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Phila delphia > "Timely Supplies" From the Autobiography of J. Hudson Taylor, "To China... with Love".

Timely Supplies
From the Autobiography of J. Hudson Taylor, "To China... with Love"

Hudson Taylor

James Hudson Taylor

A Voice from the Philadelphian Church Age

  Wisdom is Justified

by J. Hudson Taylor, M.R.C.S.

"A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth"
(Luke 12:15).

Not infrequently our God brings His people into difficulties on purpose that they may come to know Him as they could not otherwise do. Then He reveals Himself as "a very present help in trouble," and makes the heart glad indeed at each fresh revelation of a Father's faithfulness. We who only see so small a part of the sweet issues of trial often feel that we would not for anything have missed them; how much more shall we bless and magnify His name when all the hidden things are brought to light!

In the autumn of 1857, just one year after I came to settle in Ningpo, a little incident occurred that did much to strengthen our faith in the lovingkindness and ever-watchful care of God.

A brother in the Lord, the Rev. John Quarterman, of the American Presbyterian Mission North, was taken with virulent smallpox, and it was my mournful privilege to nurse him through his suffering illness to its fatal close. When all was over, it became necessary to lay aside the garments worn while nursing, for fear of conveying the infection to others. Not having sufficient money in hand to purchase what was needful in order to make this change, prayer was the only resource. The Lord answered it by the unexpected arrival of a long-lost box of clothing from Swatow, that had remained in the care of the Rev. William Burns when I left him for Shanghai, in the early summer of the previous year. The arrival of the things just at this juncture was as appropriate as it was remarkable, and brought a sweet sense of the Father's own providing.

About two months later the following was penned:

November 18, 1857

Many seem to think that I am very poor. This certainly is true enough in one sense, but I thank God it is "as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things." And my God shall supply all my need; to Him be all the glory. I would not, if I could, be otherwise than I am- entirely dependent myself upon the Lord, and used as a channel of help to others.

On Saturday, November 4, our regular home mail arrived. That morning we supplied, as usual, a breakfast to the destitute poor, who came to the number of seventy. Sometimes they do not reach forty, at other times exceeding eighty. They come to us everyday, Lord's Day excepted, for then we cannot manage to attend to them and get through all our other duties too. Well, on that Saturday morning we paid all expenses, and provided ourselves for the morrow, after which we had not a single dollar left between us. How the Lord was going to provide for Monday we knew not; but over our mantelpiece hung two scrolls in the Chinese character- Ebenezer, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us"; and Jehovah-Jireh, "The Lord will provide"- and He kept us from doubting for a moment. That very day the mail came in, a week sooner than was expected, and Mr. Jones received a bill [a check] for $214. We thanked God and took courage. The bill was taken to a merchant and although there is usually a delay of several days in getting the change, this time he said, "Send down on Monday." We sent, and though he had not been able to buy all the dollars, he let us have seventy on account; so all was well. Oh, it is sweet to live thus directly dependent upon the Lord, who never fails us!

On Monday the poor had their breakfast as usual, for we had not told them not to come, being assured that it was the Lord's work, and that the Lord would provide. We could not help our eyes filling with tears of gratitude when we saw not only our own needs supplied, but the widow and the orphan, the blind and the lame, the friendless and the destitute, together provided for by the bounty of Him who feeds the ravens. "O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together... Taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing"- and if not good, why want it?

But even $200 cannot last forever, and by New Year's Day supplies were again getting low. At last, on January 6, 1858, only one solitary cash remained- the twentieth part of a penny- in the joint possession of Mr. Jones and myself; but though tried we looked to God once again to manifest His gracious care. Enough provision was found in the house to supply a meager breakfast; after which, having neither food for the rest of the day, nor money to buy any, we could only betake ourselves to Him who was able to supply all our need with the petition, "Give us this day our daily bread."

After prayer and deliberation we thought that perhaps we ought to dispose of something we possessed in order to meet our immediate requirements. But on looking round we saw nothing that we could well spare, and little that the Chinese would purchase for ready money. Credit to any extent we might have had, could we conscientiously have availed ourselves of it, but this we felt to be unscriptural in itself, as well as inconsistent with the position we were in. We had, indeed, one article- an iron stove- which we knew the Chinese would readily purchase; but we much regretted the necessity of parting with it. At length, however, we set out to the founder's, and after a walk of some distance came to the river, which we had intended to cross by a floating bridge of boats; but here the Lord shut up our path. The bridge had been carried away during the preceding night, and the river was only passable by means of a ferry, the fare for which was two cash each person. As we only possessed one cash, our course clearly was to return and await God's own interposition on our behalf.

