Two hundred years ago today, October 16, 1812, the intrepid missionary and Bible translator Henry Martyn died at the age of 31 in Tokat, in what is now northeastern Turkey. His brilliance as a linguist, his courage as a Gospel pioneer, and above all his driving passion for Christ left an enduring example of missionary service and sacrifice.
Though he lived to serve only 6 years on the field, Martyn left translations of the New Testament in Urdu, Arabic, and Persian. He filled his days with lasting things. By the fall of 1812, suffering from tuberculosis, weakened by fever, and exhausted from his arduous, friendless journey across Iran, Martyn wrote, “O Lord, Thy will be done! Living, dying, remember me!” Then in Tokat, all alone—and yet not alone—he wrote in his journal for the last time, “I thought with sweet comfort and peace of my God, who, in solitude, was my company, my friend, and comforter.”
Many biographies and articles about Henry Martyn can be found to better acquaint you with this remarkable man who embodied risk-taking, cross-bearing Gospel ministry. Tim Challies provides an excellent review of a more recent biography here.