Lucea, 2d. April 1847.Visited and dined with Rev. Mr May, the Baptist minister. On the whole spent a very pleasant evening. Such intercourse among those holding the same great fundamental truths is not only becoming, it is actually pleasant. Those who prefer standing aloof from all who do not wear the same party colours, know not, I suspect, what they lose. . . .
Saturday, 3d April.-I am now fully occupied. An idea of my work you may have, by the following -Preaching every Lord's day; meeting with a class of young men on Mondays; another class of old people who cannot read, on Wednesdays; preaching on Thursdays, and conversation with country folks on Fridays and Saturdays. It will be a pretty fair trial of strength physically, and I trust a suitable oppor tunity of proving the Lord now, whether he will help me. The more my experience of ministerial duty enlarges, the deeper does my conviction become, that the arduousness of the labour, and the consciousness of insufficiency to accomplish it, are not so much con nected with the public as with the private ministrations. It is comparatively an easy thing to know nothing among men in the pulpit, save Christ ; but in the affairs of common life, and in one's constant intercourse with the people, it is not so easy. May the Lord himself aid me, so that at all times and seasons, and in all circumstances, Christ, whom it is the great end of my office, the great design of my calling to exhibit, may be ever preached by me."
Lucea, 5th April. --Preached morning and evening yesterday to thronged audiences; it being Easter Sabbath. . . .
Sabbath, 11th April, 1847 The congregations were large and attentive.. . .
"Tuesday, 27th April 1847.-Visited with Mr Keaslie, one of the elders, the Askinish and Retrieve districts of the congregation, a circuit altogether of 16 miles. At Askinish we were met, not as at Maryland, where the people were all waiting our arrival, seated in their white dresses and braw buskins' on a pretty green knoll before the schoolhouse door, and visible for at least half an hour to our eyes before we got rid of all the windings to and fro of the mountain passes, but scattered up and down at their own hut doors, looking out for us as we cantered along, the hill-side to the place of meeting. Soon they followed us, every one with their Bible in the one hand, and their chair in the other, for there was no house large enough for us to meet in, and ours was to be the shade of the neighbouring trees. About sixty, including children, were present, and we continued together in reading and hearing the word and prayer for two hours, beginning with singing the 121st psalm, so appropriate, I thought, to hillside worshippers, resting beneath agreeable shade, and surrounded as we were by high, and (not heathered) but grassy mountains. After worship, I had early dinner with one of the black elders. At first he would not sit down with parson,' but I would not sit down without him. I was surprised at his wife waiting on us, and I reminded him of her privileges, and the propriety of her also sitting along with us, but before I could get him to understand-what few of the blacks yet comprehend-that his wife was not his servant, but his helpmeet, and companion in eating as well as in work and prayer; she had run for it, and was not forthcoming till our meal was ended. At length we bade them adieu, and rode off, leaving them all behind us gratified, and, I trust, edified by our meeting with them. Our next meeting was at a place five miles off, and down one rugged rock, and round another, and up a third, and down a fourth. At length, wearied and exhausted by the midday heat, owing to some malarrangement, we were obliged here to meet the people under the shade of a spreading breadnut tree. They were not collected when we reached the place; so setting the elder to rattling a broken kettle with a stone, (as a substitute for a bell,) we tied our horses to a tree, and both tired and thirsty, I stretched myself out under the shade of another tree till the folk assembled. It was fully half an hour before they managed to come, and no wonder, for all were old and frail; and there were the blind, the halt, the lame, and the sick, all toiling along the best way they could to get comfort for their heart,' as one old woman said, when I was expressing a kind of surprise at her being able to creep along, for it was actually creeping with hands and feet. After talking conversationally with them, my tongue, owing to the heat, was too parched to proceed without some draught or other. Drinkable water was not to be had, but two little urchins, who had been questioned by me some minutes before, were off to some cocoa nut trees close by, and vieing with each other who should mount their different trees first, and get a drink of cocoa nut water for parson.' They were more like monkeys than anything else as they rattled up the branchless trees, and pitched down a couple of cocoa nuts each, reckless of heads beneath. Soon the water flowed out into a tumbler, and, oh! it was a delightful cooling draught.
