Life and Letters of the Rev. Henry Martyn, B.D.

Henry Martyn
Henry Martyn. Image source: Wikipedia

This collection of the writings of Henry Martyn can be divided into three parts. The first two are selections from his journals and the third drawn from his account of a visit to Shiraz in Persia. My thanks to the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide for making this book available for digitisation. This title is in the public domain.

John Sargent [1780-1833], The Life and Letters of the Rev. Henry Martyn. London: Seeley & Co., 1885. Hbk. pp.463. [Click to visit the download page]


  • Preface
  • Preface to 10th Edition
  1. Early life of Henry Martyn – His successful academical career
  2. His advancement in piety – College employments – Decides on becoming a Missionary – His Ordination
  3. Commencement of his Ministerial labours-Collegiate Duties – Applies for a Chaplainship under the East India Company – Visits Cornwall – His sufferings on leaving England
  4. Departure from Eugland – Occurrences during his Voyage – At St. Salvador – And at the Cape of Good Hope – Arrives at Madras – And at Calcutta
  5. Mr. Martyn’s arrival at Calcutta – Residence at Aldeen – Preaches at Calcutta – Is appointed to Diuapore- Leaves Calcutta – Journal of his voyage up the Hoogly and Ganges
  6. Mr. Martyn is fixed at Dinapore – Commences his Ministry – Translations – Disputes with his Moonshee and Pundit – Difficulties respecting the Schools – His happiness in the work of Translation
  7. Mr. Martyn receives intelligence of the death of his eldest Sister – Letters to his friends – Is removed to Cawnpore – Hears of the death of his youngest Sister – Determines to visit Arabia and Persia -Leaves Cawnpore for Calcutta – Departs for Arabia
  8. Mr. Martyn leaves Bengal for Shiraz-Occurrences during his journey – Arrives at Shiraz – Commences a New Translation – Discussions with the Persian Moollahs
  9. First Public Discussion at Shiraz – Mr. Martyn replies to a Defence of Mohammedanism – Interview with the Head of the Soofies – Visits Persepolis – Translations – Discussions
  10. Mr. Martyn leaves Shiraz in order to lay before the King his Translation of the New Testament – Arrives at the camp – Is not admitted to an audience – Proceeds to Tebriz – Severe illness
  11. Mr. Martyn commences his journey homewards, by way of Constantinople – Visits Ech-Miazin – Suffers from fever – Dies at Tocat in Persia – View of his Character – Conclusion
  • APPENDIX: Letters to Miss Grenfell

For more resources on Henry Martyn, visit this page.

History of the Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society – First 25 years

Bible Churchmen's Society College in Bristol

The history of the Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society, now Crosslinks, from 1922-1947. The book includes several photographs and maps showing the locations of the mission stations in India, Iran, Ethiopia, Uganda, Canada, Morocco and Burma. Reproduced by kind permission of the copyright holder Crosslinks. This PDF can be used for free educational purposes, but not sold for profit without written permission from the copyright holder.

W.S. Hooton & J. Stafford Wright, The First Twenty-Five Years of the Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society (1922-47). London: Bible Churchmen;s Missionary Society, 1947. Hbk. pp.242. [Click to visit the download page]


  • Foreword, by the Rev. Daniel H.C. Bartlett, M.A., D.D

    Authors’ Preface

  1. A New Church Society
  2. Early Days and Small Beginnings
  3. Consolidation and Extension
  4. The Colleges
  5. Another Contindent Entered
  6. Stubborn Strongholds of Antichrist
  7. The Most Troubled Land
  8. Thrusting Outward in the Burma Field
  9. Gatehring up the Threads
  10. The Falling Star of Ethiopia
  11. China’s Two Suns
  12. Rays in India’s Darkness
  13. Bright Sky in Burma
  14. A Constellation and Single Stars
  15. The Young Crescent
  16. The Lights of Home
  17. Remote from the Battle Fronts
  18. Threatened, but not Touched
  19. Disorganization in Africa
  20. China Still in the Throes
  21. “A People Scattered and Peeled”
  22. Testing Times at Home
  23. Building Waste Places
  • Epilogue, by the Rev A.T. Houghton
  • Appendices
  • Index


This history has been entrusted· to one who did not take part in those inner councils which germinated and eventually directed the life of B.C.M.S., but who watched with sympathetic interest from an independent position the founding of a new Society based upon the wholehearted acceptance of the trustworthiness of the Word of God written and the Word of God Incarnate.

