Samuel Abraham Walker.

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

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talk as well as you can. ' This morning, soon, at first prayers, when
you pray, that other heart in me got big, big ! Water run out of my
eyes. That same thing I want, you pray for ; when I come home, I
sit down upon my bed, and at once I remember the first verse of the
twenty-third Psalm, Oh that make me glad. When Church-time come, I
was troubled, because my heart feel lazy : but when you preach, that
trouble go away again ; and I feel glad agam, because all what you say
belong to me. So my heart stand.'

** March 14. Expounded in the evening, at Gloucester, Acts xiii.
15 — 37. After service, I was called to visit some sick communicants.
In the first house, I found both husband and wife sick. I am sorry,
said I, to see you both in such a state. ' Ah Massa, what for you
feel sorrow, I no feel sorrow, I am glad ; and nothing troubles me no
more, my body feel pain all over, but that's good for me ; yes, I know
by that, that my Father loves me, and makes me so glad. This now
makes three nights no sleep come in my eyes ; one time my heart want
to grumble, but directly, one thought strike me — Remember Job!
he have plenty sores, and he no stand so. Then I feel so ashamed of
myself; first, that thought; trouble me much; and by and bye, my
sin come before me : I was so troubled, no more live in my heart.
Then I begin to think of my awful state ; I say in my heart, what a
miserable sinner I am ; if the Lord cut me off just now, I must go to
hell for true. Then something tell me, suppose you was true Chris-
tian, you can't stand so ; it is of no more use for you to pray : the
Lord can't hear your prayer no more ; because your sins are too great.
But Massa, that same time when all that trouble live upon me, I re-
member what you say, long time ago, when you preach from them words,



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214 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.

'But Zion said, the Lord, hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath
forgotten me.' (Is. xlix. 14, 15.) You say, sometime our un-
belieying heart will say, the Lord hath now left me : He will
no more have mercy : He hath forgotten to be gracious any more
— and at another time, or perhaps at the same, the Devil will
whisper, there is no help for you, your sins are so great, that
God cannot pardon them, &c. : but remember, that your heart is
deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and that the Devil
is a liar from the beginning. That same time I could say, that is true,
it is nothing what my heart say or what the Devil say : the Lord Jesus
say, ' I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.' And
again ' I am come to seek and to save that which was lost.' This
word, Massa, take all at one time my trouble from me, my heart began
to be glad, no more water run from my eyes. And then I think
again on what you say last Sunday, particularly in the eveniug.'
Here he repeated the heads of my discourse — * When I think about
that, and what a poor blind sinner I was, and that tHe Lord save me
from that blindness, I can say no more than this, for true Grod love
me with everlasting love. I can't say what I feel in my heart.' He
burst into a flood of tears, and I with him. After some time, he said,
' Before time, I fear to die, when sickness catch me ; but now I can
say, Jesus has died for me ; and that same thing which the Lord
Jesus has appointed for me, is good for me, even if I must die to-
night.' His wife was much in the same state of mind, with this excep-
tion, that she was more solicitous for her two little boys, whom she most
earnestly recommended to me to take care of, in case she should die.
I spoke to them, and to as many as were in the house, for some time ;
for, on such occasions, there are always plenty of people present,
especially if they hear that I am sent for.

'' I then went to another, a single man, who also was very ill. When
I entered his house, he exclaimed, as soon as he saw me, ' O Massa, I
am glad to see you, I hope you have some good word for me, for I am
poor ; I don't know how my heart stand this time, no more trouble
live upon me, I fear I only belong to them people, who build them
houses upon the sand.' Are you sensible, said I, that you are a
sinner that must perish without Christ for ever 7 * Oh yes, if the
Lord Jesus don't save me, I shall perish ; because when I look upon
all things in this world, all that can't save my soul ; my sin too great.
Massa, I am very glad that you have come ; but suppose you can see
my heart in what fashion it stand now, you can't come to me, because
my heart is too wicked. Yes, that word in the eighth chapter of Acts,
belongs to me : since that time you talk about that man Simon, no
more, — fear come upon me ; for true, since that sick, I always think
on that — * Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, because thy



