A new England student sets out on a tour through the Northern States. Before leaving home he avows himself an infidel. His father argues, his mother weeps. He can resist his father’s arguments, but finds it more difficult to resist his mother’s tears. Still he leaves home, resolved to see life, its dark side as well as its bright, having perfect confidence in his own self-control that it will protect him from anything mean and vicious. In the course of his travels he stops at a country inn. The landlord mentions, as he lights him to his room, that he has been obliged to place him next door to a young man who is probably in a dying state. The traveller passes a very restless night. Sounds come from the sick chamber — sometimes the movements of the watchers, sometimes the groans of the sufferer; but it is not these that disturb him. He thinks of what the landlord said — the stranger is probably in a dying state; and is he prepared? Alone, and in the dead of night, he feels a blush of shame steal over him at the question, for it proves the shallowness of his philosophy. What would his late companions say to his weakness. The clear-minded, intellectual, witty E — , what would he say to such consummate boyishness? But still his thoughts will revert to the sick man. Is he a Christian, calm and strong in the hope of a glorious immortality, or is he shuddering on the brink of a dark, unknown future? Perhaps he is a “Freethinker” educated by Christian parents, and prayed over by a Christian mother. At last morning comes, and its light dispels what he would fain consider his “superstitious illusions.” He goes in search of the landlord and inquires for his fellow-lodger. “He is dead.” “Dead!” “Yes, he is gone, poor fellow!” “Do you know who he was?” “Oh! yes; he was a young man from Providence College, a very fine fellow; his name was E.” Our traveller is completely stunned. E —! E — was his friend, the friend whose wit and raillery he dreaded, when he blushed at the thought of his own weakness during the wakeful night. And E was now dead. The traveller pursues his journey. But one single thought occupies his mind. The words dead! lost! lost! ring in his ears. Neither the pleasures nor the philosophies of the world can satisfy him now. The old resolution is virtually taken — “I will arise.” He abandons his travels, and turns his horse’s head homewards. His intellect does not readily accept the evidences of religion. But his moral nature is thoroughly aroused. And within a few months this young man surrenders his whole soul to Christ as his Saviour and Lord. This was Adoniram Judson, whose six-and-thirty years of unwearied devotion to missionary work have won for him the honourable appellation of the Apostle of Burma.
J. Kennedy, D.D.