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I hope, and believe, it will be my happiness to spend and be spent for the heathen.
“O thou great Head of the church, I give thee thanks, that thou hast given me this comfortable assurance that it is thy will, I should go among the wretched pagans. It is what I have long desired. I give thee thanks, that I was so early led to devote myself to this work, that my wishes and resolutions have been so long maintained, and that now, upon reviewing the whole, I have such consoling evidence that I have followed the leadings of thy Spirit and Providence. Do thou assist me in deciding all the questions that may hereafter demand my attention; and in gaining all the necessary qualifications. Cheerfully and unreservedly I dedicate myself anew to thee. 'Lord Jesus, my Saviour, my King, I am thine; thine to go where thou shalt send me; thine to endure what thou shalt lay upon me, and to do what thou shalt bid me. So may thy grace help me. Amen and Amen.
"The question, which seems now to demand my attention, relates to the field of labor. To what part of the heathen world shall I direct my attention? The American Board have two general fields. one in Asia, the other in our western wilderness, Perhaps some other field may be soon selected. The south sea islands, and South America have been thought of. Now it is desirable to know, as soon as possible, in what field we are to labor, that our prayers, meditations, reading, and conversation, be directed towards it.
“At present I have no predilection for one field, rather than another. If I am not deceived, I am willing to go north or south, east or west, as Providence may direct. May I be directed to that field, in which I can do most for Christ and souls, whether it be a field of safety or of danger, of comfort or of trouble, of honor or of reproach,
* Aug. 10. Since writing what precedes, my mind has rested quietly in its decisions. I do not recollect, that I ever felt more fully satisfied with any result of the kind. I thought I had that full assurance of duty, which I had so long desired and prayed for, and for want of which I had suffered so much anxiety. Since that an event has occurred, which renders it necessary for me carefully to examine the subject again.
“My respected Instructors have given me to understand, that they think me better qualified to aid the cause of the Redeemer in this country, as an agent in behalf of charitable objects, and as domestic missionary, than to labor among pagans. So others have thought before. Should I, in opposition to the wishes and advice of all these judicious and pious friends, persist in my purpose of laboring among the heathen, and at last find myself unqualified for that work, and mistaken as to my field of labor, while I might have been doing good in this country, and thus be ready to sink with discouragement and regret; how would the recollection of their kind advice torture my sinking spirits If I go, I must risk this. Let me not go without evidence that God approves, so that I may hope he will prosper me, or support me under trials; or at least give me the comfort of believing that I have to bear only such trials as he sees fit to bring upon me in the path of duty. I had determined to go among the heathen in view of the risk of life, reputation, happiness, and even usefulness.
"My Instructors suggest no new considerations; -but the fact that, with their enlarged views, their advantages for judging, and their expansive benevolence, they think I ought to relinquish my purpose, should make me hesitate. I wish to give their advice all the weight it deserves.-0 that God would guide me. Since they have spoken to me on the subject, my feelings have been very deeply
interested. This has been the theme of my meditation, and my prayers. I feel that my happiness and usefulness are deeply concerned. I tremble at the thought of relinquishing the object, after having so often consecrated myself to it, and had such comfortable evidence that's ought to engage in it. I tremble too lest, if I give up the object, the blood of souls may be found in my skirts. I know not how to understand the language of Providence. Is this to forbid my laboring among the heathen? Or is it only to test my resolution, my patience, and my love for the work? Why have I been led to think and feel so much on this subject? Was it to prepare me for foreign service, or was it to prepare me to be disappointed and labor at home? Sometimes the language of Providence at this crisis seems to be -- Stay,
you are not qualified for the great work.' I fear I have not that faith, that patience, that selfgovernment, necessary to render me useful. This is the only ground on which I can doubt. If I take it for granted that I am nearly as well qualified to labor abroad as at home, the question is decided at once. The importance of the fields will bear no comparison. The prospect of supply is altogether in favor of my going abroad. The prospect of immediate usefulness is greater perhaps at home. Still I cannot doubt that missionaries among the heathen exert an influence on the church at home, which vastly more than compensates for the loss of their personal service. 60 my
Saviour, I am thine. To thee I now consecrate my mind to be guided and taught, and my heart to be moved and excited. I submit to have my mind perplexed with doubts, and my heart filled with pain, as long as thou shalt see best, if it may but terminate in a conviction of duty, and a disposition to do it.' I would cheerfully meet all the difficulties, and bear all the pains thou shalt appoint, if they may but lead me to more wisdom and humility,
and prepare me to do more good. But I do intreat thee, not to suffer my views and feelings to be so influenced, as shall prove detrimental to the interests of Zion. Olet the result be my better preparation to be a good and useful servant of my Lord. I bless thee that thou hast afforded me so much assistance, and guided me thus far, and by thy aid I hope for light, and peace, and joy. Let me not wait in vain. Trust, O my soul, trust in thy Saviour, and he will guide thee.
“If there is any thing for me to do, the Lord will lead the way. If not, let me rejoice that others will be employed to carry on his work; and though nothing be found for me to do, the interests of the church, and the honor of the Saviour are secure. It is enough. O my Saviour I give myself to thee. Do with me as thou wilt. *
"Aug. 17. To-day I have been reading the memoirs of Pearce with the hope of deriving some advantage from the perusal. If such a man was not allowed to labor among the heathen, how can I hope for the happiness? But he was already in an exceedingly important and useful station. It is not so with me. Should I stay in America, all my plans for usefulness may fail. I may prove but a burden to the church. Many of Mr. Pearce's expressions, I think, I can understand. Many of his trials I have experienced. Oif I could pray as he did, if my heart were pure as his, God might accept me, and give me a gracious answer. But I do not yet know what to make of the present dealings of God with me. My heart is pained, my very soul is full of anguish. When with my fellow-students whom I dearly love, I find it difficult to be sociable. This great question occupies my thoughts, and engrosses my feelings, so as to exclude all common topics, even such as I have often dwelt upon with great
*The reader is requested to revert to the letter which Mr. Fisk addressed to the Professors at this time, and to the paragraph which immediately follows it, p. 41.
delight. I long to have the question settled. But I must not be impatient. I have consented to bear as much as shall be best, to have my mind tortured till God shall see fit to give me peace. I would not recal what I have done; I would cheerfully submit to have my very soul rent with anxiety and pain, if I may but be fitted to be a useful servant of Jesus Christ. Only let me learn duty, and be the process ever so painful, I will rejoice in it.
“Aug. 31, 1817. This morning I found unusual pleasure in prayer for missionaries. I sat a long time in my closet, and thought of them, scattered in different parts of the world, and laboring with various success amidst various trials and disappointments. While I mused, my heart kindled to a flame of love for them; and even now while I write, I feel a union to them which I never felt even to my dearest earthly relatives. I long to share their burdens, to participate their labors, and their success.
“The anxiety I have had of laté respecting my course in life, has subsided. My mind is again quiet, and I trust I have not been deceived in thinking it my duty to devote my life to the service of Christ among the heathen.' I can now praise and glorify God for all his dealings with me; and especially for giving me so much evidence that he does approve of my purpose to be a missionary. Once more blessed Saviour, I offer myself to thee without reserve, to be disposed of and dealt with as seemeth good in thy sight."
A perusal of the foregoing journal clearly shows, that Mr. Fisk did not hastily determine to become a foreign missionary. He looked at the subject with a mind powerfully impressed with the magnitude, the difficulties, and the responsibilities of the undertaking. He sat down in his closet, and with many anxieties and inquiries, prayers and tears, counted the cost. He was led to a satisfactory result, having come finally to a conviction of personal