« السابقةمتابعة »
Religious and Missionary Intelligence. ..
Extract of a letter from the Rev. James B. Finley, dated Ridgeville, Feb. 8, 1823.
The situation of brother Elliot's family has made it necessary for me to reside at the Wyandot Mission. This Mission has prospered from the commencement. We have now fifty children living at the Mission-House, who all attend the school, learn well, and live peaceably, are very industrious and obedient to their teachers. We might have many more, did our means admit of our taking them, which, I hope, by next spring we shall be able to do. O for the crumbs that fall from the tables of the rich, to feed these destitute children, the purchase of the Redeemer's blood !
Our society is increasing. I arrived at the Mission-House on the Sabbath morning of the 19th January, and found the family in good health.' On the 20th I was visited by some of my old friends, among whom were John Hicks, Mononque, with a young chief who had been converted since my last visit. In the simplicity of his heart, this young convert, related his experience of God's goodness, and be. fore he concluded, we were in each other's arms, shouting Glory to God! We were all refreshed from the presence of God. Early next morning I was sent for to visit my old friend, William Walker, the United States Interpreter, who was near the end of his earthly course. He had long expressed a strong desire to see -me. When I approached his bed, he seemed not to know me; but he soon recognized me, and, raising his hands to heaven, said, “O! did I ever think I should love Jesus in this manner. 0! He will save all that will come unto him in the way He has directed. I love Him! I love Him!” I then asked if I should pray with him. “O yes,” said he, “I have long wanted your prayers, Father Finley." I said, Do you now feel that God, for Christ's sake, has pardoned all your sins, and that you have peace with God ? “O yes ! yes !” We then kneeled down and addressed the throne of grace; and we had a time of rejoicing in God our Saviour. He soon became speechless; and in about an hour, sweetly fell asleep in Jesus. On the 22d I preached his funeral sermon, to a weeping, and, to all appearance, a penitential congregation.
The next day, feeling still much drawn out in prayer for these people, I went to visit my old friend, Robert Armstrong, who was taken a prisoner forty years since, has a wife and five children, and is now one of our Interpreters, and a very good exhorter in the Wyandot language. He was awakened to a sense of his condition by the labours of brother Steward. While here others of my old friends joined in conversation on the best method of obtaining a comfortable subsistence for the Indians. Among other subjects, we had a most interesting conversation on the most effectual means to extend the gospel among the neigh bouring nations. Here brother Mononque gave a short narrative of his visit among the Mowhawks, some of whom were excited to attend to the gospel of Christ. I requested this zealous minister to continue his visits regularly, and whenever he should deem it expedient, he might form a class as I had done. among the Wyandots; to this he assented.
After family prayer and breakfast on Sabbath morning, we set off for the Meeting-House, which was about three miles distant. When we arrived at the plain, we saw crowds flocking from almost every direction, pressing toward the House of God. This sight was truly affecting and gratifying. To see these long lost sons of Adam manifesting such eagerness to hear the word of life, produced sensations better felt than described. I could not forbear praising the Lord aloud. I preached to a large congregation on Rev. xx. 12, and brothers Elliot and Between-the-logs, exhorted. The word was sealed to many hearts, as was apparent from the groans and sighs, and tears, of the people. After these exercises were
* For a more particular account of the School connected with this Mission, see Youth's Instructer for April.
closed, to my surprise, thirty-nine came forward and gave me their hand in token of their determination to forsake their sins and enter upon the service of God. This scene exceeded description. Such weeping, praying, and praising, I doubt was never before witnessed in an Indian congregation. Some cried aloud, 0 Sha. Shus, Tamentare! O Sha-Shus, Tamentare! which, being interpreted, is, 0 Jesus! take pity on us, O Jesus! take pity on us. Six of the Mission family joined society. Among others, a Chief of the Seneca Tribe came forward, acknowledging his error, saying, that he had long sinned with his eyes open, but was determined to do so no longer. At his own request I appointed the following Friday to unite him and his wife together in marriage, and to receive them into the church. This was done; after which another of our brethren submitted to the same ordinance.
These things being ended, a Mohawk woman signified a desire to speak to us. She informed us that she had often felt a great desire to serve our God, but being very weak she had as often fell back; but that this winter her desires had returned stronger than ever, and that now she was determined to begin and to pray to God every day, and wanted us to pray for her; that she wished us to come to her town and hold meetings as we now did among the Wyandots, for that they were equally needy. We promised to attend to her request. Indeed, how could we resist! We returned home with joyful hearts for all the great things we had seen that day.
