« AnteriorContinuar »
WEST-COAST MISSION, DEMERARA. This interesting station is situated on the western coast of the Demerara River, in the Colony of British Guiana, about eight miles from George Town. It was commenced in 1819, by the late Rev. Richard Elliot, in accordance with the cordial and united invitations of the planters and negroes; and so abundant was the divine blessing upon his ministry, that, in 1822, when he returned to England, the number under stated religious instruction amounted to 1,000, and the church contained 200 members.
Among the lamentable consequences of the insurrection, in 1823, was the suspension of this promising Mission ; and, for a period of nearly six years,
the people, who had been so long and so faithfully fed with the bread of life, were deprived of the advantages of a stated ministry. In 1829, the Rev. Joseph Ketley assumed the pastoral charge, and, under his assiduous ministrations, the work of God was revived and strengthened. Other devoted brethren succeeded him, and the labours of the Mission were continued without intermission, though not with unvaried prosperity, until the arrival of the Rev. James Scott, in January, 1832.
At that period the church and congregation were in a state which indicated an urgent necessity for the vigilant care and strenuous exertions of an efficient pastor; but, by earnest unrelaxing application to the object, our brother, Mr. Scott, in dependence on divine aid, soon succeeded in restoring the Mission to its former gratifying condition. With honourable zeal and perseverance, he has continued to devote himself to the interests of the negro population to the present time ; and, through the riches of divine mercy, his ministry has become to many the savour of life unto life. By the preaching of the Gospel, and the influence of education, the people were prepared to appreciate and improve the blessing of freedom; and, since that invaluable boon has been conferred upon them, they have steadily advanced in intelligence, order, civilisation, and piety. The Report of the Rev. J. J. Freeman, who visited the Colony, as a Deputation from the Board, at the close of last year, fully corroborates these statements, and encourages the hope of yet more abundant blessing and prosperity. The latest accounts from Mr. Scott state, that there is a regular attendance of 800 persons on public worship, and that the church has upwards of 300 meinbers.
For years past the spirit of christian liberality evinced by the people has been of the most exemplary character, and we rejoice to add that there is every reason to expect that the time is not distant when their pecuniary offerings will be adequate to the support of the Gospel among themselves.
Under the altered circumstances of the people, and from the continued accessions to their number, Mr. Scott had long felt the desirableness and necessity of erecting another and larger chapel, possessing better accommodation than that of the former one: the object was presented to the people, and obtained their hearty concurrence; and the following letter, dated September 14th, recently received from our esteemed brother, stating the completion and opening of the new place of worship, will show with what noble generosity they have contributed to defray the heavy expenses attendant on the measure.
“I am happy to state that our new chapel has been completed. It was opened for divine worship on Friday last, the 8th instant. We were favoured with the presence of all the brethren in this division of the Mission, together with Mr. Davies, and Mr. Dalgliesh, from Berbice. We had a prayer-meeting at six o'clock in the morning, and public worship at twelve o'clock at noon, when
Mr. Rattray preached from 1st Kings viii. 29. Public worship was held again at half-past six in the evening, when Mr. Davies preached from Ps. cxxxvii. 5, 6. Both discourses were deeply interesting, and it is hoped will be long remembered by those who were privileged to hear them.
“ Though it was a week-day, and a busy season, the chapel was filled with an attentive audience. The opening collection amounts to 2901. We have pewsittings for 840 persons : every sitting, I believe, being already let, and a demand for more. There are, besides, free sittings for 160 persons. The building is universally admired; for, though plain and unornamental, it is neat and substantial. The cost, by contract, without painting, is 10,300 dollars. The painting and lighting cost 400 dollars more : bringing the entire amount, on the day of opening, to the sum of 10,700 dollars, equal to 2,3061.
" Towards meeting this enormous outlay, the congregation, with no foreign aid from any quarter, have already raised between 7,000 and 8,000 dollars ; and it is hoped, at a day not very distant, they will clear off the entire amount and leave the building free of debt. The season of opening, with all the delightful, soul-stirring exercises connected with it, will be long remembered by ourselves and the congregation at large. May the presence of the gracious Saviour continue to be with us!”
ZEAL OF NEGRO CHRISTIANS IN BERBICE.
