me.

In 1865 Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission. Today it is known as Overseas Missionary Fellowship and the missionaries of the organization bring the gospel to many countries throughout Asia.

The information for this post comes from the fascinating volume The One Year Book of Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten. (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2003).

If you would like to learn more about Hudson, and his wife Maria, Taylor:

Broomhall, A.J. Hudson Taylor and China’s Open Century. Hodder and Stoughton and the Overseas Missionary Fellowship, 1981.

Pollock, John C. Hudson Taylor and Maria: Pioneers in China. Zondervan Publishing, 1967.

Taylor, Frederick H. Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret. China Inland Mission, 1932.

Taylor, James Hudson. A Retrospect. China Inland Mission, n.d.

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