Samuel Abraham Walker.

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

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sudden death : he lay about twenty-four hours in a senseless state, and
then breathed his last in the presence of brothers Taylor and Lisk, and
myself, who was in a very weak state, just recovering from an attack of

The following notices of the last days of the Rev. C. Knight on
earth will be read with melancholy pleasure by those who love the
Lord Jesus, as showing how He is glorified in His saints in spite of
every adversary which Satan can conjure up against them, and
the advance of His cause. They are from the journal of Mr.
Davey : —

''March 12, 1825. Brother Knight having come to Lec^ld to
administer tomorrow the Lord*s Supper, was requested to conduct our
evening family- worship. He did this in a manner that was peculiarly
striking to some of us, in speaking of the Divinity of Jesus, and of
his sympathy for His suffering people as their Mediator, being both
God and man. Connected with the circumstances which followed, the

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passage of Holy Scripture which came in course was very appropriate,
it was Mark i. 23—31.

"March 13, Sunday. After I had read prayers and said a few
-words to the people, brother Knight, who had been attacked with
fever, came into the church, though hardly able to stand; and I
almost blamed myself for not having dissiiaded him from any exertion.
He went through the material parts, however, of the communion
service, though with some difficulty. It was a solemn season ; and
there was one present, if not more, who had some fears, lest it should
be the last of his work upon earth, as there appeared something in
his manner which it is in vain to attempt to describe, something more
than earthly.

** March 14. Brother Knight exclaimed — * Oh ! what will become
of my people ? I feel very much on their account, but I feel most of
all on account of the Society. It will be such a very great discourage-
ment to them, if they hear of my death so soon after my arrival, and
I fear it will be a hindrance to the work, by preventing others from
coming out.'

"March 17. Observing that I was much depressed in spirits, he
mentioned several very appropriate passages of Scripture, and made some
remarks upon them. Psalm xUii. 5. Isaiah ii. 10. John xiv. 1 — 3.
1 Cor. X. 13.

" March 19. This morning, about eight o'clock, a very visible and
alarming change for the worse took place in him, I immediately wrote
to Dr. Ferguson and some of the brethren, to inform them of it. He
continued to get worse during the day. Toward evening the following
brethren came to see him ; viz. Brooks, G^rber, Weeks, Lisk, and
Taylor. We knelt by his bed-side, while brother Brooks offered up a
prayer to the Father of mercies ; he also read the 23rd Psalm, and
spoke to brother Knight concerning it. I doubt whether he was able
to understand the observations which were made. From this time,
brother Knight was observed to be sinking apace ; the sand in the
glass of life ran out sOently but swiftly ; and he only continued till
about two o'clock in the morning of Sunday, March the 20th, when he
gently breathed his last, and resigned his spirit into the hands of his
Divine Saviour till the morning of the resurrection.

" Thus early was he removed from the scene of labour, and separated
from us and from his pec^le ; though so far as man can judge, he
seemed calculated for much usefnlness. He was truly humble, ap-
pearing to esteem others better than himself: and such was the
general amiableness of his character and deportment, that though I
had known him but a fittle more than six weeks, I loved him much. Oh
that by grace I may be enabled so to follow him, as he followed
Christ. Amen.

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" The remams of our dear brother were eonveyed to Gloucester the
same day, and were committed to the earth, about five o'dock in the
erenin^ amidst the lamentationa of hia bereaved eoiigr^;atimi. The
funeral was attended by all the brethren who could conTenientty be

The following ortract of a letter d^ed the 5ih of May, Iran the
Rev. G. R. Nylander to the Secretary, will prepare the reader for
another painful event : —

'' I received your letter of March the 2nd yesterday ; and as we do
not know at what hour we may be summoned from the field of labourj
I thought it best to send you a few lines in return immediately.