And the object of this history is simply to give Glory to God without Whose enablement and guidance the whole effort would have expired ignominiously. But Divine Grace manifested in the gift of a practical Faith engendered a “don’t-careism” concerning the things of Time, so necessary to the launching of a new witness to Truth amidst almost universal opposition….

Presbyterian Missions in India and Persia

Robert E. Speer & Russell Carter, Report on India and Persia of the Deputation sent by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. to visit these fields in 1921-22The author describes this 694 page report on Presbyterian missions in India and Persia (modern Iran) as “formidable”. It is certainly a thorough and detailed survey of the state of missions in these countries in 1922. My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing a copy of this book to digitise (originally it was presented to Exeter Cathedral library). This title is in the public domain.

Robert E. Speer & Russell Carter, Report on India and Persia of the Deputation sent by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. to visit these fields in 1921-22. New York: The Board of of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., 1922. Pbk. pp.694. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


  • Introduction
  1. The Shifting Thoughts of Japan
  2. China
  3. Past the Crossroads of the World
  4. India
  5. Persia
  6. Property and Finance
  7. Some Concluding General Observations
  • Appendices

Extract from page 393

What the Christian converts from Mohammedanism in Persia regard as the weakness of Islam and the attractions of Christianity, and what they believe to be the best method of approach to their fellow Mohammedans are set forth in an ingenious and instructive way in the answers which a score or more of these converts gave to a set of seven questions sent out by Mr. Wilson of Tabriz. I am glad to be able to quote some of these answers which Mr. Wilson let me copy. They come from all types, educated and ignorant, men and women, young and old, from different social levels. As indicated in the answers to the first questions, some had been Christians for long years before their open baptism. [Continue reading]

The report goes on to give the results of a fascinating survey of the reasons why Muslims in Persia decided to become Christians.

Henry Martyn of India and Persia by Jesse Page

Jesse Page, Henry Martyn of India and PersiaHenry Martyn [1781-1812] was an English missionary who served as a Chaplain to the East India Company. He is remembered for his translations of the Bible into Urdu and Farsi and for his courage, selflessness and commitment to Christ. The Henry Martyn Library established in his memory is now the Cambridge Centre For Christianity Worldwide. In this book, kindly provided for digitisation by Redcliffe College, the author laments that Martyn was not as well known [in the 1890’s when the book was written] than he deserved. He hoped that this biography would serve to correct that deficiency.

It is very likely that the book is now in the public domain, but I have been unable to establish a definitive date of death for Jesse Page. If anyone has further information about the rights, please contact me.

Jesse Page, Henry Martyn of India and Persia. London: Pickering & Inglis, [1930]. Hbk. pp.179. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


  1. The Young Cambridge Student
  2. The Choice Made
  3. Outward Bound
  4. India For Christ
  5. Facing the Enemy
  6. The Lonely Pilgrim
  7. Translating the Scriptures
  8. Farewell to India
  9. The Mission to Persia
  10. The Journey’s End
  11. The Man Himself
  12. Farewell


Strange it may seem, in an age when missionary interest is at flood-tide, and the heroisms of the field of God are being recognised on every hand, Henry Martyn is comparatively unknown.

On the horizon of the twentieth century he is dimly discerned, a luminous shadow far away, but felt to be that of one who was brave, and good, and suffering, who toiled his life away for others, and died in almost tragic solitude, friendless and alone. But distance weakens the true influence of a man, though it may glorify his memory; therefore, I have made the endeavour in the pages of this book to correct the focus of vision, and bring Henry Martyn, if possible, a little nearer to us in clear and vivid outline, instinct with reality and life.

His story shines with a glory not of this world. Its light is reflected from the Cross of Christ. [Continue reading]

History of the Arabian Mission

Alfred DeWitt Mason & Frederick J. Barny, History of the Arabian MissionThe History of Arabian Missions is one of the most unusual books among the collection passed on to me for digitisation by Redcliffe College. It summarises first the evangelisation the Arabian Peninsular from the the First Century until 1889. From then on it covers in great detail the foundation and developing work the Arabian Mission by James Cantine [1861-1940] and Samuel Marinus Zwemer [1867-1952]. My thanks to Doug Leonard, the Director of RCA Global Mission, for his kind permission to place this book on-line.

Alfred DeWitt Mason & Frederick J. Barny, History of the Arabian Mission. New York: The Board of Foreign Missions Reformed Church in America, 1926. Hbk. pp.256. [Click to download the complete book in PDF]


  1. The Land and its People
  2. History and Civilisation
  3. Religion and Education
  4. Early Contact with Christianity
  5. The Pioneers
  6. Possessing the Land
  7. Strengthening the Stakes
  8. Lengthening the Cords
  9. Years of the Right Hand of the Most High
  10. Women’s Work for Women
  11. Sister Missions
  12. Conclusion
  • Appendices

This section caught my wife’s eye as she was scanning through the book.

