HUDSON TAYLOR IN EARLY YEARS THE GROWTH OF A SOUL BY HOWARD TAYLOR (E-BOOK)
I feel it a great privilege to respond to the invitation to write a brief introduction to this, the first volume of the life of the Founder of the China Inland Mission. In doing so I venture, first, to draw attention to the latter part of its title: " The Growth of a Soul." It will be found that this volume brings before the reader an account of the influences which, in various ways and in different degrees, contributed to the formation of the personal character of Mr. Hudson Taylor. At first sight it might appear to some that to devote not less than half of the biography of one who did a great public work, to a description of his preparation for that work, evidences some lack of the sense of due proportion. The authors were fully alive to this aspect of the subject; but as they studied and pondered over the materials at their disposal, it was impressed upon them, with growing force, that the experience and the career Mr. Taylor furnished a notable illustration of the truth that when God raises up a man for special service He first works in that man the principles which later on are, through his labours and influence, to be the means of widespread rising to the Church and to the world. Hence, this book has been written not so much as a literary production, likely to be read with an interest such is excited by the biography of a man of distinction in any walk of life, but with the earnest hope that it may of practical service, in illustrating and emphasising the fact that, for the purposes of Christian work, personal character formed on truly Christian lines is the most important factor; further, that the formation of such a character largely depends upon the choices made by the individual concerned in the opening years of life. The important part which the influences of heredity and early environment had in moulding the personality of Mr. Taylor is ably brought out in this work. The narrative makes it quite clear, however, that these influences in themselves would have been inadequate without a moral response on his part to the claims of truth and duty as they presented themselves to him in his youth.
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