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EXTRACTS CONTINUED. 215



heart is not right in the sight of God.' But^ said I^ how can you
compare yourself to that Simon ? — for if that man had felt that he was
a sinner, he could not have offered money to the Apostle for the gift of
the Holy Ghost. Could you act in the same way as that man did?
' No, Massa, I hare nothing to give.' Yes, I said, you have some-
thing to giye, for the Lord says, in His word, ' My son, give me thine
heart ; ' and blessed be the name of the Lord, He does not say, first
make thy heart good : no, He says. Give me thy heart, which yet is
deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked ; and then, * let us
reason together, and though thy sins be as scarlet, they shall be as
white as snow.' ' Yes, me glad to do this, but my wicked heart won't
let me. Plenty time my heart stand like people when they quarrel.
And since last rainy season, that fashion my country-people stand in
trouble me very much. Same time you go to England last year, plenty
sore live on my feet : by and bye, I want to go to the hospital ; but
one day, my country people from Rubees,' a small native town between
Wellington and Hastings, ' come to see me : they tell me, witch give
me that sickness, and suppose me pay them, they want to make
country fashion,' that is, a superstitious ceremony. 'When I hear
them talk of witch palaver and them country fashion, my heart feel so
sorry for them : no more, — ^water run out of my eyes : I don't know
what to do. Then I tell them, I no want your medicine : that fashion
you talk no good : I want to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ — He can
make me well if He pleases to-day. No, me no want your fashion,
and me no want your medicine. Then they go away ; and, two days
after that, I go to the hospital. By and bye, my foot get well, and the
chicken-pox catch me ; then the doctor send me to Fourah Bay, and
they put me in the house of one white man that shot himself two
years ago. That same time me live in that house, I see every thing
look gay, then I think, what use now this fine house to that man ?
He dead now, and other people live here ; and by and bye, they die
too, and must leave it again, and so every thing in this world stand.
When I think about all this, I remember what you preach same year
Mr. Johnson go to England — " Arise ye, and depart, for this is not your
rest." Yes, it is no use for man to put his heart upon things of this
world. I ask myself, that same time, what thing is there you like
best past the Lord Jesus Christ. When I think about all them things
that live here, I stand like stranger — ^no more — the Lord Jesus Christ
can do me good ; and suppose that I know that I belong to him, that
is best, past every thing.' He said much more, but it is impossible to
remember all, for what I have stated is merely an outline.

" I could wish to put down on the spot what they say on such occa-
sions ; but were I to attempt it. they would be afraid, and would not
be able to speak another word.



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216 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.



" March 30, Easter-Sunday. Was very much confused on accoant
of both my children being dangerously sick. My poor little boy, who
had been taken with the fever on Friday, was seised with violent
spasms this morning. I read the prayers, and preached from Matt
xxviii. 11 — 15. This was the day appointed for baptizing the candi-
dates ; twenty-five adults having given, in their several examinations,
full proof of their sincerity, so far as man can judge, were bi4>tized,
and afterward admitted to the Lord's Supper, which I administered to
127 communicants. The occasion was truly solemn ; and for a time, I
lost all my sorrows. Five infants also were baptized."

The following extract from a letter written by this excellent man on
the 1 7th of June, was the harbinger of dismal tidings to the Afnean
church.

" I have been severely ill ! obstruction was followed by inflammation,
which I thought would have put a stop to my earthly existence ; but
through the upholding hand of our God, I am still spared, and am in
some measure enabled to attend to my duties. For the first time since
the nth of May, when I administered the Lord's Supper at Regent"^
I held service here twice last Sunday, with the assistance of William
Tamba, who has been here every Sunday during my illness. He is
quite restored ; which is a mercy to us, as he is continually wanted
somewhere or other."

The sufferings of the pastor drew forth in richest harmony, the
christian sympathies of the flock. The gracious hand that dealt the
blow, provided a consolation such as His afflicted servant could weH
appreciate, and to enjoy which he felt he could gladly dispense with
exemption from mere bodily pain and weakness. The soul was re-
freshed and strengthened, and though his outward man was perishing,
he felt his inward man renewed by such scenes as the following,
from day to day ; he thus records the circumstances attending his ill-
ness.

