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John G. Paton

The Autobiography of the Pioneer Missionary to the New Hebrides (Vanuatu)

John G Paton
5 out of 5 based on 7 customer ratings
(7 customer reviews)
Look Inside Price $30.00 $27.00

500+ in stock

Weight 1.86 lbs
Dimensions 8.8 x 5.75 x 1.4 in
page-count

540

Format

Book

isbn

9781848712768

Original Pub Date

1889

Banner Pub Date

Oct 1, 1965

topic

Missions, 19th Century, Missionary Biography

binding

Cloth-bound

ENDORSEMENT

‘What sustained John Paton in his missionary zeal? No doubt he had a love for the people. He was certainly burdened for them and had compassion on their souls, knowing that without Christ they were certain to go to hell. As important as compassion is for those who do not know God, I suggest this will not sustain a missionary zeal, whether it be for missionaries serving on the field or for Christians in western churches who pray and support various missionaries. Something more is needed…Only a zeal for the true and living God to receive his due, to receive the glory and commitment in a local church.’ — ALLEN M. BAKER

Book Description

The autobiography of John G. Paton contains everything necessary to make it a missionary classic. Born into a Christian family near Dumfries in 1824, Paton’s early years were marked by a struggle against poverty. He was self-educated, and the training ground for his life’s work was the slums of Glasgow where he laboured with success as a city missionary. With ‘the wail of the perishing heathen in the South Seas’ continually sounding in his ears, he prepared himself to serve overseas and was ordained as a missionary to the New Hebrides in 1858. This group of thirty mountainous islands, so named by Captain Cook, with its unhealthy climate, was then inhabited by savages and cannibals. The first attempt to introduce Christianity to them resulted in John Williams and James Harris being clubbed to death within a few minutes of landing in 1839. The difficulties that confronted Paton were accentuated by the sudden death of his wife and child within months of their arrival. Against the savagery and the superstition, despite the trials and the tragedies, Paton persevered and witnessed the triumph of the gospel in two of these South Sea islands. His life is almost without parallel in missionary annals and his account of it is moving and gripping.

Ian Hamilton on John G. Paton

 

Table of Contents Expand ↓

PART FIRST
INTRODUCTORY NOTE 2
CHAPTER I.
THE HOME LIFE 3-18
CHAPTER II.
SCHOOL AND EARLY COLLEGE DAYS 19-31
CHAPTER III.
IN GLASGOW CITY MISSION 32-51
CHAPTER IV.
FOREIGN MISSION CLAIMS 52-61
CHAPTER V.
THE NEW HEBRIDES 62-69
CHAPTER VI.
LIFE AND DEATH ON TANNA 70-85
CHAPTER VII.
MISSION LEAVES FROM TANNA 86-108
CHAPTER VIII.
MORE MISSION LEAVES FROM TANNA 109-148
CHAPTER IX.
DEEPENING SHADOWS 149-185
CHAPTER X.
FAREWELL SCENES 186-224
CONCLUDING NOTE 225
PART SECOND
PRELIMINARY NOTE 228
CHAPTER I.
THE FLOATING OF THE “DAYSPRING” 229-258
CHAPTER II.
THE AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES 259-275
CHAPTER III.
TO SCOTLAND AND BACK 276-293
CHAPTER IV.
CONCERNING FRIENDS AND FOES 294-308
CHAPTER V.
SETTLEMENT ON ANIWA 309-325
CHAPTER VI.
FACE TO FACE WITH HEATHENISM 326-359
CHAPTER VII.
THE LIGHT THAT SHINETH MORE AND MORE 360-387
CHAPTER VIII.
PEN PORTRAITS OF ANIWANS 388-416
CHAPTER IX.
SECOND VISIT TO BRITAIN 417-442
CLOSING TESTIMONY 443-444
PART THIRD
PRELIMINARY NOTE 446
CHAPTER I.
ROUND THE WORLD FOR JESUS 447-471
CHAPTER II.
THE HOME-LANDS AND THE ISLANDS 472-496
FAREWELL TO THE READER 497
APPENDICES
A. A WHITE-SOULED PEASANT 501-503
B. NOTES ON THE NEW HEBRIDES 503-506
C. THE PRAYER OF THE TANNESE 506-508
INDEX 509-524

 

 

 

7 testimonials for John G. Paton

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  1. 5 out of 5

    :

    This is my favourite Banner book, hands down. God used it to show me the value of a godly home, and the impact it can have on one’s children (Paton was massively influenced in his personal walk by his father – great stuff). The amount of times Paton escapes death, coupled with the amount of converts the Lord blesses his ministry with, makes for one exciting, spiritually edifying read!

  2. 5 out of 5

    :

    This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The encouragement to godly parenting (Paton’s father) and the example of inspiring courage (Paton himself) were tied together by the same scarlet thread – a fiery love for Christ and for those made in his image. I recommend this book to every Christian, but especially to parents, church planters, and foreign missionaries.

  3. 5 out of 5

    :

    This is the original three part auto-biography of John Paton, missionary to the New Hebrides (cannibals.) Paton describes his early life growing up in a relatively poor Christian family with many brothers and sisters. His father’s devotional life had a huge impact on him. I was immediately impressed with Paton’s dedication to his missionary calling which he received at a relatively young age. He was offered a stable position with a long term contract but turned it down on the basis that a few years down the line he needed to be free to go overseas. His greatest desire was to be used by God and he surrendered himself completely.

