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Lessons of Infinite Advantage: William Taylor's California Experiences
     

Lessons of Infinite Advantage: William Taylor's California Experiences

by Robert F. Lay
 

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

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.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810860599
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
03/16/2010
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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