*' Never have I experienced more excruciating pain, but never felt
more peace and comfort ! Oh the blessedness of true religion, when
its genuine efficacy is experienced ! It is indeed an easy yoke and a
light burden, when Christ the Head speaks peace to the suffering mem-
bers.

" But while I have hinted at my personal affliction, I must not forget
the conduct of our people ; as it will throw farther light on their pro-
gress. During the whole time of my sickness, which all knew to be of ft
serious nature, the whole under my care were particularly distressed
about it ; and all the communicants of Regent's both sympathized with
those here and felt forme ; and their joint prayers and supplications for
me were almost incessant.

" "When my disease had come to a crisis, which was on the 2nd of



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MR. DURING S ILLNESS AND CONSOLATIONS. 217

June, toward evening I was seized with agonizing pain in the bowels,
and a strong palpitation of the heart, which made me breathe with ex-
treme difficulty : this was very soon known, and in a little time, the
bed-room and piazza were filled chiefly with the communicants, all
viewing me as certainly dying. No distressful howling noise, as prac-
tised by their brethren in their natural state, was heard, but silent
tears were seen running down their cheeks in great abundance, while
the more hardy vented their grief in sighs and groans : the sight was
too much for me. I desired to remove at least so far that I could not
see them, and said to those near me, ' I take it very kind of you that
you feel for me in my distress, but you only increase my pain when I
see you so ; for whidi reason I wish you would stand in the piazza,
where I cannot see you.' But, as some went out, others came in ; I
was, therefore, obliged to give way to them. One man who seemed
to have been thinking of what I had said, came close to the bed, and
3aid, very feelingly, • Massa, don't drive us away. We come to see
what we can do for you. Suppose you tell us to fetch doctor from
town, we can go and carry him up quick, suppose he no have horse to
ride.' ' Ah,' said I, ' no earthly doctor can help me, if the Lord
Jesus Christ does not. The only thing that is left for you and I, is to
fly to Him in our trouble. I should be obliged to you, if you would
pray vrith me : ' No sooner had I uttered these words than all were
instantly on their knees, like soldiers well exercised in the use of their
arms ! Many times have I felt the power of prayer ; but to a season
like this I had been a stranger until now ; and I believe all the people,
too, were very deeply impressed as well as myself.

** Another event brought also great comfort and satisfaction to my
mind, during my illness ; this was, the remarkably good behaviour of
the people, both here and at Regent's. Never, I am fully authorised
to say, did practical religion shine more brightly among our people,
than in the last two months, nor did they sympathize with me only,
but equally with other suffering servants of the Society, nor did they
stop here ; but every respectable European, who fell a victim to the
yellow fever, was lamented by them, and I have heard them pray for
those whom they knew to be ill with equal simplicity and earnestness.
These, my dear Sirs, are evidences of the power of grace which need
no conunent ; they speak volumes to every christian mind.

" Farewell ; and remember us in your continual prayers ; we never
fail to remember you."

On the 9th of August, a letter was written to the Secretaries by
Mr. Nylander, which confirmed the worst fears of poor Daring's friends.
We extract a passage : —

" Brother During seems to be at the point of death. We held a



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218 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.

special meeting on the subject on the 7th ; when a certificate of the
principal medical gentlemen was read, stating that Brother Diirin^ is
labouring under a dropsical affection of the abdomen, together with
a generally diseased state of the Tiscera of that cavity, which it ap-
pears is no longer capable of performing its usual fonctions ; and that
to proceed to Europe as soon as possible aflfbrda the only prospect c^
recovery. A brig sails to-morrow, but all the plaeea having been en-
gaged, brother During could not be sent by her. There is a ship to
sail in two or three weeks' time : should brother During, who is now in
a state of great pain and weakness, be spared so long, he wiU sail in
her."