After supper, brother Elliot proposed holding a class-meeting with those present who could speak or understand English, which was accordingly done, and it was a time of much quickening..
The 27th was spent in laying up provision for the Mission family. The next day, in company with brothers Hicks, Mononque, and others, we went to brother Punches', the Seneca Chief, where we found a considerable many, to whom I preached, and urged upon them the necessity of living according to our profession. After sermon the converted Chiefs came forward, and stated their reasons for embracing Christianity, and for being lawfully married, and concluded by exhorting others to follow their example in this respect.
At a prayer-meeting soon after, Washington Big-Tree, a young convert, arose and related, with simplicity and energy, his experience of the things of God. He said that while the load of sin lay on his heart he was miserable, but that now, since the Lord had pardoned mis sins, he felt as light as if he had never felt the weight of sin on his heart. He then exhorted all present to pray, and to strive to get as happy as he was. His conversation was attended with great power and life. We then invited such as mourned on account of sin to come forward and join in prayer, and many came bathed in tears, for whom we prayed, and we had cause to rejoice in God with exceeding great joy. One young man was baptized, and six joined the society, which, with one other who joined next morning, make fifty-three in all, who have been received in the course of three days. These give the most evident marks of having a genuine work of grace upon their hearts. May they persevere!
From these fruits of our labour, I am fully persuaded that the time is come for these tribes of men, to come into the Christian fold. The door, indeed, is open, and the Lord seems calling aloud, Who will go for us? Who will help, or rather who can refuse to help, to send more labourers into this vineyard ? I am now so. licited to establish another Mission-School; or otherwise to receive into the one we have, children from the Senecas and Mohawks; and depending upon the benevolence and liberality of the Christian public, I am about to venture on an enlargement of our plan, not doubting but that the Lord will provide, for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. Believe me, I feel indescribably happy while teaching these hungry souls in their wigwams, and envy not the proud basking in their riches, and who know not God.
My design is,-being seconded by brother Elliot, who is of the same mind with myself, and also aided by our beloved old chiefs to extend ourselves next spring and summer, among the neighbouring nations. Much of the success of this work, in respect to pecuniary aid, must depend on the north and east, for the south have missions of their own to support.* But to lessen the expense as much as possible,
* The Missionary Society knows no distinction between the North and South, East and West. It knows, indeed, no geographical limits to its operations, its object being, as expressed in the first article of its Constitution, “To assist the several annual conferences to extend their Missionary. labours throughout the United States and elsewhere.”-Editors. Vol. VI.
iety knows do distinction petions, its object being, as expreheir Missionary. we intend to make the mission contribute to its own support, by having land cleared, and put under cultivation. We design to have forty or more acres of corn planted in the spring, and to sow as much wheat and flax as we can. The school is increasing, and the probability is that in less than one year, it will amount to more than one hundred children.
A SHORT NARRATIVE OF THE WORK OF GOD IN NEW-BRUNSWICK,
New-Brunswick, Feb. 11, 1823. DEAR BRETHREN,
If you think that the following communication, will be of any use to the friends of Zion generally, or to those in particular who are employed in the cultivation of Immanuel's ground, you are at liberty to give it an insertion in your very excellent Miscellany.