Lucea, Sabbath, 2d May 1847.-This was communion day, and a delightful season it has proved. We had a preliminary prayer meeting on Saturday night, and, on Sabbath morning, I, in compliance with the wish of the Session, attended their Sabbath morning prayer meeting in the church. We met exactly at six in the morning, and never do I recollect engaging in a more interesting meeting. The church was well filled; and, oh! as the hymn of praise was breathed, Blest morning, whose first dawning rays,' amid the balminess of the morning air, and the buoyancy of unoppressed spirits, and the clearness of hearty interest-for no sluggards were there--and the radiance of the just rising sun, there was something indescribably delightful. Never were matins so enjoyed by me; and it will ever be my regret that the amount of other labour on the Sabbath, forces me to refrain from regularly attending with them. Three of the members conducted, with myself, the devotional exercises; and I do not think I'll soon forget the fervency of spirit, and simplicity of heart with which one, at least, of the elders led us, after visiting the cross and sepulchre, (by reading John xix. and xx.,) to the throne of grace, where Christ is ever able to save, and ever living to intercede for us, and supplicated there the blessing that maketh rich, and that presence, which was promised, which would be the only pleasure of the communion season. In the forenoon Mr Carlile preached, and addressed the communicants, (about 350 present).
Tuesday, 11th May, 1847.-Busy visiting the sick in the town today. One old woman, about ninety years of age, was dying; she was helpless in body, yet hopeful in heart.
Wednesday, 26th May 1847.-And now I must draw to a close these abrupt and unfinished jottings. Last night I had a meeting with the elders, and they broached the question of burying in consecrated ground, and the correctness of the burial service. Our meeting was a pleasant one, and I trust also profitable. Today I have again been with the sick and the dying, learning, I trust, as well as teaching. On visiting, found that Sabbath's work had not been in vain; some few families having been led to commence worship in their familes. Such incidents are comfort amidst toil. Thinking, of scenes, at home and in days gone by, tonight; nothing can dispel the sweets of home from memory's treasures. Received today some bad intelligence of the loss of the barque Catherine,' on her return voyage with a full cargo. All hands were saved, with the exception of the old man whose illness caused us so much concern on the passage out. Here is a new call for gratitude to Him, who so cared for us as to preserve us in safety amidst all the dangers of the mighty deep. I have just been humming to myself some auld Scottish airs and songs, but have been invited by Mrs and Miss Watson to unite in some of Zion's songs. What a pity our heart's feelings in regard to heaven are not so strong as those of the wayworn wanderer in regard to home. Alike rugged is our path, alike lonely our heart; for yonder is our Father's visible presence ; yonder is our friend and brother, and yonder is the believer's home! Should not the songs of Zion be in our mouth, and our harps rather in our hands than on the willows? And should not the same thrill of tender delight be ours, as to their effect, as when the wellknown, much loved sounds of fatherland music recal to our mind the scenes of early life, and the recollections of early departed joys, departed,' --probably, 'never to return,'-and the images of far remote kindred, and seem to cause hope fondly to whisper of a revisit to these scenes, a renewal of these joys, a reunion to those friends? In spiritual, as in earthly, ought there not to be the same sadly pleasing retrospect, and joyful anticipation; ought we not, in the one as in the other, to lose the sense of our sorrows, and journey onward with renewed vigour and spirit, rejoicing all the way in hope of glory of God, and upward until we obtain the prize of the high calling of God, and receive the welcome, 'enter ye into the joy of your Lord.
