|CHAPTER XXV. -- AFRICA--INCIDENTS OF THE VOYAGE--MONROVIA--FIRST FOURTH -- OF JULY THERE--A SCHOOL FOR BOYS--CAPE PALMAS-- -- BASSA--TEMPERANCE WORK--THOMAS ANDERSON.|
Then I was confirmed, for this was the only difficulty I had; when that was settled, it was all clear, so I went to Cape Palmas with Bishop Taylor.
I will not stop to say now about the meeting and the first work, but will, later on.
I did not get back to Monrovia again for two years and three months, so that ended my work that I hoped to do for the native boys, but the Bible readings and the Sunday morning meetings, Sister Payne kept up till she died; then Sister Julia Sanders, one of God's noble women, was appointed, and has led on the little band which is the spiritual bone and sinew of the church even to this day.
I have never seen a nobler band of Christian women anywhere, considering what they have to contend with, many of them in their own homes as well as outside. They have been a lighthouse and source of salt to all the marshy places around about them.
Thank God, even in Africa, there are those who have power to keep the banner of holiness unfurled and sing as they march:--
"All hail reproach or sorrow,
For Jesus leads me there."
And these shall walk with God, for they are worthy. Amen.
July 1st, 1882. Clay-Ashland. Just two weeks ago I came to Clay-Ashland, and my stopping place is on the St. Paul river, with Mr. Henry and Miss Martha Ricks, or "Uncle Henry" and "Aunt Martha," as they are more accustomed to being called. They are both devoted Christians.
I am very comfortable and feel quite at home with them. And Cousin Sarah is a jewel. God bless her.
Rev. Mr. Richards is pastor of the Methodist Church. He asked me if I would take the service on Sabbath morning. I chose the words for the basis of my remarks, "Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." These are the words the Lord seemed to impress on my mind from my observation of the feeling among the people. The Lord helped me to deliver the message and blessed the people; and there seemed to
July 25th, 1882. On Thursday night the Lord was with us in power; the alter was crowded, and a number professed to have found peace there were some grand cases of real conversion. Praise the Lord.
We went on holding three meetings a day, in the morning at six o'clock, in the afternoon at four, and in the evening at eight, until Sunday. Being just the time of the rainy season, sometimes we were hindered by the torrents of rain. Sunday night was one of those wet nights, but the people came out; there were twenty-six in all who professed conversion during this week of revival services. Several native boys, who were servants in the families, were converted; these, to me, were the most interesting cases. Poor things, how my heart went out toward them! No one thinks much about them, or pays much attention to them. But it is wonderful when they begin to pray, to see how they will stick to it; and in their darkness, feeling after God, if happily they may find him.
Sunday evening I spoke to the children at the Sabbath School, on the subject of temperance, with good effect, I trust. At night, Brother Richards preached and I gave an exhortation, and the Lord greatly helped us. On Thursday night I spoke on prayer. On Sunday I spoke in the Presbyterian Church. We had a good congregation, and the Lord helped me to talk to the people, from the fifteenth chapter of John: "The branch and the vine."
Then I go to Virginia, and stop with Mrs. Fuller. I go to the Love Feast on Sunday morning. It was very wet and rainy, but we had a good meeting all day. What we need most is more of the Holy Ghost power. I had great liberty in speaking in the afternoon to a crowded house, from Romans 12.
On Monday, Mrs. Fuller and I go to Clay-Ashland in the canoe, and make some calls. We go to see a poor, sick, widow woman, and give her a word of cheer, with prayer and song. Then to see Brother Capehart, and then home, to my dear Aunt Martha and Uncle Henry Ricks'. It is so nice to get back; and I finish a long letter to my friend, Mrs. McDonald, Malden, Mass.
Bassa, Lower Buchanan, W.C.A., Feb. 8, 1883. Mr. Johnson asks me about a Mr. Declaybrook, who was here about two years ago, and said he came to raise funds for a girls' school. He wanted to see what the people were willing to do, and then he was to go back home and report, and they were to send the teachers out at once.
Mr. Crusaw, who was quite able, put down his name for a thousand dollars, Mr. Johnson for a large amount, and many others.
