Henry Martyn: Missionary Scholar for our Age? by Graham Kings

Henry Martyn: Missionary Scholar for our Age?

by Dr Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne

Cambridge Theological Federation and Henry Martyn Centre Lecture

Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge

Wednesday 29 February 2012

Introduction: Portraits

Thank you very much for the invitation to give this lecture today. It is a joy to be back in Cambridge.

We will begin, and conclude, by meditating on this portrait of Henry Martyn, one time fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, missionary scholar and Bible translator in India and Persia. He died in 1812 at the age of 31, in Tokat, Armenia, now northern Turkey on his way to Constantinople.

The original, painted in Calcutta, arrived in Cambridge the year Martyn died, and hangs in the vestry of Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge. This copy, in front of us today, is kept over the fireplace in the Henry Martyn Hall, next to the Church. The Hall was built in 1887 as a memorial to Martyn and a focus for encouraging missionary vocations amongst Cambridge students.

Charles Simeon, Martyn’s spiritual father and vicar of Holy Trinity for 54 years (1783-1836) had commissioned the painting. It was completed after Martyn had finished his Hindustani translation of the New Testament and before he set out on his final journey from India, through Persia, to perfect his Persian and Arabic translations of the New Testament.

In a letter, Simeon described the portrait’s arrival at India House in London in 1812. As he wrote the letter, unbeknown to him, Martyn lay dying in Tokat. Simeon learned of his death on 13 February 1813:

I could not bear to look upon it, but turned away, covering my face, and, in spite of every effort to the contrary, crying aloud with anguish. E. was with me, and all the bystanders said to her, “That, I suppose, is his father.”...Shall I attempt to describe to you the veneration and the love with which I look at it?...In seeing how much he is worn, I am constrained to call to my relief the thought in Whose service he has worn himself so much; and this reconciles me to the idea of weakness, of sickness, or even, if God were so to appoint, of death itself...And I behold in it all the mind of my beloved brother.’ [Handley Moule, Charles Simeon (London, 1892) p. 108]

The Henry Martyn Centre, in its archives, has a miniature of Martyn in a brass case, on loan from Ridley Hall. Handley Moule, the first Principal of Ridley Hall and later Bishop of Durham, who recounted that letter of Simeon in his biography Charles Simeon (London, 1892) wrote:

I have in my charge a miniature, taken for Simeon just before Martyn left England; it has the younger look, but the shadows of toil and sorrow are just coming over it. (p. 108)

There is a lock of hair in the back of the miniature’s case. Perhaps it is Martyn’s?

Moule also mentioned another early portrait of Martyn, which was on the walls of the Church Missionary Society house in London, and now at CMS in Oxford. Here is a photo I took of it at the opening of the new CMS offices in Oxford in 2007. I noticed much later that, eerily, it contains a spectre of the photographer.

It is interesting to contrast that early London portrait with the Calcutta one. Moule wrote of the former:

It shows the same face, but wearing an expression of almost boyish cheerfulness. (p. 108)

In 1812, an Armenian Bishop, Serrafino, who had been educated at Rome and had many European languages, met Martyn at Etchmiatzin, the Armenian monastery at Erivan. He described him as:

Of a very delicate frame, thin, and not quite of middle stature, a beardless youth, with a countenance beaming with so much benignity as to bespeak an errand of Divine love.

[George Fowler, Three Years in Persia cited in George Smith, Henry Martyn: Saint and Scholar, First Modern Missionary to the Mohammedans, 1781-1812 London: The Religious Tract Society, 1892), p. 521]

This afternoon, we shall be considering: first, Martyn’s life in India and Persia; second, his influence on converts, writers, and missionaries; and third, his legacy in the scholarly study of mission, dialogue and world Christianity today, before concluding with his challenge to vocations for our age.

  1. Henry Martyn’s Life and Context

Martyn was born in 1781 in Cornwall and came up to St John’s College, Cambridge in 1797. His faith in Christ came alive after his father’s death in 1800 and he was mentored by Charles Simeon, vicar of Holy Trinity Church. He was first in his year in mathematics (Senior Wrangler) in 1801, won the Smith’s prize, and later won a Latin prize. He was elected a Fellow of St John’s College, and served as a curate at Holy Trinity, before sailing to India. He was a Chaplain to the East India Company, rather than, as he had hoped, a missionary of the Church Missionary Society, because that salary enabled him to support his orphaned siblings.

