Samuel Abraham Walker.

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

. (page 67 of 73)
Online LibrarySamuel Abraham WalkerThe Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... → online text (page 67 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

hoped, would prove favorable, although the Rev. E. Jones deeply
regretted his loss to the Institution, which he felt would be great :
*' apart from his qualifications," said the Rev. Principal, '* as an
Instructor, his Christian deportment was so exemplary, and he
exhibited so much of the mind of Christ in his daily walk, as to have
exerted a most salutary influence upon all around." He was suddenly
seized with illness on the 25th of February, and his case was soon pro-
nounced hopeless by his medical attendant, but he had loug since

Digitized by



taken refuge in Jesus^; and the announcement bad no terrors for him.
We shall let the Rev. £. Jones relate what followed :

''About ten days before his death, he told me that there was a
passage of St. IVinl which troubled his mind. ' Sir, I have read in
Hebrews, that ''whom the Lordloyeth He chasteneth, and soomgedi
every son whom He receiveth.** I have never been sooaiged:
I have never had any trouble : I have been very ccmifortable. Do
you think, Sir, I can be a true child of God?' I endeavoured to
explain the passage to him ; and told him also that he should look
at his long-continued illness as a diastening from the band of his
Heavenly Father. This seemed to afford him mudi comfort, and
I heard no more of doubts disturbing his few remaining days.
He was much in prayer, and did not like many visitors, as it hindered
hih from this delightful privilege. On Friday, the 10th of March, he
appeared to have revived a little ; but died somewhat suddetdy, about,
one o'clock on the same day. On the morning of the 1 1th I followed
his remains to the grave. 1 had loved him as a brother. I had formed
great hopes of his future usefulness, and deeply felt his loss. As I
turned away in sadness from the scene, I thought on the Frophei's
words, and was comforted: "The righteous perisheth, and no man
taketh it to heart : and merciful men are taken away, none considering
that the righteous is taken from the evil to come. He shall enter
into peace : they shall rest in their bed« each one walking in his

Several other members of the Church departed this year ripe for
glory ; one was a poor widow, who had been baptized by the Rev. W. B.
Johnson, and who had been known to the Rev. J. W. Weeks for eigh-
teen years, during which time " her attendance on the means of grace
had been regular and devout ; her whole conduct exemplary ; her faith
in Christ simple and firm ; her hope of glory bright and stedfast.''

'' During the last few months," continued Mr. Weeks, '* she was
confined to her house. I asked her one day how she felt in the near
prospect of death. She repUed, ' I know I am a poor sinner, nothing
to rest on but Christ our Saviour ; and the comfort He has given to
refresh my soul since I fall under this sickness is veiy great. I
thank Him truly that He has continued this trial of sickness so long,
I do not look to the world and expect comfort for my soul : I look
to Christ, to Him only. His promises are many and very great, and
upon these I can rest. God has fulfilled one part of that promise, so
I believe He will also fulfil the other — ' Leave thy fatherless children,
1 will preserve them alive ; and let thy vridows trust in me.' Tes,
God has mercifully taken care of me, a poor widow, ever since my hus-
band's death ; and so I trust He will take care of my two dear chil-
dren. I leave them with God.' "

Digitized by



Another was an old soldier, John PhillipB, who had been disbanded
from the 3rd West India raiment, in the year 1824, on account of
old age and infirmities.

"As long," writes the Rev. J. A. Graf, "as the veteran conld walk,
he would he always first at his place in the House of God, and the
most regular attendant on the public and private means of grace —
listening to the Gospel message with the most unwearied attention.
Though poor and infirm, he would be seen at dawn repairing with a
eheerfiil mind and quick pace to the House of God, to offer his morn-
ing sacrifice ; and though the morning might be cold and rainy, and
he felt the inclemency of the weather more than others, yet would he
seldom he ahsent. £ven when his limhs hecame weak and trembling,
and his body hent forward on his stick, yet did he always endeavour
to be first and last at church. His words were generally few ; hut when
recounting the mercies of God toward him, especially His gracious
help during the vicissitudes of his military career, his spirits revived,
and he spoke with a cheerful animation that would surprise every one."