He went all through the county at Clay-Ashland and Arthington, and there were many who gave the money who were afraid they might not have it when he came again. He represented himself to be a pastor of a Baptist Church somewhere in America.
That is the way our people are humbugged. Good schools are so much needed, and these deceptions hinder greatly.
I asked the Lord to give me a word about Cape Mount. I opened at the fifth chapter of Luke, and my eye rested on the last line of the tenth verse; also the tenth verse of the fourth chapter: "Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men." And, "He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee."
My third Sabbath in Lower Buchanan, Bassa. Preaching in the morning by Rev. Mr. Briant. Sabbath School. Mr. Briant addresses the children. He spoke fifteen minutes, but said nothing! At half past seven I take the service--a Bible reading.
On Monday evening I began a series of services. I spoke on Monday evening, and gave a Bible reading consecration; a few people present, but the Lord helped me to speak for Him; so we went on, and the interest increased each night. Wednesday night and Thursday night a number came forward to the alter seeking sanctification. Friday evening we had a Gospel Temperance meeting. Four signed the pledge, while there were two seekers at the alter for salvation.
My last Sabbath. I spoke from John 17. The Lord helped me. The balance of the day I was ill. Lord, make me strong.
Upper Buchanan, Feb. 23, 1883. I leave Lower Buchanan today for Upper Buchanan, Stop at Mrs. Horris'. A pleasant walk late in the evening. This is a beautiful place. I have a nice room fronting the sea, with a fine view. And this is Africa, and I am here! Praise God for His goodness and mercy to me.
I expect, God willing, to walk to Congotown to-morrow to
On Tuesday I visited Mrs. T.'s school. There were about twelve or fifteen pupils present. Oh, the lack of life!
There is great need of good books. In this the government is very slack; and until we do our whole duty in this, our country is doomed. Education is our country's great need. There is so little attention paid to the education of girls; not a single high school for girls in the whole republic of Liberia. It is a great shame and a disgrace to the government.
Upper Buchanan. I am stopping with Mrs. Rebecca Horris. She has a nice, large house, which has been a first-class one; but it has gone down greatly.
Yesterday morning, Sabbath, I went to Brother Thomas' charge, a Congo village, to Church. Had a pleasant walk. Rode part of my way in the hammock. Spoke in the morning from Luke: "Have faith in God." The Lord helped me.
In the afternoon I talked in the Sabbath School, and got fifteen singers to the Gospel Temperance pledge. The Superintendent of the Sabbath School and the local preachers and class leaders would not sign the pledge. Oh, what hindrances they are in the work. Lord, save them, or move them out of the way.
Had a poor night's rest, but feel better this morning, thank God. Sister Thomas gets an early breakfast, and I start home to Upper Buchanan. Brother Thomas walks with me. Sister Toliver and Sister Marshall call, and we have a pleasant chat. The Lord is making a way for His people. Oh, Lord, give us the whole city! Send on the people the awakening spirit, the deep, awakening spirit of the Holy Ghost! Send it, Lord! Amen. Amen.
Edina, Grand Bassa, West Africa. On the 12th of April, 1883, in the evening I spoke in the Methodist Church, on the witness of the Spirit. I had been much in prayer all day.
My heart was greatly burdened for a precious soul, a Thomas Anderson. He was a young lawyer of great promise, but strong drink had been his ruin; so that his brightest prospects in life had been dimmed. But when he heard of Gospel Temperance he was glad, and the first week I held Bible readings he came and seemed to be much interested. He came also to the night services. The
It was the Friday appointed by the President as a Thanksgiving Day; so at six o'clock in the morning we had prayer meeting, and the power of the Lord was present to heal backsliders and sanctify believers. Anderson had signed the total abstinence pledge, and when the society was organized he was made vice-president; but he was not permitted to serve very long.
With honor he delivered his first address, on April 25th, at the Baptist Church. He began, after addressing the congregation, by quoting the verse of an old familiar hymn;
"I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see."
All felt the force of his remarks, for they knew full well what they meant. The address was powerful; broad and comprehensive; he handled it as a master from two standpoints, experience and observation.
