|CHAPTER XXXIV. -- LETTERS AND TESTIMONIALS--BISHOP TAYLOR--CHURCH AT MONROVIA-- -- UPPER CALDWELL-SIERRA LEONE--GREENVILLE -- --CAPE PALMAS--BAND OF HOPE TEMPERANCE SOCIETY AT -- MONROVIA--LETTERS--MRS. PAYNE--MRS. DENMAN--MRS. INSKIP-- -- REV. EDGAR M. LEVY--ANNIE WITTENMYER--DR. DORCHESTER-- -- MARGARET BOTTOME--MISS WILLARD--LADY HENRY SOMERSET.|
Before I dismiss the subject of Africa, where I spent eight years of labor in the service of the Master, I wish to present a few miscellaneous papers--testimonials, letters, etc.--as specimens of the many that I have received from those who have known me, and my work, there and elsewhere.
It is not from motives of vanity that I do this, but because I am sure that my readers will be interested in the testimony of some whose names, for the most part, are familiar to the entire Christian world; and of others who, though not so well known, were on the ground and personally acquainted with my work in Africa.
I have many letters from Bishop William Taylor, of whom I have had something to say in the preceding chapters, but I withhold all but the following, which may serve as a sort of general introduction, although it was written simply as a letter of commendation to Ex-President Payne, of Liberia:
James S. Payne, Ex-President of Liberia.
My Dear Brother:--
This will introduce to your acquaintance our beloved sister, Mrs. Amanda Smith. As you may know, Sister Amanda is one of the most remarkable evangelists of these eventful days in which we live. She is a member of our church, and well accredited, and everywhere owned of God in America, England and India, as a marvelous, soul-saving worker for the Lord Jesus.
I heard you pleading for Liberia at our recent general Conference. Your prayer will be answered in a great revival of God's work in Liberia, through the agency of Sister Amanda, with the working concurrence of your churches.
I am sure you will do all you can to open her way. God bless you all. Amen.Your brother in Jesus,
, July 10, 1889.
Mrs. Amanda Smith, Evangelist.
Dear Sister :--
Now, upon the eve of your departure from us, after a sojourn of eight years, we feel it highly becoming us (and it affords us great pleasure to do so), to accord to you this tribute of respect and appreciation, as a testimonial of your untiring labors among us as a Christian evangelist; of the purity of your doctrines, the earnestness of their enforcement, of the clearness of their illustration, and of the wonderful and happy results which have followed. These all you leave behind you as enduring monuments of your zeal for the Master, and of your unabated love for humankind; and we do accept it, that your mission to Africa has been from God .
Your life among us during these years of your sojourn, has been an even one, and one of untarnished moral and Christian rectitude and earnestness, nor needs any further defense, other than what it has borne along with itself, for it speaks for itself.
And this is the testimony of all honest hearts throughout Liberia. The children of Belial here, may rise up to asperse your fame, and to sully the lustre of your name, which they so much covet, but this were a vain attempt. And we accept it as a complete refutation of the theory emphasized by some, in their ignorance of the real character of the Negro at home, that white missionaries are preferred by them. The responsibility of such a theory rests solely on those who originate and sustain it.
Your extensive travels throughout the length and breadth of our land, your free and liberal intercourse and labors among all classes, civilized and heathen, Christian and Pagan, and the universal hospitalities extended to you, show but too plainly, when compared with the welcome and entertainment given our white brother, that the theory above mentioned is not so tenable as they have vainly and ignorantly supposed. With the Negro at home
"A man's a man for a' that."
The higher plane of Christian experience, as preached by you, in its distinctiveness and definiteness, is a doctrine purely Scriptural; a doctrine recognized and enjoyed under all ages of the church. It first blazed forth from the altar upon which "Abel by faith offered a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain." In equal lustre it shone in Enoch, who, "By faith was translated that he should not see death." And then, in righteous Noah, who, "By faith being warned of things to come, not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared the ark to the saving of his house." And all along the line, through the patriarchal, Mosaic, and prophetic ages, it blazed from the altar in an unbroken series. And then, under the fuller illumings of the Holy Ghost, since the advent of the blessed Savior, it was the theme of the Apostolic and primitive Christians. The middle ages, though an age of terror and of gross darkness, still preserved it in good tact, and transmitted it to the present age, baptized in fire and blood.