Martyn was the third of five Cambridge scholars of note to serve in Bengal under the influence of Simeon and Charles Grant, the Director of the East India Company. The other four were David Brown, Claudius Buchanan, Daniel Corrie and Thomas Thomason.

David Brown came up to Magdalene College in 1782 and arrived in Calcutta in 1786, where he stayed for 25 years. With Charles Grant, Brown drew up ‘A Proposal for establishing a Protestant Mission in Bengal and Bahar’ (1787).

Brown and Grant wrote to Simeon:

We understand that such matters lie very near your heart, and that you have a warm zeal to promote their interest. Upon this ground we invite you to become an agent on behalf of the intended mission at home.

In 1830, Simeon wrote a note on his copy of this document:

It merely shows how early God enabled me to act for India – to provide for which has now for forty-two years been a principal and an incessant object of my care and labour.’

[Hugh Evan Hopkins, Charles Simeon of Cambridge (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1977) p 144]

Brown wrote to Simeon about the type of man to look out for in Cambridge:

You will be aware that zeal and grace, though essentials, are not the only requisites on this occasion. They must be men of general knowledge, and possess such a share of science as may make their conversation interesting to the learned Brahmins who will only be communicative in proportion to the returns made them by those with whom they converse. (p 144)

Claudius Buchanan (1766-1815) came up to Queens’ College in 1791 and sailed to India in 1796. He campaigned against the Hindu practice of widow burning (suttee), wrote Christian Researches in Asia (1811) and instituted prize essays on Christian Mission in British Universities, including Cambridge.

Daniel Corrie (1777-1837), was a member of both Clare College and Trinity College. He became an East India Company Chaplain in 1807, two years after Martyn. He became Archdeacon of Calcutta in 1823 and the first Bishop of Madras in 1835. It was Corrie who prevented Martyn from burning his spiritual papers before he left Cawnpore. Instead they were sealed up and left with Corrie. When they were opened after Martyn’s death, the packet was found to contain all his journals from 1803-10. Martyn’s journals relating to his final two years were sent just before his death to the British consul in Constantinople.

Thomas Thomason (d. 1829), was a fellow of Queens’ College, a fellow curate with Martyn in Cambridge and arrived in Calcutta in 1808. He translated the Old Testament into Hindustani and his son, James, became a Lieutenant-Governor of the North Western Provinces of India in 1843.

Martyn served first at Dinapore (1806-9) and then Cawnpore (1809-10). Concerning his relationship to Indians he noted:

These men are not fools, and all ingenuity and clearness of reasoning are not confined to England and Europe. [Constance E Padwick, Henry Martyn: Confessor of the Faith (London: SCM, 1922) p. 181]

Avril Powell, in her excellent Muslims and Missionaries in Pre-Mutiny India, mentions the important influence exercised by Martyn’s translation of the New Testament into Hindustani (now known as Urdu):

During his short posting in northern India, Martyn created a new channel both of communication and of subsequent controversy between the next generation of evangelical missionaries and the ashraf (noble) classes of the Gangetic core. For Martyn's first Urdu translation of the New Testament, which began to be disseminated from Calcutta shortly before the first Urdu translations of the Qur'an… provided the means to transform the ulamas’ (Islamic scholars') perception of Christianity.

[Avril Powell, Muslims and Missionaries in Pre-Mutiny India (London: Curzon Press, 1993) p.102]

In his journal there are passages of morbid introspection, but also heights of delight in God. Daniel Wilson, Bishop of Calcutta from 1832-58, wrote to his own family in Britain:

In H. Martyn’s Journals the spirit of prayer, the time he devoted to the duty, and his fervour in it, are the first things which strike me. In the next place, his delight in Holy Scripture, his meditations in it, the large portions he committed to memory, the nourishment he thence derived to his soul, are full of instruction. Then his humility is quite undoubted, unfeigned, profound, sincere. There seems, however, to have been a touch of natural melancholy and depression...

Mary Sherwood, the wife of a British army officer in Cawnpore, and writer of Anglo-Indian tales, kept a perceptively shrewd diary, which is included in her autobiography, The Life of Mrs Sherwood (1854). She provides us with a sympathetic balance to the humble and sometimes tortured passages of Martyn’s journal:

His features were not regular, but the expression was so luminous, so intellectual, so affectionate, so beaming with Divine charity, that no one could have looked at his features, and thought of their shape or form, - the outbeaming of his soul would absorb the attention of every observer.

