Thursday, May 7, 2009

Boston King -- The Relutant African-American Missionary

With an opportunity from his slave master to apprentice as a carpenter, the young slave, Boston King, did not experience an atmosphere in which to learn. The only black apprentice among his peers, he shouldered the blame for lost tools and mistakes around the shop. And when tools, or even nails, were thought to be lost or stolen, young Boston was beaten without mercy by the shop owners to the point he could not work for weeks.

When the news of such beatings reached the ears of Boston’s slave master, he intervened, not because he cared about Boston, but because Boston was his property, and the slave master could not afford for him to be permanently damaged by the shop owner. This intervention was effective, and Boston was able to properly gain knowledge of his trade. However, his slave master would never benefit from his service as a carpenter because Boston fled from his captivity not long after returning to his master.

Boston King ran into the hands of the English Army, who received him gladly and treated him humanely in the face of the American Revolution. He, along with his comrades, was infected with smallpox. He had to be removed a mile from the camp and could no longer march with the British Army.

Through miraculous provision and a Godly relief worker, Boston eventually recovered from his affliction. Not long after this, his wife became the first convert of the great orator, Moses Wilkinson. Her conversion was so dramatic that Boston’s heart became troubled. One could only imagine what went through his mind. Perhaps it was a dream that he had as a child:

When [I was] 12 years old, it pleased God to alarm me by a remarkable dream. At midday, when the cattle went under the shade of the trees, I dreamt that the world was on fire, and that I saw the supreme Judge defend on His great white Throne. I saw millions of millions of souls; some of whom ascended up to heaven; while others were rejected, and fell into the greatest confusion and despair. This dream made such an impression upon my mind, that I refrained from swearing and bad company, and from that time acknowledged that there was a God; but how to serve God I knew not.

His lack of knowledge did not last forever. Soon after his wife’s conversion, God dealt powerfully with Boston King, but King began to resist God’s dealing and fell into doubt and depression. Then one day, God began to speak to him.

I continued in prayer about half and hour, when the Lord…spoke to my heart, “Peace be unto thee.” All my doubts and fears vanished away: I saw, but faith, heaven opened to my view; and Christ and His holy angels rejoicing over me. I was now enabled to believe in the name of Jesus, and my Soul was dissolved into love. Everything appeared to me in a different light to what they did before; and loved every living creature upon the face of the earth. I could truly say, I was now becoming a new creature. All tormenting and slavish fear, and all the guilt and weight of sin were done away. I was so exceedingly blessed, that I could no longer conceal my happiness, but went to my brethren and told them what the Lord had done for my soul.

Soon after this miraculous experience, Boston began to experience a burden for the lost. He gave his life to serving God and soon became one of the most influential missionaries to Africa. He was one of the first black Americans to leave America and travel to Africa to preach the gospel.

Boston King’s life was one of supernatural communication with God. Although, like all of us, he faced doubts and fears, his conversations with God included not only talking, but also listening. Because he listened, his impact crossed the natural borders of oceans and touched the lives of lost human beings.

God Has Soul
Published by Honor Books 2004
Pages 48-50

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