Life of Mrs. Ann H. Judson, Late Missionary to Burmah;
With an Account of the American Baptist Mission to that Empire.
From her Embarkation for America, till her return.
SHE arrived in Calcutta on the 22d of September. Her disorder increased, and she endeavoured to obtain a passage for America. But no vessel could be found in which she could be accommodated on reasonable terms. By the goodness of God, she obtained a passage in a vessel bound to England, and commanded by a pious Captain. She took charge of three children, who were passengers in the vessel, the father of whom paid the whole expense of Mrs. Judson's passage.—Previous to her sailing she thus wrote to a friend:
"If the pain in my side is entirely removed, while on my passage to Europe, I shall return to India in the same ship, and proceed immediately to Rangoon. But if not, I shall go over to America, and spend one winter in my dear native country. As ardently as I long to see my beloved friends in America, I cannot prevail on myself to be any longer from Rangoon than is absolutely necessary for the preservation of my life. I have had a severe struggle relative to my immediate return to Rangoon, instead of going to England. But I did not venture to go contrary to the convictions of reason, to the opinion of an eminent and skilful physician, and the repeated injunctions of Mr. Judson."
On the voyage, she had a severe attack of her complaint, which confined her to her cabin for several days. During her confinement, two young ladies of rank and influence frequently inquired concerning her health. She occasionally desired them to read to her such selections as she thought might have a salutary effect upon their minds. To these exercises, she added much serious converse, and soon had the happiness of seeing their minds solemnly impressed. Their seriousness continued during the rest of the voyage; but what has been the issue we have had no means of ascertaining.
Having arrived in England, with health somewhat improved, she was introduced to the excellent Mr. Joseph Butterworth, of the Methodist connection, and a member of Parliament. He politely urged her to make his house her home; which invitation she accepted with the liveliest emotions. While in his family she was favoured with an introduction to many persons distinguished for literature and piety.
It was thought expedient that Mrs. Judson should visit Cheltenham, for the benefit of its mineral waters. She was recommended by Mr. Butterworth to an eminent physician of that place, and there spent several weeks.
About the same time, she received a pressing invitation from friends in Scotland, to visit them, with a kind offer to defray her expenses. Acceding to this proposal, she spent several weeks in that land of Christian hospitality. Here she received a request from the American Baptist Board, to return in the New-York packet. She proceeded to Liverpool for embarkation; but was persuaded to take passage in a much more commodious vessel, by a number of Liverpool ladies, who generously defrayed the expense of her passage.
In August, 1822, she took final leave of her British friends, who had become inexpressibly endeared to her by many valuable presents and innumerable acts of kindness. "Often has she mentioned," says a friend, "with the brightest glow of affection, the high-toned piety of English and Scottish Christians, and the prelibations of heaven which she enjoyed in their society."
Mrs. Judson arrived in New York on the 25th of September, 1822. On account of the prevalence of yellow fever in that city, she took the steam boat for Philadelphia. During her stay in that city she resided in the family of Dr. Staughton, where she was visited by numerous individuals of piety and worth, who listened with deep interest to her animated recitals of the events and progress of the Burman mission.
But perhaps the most gratifying incident of her visit in Philadelphia, was her meeting there some friends of her early life, to whom she was warmly attached, and in whose society she could unbosom herself without reserve, assured of their sympathy in every source of sorrow, or of joy. In these hours of delightful intercourse, she appeared to enjoy unalloyed pleasure; and while the various incidents of her missionary career were reviewed, there was felt, and expressed, the most grateful remembrance of that Being who had protected her through every exposure, and in all her wanderings, since she left her father's house.
While in Philadelphia she attended a concert of prayer, for the success of missions, held at the house in Sansom street. There were probably few present who did not feel, that the interest inseparable from the occasion was greatly heightened by the presence of one who had so nobly proved her devotion to the cause, for the success of which they were assembled to pray.
