John Geddie, Missionary to Melanesia
Hideous shrieks and unearthly wails shattered the stillness of the night.
"Do you hear those horrible cries?" asked the missionary's wife.
"Yes," her husband replied. "Someone has died and, after the custom of this dark island, a relative is being strangled."
Shortly after dawn, on a beach nearby, they saw a group of natives casting into the sea the body of the man who had died a few hours earlier and also the body of his wife who had been strangled. Hastening to the shore, the missionary spoke pointedly to the natives about the wickedness of their conduct. Some of them, having for sometime been under Christian instruction, joined in the condemnation, and then set about to locate the actual murderer. In a few minutes the party returned, dragging the culprit. Seeing the white man he cried out: "Have mercy! Let me go and I will never again strangle a woman."
After an earnest talk with the guilty man, the missionary told the natives to release him. This they were at first unwilling to do, saying that he should be tied to a post for several days while he was flogged and lectured.
"No," said the white man. "Force will not do. Only the compulsion of love will avail. Was it not the love of Christ that softened your hard hearts? Use no weapon but that which our Redeemer uses, the weapons of love. Let us constantly keep our hearts open 'unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins.'"
There we have the man and the text. The man was John Geddie, the year 1851, the place the New Hebrides [Vanuatu] and the text which wrote such a magnificent history, Revelation 1:5: "Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood." Like the Apostle John's his all-absorbing theme was the love of Christ. The stirring annals of John Geddie's life may be summed up in three episodes: the love of Christ captivated his young heart; the love of Christ animated his missionary labors; the love of Christ irradiated all his day.
This biography has been used by permission of http://wholesomewords.org. It is an excerpt from Blazing the Missionary Trail by Eugene Myers Harrison. Chicago, Ill.: Scripture Press Book Division, ©1949.