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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

Luther Rice awakening the missionary spirit

It was in this manner that foreign missions was thrust upon the Baptists of the United States. After many leadings the mission was established under Judson in Burmah.

What the celebrated Earl of Shaftesbury said of another mission was equally true of this one. “I do not believe,” said he, “that in the whole history of missions, I do not believe in the history of diplomacy, or in the history of any negotiations carried on between man and man, we can find anything to equal the wisdom, the soundness, and the pure evangelical truth of the body of men who constituted the American mission. I have said it twenty times before, and I will say it again,—that they are a marvelous combination of common sense and piety. . . . There they stand, tested by years, tried by their works, and exemplified by their fruits; and I believe that it will be found that those American missionaries have done more toward upholding the truth and spreading the gospel of Christ in the East than any other body of men in this or any other age.”

There must be a home base, and there was a man admirably prepared to do this work. Luther Rice had already been^severely attacked with disease of the liver, and his health had become quite precarious.

The views of the Baptists in this country were unknown to the missionaries, and it seemed desirable that some direct intercourse might be commenced between the parties at present personally unknown to each other.

It was probable, however, that the labors of Rice might be eminently useful in awakening a missionary spirit among the churches at home.

With the hope of recovering his 'health, and at the same time accomplishing these objects, it was deemed wise for him to return to this country. He sailed March 15, 1813, for New York by the way of St. Salvador (Wayland, I.).

John Christian, A History of the Baptists, vol. 2

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