Shining Faces

“They looked unto him, and were radiant” (Psalm 34:5, R.V.)

When the great missionary, Adoniram Judson, was home on furlough, he passed through Stonington, Connecticut. In those days the Stonington Line was the principal route between New England and New York, and the boys of the town often played about the wharves in the evening in the hope of catching a glimpse of some famous man. Two trains connected with the boat—an accommodation and an express.

One evening, when the accommodation came in, one of the boys noticed a man whose appearance excited his curiosity and wonder. Never before had he seen such a light on any human face. Presently it dawned on him that the man was the famous missionary whose picture he had once seen. He ran up the street to the minister’s to ask if he could be the man. The minister hurried back with him. Yes, the boy was right. But the minister, absorbed in conversation with the missionary, forgot all about the boy who had brought him the news. The boy, silent, eager, unable to tear himself away, stood by and watched the wonderful face, the face like a benediction.

Many years afterward, that boy, Henry Clay Trumbull, became a famous minister himself, and wrote a book of memories in which was a chapter entitled, “What a Boy Saw in the Face of Adoniram Judson.” Doctor Trumbull, too, has passed into the presence of the Master whom he served, but the light in the missionary’s face still shines down the years. Friends to whom Doctor Trumbull told the story tell it to others, and the printed pages—who can tell to how many lives they have carried their message?

The shining face is no mystery. Centuries ago the Psalmist knew the secret and wrote, “They looked unto him and were radiant.” It comes to those whose faces are always turned toward Him, as a flower turns toward the light. It was said at the time of the Boxer rebellion that Chinese Christians could not be disguised—the light in their faces betrayed them. The pity of it, that every Christian may not be known by the shining of his face!


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