On the last day of August, Mr. and Mrs. Diiring embarked in the
" Hadlow" for England — that vessel never reached her destined port, and
it was soon felt that she went down with all on board, in one of those
fearful gales with which the English channel vms visited at the begin-
ning of November 1823. Thus sunk in the mighty waters two faith-
ful servants of the Friend of sinners. The Lord had need of them in
that perishing yessel, and what effects their conversation and example
had upon the immortal souls so soon to be plunged into eternity, the
last great day alone wiU discover. As for themselves, Christ Jesus
was their ark, bearing their spirits upward above the angry deep.
They had fronted imdismayed the withering blast of an African pesti-
lence, and they did not shrink before the terrors of a devouring sea.
Their work was done — their conflict over, and so the heavenly pilot
brought them to their desired haven.

When Mr. During was in England, he furnished the Committee with
a sketch of the origin and progress of the work under his care at Glou-
cester. We feel the time has arrived for the insertion of this interesting
document. Let it occupy a niche in the African church, as a tablet to
the memory of one of its departed saints.

" On first seeing the negroes brought from the hold of slave-ships
in which they had been confined, I was greatly discouraged. I had
indeed heard something of their deplorable condition, but it may truly
be said, that no one who has lived in a civilized country can form an
adequate idea of the misery of these our poor fellow creatures. I was
first appointed to Leicester Mountain, then a station under the Society.
On going thither, my heart was almost broken, for I had a better op-
portunity of inquiring into their real state, and soon found, that if I
did not become every thing to them, I could have but little hope of
benefitting them. Most of them were sick with the dysentery, or had
largQ ulcers : and many died ; but my greatest difficulty with them at
first was, that they mistook every act of kindness for a certain sign
of their being sold again as soon as cured: and, owing to their
ignorance, and the continual cruel usage which they had endured, it



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MR. DURINq's first STRUGGLES. 219

vras the hardest thing to persuade them to the contrary. Notwith-
standing, howeyer, these and other trials, I became so completely
settled, that it was a new trial to me, when I was called upon to leave
them, and to undertake the settlement now called Gloucester.

" Here begms a new scene, a retrospect of which calls forth my
warmest gratitude.

*' The first day that I went to the spot, I took a cutlass with me :
but not knowing what use I could make of it, I had a mind to send it
back by one of the boys which were with me, but the boy seemed un-
willing to go back ; I resolved to take it in my hand, as it would serve
instead of a walking-stick, and was in the end glad enough that I had
it, for I had to cut my way through many places until I arrived at
the spot fixed upon, where I found 107 individuals lately rescued from
the chains of the slave-trade, and sent into this forest with an Euro-
pean who had to manage them until I took charge of them.

"It was on the 18th of December 1816, that I was sent there:
about two chain's square had been opened ; the bushes and trees having
been cut down by those who were able to do a httle work ; two huts
had been erected, the one half covered and the other half not at all ;
so that the sick were neither sheltered from the sun by day, nor from
the heavy dews by night. Preparations were now to be made for con-
venient houses,' against the ensuing rains ; but how to set about it with
expedition I knew not : the few who were able to work were obhged to
do everything, the rest appeared Hke skeletons, moved about by
machinery ! Discouraging as my case was, I was not willing to give
up the thought, that this might become an asylum for these and others
of the forl(»m sons of Afirica, at which some of them at least, would with
gratitude remember their benefactors, and praise Grod, who had put
into the hearts of his servants to rescue them from the hands of cruel
men, and to devise means for their good. This thought continually
encouraged me to persevere.

" I soon got room enough to build fourteen houses, besides one for
myself and one for a school ; those for the people were comfortable
enough, but mine and the school being of a larger construction than the
natives had been used to, they were not able to make them water-proof ;
when the rains therefore fully set in, we were indeed sheltered from
the wind, but were obliged to eat our victuals, to sit and to walk about
under an umbrella, even in the house, when it rained ; and, in order
to keep our bed dry, I was obliged to build a roof over it within
a roof.