C. PITTMAN. In the year 1820, about the middle of the conference year, I was called and appointed by my presiding elder, to fill a vacancy in New-Brunswick, occasioned by the indisposition of our beloved brother, Jacob Moore. I must acknowledge, that it was with much reluctance I complied with this appointment. But for this reluctance I had two reasons, viz. I was on a circuit where God was pouring out his Spirit, and amongst a people who were lively in religion, and to whom I was very closely united in religious affection. The other reason was, I was well acquainted with the almost insurmountable difficulties connected with this station. Here I might particularize, but I forbear. However, in obedience to those that had the rule over me, I left the circuit, and if ever I “ went forth weeping," I as sure you, I did so in this case. When I arrived in Brunswick, I found a small society of about seventeen members, who seemed to be rather weak in faith, and much depressed in their spirits. And if the reader knew as well as the writer the discouragements under which they had laboured, for years together, he could not wonder, but adore that God who had preserved them in the midst of their enemies. My greatest discouragement, however, was the smallness of the congregation. Such were the prejudices of the people against Methodism, that it was with great difficulty they could be persuaded to hear a man of that denomination. Under such circumstances, we had constant recourse by prayer and supplication, to him with whom is the residue of the Spirit, and who has the hearts of all men in his power. Hence, while the members of my little charge, were almost involuntarily saying, “By whom shall Jacob arise, for he is small, my own heart in unison with theirs, would frequently groan out, “O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years." For a few weeks my regular congregation did not exceed thirty, including the members of society. But it was not long before we began to hope that a cloud of mercy was rising, to water our thirsty Zion. We were encouraged to believe this, from the very rapid increase of our congregation. One circumstance which, under God, contributed to this was, the destitution of all the other churches (with one exception) of regular pastors. The circumstance of my being sent here just at that time, I have looked upon as Providential. Be this as it may, mullitudës flocked to hear, so that, in three months time, our church was crowded to overflowing. Some heard in order to cavil, others to learn our real sentiments, and a few to be instructed in the science of salvation. During the first six months, however, little more was done, than what was preparatory to wbat has since followed. The prejudices of many were removed, some hearts were softened, a few were converted, and about five were added to the society.
At the confèrence of 1821, I received an appointment to New-Brunswick as & Missionary, as it was supposed that the station could not yet support itself. Accordingly I returned to my charge and recommenced my labours among them. During that year, there was nothing very special, but the good work progressed gradually. At the close of this year, although we had had no remarkable revival, we found in taking our numbers, and comparing them with the last year, that our society was exactly trebled in one year. At the Philadelphia Conference for 1822, I was re-appointed to this city, arid returned once more to my beloved charge, under the influence of both hope and fear. I feared that owing to my
weakness of body, and deficiency in talents, I should not be so useful as heretofore ; but I hoped that God would make up all deficiencies by the all-powerful influences of the Holy Ghost. This hope in a good degree has been realized. Our God has been with us, and plead our cause, and “no weapon formed against us has been able to prevail." Thus we continued gradually to increase in numbers and in grace, until the month of July, when the “ good-will of Him who dwelt in the bush," was abundantly manifested to us. We had remarked unusual attention and seriousness, both under the preaching of the word, and in oar prayer-meetings. It was at one of our meetings for social prayer, that this good work broke out. Some were converted on the spot, and numbers awakened to a sense of their lost and ruined condition. This blessed work amidst the most powerful and general opposition, continued to progress until it added between twenty and thirty to our communion. I have always regretted that there was so little disposition in the other denominations to encourage this work. Had it been otherwise, I believe hundreds would have become the subjects of saving grace. At one of our select meetings, we had about one hundred present, who apparently were serious. But effective measures were soon taken by the relations and friends of many of them, to prohibit them from attending our meetings at all. How will they answer for such conduct? And what was worse than all the rest, some professors of religion became open persecutors, and thus attempted to de. stroy, what by their profession they were bound to promote But we will leave them in the hands of God, who will deal with every man according to his work. Since that time, there has not been a day appointed for the admission of probatiouers in vain. We have now about one hundred communicants, and with very few exceptions we have reason to believe, that they are earnestly contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints. Our society, as far as I know, are at present in a state of peace and harmony, which is very essential to its future pros, perity. The work among us as far as I have been able to judge, has in general, been scriptural and deep; which may account, in some degree, for the constancy and fidelity of its subjects. For during the course of two years and a half, we have not been under the painful necessity of expelling more than one or two members from society. But notwithstanding all the Lord has done for us, in this place, Methodism is still in its infancy, and there are many“ Herods,” here, both in and out of churches) who seek the young child's life." . However, I humbly trust that the Lord will preserve it, and that it will soon be sufficiently matured to hear and answer the questions even of the “ Doctors in the Temple," so as to astonish and confound them. May the Great Head of the church, “be a wall of fire" around and about this little branch of Zion, “and the glory in the midst of her." And to this petition, the heart of every pious reader of this sketch will respond Amen.
