Totally Surrendered: The Life of Hudson Taylor

In 1832 James Hudson Taylor was born in England to a devout Methodist home. As a young teen, Taylor had grown somewhat cold to his parent’s religion, but after fervent prayer from his mother and the miraculous work of God’s providence Hudson Taylor would come to know the Lord. His conversion happened as a teenager. While reading through some of his father’s books, the young man stumbled upon the words “It is finished,” and it cut him to his heart. Regarding this moment Taylor wrote, “There was nothing in the world for me to do, save to fall upon my knees and accept this Savior and his salvation to praise him forevermore.”[1] Not many months after his conversion, Taylor began feeling an overwhelming pull towards missionary work in China. From reading Medhurst’s China, Taylor learned about the need and value of medical missions there, and so he decided to enter medical studies as a means of missionary preparation.[2]

In 1854, Taylor arrived in China as a missionary. During this time, Taylor picked up the language quickly and got as involved as he could doing evangelistic work throughout the country. After being in China 5 years, Taylor married another missionary, Maria Dyer. In July of 1860, Hudson and Maria sailed for England. He was seriously ill with hepatitis, and what seemed like a setback would soon give rise to one of the two most decisive events of his life.[3] Four the next four years while back in England, the passionate missionary could not get the country he left off his mind. On June 25th, 1865 the most significant contribution of Taylors’ would be birthed in his heart and mind. He writes regarding this moment, “Unable to bear the sight of a congregation of a thousand or more Christian people rejoicing in their own security, while millions were perishing for lack of knowledge, I wandered out on the sands lone…and I surrendered myself to God for this service.[4] The China Inland Mission was birthed here. The following year Taylor, his family, and sixteen other missionaries set sail back to China. Throughout this missionary endeavor, Taylor would suffer much loss. He would lose two children and his beloved wife to Cholera, but he pressed into his Lord and stayed faithful to the mission God had laid on his heart so many years earlier.

Hudson Taylor died in China at the age of 73. By 1932 there was 1,285 international missionaries working for the Christian Inland Mission, and the missionary society had received over $20 million in income without ever asking for a penny.[5] The legacy of missions and the work done by Taylor will never be able to be fully measured this side of heaven, nevertheless the work done by the CIM and now the OMF (Overseas Missionary Fellowship) has seen incredible numbers. According to one statistic, it can be estimated that there are currently around 230,000,000 Chinese Christians.[6] Taylor shows us all today, that God can use anyone who will totally surrender their lives to Christ to reach a dying world.




[1] Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, 2nd ed, (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 18.

[2] J. Hudson Taylor, “The Call to Service,” in Perspectives of the World Christian Movement, 4th ed, (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 320.

[3] M. G. Guinness, The Story of the China Inland Mission, 3rd ed, (London: Morgan & Scott; China Inland Mission, 1894), 193.

[4] J. Hudson Taylor, 322.

[5] Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor, 241.

[6] To see how this statistic is configured you can visit this website:


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