'* In this state, however, of continual exposure to wet and damp,
I escaped every sickness ; so that I was two years entirely well. This
mercy has always armed me against despair, in the worst of seasons ;
fo# the Lord who preserved me in this difficult and dangerous sitoa*



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220 CHURCH MISSION IN SIEBRA LEONE.

tion, is able still to preserve and keep me in every other danger ; not
that I would be presumptuous, and expose myself to danger where
there is no necessity ; but, where it may be unavoidable, as it was
with me at that time, let me ever trust Him, and not be afraid. Bat
the instruction of the ignoraiit in the way of salvation, was that for
which I had chiefly come to Africa ; and, urgent as our other duties
were, this was not to be neglected. The first point to which I bent
Tny attention, with a view to our higher end, was the observance of the
Sabbath-day ; the first time I spoke to my poor people on this subject,
there were only three who in some measure understood me, and were able
to explain to the others what I had said. Soon after this I commenced
evening school. When I had got a little on with this plan^ I b^an
to keep morning and evening service, and three times every Sunday ;
most of the people shewed at first, great aversion to this, but by little
and little, this died away, and our assemblies were more frequently
and regulariy attended by a good many. When I had been scarcely
six months among them, I found some few began to be concerned for the
salvation of their souls. My joy was inexpressibly great ; my tdiis
and labour and dangers were now richly rewarded ; I thought myself the
happiest man in the world, and have been able to thank my God ever
since, for having brought me, by His good providence, to Africa.
When I had been about a fiill year on the spot, I had eight communi-
cants, who had all, to the moment of my leaving them, stood the test,
and proved that the Grospel is indeed * the power of Grod unto salva-
tion to every one that believeth,' and had been real ornaments to that
faith which they profess.

** In the end of 1817, more wood was cleared away, and more houses
for the people built ; the foundation of the superintendant's dwelling-
house was laid ; and a rice store, thirty feet by eighteen, was begun and
finished in less than two months. It may appear extraordinary that
Africans, who had hardly become used to their tools as masons,
should be so expeditious ; but any one who knows what an effect true
religion has on the mind of an African, wiU no longer wonder, for six
of the masons employed at that work were communicants. But this
was not all, for the dwelling-house, the foundation of which had been
previously laid, was also forward enough for me to live in by the time
when the fall of the rains of 1818 set in; and in the latter end of
July of the same year all the mason's work was done. When I saw
what the workmen could do, I set about planning the Church, to
which the Governor readily gave his sanction ; and in consequence the
foundation of St. Andrew's Church vwis laid in the latter end of
September 1818 ; the building is seventy-six feet by forty-two, with two
galleries all along ; and will hold conveniently 1500 persons; it was
opened for divine service in June 1820. As soon as the masons iHid



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MR. DURINO'S LAST LETTER. 221

finisbed their work on the Church, the foundation of a female ^hool-
house was biid, seventy feet by twenty-five ; this is also finished^ and
both buildings are in daily use. My next plan is a school for the boys,
of the same dimensions ; and then the chief buildings will be finished
at this place ; which I heartily desire, for I am quite tired of all the
beadaches, and groans, and sleepless nights, which those that we have
erected caused me ; at the same time, I cannot review the whole without
expressing my warmest gratitude to the Lord, who enabled me to do
wbat I have done."

We cannot refrain from inserting here the last letter written by this
eminent Christian, which is a true portraiture of the man. It was
penned a few days before the ' Hadlow ' set sail, and is addressed to
Mr. and Mrs. Norman, schoolmaster and schoolmistress of Eegent.

"Juffust25, 1823.
''Dear Brother and Sister,
"^Through much pain last Saturday, I was not able then to answer
the very kind and affectionate letter of my dear sister in Christ and
in the bonds of the gospel, and though the weather this morning is
not in my favour, yet I cannot forbear writing.

'* The first tidings of recovery on the part of dear Mrs. Norman
made me pour out praises and thanksgiving ; as her severe attack had
made me to supplicate our God, who hears and answers prayer, for her
recovery. But her letter was much more to that effect, and what makes
me always to rejoice is when I have evidence that afiliction is sanctified.
If this is the case in truth, then its end is answered ; and if so, then,
though our afiliction for the present be not joyous but grievous, after-
ward it yieldeth the peaceable firuits of righteousness to them
that are exercised thereby. How happy are we, when we see the
Lord's hand in every thing, even in our severest trials.

" As for the Church, I can only say it is well for her that her keep-
ing is not left in the hands of man, whose breath is in his nostrils ;
but with Him, whose name is Lord of lords, and King of kings ; yea,



Online LibrarySamuel Abraham WalkerThe Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... → online text (page 30 of 73)