After a few more observations to the same effect, Mr. Graf con-
cludes —

" A few days before his death, while lying on his bed, he exclaimed,
* I want to go, I want to go.' Being asked whither he wanted to go,
he repUed, * To Jesus Christ : that will be hetter for me,' On the day
of his death he lay composed, as usual ; when he at once said, ' I go,
I go ; " and expired without a struggle."

A few pages back we inserted part of an address from Mr. John
Langley, to his countrymen, dated October 12, 1842 ; — ^it becomes now
our painful duty to announce the death of this respectable native
merchant in less than six months after that admirable address was
written. Originally a liberated slave, having been re-captured and
brought to Sierra Leone in the year 1816, he attained, as we have
hefore stated, to some of the highest ofiices among his fellow-citizens at
Freetown, and there is every reason to believe that the Christian
instruction which he enjoyed under the Society, always exercised a
salutary influence on his mind and conduct. Early in this year he
removed to Kent for change of air, and there he was soon confined to
a sick bed. A circumstance now occurred which proved the sincerity
of his Christian profession, and his growing conscientiousness in
things relating to God : Being the proprietor of a shop in which
spirituous liquors were retailed, he conceived that it was inconsistent
with his Christian character to carry on that soul- destroying, though
profitable business, and sent orders to his wife to discontinue the sale
of rum, though his license, for which he paid annually thirty pounds
sterhng, would not expire for some months. He said, as he laid on

Digitized by



bis dying bed, that he owed eyeiything to the instraction of the
Missionaries, and he was desirous to do something for them in rctimi.
For his friend, Samjael Crowther, he manifested much concern, and
thanked God for the prospect that seemed to be opening for Afnea.
His demeanor had been formerly thought by some to be somewhat
haughty and self-conceited, but he now manifested the utmost meek-
ness and humiliation. The Rev. £• Jones will finish the picture —

" The days of his pilgrimage were drawing near their end. On Friday
the 7th of April, about six o'clock in the evening, his countenance
looked so death-like, that a friend who was present spoke to him a few
words of comfort. ' Oh,' said Langley in reply, * the time is &st
approaching when I shall be with Christ, and so enter rest.' At this
time, Joseph Wilson, one of our Assistant Native Catechists, came
in, and asked the dying man if he would like to hear a chapter of the
Bible read. He gladly answered, ' Tes ; ' and asked for his own
Bible. It was brought, and put into his hands, and with his wife*s
assistance he was enabled to hold the book and follow while Romans
Tiii. was read. Wilson now offered up a prayer, during which Mr.
Langley frequently raised his hand to heaven, and showed that he
was wholly occupied in that solemn exercise. He now embraced his
wife, exclaiming, ' Happy me ! for I am going to rest with Christ.' He
never spoke more ; but was soon unconscious, and quietly breathed
his last between seven and eight o'clock that evening. Originally an
Ibo slave — ^through British benevolence, a liberated African, and the
first of his class — ^by the grace of God, redeemed, r^nerated, and
made a partaker ' of the inheritance of the saints in light ! ' "

We fear to enlarge on this fascinating subject, but we cannot with-
hold from our young readers an account of the last moments of a
young school-girl, at Regent, as given by the Rev. J. W. Weeks —

^' Jan. 22, Lord's day. After the duties of the day, having preached
twice, with comfort to myself, and, I trust, with profit to my people,
a Communicant came, requesting a note from me to the Surgeon of
Kissey Hospital to receive the little girl brought to me by her parents
last Friday, as she did not get better. I immediately gave him a note.
The next morning, however, he brought back my note, saying, ' The
girl done go.' At first I could scarcely understand what he meant ;
when he said, * The child died about two o'clock in the morning ; "
and then gave me the following account : — ' Last night, after you gave
me the letter for the Doctor at Kissey, I went to inform the girl I had
got men and a hammock ready to take her to the hospital very early
in the morning, before the sun was strong. The giri told me, ' I shall
be gone before morning. I do not want the men. I am going home
to Jesus. I have been a great sinner, but I hope Jesus Christ will
forgive me all. He said, " Suffer little children to come unto me," I

Digitized by



want to go to Him.' 8he then requested me to get a hymn-book, and
to read two yerses from the hymn * Not all the blood of beasts, ' &c. ;
and the hymn, * 'Tis religion that can give/ &e.' Here the man pro-
duced the hymn-book, with the leaves turned down to mark the two
hymns; and said, 'We first thought whether the girl's head was
crazy ; but when she spoke so confidently of dying that night, and so
much about heaven, we sat up all night ; and at two o'clock she died.

