TWENTY-ONE years ago, on 19th February 1896, Pastor Hsi, to quote the words of his biographer, |was translated to higher service.| Those who read the fascinating and wonderful story of his life by Mrs. Howard Taylor will at once be interested in The Fulfilment of a Dream
, which is the story of the work in Hwochow, and gives the account of the carrying on of the spiritual labour of that remarkable man, and of the fulfilment of his dream. I think it is equally true that those who have not read Pastor Hsi's life will desire to do so after reading this book.
It is a commonplace observation, but none the less true, that the story commenced in the Acts of the Apostles could not be finished by Luke, because the great activity, the commencement of which he recorded, is still going forward. Every tale of missionary endeavour moving forward |toward the uttermost part of the earth| is an added chapter. It has been given to Mildred Cable and her fellow workers, to labour in the apostolic succession; and then to Mildred Cable, to write this wonderful chapter.
From my own standpoint the book is full of charm. While by no means its supreme value, the first impression made upon the mind is that of the naturalness of the story. The reader is made the friend of the writer, and listens to an artless and charming account of places and of peoples. My first reading of the book at one sitting (as all such books should be read), left me with a sense of the atmosphere of the missionary's life and surroundings. I was admitted into the actuality of everyday things, and was made familiar with the pathos and tragedy and humour of life in a land and among a people largely unknown to me.
As I have said, this is by no means the supreme value of the book. That rather consists in something that grows upon you as you read. The writer does not state it in so many words, or very seldom, and certainly is not trying to persuade you to believe it, but there it is. I refer to the tender and yet strong revelation of the power of the Divine Grace, both in its sustenance of those who are called to missionary work, and its transforming power in the case of those who, often at cost, yield themselves to its call.
In Chapters I., V., VI., VII., and VIII., the reader will trace the story of the development of the work, and a wonderful story it is. Chapters XI. and XII., containing first the story of Ai Do, and then a record of demoniacal manifestations, show the reader how these quiet and earnest workers are brought up against the big, naked, awful things of life; and also how being so confronted, they are unafraid and unconquered in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. The fact that I draw special attention to these chapters is not intended to suggest for a moment that the others are either uninteresting or unimportant. They are neither the one nor the other. For all that it is intended to be, the book is a whole, and is supremely precious, because it is manifestly a part of the larger whole of Christ's great emprise.
With confidence and joy I commend the story to all those in whose heart burns the passion for the coming of the hour when our adorable Redeemer shall |see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.| G. CAMPBELL MORGAN.