J. Hudson Taylor

Founder of the China Inland Mission


May 21, 1832
June 3, 1905


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James Hudson Taylor(1832-1905), missionary to China

Taylor was born in Yorkshire, England in 1832. After a brief period of teenage skepticism, he came to Christ by reading a Christian tract in his father's apothecary store. A few months after his conversion, he consecrated himself wholly to the Lord's work. He sensed the Lord was calling him to China, and he began studying medicine and lived on as little as possible, trusting God for his every provision.

In 1853, the twenty-one-year-old Taylor sailed for China as an agent of a new mission society. He arrived in Shanghai the next spring and immediately began learning Chinese. Funds from home rarely arrived, but Taylor was determined to rely upon God for his every need, and he never appealed for money to his friends in England. Repeatedly he later told others, "Depend upon it. God's work, done in God's way, will never lack for supplies." In those days, foreigners were not allowed into China's interior; they only were allowed in five Chinese ports. Hudson Taylor, however, was burdened for those Chinese millions who had never heard of Christ. Ignoring the political restrictions, he traveled along the inland canals preaching the gospel.

In 1858 he married Marie Dyer, an English orphan who was working in a school for Chinese girls in Ningpo. By 1860, foreigners were able to legally travel anywhere in China, missionaries were allowed, and the Chinese were permitted to convert to Christianity. At a time when tremendous opportunities were opening up in China, ill health forced Taylor, with his wife and small daughter, to return to England. What seemed at first to be a setback in his mission work turned out to be a step forward. While in England recovering his health, Taylor was able to complete his medical studies. He revised a Chinese New Testament and organized the China Inland Mission.

Twenty-two people accompanied Taylor back to China in 1866. The sufferings and hardships multiplied: Taylor's daughter died from water on the brain; the family was almost killed in the Yang Chow Riot of 1868; Maria, Taylor's first wife, died in childbirth; his second wife died of cancer; sickness and ill health were frequent. Yet, the China Inland Mission continued its work of reaching China's millions for Christ. By 1895 the Mission had 641 missionaries plus 462 Chinese helpers at 260 stations. Under Hudson Taylor's leadership, C.I.M. had supplied over half of the Protestant missionary force in China. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, 56 of these missionaries were martyred, and hundreds of Chinese Christians were killed. The missionary work did not slack, however, and the number of missionaries quadrupled in the coming decades.

Chinese Christians proved remarkably resilient under Communism. They did not die out but multiplied many-fold in one of the greatest expansions in church history.

Works By J. Hudson Taylor

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Works About J. Hudson Taylor

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