(From Rev. J. Roome, Hanover, June 13, 1843.) For some time my heart had been deeply lings per day less than they are in the habit impressed with the importance of offering of receiving : the headman would only take special prayer for the out-pouring of the two shillings per day, whereas his labour Holy Spirit, and the conversion of souls to was well worth two dollars. God. Accordingly we devoted every even- In seven weeks the chapel was ing of the first week in April to this pur- opened; so that we were without accompose ; and concluded, on the Saturday, by modation only six Sabbaths. The chapel commemorating the dying love of the Lord now stands two or three miles nearer Han. Jesus. I am happy to say, we found these over-it is very much better attended, and occasions to be “times of refreshing from until we can get our new one, will be of the presence of the Lord.” The chapel the greatest service for the day-school, and was so thronged, that many were unable to week-day services. At the six o'clock obtain admission. The most lively interest prayer meeting, on the Sabbath morning, was kept up, and, I believe, it increased till it is full; at the public service it is filled to the last.
excess; and at the adult school in the As already stated, the people attended afternoon, as well as the meetings held durthese meetings in great numbers, and we ing the week, the attendance leaves no were grieved to find that so many were ex- room to spare. cluded. The question was then asked, Many and great will be the advantages " What can be done?" as UNION CHAPEL secured by the removal of the chapel. But, was distant about two miles and a half. At I feel certain, that the “strength," emonce the people agreed to take down that ployed in removing it, was, to say the least, place of worship and bring the materials to greatly “renewed” by "waiting on the Ithaca, without any charge for their labour. Lord" during the week referred to. Had To this undertaking they devoted nearly a it not been for these meetings, I feel satiswhole week. The men carried the heavy fied that nothing would have been done, and hard-wood, the women the bricks for the many who could not, or who would not, pillars, and the children “gathered the walk two or three miles, and were perishsticks,”-shingles; and in this way every ing for lack of knowledge," have now portion of it was brought free of expense. “the Cross planted in their midst.” On
I may also state, that, in re-erecting the this account “I thank God and take chapel, the people not only gave the ground, courage." but the carpenters worked one to four shil
DEATH AND FUNERAL OF LEOTA, NATIVE CHIEF, FROM THE SAMOAS OR NAVIGATORS ISLANDS, SOUTHERN PACIFIC. It is with unfeigned regret that the Directors of the Society announce to their friends the death of Leota, one of the two natives from the Samoan group, who so lately arrived in England with their Missionary, the Rev. Thomas Heath, on the return of the Camden. All the information which the Society is in possession of respecting the history of this good man, now departed to his rest, will be found in the brief address of Mr. Heath, as given below; and the circumstances attending his illness and removal are detailed in the medical certificate conveyed to the Directors, on the post-mortem examination, which they were desirous should be made, and from whence it is but too painfully evident that LEOTA was labouring under a consumptive disease, though in an incipent stage, at the time of his leaving his own shores.
It appeared desirable to the Directors, that, as Leota had resided a short time in Hackney, and died there, a funeral service should be held at the chapel of the Rev. Dr. Burder, on the day of the interment; and the chapel having been kindly lent for the occasion, an impressive service, which was numerously attended, was held there on Thursday, the 2nd of November, previous to the interment of the body in Abney-park Cemetery.
A deputation from the Missionary Society was appointed to attend the funeral, consisting of the Rev. J. Arundel, and the Rev. J. J. Freeman, Secretaries ; with the Rev. George Collison, and the Rev. Dr. Burder, Directors. There were in vited also the Rev. T. Ransom, of Hackney ; Captain Morgan (of the Camden ;) Mr. S. Williams (son of the late Rev. John Williams, Missionary to the South Seas ;) Ebenezer Smith, Esq., medical attendant; and, as chief mourners, the Rev. Thos. Heath, and Aperaaino, the native teacher. Mr. Gill, Missionary student ; Mr. Gibson, chief officer of the Camden ; and a native youth from Tahiti ; also attended.
