Yesterday I was reading Michael Haykin’s new book The Christian Lover (review coming soon) which is a compilation of Christian love letters. Well, all but one. This is a remarkable letter sent from Adoniram Judson to John Hasseltine, the father of Ann, the woman he wished to marry. In this letter he asks John for Ann’s hand, but, as he intends to head to Burma to serve as a missionary, he is forthright in his request. It is a remarkable letter. Here is an excerpt:
. . . I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world? Whether you can consent to see her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life? Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of perishing immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?
John consented even to this and Adoniram and Ann were soon married and lived out their days in Burma. Six years passed before they saw their first convert; by the time Adoniram died, there were 8,000 believers gathered in sixty-three churches.