And we rejoice that it is our privilege to say that, though not so much in its definiteness and distinctiveness as preached by Christian evangelists in other lands, and by you in this land, in these latter years: yet, it was the doctrine preached, and lived, by many of the first founders of the church in this country, long anterior to this day. And while the zeal of the church in Liberia in its more universal proclamation and enforcement had abated, yet it was always hailed by many, as the central idea of Christianity and of Methodism. And your happy arrival to these shores served only to stir up the dying embers of a fire that had long since been kindled by the earlier Christians. We hail your arrival among us, therefore, as opportune and gracious, because, God appointed.
Return, Sister Evangelist, to your home, and friends, and loved ones, from whom you have long been separated. You need rest, for your toil has been long and unremitting. Rest in the assurance that you have done some good--how much none can tell; eternity alone will reveal. Rest in the assurance that many bear grateful and prayerful remembrance of you, and shall ever. Rest in the assurance that your motives will sufficiently apologize
And now may the God of all grace grant you many years added to your life, and still greater peace. And when your sun goes down in the west, may it be without a cloud. Amen.[
Signed by the Pastor, Assistant Pastor and the Stewards and Leaders of the M. E. Church in Monrovia.
July 16, 1889. Dear Sister Amanda Smith :--
Please allow us also, your little Sister Caldwell, second in the train in the point of birth, to bid you good-bye, as an assurance of our good will toward you, and also of our high estimation of your Christian character, and of your earnestness and untiring effort to preach a pure doctrine, and to lift up the standard of holiness.
Our fathers preached this, they lived this, and died this. They inculcated the idea of a holy life, as the central idea of Methodism, and laid it down as the corner stone and basis of Bible doctrines. And we hail it as an undeniable fact, that while there has been some declension among us from this base line of Gospel truth, yet there never was a time since the founding of the church in this country, when there were not witnesses, living, practical witnesses, to its truth. Not recognized possibly so much under the several titles as now preached by evangelists throughout Christendom in these latter days, as in its essence and power.
From the first of your arrival among us, you began to give your trumpet this certain sound, and its echoes have gone all over the land. The churches have felt the renewed impulse, and under its inspiration have moved on apace.
You have this testimonial also from us, that of the many who have come among us as missionary workers from the Mother Church of America, none have been more truly welcome, none more zealous, none more untiring than yourself, and returning to their home across the waters, have carried with them kindlier feelings, or more grateful, than you do now. And we wish to God that we could accord to others residing among us as missionaries, the tribute we now accord to you, a tribute of unselfishness, and of purity of life--uninfluenced by mercenary motives. And now, finally, "good-bye," my dear sister. May you have a pleasant and safe voyage back to your home and friends, and may many more
We, the undersigned members, on behalf of the above church, and all the Christian public who are interested in our mission, beg most respectfully to forward you this address as a sure testimonial from a gratified society, that has had the pleasure of your visit, and among whom you have been laboring with unwearied zeal, for the short time you have been in Sierra Leone.
We cannot fully express ourselves as we would. We hope you should not think that we are flattering you, whilst we are declaring our sentiments; because we are candid in doing so; and we trust we are cautiously avoiding the use of any expression that will bear any resemblance to it. When the Rev. J. R. Frederick announced to us, shortly before your arrival, that you had kindly given your consent to come and labor amongst us he spoke very much of your zeal, labors, and travels, in very many places. In our opinion, so far as our eyes have seen, and ears heard, we can say of you, that "the half was never told." In every respect, the information is correct.
We need not tell you that all have been greatly satisfied with your discourses. The great number of people that used to attend your services, will prove to you, that by all means, so far as outward successes are concerned, you have not failed in your work. We believe that God has answered your prayers in that way--you have been casting your net on the side of the ship, that Christ ordered; and you have gathered fishes.
