Friday, March 1, 2013

David Livingstone, uncommon Christian missionary-explorer . . . 200th anniversary of his birth, March 19, 2013 . . . events and exhibits in Africa, U.K., USA, Canada

“I have found that I have no unusual endowments of intellect, but I this day resolved that I would be an
uncommon Christian.”

So wrote a young David Livingstone (1813–1873) prior to his initial departure for Africa.

Though not widely known today, the inspiration behind Livingstone’s resolution is James Brainerd Taylor (1801–1829). The Princeton University and Yale Seminary-educated evangelist in the Second Great Awakening was a household name in mid-19th-century America and Great Britain.

As learned from the Memoir of James Brainerd Taylor (1833), Taylor defined an "uncommon Christian" as one who is an “eminently holy, self-denying, cross-bearing, Bible, everyday” Christian.

Probably the most widely known person who was influenced and inspired by Taylor’s Uncommon Christianity was Livingstone.

Henry Morton Stanley: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"
David Livingstone: “Yes, and I feel thankful that
I am here to welcome you.”
November 10, 1871     Ujiji, Tanzania, Africa
Presumably in a diary entry, the famed Scottish pioneer missionary-explorer to Africa wrote (and as quoted above),
I have found that I have no unusual endowments of intellect, but I this day resolved that I would be an uncommon Christian.
Elsewhere, in a May 5, 1839, letter to his younger sister Janet, it is clearly known that Livingstone read and was influenced by the Memoir of James Brainerd Taylor.

James Brainerd Taylor
At the time of writing, the memoir’s popularity was at its peak in the U.S. and U.K. (a London edition appeared in 1834 by the publisher Westley and David), and the 26-year-old Livingstone was 19 months shy of leaving for Africa.

In the U.S. in the mid-1800s, Taylor's memoir was the 5th most printed memoir by the largest Christian publisher at the time, the American Tract Society. Jonathan Edwards' biography on Taylor's cousin, David Brainerd (1718-1747), was the 2nd most printed memoir by ATS.

In the letter—which is housed at the National Library of Scotland’s John Murray Archive in Edinburgh—Livingstone makes reference to “Mr. J. B. Taylor” and “uncommon Christians” (with “uncommon” underlined for emphasis). He then cites the American evangelist almost verbatim.

At the time, the London Missionary Society (est. 1795) candidate Livingstone was studying theology under a pastor in Ongar, England. And his sister was a teacher in their native Blantyre, Scotland.

Livingstone quotes from a May 11, 1823, letter that Taylor wrote while a student at New Jersey’s Lawrenceville Academy.

John Murray Archive.
National Library of Scotland.
In the letter, the 22-year-old Lawrentian quotes from his own journal entry that describes his dramatic “second conversion” (assurance of salvation) experience in Haddam, Connecticut, on April 23, 1822.
--> See John Holt Rice (1777-1831) and Benjamin Holt Rice (1782-1856), Memoir of James Brainerd Taylor, 2nd Ed. (New York: American Tract Society, 1833), 82-90. Memoir available online at Google Books and

Quoting the entire section for the sake of context, Livingstone states to his “dear sister,”
“The hand of the diligent maketh rich.” [Proverbs 10:4.]
This is true not only with respect to the things of this world, but also in reference to that, the possession of which is of far more consequence then all the other good things in the whole universe: the attainment of holiness, eminent holiness. We have the highest inducement to diligence in seeking this.
“They who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled.” [Matthew 5:6.]
"Pray without ceasing.” [1 Thessalonians 5:17.]
And, “Whatsoever we ask” the Father in Christ’s name, “believing, we shall receive.” [Matthew 21:22.]
Let us ask perseveringly, earnestly, and with a determination never to rest content till we have attained, what Mr. J. B. Taylor used to term, the state of being uncommon Christians, that is, “eminently holy and devoted servants of the Most High" [James Brainerd Taylor, quotation marks not in the original].
Let us seek—and with the conviction that we cannot do without it—“that all selfishness be extirpated, pride banished, unbelief vanish[ed] from the mind, every idol dethroned, and everything hostile to holiness and opposed to the divine will crucified; that ‘holiness to the Lord’ may be engraved on the heart [Exodus 28:36, 39:30], and evermore characterize our whole conduct” [James Brainerd Taylor, quotation marks not in the original]. This is what we ought to strive after; this is the way to be happy; this is what our Savior loves: entire surrender of the heart.
May He enable us by His Spirit to persevere till we attain it. All comes from Him, the disposition to ask as much as the blessing itself. “Every good gift,” every grace “comes from the Father of lights” [James 1:17]. Let us bless him if he has given any desire after him and his Savior, and take it as a pledge of better things to come.
We must not rest satisfied with desires, never draw any comfort from our feelings. But only be content with the blessings themselves when conscious of resting on the Lord Jesus. Never look within but constantly away from ourselves to the blessed cure for our maladies, which is ever open and always free. 
Livingstone Cottages.
(Formerly called Chapel Cottages.)
Ongar, Essex, England.
This is where Livingstone penned
his May 5, 1839, letter.