RELIGIOUS SUMMARY. We have received the December Number of the WESLEYAN METHODIST MAGAZINE, from which we extract the following items of Missionary Intelligence :
NEGAPATAM.—This important Station, which was for some time left without supply, owing to Mr. SQUANÇE having been entirely laid aside by a long-continued afliction, which has at length obliged him to return home, is now again occupied, and with every prospect of success. Mr. Close has been appointed to this Sta. tion, with Mr. KATTS, An Assistant Missionary from Ceylon. Mr. CLOSE's last letter is dated April 30. He preaches twice on Sundays in the Dutch church, and has commenced a native School in the centre of the town. He intended, on Mr. Katts's arrival, to visit Tanjore, Tranquebar, and Trichinopoly. 'At the latter place, there is a considerable Society of pious soldiers.
Souty-AFRICA.-Extract of a letter from Mr. William Shaw, dated, Salem, Albany, July 12, 1822.
I believe I mentioned in my last, that appearances indicated a revival of religion. Happily, these appearances were not delusive. We have not only a large attendance upon divine ordinances, but an extraordinary effect, especially during the first quarter of the year, has attended the preaching of the word. Many have
been truly converted to God, both young persons and some more advanced in Jife ; and, in some cases, the change has been so evident, and yet so unexpected, as to make me think I shall never doubt again in offering the Gospel to similar characters.
The means which have been particularly instrumental in the hands of God, in effecting the good we have witnessed, are, a regular and steady attention to all our usual means of grace, preaching, prayer-meetings, class-meetings, &c. and a systematic and weekly distribution of tracts and other books. This has been highly beneficial. The painful dispensation of Providence, whereby the last two harvests bave entirely failed throughout this colony, by blight, have been sanctified. Want of bread has humbled many hearts, and disposed them to listen to the consolations of the Gospel. How merciful, how wise, is our heavenly Father! He afflicts, he corrects the body, “that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
Our English congregation at Graham's Town, continues to be large and attentive, considering how incommodious the place is, in which we preach. We expect very soon to occupy our new chapel at this place, which we have every reason to believe will be well filled. We shall certainly not have it in our power to accommodate the numerous applicants for pews. As it respects the Hottentot congregation at Graham's Town, it is as full of promise as those on any of our stations in South Africa. It has continued to improve in number and regularity for some time past, although my opportunities of attending to it have necessarily been few and interrupted. I have, at length, the satisfaction of reporting to you, that I have formed a Society among them; the present number of its members is ten; it might have been much greater, but the same reason which induced me to delay forming the Society among them, has led me to be very careful whom I admit into it, now that it is formed. I have, however, great confidence in those already received, that they will be steady in their profession. They speak in a most gratifying manner of their views and feelings, in reference to the great affairs of eternity. You would be highly pleased could you hear the sweet harmony with which the congregation sing hymns of praise to the Saviour, and see the eager attention with which they hear the word.
I consider, that the Heathen in this place, with those of Somerset, to all of whom, through the kind indulgence of their masters and commanders, we have free access, are sufficient to give employ to one Missionary; and I am sure, no Missionary will labour long among them without bis reward.
You will be pleased to hear, that, about three months ago, we formed a Branch Missionary Society for Albany. The settlers are very poor, but they have not been backward in coming to the belp of the Lord, as far as their scanty means will at present allow. One man, at Salem, has generously devoted a cow, with its increase, and the money obtained by the sale of milk and butter received from it, to the Missionary cause. I rather think, we shall not have reason to blush, at the end of the year, at the amount of subscriptions.
WEST-INDIES.—Extracts of Letters from St. Vincents, St. CHRISTOPHERS, DOMINICA, JAMAICA, give very encouraging reports of the state of the work of God on these Islands.
BARBADOES.—The following extract of a Letter from Mr. SHREWSBURY, dated Barbadoes, July 31, 1822, will afford great pleasure to our friends, as it exhibits encouraging prospects of success on a Mission, which, till lately, has disappointed every hope, and has been several times suspended.
I have never enjoyed greater satisfaction in corresponding with you from this station, than at the present hour. The wilderness begins to blossom as the rose, and streams to flow in tbe desert.
Generally, the Society was never in a better state. From an accurate knowledge of every individual, I can with truth testify, that the work of God is becoming deeper in almost every heart: the classes and prayer-meetings are well attended, while the Spirit of grace and supplication rests upon us, enabling us to plead with God for the salvation of others. This is especially the case with those who have been recently brought to the knowledge of the truth.
The Society has received an accession of twenty members, during the quarter, and four persons have been lately received on trial. Most of those who have