After a few days she hastened to meet her parents and friends in Bradford. Here, in the bosom of her native home, she had hoped so far to regain her health, as to be enabled to embark again for Burmah, early in the ensuing spring. But the excitement of feeling produced by this visit to the scenes and friends of her childhood, and the exhaustion of strength, resulting from the necessity of meeting and conversing with numerous visiters, added to the effect of the cold climate of New-England on a constitution so long accustomed to the tropical heat of Burmah, obliged her to leave Bradford, after a stay of six weeks, and spend the winter in Baltimore.
The following extracts from her letters, will disclose the state of her feelings on visiting her native land, and the effects on her health:—
" Baltimore , Dec . 19, 1822.
"I had never fully counted the cost of a visit to my dear native country and beloved relatives. I did not expect that a scene which I had anticipated as so joyous , was destined to give my health and constitution a shock which would require months to repair. During my passage from England, my health was most perfect—not the least symptom of my original disorder remained. But from the day of my arrival, the idea that I was once more on American ground banished all peace and quiet from my mind; and for the first four days and nights I never closed my eyes to sleep! This circumstance, together with dwelling on my anticipated meeting with my friends, occasioned the most alarming apprehensions. Still, however, I flattered myself, that after my first meeting with my friends was over, I should gradually recover my composure, and hastened my departure for the eastward. I reached my father's in about a fortnight after my arrival in this country—and had not been able to procure a single night's sleep. The scene which ensued brought my feelings to a crisis; nature was quite exhausted, and I began to fear would sink. To be concise, my health began to decline in a most alarming manner, and the pain in my side and cough returned. I was kept in a state of constant excitement, by daily meeting with my old friends and acquaintances; and during the whole six weeks of my residence at my father's, I had not one quiet night's rest. I felt the cold most severely, and found, as that increased, my cough increased.
"You may not perhaps be aware of the circumstance, that Mr. Judson's only brother is a physician of some considerable skill, under government, and located for the winter in this city. During my stay at Bradford, his letters were most frequent and urgent, relative to my removal to the south, for the purpose of salivating, as the most dangerous consequences would ensue, should I, with my Indian constitution, salivate at the north. I saw that my disorder was rapidly gaining ground—my nervous system had become so much affected, that the very sight of an old dear friend was quite distressing, and I really desired to get away from the sight of every human being, as it had become very painful to talk. Thus situated, there was no hope of my recovery, as my father's house was thronged with visiters from day to day. Painful as it was to think of leaving my beloved family, I felt convinced, since it was my only object in visiting this country, duty required that every thing should yield to endeavours to regain my health. I knew that retirement, and freedom from company and excitement, were as necessary as a milder climate, neither of which could be obtained in Bradford. My sister had made arrangements to accompany me; but meeting in Boston with a pious man going on to Washington, and knowing I should receive the kindest attention when once with my brother, I desired her to return to Bradford to comfort my parents.
"I have been in this city about a fortnight, and am very comfortably situated with my brother at a boarding-house, where I refuse to see company of every description, till my health is re-established. I find the climate mild and delightful—have the best medical attendance in the city, through the influence of my brother—have commenced a course of mercury, which, I trust, through the blessing of God, will perfectly restore my health—and find my nervous system so far restored to its usual state, that I am able to study four and five hours every day. This, to me, is an unspeakable comfort, as I hope my time will not be entirely lost in my endeavours to regain my health. While in England, my friends repeatedly urged my writing an account of the Burman mission, as so little information had hitherto been communicated. On my passage I made a beginning, in a "Series of Letters, addressed to Mr. Butterworth," in whose house I resided during my stay in England. While at Bradford, I was unable to proceed in this work; but since my arrival here, my freedom from interruption has enabled me to go on—and I find much pleasure in the consideration, that I shall be able to give to my friends, not only in England, but America, that information relative to the Burman Empire, which my state of health forbids my verbally communicating. My object is, to give an account of the American Baptist Mission to Burmah—its origin, progress, and success; consisting principally in a compilation of those letters and documents transmitted to friends in America, interspersed with accounts of the population, manners, and customs of the Burmans."
