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Missions 101

Adoniram Judson’s Advice to Missionary Candidates (part 2)

Feb. 2, 2016By: Evan Burns

Continued from the previous post, these are the remaining five words of advice from Adoniram Judson for missionary candidates:

Sixthly.  Beware of the greater reaction which will take place after you have acquired the language, and become fatigued and worn out with preaching the gospel to a disobedient and gainsaying people.  You will sometimes long for a quiet retreat, where you can find a respite from the tug of toiling at native work—the incessant, intolerable friction of the missionary grindstone.  And Satan will sympathize with you in this matter; and he willScreen_Shot_2016-01-29_at_2.31.22_PM present some chapel of ease, in which to officiate in your native tongue, some government situation, some professorship or editorship, some literary or scientific pursuit, some supernumerary translation or, at least, some system of schools; anything, in a word, that will help you, without much surrender of character, to slip out of real missionary work.  Such a temptation will form the crisis of your disease.  If your spiritual constitution can sustain it, you recover; if not, you die.

Seventhly.  Beware of pride; not the pride of proud men, but the pride of humble men—that secret pride which is apt to grow out of the consciousness that we are esteemed by the great and good.  This pride sometimes eats out the vitals of religion before its existence is suspected.  In order to check its operations, it may be well to remember how we appear in the sight of God, and how we should appear in the sight of our fellow men, if all were known.[1]  Endeavor to let all be known.  Confess your faults freely, and as publicly as circumstances will require or admit.  When you have done something of which you are ashamed, and by which, perhaps, some person has been injured (and what man is exempt?), be glad not only to make reparation, but improve the opportunity for subduing your pride.

Eighthly.  Never lay up money for yourselves or your families.  Trust in God from day to day, and verily you shall be fed.

Ninthly.  Beware of that indolence which leads to a neglect of bodily exercise.  The poor health and premature death of most Europeans in the East must be eminently ascribed to the most wanton neglect of bodily exercise.  

Tenthly.  Beware of genteel living.  Maintain as little intercourse as possible with fashionable European society.  The mode of living adopted by many missionaries in the East is quite inconsistent with that familiar intercourse with the natives which is essential to a missionary.  There are many points of self-denial that I should like to touch upon; but a consciousness of my own deficiency constrains me to be silent.  I have also left untouched several topics of vital importance, it having been my aim to select such only as appear to me to have been not much noticed or enforced.  I hope you will excuse the monitorial style that I have accidentally adopted.  I assure you, I mean no harm.  In regard to your inquiries concerning studies, qualifications, etc., nothing occurs that I think would be particularly useful, except the simple remark, that I fear too much stress begins to be laid on what is termed a thorough classical education.  Praying that you may be guided in all your deliberations, and that I may yet have the pleasure of welcoming some of you to these heathen shores, I remain

Your affectionate brother,

A. Judson[2]



[1]Italics are original. 

[2] Edward Judson, The Life of Adoniram Judson (New York: Anson D. F. Randolf & Company, 1883), 578-579;  Francis Wayland, A Memoir of the Life and Labors of the Rev. Adoniram Judson, D.D. (Boston: Phillips, Samson, and Company, 1853), 2:39-41.

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