Birthdays on May 21
Robert Murray McCheyne was born at Edinburgh. A Scottish clergyman who had only few years to minister because of ill health. Converted at age 18, he became the minister at St. Peter's Church, Dundee, in 1836, at age 23. His ministry was characterized by self-discipline, fervent prayer, Bible study, assiduous preparation for the pulpit, a sense of urgency that time was short, and a deep concern for souls. He wrote letters, tracts, poems, and used his musical gifts effectively. His sermons on Christ are unsurpassed. He was called upon to preach all over Scotland and was sent late in his life to study the Jewish situation in Palestine. He died at age 29 of typhus fever, and the last words he spoke were 1st Corinthians 15.58. In his church of 4,000 members, it was not unusual to see 800 at the midweek prayer service. (Midweek prayer meetings were frowned upon by the denominational leaders in those days.) Of several hymns which he wrote, we sometimes hear "When This Passing World is Done."
James Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, was born at Barnsley, England. Converted at 17, he immediately set his eyes on missions. His father, a godly pharmacist, helped him get started, but Husdon felt that his calling was to be a medical missionary. To that end he devoted himself to the study of medicine. At age 21 he arrived in Shanghai, and by age 24 he began running a hospital. In 1865 he founded the China Inland Mission. When he died, there were 750 missionaries on the many interior mission stations. His life was filled with constant heartache and trouble, both within the mission, the home churches in England, but especially from persecution in China. In 1900, during the Boxer Uprising, 56 of his missionaries were killed.