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John_Gibson_PatonAn excerpt from the classic missionary autobiography, John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebridies.

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In the year 1857 came the call for which he had so long been waiting. In December, the “licence” to preach was conferred upon him, and early in the following spring, home and friends, and the scene of his late beloved labours, were left behind. For what? Hard, thankless toil amongst a horde of savage barbarians on an island in the South Pacific. Of course, the undertaking had first to encounter the most strenuous opposition from devoted friends, who saw every reason why any effort to reduce cannibals to a state of civilization should be powerless :—

‘ Why forsake the work in which ‘God is so richly blessing you here?’ say some. ‘ Why not attend to the heathen perishing at your very door? ’ say others; to whom the retort might very reasonably be made, ‘ That may well be left for you to do.’ Amongst many who sought to deter me was one dear old Christian gentlemen, whose crowning argument always was, ‘The cannibals! you will be eaten by cannibals!’ At last I replied, ‘Mr. Dickson, you are advanced in years now; and your own prospect is soon to be laid in the grave, there to be eaten by worms; I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honouring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms ; and in the great day my resurrection body will arise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer.’