Samuel Abraham Walker.

The Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... online

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severe rainy season, must ceHainly be an additional trial of the faith
and courage of the Committee : but be not discouraged, nor be ye
dismayed, for it is the Lord s battle that we are fighting, and we are
conquering even when falling. Only send us a fresh supply of troops
for this Holy War, for the increase and enlargement of the kingdom of
Christ.

'' A report was lately spread, that the Society would give up the
African Mission on account of the deaths of so many of its missionsr
ries ; but let not the Society be discouraged thereby. Look forward
for your reward ! K all that died, and we that are alive, have been
labouring together to save a few souls, or to lead them into the way of
obtaining salvation, we shall all be abundantly recompensed. Though
the bodies of our brethren are removed from among us, yet the seed
which they have sown, keeps growing.

*' How often have I heard persons in Freetown speaking of the late
Mr. Prasse, of whose labours nothing was publicly known. ' Oh !
that was a blessed man ! By his speaking to me, my eyes were opened,
and I began to seek the salvation of my souL' * Oh ! ' said a European,
respecting the late Mr. Barrett, who was only two weeks on his station
at Kissey. ' I beheve he was a' truly pious man ; his conversation



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56 CHUECa MISSION IN SIBttRA LCONE.

with me made such an impresdoa on my mmd, that I am determined
io look ahont me, and eudeavonr to lead a better life/
. " Sperrhachen's yery grave, will remind the Bulloms, that there
were people among them who spoke of the redemption that is in
Christ Jesus.

'* The late Rev. Mr. Gamon's discourses and Christian conduct
towards all classes of people in Freetown, will ever be remembered ;
for he was much esteemed and Wed, more so than was publidy
known.

" And can we imagine, that Mr. Catea's Tojage down the coast was in
vain? Bj no means. It was good, says the Lord, that it was in
thine heart to build me a house. David built a house of stones. Cates,
a spiritual temple of living stones, and his work wiU follow him. He
who ventures first into a heathen country, with the glad tidings of sal-
vation ; exposing himself to danger like the spies in Cannaan, does as
much in the vineyard of the Lord, as he who gathers in the dusters
of grapes. So, whether dead or alive, we are working together ; and
the time will surely come, when those that sow, and those that reap,
vnll rejoice together."

The Rev. Henry During employed similar language, while explain-
ing to the Committee the arrangements that had been made under
the melancholy circumstances in which the Mission was placed by the
many losses it had sustained.

" When it pleases God," he writes, '* to visit his people with afflic-
tions» those who are His will be best seen, and distinguished from
those who bear his name, bnt are none of His. Howjgreat is the
real Christian's reward already in this polluted world ! While those
whose hope is only in this life, are terrified by seeing numbers of their
fellow-mortals hurried into eternity, the true Christian is enabled to
stand as it were, like a child by its father's side, and see with serenity
what He is doing.

'' We are now in a strait again ! Most of us are sick, or else
through weakness unfit for duty. The Brethren Moi^an, Taylor and
Jesty, have been for many weeks together confined. Brother Renner
officiates in Freetown. Brother Nylander has his hands full at Kissey ;
and I, the least, have to share my labours between R^ent's and
Gtoucester Towns. I have had four attacks again this year from the
fever, but thanks be to the Lord of all mercies, who has enabled me
at least every Sunday, to go through my work ! Brother Bull, who
in June and July assisted me, was at length also laid up with the
fever ; but thanks be to God ! he is now restored again and able to
render assistance.

'* What I have said, is by no means intended to discourage you.



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FfiBLINGS OP MISSIONARIES, 57

No l* it is merely intended to give you a view of our condition ; and I
would humbly say to my superiors. Be not discouraged at the dark
dispensations of our God ! Fear not, for the Saviour sliall yet see of
the travail of His soul among the tribes of Africa. I am by no means
cast down : I know that the Lord can work by a single individual as
much as by a thousand, only I would crave your earnest petitions at the
throne of the heavenly grace for us, the survivors."

Mr. Taylor wrote to the secretary : —

" What can we say to these things ? We can only exclaim, * The
will of the Lord be done/ Continue, dear sir, to pray for us ; and
stimulate others to do the same, that our Lord may give health and
success in the great work before us.'^

Referring to the death of Mrs. Jesty, Mr. Morgan was able to express
himself thus : —

" I have just been called to pray with and witness the last moments
of our beloved sister Mrs. Jesty. Her death is our loss, but her
eternal gain. Clouds seem indeed thick around us here ; pray then,
dear sirs, more for us. We need your prayers, and more labourers in this
trying vineyard. Let none be discouraged, nor let any come, who are
not ready to say with our dear sister departed, ' I am entering the
glory of my Lord ! my Head is in heaven, and where should I be, but
with Him?'"

