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New Phase of Life.—Providential Events.--Preparations and Departure. —The Farewell.
NEW PEIASE OF LIFE.
DR. ScudDER prospered greatly in his profession. His practice, as a physician, was rapidly increasing. His wife, steady at her post, aided him by every means in her power, and soon it became evident that his income would enable him to enlarge his scale of living, which, from a sense of duty, had been kept within the most rigid and self-denying limits.
It was just at this juncture, when worldly prosperity had begun to take the thorns out of his path and pave it with flowers, that a crisis in his life occurred, changing the whole current of his subsequent career.
Visiting professionally a Christian lady, he found in her room a tract or little book entitled “The Conversion of the World, or the Claims of Six Hundred Millions.” He borrowed it, read it and re-read it, until it entered the very depths of his soul. It was like a lightning flash from heaven. He heard the call, “Come over and help us!” Falling on his knees, he cried, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Silently, but emphatically, something said to him, “Go and preach the Gospel to the heathen.” What was he that he could withstand this mandate, which day and night rung in his ear, and rolled through the depths of his soul? Oh, the prayers and tears which went from him unto God, asking again and again for the path of duty! Here was a profession growing rapidly upon him. Hundreds had become attached to him as a Christian physician. Here was a tender and beloved wife, who married him with no idea of leaving home and friends to live and die an exile on heathen soil. Here, also, was a first-born child of only two years. Could he plant and rear that little flower where no sunlight of heaven was shining . Wide, also, was the circle of Christian influence which surrounded him in two churches. Such were the pleadings against going to the heathen to labor and die as a missionary of the Cross. But against all this—and more that might be mentioned, of attachments to home and country—rose the Cross, and a dying Saviour, saying, If I, your Lord and Master, have done and suffered all this to save these poor benighted ones, will you hesitate to carry them the glad tidings by which alone they can be saved? This was heaven's logic to a man of deep religious emotions, of conscientious regard for duty, and of intense love to Jesus and to Souls. It prevailed. On his knees he said, “Lord Jesus, I go, as thou hast commanded, to preac the Gospel to every creature.” Ever ready to watch the intimations of Providence in all the changes of life, he said to himself, I have one to consult whose interests are blended with my own, and whose happiness may be seriously affected by my decision. I will lay the subject before her mind as it lies before mine. If she say nay, I shall regard it as settling the question of duty. With much prayer he proceeds in the case. His beloved is informed of his decision, and the grounds of it. She is told that if she can not heartily concur, for the present at least, his work is at home, and not among the heathen. It is hard to throw such a mountain weight of responsibility on a young and tender wife. But she is a Christian. She has given her all to Christ. She is adequate to the crisis. “Where thou goest I will go,” was the language of her marriage vow. She discovers that his mind is made up—that to say no will send a permanent pang of disappointment into his soul. Hard as the struggle is, she makes up her mind on the same principle that he made up his. Much prayer is offered, and many natural tears shed; and then, from love to Christ and a sense of duty, she decides for the life of a missionary. That purpose never gave way. It never even faltered. She calmly went about the needful preparations for this new and important change of life. So soon as this decision was known, there was a general feeling of sadness among those who had become attached to the doctor and his wife; and one would think, to see their tears and hear their regrets, that a sort of funereal aspect darkened all the future of these two missionaries. One man came to his door to ascertain the fact, and, when assured that they were really going, burst into tears. Others railed at him as almost insane. Worldly men could not explain it. From their standpoint, it seemed so absurd to give up a lucrative practice, and all the advantages of civilized life, to live and die among pagans! Even Christians would say, “Why, doctor, let the young, unmarried men go! Can't you make yourself more useful at home?” To all of which he had one answer—Duty. I feel under sacred obligations to the Master to go. I go from love to Christ and to souls. The very self-denial of the work allures me. It is my happiness to go.
CONCURRENCE OF PROVIDENTIAL EVENTS.
Just at the time when Dr. S. had determined, if a door should open, he would go to the heathen, the American Board of Missions at Boston needed a pious physician for India, and advertised in some of the religious papers for one who should combine the qualifications of missionary and physician. At once the doctor offered himself, and opened a correspondence on the subject.
In a letter to the Secretary of the Board, among other things he says: “I am comfortably and pleasantly situated, and have a practice which yields me far more than is necessary to defray the expenses of life; but I hope I am willing to forsake all for Christ; yea, father and mother, and brother and sister, the comforts and enjoyments of the world, and go to ‘the help of the Lord against the mighty.” Should the Board think proper to accept me, I feel disposed to act in whatever manner they may deem proper. If it would contribute most to the glory of God, I am perfectly willing to go immediately, as I could complete my theological studies there, at the same time that I would be acquiring a knowledge of their language, and thus much time would be saved. Mrs. Scudder feels willing to go on the mission. I trust, if I go, the Lord will make her, and the little lamb he has given her, when it arrives to years of discretion, eminently useful in his service.”
PREPARATIONS AND DEPARTURE.
Short was the period between the acceptance by the Board and the embarkation. All is busy preparation. Friends offer their services; and, by a combined energy, which the circumstances tended to develop, they were ready at the appointed time.
They had a faithful colored servant named Amy, who, from strong personal attachment, pleaded with them to take her along. They endeavored to convince her that she was wholly ignorant of the trials and perils which she would have to go through in case she accompanied them. But her answer was, “If little Maria can meet them, so can I.” Such were her tears and importunities, that Dr. Scudder said to himself and to his wife, there must be some Providence in this. So he wrotesto Boston and laid the case before the Board, stating the valuable services she could render on the passage, and the still more valuable help she would be to them after they reached their destination. Though out of their usual course, the Board acceded to their request; and “the faithful Amy,” as she was called, was incorporated into the mission.
Fulton Street dock was a scene of great excitement on the day this missionary family sailed for Boston. The large acquaintance which both the doctor and his wife had made, embracing the principal members of two churches, and many others in the various walks of life, filled the dock and the deck of the steamer, and caused a wonderment in all the passers-by. It was a different