"Thus, my dear Mrs. Chaplin, I have been particular, and I fear tiresome, in my account of myself. But your kindness, your affectionate concern for my welfare, is all the excuse I have to offer. Your kind hint, relative to my being injured by the lavish attention of our dear friends in this country, has much endeared you to my heart. I am well aware that human applause has a tendency to elate the soul, and render it less anxious about spiritual enjoyments, particularly if the individual is conscious of deserving them. But I must say, that since my return to this country, I have often been affected to tears, in hearing the undeserved praises of my friends, feeling that I was far, very far from being what they imagined; and that there are thousands of poor, obscure Christians, whose excellences will never be known in this world, who are a thousand times more deserving of the tender regard of their fellow Christians, than I am. Yet I trust I am grateful to my heavenly Father for inclining the hearts of his children to look on me with a friendly eye. The retired life I now lead, is much more congenial to my feelings, and much more favourable to religious enjoyment, than when in England and America, where I was kept in a continual bustle of company. Yes, it is in retirement that our languishing graces are revived, our affections raised to God, and our souls refreshed and quickened by the influences of the Holy Spirit. If we would live near the threshold of heaven, and daily take a glance of our promised inheritance we must avoid not only worldly, but religious dissipation. Strange as it may seem, I do believe there is something like religious dissipation in a Christian's being so entirely engrossed in religious company, as to prevent his spiritual enjoyments."
"Brother E. is absent, engaged in his official duties, nearly all day, so that I have the disposal of my time entirely. I spend about five hours in the day in arranging letters relative to the Burman mission; and feel very happy in the consideration, that in my endeavours to regain my health, my time is not all lost—for, in this publication, Christians will have a more correct view of the little church in Rangoon, when they see from what materials it has been raised, than I could give them by conversing months. I have been here three weeks, but have not been out of the house, and scarcely out of my chamber, since my arrival. I have the best and most experienced medical attendance in the city. The physicians here say I should not have lived through the winter in New-England. They have thought it best to salivate me; and I am now under a course of mercury, and feel my mouth considerably affected. My cough has been very severe, until within two days past; and I trust, in consequence of the mercury, it is beginning to subside. The physicians say there is no doubt but I shall recover by spring; but I desire to leave it with Him, who seeth the end from the beginning, and who doeth all things well. Why am I spared? O may it be to promote the cause of Christ in Burmah, and to be successful in winning souls. May we make it our great business to grow in grace, and to enjoy closet religion. Here is the place for us to prepare for usefulness. I have received several good spiritual letters since I have been here—one from Scotland."
To her Sister.
" Jan. 5, 1823.—I have been spending part of this forenoon in prayer for myself, Mr. Judson, the Burman mission, parents and sisters, &c. and have now concluded to pass the remainder in writing to you.
"I am very comfortably situated, the weather mild, and I think my health is improving. Soon after my arrival in this city, brother called a consultation of physicians, when it was decided that my cough, which had much increased, was in consequence of my liver being affected; and that in order to have it removed, I must be salivated. It is nearly three weeks, since I commenced my old employment of taking mercury. I am now in a state of salivation, my cough is almost entirely removed, the pain in my side has subsided, and I begin to think my recovery is nearly completed. I continue however, to take mercury, and shall probably be kept in this state for three weeks to come. I have not been out of the house since I arrived, and hardly out of my chamber.
To Rev. Dr. Wayland.
" Jan. 22, 1823.—I want the Baptists throughout the United States to feel, that Burmah must be converted through their instrumentality. They must do more than they have ever yet done. They must pray more, they must give more, and make greater efforts to prevent the missionary flame from becoming extinct. Every Christian in the United States should feel as deeply impressed with the importance of making continual efforts for the salvation of the heathen, as though their conversation depended solely on himself.
To a Lady.—Feb. 17, 1823.