Mr. Jesty, notwithstanding his severe loss, was not himself dis-
heartened, and would not have others to be so.

** O send us,** he wrote to the secretary, *' more labourers, our
party is very small now, but we are enabled to lean and repose our
trust on our blessed Saviour. Never once did my dear wife regret
fioming to Africa."

We dose our extracts on this subject for the present, with one from
a letter of Mr. Bull to the committee, which is even more inspiriting
than the former ones.

'' I beheve I speak the feeling of most of our remaining few, when
I say, that we are not disheartened, but encouraged. And if we are
not so, who ' stand in jeopardy every hour,' you will not do well to be
cast down. As that &ithful man * wrote in his letter concerning Mr.
Gamon, ' Let more labourers put their lives in their hands.' I once
asked him what he meant by those words. He reminded me that
a missionary should not be over anxious for his life ; but while he was
prudent in all things, he should carry as it were, his life in his
hand, ready to resign it at his Savioinr*s command.

•1 * Gates, see p. 30.



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68 CBUBCH mesioN in sibrba lbonb.

'* O, dear sir, we are few and weak> — send us faithful and aaaloiis
men, — send us another Gates — an £lisha» instead of our Elijah. Maj
the Lord of the hanrest put such labourers in jour way I These things
should not more us. HIS 'counsel shall staad, and he will do all his
pleasure/ As the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church,
so may it be here! We have erery reason to be stedfast, for 'the Lord
will yet have mercy upon 2Son.'

'' You may hear perhaps next of mjf removal, and another may
take up his pen to write of me. But be it so ! may I be but ftitfafiil
to Him who has said, ' Where I am, there shall also my servant be.' "

We gladly turn from the work of death to resume our notice of the
work of life eternal. The reader will desire to know how Regent's
Town prospered during the absence of its indefatigable pastor. It will
be remembered that the church here was committed to the care of
Mr. Morgan and poor Gates, whose premature death in May 1819, we
have noticed. Mr. Morgan wrote to the committee respecting his
charge as follows ; —

" There still goes on here a great enquiry respecting the way of sal-
vation. We closely examined several candidates lately. One was ad-
mitted in whom tiie evidences of true religion appeared very satis*
factory. The house was nearly full of those who desired to belong to
the church of Christ, but they were dismissed for that season. Surely
our Saviour is gathering lus sons ^m afar, and his daughters from
the ends of the earth. Gircumstances are daily occurring which prove
the force of the truths of the gospel.

" I was sent for last month, to visit a communicant, who was very
ill. He said, he thought he should die, but he desired to see me first :
on my inquiring his reason, he replied, 'for several months before mydear
minister left, my heart tell me dat ting what he tell about Lord Jesus,
no be true, because nobody (meaning, no one beside Mr. Johnson,)
tell me dis ting. But when you come, you talk all same fiishion, dat
first time, and den Grod open my eyes. Now I tink, suppose you and
Mr. Johnson tell us one ting about Lord Jesus, den I sure dat de
Lord teach you, and den I sure all be true.' He was much distressed
lest this unbelief should not be forgiven.

*' In returning one day from some duties which had detained me
in a distant part of the town, I had much reason given me to bless
God, for a striking manifestation of the power of his truth. A man
was resting himself who, I observed, was suffering under much bodily
affliction. Among a variety of questions which I put to him, I asked
how long it was since he had done any work. * I no work,' said he
• since I come dis country.' ' Who gives you rice then ? ' King
Massa.' • You know,' said I, 'you have got one heart.' 'He feve



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NATITB COMMUNICATIONS. 59

bere, Massa ! ' pointing to his side. 'Well' said I, * what work your
heart do, all that time yoor body rest ? ' He laughed ; I explained to
him the deceitfblness of his heart, and told him what must become of
him^ if Christ did not take away his evil heart, and give him a new
heart. The poor fellow was agitated, and moving quite close to me
said, * Massa, all dat what you tell me Hyc in my heart be true too
much, but who teU you all dat ? ' He has since been to us enquiring
what he must do to go to Christ, and how he can make his heart run
away firam cvfl.**

In a letter of July the 7th, Mr. Moi^an writes : —

** Inquiries concerning the way to heaven, are very numerous. Many
come to complain of the anguish of their hearts. The house is com-
pletely filled with those who are desirous of being examined for bap-
tism. Mr. Cates and myself, have admitted but three. Many of
them, I think, do indeed believe, that Christ came into the world to
save sinners, but do not as yet feel themselves to be, without Him, lost
and perishing sinners.

