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Mission in 1877
Mission in 1893
W. J. POHLMAN, 1844-'49.
From Pitcher, Philip Wilson, ¡°Fifty Years in Amoy, a History
of the Amoy Mission,¡± Reformed Church of America Board of Publication,
NY, 1893 Click
Here for full text.
Mr. Pohlman was born in Albany, N. Y., February 17th, 1812. Leaving the
parental roof when he was twelve years of age, his young and inexperienced
life came in contact with severe and so great temptations that he was
nearly swept from the moorings of his faith and piety, instilled into
his heart by his faithful parents.
For four years he was tossed about upon the billows of temptation and
sin, conviction and relapses, good resolutions and broken vows, "the
struggles between a tempting world and a tempting adversary on the one
hand, and a conscience breathing dismay and terror on the other."
But at last the good conquered, and his conversion was sudden and almost
as vivid as Paul's on his way to Damascus; and, as in Paul's case, he
was chosen of God to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles far away from his
home land. His joy over the assurance of full redemption, his praise over
redeeming love, he could scarcely frame in words-so full was his heart.
This change occurred at Geneva, N. Y., in 1828, where he was living with
a sister, to whose loving, sisterly devotion and patience his conversion
was due (so far as human agency can work). Soon after he decided to study
for the ministry, and at twenty entered the junior class at Rutger's College,
1834. Subsequently graduating from the New Brunswick Seminary (1837),
he was ordained by the Classis of Albany, April 18th, 1838. His attention
to the heathen world was probably first called by hearing a returned missionary
from the Sandwich Islands preach shortly after his conversion. He was
deeply impressed. This impression was intensified by an address delivered
before the students of the College, February, 1833, by Rev. Dr. Wisner,
Secretary of the A. B. C.F. M.
"From this time his mind was not at rest until the beginning of the
next year, when, after many trials and conflicts, arising partly from
a distrust of his own qualifications and partly from reluctance of near
friends, especially of his aged parents, to part with him, he came deliberately
to the determination that he would devote his life to foreign missions;
and from that hour everything else was made subordinate and subservient
to the accomplishment of this one grand object"; and his consecrated
and devoted spirit is breathed forth on the pages of a letter he forwarded
to the A. B. C. F. M.
"Time has only served to strengthen the decision which was calmly
and dispassionately made. After repeated reviews of the same, I am confirmed
and settled. I cannot now doubt for a moment; mine was not a rush or a
hasty conclusion. If there are no contrary indications, I mnst go; I cannot
stay. Receive me under your care as a candidate for the missionary service;
I wish to be enlisted for life. If in your view I can be of any service,
I lay my all at your feet. Silver and gold have I none, but such as I
have give I thee. Send me abroad to publish glad tidings to the idol-serving
nations. Send me to the most desert part of all the howling wilderness
of heathenism, to the most barbarous climes, or to more civilized regions.
Send me to the millions of pagans, to the followers of the false prophet,
to the Jews or the Gentiles, to Catholics or Protestants. Send me, in
fine, wherever God opens an effectual door. Send me, for the necessity
is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel to the
perishing heathen." (Manual Reformed Church, etc.)
He was accepted, but before he departed he was employed by the Board of
Foreign Missions of the Reformed (Dutch) Church (then acting in concert
with the A. B. C. F . M.), visiting the churches, and several thousand
dollars were raised, as well as much enthusiasm aroused in the behalf
of missions, through his earnest appeals.
Mr. Pohlman, with his wife (a sister of Dr. Jolin Scudder, of Indian fame),
left for their mission field on the 25th of May, 1838. Like his brethren
who had preceded him at Amoy, his labors began elsewhere, having first
visited Java, Singapore and Borneo. He arrived in Amoy in company with
Mr. Doty, June 24th, 1844.
Through his solicitations and influence among friends at home, money was
secured for the erection of the first church building of Amoy January,
1849, at the cost of $3,000, now occupied by the members of the First
Church, Amoy. This was the first church erected in China, exclusively
used for Chinese worship. Thus, the temple stands an honor to this man
and a monument to his faith and zeal.
He was cut off in the midst of his years and not permitted to witness
this crowning act of his life in its full completion; for it was while
on a voyage from Hong-Kong, whence he had gone to procure lamps for the
edifice, that he lost his life at sea.
"He set out to return to Amoy on the 2d of January (1849) in the
schooner Omega. On the morning of the 5th or 6th the vessel struck, in
a fearful gale, near Breakers' Point, about half way between Hong-Kong
and Amoy." All on board perished save one, either at the hands of
the pirates who infested those shores, or by the overwhelming waters.
The people at Amoy were waiting for Pohlman's return, when they expected
to dedicate the new structure. His funeral service and the dedication
exercises were held at one and the same time, February 11th, 1'849.
Mrs. Theodosia R. (Scudder) Pohlman, 1844-'45¡± (Died; buried at Amoy,
Read more about Pohlman in
Corwin, Edward Tanjore, D.D. ¡°A Manual of the Reformed Church in America
(Formerly Reformed Dutch Church), 1628-1902, New Brunswick, New Jersey,
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