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Significant Scots
Ion Keith-Falconer

Memorial of the Hon. Ion Keith-Falconer, M.A.
Late Lord Almoner's Professr of Arabic in the University of Cambridge, and Missionary to the Mohammedans of Southern Arabia by the Rev. Robert Sinker, B.D. (second edition) (1888) (pdf)

A career of exceptional promise was early closed in the death of Ion Keith-Falconer. The beauty of his character, his ardent missionary zeal, his great learning, form a combination rarely equalled; and the feeling was very generally expressed last summer, especially in Scotland, that an attempt should be made to portray the many-sidedness and goodness of that life. It was represented to his family that it was a duty “to make the story of such a life the possession and the stimulus of the Church and the country.”

When I was honoured with the request to write the Memoir of my late dear friend, I could but feel it was too sacred a trust to be refused.

How noble a life his was, how unselfish, how worthy to be loved, those who knew him know well; how hard it is adequately to set forth, on the one hand, its harmonious beauty, on the other, the rich variety of its aspects, I am very fully conscious. Still even the simple record of his life is its truest encomium. Its essence may be summed up in St Paul’s words, “I count all things but loss for Christ.”

The numerous letters with which I was entrusted by the members of his family and others, to whom my grateful thanks are due, give a fulness to the narrative which it must otherwise have lacked. Many will learn, perhaps to their surprise, how many were the interests of one whom they knew or heard of in one aspect only.

My especial thanks must be given to my friend of many years, the Rev. H. C. G. Moule, M.A., Principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge, who has aided me with his counsel and help at every stage of my work, and to whom I owe many valuable suggestions, while the book has been passing through the press : and to Dr George Smith, C.I.E., Secretary for Foreign Missions in the Free Church of Scotland, who has kindly allowed me to appeal to him constantly for information as to the details of the South Arabian Mission.

In conclusion, I humbly commit this book to Gods blessing. May He, Who has called His servant home to Himself, grant that some hearts may be quickened into a fuller love towards Him, a deeper zeal, by the record of a life devoted to His service.

R. S.

Trinity College, Cambridge,
February 2, 1888.


In the Second Edition a very few details have been added to the account of the Shaikh Othman Mission. No change calling for any remark has been otherwise made.

I take this opportunity to explain that the Arabic inscription on the cover means “ Loss for Christ.”

R. S.
May 25, 1888.

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