The body having been conveyed by hearse to St. Thomas's-square Chapel, was placed in front of the pulpit. Service commenced by Rev. J. Arundel giving out the well-known and beautiful hymn of Charles Wesley (300 Congregational Hymn Book,)
"Come, let us join our friends above." The Rev. Thos. Heath then addressed ence of my lamented brother Barnden, who the deeply-attentive audience to the follow, was drowned while bathing, about the end ing effect :- It devolves upon me, my Chris. of the year 1838. After that melancholy tian friends, in the arrangements of the event, and until the location, in 1840, of present solemnities, to give some account Mr. Slatyer in the same district, our brother of our deceased brother. It is desirable Murray had the care of, and occasionally that the statement should be brief, and, in. visited Leota's district; and it was during deed, as the materials are few, it must ne- that time that Leota first began to feel secessarily be so. He lived at Tutuila, 100 rious concern relative to his salvation. It miles distant from my usual residence, and was some time before his convictions and I did not become acquainted with him until desires came to a crisis ; and, in the interDecember last. The island of Tutuila is val, he several times appeared to abandon, gorerned by seven Chiefs of equal authority, but again resumed, his old pleasures and and Leota was one of them. Aperaamo follies. In 1840, however, after the settletells me that, prior to his conversion, he ment at Leone of brother Slatger, he be. acted mildly and kindly among bis people, came decided, and applied for baptism, and and not with that tyranny which is charac. subsequently, for admission into the church; teristic of some of the Chiefs in their hea- to both which privileges, on due probation, then state. This is just what I should have he was admitted. inferred from the development of bis cha- During our voyage to England, the beharacter since I have known him—that he was viour and conduct of Leota, and our other naturally a kind-hearted man. He lived in native friend, was very exemplary. They the district formerly under the superintend kept up private prayer daily, as well as
prayer together, and were in the habit of reading the Gospels and other books in their own tongue. We had also a short service in Samoan for their benefit every Sabbath, in which our departed brother took a part. He also kept a brief journal of the events of the voyage, and his visits in this country; and though I have not been able at the moment to find it, I have met with several memoranda.books filled with texts and skeletons of sermons, both of those which he heard in Samoa, and of the short addresses delivered by me on board ship, which show that he was an attentive hearer of the word, and that he wished to retain what he heard. At several of the meetings we have attended in different parts of the country (at which his presence and addresses excited much interest,) and among the rest at Norwich, which was the last he attended, he would say, in bidding farewell, “ Perhaps we shall not meet again in this world, therefore let us prepare for the great meeting in heaven." On our way home from Norwich, a fortnight since last Tuesday, he complained of internal pain, but I did not think, from his description, that its seat was the chest. The next day, however, finding his breathing a good deal affected, I obtained medical advice. He was ordered to go to bed immediately, which he never afterwards left, and the next day his disease was declared to be inflammation of the lungs.
From that time, however, until the fol. lowing Monday morning, when we two (myself and Aperaamo) left him, on going into the country, I did not think that the disease had assumed an alarming form ; por, indeed, did it, until the day before his death. On our parting with him we had prayer together, and I and Aperaamo said a few encouraging words to him; and, having observed to him that some died of his complaint, we inquired what was the state of his mind ? He replied, with great composure, “ Just as God pleases. I do not fear. I believe in Jesus." His kind attendant could not converse with him, but she states that he was evidently much engaged in prayer to the very last. Although, therefore, I sorrow, I do not sorrow as those who have no hope. On the contrary, I believe our friend was fully prepared to die; for, applying the best criteria we can, and are accustomed to do with regard to Chris. tians in our own country, I believe that Leota was a truly godly man, and that he is now among the happy in heaven. I have seen other Samoans, too, on the point of death, aod have heard them say in the immediate prospect of it, “I cleave to Jesus ; I cleave to Jesus; he is my Saviour."
Immediately after Mr. Heath had concluded this address, which was intended
only to give an outline of the history of Leota, the Rev. Mr. Freeman proceeded to remark :
The circumstances which have convened us, my Christian friends, on this occasion, possess an unusual degree of interest and solemnity. Death is always solemn, and to commit to the silent tomb those with whom we have associated in the walks of life and in the service of Christ-no more to see them, till the morning of the resurrection—is always affecting. But in this case various considerations combine to give more than ordinary interest and impressiveness to the service. We have before us not simply the removal of a man cut off in the very prime of life, whose sun has gone down while it was yet high day,—but of one who lately came among us from a far dis. tant land, who came to be our visitor, our guest, our friend, our Christian brother-a stranger from an island more than ten thousand miles from our shores, and whither he hoped again ere long to return in peace. But his expectations have been cut off; in that very day his thoughts have perished, and his ashes will mingle with ours, remote from his fatherland. He came among us voluntarily, cheerfully, that he might see those who had had compassion on him and his countrymen, by conveying to them the tidings of eternal life, and bringing them from darkness to light. He found a cordial welcome on reaching our shores as a brother beloved for the Saviour's sake, and that welcome has been repeated by some thousands of British Christians, among whom he and his companion have been introduced. For, though different in colour and in language, we have felt that we were one in the participation of the same humanity; and of far higher interest, one, in the participation of the same grace, the same hope, the same redemption. Yet though we looked on him from the hour of his arrival with affection and pleasure, it was not without some misgivings, with regard to his health and his capacity for enduring our climate. And hence from the first we took care that everything conducive to his safety and comfort should be promptly and liberally supplied.
