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"18th April, 1848. Days and hours fly past. This is Tuesday already. Yesterday I was fit for nothing, and lay lolling on the sofa reading the papers and my packet of letters just received. At night I had to bestir myself for my meeting, unwell though I felt myself; fortunately good brother Anderson (who is just preparing to leave us, that he may go and supply Mr Jameson's
place in Africa) popped in upon me for the night, and I enlisted him to explain a chapter while I answered the questions that had been put. It was another, as these prayer meetings almost invariably are, solemn and refreshing season. Today I feel its reviving influence still. Mr A. and myself walked down this morning to see what our school contractors were about, and we found them hard at work. I expect to get into the School, D.V. by middle of July, and to have £100 expenses, and more, then to meet, though I see.not yet where it is to come from. 'The gold and the silver and the hearts of God's people are the Lord's,' used to be our departed Jameson's consolation, and formed the argument of his prayers. I cannot do better than take up his argument and urge it too. I have before me a letter from Mr Hogg of Manchester, well calculated to cheer me amid difficulties. He is still labouring hard with the immense debt which Mr Paterson contracted in his chapel building; and the burden is beginning, he thinks, to move off. He tells me, too, that Mr Main, of Mount Pleasant station has had a similar accident to my own, though with a more serious result. He was thrown from his gig, and lay for some time insensible at the roadside. There was no one with him. Fortunately his fatherinlaw happened to come up and saw him, and had him conveyed home. He soon recovered his senses, but still suffers ftom his bruises. You have little idea of the ruggedness and roughness of our roads, especially after rains. Often immense blocks of stone are loosened from the mountain sides, and find a resting place right in the middle of the road; at other times gaps are made, and slips of no safe kind, in the road itself. One needs to use the eyes well in riding or driving."
Mr Callender's engagement was brought to a close in August 1848, and at that time his place was supplied by a minister appointed to the vacant charge by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. So well, however, and so faithfully had he laboured, and so thoroughly had he secured the attachment of the people, that when he left, a vote of thanks was presented to him, and this, with his reply, we subjoin:
"Resolved unanimously,--That the General Committee of the Scotch Church, Kingston, respectfully; and with all sincerity, desire that the thanks of the congregation (whom they represent) be communicated to the Rev. Thomas P. Callender, for, the readiness with which he at once responded to their call, for the purpose of supplying the church with the necessary ministrations requisite amongst a people lately bereft of their lamented pastor; the untiring zeal displayed in the exercise of those duties to which he devoted himself, and the unremitting attention paid to the spiritual wants of the congregation over whom he had the pastoral care: also the committee's sincere regret that the church should lose the services of one so eminently qualified for the discharge of those duties inseparably connected with the character of a faithful pastor, a true Christian, and sincere friend.
The Convener appointed Messrs L. Gibson, Robert Urquhart, F. Elliot, and J. H. Panton, to present the above!"
Mr Callender replied on August 23, 1848...
It might be supposed that, when his engagement was ended, Mr Callender would have sought repose, and that he would have been ill qualified, physically, for further labours; but his next were even more severe than the preceding. It was thought advisable that, as he was well known in Kingston, and had acquired an elevated standing there as a gospel minister, a missionary station should be opened in connection with the Jamaica Presbytery, of which he was a member. This was done. Premises were secured, and a place for meeting fitted up, capable of holding a considerable number of persons. The church was opened ,and the congregation met, under the fairest auspices. He thus describes his own feelings and position at the time:
"Kingston, 7th Sept. 1848.
My dear Uncle,-I find packet day has come, round again and I am still unable, from want of time, to write any of you in full. The last fortnight has been a somewhat eventful one. I am out of the kirk...thirtysix members have subscribed our separate Poll. Already is it apparent that a new place, a chapel, is immediately needed.
"But health fails me. These twelve months of anxious care and labour have well nigh worn out my weak frame. It cannot be long ere I must either retire or sink; and most anxious do I feel to have one here, ere I be removed, to avail himself of what little further aid I can render. Since I last wrote you our mission in this island has met with two sad losses. My zealous, openhearted and active fellowstudent and fellowlabourer, Paxton Young, is no more. He was to have come here to relieve me, so that I might have time to recruit a little. He has found, I doubt not, more glorious work to do. Mrs Winton, too, is gone, cut off in a similar way by fever. Mr Scott has been at the gates of the grave, but has been spared, I trust, to much usefulness, in the more important and healthy field of labour opened up to him at Montego Bay. The season has been very unhealthy, and fever very prevalent. The heat this summer has been intense; and at present it is as hot as in June, with cold breezes during the night."