Lucea, Wednesday, 9th June--Up and out early walking this morning, though both worn and weary. Sauntered in the open air, in the enjoyment of the balmy freshness and fragrant breath of the morning breeze, till I found myself near the chapel, and beside the tombstones of Mr Leslie and Mrs Watson, whose bones lie here mouldering between the church and the school, hic jacent;' and so must it soon be said of others, and of him who gazes on these memorials of those that once were. While standing musing there, a female member of the church came up to me and gave me good morning. After some conversation, she remarked to me, as she saw my eye fixed on the tombs, that the barren fig tree should not be near the tombs of those whose ashes lie beneath these ; her allusion was, I saw, to Thursday nights lecture, and I told her she was right, and that we should see to it that we were not unprofitable altogether. We were led to some plain and pointed conversation, in which I tried to shew her, more forcibly and clearly, what the Christian really was, viz., not a mere member of the church, not a mere professed, not a mere lip and hand Christian; but the Christian was just the miniature likeness of Christ-his living picture-- memorial,' epistle.' That is the Christian--Christ in the heart, seen in the life, and adorned in the conduct. A profession was only the frame of the picture-the case of the miniature--the paper of the epistle; the likeness was in the heart, and was there to be found reigning, breathing, living, constraining. It was the having the same mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus. Today have met with a few illustrations of the sunken state of morals in the island. Marriage, when it does take place, though even it is rare, is a mere mockery, and morality is at so very low an ebb, that cohabitation and bastardy are regarded as nothing that can cause or call up a blush there is nothing in which the church of God is so much tried in the island. Certainly, however, there is some improvement, but till our countrymen, and whites generally, are put to the blush in their open and disgraceful doings, improvement will be slow.
"Lucea, 3d July. -I had expected to have finished work here ere this, but owing to Mr Watson's continued absence in America, and the judgment of the brethren, and the desire of the people, I am continuing to work here, though assuredly well nigh exhausted. By calculation, the other day, and to my no little amazement, I found that, during the last twelve weeks, I have preached more than sixty different times, and fifty different sermons, of which forty or rather thirtysix were composed and written carefully out, just as I would have required to have done at home; for this being a town congregation, it does not do to give them any thing that may come to hand, nor do I consider that it would be faithful on my part to serve our great Master, with that which cost me nothing.' Though often weak, and at best far from strong, I have reason to be grateful to him who has enabled me all along to attend to every public duty uninterruptedly, and I trust with some advantage to others, as well as with no detriment to myself. If I have to say that my strength has been weakened in the way,' I can surely add with gratitude, that he himself who is the strength and stay of them that trust in him, has supplied wherein I was lacking, while labouring in the good work of the Lord. I fully agree with you that it is a good, a blessed work; and a better Master there is not."
"4th July.-Brownsville, (Mr Carlile's station.)Tis Sabbath and sunset, and mountain scenery, and what prospect of delightful quietude; and how sweet the symphony of the songsters of the woodland. Sitting as I am a solitary in the mission house study, far above the level of the sea, and I might fancy the strife, of men, there is something solemnly strange in the scene before me. Immediately beneath my window, the position of which at this moment reminds me forcibly of the little window above Ballynagard hall door, is the neat Scotch chapel, with its unassuming spire and attractive simplicity of architecture, where early, on the day we were engaged in leading and uniting in the devotions of these mountain settlers ; almost does one feel constrained to say of it as David in the 84th psalm, How amiable;' beyond it again and beneath it, stretch hills upon hills, all gradually tapering down from the mountains, between which the mission station is placed, towards the sea, and some of them clothed with rich and verdant grasses, and others with wild and unheeded bush and brushwood, and others present the rich green of the sugar cane, while, scattered here and there, on their sides, were visible some negro huts, traceable more from the tall cocoa nuts, underneath whose shade and shelter they are erected; but all becomes indistinct and undefined in the distance, where the sea seems as calm as an hill embosomed lake, mirroring the golden glory of the sky above, and streaked by the radiance of the setting sun. Far off in the distant dim horizon, the eye can distinguish the vapoury looking figure of a ship in full sail, seemingly motionless on the ocean's bosom, yet homewards bound, and the thought of it has set me a scribbling till I fill this sheet for you. Homeward bound;' what meaning is in a word, what feeling does thought of it occasion! The song of the mocking bird had ceased, and the wearying monotony of the shrill chirping of the cricket was audible, -the sun had disappeared, and (destitute as we are of twilight) light had fled, ere I ceased to dream of homeward bound,' as written above, to Britain,' and to speculate on homeward bound to eternity, and homewards bound to Canaan.' The curtaining clouds of night enveloped me, fit season for the sombreness and shadowness of human conceptions of the unseen state, ere I resumed my pen, and observed myself in darkness. And now that the candle light has taken the place of the sun, I must return to more sober thoughts and throw dreaming aside."
