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can Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions is established, and the youthful missionary has the pleasure of gathering around him a few kindred spirits, who, like himself, rejoice in the prospect of bearing to the heathen world the glad messages of salvation.
In the consecration of Mr. Judson and his associates to the cause of missions, we behold the triumph of elevated principle and calm devotion to truth. The occasion which witnessed their ordination bears testimony to the loftiness of their aims and the purity of their motives. It is the 6th of February, 1812. We enter the Tabernacle church in Salem ; a crowded audience is waiting, in silence, the solemn ceremonial. But why pause to describe the scene? It is already familiar to us. How often, during the lapse of thirty-six years, has the Christian mind recurred to it! We love to contemplate such exhibitions of moral greatness. Five young men, with bright talents and high attainments, closing their eyes to the flattering prospects of worldly glory-calmly turning away from the path to honor and emolument, which is opening so invitingly before them, voluntarily consecrate themselves to a life of toil, suffering and danger; bidding adieu to the friends whom they love; sundering the many domestic and social ties which bind them to the homes where they have been nurtured, they go forth to spend their lives amidst strangers and in heathen lands. They know the greatness of the sacrifice which they are making; they cannot forget the pleasures and privileges which they have so long enjoyed the means of happiness and improvement which they prize so highly. But though they may not forget them, they can cheerfully leave them all for Christ. To secure his smile no sacrifice can be too great—no price too dear.
History, with all its pageantry of honor and state, its brilliant achievements and proud triumphs, presents few scenes that can compare, in moral grandeur, with the one which we are now contemplating. Here we behold real, enduring greatness. The warrior's glory may dazzle our eyes for a moment, but it is not real, and cannot endure; his laurel wreath droops and fades and dies, when exposed to the light of truth. How different the prize which the moral hero wins ;-his triumph shall never be forgotten-bis crown shall never fade.
The ordination service is finished. Messrs. Judson, Newell, Hall, Nott and Rice are received as missionaries of the cross. In the full vigor and strength of life, they have brought their manliest energies to the service of Christ. The perils of the ocean are now before them; the diseases of a tropical climate and the horrors of heathen cruelty, stare them in the face. They calmly contemplate it all; no fear disturbs their quiet trust. Theirs is a faith which cannot doubt, when God has spoken ; theirs the Christian courage which can shrink from no danger, however appalling,—that acknowledges no fear but God's displeasure; theirs is the true spirit of missions.
On the 15th of July, 1813, Mr. and Mrs. Judson arrive in Rangoon. Seventeen months have elapsed since that ordination; but little has occurred to cheer or strengthen the missionaries. The distrust of Christians whom they have left behind, is enough to damp the ardor and chill the zeal of any but the firmest and truest. Behold Jud. son and Newell, on the morning of their departure, silently wending their lonely way to the vessel which is to bear them to heathen shores. What more disheartening to their generous natures than to be thus deserted at the very commencement of their work! They are going forth on a great commission for Christ—in an enterprise which demands the united prayers and efforts of the Christian world; for this they are sundering the strongest and dearest ties; bidding adieu to all the endearments of home and social life; yet they must make all these sacrifices, uncheered save by a few personal friends. Their undertaking is thought too visionary—too utopian for the countenance and support of wise men ; few
will risk reputation, by encouraging the enthusiasts. But where are the members of the Board under whose auspices these missionaries are now going forth; where are the officers, who should conduct them to their vessel,-cheer and encourage them in their parting trials, and giving them a hearty God-speed, should be the last to withdraw the parting hand? Listen to the language of that secretary, addressed to these two missionaries, a few hours before their departure, “Brethren, I have business that demands my attention to-day in a neighboring town; you will therefore have to excuse me from going with you to your
vessel.” What a comment this, upon the missionary spirit of 1812; what a contrast to the ardent zeal, the unfaltering confidence, and the manly courage, of these two young njen who are thus left alone to bear the taunts and scoffs of idle spectators, and alone to enjoy the glory of being fearless and devoted champions of Christian missions!