Extract from pp.87-88.

On his return to Arabia in the fall of 1896, he found one new missionary whose accession was the most significant of any that had yet occurred, Mrs. Amy Wilkes Zwemer, who had married Rev. Samuel M. Zwemer at Baghdad, May 18, 1896. Miss Wilkes had been a member of the Church Missionary Society with headquarters in the city of Baghdad. On her marriage to Mr. Zwemer she was released from her contract with the English Society, but the cost of her outfitting and travel to the field had been advanced by the Church Missionary Society and very properly had to be in part at least refunded to them. It, therefore, became a pleasantry among the missionaries to say that “Mr. Zwemer had obtained a wife in true Oriental fashion by buying her from her former people. “And a fellow missionary used to facetiously remark, “Yes, I had to go about at home and raise money to pay for Mr. Zwemer’s wife.” [Continue reading]

The Story of Clifford Harris of Persia [1904-1930]

Ronald West Howard [1887-1960], A Merry Mountainer. The Story of Clifford Harris of PersiaThis little book tells the story of the work of Clifford Harris [1904-1930] in Persia, modern day Iran. It is reproduced by kind permission of the Church Missionary Society.

Ronald West Howard [1887-1960], A Merry Mountainer. The Story of Clifford Harris of Persia. London: Church Missionary Society, 1931. Pbk. pp.93. [Click to download in PDF]

Early Days

On a beautiful stretch of Sussex upland, two miles from the town of Horsham, stand the stately buildings of Christ’s Hospital -the ancient school for boys in the new setting to which it was moved from London early in the twentieth century.

Here, on October 24, 1904, Clifford Harris was born; and some account must be given of his early days and of the family life that was to mean so much to him.

He was the youngest of the three children of the Rev. George Harris, a master at the school. Himself of Irish ancestry, the father always made friends by his quick sense of humour and ready fund of enthusiasm. These gifts his youngest son inherited to the full. His mother was a cousin of that famous medical missionary, Dr. Theodore Pennell, who spent his adventurous life of service among the frontier folk of the North-West Frontier Province of India. Something of his mantle was destined
to fall upon his young kinsman.

From his earliest days Clifford, with his brother and sister, knew the happiness of an undivided family life. His sister Ruth, a year older than himself, was his constant companion throughout all his childhood and his best friend in youth. When apart, they wrote regularly to each other every week. Jordan, the elder brother, always exercised a strong inspiration and influence for good over the younger brother. All through Clifford’s career this happy, undivided family life strengthened and moulded his character and service. Those who had most to do with him as a small boy found him delightfully unselfish ; this, and his natural gaiety of spirit endeared him to all who knew him. But he was wholesomely mischievous, too. A governess who had the early management of him-and found the task none too easy-tells how, on the death of her own father, Clifford showed his practical sympathy by saying : ” I am so very sorry your father has died ; and I really will try to behave better now.” Some days afterwards, however, the strain proving heavy, he warned her: “I don’t think I can keep it up much longer “! [Continue reading]

Mary Bird in Persia by Clara C. Rice

Clara C. Rice, Mary Bird in Persia
I am pleased to be able to upload a biography of Mary Bird, who served the Lord in Persia – modern-day Iran. You will note from the photograph above that the original was quite foxed – something which happily I have been able to remove in the digitised version.

Clara C. Rice, Mary Bird in Persia. London: Church Missionary Society, 1916. Hbk. pp.200. [Click to download in PDF]

Reproduced by kind permission of the Church Missionary Society.


1 – Mary Bird-Her Ancestry, Early Life, and Personality
2 – Ancient Persia
3 – Modern Persia
4 – Persian Conditions and Customs
5 – Mary Bird as a Pioneer
6 – ”Khanum Maryam,” The Friend of the Persians
7 – The Attitude of the Persians to “Khanum Maryum”
8 – Mary Bird as a “Doctor”
9 – Mary Bird as a “Teacher”
10 – Mary Bird as a Friend and an Inspiration
11 – “A Faithful Soldier and Servant” at Work and at Rest
12 – The Present Opportunity in Persia
Glossary of Persian Terms



All who had the privilege of knowing Mary Bird intimately, and of being her fellow workers in the great cause of foreign Missions, will rejoice that this memoir is being given to the public. The story of her life and labours can hardly fail to be an inspiration to those who read it. One could not see much of her without realizing the Presence of the Master to Whose service all her time and her talents were consecrated.

