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Adoniram Judson

  • American clergyman
  • Born August 9, 1788
  • Died April 12, 1850

Adoniram Judson, Jr. (August 9, 1788 – April 12, 1850) was an American Congregationalist and later Baptist missionary, who served in Burma for almost forty years. At the age of 25, Adoniram Judson became the first Protestant missionary sent from North America to preach in Burma. His mission and work with Luther Rice led to the formation of the first Baptist association in America to support missionaries. At times mistakenly referred to as the first Protestant missionary to Burma, he was in fact preceded by James Chater and Richard Mardon (who both arrived in 1807) as well as by Felix Carey.


O, my past years in Rangoon are spectres to haunt my soul; and they seem to laugh at me as they shake the chains they have riveted on me.




Of how much real happiness we cheat our souls by preferring a trifle to God! We have a general intention of living religion; but we intend to begin tomorrow or next year. The present moment we prefer giving to the world.




Consider this point. It is a main point of true wisdom. Whenever there is an execution of purpose, there must be an agent.




I never realized what a great privilege it is to be able to use the voice for Christ until I was deprived of it.




Christ commands those who believe to be baptized. Pedobaptists adopt a system which tends to preclude the baptism of believers. They baptize the involuntary infant and deprive him of the privilege of ever professing his faith in the appointed way. If this system were universally adopted, it would banish believers' baptism out of the world.




The land of Beulah lies beyond the valley of the shadow of death. Many Christians spend all their days in a continual bustle, doing good. They are too busy to find either the valley or Beulah. Virtues they have, but are full of the life and attractions of nature, and unacquainted with the paths of mortification and death.




The future is in our power. Let us, then, each morning, resolve to send the day into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night, let us reflect that one more day is irrevocably gone, indelibly marked.




My views of the missionary object are, indeed, different from what they were when I was first set on fire by Buchanan's 'Star in the East' six years ago. But it does not always happen that a closer acquaintance with an object diminishes our attachment and preference.




According to the Burman system, there is no escape. According to the Christian system, there is. Jesus Christ has died in the place of sinners, has borne their sins; and now those who believe on Him, and become His disciples, are released from the punishment they deserve. At death, they are received into Heaven and are happy forever.




Notwithstanding my present incompetency, I am beginning to translate the New Testament, being extremely anxious to get some parts of Scripture, at least, into an intelligible shape, if for no other purpose than to read, as occasion offers, to the Burmans I meet with.




I am left alone in the wide world. My own dear family I have buried: one in Rangoon, and two in Amherst. What remains for me but to hold myself in readiness to follow the dear departed to that blessed world, 'Where my best friends, my kindred dwell, where God, my Saviour, reigns.'




Ah-rah-han, the first Buddhist apostle of Burma, under the patronage of King Anan-ra-tha-men-zan, disseminated the doctrines of atheism and taught his disciples to pant after annihilation as the supreme good.




Missionaries must not calculate on the least comfort but what they find in one another and their work.




God is to me the Great Unknown. I believe in Him, but I find Him not.




It is my growing conviction that the Baptist churches in America are behind the age in missionary spirit. They now and then make a spasmodic effort to throw off a nightmare debt of some years' accumulation, and then sink back into unconscious repose.




Blessed be God, that we live in these latter times - the latter times of the reign of darkness and imposture. Great is our privilege, precious our opportunity, to cooperate with the Saviour in the blessed work of enlarging and establishing his kingdom throughout the world.




Perhaps the secret of living a holy life is to avoid every thing which will displease God and grieve the Spirit, and to be strictly attentive to the means of grace.




A person employed in direct missionary work among the natives, especially if his employ is somewhat itinerant, can easily make long and interesting journals.




We shall no more see our kind friends around us, or enjoy the conveniences of civilized life, or go to the house of God with those that keep holy day; but swarthy countenances will everywhere meet our eye, the jargon of an unknown tongue will assail our ears, and we shall witness the assembling of the heathen to celebrate the worship of idol gods.




I esteem it the crowning mercy of my life that not only the chief ends I contemplated on becoming a missionary are attained, but I am allowed to see competent, faithful, and affectionate successors actively engaged in the work.




You will readily believe me when I say that on leaving my country, I little imagined that I should ever become a Baptist. I had not indeed candidly examined the subject of baptism, but I had strong prejudices against the sect, that is everywhere spoken against.




Believe in the doctrine of perfect sanctification attainable in this life.




We should naturally expect that the baptism of infants, if enjoined at all, would have been enjoined in the law which instituted the ordinance of Christian baptism. But this law is silent on the subject of infants.




Amboyna seems to present the most favorable opening. Fifty thousand souls are there perishing without the means of life, and the situation of the island is such that a mission there established might, with the blessing of God, be extended to the neighboring islands in those seas.




Any known attempt at proselyting would be instantly amenable at a criminal tribunal and would probably be punished by the death of the proselyte and the banishment of the missionary. All efforts must be conducted in private and are therefore very limited.




We cannot sit still and see the dear Burmans, flesh and blood like ourselves and, like ourselves, possessed of immortal souls that will shine forever in heaven or burn forever in hell - we cannot see them go down to perdition without doing our very utmost to save them. And thanks be to God, our labors are not in vain.




I have considered the subject of missions nearly a year and have found my mind gradually tending to a deep conviction that it is my duty personally to engage in this service.




If we are interested in Christ by faith, notwithstanding our imperfections and sins, God will be our God through grace.




See the hand of God in all events, and thereby become reconciled to His dispensations.




Observe the seven seasons of secret prayer every day.




We had never before seen a place where European influence had not contributed to smooth and soften the rough features of uncultivated nature. The prospect of Rangoon, as we approached, was quite disheartening.




Embrace every opportunity of exercising kind feelings and doing good to others, especially to the household of faith.




A mission to Rangoon we had been accustomed to regard with feelings of horror. But it was now brought to a point. We must either venture there or be sent to Europe.




On thee, Jesus, all our hopes depend. In thee all power is vested, even power to make sinful creatures instrumental in enlightening the heathen.




For many years, the work advanced but slowly. One denomination after another embarked in the undertaking; and now, American missionaries are seen in almost every land and every clime.




I am persuaded that the chief reason why we do not enjoy religion is that we do not try to enjoy it.



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