|CHAPTER XXVI. -- FORTSVILLE--TEMPERANCE MEETINGS--EVIL CUSTOMS--THOMAS -- BROWN--BALAAM--JOTTINGS FROM THE JUNK RIVER-- -- BROTHER HARRIS IS SANCTIFIED.|
Hartford, Africa, July 1st, 1883. I have spent a pleasant time at Mr. Coy Brown's. Have gone on with two weeks' meetings. The Lord has given some blessing. Three have professed to find peace in believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. There are some five or six others seeking, but, oh, there is such a lack of faith on the part of the church. Zion travails, and comes to the birth, but has not power to bring forth. Lord, send us down the power they had at Pentecost.
One civilized native, a young man who has been converted, was baptized on Sunday, the 5th. God bless Isaac Cassie, and make him a burning and shining light. And may his father and mother, who are still in heathen darkness, soon be brought to God, and saved by faith in Jesus Christ.
I went from Hartford to Fortsville. I stopped with a Mr. Wiley Fort. After a little rest, I began some meetings; Bible readings, first, at the Methodist Church.
It being the rainy season, the people didn't come out very well; and then I arranged to have them at Mr. Fort's house in the afternoon, and go to the church in the evening, when the rain didn't pour too severely.
The meetings held were very interesting, and the Lord was with us. There has been some interest on the subject of temperance, and a number have signed the pledge. We hope to organize a society in this settlement on Wednesday night, God willing. May He give us His presence, and enlighten the minds of the people, for we are very dark on this subject. And the merchants are flooding the land with this accursed fire, and men and women are being devoured by it.
One merchant, a foreigner, a Mr. Attier, I am told, is ordering a hundred thousand cases of gin, so as to escape the law of high duties, which goes into effect in September. The law goes in for high duties on the importation of strong drink. Then I see how many ministers there are in the country who stand aloof from the work of temperance, and are afraid to open their mouths against this great Zerubabel that shall become a plain. May God put a hook in his jaw. Oh, Lord, work quick! For Jesus' sake, speak! Arrest this flood tide, and awaken the people to a sense of their duty.
What a dreadful snare this trade is. Of course, the doings and customs are all new to me; I have never seen it in this wise before. Preachers and laymen all think there is nothing they can do but trade. Some of the men go off in the country for fifty or sixty or a hundred miles; there they stay for years; two, three, five and eight, right along. Young men, and married men; they will leave their wives and children. Some start towns, and buy native women, and have large families; this is not an uncommon occurrence!
A fine looking young man, who own house, and has a nice wife and one child, has left everything and been away in the country two years. His wife stayed at the place as long as she could; but he sent her nothing to live on, so her parents had to take her home. He has several wives in the country, and, of course, he cannot support all.
I am stopping with a lady now, whose brother, a young man, is in the country, and has been there over a year. Here is where our loss is in the perpetuation of our church. If they would try to teach and instruct the heathen, or teach school, or do something to elevate, and civilize, and Christianize the poor natives, then it would be well. But they at once fall into all the customs and habits, and turn from Christianity easier than they turn the heathen from idolatry.
Oh, what a blight is on our whole country because of this sin. We have degraded ourselves in the eyes of the heathen. And now the blind lead the blind.
On Saturday a poor woman came to me in great trouble. Her husband had been away in the country for six months. He came home and brought several boys with him. After several days had passed he seemed very unkind and quarrelsome. Nothing was
The secret was, he had become infatuated with a country wife, and his own home and wife had lost all charms for him.
Greenville, Sinoe Co., W.C.A., January 11th, 1884. Yesterday was a sad day. Two of the oldest men in town died, and one was interred at eleven and the other at four P. M. Both were good men; one a member of the Methodist Church for nearly half a century; a class leader and trustee, and also sexton and grave digger. His name was Thomas Brown. He emigrated to this country forty years ago. His life was not a life of comfort, after the style of the world. He had much to contend with; but the joy of the Lord was his strength, and he triumphed by faith, anyway! His last sickness, which lasted but a month, was very severe, and the dear old man had such few comforts; but not a murmur escaped his lips. A few months before he died, Brother Draper said to him:
"Brother Brown, you are almost home."
"Oh, yes," he said, "I shall be home directly," and he thanked God for the last little acts of kindness done; then he closed his eyes in peace, and went to God.
My heart said, "Oh, let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like theirs."
He was a member of the Band of Hope Gospel Temperance Society; one of the first to join when the work began here in Sinoe, in December. His membership was of short duration; we had his happy "amens" to cheer us only a short time. But he stood true to his pledge, and the principles of total abstinence, and was a strong advocate.
The other was Louis Sherman. He also was a member of the Gospel Temperance Society. Each leaves a large family to mourn his loss.
A strange incident connected with this was, while the services were going on in the house over the remains of the men, the dogs, numbering six or seven in the different houses, howled in the most distressing manner; then they would cease, and begin again, as though they were directed by some one.
The Band of Hope formed a line and led on, the others following. At five P. M., all was over, and the families returned to see their husbands and fathers no more till they all meet beyond the river.