(English Missionary to China, India and Africa)
Charles Studd now had only one desire – to win souls for Christ. Together with his elder brother Kynaston, he joined the Moody evangelistic team and spoke at their subsidiary meetings. By the time the Moody gospel campaign ended in June 1884, Charles had lost all interest in cricket as he sought God’s will for his life.
o Call to China
In November that same year, Charles accepted an invitation from his good friend, Stanley Smith, to attend a meeting where John McCarthy, a returning missionary from China, would be speaking. “When McCarthy spoke of the thousands of (Chinese) souls perishing every day and night without Christ, Charles was convinced that God was calling him to China” (http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/bcambridge7.html).
But his decision, though a happy one, “fell on him like a lead weight”. Charles’ first thought was for his beloved mother who would be devastated by the news. When he shared his call with Kynaston, the latter discouraged him with “icy arguments”. Despite his brother’s pleas, Charles told his mother, who, as he expected was “distraught and heartbroken”.
Unable to accept that a dear one should go to the mission field, “the whole family was in a turmoil, crying, pleading and arguing. Even friends and relatives were called to reason with Charlie” – that it was folly and a waste of one’s life to enter the mission field. The conflict was intense, but the Lord ministered to him from Matthew 10: 37: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.” Having received God’s assurance, Charles resolved to obey His call.
o Ministry in England
The next day, Charles set off for an interview with Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM) who was back in London. Hudson Taylor gladly accepted him as one of his missionaries. His close friend in university, Stanley Smith, had already answered God’s call to serve in China.
Before leaving for China, Charles’ days were fully occupied with meetings in which he testified of his conversion and call to China. He travelled to Oxford with Stanley Smith and Dixon Hoste, an old college friend. News of Charles’ sudden decision to go to China caused a stir on the Oxford campus as the students gathered to hear him.
After Oxford, Charles and Stanley went on to Cambridge where a week’s meetings had been planned and “where the fires of enthusiasm had already been lit by Stanley Smith’s previous visit”. Hudson Taylor joined them. The testimonies of the two young men – especially that of Charles who had given up his cricketing fame for mission work in China – had a profound impact on the students. After Hudson Taylor’s message, forty-five young men went forward to offer themselves for the mission field.
o The Cambridge Seven
By God’s amazing providence, within the next few weeks, five more young men – mostly Cambridge graduates – also joined the CIM as missionaries. They became known as the “Cambridge Seven” and comprised Montague Beauchamp, William Cassels, Cecil Polhill-Turner, Arthur Polhill-Turner, Stanley Smith, Dixon Hoste and Charles Studd.
As they prepared for the mission field, the Cambridge Seven spoke at meetings in major university towns across England and Scotland. The response was overwhelming – every meeting hall was filled with students eager to hear the testimonies of these brilliant young men who had forsaken all to obey the Gospel call. Thousands were converted and “a great wave of missionary zeal swept through the students of Edinburgh, London, Oxford and Cambridge which was to have profound effects throughout the world in later years” (http://www.eaec.org/faithhallfame/ctstudd.htm). Many students also surrendered to God’s call to serve Him in foreign mission fields.
On 5th February 1885, the Cambridge Seven set sail for Shanghai, China. They arrived in China on 18th March, 1885. (… to be continued)
(Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations are from the book, C T Studd and Priscilla by Eileen Vincent).