** I have been severely afflicted with great debilities of my poor
frame ; and am still so weak, that I am ncyt able to attend to any duty ;
I just manage to walk about my room, which has been the esse
now about three weeks ; however, I live in hopes of getting round
again. But how astonishing and mysterious are God's dealings with
our Mission with respect to others ! Mr. Knight died a few nights
alter his arrival ; Mrs. Coney departed a few weeks aifter him, and in
a day or two, to the great surprise and disappointment of all, Mr.
Brooks was conveyed to the grave. Mr. Coney I understand, speaks
of returning to Europe ; and we cannot say much ajgainst it, though
we cannot exactly approve of it. And now, what is all the assistance
yon speak of in your last? All our expectations and hopes wiA
respect to Regent, Gloucester, and the Institution, are again thrown
to the ground ; and we must, as heretofore, cry out again sbno us
HBLP, and that the sooner the better.

'* Mr. Raban seems to keep up health and ^irits. May the Lord
preserve him in them. Mr. Weeks has had attacks of fever, but is
now weU. Mr. Pierce is well, and so are all the rest of us, with the
exception of Mrs. Pope and myself ; Mrs. Pope has been dangeioualy
ill, but is recovering."

The event to which we refer is contained in a letter from the Rev. J.
Raban, dated June 3 ; the following is an extract : —

'* The health of our honoured and beloved brother, the Rev. G. R.
Nylander was much recovered at the period of our arrival ; but he has
since been repeatedly attacked, or rather has been constantly suffering
with an asthmatic complaint. His strength has been gradually declin-
ing, and his whole frame appears to have been so weakened by his
severe illness in 1824, as never to have regained its former degree of
strength. Nature at length gave way; and his spirit left its fraii
tabernacle, and took its flight to the regions of immortal life anci
vigour, on the 23rd of last month ; his remains were committed to

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the graye on the following day, in a spot of the diurch-yard of Sassey,
chosen hy himself for the purpose. His departure appears to have heen
quite unexpected at the time ; he was sitting upon the sofa, and oon-
Tersing with those about him very cheerfully but a short time before
the hour of his departure. He appears to have been Tery mercifully
favoured with a sense of the Divine presence, so that he enjoyed great
calmness and serenity of mind, and regulated with the utmost care every
circumstance relative to the disposal of his property and his children.
His last end was peace.''

Thus departed the Rev. Gustavua Beinhold Nylander, a native d
Bevel in Livonia, who had been connected with the Society for nearly
twenty years ; eighteen and eight months of which he had spent in
Africa, ha?ing landed at Freetown on the 22nd of September, 1806.
Since which time nothing but illness had interrupted the faithful dis-
chiurge of those sacred duties which he undertook in the character of
a Missionary. Qe had only entered on his 50th year* when he de-
parted, and yet in c(mstitution and labour he was an old man and Aill
of days. His character is written in the history of the BuUom and
Sierra Leone Missions, and his preparedness for departure may be
collected from his numerous communications with the Society, scattered
through this and the preceding volume. His heart was in his workr
and while death rdgned around him, and while nature pleaded loudly
for repose, this conscientious servant would still be about his master^a
business, undaunted by death, unmoved by the solicitation of bodily
infirmity. His exhausted frame awaiting its glorious change lies buried
on the field of conquest which he refused to abandon. His spirit is
with Jesus whom he loved.

The letter of Mr. Baban, dated June 3, previously quoted, proceeds
to develope more of the mysteriously afflictive providences of the all-
wise and all-just disposer of events toward the .^^can mission : it pro-
ceeds: —

" Almost at the very time when the solemn event of Mr. Nylander^s
4f parture took place, death was executing his commission in another
direction. We have lost our dear sister Mrs. Gerber. She was re-
moved from this transitory state after ooty a short illness, late m the
evening of the 22nd of last month, not twenty>four hours before dear
brother Nylander's departure. She was ikvoured with a comfortable
hope in her last moments^ and brother Gerber also appears to have
been mercifully supported under the stroke. He will, no doubt» take
an opportunity of writing to you on the subject, so that I need not
mention particulars.

" I seem already to have said enough that is of an aiBicting nature,
* See precedinjr Vol. pp. 21 1, 215.

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nor would anticipate the statements which will more r^ularlj come
before you when the minutes of the last special meeting are forwarded :
but I cannot forbear adding, which I do with much r^ret, that (be
continued illness of Mrs. Pope is such, that her medical adviser has
thought it right to press upon her the necessity of a change of climate.
She has yielded to his representations, though with some reluctanoey
and wUl probably leave in a few weeks. The state of Mrs. Taylor's
health, also, is declared by the physician to be such, that she cannot
with safety continue any longer in Africa. Mr. Taylor wishes to ac-
company her, having himself been lately attacked with fever. Bro-
ther Pierce is lying ill with fever, though, it is hoped not in a dange-
rous state.

