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About the time when Mr. Callender's engagement at Lucea ceased, by the return of Mr. Watson, a vacancy occurred in the congregation in Kingston, connected with the Church of Scotland, by the death of Mr Goldie, the pastor. As Mr Callender was well known to be an acceptable and popular preacher, and as he had besides acquired some fame as a devoted and earnest working minister, the committee of this congregation invited him to occupy the pulpit. He consented to officiate for twelve months; but as a dissenter, and attached to his principles, he, with a disinterestedness that did him great honour, declined accepting the endowment from government, which constituted the greater part of the stipend, thus leaving himself dependent on the voluntary offerings of his flock. On this understanding, his offer was cheerfully accepted by the people. His plan having received the approbation of the Presbytery, with which
he was connected, he was now solemnly ordained by them to the work of the ministry. The service was performed at Montego Bay, to which Mr Callender proceeded from Lucea, after bidding farewell to his numerous and attached friends in the latter place. The extracts from his journal we now resume.
"Montego Bay, Aug. 31. 1847.The Presbtery meet tomorrow, and I have come down previously to prepare for starting for Kingston on Thursday morning. After sitting dreaming awhile about the future, as one is apt to do, even to build castles in the air, when on the point of taking some important step in life-was joined by Mr Watson from Lucea, with whom I was soon busied in plotting and planning for the Presbytery meeting tomorrow."
"Wednesday, lst Sept. 1847.Day of ordination. Rose this morning sick, both bodily and mentally. Head all sore, and system disordered, and heart heavy, and mind loaded with anxiety. Afraid, indeed, that I would be utterly unfit for the day's work, and kept myself recumbent and quiet till the hour of meeting. At 12 o'clock Presbytery met, and after arranging preliminaries, proceeded to receive my discourses and trials for ordination. My mind was so enervated (by what in the evening proved to arise from bodily derangement, and superfluity of bile,) that I could not sufficiently collect my thoughts, and received permission to read my discourses. We finished these about 3 o'clock, and, they being sustained, the Presbytery resolved to ordain in the evening in St. Paul's Church. I applied for a private meeting with the brethren prior to my departure for Kingston, which they granted; and gave me instructions and advice as to what they deemed the best course to pursue in Kingston. I went home and to bed till the hour of meeting in the
chapel. Mr Watson commenced by public worship and a sermon on the relative responsibility of preachers and hearers. Mr Aird, the moderator, stated the steps, and succinctly explained the principles of Presbyterianism (very appropriate amid the turmoil of the Baptist church here, to which I have already referred). All the time I found the greatest difficulty in keeping
my eyes open-the bile was operating so powerfully within ; I seldom recollect feeling more miserable.
Mr Carlile roused me to reply to the questions of the formula. Mr Aird offered up the ordination prayer, during which I was set apart. Mr Blyth addressed some good counsel to me-be humble, be active, con sistent, dependent in your public duties, church discipline, and visitation of the people, and personal conduct. Mr Stevenson closed with prayer. I managed
to get home with Mr Watson's assistance, and no sooner was I seated quietly than I found relief, by vomiting an immense quantity of bile. Cleared of it, I felt as if new life were instilled into me; and a twofold impression of how meaning, solemn, and sacred, was the service in which we had been engaged. Was not the Master of Assemblies himself with us? Has he in truth condescended to say even to me 'Behold, now, I send thee; the poor, frail, sinful creature, to open the eyes of thy fellowsinners, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the
power of Satan unto God.' Oh, that I may not be running unsent, on such an errand as that of the ministry of the gospel, or running only the blind to lead the blind! And whither do I go? To a noted sink of immorality, where there are scarce enough., living in Jerusalem to mourn the dead ; where are, so many of welltodointheworld folks, who imagine that they find Christ in the world, as much as in, the church ; Who is sufficient for these things? In departing tomorrow for that field of labour, I would desire to say- 'Unless the Lord go with me I would not go up hence;' and to seek that his presence may indeed go with me, to give me rest; yes, rest in the very midst of toil; that calm satisfaction resulting from divine favour and assistance."