Upon reaching home, we found that Mrs. Jones had gone with the children to dine at a friend's house, in accordance with an invitation accepted some days previously. Mr. Jones, though himself included in the invitation, refused now to go and leave me to fast alone. So we set to work and carefully searched the cupboards; and though there was nothing to eat, we found a small packet of cocoa, which, with a little hot water, somewhat revived us. After this we again cried to the Lord in our trouble, and the Lord heard and saved us out of all our distresses. While we were still upon our knees a letter arrived from England containing a remittance.

This timely supply not only met the immediate and urgent need of the day; for in the assured confidence that God, whose we were and whom we served, would not put to shame those whose whole and only trust was in Himself, my marriage had been previously arranged to take place just fourteen days after this date. And this expectation was not disappointed; for "the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed." And although during subsequent years our faith was often exercised, and sometimes severely, He ever proved faithful to His promise, and never suffered us to lack any good thing.

"And if not good, why want it?"


Dr. Hudson Taylor
Founder of China Inland Mission

For additional reading related to this topic, please see:
Topical Links On Prayer

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Provision in the LORD ---New Window
in our "Promises" section
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you"
(Matthew 6:25).

GOD Glorified in Man's Dependence ---New Window
by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
"That the creature should have so absolute and universal a dependence on God, provision is made that God should have our whole souls, and should be the object of our undivided respect. If we had our dependence partly on God, and partly on something else, man's respect would be divided to those different things on which he had dependence. Thus it would be if we depended on God only for a part of our good, and on ourselves, or some other being, for another part: or if we had our good only from God, and through another that was not God, and in something else distinct from both, our hearts would be divided between the good itself, and him from whom, and him through whom, we received it. But now there is no occasion for this, God being not only he from or of whom we have all good, but also through whom, and is that good itself, that we have from him and through him. So that whatsoever there is to attract our respect, the tendency is still directly towards God; all unites in him as the centre."

Our Substance Blessed
"Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store"
(Deuteronomy 28:5).
by C. H. Spurgeon
"Obedience brings a blessing on all the provisions which our industry earns for us. That which comes in and goes out at once, like fruit in the basket which is for immediate use, shall be blest; and that which is laid by with us for a longer season shall equally receive a blessing. Perhaps ours is a hand-basket portion. We have a little for breakfast and a scanty bite for dinner in a basket when we go out to do our work in the morning. This is well, for the blessing of God is promised to the basket. If we live from hand to mouth, getting each day's supply in the day, we are as well off as Israel; for when the LORD entertained His favored people He only gave them a day's manna at a time. What more did they need? What more do we need?

But if we have a store, how much we need the LORD to bless it! For there is the care of getting, the care of keeping, the care of managing, the care of using; and, unless the LORD bless it, these cares will eat into our hearts till our goods become our gods and our cares prove cankers.

O LORD, bless our substance. Enable us to use it for Thy glory. Help us to keep worldly things in their proper places, and never may our savings endanger the saving of our souls."

- excerpt from "Faith's Checkbook" ---New Window SEE TODAY'S ENTRY ---New Window by C. H. Spurgeon

Limitless Riches
"My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus"
(Philippians 4:19).
by C. H. Spurgeon
"Paul's God is our God and will supply all our need. Paul felt sure of this in reference to the Philippians, and we feel sure of it as to ourselves. God will do it, for it is like Him: He loves us, He delights to bless us, and it will glorify Him to do so. His pity, His power, His love, His faithfulness, all work together that we be not famished.

What a measure doth the LORD go by: 'According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.' The riches of His grace are large, but what shall we say of the riches of His glory? His 'riches of glory by Christ Jesus'-who shall form an estimate of this? According to this immeasurable measure will God fill up the immense abyss of our necessities. He makes the LORD Jesus the receptacle and the channel of His fullness, and then He imparts to us His wealth of love in its highest form. Hallelujah!

The writer knows what it is to be tried in the work of the LORD. Fidelity has been recompensed with anger, and liberal givers have stopped their subscriptions; but he whom they sought to oppress has not been one penny the poorer, nay, rather he has been the richer; for this promise has been true, 'My God shall supply all your need.' God's supplies are surer than any bank."

- excerpt from "Faith's Checkbook" ---New Window SEE TODAY'S ENTRY ---New Window by C. H. Spurgeon


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