He Died a Thousand Instances — and Lived

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The story of Adoniram Judson’s losses is nearly overwhelming. Just when you believe the final 1 was the worst, and he could endure no extra, yet another comes. In reality, it would be overwhelming if we could not see it all from God’s extended historical view. The seed that died a thousand instances has provided life in Myanmar (formerly Burma) to an extraordinary movement to Christ.

“Judson’s life was a grain of wheat that fell into the soil of Myanmar and died — once again and once again.”

When Adoniram Judson entered Burma in July 1813, it was a hostile and utterly unreached spot. William Carey had told Judson in India a couple of months earlier not to go there. These days it almost certainly would have been thought of a closed nation — with anarchic despotism, fierce war with Siam, enemy raids, continuous rebellion, and no religious toleration. All the earlier missionaries had died or left.

But Judson went there with his 23-year-old wife of seventeen months. He was 24 years old, and he worked there for 38 years till his death at age 61, with 1 trip residence to New England just after 33 years. The cost he paid was immense. He was a seed that fell into the ground and died once again and once again.

An Uncommon Proposal

Judson entered Andover Seminary in Newton, Massachusetts, in October 1808, and on December two created solemn dedication of himself to God. The fire was burning for missions at Andover. On June 28, 1810, Judson and other folks presented themselves for missionary service in the East. He met Ann Hasseltine that very same day and fell in like. Just after realizing Ann for 1 month, he declared his intention to develop into a suitor and wrote to her father the following letter:

I have now to ask, regardless of whether you can consent to element with your daughter early subsequent spring, to see her no extra in this planet regardless of whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life regardless of whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India to each and every sort of want and distress to degradation, insult, persecution, and maybe a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly residence, and died for her and for you for the sake of perishing, immortal souls for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of quickly meeting your daughter in the planet of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from heathens saved, by means of her indicates, from eternal woe and despair? (To the Golden Shore, 83)


Her father, amazingly, stated she could make up her personal thoughts. Adoniram and Ann had been married on February five, 1812, and sailed for India fourteen days later with two other couples and two single guys divided amongst two ships, in case 1 went down. Just after a short time in India, Adoniram and Ann chose to take the dangers of venturing to a new field. They arrived in Rangoon, Burma, on July 13, 1813.

A Lengthy and Painful Harvest

In Burma, there started a lifelong battle in 108-degree heat with cholera, malaria, dysentery, and unknown that would take not only Ann but a second wife, seven of his thirteen youngsters, and colleague just after colleague in death.

By way of all the struggles with sickness and interruptions, Judson labored to study the language, translate the Bible, and do evangelism on the streets. Six years just after he and Ann arrived, they baptized their initial convert, Maung Nau. The sowing was extended and tough, the reaping even tougher, for years. But in 1831, nineteen years just after their arrival, there was a new spirit in the land. Judson wrote:

The spirit of inquiry . . . is spreading everywhere, by means of the entire length and breadth of the land.” [We have distributed] almost 10,000 tracts, providing to none but these who ask. I presume there have been 6000 applications at the property. Some come two or 3 months’ journey, from the borders of Siam and China — “Sir, we hear that there is an eternal hell. We are afraid of it. Do give us a writing that will inform us how to escape it.” Other folks, from the frontiers of Kathay, 100 miles north of Ava — “Sir, we have observed a writing that tells about an eternal God. Are you the man that provides away such writings? If so, pray give us 1, for we want to know the truth prior to we die.” Other folks, from the interior of the nation, exactly where the name of Jesus Christ is a small identified — “Are you Jesus Christ’s man? Give us a writing that tells us about Jesus Christ.” (To the Golden Shore, 398–99)

But there had been an massive cost to spend amongst the initial convert in 1819 and this outpouring of God’s energy in 1831.

Imprisoned and Alone

In 1823, Adoniram and Ann moved from Rangoon to Ava, the capital, about 3 hundred miles inland and additional up the Irrawaddy River. It was risky to be that close to the despotic emperor. In May possibly of the subsequent year, a British fleet arrived in Rangoon and bombarded the harbor. All Westerners had been straight away viewed as spies, and Adoniram was dragged from his residence. On June eight, 1824, he was place in prison. His feet had been fettered, and at evening a extended horizontal bamboo pole was lowered and passed amongst the fettered legs and hoisted up till only the shoulder and heads of the prisoners rested on the ground.

“His sufferings had disengaged him from hoping for also substantially in this planet.”

Ann was pregnant, but she walked the two miles day-to-day to the palace to plead that Judson was not a spy and that they really should have mercy. On November four, 1825, Judson was abruptly released. The government required him as a translator in negotiations with Britain. The extended ordeal was more than — seventeen months in prison and on the brink of death, with his wife sacrificing herself and her infant to care for him as she could. Ann’s well being was broken. Eleven months later, on October 24, 1826, she died. And six months just after that, their daughter died.