"I am now much better, and once more enjoy the prospect of gaining that degree of health, which will allow my return to Burmah, there to pass my remaining days, few or many, in endeavouring to guide immortal souls to that dear Redeemer, whose presence can make joyful a sick chamber, a dying bed. For the last month, I have been very ill . The disease seemed to be removed from the liver to the lungs. I have raised blood twice, which the physicians thought proceeded from the lungs, though I am inclined to think to the contrary, and believe it came only from the mouth of some vessel in the throat. I was, however, bled so frequently, and so largely, that my strength was quite reduced. At present, I am free from every unfavourable symptom, but am still weak.
To a Sister.—Baltimore, Feb. 25 th .
"Let us, my dear sister, so live, that our union to Christ, the vine, may not only be satisfactory to ourselves, but to all around us. On earth we serve God; in heaven , enjoy him—is a motto I have long wished to adopt. When in heaven we can do nothing towards saving immortal souls.
"Dr. Staughton sent me yesterday Mr. Judson's journal, lately received. God is doing wonders in Rangoon, and building up his little church there. Five more have been baptized, making eighteen in all, and several others seriously inquiring. Three females have lately been baptized, who formerly attended my Wednesday meeting. They have set up of their own accord, a female prayer meeting . Is not this encouraging? Dr. Price had received an order from the emperor to go to Ava, on account of his medical skill; and Mr. Judson was about to accompany him, in order to make another effort for toleration. You will readily imagine my anxiety to get back to Rangoon. I yet hope that my health will enable me to return this spring. O that God would incline the heart of the Emperor to favour the introduction of the Christian religion, and protect the little church formed there.
"I hope to get to Bradford by the last of March. Brother E. will probably travel with me. But I must give up all idea of visiting and talking, on account of the weakness of my lungs. I have received a great many letters this winter, which have been a great consolation in my retired situation.
To Dr. Wayland.—Washington, March 16, 1823.
"I long to be in Rangoon, and am anxiously hoping to get away this spring. Do make inquiries relative to the sailing of ships from Boston and Salem. I must not miss one good opportunity.
"It often appears to me, that I have done very little for the cause of Christ, and therefore has my health been removed. But if again I am permitted the privilege of living on heathen ground—if ever again I find myself in a situation to impart instruction to those who have never before heard of Christ, I think now I shall make a greater effort to serve God more faithfully than ever before.
To her Sister.—Washington, March 27th.
"I was much gratified in receiving a visit from David Brown, the converted Indian. What cannot religion effect? To see this savage transformed into an interesting and enlightened Christian, teaches us what can be done by the efforts of Christians. O how frequently I think, should I be permitted to return to Burmah again, that in communicating religious truth, I shall depend more on the influences of the Holy Spirit than ever before. Here, I believe, is the grand mistake of the missionaries, and the principal reason why they have no more success. They depend on their own exertions, not on the power of God. I think I do sometimes have a little sense of divine things, and at such times long more than ever to return to Rangoon. My only consolation, in view of my long, tedious voyage, is, that God is my confidence; and I have his promise to direct my steps, if I commit my ways to him."
To Dr. Wayland.—Washington, April 1, 1823.
"I have time to write a few lines only, requesting you to forward the enclosed by the ship Bengal, which I understand is to sail for India on the 15th of this month. You will, I trust, write to Mr. Judson, and give him all the information in your possession. I do hope, however, that these letters will not arrive many days before myself, for I have now nearly determined to sail in the George or Danube, if I can get a passage. I do most anxiously desire to arrive at home , for I find this unsettled kind of life, and constant exposure to company, very unfavourable to religious enjoyment and progress in the divine life; without which, our existence is of little worth.
"My health is much, very much improved. I have no cough, no pain in the side, and generally sleep well. What cause for gratitude! My only fear now is, that the same cause which occasioned a relapse on my first arrival in this country, will again operate on my return to New England. I hope to be in Boston by the first of May; and should the George or Danube sail earlier than the last of May, I shall make arrangements to be there in April."
In the month of March, as appears from the date of the foregoing letters, Mrs. Judson visited Washington city, where she remained several weeks. While there, the Baptist General Convention held a session in that city. A committee was appointed to confer with her respecting the Burman mission; and at her suggestion several important measures were adopted.