"Thus died a little African Girl, only nine years of age, and is, we
hope, now with the Saviour. Ten days ago she was in school.
May this sudden event be blessed to all now attending our school ! "

The accounts thb year from some of the new stations, were very
encouraging. At Moco Town, ten miles from Waterloo, the inhabi-
tants voluntarily made over their chapel to the Church Missionary
Society. G. Hoskinson, the Native Schoolmaster, collected thirty-one
children, and the good work was prospering. The same may be said
of Bepguema also in the neighbourhood of Waterloo, its occasional
services were most numerously attended, and a large school-house had
become necessary. The Banana island likewise afforded a large and
attentive congregation whenever it was visited by the Missionaries, and
both the sacred ordinances of our Church were administered on such
occasions. Mr. Wilson, Native Catechist, had chai^ of Teembo
and Russell, the two new stations in the neighbourhood of Kent ; these
villages are described by Mr. Bultmann as being most romantically
situated. He says —

" The scenery here was, at times, sublime and romantic, not unlike
some parts of Switzerland ; especially the first brook on leaving Tumbo,
with its bamboo bridge of at least eighty feet in length, ten feet above
the purling brook, and about fifly feet below the banks on either side.
The view from the Tumbo side is truly imposing. Nothing, however,
was calculated more to enUven our recollections of home than the
sound of the horn used, in the absence of a bell, for calling to Church,
which met our ear as we were near immerging from the wood immedi-
ately preceding Russell. We had just time to take breakfast — and
breakfast literally it was — before the second horn for Service was
sounded. The congregation consisted of about twenty-eight men,
sixteen women, and thirty-six children ; quite as many as we could
reasonably have expected, for it is not quite six weeks since Mr. Wilson
was sent here to open a new Station."

Various circumstances occurred to impede the progress of the
Timmanee Mission, such as the repairing of the Missionary buildings,
a dispute between the Timmanees and Soosoos, about a portion of the
Bullom country, to which they respectively laid claim ; the prevalence
of measles among the children of the school, and the necessary
absence of the Rev. C. F. Schlenker, on accoun of his wife's health.

Digitized by



The Lord's Day services were however regularly kept with various
success^ and the instruction of the children was persevered in. The
Ali Kali or king continued to hefriend the Missionaries, who were
likewise encouraged by occasional visits from their brethren in the

The contributions of the Sierra Leone Auxiliary to the Church
Missionary Society, to the general fund, for the year ending Septem-
ber 25, 1843, is reported as ^200 : 1 : 2, and the interest felt in the
advancement of Christ's kingdom among Jews and Gentiles, may be
collected firom the following communication of the Rev. J. W. Weeks
firom Regent :

** April 25. We took advantage of a visit from Mr. Muller to have
our Monthly Missionary Meeting, although a week before the usual
time. Mr. Muller gave notice of the Meeting yesterday ; and said he
would relate some interesting particulars respecting Jerusalem, as he
had lately come from that dtj. This was quite sufficient to attract a
very full Meeting : more than 600 were present. It was truly gratify-
ing to witness the very great attention manifested by this large Meet-
ing. I trust but one feeling pervaded the whole assembly — deep
sympathy for the Jews under their present condition, and heartfelt
thankMness to Grod for the rich Gospel privileges which He has so
gradously vouchsafed to themselves and their children.'*

Digitized by





The admission of a Native African to holy orders in the Church of
England, constituted an era in the history of Africa, to which
future ages will advert with much solemn interest, as an earnest of
the prophetic announcement that, in spite of the most adverse circum-
stances, ^^ Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands unto God." That
the event was one of an extraordinary character, the Committee of the
Church Missionary Society seem to have heen fully aware, for they
determined that it should be attended by a plan of Missionary
operations, of a wider range and bolder character than they had ever
yet ventured on among the savage tribes of Africa. The Rev.
Samuel Crowther was something more than an ordinary minister, he
was the representative and credential of the West AfHcan Church ;
in him the daring lie of interested avarice, and the heartless reasonings
of ignorance and unbelief were fully controverted ; the practicability
of a native agency was now proved, but its adequacy to the task which it
was intended to encounter was yet to be tested : and as the eyes of
Christendom were on the experiment, it must be made under such
circumstances as would render the proceedings obvious, and the
decision easy.