Bishop Kenneth Cragg, now approaching a century not out, drew his inspiration for scholarship, mission and dialogue amongst Muslims, from Martyn. In his chapter on him in Troubled by Truth: Life Studies in Inter-Faith Concern (1992), Cragg refers to Martyn’s Bible translations as works of ‘theology-in-philology’ and describes the self-scrutinising pages of his journal:

Martyn’s introspective honesty, total compassion and genuine anxiety for integrity, make of autobiography itself a dialogue concerning truth – truth within and truth beyond...It was precisely the gentle quality of his earnestness which made dialogue the more engrossing both in spirit and in theme.

In Shiraz, Persia, Martyn engaged in dialogue with leading Muslim scholars. Padwick described the scene, drawing on his Journal, and on Samuel Lee’s Controversial Tracts on Christianity and Mohammadanism (Cambridge, 1824):

[A defence of Islam was prepared by] Mirza Ibrahim, a majestic and benevolent old man, ‘Preceptor of all the mullahs’, whose manner recalls the traditions of the great mediaeval doctors, as he meets an opponent with courteous subtlety... Martyn replied in a tract, the first of a series, in which he shows an astonishing mastery of the whole controversy, and in which he and his opponent throughout preserved high courtesy.

Exhausted and realising he was dying in Tokat, Martyn sent his papers on to Constantinople. The final extract from his Journal, dated 6 October 1812, reads:

I sat in an orchard, and thought with sweet comfort and peace, of my God; in solitude my company, my friend, and comforter. Oh! When shall time give place to eternity?

He was buried with reverence by Armenian Christians at Tokat. Sir Gore Ouseley, the British Ambassador in Tabriz who had nursed him, made good his pledge to Martyn by personally delivering his Persian New Testament to the press in St. Petersburg and proof reading it for publication in 1815.

  1. Martyn’s Influence on People in the Past and Today

We shall be considering three spheres of influence: converts, writers and missionaries.

(a) Converts

Martyn seems to have had only two converts. The most famous was Abdul Masih (1776-1827) who became an icon of Indian indigeneity. Masih became a medical missionary and evangelist among his own people, supported by the CMS, and in 1825 became the second Indian ordained Anglican clergyman.

Masih’s original name was Sheik Salih. He was born in Delhi about the year 1776, and became a zealous Muslim. In 1810 he was at Cawnpore and heard Martyn preach to the poor who assembled at his door on Sunday afternoons to receive alms. Salih, in his own words, went “to see the sport”. He was struck by Martyn’s exposition of the ten commandments and wanted to hear more. In the end he was engaged to work with Martyn’s assistant.

The Missionary Papers of CMS in 1831, documented his conversion in 1810:

When Mr. Martyn had finished his Translation of the New Testament into Hindoostanee, the book was given to Sheik Salih to bind. This he considered as a fine opportunity; nor did he let it slip. On reading the Word of God, he discovered his state, and perceived therein a true description of his own heart. He soon decided in favour of the Christian Religion.

The second convert was Mahomed Rahim. George Fowler, in his book Three Years in Persia (London: 1841) recounted meeting him in Shiraz. He quotes Rahim as saying:

Just before [Martyn] quitted Shiraz I could not refrain from paying him a farewell visit. Our conversation, the memory of which will never fade from the tablet of my mind, sealed my conversion. He gave me a book; it has been my constant companion; the study of it formed my most delightful occupation; its contents have often consoled me.

Upon this he put into my hand a copy of the New Testament in Persian; on one of the blank leaves was written, ‘There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth. HENRY MARTYN.’ [George Smith, Henry Martyn Saint and Scholar: First Modern Missionary to the Mohammedans (London: Religious Tract Society, 1892), p. 525-6]

(b) Writers

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, published his Aids to Reflection in 1825, six years after the publication of Martyn’s Memoir in 1819. Aphorism XVIII reads:

Examine the journals of our zealous missionaries, I will not say among the Hottentots or Esquimaux, but in the highly civilized, though fearfully uncultivated, inhabitants of ancient India. How often, and how fleetingly, do they describe the difficulty of rendering the simplest chain of thought intelligible to the ordinary natives, the rapid exhaustion of their whole power of attention, and with what distressful effort it is exerted while it lasts!

[Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Aids to Reflection (London: George Bell and Sons, 1890) edition, p. 9. First published in 1825.]

It is not conclusive, but to me seems highly likely that Coleridge was referring to Martyn.

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

There is an intriguing echo of Martyn in Jane Eyre. Martyn had failed to persuade his beloved Lydia Grenfell, of Falmouth, to come to India with him. At the end of Jane Eyre St John Rivers, sails to India having failed to persuade Jane to marry him and accompany him. Valentine Cunningham, Professor of English at Oxford, has written supporting the theory that St John Rivers is based on the life, if not the character, of Martyn.

[Valentine Cunningham, ‘God and Nature Intended You for a Missionary’s Wife’ in Fiona Bowie, Deborah Kirkwood and Shirley Ardener (eds), Women and Missions: Past and Present (Oxford: Berg, 1993), pp. 85-105]

Charlotte Brontë’s father had been helped by him as a young student at St John’s College, Cambridge and Martyn was his hero. He had arranged for Patrick Brunty, as he was called at that time, to received £10 a year from each of Henry Thornton and William Wilberforce. If you see the new film, look out for St John Rivers, named after Martyn’s Cambridge College.

I have recently found an interesting footnote to this story of Jane Eyre. In Jeanette Winterson’s new book, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (London: Jonathan Cape, 2011), she recounts her fearsome mother reading it to her at the age of seven:

Mrs Winterson read out loud, turning the pages. There was a terrible fire at Thornfield Hall and Mr Rochester goes blind, but in the version Mrs Winterson read, Jane doesn’t bother about her now sightless paramour; she marries St John Rivers and they go off together to work in the mission field. It was only when I finally read Jane Eyre for myself that I found out what my mother had done.

And she did it so well, turning the pages and inventing the text extempore in the style of Charlotte Brontë. (p. 102)

It just goes to show the importance of reading the text for yourself.

George Eliot, in chapter 23 of her 1858 book, Scenes from Clerical Life, describes the spiritual crisis of Janet Demster. It comes from her reading of Sargent’s Memoir of Martyn. Thrown out of her home by her husband, and destitute, she found a copy lying on Mrs Pettifer’s table. After being engrossed in it, she tells her:

I must go. I feel I must be doing something for someone – not be a mere useless log any longer. I’ve been reading about that wonderful Henry Martyn...wearing himself out for other people, and I sit thinking of nothing but myself. I must go. [p 264.]

(c) Missionaries

In 1887 the Henry Martyn Hall was opened and a large number of Cambridge students have heard their missionary call there, through prayer meetings, sermons, books and advice. Sue Anderson, the Henry Martyn World Mission Adviser, continues to mentor students pondering vocations.

I will highlight eight British scholarly missionaries (not from Cambridge) who served in the twentieth century and have been influenced by Martyn. Three have died, three are still writing in their retirement and two are actively serving and writing.

Temple Gairdner (1873-1928), was a CMS missionary in Cairo from 1899 and the author of “Edinburgh 1910”: An Account and Interpretation of the World Missionary Conference (1910), and the pioneering The Reproach of Islam (1909) which he later retitled The Rebuke of Islam (1920). He was an important figure of respectful witness to Muslims. When he died, his colleague in Cairo, Yusef Effendi Tadras, commented: ‘Other teachers taught us how to refute Islam; he taught us how to love Muslims’.

Constance Padwick (1886-1968) was one of the leading British women missionaries in the twentieth century. She made her way in the Middle East through her own initiative, having been rejected by CMS, but was in very close liaison with various CMS personnel As well as the biography of Martyn she also wrote the lives of Temple Gairdner and Alexander Mackay. Catriona Laing is currently finishing her Cambridge PhD on Constance Padwick.

Kenneth Cragg (b. 1913) was never technically a CMS missionary but was part of the tradition developed by Gairdner. He served in the Lebanon, taught at Hartford Seminary, Connecticut, was an Assistant Bishop in Jerusalem, a Reader at the University of Sussex, and Warden of St Augustine’s College, Canterbury. His book, The Call of the Minaret (London: OUP, 1956) had a profound influence on mission and dialogue. In December last year, I was present at a three day conference held in his honour at Lambeth Palace.

