April 17, 2010
I’ve been reading Tom Nettles’ stirring history of The Baptists vol. 2 Beginnings in America. One of the most edifying chapters is a biographical sketch with theological anaysis of Ann Judson. In a section in which Nettles explains how Ann learned Divine love in place of mere human romance, he quotes a portion of a letter that Adoniram Judson wrote to Ann’s father, John Hasseltine, asking for Ann’s hand in marriage. The manner of his request is instructive both to young Christian couples contemplating life together with Christ and to parents contemplating the best future for their children. Do I have such a heart for Christ, for the glory of God, for the nations? May God stir such passions in me. Do I have enough love for my children to encourage them to take up their cross and follow hard after Christ?
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 her departure for 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 clime 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 Him who left His heavenly home, and died for her and for you; 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 acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal wo [sic] and despair?
James D. Knowles, ed. Memoir of Mrs. Ann H. Judson (Boston, 1829), 17. Quoted in Tom Nettles, The Baptists: Key People Involved in Forming a Baptist Identity vol. 2 Beginnings in America (Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2005), 195-96.