Tuesday, 13th July.-Attended missionary prayer meeting last night in Mr May's. Along with us was Rev. Mr Simson, president of the Calabar Academy,' near Rio Bueno, a Nathaniel, it seems to me, in disposition. He gave us a very simple and neat address on the subject of prayer. Missionary intelligence was read, and the arrival. of the Dove' from Africa, the Baptist mission ship, with Mr Clarke of Fernando Po, and a number of disabled missionary agents, was announced. It seems that a deep gloom hangs over the mission of the Baptists in Africa; disease and death, and difficulties have been among them but the work of interpretation and acquisition of language, &c., is advancing. In saying something by way of addition to Mr S.'s speech, I availed myself of an interesting and instructive scene I had been observing in the Baptist mission manse. Mr May had set a box of bees on a piazzetta above his door; unfortunately, there was a hole in the top of the box, and the great heat of the sun had split up the top of the board. The plan of the bees to remedy the evil was good; they waxed up, during the evening, the hole, and the crack in the wood. During the day the sun was melting the wax, and to meet this, four of them began fanning the spot with their wings, and from morning sun to sun-set the process was kept up, the four, as they tired, being relieved by a new band, and when the sun went down, wax was anew laid on the spot, and thus does the work go on from day to day, ever melting, ever fanning, ever waxing, &c., &c.
"Wednesday morning, 14th July 1847.-. . .We have had a tremendous squall today for about an hour; it was preceded by an earthquake. Mrs Watson was not conscious of it, but most sensibly was it felt in the study; it was as if the whole study was raised up at the one side, and in danger of toppling over. I felt for Mrs W. Her thoughts naturally were with her husband, and her memory recurred to the day on which Mr Niven was lost; just such another. A large Coolie ship laying in the calm anchorage of the bay (just arrived with somewhere about three hundred more of these miserable Hill Coolies,) was rocking about as if at sea; even there where usually prevailed all the stillness of an inland lake. The ships out at some distance at sea too, of which we caught. a glance, seemed to be labouring in the storm. It reminded me of one squall we had in the latitude of the Bay of Biscay, when crossing-- the lonely vessel, under close reefed topsails, lay groaning like some thing of life in agony, while a fearful wall of waters narrowed the horizon to only a few yards; the sea, raging in wrath, and dark as death, all around us; the blast, in its fury, catching from the tops of the towering billows their crests of foam, to dash them into myriad atoms of smoky mist; the sun, too, gleaming forth in wildlike brilliance, with its radiance refracted by the spray in varied prismatic colouring. As the squall died away, the rain descended in such torrents as neither windows nor walls, nor doors of these wooden houses could stand; and while the thunder pealed over head, and the rain rattled on the shingle roofs, we were all obliged to give our tongues a rest, and our fingers labour with towels, &c., &c., to keep us from being flooded. I find that I was not wrong in regard to the earthquake; it has been very generally felt by the inhabitants."
"Manday, 19thJuly 1847.Busy all day writing letters home, which were sent off on Wednesday. Received this morning letters and extracts of communications from Messrs Jameson and Edgerley of Africa; these have been brought by the Baptist mission ship, the Dove,' which has just arrived with sick and disabled agents, for fresh supplies for their Bimbia mission. Letters just received also, requesting me to supply Green Island part of Sabbath, to which I have consented, though reluctantly, the work devolving upon me here being quite enough for me.
"Thursday, 22d. July. . . .It was also, to increase my enjoyment, a glorious moonlight night, and all around there was a dewy softness, and balmy brilliance in the heaven, and air, and sea, in sympathy, soothing and sweet with the scene of spiritual love in the chapel.
