In my last post here I included Adoniram Judson’s letter to his father-in-law asking for Ann’s hand in marriage (you can also learn more about Judson himself and his missionary endeavors in my last post as well). Now I want us to look at Judson’s letter to Ann just a tad over a month before they were to be married. Imagine this letter being written to you right before you were to be married. Would you accept such a proposal?
Adoniram Judson’s Letter to Ann Hasseltine Before Their Marriage
“January 1, 1811. Tuesday Morning
It is with the utmost sincerity, and with my whole heart, that I wish you, my love, a happy new year. May it be a year in which your walk will be close with God; your frame calm and serene; and the road that leads you to the Lamb marked with purer light. May it be a year in which you will have more largely the spirit of Christ, be raised above sublunary things, and be willing to be disposed of in this world just as God shall please. As every moment of the year will bring you nearer the end of your pilgrimage, may it bring you nearer to God, and find you more prepared to hail the messenger of death as a deliverer and a friend. And now, since I have begun to wish, I will go on. May this be the year in which you will change your name; in which you will take a final leave of your relatives and native land; in which you will cross the wide ocean, and dwell on the other side of the world, among a heathen people. What a great change will this year probably effect in our lives! How very different will be our situation and employment! If our lives are preserved and our attempt prospered, we shall next new year’s day be in India, and perhaps wish each other a happy new year in the uncouth dialect of Hindostan or Burmah. We shall no more see our kind friends around us, or enjoy the conveniences of civilized life, or go to the house of God with those that keep holy day; but swarthy countenances will everywhere meet our eye, the jargon of an unknown tongue will assail our ears, and we shall witness the assembling of the heathen to celebrate the worship of idol gods. We shall be weary of the world, and wish for wings like a dove, that we may fly away and be at rest. We shall probably experience seasons when we shall be ‘exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. We shall see many dreary, disconsolate hours, and feel a sinking of spirits, anguish of mind, of which now we can form little conception. O, we shall wish to lie down and die. And that time may soon come. One of us may be unable to sustain the heat of the climate and the change of habits; and the other may say, with literal truth, over the grave–
‘By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed;
By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed;
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorned;’
but whether we shall be honored and mourned by strangers, God only knows. At least, either of us will be certain of one mourner. In view of such scenes shall we not pray with earnestness ‘O for an overcoming faith,’ etc.?”
REFLECTIONS (I’d love to hear your responses in the “Leave a Reply” section below!)
- What did you expect your first year of marriage to be like?
- Would you want to marry someone that says, “Honey, we may be dead in a year, but it will be a great year for the glory of God!”?
Judson’s letter can be found online, but it is cited often from this book: The Life of Adoniram Judson by his son Edward Judson. New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company, 1883.