Book Review – Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

2015-02-05 22.09.10For many years I have been familiar with the name of Hudson Taylor, whilst knowing little other than that he had been a missionary to China in the late 19th Century. His name was always spoken in a way that suggested great spirituality, and an assumption that I should know all about him. In fact, the original edition of this book was written in 1932 by the missionary’s son and daughter-in-law, Howard and Geraldine Taylor for people “unfamiliar with the details of [his] life”[1]

James Hudson Taylor’s story is a remarkable one. Brought up and saved in a Godly home, he became convinced early on that God had called him to China. He immediately set about preparing himself for a hard life whilst praying and reading the Bible fervently. His journey was beset by so many obstacles that would have deterred many others. Yet Hudson Taylor persisted: through training in pharmacology and basic medicine, whilst witnessing at every opportunity.

Taylor set out for China with few resources at a time when Westerners were not always welcome. Despite suffering persecution and hardship he was always gracious. He decided early on in his preparation for missionary service that he would trust entirely in God’s provision.

In revising this classic work, Gregg Lewis has taken what he describes as a heavy read and woven a fascinating tale for modern readers. Lewis has kept from the first edition the majority of quotes from Hudson Taylor’s letters and journals. Although written in florid Victorian style, they display an intimacy with God, and a deep love for his fellow missionaries and the Chinese people.

Despite losing two wives and two children to illnesses, running out of funds, and being in danger of death, Taylor never wavered in his conviction that God would provide. Taylor’s secret was to pray and leave everything in God’s hands. And his greatest vindication came following the Boxer rebellion, when all of China was opened to Western visitors. Hudson Taylor had the privilege of entering the capital city of Hunan province, the last to receive the gospel. The next night he went to be with his Lord and Saviour, having lived to the last the promise of Scripture: delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thing heart (Psalm 37:4 KJV)

[1] Foreword to the first edition


Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Dr. And Mrs Howard Taylor

Edited and Revised by Gregg Lewis

ISBN 0-929239-20-2

©1990 by Overseas Missionary Fellowship

Published by Discovery House Publishers, affiliated with Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan

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About prophetable

My wife Elizabeth and I were commissioned as Officers (ministers) in The Salvation Army in 1997, and have served in appointments in England and Scotland. Since July 2016 I have been working in The Salvation Army's Scotland Office as combined parliamentary and ecumenical representative.
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