Livingstone Cottages.
Ongar, Essex, England.

In one of the first exhaustive biographies on Livingstone, William Garden Blaikie quotes from a portion (approximately one-fifth) of the above May 5, 1839, letter by Livingstone. With a massive amount of Livingstone manuscripts at his disposal, the professor at New College, Edinburgh, no doubt had to be selective regarding what to include, and what not to include, in his 500-plus page volume.

In The Personal Life of David Livingstone (New York: Revell, 1880, free online copy here), Blaikie omits “Mr. J. B. Taylor,” maybe with the thought that the specific human source of Livingstone’s “uncommon Christians” remark is inconsequential.

And because Livingstone himself does not use quotation marks, the Scottish biographer is understandably unaware that Livingstone is actually citing “Mr. J. B. Taylor” in the section of the 1839 letter that he does include. Blaikie (1820-1899) simply writes, “Alluding to the remark of a friend that they should seek to be ‘uncommon Christians, that is, eminently holy and devoted servants of the Most High. . .’” (page 46).

The impression is given that the anonymous friend is a contemporary of Livingstone, possibly a friend (perhaps good friend D. G. Watt), fellow ministerial apprentice, or even his pastor-mentor, the Rev. Richard Cecil. And that the section “all selfishness be extirpated, pride banished, unbelief vanish[ed] from the mind, every idol dethroned,” etc., and expansion of what it means to be an “uncommon Christian” (“eminently holy and devoted servants of the Most High”), are Livingstone’s own words and not those of his anonymous “friend.”

Despite the omission of “Mr. J. B. Taylor” by Blaikie—and subsequently every Livingstone biographer since Blaikie’s hagiographical The Personal Life of David Livingstone—and despite the lack of quotation marks by Livingstone (and subsequently Blaikie and every Livingstone biographer since), that the anonymous “friend” is the “uncommon Christian” American evangelist James Brainerd Taylor (1801–1829), a.k.a. “Mr. J. B. Taylor,” can be deduced with certainty.

To visit, click here.
Bicentennial Events and Exihbits in Africa & U.K.

Here are 4 major online resources and events in honor of the 200th anniversary of David Livingstone's birth:

Frontline Fellowship: Serving Persecuted Churches in Africa
Cape Town, South Africa
Dr. Peter Hammond, Founder & Director (est. 1982)
--> Frontline Fellowship USA branch (Manitou Springs, Colo.)

National Trust of Scotland, Scotland Malawi Partnership, the Scottish government, etc.

Livingstone, Zambia

+ Westminster Abbey Bicentenary Commemoration
London, England
March 19, 2013 (6:30 p.m.)
--> The ceremony is being attended by Livingstone and Moffat family members, church bodies, medical professionals, government officials, MPs and MSPs and many others with a deep regard for Livingstone and his legacy  . . . Livingstone's wife Mary (1821-1862) was the daughter of Robert and Mary Moffat, Scottish missionaries to Africa
--> Livingstone's grave and inscription

ALSO, see:

--> "Dr. Livingstone: A 200-year Legacy," BBC News, March 18, 2013

--> "Events mark birth date of explorer Dr David Livingstone," BBC News, March 19, 2013

--> "Celebrating David Livingstone, 'Africa's first freedom fighter': Born to mill-workers living in a single room in Blantyre near Glasgow 200 years ago, David Livingstone's life and legacy as an explorer and humanitarian is being celebrated across the UK and Africa," "The Scotland Blog," The Guardian (U.K.), March 19, 2013

--> "Meeting David Livingstone's Descendants," (Edinburgh), March 20, 2013

To visit, click here.