" And now, honoured Sirs, I need not say that wb are in an a.p-
FLiCTED CONDITION. Siucc the day we landed, we have lost six of our
number by death, and four are now about to return, the ways of Grod
are in the deep, and His footsteps are not known, yet we know that
He changeth not ; and we firmly beHeve, though sometimes strongly
tempted to doubt and dismay, that ' All the paths of the Lord are
mercy and truth toward every one of His servants.' "

Taylor and his wife, whose return home is announced in the fore-
going extract, embarked for England on the 16th of July, accompanied
by Mrs. Pope, and the two surviving daughters of the late Rev. G. R.
Nylander.* Shortly after the vessel had set sail, he was seized with
dysentery and died at sea on the 31st. Mrs. Taylor kept a journal
during the voyage; a few extracts from it wOl prove satisfactory,
as exhibiting his spiritual frame on the brink of eternity.

" July 27, Wednesday. — My husband's mind has been much exer-
cised in spiritual things to-day : he complains of feeling cold and life-
less in prayer, and laments that he is obliged to hear the conversation
of the wicked. He ^spoke much of the wonderful forbearance and
mercy of God toward sinners. O Lord, look upon Thy servants, and
grant us more of the quickening influence of Thy Holy Spirit !

" July 28, Thursday. — Much worse to day ; had a bad night, though
he took a quantity of laudanum last evening. He has just been saying
that he must soon bid me farewell. My heart was ready to siiJc at
that word. He said, * Do not weep, but pray for me.' The Lord has
said, * Call upon me in the day of trouble ; I will deliver thee and thon
shalt glorify me.* I read to him the fifth chapter of the second epistle
to the Corinthians. He prayed afterward, with great fervency.

* These two girlg, eleven and thirteen years of age, together with the orphan daughter
of the Rev. H. During, were placed by the Committee at a seminary for the daughters
of Clergymen, established at Cowen-bridge, near Kirkby Lonsdale, in Westmoreland,
by the benevolent exertions of the Rev. W. Cams Wilson.

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" July 29, Friday. — Had no sleep all night : seems much weaker,
and in great pain. He repeated during the silent hours of the night,
many blessed passages of scripture and hymns. He told me that I
must hold him with a loose hand ; he thought that he should be here
but a very short time. He took me by the hand, and prayed expressly
for me, and said that he hoped we should meet in a better world,
where parting would be known no more.

'^ In the afternoon, I read to him the seventeenth chapter of St.
John ; which gave him, through the Divine blessing for which he had
first prayed, much consolation, at the ninth verse in particular, he ex-
claimed, * Jesus prays for me ! — ^for mb ! ' Then lifting up his hands
and eyes, he prayed in such a manner as I cannot describe. He has
not taken any notice of the things of this world. His mind seems
fully employed on the glorious things above.

*' July 30, Saturday. — My dear husband is quite insensible. He
exclaimed once, 'I want to see Mr. Davey, my friend; he is my
friend,' and then seemed quite lost again.

** July 31, Sunday. — My dear husband remained insensible, but
seemed quite free from pain, till early this morning, his happy spirit
took its flight. I read the second chapter of the first epistle to the
Corinthians, which came in course this morning ; when I thought on
the ninth verse, I could not grieve for Him who was then enjoying all
that bliss which is there promised. O my God, I desire to praise Thy
holy name for the support and strength which thou hast been pleased
to bestow upon me."