    Paton’s heart was drawn to the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) and this remained his ministry focus throughout his lifetime despite, having finally arrived there, losing his wife and child within three months. He began on the extremely hostile island of Tanna.

    “On landing we found the people to be literally naked and painted savages…At first they came in crowds to look at us, and at everything we did or had. We knew nothing of their language; we could not speak a single word to them, nor they to us.”

    The striking thing about his story is that he is in danger of death day in and day out due to the culture of the natives on the islands. Even when it seemed he may have won the favour of one or another person the tide could quickly change or they may just have been looking for an opportunity to kill and eat him.

    “A killing stone thrown by one of the savages grazed poor old Abraham’s cheek…a club was also raised to follow the blow of the killing stone, but God baffled the aim. They encircled us in a deadly ring, and one kept urging another to strike the first blow or fire the first shot. My heart rose up to the Lord Jesus…I realised that I was immortal till my Master’s work with me was done.”

    The role of the white traders was fascinating but heartbreaking as it devastated the work of the missionaries and in many ways was deliberate.

    Paton faced a constant battle to maintain his support at home due to rumours and misunderstandings about his ministry. He had to leave the field at times to quell various unfair reports about him and the divisions between different denominations in the various supporting countries were a sad indictment. Still he tried to just get on with the job returning to the Island of Aniwa when forced to leave Tanna. I find it incredible that he was criticised by some for leaving Tanna and I can see why this would’ve been a huge discouragement to him in the circumstances as he had remained there until the last possible second. Deciding that God didn’t want him to be reckless with his life he reluctantly left only to be criticised by those “sitting in cozy armchairs.”

    Aniwa was more successful in ministry terms and it wasn’t long before they saw conversions

    “The old chief led them in prayer- a strange, dark, groping prayer, with streaks of Heathenism colouring every thought and sentence; but still a heart-breaking prayer, as the cry of a soul once Cannibal, but now being thrilled through and through with the first conscious pulsations of the Christ-Spirit throbbing into the words-‘Father, Father; our Father.'”

    I thought the first two thirds of the biography were excellent. They read like fiction apart from belief in the power of God and could easily form the basis for a movie. The telling of the experiences on both Tanna and Aniwa are very readable. I think maybe the author should’ve stopped there. He documents his various trips home for fundraising activities and although at first that was also interesting I became a little tired of reading about various donations, the amounts and the donors and the squabbling in the churches, that basically fills the third part of his biography which is a shame.

    That said I would still highly recommend this book as I believe it is unique in terms of the daily dangers faced with an honest depiction of personal struggles including bouts of depression, and gives a true insight into the experiences of pioneer missionaries in primitive areas.

  4. 5 out of 5

    :

    John Paton was the famous 1800’s missionary to the cannibals of the South Seas islands. This is his autobiography and it is over 500 pages long. I read it slowly over about 8 weeks. It was more than worth my efforts!

    However, if you are not an avid reader, this book will probably be “too much” for you. I’d recommend getting one of the shorter biographies of his life. But because this is John’s first hand account – there are many fascinating stories/situations. You’ll miss out on many of them if you opt for a biography of his life instead.

    This book was inspiring and powerful. It takes you from his childhood, all the way to his later years. John Paton was sold out for Jesus, and for reaching the cannibals for Christ. Imagine landing on a primitive island, and not even speaking the language of the natives. He started from nothing! He endured much hardship,suffering,sickness and danger – especially on the first island that he was a missionary on. There were setbacks and disappointments. Many would have given up and went home, but not John Paton. Eventually, after much sacrifice and labor, he saw many natives come to Christ and their lives miraculously transformed.

    On a lighter note…One part of the book left me laughing so hard that I cried! Paton was a “total abstainer” from alcohol (and he argues his choice very strongly). But one time while traveling in Australia he had a 20 mile ride on a crazy, out-of-control, horse. Upon reaching his destination, he was topsy turvy and could barely speak. They thought he was drunk, and try as he might he couldn’t convince them he was sober. You have to read it yourself – it was hysterical!

    I give this autobiography 5 stars. It is a missionary classic.

  5. 5 out of 5

    :

    A classic missionary autobiography. This book has it all–The childhood home that shaped Paton’s unwavering devotion to Christ, the early preparation for overseas ministry, danger and adventure and intrigue among the cannibals, profound loss and disappointments and perseverance, wild success in a second attempt, and finally, many years of support-raising to continue the mission. May we never forget that the “exciting parts” are impossible without this last, more mundane chapter of the story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    :

    This was the one of most moving missionary biographies I have ever read. At the end, I felt as if John Paton was right next to me, asking me if I’m ready to go out by faith and surrender to work that God has planned for me. His account is painful and yet inspiring-it’s also a great adventure for one to embark on.

  7. 5 out of 5

    :

    In this amazing autobiography, John Paton describes his upbringing in Scotland, his success in ministry in London, and his dangerous work among the natives of the New Hebrides Islands. The stories of the events of his life are amazingly detailed and powerful, as they demonstrate his faith in God and his care for the lost. As these events happened in the second half of the nineteenth century, it provides a great insight into the history of England and its relationship with the church and mission work.

    Overall, I was impressed with the work Paton did in London, and his example of faith in the much-present face of death on the New Hebrides Islands. He had confidence in God’s plan, and learned to face death with boldness. I grew weary of his travels spent fundraising for the mission work, and did not necessarily agree with all of his tactics for reaching the natives, but he did it, and I haven’t. I find the book a great encouragement in faith in the God of the Bible, and would recommend it as a classic in Christian biography.

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