“I Uncover Him Not”

The psychological impact of these losses was devastating. Self-doubt overtook his thoughts, and he wondered if he had develop into a missionary for ambition and fame, not humility and self-denying like. He started to study Catholic mystics like Madame Guyon, Fenelon, and Thomas à Kempis who led him into solitary asceticism and several types of self-mortification. He dropped his Old Testament translation function, the like of his life, and retreated extra and extra from folks and from “anything that could conceivably help pride or market his pleasure” (To the Golden Shore, 387).

He had a grave dug beside his hut and sat beside it contemplating the stages of the body’s dissolution. He retreated for forty days alone into the tiger-infested jungle and wrote in 1 letter that he felt utter spiritual desolation. “God is to me the Good Unknown. I think in him, but I locate him not” (To the Golden Shore, 391).

His brother Elnathan died May possibly eight, 1829, at the age of 35. Paradoxically, this proved the turning point of Judson’s recovery, for the reason that he had cause to think that the brother that he had left in unbelief seventeen years earlier had died in faith. All by means of the year of 1830, Adoniram was climbing out of his darkness.

A Completed Bible and a New Wife

Central to Judson’s missionary labors from the starting, and in particular at this juncture in his life, was the translation of the Bible. In these years of spiritual recovery, devoid of a wife and youngsters, he confined himself to a smaller space constructed for the objective of getting capable to devote nearly all his power to refining the New Testament translation and pressing on with the Old Testament. At the finish of 1832, 3 thousand copies of the completed New Testament had been printed. He completed the Old Testament on January 31, 1834.

With the initial draft of the Bible in Burmese comprehensive, it appears as even though God smiled on these labors with the favor of a new wife. 3 years earlier, yet another missionary in Burma named George Boardman had died. His widow, Sarah, stayed in Burma and became a legend in her personal proper, pressing into the interior with her infant, George. In February 1834, Judson received a letter from Sarah. On April 1, he left Moulmein for Tavoy, resolved to court her. On April 10, they had been married.

These had been to be some of his happiest instances in Burma, but not devoid of discomfort, and not to final substantially extra than a decade. Just after bearing eight youngsters in eleven years, Sarah became so ill that the loved ones decided to travel to America in the hopes that the sea air would function healing. Judson had not been to America now for 33 years and was returning only for the sake of his wife. As they rounded the tip of Africa in September 1845, Sarah died. The ship dropped anchor at St. Helena Island extended sufficient to dig a grave and bury a wife and mother and then sail on.

This time, Adoniram did not descend into the depths of depression as prior to. He had his youngsters. But even extra, his sufferings had disengaged him from hoping for also substantially in this planet. He was finding out how to “hate his life” in this planet devoid of bitterness or depression (John 12:25). And now, he had 1 passion: to return and give his life for Burma.

Handful of Die So Difficult

Judson’s remain in the States did not go according to program. To everyone’s amazement, he fell in like a third time, this time with Emily Chubbuck, and married her on June two, 1846. She was 29 he was 57. She was a popular writer and left her fame and writing profession to go with Judson to Burma. They arrived in November 1846. And God gave them 4 of the happiest years that either of them had ever identified.

Adoniram and Emily had 1 youngster. Issues looked vibrant, but then the old sicknesses attacked Adoniram 1 final time. The only hope was to send the desperately ill Judson on a voyage. On April three, 1850, they carried Adoniram onto The Aristide Marie bound for the Isle of France with 1 pal, Thomas Ranney, to care for him. In his misery, he would be roused from time to time by terrible discomfort ending in vomiting. 1 of his final sentences was, “How couple of there are who . . . who die so tough!” (To the Golden Shore, 504).

“The seed that died a thousand instances has provided life in Myanmar to an extraordinary movement to Christ.”

At four:15 on Friday afternoon, April 12, 1850, Adoniram Judson died at sea, away from all his loved ones and the Burmese church. That evening the ship hove to. “The crew assembled quietly. The larboard port was opened. There had been no prayers. . . . The captain gave the order. The coffin slid by means of the port into the night” (To the Golden Shore, 505).

Ten days later, Emily gave birth to their second youngster, who died at birth. She discovered 4 months later that her husband was dead. She returned to New England that subsequent January and died of tuberculosis 3 years later at the age of 37.

The Fruit of This Dead Seed

Judson’s life was a grain of wheat that fell into the soil of Myanmar and died — once again and once again (John 12:24). The suffering was immense. And so was the fruit. At the turn from the second to the third millennium, Patrick Johnstone estimated the Myanmar (Burma’s new name) Baptist Convention to be three,700 congregations with 617,781 members and 1,900,000 affiliates — the fruit of this dead seed.

Of course, there had been other folks apart from Judson — hundreds of other folks more than time. They also came and gave away their lives. Numerous of them died substantially younger than Judson. They only serve to make the point. The astonishing fruit in Myanmar now has grown in the soil of the suffering and death of numerous missionaries, in particular Adoniram Judson.

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