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Life of Henry Martyn, Missionary to India and Persia, 1781 to 1812   By:

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First Page:

MISSIONARY ANNALS. (A SERIES.)

LIFE OF HENRY MARTYN, MISSIONARY TO INDIA AND PERSIA, 1781 to 1812

ABRIDGED FROM THE MEMOIR. BY MRS. SARAH J. RHEA.

CHICAGO: WOMAN'S PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE NORTHWEST, Room 48, McCormick Block.

COPYRIGHT, 1888, BY WOMAN'S PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OF MISSIONS OF THE NORTHWEST.

CONTENTS.

PAGE. EDUCATION AND PREPARATION, . . . . . . . . . . . 5

LIFE IN INDIA, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

LIFE IN PERSIA, AND DEATH, . . . . . . . . . . . 29

I hold in my hand an album adorned with pictures of missionaries, my brethren and sisters, the ambassadors of the King. On one of the first pages is "the tomb of Henry Martyn," given me by Dr. Van Lennep, who had just visited the sacred spot and described it vividly. When I turn the pages of my album and come to this, I pause with reverence and the overflowings of deep and tender emotion, and my mind adds other pictures, both terrestrial and celestial, to the one upon the page. My own missionary life as the companion of him whom Dr. Perkins called "the later Henry Martyn," was spent in Henry Martyn's Persia. They were alike I think in many things, these two Persian evangelists, and also in their deaths. When they passed out of the Tabriz gate, journeying homeward after a course of illness in the fated city, for each it was a quick ascent, a painful translation, to the heavenly city with abundant entrance and the Master's "well done" in heaven; and on earth, a foreign grave taking possession for Christ, as the Nestorians reverently say, with "white stones still speaking out." S. J. R.

EDUCATION AND PREPARATION.

Henry Martyn was born in England on the south western coast of Truro, February 18, 1781. His father, Mr. John Martyn, worked in the mines. He was not educated but was very fond of learning. The miners were in the habit of working and resting alternately every four hours. Mr. John Martyn spent many of his rest intervals in study, and so by diligence and education raised himself to a higher position, and became a clerk in the office of a merchant in Truro. When Henry was seven years old, he went to school to Dr. Cardew. From his earliest years all who knew him considered him a very interesting and promising child. Dr. Cardew says his proficiency in the classics exceeded that of his schoolfellows; he was of a lively, cheerful temper and seemed to learn without application, almost by intuition. But he was not robust, and loving books better than sport, and having a peculiar tenderness and inoffensiveness of spirit, he was often abused by rude and coarse boys in the school. A friendship which he formed at this time with a boy older than himself was the source of great comfort and advantage to him, and was kept up throughout his whole life. This friend often protected him from the bullies of the play ground. At this school, under excellent tuition, Henry remained until fourteen years old, when he was induced to offer himself as a candidate for a vacant scholarship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Young as he was, he went there alone, and acquitted himself so well, though strongly and ably opposed by competitors, that in the opinion of some of the examiners he ought to have been elected. How often is the hand of God seen in frustrating our fondest designs! Speaking of this disappointment he afterwards wrote: "Had I remained and become a member of the university at that time, as I should have done in case of success, the profligate acquaintances I had there would have introduced me to scenes of debauchery, in which I must in all probability, from my extreme youth, have sunk forever."

He continued after this with Dr Cardew till 1797, and then joined his school friend at Cambridge at St. John's College. Here he obtained a place in the first class at the public examination in December, a circumstance which, joined to the extreme desire he had to gratify his father, encouraged and excited him to study with increased alacrity, and as the fruit of this application, at the next public examination in the summer he reached the second station in the first class, a point of elevation which "flattered his pride not a little... Continue reading book >>




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