Adoniram Judson graduated at the top of his class in college, then he headed to New York City to seek fame and fortune as an actor and/or writer. He had left the God of his father, thinking he was beyond such "primitive notions."
But such a life was empty for him. He was disillusioned, so he headed back to his home in Plymouth, Massachusetts, stopping for a night at a wayside inn. Adoniram had trouble sleeping that night, because a man in the next room was critically ill and moaning and groaning in pain. Obviously, his neighbor in the next room was dying. In the darkness of his room, Adoniram thought about the possibility of his own death and whether he was prepared for it. At times during the long hours he thought about returning to the Christian beliefs of his father, but then he imagined what his college chum Jacob Eames would say about his father’s faith. He waited for morning to come so that the terrors of the night would be forgotten.
Early the next morning, Adoniram went to the innkeeper. "That poor old man in the next room. How is he?" he asked.
"He passed away early this morning,” came the reply. "And he wasn’t old at all. He was a young man, about your age."
For some reason, Adoniram asked, "What was his name?" It was a rather stupid question, because Adoniram certainly didn’t know anyone in that section of the country.
The innkeeper replied, "His name was Jacob Eames." It was Adoniram’s college friend whose skepticism had turned Adoniram against the faith of his father.
Dazed, Adoniram Judson returned to Massachusetts and to his father where after three months of a mental and spiritual battle, he "made a solemn dedication of himself to God."
(William J. Petersen, 25 Surprising Marriages, Baker Books, 1997. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Back to Bethel, 4/13/2011)
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