Observing what he had undergone, without any cessation, since his arrival in the island, the allusion in this letter to his failing health will excite no surprise. Scarcely had he opened his new place of worship, and fairly commenced the arduous task of collecting around him a congregation, than it was found, on his being subjected to a medical examination, that his disease had advanced to such a stage as to preclude the hope of his surviving many months. A sea voyage was, however, recommended, and he left Kingston for Bermuda. The following extracts shew the state of his own mind, when leaving Kingston, and on the voyage.
"Kingston, 21st September 1848-I am dreadfully knocked about, and also tried by a tenderhearted few, who seem loath to let me go. I go on board tonight. By six this morning I had callers to bid me goodbye. It is as if 'they would see my face no more.' .....This 'favour among all my flock' is sadly trying; and yet my heart is full of regard to them, and my desire only is, to be spared a little longer to labour among them. I am in the hands of my Master; Oh that I may learn with submission to bow to his will...."
"Havana, 28th Sept. 1848.
My dear Uncle,-I am now here, having come thus far on my way to Bermuda, in search of health. This is quite a contrast to Kingston in every respect, and has more the aspect of native than of emigrant industry; viz., of industry put forth by parties who have come to make the island their home, rather than of money making nonresidenters, whose sole view has been, as in Jamaica, to make a fortune to be spent at home. Here, it is clear, money is spent as well as made. The city reminds me much of some of the Italian ones I visited. The bay, on whose sides the city is built, is one of the finest I have ever seen ; it is one of the largest and finest natural harbours that is to be found, many as they are among these islands. I have been kept waiting two days for the English steamer, there being a transfer of passengers at this port. I expect to be summoned on board in the course of the day.
"3d October, Dry hot fever and debility has indisposed me these few days, but now I am relieved. We left Havana on Sabbath morning at daybreak. ...
Matters in Kingston I left in a very interesting state. On the Sabbath the place was opened as a chapel by myself in the forenoon. In the afternoon and evening, Messrs Hogg (Mr Paterson's successor), and West (a Wesleyan), foloowed in most effective and suitable discourses."
He returned [to Kingston, Jamaica] about the end of November, not improved in health, but, perhaps, on the whole, the worse for the exertion. It now became manifest that his days were drawing rapidly to a close. Additional gloom was about this time infused into his mind by the death, from various causes, of several missionaries in Jamaica, with most of whom he had been on terms of the closest intimacy. In the last letter he ever penned, he thus alludes to the circumstance, and to his own condition, as well as the affairs of the congregation:
"Kingston, 7th Dec. 1848.
Young! Caldwell! Mrs Winton! Mrs Scott! have all followed Dr Stevenson, within these few months to their resting place and home in eternity. What a catalogue! all that was vigorous and hopeful, active and zealous, youthful and fair. Another since has been called from the field to sleep beside his partner in life. My friend, my fellowstudent, and fellowlabourer, humble, amiable, energetic, John Scott died last week, another victim of yellow fever. Like the rest, his end was truly peace; and an infant, helpless and orphan, is all that remains to shew that once there were so affectionate, and truehearted, and devoted labourers as John and Elizabeth Scott.
When such things are happening around, you will not be much amazed when told that it is not unlikely that the list is not yet closed, but that he who writes is now in so precarious a state as to render it doubtful that more than a few days are appointed to him. In the wise providence of God, the effect of the voyage has, been other than hoped for; and now, I am forbidden to preach for some months to come. All strength is gone; to walk from one end of the house is a labour; a week ago, from the swelling of the extremities, and other symptoms, I thought all was at an end; since then, however, I have been partially restored; the swelling has subsided, and been succeeded by inflamed windpipe and throat. How matters may terminate is known only to that all good and gracious One to whom I commit the keeping of myself and my ways. It may be that the few months' cessation from labour prescribed may be blessed by him. It is one great comfort, amidst all, that I am permitted still to advise and counsel my people privately, and to superintend
the progress of affairs. We have just begun erecting the manse, it will be so decided a saying to the mission that I could not hesitate about it. Such are times here, that the estimate is for £250, and the house will be quite as spacious as your own. I will be able to effect a loan at six per cent., I think, of £200, which a rent of £50 a year, will, in five years, entirely clear.
