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from Smyrna stated, on good authority, that missionaries would be tolerated in the Turkish empire.
These communications made a strong impression on the minds of some, which led them to feel, that the time had arrived for the American church to act, and without delay take possession of the Holy Land. The subject was cordingly submitted to the consideration of the Prudential Committee of the American Board of Missions, at a meet-. ing held at Andover, September 23, 1818, the anniversary of the Theological Seminary. After careful deliberation, and fervent prayer for divine guidance, the resolution was unanimously adopted;--That a mission be established forthwith in Palestine. On the same day Messrs. Parsons and Fisk were appointed to that station.
At the Monthly Concert of prayer in October following, the proposal was submitted to the Old South and Parkstreet churches, that they become responsible for the support of one at least of these missionaries.
To this they readily acceded, and their annual contributions have amounted to more than what was then pledged.
For some of the particulars already stated, and others that will be found in the Memoir, the writer is indebted to the favors of correspondents, which, with much pleasure, he now acknowledges.
It has pleased Him, whose “ways are past finding out,” to remove these beloved men from a field of danger, of suffering, and of extensive usefulness-having called them, we doubt not, to a higher, purer sphere of service and enjoyment. Mr. Parsons fell an early victim to a disorder, to which severe hardship and an unfavorable climate contributed. "Few men in any employment, even among those who have been distinguished for their piety, leave so spotless a name as was left by Mr. Parsons."* For an account of
* See Thirteenth Annual Report of the Board of Missions.
his labors, and an exhibition of the winning excellencies of his character, the reader is referred to the Memoir of his life. His surviving colleague, though left to bear a while “the heat and burden of the day,” was not long separated from him. But in the midst of judgment God has remembered mercy, in the cheering proofs he has given that he approves the Mission, to which they consecrated themselves with martyr-like devotion.
The circumstances, connected with the field of labor to which they were sent, did not encourage the expectation, that a long life would be given them as the period of their labor. It was foreseen that they, who should first engage in a mission to Palestine, would have to prepare their minds for sustaining an arduous, hazardous struggle. They were going forth, as they well knew, to besiege a great empire of sin, where Satan from ancient times has held undisputed possession of his strong holds, and erected his mightiest bulwarks. “The mission to that country,” it has been well remarked, "is not for the faint-hearted, the irresolute, for him who shrinks from the shock of arms, or the fierce and long contested battle. It is for minds of firmer nerve, of more comprehensive views, of more unbending fortitude, which, borne upward by the promises of God, can overlook a thousand obstacles, and dangers, and disheartening occurrences, lying in the way to ultimate and triumphant
.”—The church, indeed, has reason to expect, from the nature of this enterprise, that its final achievement, though certain, will require strong faith, fervent prayer, and expensive sacrifices—even the lives of many of her most beloved sons.
It is, however, an offering, long since due to the Holy Land, and which, there is reason to believe, is well-pleasing in the sight of Heaven.
The responsible, but pleasing task of preparing a Memoir of Mr. Fisk, endeared to the writer, as he was, by
personal acquaintance and Christian friendship, has been performed amidst many other labors, and some embarrassments, arising from the difficulty experienced in collecting the requisite materials, a part of which have come from very great distances. This has occasioned, unavoidably, a considerable delay in the publication of the work.
Some of the documents, transmitted to this country by Mr. Fisk, have in part been published in religious periodicals, particularly the Missionary Herald. From these it has been necessary to make copious selections, as well as from his private journal and correspondence. The constant aim of the Compiler has been, to make such a selection from the copious and valuable materials collected, as will furnish a just exhibition of the life and character of this eminent Missionary; and as may, with a Divine blessing, subserve the cause to which, with untiring zeal and diligence, he devoted his talents and sacrificed his life.
If this record of his religious exercises and benevolent works may but excite others to emulate his sterling virtues, or inspire any one with the holy resolution to gird himself for the perils, conflicts, and sacrifices of the same self-denying service, the labor of preparing it for the press will not have been in vain. That such may be the results, this volume is respectfully committed to the Christian public, and is commended with earnest prayer to the blessing of Almighty God.
Sturbridge, Ms. Dec. 1827.
Application to study—Habits of active piety-Inter-
Offer of himself for the service of the American
Kind reception- Employments and reflections-On
the death of his Mother-Residence in Scio-Pro-
Departure of Mr. Parsons–Extracts from letters
Conversation with a Jew_Visit to Sedicui-Cook-