And now that she has gone to be with Him in a higher sphere of service, it is well that this book should go forth on its mission as a call to others to follow the King with the same whole-hearted devotion with which she followed Him. It would have been a loss to the Church of Christ if no such record had been written. Not indeed that it would be possible or desirable for many workers, either at home or abroad, to attempt to mould their lives upon hers in detail. Few, if any, could with advantage follow her example in ignoring the claims of the body to a reasonable measure of recreation, food, and sleep. It was a marvel to those who watched her self-denying labours that she lived so long. [Continue reading]

Persia Old and New by W. Wilson Cash Online

Persia Old and New by W. Wilson CashAs I am writing Iran (formerly Persia) ranks #6 on my online poll, but I have a further reason for putting this book online. The publisher, the Church Missionary Society, has granted me permission to digitise a number of their books from the 1930s. Most of these are about work in Muslim countries, so I have decided to work on this batch first so that I can send the CMS archivist a complete list of links to the books. My thanks to the CMS for their kind permission.

W. Wilson Cash, Persia Old and New. London: Church Missionary Society, 1930. Pbk. pp.72. [Click to download in PDF.]


1 – The Coming of a New Day
2 – Religious Movements in Persia
3 – Some of the Pioneers
4 – How the Church Grows
5 – The Coming of the King
6 – In Martyn’s Steps
7 – The Building of a Persian Church
8 – Towards the One Church

A Blue-tiled Mosque from Soh, near Isfaham


It was my happy experience to visit Persia in April and May, 1928. My tour carried me over 5000 miles by motor car, and I visited all the C.M.S. centres of work, as well as several stations of the American Presbyterian Mission. I was entertained by British, Americans, and Persians, and to my many kind hosts and hostesses I would express again my grateful thanks.

The work I saw in this C. M.S. field filled me with admiration for that splendid band of missionaries, old and young, who to-day are the worthy successors of those who laid the foundation upon which they build. I was much impressed by the thoroughness of the work; by the efficiency of schools and hospitals; by the initiative that is being shown in breaking new ground and adapting methods to changing conditions of life in Persia ; by the desire I found on all hands to make the Church the centre of all activity, and to accord to it that right of control that alone will enable it to grow strong and. free ; but most of all was I impressed by the spirit of prayer and devotion that lay behind every effort. “Pray one for another” is a command that finds a literal obedience m the Persia Mission. Every one prays for every one else, and all the converts of the Church from the time of their first inquiry are regularly remembered in prayer by the whole Church. [Continue reading]

“Dawdson” The Doctor – the Story of G.E. Dodson of Iran

"Dawdson" the Doctor - G.E. Dodson of IranIran currently ranks #8 on my online poll, so here is a biography of Dr. G.E. Dodson, who served in that country until his death in 1937.

A Friend of Iran, “Dawdson” The Doctor. G.E. Dodson of Iran. London: The Highway Press, 1940. Hbk. pp.73. Click to download in PDF.


Introductory – “I Shall Fetch Dawdson—”
1 – Why He Came
2 – Sizing Up the Task
3 – Digging Foundations
4 – Holiday Hikes
5 – Alarums and Excursions
6 – Building at Last
7 – The Builder Hands Over His Tools

“I Shall Fetch Dawdson—“

It was summer time in Iran. A sudden clatter of feet and the sound of shouting broke the stillness of the warm, early morning. Malekeh, who had been sitting in a shady corner of the veranda, sleepily cleaning rice for dinner that night, jumped up and listened. Then she pulled her gaily-printed cotton wrap or chaddur around her so that only her eyes were visible, and ran across the courtyard and down the passage that led to the village street. What she saw as she looked up the rough pathway made her turn and shout back to her mother and the servant, who were busy stirring pots in the little smoke-blackened kitchen.

“Mother, Rababeh, come quickly. There’s been an accident.” And then as the little group carrying a small figure came nearer, she shrieked: “It’s Mahmoud! He’s dead. Allah! What shall we do?”

They all ran out crying, their chaddurs flying behind them, and when they reached the party Fatomeh Khanum fell on her knees beside her son, tearing her hair and scratching her cheeks. Malekeh took one look at her brother, saw his eyelids flutter, and shaking her mother by the shoulder said: “Khanum, he’s not dead after all. Don’t make that noise.” At that Mahmoud opened his eyes, gave a feeble grin, said: “What a hubbub, I’m not dead yet,” and fainted off again. [Continue Reading]