Hudson Taylor’s Plea
This is basically Hudson Taylor’s furlough presentation that he used to raise laborers for the China Inland Mission:
I was suddenly startled by a splash and a cry. I sprang out of the cabin, and looked around— everyone was at his post but poor Peter. The tide was rapidly running out, but a strong wind was carrying us over it. The low, shrubless shore afforded no landmark that we could notice to indicate the exact spot where he fell into the water. I instantly let down the sail and leapt overboard, trying to find him. Unsuccessful, I looked around in agonizing suspense and saw close to me a fishing-boat with a peculiar drag-net furnished with hooks, which I knew would bring him up.
“Come!” I cried, as hope sprang up in my heart, “Come, and drag over this spot directly, for a man is drowning here.”
“Veh bin”—it’s not convenient—was the cold and unfeeling reply.
“Don’t talk of convenience,” I cried in an agony, “a man is drowning!”
“We are busy fishing and cannot come,” was the reply.
“Never mind your fishing,” I cried, “I will give you more money than many a day’s fishing will bring you, if you will come at once.”
“How much money will you give us?”
“Don’t stand talking now; do come, or you will be too late. I’ll give you five dollars.”
“We won’t come for that; we’ll drag for twenty dollars.”
“I have not got so much; do come quickly, and I’ll give you all the money I have.”
“How much is that?”
“I don’t know exactly; about fourteen dollars.”
At last, they came, and in less than one minute brought up the body of poor Peter. They were most indignant and clamorous because the payment of their exorbitant demand was delayed while attempts were being made at resuscitation. But all was in vain—life was extinct.
My reader, would you not say that these men were verily guilty of this poor Chinaman’s death, in that they had the means of saving him at hand, but would not use them? Surely they were! And yet, pause ere you give your judgment against them, lest a greater than Nathan say, “Thou art the man.” Is it so hard-hearted, so wicked a thing to neglect to save the body? Of how much sorer punishment is he worthy who leaves the soul to perish, and Cain-like says, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Lord Jesus commands, commands you, my brother, and you, my sister. “Go,” says He, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Will you say to Him, “No, it is not convenient?” Will you tell Him that you are busy fishing and cannot go? That you have bought a piece of ground and cannot go? That you have purchased five yoke of oxen, or have married a wife, or are engaged in other and more interesting pursuits, and cannot go? Ere long “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in the body.” Remember, oh! Remember, pray for, labour for, the unevangelized Chinese; or you will sin against your own soul. Consider Who it is that has said, “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? and shall not He render to every man according to his works?
Taylor, Hudson. China’s Spiritual Need and Claims