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Missionary Biographies

Giants of the Missionary Trail

The Life Stories of Eight Men Who Defied Death and Demons

by Eugene Myers Harrison
William Carey: The Cobbler Who Turned Discoverer
James Chalmers: The Greatheart of New Guinea
Jonathan Goforth: The Holy Spirit's Man in China
George Grenfell: A Light in Congo Darkness
Adoniram Judson: Apostle of the Love of Christ in Burma
David Livingstone: The Pathfinder of Africa
Samuel Marsden: Bearer of Good Tidings in New Zealand
Henry Nott: Herald of the Love of God in Tahiti

Preface—Of Dragons and Giants

History and literature have much to say about the depredations of dragons, the tyranny of giants and of the heroism of brave men who, defying danger and death, conquered these monsters; of Siegfried who, when the dragon reared to spring upon him, "drove the immortal sword straight into its heart" and went singing on his way to deliver Brundhilde; of St. George who fought valiantly till, on the third day of combat, "the monster fell like a huge rock shattered by a storm"; of Ulysses and his feat of blinding the one-eyed giant, Polyphemus, the monster who gorged himself upon human victims. But the real heroes of history are the spiritual giants, who, not in the fanciful pages of mythology or legend, but in actual life, defied death and demons, overcame powerful adversaries, "stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight" and died as conquerors.

The Scriptures, telling of Samson's conquest of a fierce lion, are careful to emphasize the fact that "he had nothing in his hand." It was then, and only then, that "the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him and he rent the lion as he would have rent a kid."

Samson's condition: "He had nothing in his hand."

Samson's enduement: "The Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him."

Samson's triumph: "He rent the lion as he would have rent a kid."

Wherein lies the difference between ordinary Christians and extraordinary Christians, between spiritual pygmies and spiritual giants? Simply stated, it is the difference between before Pentecost and after Pentecost. Even after Easter morning, but before Pentecost, the disciples were floundering in a morass of spiritual impotence and cowardice. Between Easter and Pentecost there is not one recorded instance of the disciples making any attempt to preach the Gospel and point lost souls to the Lamb of God. Instead, it is repeatedly stated that they were behind closed doors! They were hiding, not witnessing! But when they paid the cost of Pentecost through the ten days of prayer and contrition in the upper room, and the mighty fullness of the Holy Spirit came upon them and into them, their cowardice vanished, they threw open the doors and entered upon a campaign of missionary conquest which is still the glory of the Christian Church.

This book tells how God wrote history through the lives of eight men who, like the early disciples, were Giants of the Missionary Trail because they were possessed, filled, controlled and energized by the Holy Spirit of God. This great truth is evidenced in the marvelous ministry of Jonathan Goforth, "The Holy Spirit's Man in China," and all the others portrayed in these pages.

As in several earlier volumes of missionary biography, I have endeavored to give a faithful account of the conversion, spiritual development, conflicts, trials and triumphs of each missionary, to discover the hidings of power and to weave all the pertinent data into a pattern of unity and beauty around each character's great life text... —Eugene M. Harrison

Used with permission. From Giants of the Missionary Trail: The Life Stories of Eight Men Who Defied Death and Demons by Eugene Myers Harrison. Originally published by Scripture Press, Book Division, [1954].

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