To Mr. Moi^an's great sorrow some fell away from their christian pro-
fession ; tliis was to be expected in their peculiar circumstances, but he
laid it much to heart. On retiring one day to his chamber, to pour
out the expression of his trouble, at the feet of his Saviour where
alone he expected to receive consolation and strength, when he
reached the stairs, he saw a man and woman, seated in much apparent
distress of mind. Supposing that their object was to seek the settle-
ment of some quarrel, he said, ''I will have no palaver so late at night,
go home." The poor woman, bursting into tears, replied, <'No,
Massa, but I want to tell you^ my heart go soon to fire, suppose I no
oome talk with you.''

We may imagine what effect this simple incident liad on the
prayers of the desponding teacher — ^may it be borne in the recollection
of those who are prone to be disheart^ed at the apparent failure of
christian effort — nothing that we do for God is in vain.

Though absent in body, there cannot be a doubt that Mr. Johnson was
daily present in spirit vrith his beloved flock ; nor were they forgetful
of their dear father in the gospel of Jesus Christ ; as several of them
testified by written communications addressed to him in England. The
originals of these letters are probably still in existence ; they proved
most satisfactorily to the committee, that their exertions for Africa
had not been in vain; and, at the same time, they afforded a fiiir
criterion of African capacity for mental and spiritual improvement.

We subjoin one or two of these letters, and beg the reader to carry with
him in their perusal the recollection, that the writers of them had been



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60 CHURCH MISSION IN SIBRRA LEONE.

not many years before, carried like cattle in the hold of a slaTe-shi|j
because, as their inhuman captain and purchasers were in the habit o(
insisting, they exhibited such demonstrative evidence of intellectoal im-
becility as fitted them only to rank with brutes.

"Reffenfs Toum, May 26th, 1819.
"' My dear father in Christ Jesus,

" I have written a few lines to you. I hope you are well in the Lord,
and your wife. I hope you will remember me to my brethren and
sisters, though I do not know them ; but I trust one day or other, we
shall meet on the right hand of our Lord Jesus Christ.

" When I think about the office to which our Lord has appointed
Tue, I fear.*

" When I read the Bible, I learn that God said, ' Pear thou not, fori
am with thee ; ' and, ' if ye have faith, as a grain of mustard-seed, ye
shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place, and it
shall remove — ^nothing shall be impossible unto you.' And when I read
in the Testament, I find Jesus said, ' He that believeth on me hath
everlasting life — ^I am the bread of hfc.' This is my hope — ^Bnt I fear
again, because the Lord said, ' Repent, or else I wiU come unto thee
quickly, and will fight against thee with the sword of my mouth.'
This is my trouble.

*' Remember me to all my brethren and sisters — let them pray for
me, that the Lord may give me fidth to believe in Him. I do not fear
what man can do to me, for the Lord is my shield and my hope.

'' Pray for me ! Pray for me ! for I stand in need . May the grace
of our Lord Jesus Christ, be with you, and all his children. Amen."

We regret that we can only insert one more. It is also from a com-
municant : —

" I take this opportunity of writing these few lines unto you, my
dear brother, and I hope Gk)d may preserve and keep yon when yoa
pass through the mighty deep! and by the wiU of God, I hope
we may see one another again. I remember you day by day, and I ask
you how you feel in your heart, my dear brother ; I hope you may be
well in the Lord Jesus Christ — ^you and Mrs. Johnson, and I pray unto
God that He may keep you till you come to Africa again, that we may
see one another.

*' I thank Almighty God for His loving-kin<kiess to me. I know the i
Lord is my Saviour and my God. I pray for all the good people who
are in England, and the secretary ; I hope you may be well in Jesus,
and that you may send more missionaries to Africa, to preach the gos-

' The writer was a native assistant in one of the schools.



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NATIVE COMMUNICATIONS. 61

pel to our poor countrymen. My Master^ please to send me one hymn
book. Mywife ask you how you do, Mrs. Johnson."