Roger Hooker (1934-1999) was a CMS missionary in North India at Bareilly Theological College and then as a student of Sanskrit at the Sanskrit University, Benaras (Varanasi), which also involved deep friendships with Hindus and Muslims. Hooker later became the Bishop of Birmingham’s Adviser for Inter-Faith Relations based in the inner-city area of Smethwick. Ten years ago, I published a study of his correspondence with his father-in-law, Max Warren, who had been General Secretary of CMS 1942-63, Christianity Connected (Zoetermeer: Boekencentrum, 2002).

Colin Chapman (b. 1938) who is with us today, has retired to Cambridge and is a trustee of the Henry Martyn Trust. He served with CMS in Cairo and Lebanon, taught at Trinity College, Bristol and Crowther Hall, Birmingham and again in Lebanon. He is a prolific author of many books on mission and dialogue.

Christopher Lamb (b.1939) served with CMS in Pakistan, taught at Crowther Hall, Birmingham, and wrote his Birmingham doctorate on Kenneth Cragg. During his studies, he complained that every time he wrote a new chapter of his dissertation, Cragg had written another book. Lamb coordinated the Other Faiths project of BCMS and CMS, became Community Relations Officer for Coventry Diocese, then Secretary for Inter-Faith Relations for the Church of England and served as a country priest in Coventry Diocese.

Toby Howarth (b. 1962) served with Crosslinks at the Henry Martyn Institute, Hyderabad, India, studied for his doctorate in The Netherlands, tutored at the CMS college in Birmingham before being a priest in Birmingham and Bishop’s Adviser on Inter-Faith Relations. Last year he became Secretary of Inter Religious Affairs for the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Richard Sudworth has been a CMS mission partner in Birmingham and is currently a pioneer curate in Birmingham studying part-time for a PhD in Christian-Muslim relations at Heythrop College, University of London. He has written Distinctly Welcoming: Christian Presence in a Multifaith Society (London: Scripture Union, 2007)

All these have been influenced by Martyn.

  1. The Study of Mission, Dialogue and World Christianity Today

For five years, I was a member of the British ecumenical ‘Mission Theological Advisory Group’ which produced Presence and Prophecy: a Heart for Mission in Theological Education (London: Church House Publishing, 2002). Today, as theological curricula are being rewritten, I still believe that the scholarly study of mission, dialogue and world Christianity is crucial to the current teaching of theology and religious studies and to the preparation for mission and ministry in Britain and the world.

It is encouraging to see that the Henry Martyn Centre, currently under the directorship of Emma Wild-Wood, for over 17 years has flourished as an Associate Institute of the Cambridge Theological Federation and a focus for study in the University.

After I moved from the Henry Martyn Centre to Islington in 2000, Sebastian Kim served for a year as interim Director, while Kirsteen his wife continued as Administrator. Sebastian is now Professor of Theology and Public Life at York St John University and Kirsteen is Professor of Theology and World Christianity at Leeds Trinity University College. They have both been prolific authors since leaving Cambridge and one of their latest joint books, Christianity as a World Religion (London: Continuum, 2008) is an outstanding text book, structured by geographical region. They show that Christianity is a world religion topographically, theologically, geographically, socio-politically, historically and structurally.

Brian Stanley, Britain’s leading historian of mission, was Director of the Henry Martyn Centre from 2001-2010 and is now Professor of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh. With R E Frykenberg, he edited the extraordinary Eerdmans series Studies in the History of Christian Missions, culminating with his own The World Missionary Conference, Edinburgh 1910 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009). With Sheridan Gilley, he edited volume 8 of The Cambridge History of Christianity, World Christianities, c. 1815 - c. 1914 (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

The Henry Martyn Institute in Hyderabad, India, was founded originally in 1930 in Lahore (see Carol Pickering, ‘Murray T. Titus: Missionary and Islamic Scholar’, International Bulletin of Missionary Research Vol 19 No 3 pp 118-120) and continues to be an international centre of renown for research, inter faith relations and reconciliation, ably directed by Varghese Manimala.

