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Tuesday, November 27, 2007


They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. – Revelation 12:11.

8. His Romantic Marriage. In 1872 Mr. Meech, of Peking, had married a Miss Prankard, of London. Gilmour frequented this home, saw a picture of Miss Emily Prankard hanging on the wall and heard the family speak of her frequently. In his lonely hours in the desert he had taken the matter of a suitable companion to the Lord and asked Him to send one that would help in his work. Gilmour, though he had not seen the lady or written her a line before, wrote her a letter in January, proposing marriage. Later, in the spring, he went up country and returned about July, to find he was an accepted man. He had written his parents at the time he made the proposal but that letter was delayed. Imagine their surprise when they received a letter from an unknown lady in London, telling of her engagement. Some thought he was running a great risk, but he assured them that he was at ease, for he had asked the Lord to provide.

When the bride-to-be visited his parents they were much pleased and said she would suit him well. Her first glimpse of her husband was from a boat near Tientsin as he stood on a lighter coming out to meet her. He was dressed in an old overcoat and had a large woolen comforter around his neck, -- for it was cold, -- not the usual method to make a favorable impression. She landed on Thursday and the following Tuesday, December 8, 1874, they were married. He afterwards wrote,
"She is a jolly girl, as much, perhaps more, of a Christian and a Christian missionary than I am."

9. Home Life. Companionship meant much to Gilmour. Circumstances were such that their first year was spent almost entirely in Peking. He made occasional trips to fairs at important centers, but not until April 7, 1876, did Mr. and Mrs. Gilmour take a tour into Mongolia proper. It covered a period of 156 days, during which time she picked up the language rapidly and accurately. The experience, however, was more than novel; dust storms and the continuous round of millet and mutton as food tried her greatly. While she was happy to endure for the work's sake, it was a great relief to get back to Peking again. Gilmour turned his attention to preparing two publications, one on striking incidents from Daniel, and the other the story of salvation, both published by the Religious Tract Society for him. These vacations from the plain were decidedly necessary, for the loneliness of the desert was too great a strain to endure all the time.

10. Encouragements. Once Rev. Lewis and Gilmour visited Hsiao Chang, five days distant from Tientsin. The district was famine stricken. They preached to audiences of from 130 to 300, people who were eager to learn to sing Gospel songs. Gilmour declared the service of song was a most powerful method of introducing Christ. His discourses were simple, full of illustrations from his own life, and with such earnestness and directness as gave them great force. When during the winter he was in Peking, he would hunt out the homes of Mongols and talk with them about Jesus. He peddled the Bible and often had opportunity to read to groups that gathered about him. They came from various parts of Mongolia and thus the Gospel was sent into almost every part of the country.

However, in his ability to dispense medicine was his greatest power among the natives, though many amusing requests came to him. "One man wants to be made clever, another fat, another cured of insanity, or of tobacco, or of whisky, or of hunger or tea. Most men want medicine to make their beards grow, while almost every man, woman and child wants to have his or her skin made as white as that of a foreigner." After ten years of work Gilmour was thoroughly convinced that medicine introduced him to many who would otherwise have held themselves aloof.

11. Among the Mongols. In 1882 the Gilmours took furlough to England, a much-needed rest for all of them. While home he published his famous book, "Among the Mongols." Even to the present the book sells well. So interesting was it that one critic wrote, "Robinson Crusoe has turned missionary, lived years in Mongolia, and wrote a book about it." Concerning the author the critic said, "If ever on earth there lived a man who kept the law of Christ, and could give proof of it, and be absolutely unconscious that he was giving it to them, it is this man whom the Mongols called 'our Gilmour.'"

While at home his main message was to pray more for the missionaries. "Unprayed for I feel very much as if a diver were sent down to the bottom of a river, with no air to breathe, or as if a fireman were sent up to a blazing building and held an empty hose; I feel very much like a soldier who is firing blank cartridges at an enemy." He would not ride a car or bus on Sunday, but once walked twelve miles to hear Spurgeon preach and then walked home, footsore but happy.

12. His First Convert. At the end of 1883 Gilmours were back in Peking. In the early part of 1884 he started out afoot without any medicine, on one of his most remarkable Mongolian journeys. The Mongols were surprised to note this foreigner, having all his belongings on his back, going about the country like their own beggar lamas. It was on this spiritual journey that he found his first convert. He was one day in a mud hut, pressing the claims of Christ upon a lama. A layman entered, stirred the fire that would not burn, and simply increased the volume of smoke in the room. So dense was the smoke that though the layman was but two yards from Gilmour he could not see him. Finally the layman said that for months he had been a learner of Jesus Christ and he was now ready to trust the Savior. The smoke had settled lower. Gilmour was lying on his back on the platform while the Mongols were crouched near the door.

The missionary says of the occasion, "The place was beautiful to me as the gate of heaven, and the words of the confession of Christ from out the cloud of smoke were as inspiring to me as if they had been spoken by an angel from out the cloud of glory."

Gilmour and the convert traveled for nearly twenty-three miles together, talking, and then in a lonely place in the road knelt and prayed together and then separated. This led him to the conviction that personal work was most effective, and forsaking all else, -- secular papers and books, even the bedside of his sick wife at times, -- he gave himself over to inquiries from early morning till late at night. Conclusion next week.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes, and give all you have, to win the lost to Christ? Then like, the James Gilmour, put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water, and dare to follow Jesus wherever He leads you?

Loving Father, I thank you for the life of James Gilmour, and I pray that anyone reading this may be inspired by his testimony to give their life to you, and that you would use them in the same way, as you used James. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to be a person of like faith, that I may bring glory to your name. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged.

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