"Falmouth, Thursday evening, 2d September 1847Left Falmouth at midday, on my road to Kingston, and got as far as within a mile of St Ann's Bay. * * * We had not gone far, ere our eye was attracted to the sight of as rare a specimen of parasitical growth as I have ever seen. The first thought that struck one was, that what we looked on must be some high wall covered with ivy or some similar plant ; but as we neared it, it turned out to be but the magnificent drapery of a pendent parasite. So thick and so ample were the fibres, (they could not, be called branches) or cords that hung from what proved to be an immense cotton tree, fifty or sixty feet high, that the very tree was hidden, and its branches and its leaves undistinguishable from the general mass. A lesson by analogy, thought I; an illustration of similar growths in human character ; wherever there is a nook, or corner, or crevice in his disposition or mental constitution, there does some vile weed insiduously insert itself, and grow till the very man is hidden beneath its drapering folds. Some of the parasites are singular in their growth; in the immense cotton trees you will see the wild fig growing, up amidst their branches; and not only so, but often pendent by a single cord of root, and in mid air the stalk of the cotton tree shews the operation of a mechanical law, whereby, by the subdivision, of the weight, the strength is increased. The stalk does not enter the ground at once, but in (what I think is called) balustrade fashion. Not unfrequently, too, do the white ants select these spots for the site of their houses, built all most carefully by themselves, and in suitable compartments. The house has somewhat of the appearance of a beehive; and thence also do they lay their streets to the ground, and to the summit of the tree, and to every source of food. All these streets are tunnelled into the bark, or arched over otherwise-none of them are open. I have broken the arch now and again, and the insects were passing up and down; I have gone back next day, and the damage was repaired. But the night shades were descending on us; the momentary twilight passed by, and soon the song of the cricket, and the chirp of the firefly, and all the sounds of busy insect life enlivened the scene; while around, too, glittered the dancing beauties of phosphoric flies, and above gleamed ever the sudden glories of the electric fluid as it passed behind and on from cloud to cloud. Arrived, at length, soresided and ready for supper, at our restingplace for the night. It is one of the sorest of penances to travel Jamaica roads, all the worse that it is generally through the most enchanting of scenery, which you cannot enjoy. The glare of the sun blinds the eye, while its radiance scorches the skin and fevers the blood ; and, besides, as if it were not hot enough and bad enough to pass through a furnace, you have to endure the most unnatural joltings, and strainings, and concussions, owing to the ruggedness of the roads. Attempt to enjoy a delightful prospect! pooh; in the very act of lifting your eye, and settling yourself, jolt goes your carriage into a foot deep rut, and, if you have been unwary enough, off goes your hat, or out spins your body from your seat. Have a pleasant prospect in this way among the mountains tomorrow! I think, that were I called on to choose, I would rather have a week at the treadmill than a day's drive across Mount Diabolo, such as is before me tomorrow. I have been questioning whether the fabled penance of Tantalus be half so severe as that of the Jamaica traveller jolting up and down a road, amid scenery where all else is still and silent, all placid and pleasing, and that beneath a tropical sun, while the very cattle browse coolly beneath the shade of the spreading mango. Strange inn this, too! really a wayside solitude, into which I have got for the night. What a fine scene for banditti! no tenant but myself.
Friday, 3d Sept. 1847. Set off by two in the morning, to get up the steep mountain drive of four hours before the sun got out of bed and rubbed the dust from his eyes. It was rather perilous work, but we had the benefit of the moon through the worst part of the ascent, and the horses knew the road. At sunrise felt myself amply repaid for the annoyances of the past night. What a glorious scene is sunrise from such a mountain range, and with such a delightful valley stretching down to the very shore. I stopped the horses to admire at leisure what I seldom recollect witnessing before ; but description is impossible. If you would know it, you must come to
judge for yourselves. Got to the top and to Moneague in time for breakfast. Rested here a couple of hours, ruminating all the while on the number of ups and downs there are in the world, especially in Jamaica; owing to the hills riddled at random over its surface, and the ruts worn in its roads--roads which one would imagine were surely made a century before the visit of Christopher Columbus. The rest of the journey was down hill to Linstead, and through
the celebrated Bogwalk to Spanish Town. Met Mr Milne, brotherinlaw of Mr Jameson, late of Goshen, now in Africa, proceeding in same direction ; were separated by a thunder storm, when each had enough to do with himself, and to get from under the rattling rain, and roaring thunder, and flashing fluid, as quickly as possible. Reached Spanish Town at last, with horses done up, and myself well wetted. Called on W. W. Anderson, Esq., when I shifted; and having dined with him, and made through him arrangements for lodgings in Kingston, came on by railway to
Kingston. Up till now I have tried to keep the mind free from anxiety, but I am now at my field
of labour, and cannot longer divert the mind by trifles, such as fill these pages, from the difficulties of my position. Oh that my sufficiency may be of God! In his strength can I alone be successful."
Convinced that there was a wide and inviting field for the exercise of ministerial usefulness at Kingston, and that much good might be effected by a conscientious and earnest pastor, Mr Callender, on his arrival, applied himself to the work with redoubled zeal and diligence, and with a fervour and enthusiasm under which even strong men must have shrunk. Besides his Sabbath ministrations, he had lectures on the evenings of every Thursday on the life of Christ, held numerous meetings for prayer and religious instruction, laboured assiduously at a flourishing Sabbath school, visited from house to house, and, in short, faithfully performed all those duties which are acknowledged to be indispensable for the due care, support, and edification of a large missionary church. To judge fairly of his toils and difficulties, we must bear in mind that he was suffering from the illness which was gradually undermining his strength, that he was unaccustomed to the climate, the excessive heat of which often rendered the slightest exertion insupportable to him, and that, at that period, the island generally, and Kingston in particular, was suffering greatly from mercantile prostration, embarassrnent, and distress, consequent on the sudden change in the fiscal legislation of the mother country. To this he sometimes alluded in letters to friends at home. But by none of these things was he daunted. Like many others, like some illustrious living characters, seemingly conscious that his days were to be few, he resolved that they should be all the more useful, and he compressed the utmost possible amount of labour into the limited space, excited by the prospect of the cheering welcome, "well done good and faithful servant ?" This intensity of enthusiasm, while it is in many respects a relief to the individual under its influence, is, at the same time, a too melancholy indication of the malady which is wearing them down, the fitful flashing of the expiring taper.
Continued at :
Callender Memoirs, Part 5
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