Lessons of Infinite Advantage: William Taylor's California Experiences

Overview

In this book, William Taylor tells in his own words the story of a foundational episode in his life. Following his trial ministry as a Methodist circuit rider in his home state of Virginia and his service of pastorates in the historic North Baltimore Conference, William Taylor (1821-1902) was commissioned as a missionary to California at the beginning of the Gold Rush Era. His subsequent "seven years of street preaching in San Francisco" set the stage for a half-century missionary career during which Taylor ...
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Overview

In this book, William Taylor tells in his own words the story of a foundational episode in his life. Following his trial ministry as a Methodist circuit rider in his home state of Virginia and his service of pastorates in the historic North Baltimore Conference, William Taylor (1821-1902) was commissioned as a missionary to California at the beginning of the Gold Rush Era. His subsequent "seven years of street preaching in San Francisco" set the stage for a half-century missionary career during which Taylor championed self-supporting missions to every populated continent, funded by the publication of his widely-read books. Despite his prolific writing, none of Taylor's publications reveal the personal dimensions of his struggles or the day-by-day development of his missionary perspective. This early chapter in Taylor's career emerges for the first time with the publication of his journal, privately held by family members for over a century. The substantial journal chronicles five of Taylor's seven enterprising years (1849-1856) in San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, and the surrounding area, while offering a rich, first-person account of contemporary events written in Taylor's fine, narrative style. With this journal, readers may trace the genesis of Taylor's approach to self-supporting missions, including the development of his thinking on fund raising and his skepticism toward the possibility of a Christian use of money. A scholarly introduction, footnotes, and appendixes, together with several images, set Taylor's California experiences in historical context, while clarifying and explaining the journal's rhetoric, holiness doctrine, missionary strategies, and oblique references.
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Editorial Reviews

Inc. Book News
The valuable lessons alluded to in this title are those derived from experience. Though William Taylor (1821-1902), a Methodist minister, missionary, and eventually bishop wrote extensively throughout his long career, this is his only work of deeply personal expression: the journals of his several years 'street preaching' in San Francisco between the winter of 1851 and the fall of 1856, experiences crucial to his growth but also to the history of the city. A marvelous and informing editor's introduction clarifies the special meaning of 'experience' for evangelicals of the time, it was the way through which they came to know about themselves and about God. A hard working, open-hearted man is depicted here, ministering to the lost and despondent including orphans adrift and drunken sailors, preaching in Portsmouth Square, building small churches wherever he could, some of rickety waterside construction, and attending to the sick and dying, many of whom are far from old, this being a time when death followed life from birth onward seemingly relentlessly. This is an incredible history of spiritual yearning, dedicated work, and the rugged determination that accompanied new urban settlement. Useful notes help with matters of rhetoric, religious doctrine, missionary strategies, and historical context.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810860599
  • Publisher: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/16/2010
  • Series: Pietist and Wesleyan Studies Series , #32
  • Pages: 326
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert F. Lay is professor of Christian Educational Ministries and University Archivist for Taylor University.
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Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Abbreviations xv

Chronology of William Taylor's San Francisco ministry xix

Chronology of William Taylor's Life xx

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 An Entering Wedge: February to May 1851 21

Chapter 2 San Francisco Burning: June to October 1851 47

Chapter 3 A Seaman's Bethel: October 1851 to January 1852 65

Chapter 4 A Season of Solemn Warning: February to August 1852 85

Chapter 5 Lessons of Infinite Advantage: September 1852 to June 1853 117

Chapter 6 The Revival Tide is Rising: August 1853 to May 1854 133

Chapter 7 Watchman, What of the Night? May 1854 to December 1855 157

Chapter 8 The Wreck of Confidence Among Brethren: January to March 1856 179

Chapter 9 William Taylor's Claims Upon the City of San Francisco: March to September 1856 201

Epilogue 219

Appendix A Transcriptions of Select Primary Sources 223

Appendix B Isabel Anne Kimberlin Taylor's Travel Diary, 1866-1867 239

Bibliography 273

References to Preaching in William Taylor's Journal 279

Preaching on Select Sundays as Reported by William Taylor's Journal 283

Name Index 286

Subject Index 291

About the Author 297

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