About this time, her "History of the Burman Mission" was published, the copy-right of which she presented to the Convention. This book has been very useful in this country, and in England, where an edition was published. It was, indeed, a compilation of facts, which had, for the most part, been published before; but it presented them in a brief and well digested narrative.
Mrs. Judson returned to Massachusetts early in the spring of 1823. Her health was but partially restored; and urgent solicitations were employed by her friends, to induce her to remain in this country another year. But her desire to return to Burmah was so strong, that she resisted every persuasion, and prepared to take a second, and, as she was convinced, a final farewell of her friends and her country. There was, at times, an almost prophetic foreboding in her mind, as if "coming events cast their shadows before." But she resolved to return, whatever might be the will of God respecting the mission or herself.
It was a happy circumstance that she was not to go alone. The Board of Missions had appointed Rev. Jonathan Wade, of Edinburgh, (N. Y.) and Mrs. Deborah Wade, as missionaries to Burmah; and it was resolved that they should accompany Mrs. Judson.
On Lord's day, June 21st, at Boston, they went on board the ship Edward Newton, Captain Bertody. They were accompanied by a large concourse of Christian friends to the wharf, where fervent prayer, by Rev. Dr. Baldwin, was offered to Him who "rules the boisterous deep." The parting scene was peculiarly tender and affecting to many. As the boat moved from the shore towards the ship, the company united in singing the favourite hymn,
'From whence doth this union arise?" &c.
The missionary friends manifested much composure, as they receded from the land of their nativity, probably never more to return.
After a prosperous voyage, they arrived in Calcutta, Oct. 19, and sailed in a few weeks for Rangoon. On the passage from Boston to Calcutta, after having recovered from sea sickness, Mr. Wade applied himself to the study of the Burman language, under the instructions of Mrs. Judson. The Captain allowed them to have worship on deck every Sabbath, and expressed not only a willingness, but some anxiety, that Mr. Wade should take frequent opportunities to converse with the sailors on the important concerns of their souls.
During Mrs. Judson's absence, Dr. and Mrs. Price, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Hough, had arrived at Rangoon. Mr. Judson had been principally occupied in translating the New Testament, interrupted however, by repeated attacks of sickness.—A number more were baptized, making eighteen Burmans, who had become disciples of Jesus.—The exercises of their minds, which the limits of this work do not allow us to state in detail, prove that the Spirit of God operates in the same manner on the minds of all who are brought to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, producing penitence for sin, conviction of the utter ruin of the soul, reliance on the righteousness of the Son of God for justification; a peaceful hope, and a desire to obey his commandments, and to enjoy his favour. They prove also that the Gospel is every where the power of God unto salvation; and that wherever it is preached, with fidelity and prayerfulness, God honours it as the instrument of converting men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.
Soon after the arrival of Dr. Price, information concerning his medical character was conveyed to the Emperor, who immediately ordered that he should visit the capital. Obedience was indispensable, and Mr. Judson resolved to accompany him, with the hope of making some favourable impressions on the mind of the monarch. On the 28th of August, 1823, they embarked in a boat for Ava, where they arrived September 27th.
The Emperor received Dr. Price with much favour and made particular inquiries of Mr. Judson respecting the converts of Rangoon. He did not seem to be displeased when he learned that several Burmans had embraced the Christian religion. Mr. Judson conversed with several distinguished individuals, on the subject of religion.—The following extract from his journal will be read with great interest:—
" Oct. 1.—To-day the King noticed me for the first time, though I have appeared before him nearly every day since our arrival. After making some inquiries, as usual, about brother Price, he added—
'And you, in black, what are you? a medical man too?'
'Not a medical man, but a teacher of religion, your Majesty.'
'He proceeded to make a few inquiries about my religion, and then put the alarming question, whether any had embraced it.'
'Not here.'—He persisted—
'Are there any in Rangoon?'
'There are a few.'
'Are they foreigners?'
"I trembled for the consequence of an answer, which might involve the little church in ruin; but the truth must be sacrificed, or the consequences hazarded; and I therefore replied, 'There are some Foreigners, and some Burmans.'