The number of those who were willing to give up their sins, and with whom you have been wrestling in prayer for awhile for the help of the Holy Spirit, will also convince you of the success of your labor. Long after you shall have left these shores, the effects of your visit will still be felt.
We are thankful to Almighty God that we are privileged to witness the fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel, that, "It shall come
We thank you also for the interest you have taken on behalf of the poor heathen in the adjacent rivers, where you have been laboring with so many disadvantages. We are also thankful to God that you have testified that your labor has not been in vain--the Lord has had mercy, on those on whom he will have mercy.
We are thankful, also, for your reproving the prevailing sins of the times, viz.: Superstition, adultery, drunkenness, slander, pride, disobedience to parents, hypocrisy in religion, sinful indulgences, etc., etc. We are very sorry that we are not composed of richer classes of people, who will cast in of their abundance to the treasury, as a donation for your services, but we trust that of our penury, the little amount realized from us and the generous public, will be received by you as Christ received the widow's two mites.
We feel very sorry to say to you, good-bye; but such is life. We hope and trust that though we meet here to part again, yet in Heaven we shall meet to part no more. We pray that God may raise up your successor, as he raised up Joshua before the death of Moses, to carry the souls to Canaan whom you have left by the way; and that a double portion of your spirit may rest upon her.
God Almighty bless you with many and happy days; that as His Heavenly hand has enriched you with many singular and extraordinary graces, you may be the wonder of the world in these latter days for happiness and true felicity; and that the everlasting doors will give way for the entrance of your soul with Christ in Paradise, on the other side of the grave, is the prayer ofYour Brethren and Sisters in Christ
Signed by the Pastor and the entire membership of the church and Sabbath School, and accompanied by a testimonial amounting to over a hundred dollars.
Hallelujah! To the lamb forever. Amen!
This comes as a recognition of the wonderful work of God in our country through that most worthy and faithful handmaiden of His, the sainted evangelist, Sister Amanda Smith.
This sister came to this country in the year 1882, laboring in Montserrado and Grand Bassa Counties as an Evangelist.
In the month of November, 1882, she came to Sinoe County, where she began with much zeal the evangelical works of her Lord; landing here in Greenville on Sabbath morning, four o'clock, November 17th, 1883, she gave an exhortation that evening in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Then began the working of the Lord in this county.
Her first object was Gospel Temperance. After preaching a series of sermons she succeeded in organizing in Greenville a society, or Band of Hope, Gospel Temperance. She next organized a similar society in the townships of Lexington, Louisiana, Bluntsville, and Farmersville. About three or four hundred have now become temperance signers, including men, women, and children. Many are saved from a drunkard's grave, because there are in this number many who are real; nay, they would taste death before violating their pledge. Glory to God for this salvation! Amen.!
Not satisfied with this alone, she began to cry, secondly, that without holiness of heart no man can see God in peace. She earnestly insisted on holiness, assuring those who were justified by faith the possibility of living holy lives on earth. The people began to seek a closer union with God. Sister Smith's prayers for holiness were real, earnest, and faithful. God heard, God saw, God moved!
In the month of May, 1884, the holy fire began to fall. It fell first by degrees in Lexington, then in copious showers. Next in showers it began to fall in Louisiana, in Bluntsville, finally in Greenville, and elsewhere. In the month of September a Holiness Camp Meeting was held, at which meeting a National Holiness Camp Meeting was organized, and at this place upwards of one hundred professed sanctification to the Lord, and are living for Christ alone, and are prepared to die for Christ, if need be.
Wherefore, in consideration of the wonderful works of God through our evangelist and worthy sister, and in consideration of her departure from us; therefore.
Resolved, 1st. That we recognize the wonderful works of God' through this sainted evangelist, and her much faithfulness to God, and her Godly walks and Christian examples before us; and that the Lord truly sent her to Africa.
Resolved, 2nd. That we, on behalf of ourselves, and the Christian Church of which we are members, tender her our sincere thanks for her labor of love, and a high appreciation of her Christian society, assuring her of the deep sense of our feeling of sadness on account of her departure, and our sincerity and continuance in prayers to God for her protection and support wherever His Spirit may lead her.