The Colony of Sierra Leone was rather a Missionary school, than a
Mission. Scholars were supplied by a providential appropriation of human
iniquity to divine purposes, from about forty different sections of the
African family ; and now after a protracted pupillage several of those
were retiring from the seminary, bearing with them their moral and
intellectual acquirements, to form the nuclei of religion and civilization
in the countries to which they returned ; yet much in this way could
not be expected from merely the lay members of the church, if left to
form an ecclesiastical system for themselves, nor indeed did those

Digitized by



most desirous of returning to their fatherland, disguise their apprehen*
sions of the e\ils which must attend their want of that spiritual <lis-
cipline to which they had been accustomed, and those religious ordi-
nances by whi^h their Christian principles were upheld and streng-
thened, in the midst of heathenish customs, sanctioned and com-
mended by affectionate friends and relatives. The crisis served as an
occasion for testing the soundness of the expectations which had been
formed regarding a native agency : the Yoruban were the most con-
siderable of the native tribes in the colony, and they are distinguished as
making the first move towards their native land — contemporaneous with
this movement was the ordination of the Rev. J. Crowther, a Yoruban.
Such a coincidence could not be less than providential, and thus the
first fruits of the African ministry at once assumed a pd^ition marked
out for him by the Allwise, and most strikingly adapted to the elucida-
tion of the grand problem on which the Sierra Leone Mission had been
formed : the creation of a native ministry suited to the spiritual and
physical circumstances of Africa.

To prepare him for the work to which he was devoted, the Com-
mittee had requested Mr. Crowther to commence a service in the
Yoruba language for his countrymen exclusively, on his return to the
Colony ; this service he determined on opening in the Mission Church,
on the 9th of January, 1844 ; and, to secure an attendance, he re-
quested his brethren in the ministry to give notice of his design in their
respective churches on Sunday the 7th : he also visited those Yornbas,
who were not in the habit of attending Divine Service, and invited
them to assemble themselves with their countrymen on the 9th. After
such preparation, his success was such as we might expect : he thus
informs us of the auspicious event : —

*' Jan. 9 — ^This afternoon, at half-past four o* clock, I opened the
Yoruba service in the Mission Church in Freetown. As might be
expected, the novelty of the thing brought a large number of people
together, Yorubas, Ibos, Calabas, &c., to witness the reading and
preaching of the gospel of Christ in a native language in an English
Church. Although the language is my native tongue, with which I
am well acquainted, yet, on this occasion, it appeared as if I was a
babe just learning to utter my mother-tongue. The work in which I
was engaged, the place where I stood, and the congregation before me,
were altogether so new and strange, that the whole proceeding seemed
to myself like a dream. But the Lord supported me. I opened the
service in English, when I read those of the prayers which were not
translated, and afterward those which were translated, and a portion
of St. Luke's gospel in Yoruba. In the congregation, I observed
three of my Msiiomedan friends, sent by their Headman to attend the
service, according to promise. The text from which 1 preached was

Digitized by


MR. CROWTHEr's return TO THE COLONY. 543

taken from the lesson I read to them, Luke i. 35. I was glad to hear
the people express their satisfaction at my feehle attempt to explain
this doctrine. After service, the Mahomedans followed me to my
house, and expressed their satisfaction at what they had heard. They
apologized for the non-attendance of their Headman, a stranger having
called on him, upon a visit, when he was making ready to come to the
Service, They wished God to help me in this important work I had

Of the succeeding Tuesday's service he writes : —

" Jan. 16. 1844 — The Yoruha service was numerously attended to-
day : a very attentive congregation. Introduced the creed and the
responses of the Ten Commandments, which were very heartily re-
peated. At the conclusion of the blessing, the whole church rang with
Ke oh sheh — ' So be it, so let it be.' The subject of our discourse this
afternoon was, John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ.'^

At first this service was attended by a congregation of 300 or 400,
but when the excitement and novelty had ceased, it dwindled down to
25 or 30, who, however, were regular hearers. Besides keeping this
service and visiting, Mr. Crowther employed himself in a Yoruba
translation of the scriptures ; before the end of the year he got through
the first draft of the Gospel of St. Luke, the Acts of the Apostles, and
the Epistle to the Romans.