"He remained silent a few moments, but presently showed that he was not displeased, by asking a great variety of questions on religion, and geography, and astronomy, some of which were answered in such a satisfactory manner, as to occasion a general expression of approbation in all the court present.
" Oct. 3.—Moved into the house ordered to be erected for us by the King. A mere temporary shed, however, it proves to be, scarcely sufficient to screen us from the gaze of the people without, or from the rain above. It is situated near the present palace, and joins the enclosure of Prince M. eldest half brother of the King.
" Oct. 4.—On our return from the palace, whither we go every morning after breakfast, Prince M. sent for me. He wished to converse on science and religion. He is a fine young man of twenty-eight, but greatly disfigured by a paralytic affection of the arms and legs. Being cut off from the usual sources of amusement, and having associated a little with the Portugese priests who have lived at Ava, he has acquired a strong taste for foreign science. My communications interested him very much, and I found it difficult to get away, until brother Price sent expressly for me to go again to the palace.
" Oct. 22.—Brother Price went to Amarapora, to meet a gentleman just arrived from Rangoon, who we hope may have letters for us. At night, brother Price returned, with a large parcel of letters and magazines and newspapers from our beloved, far-distant, native land—and what was still more interesting to me, eight sheets from Mrs. Judson, on her passage towards England, the first direct intelligence I have received from her since she left Madras.
" Oct. 23.—Had some pleasant conversation with Moung Z. in the palace, partly in the hearing of the King. At length his Majesty came forward, and honoured me with some personal notice for the second time, inquired much about my country, and authorized me to invite American ships to his dominions, assuring them of protection, and offering every facility for the purpose of trade.
" Oct. 28.—Spent the forenoon with Prince M. He obtained, for the first time, (though I have explained it to him many times,) some view of the nature of the atonement, and cried out, 'Good, good.'
" Oct. 30.—Gave his wife a copy of Mrs. Judson's Burman Catechism, with which she was much pleased. They both appear to be somewhat attached to me, and say, 'do not return to Rangoon; but, when your wife arrives, call her to Ava. The King will give you a piece of ground, on which to build a kyoung,' (a house appropriated to the residence of sacred characters.)
" Nov. 1.—Visited the Tset-kyah-woongyee, at his particular request, with brother Price. He made the usual inquiries, medical and theological, and treated us with marked politeness.
"The Woongyees, of which there are four, rank next to the members of the royal family, being public ministers of state , and forming the high court of the empire.—[We annex an engraving of a Woongyee and his wife, in their robes, copied from a drawing by a native Burman.]
"After giving the Prince a succinct account of my religious experience, I ventured to warn him of his danger, and urged him to make the Christian religion his immediate personal concern. He appeared, for a moment, to feel the force of what I said: but soon replied, 'I am yet young, only twenty-eight. I am desirous of studying all the foreign arts and sciences. My mind will then be enlarged, and I shall be capable of judging whether the Christian religion be true or not.' 'But suppose your Highness changes worlds in the mean time.'—His countenance again fell. 'It is true,' said he, 'I know not when I shall die.' I suggested that it would be well to pray to God for light, which, if obtained, would enable him at once to distinguish between truth and falsehood; and so we parted.—O, Fountain of Light! shed down one ray into the mind of this amiable Prince, that he may become a patron of thine infant cause, and inherit an eternal crown."
Mr. Judson found great difficulty in obtaining a piece of ground, on which to build a house. The King gave him a lot, but the grant was soon revoked. Mr. Judson says:—
"In prosecuting this business, I had one noticeable interview with the King. Brother Price and two English gentlemen were present. The King appeared to be attracted by our number, and came towards us; but his conversation was directed chiefly to me. He again inquired about the Burmans who had embraced my religion.
'Are they real Burmans? Do they dress like Burmans?' &c.
I had occasion to remark, that I preached every Sunday.
'What! in Burman?'
'Let us hear how you preach.'