Previous to his departure from the scene of his pious and successful
labors, Taylor thus addressed his missionary brethren : —

" You, my brethren, are mostly acquainted witli the afflictions which
myself and my partner have had to pass through during this quarter :
the greatest of which is, that I am compelled to leave the Colony for
a season, to seek a renewal of health ; especially for Mrs. Taylor. I
do assure you, my brethren, when I think on it, I am filled with pain,
especially when I consider the destitute state in which I leave you.
Although I leave you, my heart is in Sierra Leone. May the Lord
Jehovah be the strength of each of us, under these many and great
trials ! and may they all work together for good to our own souls,
and for the good of the cause in which we are engaged ! "

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor labored in the Colony for nearly seven years.
On their arrival in 1818, they were appointed as schoolmaster and
schoolmistress to Charlotte ; which contained at that time about 200 U-
berated Africans. Their exertions and success there have been recorded.
At their departure, the village contained 700 inhabitants, and had
risen to a high state of social prosperity.

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Darker than ever were now the pmqiecU of the West Airicm Mis-
sioii, at least as regarded the hnniaii TiMwJwitff^ by which it was to be
oondiicted. Seren Uborers arrived in the early part of this year, when
the demand for them was so urgent, that there was almost a danger of
Satan's reoovering much of the ground which had been rescned from
him at so great an expenditure of life and health ; not to speak of
money and labor. Scarcely however had the benefits of the aequiaiticHi
been felt, when a similar number were prostrated by the hand of
death, and three more were compelled to return home. Thus leavii^
the mission as regarded human instrumentality, actually in a worse con-
dition in the month of July, than it was previous to the last arrivals
in February.

The following is a statement of the number of laborers employed at
the commencement of the year 1825, in the fourteen stations, more or
less under the Society's care : —

** Clei^men, 3 English — 4 Lutheran 7

Schoolmasters, 6 European — 1 Native 7

Schoolmistresses, 8 European — 2 Native 10

Native teachers 3

Native assistants 17

Total 44

In these are included seven, added in February, but the subsequent
loss of that number by death, and the return home of three, together
with the withdrawal of one native teacher from his work, and the sus-
pension of another, reduced this total to 32 — ^the number of laborers in
actual service during the latter half of the year.

Under these circumstances it could hardly be expected that the
mission could be said to prosper ; in fact, the language employed by
the surviving missionaries in reference to the present state of. things,
is subdued and sorrowfiil, though not desponding ; more is said of ex-
pectations from the future than of present triumphs, as heretofore, and
direct testimony of no equivocal character b afforded of coldness and
decay. For example, the reported collections for the Church Mission*
ary Society, for the year dwindled down to three miserable items, vii.
Charlotte, £1 : 3 : 7. Leopold, ^^6 : 3 : 6., Gloucester, ^2:5: 3^.,
a sure indication of personal ungodliness.

The field however, had not become totally barren ; it only sufTined
by comparison with its previous fertility — ^some verdant spots remained
^ving promise of ftiture renovation. The following sketch of each
village, spiritually considered, at the close of this year, furnishes us
with matter for hope as well as regret. It was drawn up by the Rev.
J. Raban at the request of the Committee, and comes ready to our

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liand on the present occasion, when the state of the mission is a sub-
ject of more than ordinary concern.

** Kissey — 308 attend on Sondays : 190 on week days : 30 communi-
cants. With the exception of the communicants, the people do not
aeem to pay that attention to the means of grace, which it is so de-
sirable to witness ; a considerable proportion of them lire as without
God in the world : many know too little of the English language to
be much benefited by preaching. The parents do not seem to be
properly sensible of the value of instruction to their children — some of
the children appear to value the instruction afiforded them, others re-
quire the eye of the master to keep them attentive to their lessons.
Grenerally speaking, there is a tolerable measure of outward decency to
be seen among the people. In some of them, evidences of a Christian
spirit are to be discovered* in their diligent and serious attention to
the means of grace, in their regular meetings for prayer and religious
conversations, and in their lives, whidi testify more or less that they
are Chrisdans indeed.

'' Leicester — 50 attend on Sundays ; 25 on week days ; nine communi-
cants. A few of the people are backward in coming to public worship ;
but those who do attend, seem desirous to profit — the people are very
willing to send their children to be taught ; the school having been discon-
tinued for a time, they repeatedly asked, when it would be commenced
again. The children, in general, manifest a great desire to learn. An
improvement has taken place, in dress and maimers ; little is now seen
of heathenish customs. The communicants in general, manifest some
good measure of the Christian temper, in their habitual deportment.

