Thursday, November 02, 2006

A. B. Taylor. V

Alexander Barrie Taylor was not one of those men who can give a date for their conversion. Unlike John Wesley or C. H. Spurgeon, for example, Taylor's awakening was long and drawn out. He could not tell when it began, but he knew that he had passed from death to life.
Like many young Christians, Taylor's religion was initially shallow. Since he was intended for a great work, he was not long without trials. His favourite sport was shooting, but he found he was unable to enjoy it. It seemed to him that it had become an idol. He was thinking too much about shooting and not enough about God. At the same time he was greatly exercised with thoughts of the reality of the Second Coming, and the fact that this world would all be burned up.
Deeply unhappy, he tried to get a post in Scotland in order to get away from his worldly friends, and he succeeded. On his way to Liverpool to take passage to Greenock on the 'City of Glasgow' steamer he heard William Gadsby preach at the Tuesday evening Bible study, where Gadsby preached on the text 'Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God'. At Liverpool he went on board expecting a safe journey.
He was wrong. That night a terrific storm broke on the ship. Even the sailors were afraid. Taylor's mind went again and again to Gadsby's text as the waves smashed over the steamer. All night the storm raged, and when daylight came the proud steamer that had sailed from Liverpool was a sorry wreck, masts and funnels carried away by the storm, drifting helplessly, without lifeboats, since the storm had carried them away as well.
The ship drifted helplessly all day, until at evening-time two other vessels were sighted, steamers that had been sent to search for the 'City of Glasgow'. The wrecked ship was towed into port. Speaking to the Captain Taylor said, "Captain, we have had a terrible night."
"I have been at sea thirty-two years," the captain replied, "and I never saw the like before; nothing but Almighty God has preserved us." He spoke in awed tones.
In Scotland Taylor learned that it is foolish to try to run away from the world so long as we are in the world. He found new companions every bit as bad as those in Lancashire, and so he decided to go back to Lancashire again. There he began to read the Bible seriously and to attend on ministries of a more decidedly Calvinistic character. But instead of getting any better Taylor only felt he became worse. He bought a new hymn-book that had been published by the Manchester minister who had been a help to him in the wreck of the 'City of Glasgow'. At lest, in 1834, a new post took A. B. Taylor to Manchester, where he of course became a member of Gadby's congregation.

And what happened there will, God willing, be our subject next time



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