Such was now the earnestness of the Yorubas to return home, that
the Rev. F. Schon wrote in June : —

*' While emigration to the West Indies proves a complete failure,
entirely owing to the disinclination of the negroes, and not to any oppo-
sition against it, the emigration to Badagry proceeds on a larger scale.
But a short time since a commodious vessel was hired by one hundred
and sixty-one Yorubas, for which they paid, in hard cash, 1000 Spanish
dollars, besides laying in provisions for the passage."

Mr. Schon was at this time actively engaged in making translations
into the Haussa language — one generally spoken in the countries wa-
tered by the Niger. While he was thus employed, several Mahomme-
dans of the Bomou, Haussa, Nufi and Yoruba nations, who understood
the Haussa language, now and then paid him a visit, and afforded him
opportunities of testing his translation, while he did not neglect to
preach to them Jesus, and expose to them the impostures of the false
prophet. Under this head his Quarterly Report for June contains some
interesting particulars. He writes : —

'* I am sorry to observe that some, who before frequently visited
me, now either keep away, or come very seldom. On meeting one of
them some time ago in the streets of Freetown, I said to him, ' It
seems that you are not my friend now, as you never come to see me.'
He replied, * Yes, Sir, I am your friend still ; but whenever I come to

Digitized by



you mj heart cannot ^ve me rest. I am like a man standing cm
two roads, and do not know which to choose/ I told him that for this
▼erj reason he ought to come more frequenUj, that he might become
sure which was the right one.

** Lately I had a visit from no fewer than thirty-seyen Hansaa
women at once, who came *to give me honour/ or pay their respects,
and to express their pleasure in the interest which I took in their na-
tion and language.

" They told me that only half of them had come, as my boose
could not hold them all, and the rest would come another time. As
usual on such occasions, I read to them some portions of scripture in
their own language, and spoke to them of repentance and faith in
Christ Jesus as the only conditions of our acceptance with God. One
of them, a Mahomedan, said, that both their own and our religion were
all one : to which one of our Communicants from Kissey replied that
she was greatly mistaken. There were many things, she said, in the
Testament which were common to both; but the New Testament
religion and Mahomedanism were quite opposed to each other : that
Mshomed wanted to be what Jesus Christ alone was — ^the Redeemer
of all mankind : that Jesus Christ wanted the hearts of all His fol-
lowers; but Mahomed asked for fasting, washing, bowing to the
East, &c. — things which a man might do, and yet be a bad man. They
expressed a wish that I would allow them to come to me sometimes to
hear more of the word of God in their own language ; to which I most
readily agreed, and trust that I may gradually collect a small Haussa

" I find that the Haussa people are as anxious to emigrate to their
own country as are the Torubans."

Several communications were received this year from Andrew Wil-
helm, native catechist, who accompanied a party of Yorubans to Abbeo-
kouta, in November, 1843; from these it appears that he and his
party safely arrived at Badagry on the 28th of December. On the
15th of January, 1844, he started for Abbeokouta, where he arrived
on the 20th. On the 22nd, he visited the King Sodeke, who kindly
enquired afler Mr. Townsend and all the Sierra Leone missionaries,
and directed him to write to the missionaries and tell them from him,
that *' same word he said to Mr. Townsend last year, to that word he
keeps, and to that word he expects a missionary every day, and mcr^
chants to trade with." On a subsequent visit on the 27th of March,
the king enquired "whether he had heard any news from the Church
Missionary Society yet ? " he told Wilhelm to write again and say that
*' Not he alone, but also the whole inhabitants of Abbeokouta, wanted
the missionaries." Meanwhile Andrew Wilhelm omitted no exertion
to improve his opportunities among his people, visiting them at their

Digitized by



houses, and holding meetings with them for scriptural instruction.

Online LibrarySamuel Abraham WalkerThe Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... → online text (page 67 of 73)