Adoniram Judson

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BEFORE narrating the circumstances which led up to Judson's conversion, it will be found profitable, we believe, to look some-what at his natural disposition of character, as manifested in his early youth.
He is described as " possessed of an acute intellect, with great powers of acquisition and unflagging perseverance." His disposition was amiable, though this was in a great measure spoiled by his inordinate love of pre-eminence. His father unwisely encouraged this foolish weakness by telling him that he expected he would some day become a great man. One says: "His plans were of the most extravagantly ambitious character. Now he was an orator, now a poet, now a statesman ; but, whatever his character or profession, he was sure, in his castle-building, to attain to the highest eminence. After a time, one thought crept into his mind and embittered all his musings : Suppose he should attain to the highest pinnacle of which human nature is capable ; what then ? Could he hold his honor forever ? What would it be to him, when a hundred years had gone by, that America had never known his equal ? He did not wonder that Alexander wept when at the summit of his ambition. He felt very sure that he should have wept too."
When about fourteen years of age he had a serious illness, which interrupted his studies for a whole year, and gave him plenty of time to think. He spent many days and nights reflecting on what his future course of life should be. On one of these occasions his thoughts took a religious turn. Why should he not be an eminent divine? As he thought on this subject, "his mind instituted a comparison between the great worldly divine, toiling for the same perishable objects as his other favorites, and the humble minister of the gospel, laboring only to please God and benefit his fellow-men. There was (so he thought) a sort of sublimity about that, after all. Surely the world was all wrong, or such a self-abjuring man would be its hero. Ala, but the good man had a reputation more enduring Yes, yes, his fame was sounded be-fore him as he entered the other world ; and that was the only fame worthy of the possession, because the only one that triumphed over the grave. Suddenly, in the midst of his self-gratulation, the words flashed across his mind, “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thy name, give glory.”
"This put a sudden check to his thoughts ; not that he had the slightest inclination for this ideal kind of greatness, but it awakened feelings in his soul to which he had hitherto been a stranger, and he did not like to confess what his heart and conscience told him to be true, that he had no desire to become a real Chris-tian. This would have interfered too seriously with his ambitious plans of self-aggrandizement. Though he was perfectly aware of the vanity of all earthly fame and greatness, had not his father said that he was destined some day to become a great man ? So, at all hazards, a great man he resolved to be!"
"The transition from this state of mind to infidelity," a writer says, "was very easy. French infidelity was at this period sweeping over the land like a flood. At Providence College there was a young man who was amiable, talented, witty, exceedingly agreeable in person and manners, but a confirmed deist. A very strong friendship sprang up between the two young men, founded on similar tastes and sympathies, and Judson soon became, at least professedly, as great an unbeliever as his friend.
"During a part of his collegiate course Judson was engaged in teaching at Plymouth, and on closing school set out on a tour through the northern States, and thence to New York.
"After seeing what he wished of New York, he pursued his journey westward, and visited the house of an uncle, a Christian minister. The uncle was absent, and the conversation of the young man who occupied his place was characterized by a godly sincerity, a solemn but gentle earnestness, which addressed itself to the heart ; and Judson went away deeply impressed.
"The next night he stopped at a country inn. The landlord mentioned, as he lighted him to his room, that he had been obliged to place him next door to a young man who was exceedingly ill, probably in a dying state, but be hoped that it would occasion him no uneasiness. Judson assured him that beyond pity for the sick man, he should have no feeling whatever. But it was, nevertheless, a very restless night. Sounds came from the sick chamber—sometimes the movements of the watchers, sometimes the groans of the sufferer ; but it was not these which disturbed him. He thought of what the landlord had said ; the stranger was probably in a dying state. And was he prepared ? Alone, in the dead of night, he felt a blush of shame steal over him at the question, for it proved 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 this ? Still his thoughts would revert to the sick man. Was he a Christian, calm in the hope of a glorious immortality ? or was he shuddering upon the brink of a dark, unknown future? Perhaps he was a free-thinker,' educated by Christian parents and prayed over by a Christian mother. The landlord had described him as a young man ; and in imagination he was forced to place himself upon the dying bed, though he strove with all his might against it. At last morning came, and its light dispelled all his superstitious illusions.'
"As soon as he had risen he went in search of the landlord, and inquired as to his fellow-. lodger. He is dead,' was the reply. Dead! ' Yes, he is gone, poor fellow! The doctor said he would probably not survive the night." Do you know who he was? " Oh, yes; it was a young man from Providence College—a very fine fellow ; his name was E—.' Judson was completely stunned. After hours had passed, he knew not how, he attempted to pursue his journey. But one single thought occupied his mind, and the words, dead! lost! lost! were continually ringing in his ears. He knew the religion of the Bible to be true, he felt its truth, and he was in despair. In this state of mind he resolved to abandon his scheme of traveling, and at once turned his horse's head toward Plymouth."
Judson's soul was now thoroughly aroused. Re saw infidelity in its true light, and renounced it forever. After a few months, during which the plowshare of conviction did its painful, though necessary, work in his conscience, he relied entirely upon Christ as his only and all-sufficient Savior.
His life-plans were now entirely reversed; and abandoning his schemes of literary and political ambition, he asked, like the converted Saul of Tarsus, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do ? " And nearly forty years of toilsome and devoted service among the idolatrous Burmese was God's answer to his prayer. He did indeed become " a great man," though not as the world reckons greatness.
What, after all, can infidelity do for one in the darkening hour of death ? And worldly fame and honor—what is it worth when weighed in the scales of eternity, or even assayed by the test of time ?
O reader, make Christ your Savior and treasure this day, and then, like the "most happy" apostle, say, "WHAT THINGS WERE GAIN TO ME, THOSE I COUNTED LOSS FOR CHRIST."