When Livingston first became interested in missions, he had envisioned working among the Chinese. He had even applied to the London Missionary Society and had begun his missionary training. But midway through his training, the First Opium War broke out, sealing out any missionaries from entering China. Under the advice of the board, he began to seriously consider going to the West Indies.
But at about that same time, Livingston heard a man named Robert Moffat speak. Moffat was a missionary who had served in South Africa for many years and had returned to England for a short time to rally support for the work in South Africa. As Livingston stood listening, his heart began to stir as he heard of the thousands of villages where no missionary has ever been. He began to spend much time with Moffat and as the two spoke, David determined in his heart to go to Africa to reach the thousands who had never heard.
Certainly the greatest, the noblest, pleasure of intelligent creatures must result from their acquaintance with the blessed God, and with their own immortal souls. And oh, how divinely sweet is it, to look into our own souls, when we can find all our passions united and engaged in pursuit after God, our whole souls passionately breathing after a conformity to him, and the full enjoyment of him! Verily, there are no hours pass away with so much pleasure, as those that are spent in communing with God, and our own hearts. Oh, how sweet is a spirit of devotion, a spirit of seriousness and Divine solemnity, a spirit of Gospel simplicity, love, tenderness! Oh, how desirable, and how profitable to the Christian life, is a spirit of holy watchfulness, and godly jealousy over ourselves; when we are afraid of nothing so much as that we shall grieve and offend the blessed God, whom we apprehend to be a father and friend; whom we then love and long to please! Surely this is a temper, worthy of the highest ambition and closest pursuit of intelligent creatures. Oh, how greatly superior is the peace, and satisfaction derived from these Divine frames, to that which we sometimes pursue in things impertinent and trifling!
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