He possessed a fine, noble form ; a lofty and commanding stature; a countenance expressive of mildness and benignity, with intelligence and energy. Such, the God of nature had made him. In his physical endowments he was such as to illustrate and justify the representations given by Ellis and others of the superior form and gait and appearance of the Chiefs of the Southern Pacific. He was born to command, and would be no dishonour to the aristocracy of any country. But more than all thisGod ha:l renewed his heart, and enlightened
his mind; and we saw, not the savage, the whence the light of Divine truth had been heathen, the gross idolater; there was no- communicated to them. In all this, there thing of untamed ferocity, of sullen apathy, is important service rendered to the cause -nothing to revolt or offend whatever. of humanity, of truth, and of Missions. There was mildness that at once secured On reaching England, all possible care affection and confidence. He won many was taken of them; and no difficulty ocfriends, though unable to converse with curred in ascertaining their wants, as Mr. them. It was simply his appearance and de- Heath was with them, and is perfectly famimeanour that at once inspired esteem. But liar with their language. They have visited he was loved the more because he was a several of the country constituencies of the Christian. His remarks, conveyed through Missionary Society, and they have done so an interpreter, in many of our public Mis- at the urgent request of those friends them. sionary meetings, indicated a sobriety and selves. Many of these will, no doubt, recorrectness of judgment,-gratitude for the gret the fatigue and bazard to which they blessings of the Gospel, and zeal for its ex- were occasionally, of necessity exposed. tension, that did him much honour. Could And it may have been the case, that the we have conversed freely with him, without disease under which Leota was labouring, the tedious and circuitous method of inter- though not fully suspected or known at the pretation, there is no reason to doubt our time, was aggravated and accelerated theregratification would have been greatly en- by. It was impossible, however, for the hanced.
Directors to refuse the earnest entreaties of It has, however, pleased the Sovereign their country friends to see these Christian Disposer of all events to remove him from strangers. All were anxious to receive a
I cannot say I view it as a mysterious visit from them, and it was hoped that at event; but it is a painful bereavement. any rate they might safely travel as late as We mourn over it, and can scarcely help the month of October, while all possible wishing it had been otherwise. But we precautions were used for their safety. It desire to bow with submission and hu. was not mere curiosity that awakened the mility. It is the hand of God. He doeth desire of seeing them. There was a large as he pleases among the armies of heaven portion of genuine Christian interest and and the inhabitants of the earth. He has sympathy. Multitudes rejoice, and thank wise reasons for all that he does. Not a God that they have seen, with their own sparrow falls to the ground without his eyes, what the grace of God has effected, knowledge ; and we are sure our friend and heard from the converts' own lips, Leota has been removed from us only be- a simple and unsophisticated testimony cause it has seemed right to our Heavenly to the truth as it is in Jesus. However, Father that thus it should be. There are a it is some relief to our anxieties in this few points on which I would venture to offer case that, though the illness of Leota a few brief observations. So far as the may have been somewhat increased by Directors of the Missionary Society are our climate, and by travelling about in this concerned, I may say, that our lamented country, the original complaint, to which friend did not visit England in consequence he has fallen a victim, had long since taken of any suggestion of theirs. They enter- hold of his constitution. Before leaving tained no wish, they expressed no desire of his own island, disease must have fixed on the kind. He came cheerfully, of his own him with a firm grasp, and under which be accord, on a suggestion being made to him would have sunk at no distant period. This by the Missionary brethren on the spot; will be obvious from the medical testimony and there certainly appeared adequate rea- which I shall presently read, as the result sons to justify the measure as already al. of the post-mortem examination. We who luded to and explained by Mr. Heath. Our saw him on his arrival are the less surprised own ship, the Missionary ship, was coming at the result, because there appeared to us, to England. This afforded a suitable op. even then, unfavourable symptoms of cough portunity to bring him and his companion, and uneasy breathing; and these, we learn, without incurring any considerable expense. had occasionally been observed even on his It was natural that the Missionaries should voyage to England. The following is the think it would gratify, encourage, and sti. medical certificate I have referred to:mulate the friends of Missions in England “ MEDICAL CERTIFICATE.-On Wed. to see some native convertsmin whom there nesday, Oct. 19, 1843, I first saw the Sais such a demonstration of the efficacy of moan Chief, Leota, at the Mission House, the Gospel, and the success of Christian on his return from a journey. He was Missions. Such an arrangement is also de- evidently very ill with a severe cold, be lightful and encouraging to the natives was therefore immediately sent home to bed, themselves, especially if spared to return to with some fever medicine. On the morntheir own country, and recount what they ing of the 20th I visited him, and found bad seen in the midst of the land, from extensive inflammation of tbe air-tubes and