The writer of one of the letters referred to, gave in September, the
following affecting account x)f the state of the Colony, during the few
months preceding, when it was visited so extensively, as we have seen,
with sickness and death. The feelings of the christian natives under
their bereavements, afford, we should say, a fair indication of the
▼alue of the mission.

*' I staid at Charlotte Town, When Mr. Taylor was sick, and I speak
to the people the word of God. One time we meet together for mis-
sionary prayer-meeting. Oh, that time many white people sick ! and
many of them die !

•* And that time we lose one of our sisters, Mary Moddy, she was
brought to bed, and the child died ; and herself caught cold, and' I
went to see her, and I asked her, " How you do ? " she said, " I fear
too much." I asked her, "What you fear for?" and she said, "I
done sin, " and I said ** Pray to the Lord Jesus Christ, He only can
do you good." And I prayed with her, and the next day I went
again, and I say unto her, " How do you feel in your heart 7 " and
she said, "Oh my heart too wicked," and I said "Do you pray to
Jesus Christ? " she said ''Yes! to whom should I pray if I not pray
to the Lord Jesus Christ ? " And I talked with her a good while, and
then I prayed with her and went away. The next day I went again,.
audi she could hardly speak ; L prayed with her, and stop with her,
and by and bye she died.

'* That time Mr. Cates sick, and Mr. Moigan sick, and poor Mr. *
Gates die. I think the journey to the Bassa Country which he take
that too much for him, the land so long to walk, and the sun so hot.
Yet I cannot prove that ; but I think his work done, and his time up.
When he was sick I went to see him, ** How do you do, Mr. Cates ? "
and he said " I shall certainly die." And by and bye he got down to
Freetown, and he sink very much, all his strength gone ; but he was
a man of faith, and he (he on Friday about five o'clock. And on
Saturday we go to bury him, four o'clock, and we look upon him ; and
then we went to Mr. Jesty's house, and Mr. Jesty tell us, and say, he
think God would leave, this place because white people die fast, and
when I hear that, I fear too much, and I consider many things in
my mind ; and I think hypocrites live among us, and God want to
ponish us, but I trust again in the Lord, He knows his people. He
never forsake them. Then Mr. Collier get sick, and Mr. Morgan
get ^ck again; and our friend said, 'God soon leave this place/
and I said, 'I trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, he knows his
people, and he never left them neither forsake them.' And
next Sunday Mr. Collier die about eleven o'clock. Then Mr.



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6S CHURCH MISSION IW 8IBREA LEONE.

Morgan sick, Mrs. Morgan sick — Mr. Bull nek! Oh that time
all Missionaries sick. We went to Freetown^ Monday, buiy Mr.
Collier, and we come home again and keep service in the Church ; Oh
that time trouble too much in my heart. Nobody to teach me,
and I was sorry for my poor country-people. Mr. Cates died, Mr.
CoUier died, Mr. Morgan sick. Oh ! what must I do for my country-
men ; but I trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, he know what to do ; and
I went to piay, and I say, 'O Lord, take not all the teachers away
fiomus.'



To this affecting ezpresskm of natiye feeling, we feel constrained to
add an extract from the journal of another of Mr. Johnson's correspon-
dents referred to aboye —

'*The day when Mr. Johnson went from Regent's Town, was
Monday the 19th of April, and the same day much people were in
his house, in the morning ; and, when he going, much people shake
hands with him, till he tired, and he was obliged to take two or three
people's hands in his hand at once. And then we go as far as to the
bridge, and he went on the horse' back ; and he bid the people " good
bye,' and all say ' good bye ; ' and then some began to weep ; and
some follow as fiur as Freetown. And the people were about 400, and
I stop with Mr. Johnson all night in Freetown ; and in the momii^
about six o'clock, he send me back to Regent's Town.

" June 6th, 1819. After Church was over, I and another toob a
walk to see one. man whom they call Ebo Peter ; and when we went,
we did not meet him at home. We asked for him, and his wife called
him ; and he came ; and I said, ' WeU Peter ; we have come to see
you. How you get on about your soul ? ' And he said, * Oh ! I know
that other people sabba speak (know how to speak) and pass me ;
that make me fear to go. By and bye, me go and talk ; and they put
my name in the book ; and I come again, and do bad ; they turn me
out, and Gk>d turn me out too. But I stop : by and bye, I do good,
I shall go.' And when I hear that, that hymn come into my mind.