Friday, 23d July.-Came home just as the moon was rising, and tinging the ripply waters below. It is a scene utterly indescribable-clear moonlight in the tropics, as the beams are bathed in the silvery lake beneath. Coleridge's description is the only one that comes in the smallest degree near the thing, I never saw the heavens so near before.' The sky did not seem the solid ceiling, with gold nails stuck into it, which it does in England, but a soft transparency of showery azure, far within which, but unobserved by its intervention, the great stars were swimming, and breathing, and looking down like the gods of Assyria, (of this Mr C. cannot judge, never having become acquainted with said gods). Not only Venus and Sirius, and the glorious cross of our faith in the south,'* nd Charlemagne, among the starry seven,' low in the north shone like segments of the moon, (so clear and soft,) but hosts of other luminaries of lesser magnitude flung each its particular shaft of splendour on the tranquil and shadowy sea.
[*The Southern Cross is a beautiful constellation of four stars, which, as they rise, are like an inverted cross, ... and as it ascends, turns on its side, till in midheaven, it is erect, ..., -Read James Montgomery's lines upon it, -they are exquisite.]
Then, amidst all this, are the firefly flickering will o' the wisp,' lights all about you, which Coleridge also pithily pictures out, the air seemed to burst into atoms of green fire before my face, and in an instant was gone. I turned and saw all the woods upon the mountains far and near illuminated with 10,000 of flaming torches (one would have thought) moving in every direction, now rising, now falling, vanishing here, reappearing there, now converging into a globe, and again dispersing in spangles. None can conceive, from description, the magical beauty of these glorious creations.' I think I told you, from Carron Hall, the brilliancy of their phosphoric light tipping in extended line the border of a cane field as we rode in the dark to Kingston; it reminded me a good deal of such a gaslit street as Prince's Street in a blowy night, when the lights are unsteady, and flickering. But before dismissing Coleridge, I am tempted to give the lines in which he describes the Indian scenery,
where the night
Is all irradiate with the light
Of stars, like moons, which hung on high,
Breathe and quiver in the sky;
Each its silver haze divine,
Flinging in a radiant line,
O'er gorgeous flower, and mighty tree,
On the soft and shadowy sea.
Oft I see in noonday dream
Your glorious stars with lunar beam,
And oft before my sight arise
Your skylike seas, your sealike skies,
Your green banana's giant leaves,
Your golden canes in arrowy sheaves,
Your palms which never die, but stand
Immortal seamarks on the strand;
Their feathery tufts like plumage rare,
Their stems on high, so strange and fair."
"Monday, 26th July 1847.Weary and worn today, and useless, but my work here is done. Mr Watson has arrived hearty and hale from America this evening, after a long and stormy passage from Baltimore to Kingston. . . .
"Wednesday, 28th-What reason, great reason have I to raise my Ebenezer, and testify of the strength imparted to me amidst much weakness, and grace given amid all my insufficiency during the past four months of ministerial labour especially. I feel that it is, however, just time to rest, for I am considerably exhausted. I have been enjoying the delightful scene of reunion between Mr W. and his flock; he is much and meritedly esteemed among them. I introduced the new members to him when they called; and now I must soon be moving elsewhere, but whither? Ignoro must at present be said, save in all probability for a day or two, to Carron Hall. Is ignorance of the future a thing to be deplored? Rather not, for simple and sweet is the truth, that the veil which covers futurity is woven by the hand of mercy."'
[Comments by editor of Memoirs:] That these labours were appreciated by the people, of whom he had the oversight, we have satisfactory proof. The best evidence of the esteem in which he was held is supplied by the conduct of the members themselves, who, before he left Lucea, presented him with an address, accompanied by a testimonial, expressing their deep sense of the interest he had manifested in their welfare, of the zeal, ability, and affectionate devotedness,' wherewith he had ministered to them the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the unwearied assiduity he had shewn for their spiritual and eternal welfare. You have now,' they say, the confidence, and affectionate esteem of all classes in this congregation, and while we cherish the grateful recollection of your exertions amongst us, we will follow you to the new and interesting field of your future labours, with sincere prayers for your continued welfare and prosperity.'
To this address, as honourable to the congregation, as it must have been gratifying to the young preacher, he returned a reply, expressed in his usual strain of eloquent and earnest affection.
[Continued . . . ]
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