I hesitated. An Atwenwoon1 repeated the order. I began with a form of worship, which first ascribes glory to God, and then declares the commands of the law of the Gospel; after which I stopped.
'Go on,' said another Atwenwoon.
"The whole court was profoundly silent. I proceeded with a few sentences declarative of the perfections of God, when his Majesty's curiosity was satisfied, and he interrupted me. In the course of subsequent conversation, he asked what I had to say of Gaudama. I replied, that we all knew he was the son of King Thog-dau-dah-nah; that we regarded him as a wise man and a great teacher, but did not call him God.—'That is right,' said Moung K. N. an Atwenwoon who had not hitherto appeared very friendly to me. And he proceeded to relate the substance of a long communication, which I had lately made to him in the privy council room, about God, and Christ, &c. And this he did, in a very clear and satisfactory manner, so that I had scarcely a single correction to make in his statement. Moung Z. encouraged by all this, really began to take the side of God before his Majesty, and said, 'Nearly all the world, your Majesty, believe in an eternal God; all, except Burmah and Siam, these little spots!' His Majesty remained silent; and after some other desultory inquiries, he abruptly arose and retired."
The Emperor directed, that Dr. Price should remain at the capital, and Mr. Judson resolved to fix his residence there, as soon as Mrs. Judson should return.
Jan. 7, 1823.—Before his departure Mr. Judson took leave of Prince M. He desired him to return soon, and bring with him all the Christian Scriptures, and translate them into Burman; 'for,' said he, 'I wish to read them all.'
" Jan. 24.—Went to take leave of the King, in company with Mr. L. collector of the port of Rangoon, who arrived last evening. We sat a few moments conversing together.—'What are you talking about?' said his Majesty. 'He is speaking of his return to Rangoon,' replied Mr. L. 'What does he return for? Let them not return. Let them both, (that is, brother Price and myself,) stay together. If one goes away, the other must remain alone, and will be unhappy.' 'He wishes to go for a short time only,' replied Mr. L. 'to bring his wife, the female teacher, and his goods, not having brought any thing with him this time; and he will return soon.' His Majesty looked at me, 'Will you then come again?' I replied in the affirmative. " When you come again, is it your intention to remain permanently, or will you go back and forth, as foreigners commonly do?' 'When I come again, it is my intention to remain permanently.' 'Very well,' said his Majesty, and withdrew into his inner apartment."
The Emperor gave him a piece of land, on which to erect a house, and he returned to Rangoon, in February, 1823.
Several of the disciples soon came over from Dahlah, on the opposite side of the river, whither they and some others of the disciples and inquirers had taken refuge, to escape the heavy taxations and the illegal treatment of every kind allowed under the new Viceroy of Rangoon. Others of the disciples had fled elsewhere, so that there was not a single one remaining in Rangoon, except three or four with Mr. Judson. The house of some of the disciples had been demolished, and their place taken by government at the instigation of their neighbours, who hated them on account of religion. Mah Myat-la died before the removal. Her sister gave Mr. Judson the particulars of her death. Some of her last expressions were—'I put my trust in Jesus Christ—I love to pray to him—am not afraid of death—shall soon be with Christ in heaven.'
In the course of this year, Mr. Judson completed the translation of the New Testament, and prepared, by way of introduction, an epitome of the Old Testament, in twelve sections, consisting of a summary of Scripture History, from the creation to the coming of Christ, and an abstract of the most important prophecies of the Messiah and his kingdom, from the Psalms, Isaiah, and other prophets.
On the 5th of December, 1823, Mrs. Judson, with Mr. and Mrs. Wade, arrived at Rangoon. They were informed at Calcutta that there was a great prospect of war between the English and Burmans. On this account they were urgently advised by all the friends in Serampore, and Calcutta, not to venture themselves in Rangoon. This advice was enforced by an account of the real state of things, kindly afforded for the purpose, by the chief secretary of the government of Bengal. Notwithstanding this, they felt it their duty, if an opportunity offered, to venture, trusting in the great Arbiter of life and death for protection.
1 An Atwenwoon is next in rank to a Woongyee.
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