Nearly fourteen years earlier, the five young American missionaries had arrived in India, full of zeal and enthusiasm. But of those five, only two had remained in India. The Judsons had gone to Burma. Luther Rice returned to the states to raise missionary support. The Newells went to the Isle of France. Only Gordon Hall and the Notts remained to start the mission in India.
In 1813, Hall and Nott settled in Bombay, India, where they established the first mission in the city. At the beginning, they faced hard opposition from the governor, but after much work, they soon won him over and the mission was under way. It was also in Bombay that Gordon met Miss Margret Lewis, an English woman who he fell in love with and married. Together, this couple served the Lord in Bombay for nearly ten years.
Hall would often take itinerating tours upon the adjoining continent, for the purpose of preaching the gospel from village to village, visiting schools, and distributing books and tracts. His last tour, and the one on which he died, commenced on March 2nd. His object was to visit Treembukeshwur and Nasseek, two populous and celebrated places in India, which were more than 100 miles from Bombay. This was the farthest tour he had taken. He took two Christian disciples with him, who would help him along the way.
One night, when they were encamped at one of the cities, Hall suddenly became very ill. Spasm overcame his body and he was soon helpless on the ground. None of the medicine helped him. Soon, he was surrounded by a large group of the Indians, who stood around watching the dying man. In his memoirs, this is recorded:
He assured them and the natives who stood around him, that he should soon be with Christ. He exhorted them to repent of their sins and forsake their idols, that they too might go to heaven ; —he repeatedly prayed with earnestness for his dear wife and children, for his missionary brethren and for the heathen around him.—With his soul filled with pious consolation, he three times repeated ” Glory To Thee, O God,”—then yielded up his spirit.
The lads immediately addressed themselves to the mournful duty assigned them. With much difficulty they succeeded in procuring a grave.—Having first shrouded him in his blanket, they laid him coffinless in his humble bed! Thus died and thus was buried one of the first missionaries of the American Board, in the forty-second year of his age, after an illness only of about eight hours.—A stone monument has been erected by the mission to mark the lonely spot of his interment, bearing, both in English and Mahratta, the name, age and office of their beloved fellow-laborer.
He had only been able to work among his beloved Native Americans for five years. And many of these years were marked with severe trials, difficulties, and sickness. But they were also marked with great success. God used the life of David Brainerd to reach hundred of Indians with the Gospel. In his journal, David wrote, “I could have no freedom in the thought of any other circumstances or business in life: All my desire was the conversion of the heathen, and all my hope was in God: God does not suffer me to please or comfort myself with hopes of seeing friends, returning to my dear acquaintance, and enjoying worldly comforts.”
But this work that David loved so much couldn’t last. As the tuberculosis grew worse, he realized that he couldn’t continue the difficult life of travelling and preaching to the Indians. So he went to the home of Jonathan Edwards, hoping to recover enough to one day resume his work.
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