It is encouraging that there are now so many centres for the study of world Christianity, drawing on the pioneering scholarship of Andrew Walls (Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Liverpool), Lamin Sanneh (Yale) and the late Kwame Bediako (Akropong-Akuapem, Ghana). In particular, it seems to me, the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia, at Trinity Theological College, Singapore, directed by Michael Nai-Chiu Poon, and St Paul’s University, Limuru, Kenya, whose Vice Chancellor is Joseph Galgalo, are vibrant centres of excellence.

Concerning dialogue, two current scholarly initiatives worthy of the legacy Martyn are first the Building Bridges seminars convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Since 2002, there have been ten of these and the books include Michael Ipgrave (ed), Bearing the Word: Prophecy in Biblical and Qur’anic Perspective (London: Church House Publishing, 2005) and David Marshall (ed), Communicating the Word: Revelation, Translation, and Interpretation in Christianity and Islam (Washington: Georgetown University Press, 2011). The undergirding theology for these seminars coalesced in an Anglican theology of inter-faith relations, Generous Love: the Truth of the Gospel and the Call to Dialogue (London: Anglican Communion Office, 2008).

The second scholarly initiative worthy of note is the Cambridge Inter-Faith Project, founded and directed by David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity and Henry Martyn trustee. With its particular approach of ‘Scriptural Reasoning’ and special projects, including facilitating the teaching of Christianity as a World Religion in Church schools, it is a key pioneering scholarly adventure for our age.

Conclusion: Martyn’s Challenge for Vocations for our Age

I believe that God is still calling people to follow Jesus of Nazareth, and his saints like Henry Martyn, in being authentic, integrated, sacrificial, cross cultural mission partners and Bible translators.

God is still calling young men and women to be priests and missional ministers in Britain, who sense God’s challenge to live in difficult areas, outside of their usual comfort zone, and who long to combine the study of classical and biblical languages with the languages of our burgeoning inner cities: Gujurati, Urdu and Hindi.

God is still calling Christians to explore putting themselves onto paper before God. Beginning a spiritual journal at the beginning of Lent is breathtakingly brave, but worth the plunge. You can be completely yourself. It is different from a diary, in that it is consciously written in the presence of God and parts of it can be addressed to God. You do not have to pretend, for you cannot fool God: he knows you better than you know yourself.

So we return to the portrait. Constance E Padwick, summed up Martyn’s life: ‘That youth in years who yet knew the abasement and the rapture of a saint, and who flung at the feet of Christ a scholar’s dreams and the heart of a lover.’ [Constance E Padwick, Henry Martyn: Confessor of the Faith (London: SCM, 1922) p. 36]

The Henry Martyn Lectureship in Mission Studies, in the Cambridge Theological Federation, was inaugurated with a service at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge in January 1992, twenty years ago. I remember Kwame Bediako, the preacher, spending some time meditating in front of this painting in the vestry before the service. Conscious of an African and Christian emphasis on the Communion of Saints, he said to me as we processed in:

Martyn is alive. He is still with us. What does he say to us today? What would he have done if he had returned to England and perhaps eventually to Cambridge?

Charles Simeon had rooms at King’s College, in the Gibbs’ Building, above the ‘Jumbo arch’ with the large semi circular windows: one facing onto King’s Parade, and the other facing onto the River Cam.

This portrait hung above the fireplace. Hugh Evan Hopkins, his biographer, wrote:

Years afterwards, looking at that picture, Simeon would say to his guests ‘There! See that blessed man! What an expression of countenance! No one looks at me as he does – and he never takes his eyes off me; and seems always to be saying, “Be serious – be in earnest – Don’t trifle – don’t trifle.” And I won’t trifle – I won’t trifle.’

[Hugh Evan Hopkins, Charles Simeon of Cambridge (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1977) p 149.]

The Collect, in Common Worship, for Henry Martyn’s day, celebrated on 19 October, is:

Almighty God,

who by your Holy Spirit gave Henry Martyn

a longing to tell the good news of Christ

and skill to translate the Scriptures:

by the same Spirit give us grace to offer you our gifts,

wherever you may lead, at whatever the cost;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Dr Graham Kings is Bishop of Sherborne and theological secretary of Fulcrum. In 1992 he became the first Henry Martyn Lecturer in Mission Studies in the Cambridge Theological Federation, and in 1996 he founded the Henry Martyn Centre for the study of mission and World Christianity, in the Cambridge Theological Federation, at Westminster College. From 2000-2009 he was Vicar of St Mary Islington, London.

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