His wife, who had shared all the hardships of a drunkard's wife, but never left him, signed the pledge with him. And though she was a professing Christian, yet being oppressed, and so often in sorrow, she had grown weary and cold in her spiritual life; but she gave herself anew to God.
In a few days after this she was taken very ill; and, after suffering for ten days, she passed away to her final rest, on the 26th, and was buried with the honors of the newly organized Band of Hope Gospel Temperance Society, from the Baptist Church, on Friday, the 27th.
This was a great shock to poor Anderson. He, himself, had not been well for weeks. But he was the teacher of the school there, and so kept about. He was taken to his bed about the first of May. After his poor wife was taken he seemed to break right down. They had no children, fortunately. I say fortunately, for of all the sad things that can happen, the worst is for a child to be left with the heritage of a drunken father.
Strong drink does not only destroy the soul and body of men, but robs them of every comfort of life. And now this was his portion; and those who were his friends in prosperity, were not to be
On May third I went in the morning. He was all alone. Mrs. Williams sent him some breakfast by me. At night a little native boy was left to look after him, and that was all that stayed with him at night. Late in the afternoon he had a chill. He wrapped himself up in a blanket, as best he could, and prayed and asked God to show him clearly that he was fully His, and help him to give himself unreservedly to Him. He had longed to die and go to His home in Heaven, as his wife had gone, he did not want to stay; but for fear he might have too much of his own will in the matter, he asked the Lord to help him resign himself completely to Him. After he had prayed, he had turned over, and was meditating, and this hymn came into his mind:
"On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie."
He said as he went on, the Lord Jesus began to manifest Himself to him, and fill his soul. Wave after wave went over him. And when he got to the verse:
"Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,
Stand dressed in living green;
So, to the Jews, old Canaan stood,
While Jordan rolled between,"
the Holy Ghost came to him in such power that he cried out so loud that the people in the street heard him and went in. I went in, and said to him, "Anderson, what's the matter?"
"Oh, nothing's the matter. My Jesus has just passed by, and has left such a blessing. Oh, such a blessing!"
"Do you want anything?"
"Oh, no," he said. "Sister Smith, I don't want anything. Jesus is here. O, glory to His name."
"Amen. Praise the Lord;" I said, and left him, rejoicing in the very joy of Heaven.
I went to see him every day. He was always clam, and cheerful, and trustful. I gave him Wood's book, "Purity and Maturity." He read it through twice. His heart drank it all in. I be live the baptism that the Lord gave him was the full sanctifying baptism of the Holy Ghost.
On Sabbath morning, May 6th, Brother Rush preached at the Methodist Church. It was Communion Sunday. At the close of the service we took the communion over to Brother Anderson. I am glad to say we were able to celebrate this communion with unfermented wine. It was a time of great blessing; his first and last communion on earth. But, oh, how soon he renewed it with Him in the Kingdom.
Tuesday, May 15th. I left Edina this morning for Beulah. I shall always regret it; for I think, just then, I got out of the Lord's leading, and went myself, rather than wait for pure light from God. May God forgive me.
Miss Scott, the white Episcopal missionary, had been down to Edina, and had given me a very pressing invitation to come to Beulah at this time. But, oh, didn't I see my mistake afterwards? I thought it was all real. But, oh, how many things one has to find out by personal experience that they never could find out otherwise.
On Saturday, the 13th, a Mr. Lloyd came down the river, went to see Mr. Anderson, and told him he could cure his rheumatism; and though he was in so weak a condition, he had no friend to say, "You had better not go," and he went: it was in the rainy season, and, being uncomfortable and poorly clad, he got very wet, and cold struck in; and, instead of Mr. Lloyd's taking him into his house, and putting him in a comfortable bed, he was put in a hammock, and swung in an open kitchen, until two o'clock Monday morning, when they took him into the house, and at seven o'clock, when Mr. Lloyd went to look at him, he found him dead!
They said that all day Sunday they found him very happy, and that he spoke much of going home to God. And now the time had come, and the hard struggle of life was over. Thoma Anderson was not. For God had taken him.
"Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast;
There by His love o'ershaded,
Sweetly his soul finds rest."