Bicentennial Events in USA
(for Canada, scroll to very end)

While American commemorative events are understandably yet sadly few, Uncommon Christian Ministries (est. 2007) is presenting a paper/lecture at the following academic conferences and church. For a copy of the paper, contact UCM

“Resolved that I would be an uncommon Christian”:
The Influence of the “Uncommon Christian”
James Brainerd Taylor on David Livingstone

In Honor of the Bicentennial of Livingstone’s Birth (March 19, 2013) 
Pacific Northwest annual regional meeting
March 9, 2013 (3:00 p.m.)
Church For All Nations
Tacoma, WA

Pacific Northwest annual regional meeting
April 6, 2013 (10:45 a.m.)
Multnomah Biblical Seminary
Portland, OR

Biennial national spring meeting (and ASCH's 125th anniversary)
April 6, 2013 (4:00 p.m.)
Crowne Plaza Hotel Conference Center
Portland, OR

First Baptist Church
47th annual missions conference
May 14, 2013 (7:00 p.m.)
Marysville, WA

Evangelical Theological Society
Midwest annual regional meeting 
April 10, 2015 (11:00 a.m.)
Moody Bible Institute
Chicago, IL

Evangelical Theological Society
67th annual national meeting
November 19, 2015 (2:40 p.m.)
Atlanta Hilton Hotel
Atlanta, GA

Maybe see some of you in Marysville, Tacoma or Portland? Come and bless us with your presence!

If desiring a copy of the paper--or a more informal PowerPoint presentation at your church or meeting--contact UCM.
--> NOTE: The 139 PowerPoint slides are available here. They are borrowed from Dr. Peter Hammond of Frontline Fellowship, Cape Town, South Africa, and Frontline Fellowship USA.

Also, for a map created by Uncommon Christian Ministries entitled "The Global and Cross-Cultural Impact of the American Evangelist James Brainerd Taylor (1801–1829) and His Two Memoirs (1833, 1838)," see here.

Livingstone's grave. (See here for text.)
Westminster Abbey. London.
Issue 56 (Vol. XVI, No. 4). 1997. Christian History.
To order, or to view the free online copy, see here.

To visit, click here.
"Dr. Livingstone attacked by a lion."

Birthplace of Livingstone. March 19, 1813.
David Livingstone Centre.
Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland.

To visit, click here.

"Imperial Obsessions: David Livingstone, Africa and world history: a life and legacy reconsidered."
Academic conference. April 19-21, 2013. Livingstone, Zambia.

To visit, click here.

Bicentennial Exhibit in Canada

"Dr. Livingstone, I Presume?"
& "David Livingstone: Magic Lantern Series" (in Belvedere Gallery)

March 19 - August 31, 2013

Castle Kilbride (1877, designated national historic site 1994)
Baden, Ontario

David Livingstone, a Waterloo resident and great-great-grandson of John Livingstone (1811-1899, older brother to the famed David Livingstone), donated artifacts to the exhibit, as did the Museum of Health Care Kingston, Stratford-Perth Archives and Waterloo Region Museum.

Of this lone Canadian exhibit, see:

"Dr. Livingstone, I Presume - in Baden: Exhibit shows location connection to explorer David Livingstone," The Record (Kitchener, Ont.), March 10, 2013

"Dr. Livingstone, I Presume?", Waterloo Chronicler, March 13, 2013

"Exhibit shows Waterloo connection to explorer David Livingstone,", March 11, 2013


David Livingstone.
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
March 2013.

Great-great-grandson of John Livingstone (1811-1899),
Canadian immigrant and older brother

of the famed David Livingstone.

Photo by Brent Davis. The Record. Kitchener, Ont.

John Livingstone (1811-1899).

Older brother of David Livingstone.
Pictured with his grandson.

Immigrated to Ontario, Canada, in 1840.

Lived in Lanark County in eastern Ontario, 1840-60.

ListowelPerth County in southwestern Ontario, 1860-99.

Buried in Fairview Cemetery in Listowel, Ontario.


Northwest face of Thunder Mountain in the Livingstone Range,
a sub-range of the Canadian Rockies in southeastern Alberta, Canada.

The range was named after David Livingstone in 1858 by Thomas Blakiston (1832-1891),
an assistant to the Irish-born geographer and explorer John Palliser (1817-1887).
When British-born "Forgotten Explorer" Peter Fidler (1769-1822) climbed Thunder Mountain

in 1792, he became the first European to make a recorded ascent in the Canadian Rockies.

There exists a Mount Livingstone in both Alberta (7,948 feet [2,422 meters])
and British Columbia (10,150 feet [3,094 meters], so named in 1927).

Adjacent to B.C.'s Mount Livingstone is Mount Stanley (10,138 feet [3090 meters]),
named after Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904), the New York Herald journalist
of "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" fame.

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