Mr. and Mrs. Judson are at length quietly settled amidst the scenes of their future labors. For a long year, guided by the hand of Providence, they have wandered in quest of their mission-field. Expelled from Calcutta, they at first repaired to the Isle of France, thence to Madras, and then to the inhospitable shores of Burmah. They are now Baptists; duty has required at their hands a sacrifice which they little anticipated. When they embarked in their great enterprise, they did it under the auspices of the American Board; but now they have been com pelled to sever their connection with that esteemed and honored body. With no human arm to support or protect, almost without sympathy or encouragement, they are left alone in their untried work. Associated, as they were at first, with companions whom they loved and respected, they fondly anticipated, in their self-denying toils, pleasure and strength from communion with kindred spirits; acting in concert with such companions, they hoped to be cheered by their sympathies, -aided and strengthened by their counsels and their friendly efforts. But not such was the plan of Providence. Duty points to a solitary path, which they must tread alone. The companions who were so pleasantly associated in those private missionary meetings at Andover, and who there consecrated themselves to one common work, are separated, -Hall, Newell and Nott remain in the service of the Board ; Rice turns back to his own country, on a mission to our Baptist churches, but Judson presses forward to find in Burmah, a field which, abandoned by the English missionaries, now lies all uncultivated. Impelled by no restless spirit of romantic adventure-fired by no wild enthusiasm, he goes at the bidding of dutyto him
“ Life is real !-Life is earnest !"
VOL. XIII.-NO, L.
He knows the nature of his mission, and is prepared for its stern trials. Burmah-its pagodas and its idols—its superstitions and its vices-its despotism and its cruel persecution, are all matters of reality and not of romance. Gladly would our missionary have chosen another part of the moral vineyard, but no choice was allowed him; the hand that controls and directs all, seemed to have hedged up every other way. Mr. Judson recognizes, in the train of events which directed him to Burmah, the guiding hand of Providence. He enters therefore with a stout heart upon a work, in which others, with apparently brighter prospects of success, had entirely failed. Here we notice one of the first qualifications of the Christian missionary-an unshaken confidence in God's providences and God's word. The simple command, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," had brought him to heathen shores; the precept, “ Believe and be baptized,” had severed his connection with the American Board, and now the guiding hand of Providence, seen only by the eye of faith, has led him to the most cheerless of missionary fields; yet he neither falters, hesitates, nor doubts. With at best but a dark and uncertain prospect of sympathy or support from any human source; with the positive certainty of toil and suffering before him, he goes calmly to work; year after year he toils on, quietly and confidently, striving to master the language, -to instruct, reclaim and save the poor, ignorant and degraded idolater. Uncheered by a single instance of conversion, he labors with the firm conviction that he is preparing the way for the grand work of evangelizing a vast empire.
Six years of toil and prayer bring the missionary to June 27, 1819. It is a glad day in the history of this important mission. A single ray of light has pierced the hitherto unbroken darkness; one Burman has at length thrown off the chains of superstition and renounced his idols. Now the Christian missionary leads the humble convert down into the baptismal waters. It is a scene to gladden every heart that is not hostile to truth and pure religion. If angels rejoice over one sinner that repenteth, who shall attempt to describe the emotions of gladness which must have animated their bosoms, as they contemplated that baptismal scene, when the first Burman con
vert, braving the ridicule, persecution and rage of his brother idolaters, coming out from the thick darkness which had so long clouded his mind and shut out the sun-light of truth, went down into that little lake, and was there baptized into the name of the Fa er and the Son and the Holy Ghost? Upon the bank stood a huge image of Gaudama; it had stood there long, and many a votary had bowed before it. It had witnessed many a scene of heathen revel and idolatrous worship—these had become familiar. But never had transpired a scene like this,-none so strange,-a Christian baptism before a heathen god.
How welcome must have been this long delayed blessing. For almost six years had the faith of the missionary been put to a severe trial; for the first four, he had toiled and suffered, hoped and prayed, without the least indication of success; not the first honest inquirer asked the way to Jesus. Year after year he planted the seed, but no harvest carne.
Men of less faith and less energy of purpose, would long ago have abandoned the enterprise in despair; but Mr. Judson, like the faithful husbandman, continues to prepare the soil and put in the seed, trusting to God for the increase; he determines to work while the spring-time lasts, never for a moment doubting that the harvest will surely come. His was indeed a stern trial of faith,—to struggle and toil and preach, uncheered by a single conversion, pained by the impatience of friends and supporters at home-insulted and persecuted by those whom he came to save; yet never, for a single moment, is his confidence shaken. Listen to the manly and decided language of his letter to Mr. Rice, then in this country laboring to awaken, in our own churches, a deeper missionary interest :-“If any ask what is the prospect of ultimate success, tell them, as much as that there is an almighty and faithful God who will perform his promises, and no more. If this does not satisfy them, beg them to let me stay and make the attempi, and let you come and give us our bread; or if they are unwilling to risk their bread on such a forlorn hope as has nothing but the word of God to sustain it, beg of them, at least, not to prevent others from giving us bread. And if we live some twenty or thirty years, they may hear from us again.” How just the rebuke upon such as