Perkins, Justin

Perkins, Justin D.D., a celebrated American missionary, labored among the Nestorians of Persia, and has not unaptly been called the "Apostle of Persia." He was born at West Springfield, Mass., March 12, 1805. He passed his youth on 'his father's farm, and when ready for higher studies went to Amherst College, where he graduated in 1829. He studied theology at Andover, and after graduation there became a tutor at Amherst. In the year 1827 that erratic adventurer, Dr. Joseph Wolf, made a flying visit to the Nestorians while traveling in Persia. His mention of them met the eye of Dr. Anderson, secretary of the American Board, and he conceived the idea of sending a mission to that extraordinary people. Justin Perkins and wife were selected as the proper persons for this field, and they set out from Boston Sept. 21, 1833. Reaching Constantinople Dec. 21, without the knowledge of a word of the language, they were welcomed by Messrs. Goodell, Dwight. and Schauffler, but recently established there. In the spring of the following year, Perkins and his wife proceeded towards their final destination. They reached the city of Tabruz Aug. 23, 1834. There Mrs. Perkins stopped, while Mr. Perkins went on farther to Urumiah, where the mission was at once established, with the assistance of Mrs. Perkins, and Dr. and Mrs. Grant, who joined them in the fall of 1835. Then followed the great labors of his life; schools for boys and schools for girls were established which have grown into noble seminaries of learning. Besides those that may be called higher seminaries, some seventy primary schools have been established, 3000 Scripture readers have, been educated in them, and an army trained up to preach the Gospel to their countrymen. Perkins's greatest work, however, was his translation of the Scriptures into the Nestorian dialect of the Syrian. In 1841 the doctor came home to visit his friends, and to stir up an interest in this missionary enterprise. He was accompanied by Mar Yohannan, the Nestorian bishop, and the two awakened a thrilling enthusiasm wherever they went. Dr. Perkins took back with him the sainted Stoddard (q.v.), and other missionaries, and from that time faithfully and most successfully prosecuted his work, until the fall of 1869, when he came home exhausted, and on the last day of the year he yielded up his spirit into the hands of his Lord, who doubtless said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Dr. Perkins published in this country, Residence of Eight Years in Persia (Andover, 1843, 8vo), reviewed in Christian Examiner, 34:100; Christian Review, 8:138: — Missionary Life in Persia (Boston, 1861). He was also a contributor to the

Bibliotheca Sacra, and to the Journal of the "American Oriental Society." See Anderson, Oriental Missions; The Observer, N. Y. Jan. 13, 1870; Drake, Dict. Amer. Biog. s.v.

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