''Gloucester — 400 attend on Sundays; 170 on week-days; 138
communicants. The people are very anxious to have their children
baptized : baptized adults value much the privilege of attending the Lord's
Supper ; many unite for prayer, after public service, on the afternoon
of Sunday. Too many of the parents are negligent in respect of sending
their children to school: there are however, a few who discover a
better state of mind — ^the children are, in general, very tractable, and
appear to make progress. The people conduct themselves, on Sundays
in an orderly and quiet manner ; and go to Church cleanly and neatly
dressed : a few excepted, who still follow their country fkshion. The
lives of many of the communicants afford hopeftd evidence that they
are true Christians : conversation at the Saturday-evening meeting is
often edifying ; many fervent petitions are offered up at prayer-meetings
for their countrymen, for the Society, and for more labourers.

"Regent — 256 attend on Sundays; 76 on week-days: 160 com-
municants. The people, with a few exceptions, come to hear with a
degree of solemnity ; their attention to the responses and the singing is
truly pleasing. The parents are generally anxious to have their children

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instnicted — ^the capacity of the greater part of the children is good«
and they are not indisposed to receive instmction. Great attention to
neatness and cleanliness is observable in those who attend at Church:
those who absent themselves, are, for the most part» in a very de-
graded state. A hope is entertained, that many of the communicants
are concerned to walk, as becomes their profession : some of them have
given affecting statements of their inward grief, under a sense of re-
maining depravity.

'' Leopold (including Bathurst)— 800 attend on Sundays ; 250 on
week-days ; 9 communicants. In general, the people discover a re-
gard for the means of grace, which is pleasing and encouraging. ' The
Sunday attendance mentioned is that of the morning, when the
people of Charlotte are present. The parents very readily send their
children to be instructed — ^the children are, for the most part, desirous
to avail themselves of the advantages afforded them. A degree of at-
tention is paid to decency of manners, by the people in general, which
merits commendation. It is hoped that the few who are communicants
adorn their profession, by humility, meekness, and sobriety.

" Charlotte — 140 attend on Sundays, 114 on week-days ; four com-
municants. The attention paid to the means of grace, is not generally
such as could be wished. Nothing is known, with certainty, on the
disposition of the parents with reference to the instruction of their
children. Nor on the disposition of the children towards instruction ;
some must be compelled to go to school ; others appear to take delight
in being taught. Most of the people are careful to observe decency in
dress and modesty in manners. Evidences of piety among the com-
municants are, their love to one another, their private prayer-meetings
on Sundays and week-days, their attention to the sick, and their
readiness in contributing to the Society.

"Waterloo — 250 attend on Sundays; 190 on week-days : 20 com-
municants. The silence, order, and attention of the adults in public
worship, are satisfactory : the children need occasionally to be roused
to more attention ; the building used for public worship would scarcely
admit more than now attend on Sundays : the daily number mentioned
is that of an evening ; the morning attendance is but thin — only 20
children are of a proper age to be sent to school : they are not so
regular in their attendance now as when their parents received food
and clothing for them from Grovemment. Want of desire for instruc-
tion, on the part of the children, excites grief: while young, they are
in general, teachable ; but as they grow up, a more untractable temper
discovers itself. Avoiding that deplorable indecency, which is seen
among the low thoughtless European?, the people have not attained
that good sense and delicacy, which are to be found among weli-
educated and well-disposed Europeans. Most of the communicants

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evince, by words and Actions, that they are not destitute of the Spirit
of Christ, yet there is much cause to entreat thjat more of His Spirit
may be poured out upon them.

** Kent — 375 attend on Sundays; 240 on week-days, 10 communicants.
While under the sound of the word, the attention of the people is, in
genera], very good. The few children who are of an age to be sent to
school, are sent by their parents with apparent readiness. The dis-
position shown by the children to receive instruction is, in general,
very good. Outward decency is particularly observable among the
people : those who profess to be Christians, evidence that they are
such by their hfe and conduct.

" Benanas — 100 attend on Sundays : 76 on week-days. Little re-
gard appears to be paid to the means of grace*, except by a few of the
persons who regularly attend : almost the whole population of these

Online LibrarySamuel Abraham WalkerThe Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... → online text (page 34 of 73)