Adoniram Judson's Request for Permission to Marriage
Updated: May 8
The following Amazing Letter is from a Man to His Future Father-in-Law, Seeking Permission for His Daughter’s Hand in Marriage.
Adoniram Judson, Jr. (Aug 9, 1788 – Apr 12, 1850) was one of the earliest true missionaries of God to leave the shores of the young American nation to preach the gospel in a foreign land. Before leaving for the mission field, he met and fell in love with Ann Hasseltine. Knowing that he wanted to marry Ann, but also knowing the hardships that they were sure to face being on the mission field, he wrote Ann’s father a letter asking for her hand in marriage, with these most passionate words:
“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 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 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 the acclamations of praise which shall resound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?”
Wow, isn’t that just powerful! And what love of a father to still give his daughter, knowing all to well that this is how it might end for her. This is missions according to the Bible.
Judson ended up spending 37 years on the mission field, not in India, but in neighbouring Burma. During that time, he persevered through 17 months of brutal imprisonment, several bouts of life-threatening illness, and the death of 2 wives, including his much beloved Ann and six children. Indeed, his father in law would never see his daughter again. He succeeded in translating the Bible into Burmese and compiling an English-Burmese dictionary. He waited almost 7 years for his first Burmese convert, but by the time of his death in 1850, there were a hundred Burmese churches and over 8,000 Burmese Christians. Today, Burma has approximately 2.5 million professing Christians, thanks in part to the pioneering efforts of Adoniram and Ann Judson.
A book that has had a profound impact on my life, besides the Bible of course, and likely my favourite book outside Gods Word, is the best known biography of Judson (pictured above): To The Golden Shore, by Courtney Anderson. (The above quote is also taken from this book). It is a powerful account of this man’s life and labors, along with his wife, for His beloved Saviour and His precious gospel, and will surely influence your life towards God.