** Come ye sinners poor and wretched,** &c.
and the same hymn says,

'* If yott tarry till you're better.
You will never come at all.*'

And I said to him, * Peter, you want make yourself better before you
come to God.' I was sorry to hear the man say he wait to be good,
before he go to God ; and we spake to him a long time before we leave
him. He appears to be sorry in his mind."

The rainy season this year was peculiarly trying to European con-



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PLANS BBOARDINQ HEALTH. 63

stitationsy the rains being of extraordinary severity and continuance,
and the sickness and mortality consequently so great as to extend even
to the natives : hence the loss of so many valuable lives among the
devoted labourers in the African Church. No one deplored these
chastening dispensations more than the excellent Governor of the
colony. His letters of condolence and advice to the Committee, proved
▼eiy seasonable under their trying circumstances ; he would have the
Society to believe that the losses which had been sustained, were not
to be altogether attributed to the climate^ but that with a proper share
of attention to a few simple mles^ much of what was formidable to
European constitutions in a residence in Western Africa might be
averted. These rules he had himself adopted^ and he thus explains
their nature and effect.

** It is my general habit to take a great deal of exercise on horse-
back, and even in an open boat, since the formation of the soldier's
establishment. This is the eighth rainy season which I have encountered
in Africa. I make it a rule to avail myself of every opportunity to
change when wet. When from duty, and not otherwise, during the
rains, I visit the new soldier's town in a boat, I adhere to the same
rule as far as practicable. By the use of a shower-bath I have ac-
customed myself to wet. I keep my windows open all night at all
seasons of the year, and am thus less affected by exposure to a damp
atmosphere. I dispel all gloomy impressions as far as I can, by keep*
ing body and mind engaged, and mixing with society."

To the above plan for promoting health adopted by Governor Mac-
Carthy, we shall here add one which a former Governor of the colony,
afterwards a member of the Committee of the Church Missionary
Society, found successful in the treatment of diseases arising from the
climate which came under his notice. It may supply some valuable
hints on future occasions.

*' The practice which I have known to be most uniformly successful
has been that of commencing on the first appearance of fever, vrith
such emetic and cathartic applications as will best clear the bowels and
tend also to induce moisture on the skin ; to be followed, as soon as a re-
mission of the fever has been obtained, by Peruvian bark in considerable
quantity, say one ounce in twenty-four hours.

" I have known the following plan very useftil. Take an ounce of
Epsom salts, and infrise the same in a pint of water, adding to it a
solution of a grain, or a grain and a half, of emetic Tartar. On the
appearance of fever, let a wine-glass of this mixture be taken every
fifteen or twenty minutes, until the stomach is moved.

'* Bleeding in cases of remittent fever (I speak of tropical climates)
I regard as very destructive : but copious bleeding is almost certain
death. I have never known it to answer. During an experience of



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64 CHURCH MISSION IN SIBRRA LEONE.

fourteen years, I acquired a fixed conviction of its Being dangerous ta
have recourse to it, except in cases of violent tropical inflammation, and
even then, the use of it with Europeans appeared very questionahle."

Before the close of this year, the Mission was deprived of two
more of its members — ^Mr. and Mrs. Morgan, not, happily, by death,
but by severe illness, which obliged them to return home. Thns the
interesting Church of Regent's town, where this pious couple had
laboured for a short time, during the absence of its stated pastor, had
its regular ministration, so necessary to its spiritual health and ad-
vancement» a second time interrupted within a few months.

We shall conclude the afiRairs of this year, by mentioning an in-
crease of colonial accommodation effected by the Governor. He con-
sidered it expedient in consequence of the arrival of native troops to
be disbanded, and of the continual accession of recaptured slaves, to
form four additional settlements — three of them Waterloo, Hastings,
and WeUmgton, on the eastern side of the colony towards the main
land ; and the remaining one, York, on the Whale river, which flowes
into the Atlantic, north of Cape Shilling. A fifth, Kent, in the parish
of St. Edward at Cape Shilling, had previously been formed ; and
William Bandall, an Englishman, who had been employed as master
carpenter at Regent's Town, where he was, under the ministry of Mr.
Johnson, brought to feel a concern for his soul and the souls of others,
placed there at his own request as school-master. At the end of this
year, he had 200 people under his care.



Online LibrarySamuel Abraham WalkerThe Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... → online text (page 12 of 73)