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Rules of Holy Living

by Adoniram Judson (1788-1850)

The rules of living which follow are copied from a paper in the handwriting of Dr. Judson. They are inserted here for the sake of illustrating the earnestness with which he strove after personal holiness, whilst engrossed with the labors of his missionary calling. He well knew that no external services could purify the heart; that this work could be done in no other way than by practically subjecting the whole soul to the commandments of Christ.

Rules adopted on Sunday, April 4, 1819, the era of commencing public ministrations among the Burmans; revised and re-adopted on Saturday, December 9, 1820, and on Wednesday, April 25, 1821.

1. Be diligent in secret prayer, every morning and evening.

2. Never spend a moment in mere idleness.

3. Restrain natural appetites within the bounds of temperance and purity. "Keep thyself pure."

4. Suppress every emotion of anger and ill will.

5. Undertake nothing from motives of ambition, or love of fame.

6. Never do that which, at the moment, appears to be displeasing to God.

7. Seek opportunities of making some sacrifice for the good of others, especially of believers, provided the sacrifice is not inconsistent with some duty.

8. Endeavor to rejoice in every loss and suffering incurred for Christ's sake and the gospel's, remembering that though, like death, they are not to be wilfully incurred, yet, like death, they are great gain.

Re-adopted the above rules, particularly the 4th, on Sunday, August 31, 1823.

Re-adopted the above rules, particularly the 1st, on Sunday, October 29, 1826, and adopted the following minor rules:

1. Rise with the sun.

2. Read a certain portion of Burman every day, Sundays excepted.

3. Have the Scriptures and some devotional book in constant reading.

4. Read no book in English that has not a devotional tendency.

5. Suppress every unclean thought and look.

Revised and re-adopted all the above rules, particularly the second of the first class, on Sunday, March 11, 1827.

God grant me grace to keep the above rules, and ever live to His glory, for Jesus Christ's sake.


From A Memoir of the Life and Labors of the Rev. Adoniram Judson by Francis Wayland. In Two Volumes. Boston: Phillips, Sampson, and Co., 1853.

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