Henry Martyn, Priest and Missionary, 1812
O God of the nations, who gave to your servant Henry Martyn a longing to share your Gospel with all peoples; Inspire the church in our own day with that said desire, that we may be eager to commit both life and talents to you who gave them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Henry Martyn was born in 1781, studied at Cambridge, and became Senior Wrangler. (That is, he won the Cambridge University annual mathematics problem-solving competition, and was accordingly recognized as the University's best undergraduate mathematician. "Wrangling" is a British University expression for solving mathematical problems.) He had, moreover, a considerable facility in languages. Under the encouragement of Charles Simeon (see 12 Nov 1836), he abandoned his intention of going into law and instead went to India as a chaplain in 1806. In the six remaining years of his life, he translated the New Testament into Hindi and Persian, revised an Arabic translation of the New Testament, and translated the Psalter into Persian and the Prayer Book into Hindi. In 1811 he left India for Persia, hoping to do further translations and to improve his existing ones, there and in Arabia. But travel in those days was not a healthy occupation, and he fell ill and eventually died at Tokat on October 16, 1812. (The American Calendar commemorates him on 19 October.) He was buried by the Armenian Church there, with the honors ordinarily reserved for one of their own bishops. His diary (vol. 1, vol. 2) has been called "one of the most precious treasures of Anglican devotion." *
* The Lectionary, James Kiefer, http://satucket.com/lectionary/Henry_Martyn.htm