"Can nothing at all be done even in the way of loan for our chapel ? Now we can build at half cost, and soon the opportunity may be lost. Altogether, we have got about £200 of subscriptions here, but a considerable part of it has been spent on the schoolroom. Would you advise me to write directly on the matter of loan. It surely can be had in Scotland at a reasonable rate. Our present place is too small and hot for us....
" Thus you see, feeble and at the verge of the grave as I am, I am allowed still to be doing a little in maintaining the cause of God here. . . ."
The congregation had, meanwhile, continued to increase, and, on the third Sabbath of December, the communion was for the first time observed. To the young minister, ripe for eternity, and hovering on its brink, it was, as might well be expected, a scene of unusual and solemn interest. He conducted the services himself, preaching from the words "They asked each other of their welfare." It is described as having been a most affecting scene. His people listened with the too painful consciousness that they heard him for the last time. Indeed, the hand of death was on him, and he became so weak as to be unable to speak in public again. Still, however, he took as much interest as ever in the affairs of his church, superintended the works in progress, the building of the manse, &c., as long as he was able. At last he became too weak even for this, and was obliged to abandon it.
...As he was quite unable to walk, a friend very kindly gave him the use of his carriage, which was an open one, for recreation, but even this exercise was almost too much for him. One day, however, he went out in it. There was a particular view of the sea, in the neighbourhood, which he had always admired, and this he wished to visit once more. It had a double charm. He wished to gaze his last on that ocean which stretched towards his native land, and to inhale the invigorating breeze which was wafted from its sparkling waves. This wish was gratified. We cannot do better than describe the scene, in the touching words of one who tended him with a mother's affection : "One of the merchants lent him his carriage, a low doubleseated one, in which he could recline. Both Wednesday and Thursday he tried it, but was not able. On Friday, he had another severe attack of spasm in his breathing, and spent a very bad night. When the doctor called in the morning, he strongly dissuaded him from going out again, and said it would only exhaust his little remaining strength, but his mind seemed set upon it, and about two o'clock he sent for the carriage, and asked me to get ready; I went with a trembling heart, for, from his feebleness and hurried breathing, I dreaded what might happen on the way. We went very slowly round his favourite drive. One place in it he had pointed out to me, when I first came down, as the finest in all the neighbourhood; he said, the fine green foliage of the trees was so refreshing and, the beautiful view of the sea always cheered him. When we came to this spot, he asked me to tell the servant to drive slowly, and he gazed all around. I would gladly have whispered to him, 'There are fairer scenes than this in the heavenly country,' but I could not speak. We both felt it was his last look of it. When we turned to go back, he said, 'In by the little chapel,' and this also was to be a farewell look. We drove into the yard where the little chapel stands, and the dwellinghouse is going on, with the large building, where the church is to be, on the other side. He had no directions to give to the workmen, as at other times, nor any questions to ask, but he sat about five minutes, and looked first on one side, then the other. The breaking up of the ties which bound him to that spot must have been a hard struggle; all his earthly interest seemed to centre in it; not a day passed but be went to see how the buildings got on, and he had often expressed a strong desire to live to see his church built. As the carriage turned slowly round, he took a look of the little spot he had selected as his last resting place, where he said his dust would sleep beside his people. When we got to the street he leaned back, shut his eyes, and did not speak till we got home. He was much worn out, but looked cheerful and satisfied. He soon after went to bed, and has never been out of it again!"
From this time, till the day of his death, he suffered much; and had frequent paroxysms of breathlessness, followed by insensibility. But the expressions that fell from his lips shewed on what the mind was fixed, amid the pains that convulsed the body: "Christ is our all;" "None but Christ can support in a dying hour;" "If in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable."
.... The sweet heavenly smile on his face became one who was soon to be a prince in his Father's house.
Shortly before his death, Mr Morris, an excellent clergyman of the Church of England, called to see him, and in prayer commended his soul to the care of the Triune Jehovah. Mr Callender repeated the last phrase, and bade his friend farewell. Soon after, all was over. He was apparently insensible some time before his death, but an expression of tranquil confidence settled on his features, which had before been distorted by pain, as if a glimpse had been given him of the glory that was soon to be revealed.
On the 22d January 1849, towards evening, while his friends were praying around, his bed, the spirit forsook its tenement of clay, for a more enduring mansion....the day after his death he was consigned to the tomb. A vast crowd followed the bier, from respect to one who was generally loved, and whose loss was regretted by all.
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