Resolved, 3rd. That we recommend Sister Amanda Smith to the most favorable consideration of the pastors and members of the Christian Churches wherever she may go as a workman of God in reality.
That we recommend her now unto God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, now, and forever. Amen.In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our names officially.
William P. Kennedy, Jr
Preacher in charge of the Greenville Circuit, and Presiding Elder of Sinoe District.
S. D. Mayson , Deacon Baptist Church, Lexington.
John L. Fuller , Steward and Leader M. E. Church, Greenville.
Z. B. Roberts , Local Preacher M.E. Church, Greenville.
J. W. Bonner , Local Preacher.
W. E. Harris , of Congregational Church, Greenville.
H. B. Brown , Leader and Steward M.E. Church.
Allen Peal , Local Preacher.
J. N. Lein , Sup't Presbyterian S. S., Sinoe County.
Geo. B. Dunbar .
Z. T. Greene , Superintendent Sabbath School, Greenville.
R. P. Mayson , Local Preacher, Lexington.
H. C. Birch .
Dec. 17th, 1886.
God sends blessings, often, to communities and nations through feeble instrumentalities. When angels, the higher order of created beings are not employed, the message comes to us through earthen vessels--frail mortality.
Divine Providence has seen fit, of late, to visit these Liberian counties, through a female instrumentality, in the person of Mrs. Amanda Smith, the elect lady Evangelist of the Methodist denomination of America.
Her efforts among us at Cape Palmas, have, under the Divine Head, had no precedent in this county. The doctrine of Christian holiness has been most beautifully explained by her own Christian walks and teachings; and the result has been an addition of scores of members to the various Christian denominations of this county.
After an impartial examination of her teachings, and duly comparing them with the sacred Scriptures, we find them in perfect harmony with Scripture doctrines.
May her life be prolonged to preach Christ and Him crucified, to the multitudes, who yet sit in the regions of darkness, as well as to explain the most wholesome doctrine of sanctification for the spiritual benefit of those who are already justified by faith. And may the Holy Ghost accompany her, and illuminate her mind more and more, unto the perfect day.
Please receive this tribute of Christian respect, as a parting farewell from many who may never see you again in this life; and may the blessing of God rest upon you always.
Signed by the Officers and Members of the M. E. Church at Cape Palmas.
July 17, 1889.
The Band of Hope Temperance Society of Monrovia have heard with regret of the intended departure, in a few days, of Mrs. Amanda Smith from among us. They feel that it is but due to her to place on record the fact, that Gospel Temperance has had in her a faithful and untiring advocate and worker ever since her arrival in the Republic. In this, and other sections of the country; she interested many influential young men and women in the temperance cause, and everywhere utilized them as the founders and supporters of the Band of Hope. She leaves behind her a strong, temperance sentiment, which, under God, can, and we trust, will do much to paralyze and extirpate the curse of strong drink.
The Band of Hope feels it also its duty to note the fact that Mrs. Amanda Smith has done her best to raise the standard of
The Band of Hope is having prepared an album, containing photographic views and portraits of places and persons in Liberia and West Africa, which it begs that Mrs. Smith will accept as a reminder of her visit to West Africa, and as a slight token of their appreciation of her efforts and labors while in this region of the Dark Continent.H. W. Travis
Pres. Band of Hope, No. 3, Monrovia.
Isaac J. Moort , Rec. Sec'y Band of Hope Temperance Society, No. 3, of Monrovia.
I gladly place on record the letters that follow, not only because of the kind appreciation of myself and my work expressed in them, but in the hope that they may prove a blessing to those who read them. The first is from Mrs. Martha Payne, sister-in-law of ex-President Payne, of Liberia; the second is from Mrs. Mary R. Denman, of Newark, N. J., of whom I have also spoken in a former chapter; and the third, from Mrs. Inskip, whose husband was so well known throughout the Christian world as a leader in the Holiness Movement. She also has been greatly honored of God in the same blessed evangelism.
|Martha Payne's Experience .|
|Mary R. Denman's Testimony .|