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James Chalmers

1841-1901. Scottish missionary. Born at Ardrishaig and brought up at Inverary, Argyllshire, he heard God's call at fifteen and vowed to take the Gospel to cannibals-a vow soon forgotten until his conversion three years later. In 1862 he went to Cheshunt College, Cambridge, to train under the London Missionary Society, and in 1867 he sailed for the Cook Islands of Polynesia. For ten years he continued the work begun at Raratonga by John Williams, but he longed for unevangelized areas, especially New Guinea. The work there was begun in 1872 by six pastors from Raratonga; Chalmers joined them in 1877. During his twenty-four years there, his concern and determination carried the work through despite many setbacks. He opened up a wide area for the Gospel through exploration, and rendered great service to government officials when SE New Guinea was annexed by Great Britain and became a crown colony. He established a training institution at Port Moresby and saw whole areas transformed by the Gospel.

Chalmers was essentially a pioneer. He made up for his imperfect knowledge of native languages by faith, prayer, Christlikeness, and love for the people. His success is attributable to the fact that he never doubted he had a Gospel for them. He was murdered by cannibals during a journey to explore new territory.

See R. Lovett, James Chalmers (1902).