“And this man (William Burns), the friendship of this man with all he was and had been, was the gift and blessing of God at this particular juncture to Hudson Taylor. Week after week, month after month they lived and traveled together, the exigencies of their work bringing out resources of mind and heart that otherwise might have remained hidden. Such a friendship is one of the crowning blessings of life. Money cannot buy it; influence cannot command it. It comes as love unsought, and only to the equal soul. Young and immature as he was, Hudson Taylor had the capacity to appreciate, after long years of loneliness, the preciousness of this gift. Under its influence, he grew and expanded and came to an understanding of himself and his providential position that left its impression on his later life. William Burns was better to him that a college course with all its advantages, because he lived out before him right there in China the reality of all he most needed to be and know.”

(pg. 364, The Growth of A Soul – Hudson Taylor in Early Years)