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Pages 202 through 258.
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tered members of the church. He has been, for several years, in the habit of holding service on week-days, in different and distant parts of his extensive mission, besides the performance of three services on each Lord's day; when he took, together with the centre church of Dartmouth, the churches at the eastern passage, at Lawrence Town, and at Porter's Lake, in rotation; seldom retiring to his bed, on Sunday night, without having travelled from twenty to five-and-twenty miles, often considerably more. He met his death at the early age of thirty-one or thirty-two, as nearly as the writer can ascertain; and it was occasioned by a brain-fever, the effect of a fall from his horse, which occurred, it is believed, while he was in the execution of some one or other of his arduous duties. The writer has frequently heard him express, with gratitude, (and, more than once, when, in moments of fatigue, he has drawn from his waistcoat pocket a portable folding cup, for drinking of the pure stream of the forest, in his missionary wanderings,) that he was much indebted to his early discipline for the military life, for the buoyancy with which he could now go through his missionary toils, with no other refreshment than the pure brook, and the biscuit which he carried with him, would afford. A memoir of this indefatigable and pious missionary, would, in the opinion of those who know him, be read with deep interest and profit, and would not suffer from comparison with the recent memoirs of Pastors Oberlin and Neff. He died early in February, and was buried, where he had often expressed the wish that his remains should lie, beneath the altar of the church at Dartmouth, from the pulpit over which altar he had so often affectionately called on his flock to watch, ' for they knew not the hour when the Son of Man would come ;' and had dealt so frequently from its rails the blessed sacrament of Christ's body and blood, for the comfort and refreshing of their souls. May GOD, (as, in the course of conversation, while in perfect health, a few days previous to his sudden decease.
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he was heard to remark, he doubted not, God could, and would, in the event of his being called away from his scene of duty,) raise up a faithful successor, and many, many such labourers, in the room of him who has now gone to rest, and his reward !"
Such, - nine years' acquaintance with the diocese of Nova Scotia, enables me to say,-might be the record of the ordinary labours of nine out of ten of the missionaries of the diocese. In seeking, for the journal of six months of my own late visitation, a degree of publicity greater than could be given to a letter to the secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which might be appended to that society's report, I must disclaim any wish to establish a character for zeal or activity, beyond that which belongs to the rest of my colonial brethren in the ministry. There are, I solemnly believe; few of my missionary brethren whose journals for the same period might not supply records of equal, and superior exertions in the cause of our Heavenly Master. If my late excursion has been of a greater extent than others have undertaken, I would have it attributed to the absence of any immediately pressing parochial calls at the place of my residence, which must have constrained any of my brethren, though most unwillingly, to have broken off any such projected visitation in the midst, and to have hastened back to the constantly recurring calls of the centre of his mission station; which, necessary as it is at times to leave it, can never, we all know and most anxiously must feel, be left for any length of time together, without serious detriment to our communion; and, if it seem to any that I have alluded too much (for if I know myself I have not dwelt upon them) to the privations, and difficulties and escapes of my voyage, I would say, that gratitude to GOD, my preserver, would not permit me to pass over, without a mention, mercies which must ever dwell in a grateful memory, and particularly the blessing of a constitutional
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energy and an elasticity of spirit for which I could take no merit to myself, but desire to dedicate them to the service of CHRIST'S church, and so to sanctify them while they are mercifully preserved to me.
And here, I would remark, in reference to a report which has been most undeservedly circulated respecting the Protestant Episcopal clergy in Newfoundland, that " they are idle, and worldly, and unevangelical." I would remark, or rather simply insert in this place, a circular from the Bishop of Nova Scotia to his clergy, the appearance of which drew forth the tribute to the zeal of tbe colonial clergy, which I also annex, and which I copy from an excellent religious periodical, published in New York, and entitled The Churchman.
Halifax, March 6, 1834.
REVEREND AND DEAR SlR.-You will learn with equal surprise and regret, that, while the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel are endeavouring to procure all possible assistance for the support of the Church in there colonies, at this time of its distress, they are impeded in their good work by malevolent reports, industriously circulated against their missionaries, representing them an inefficient, worldly, idle, and unevangelical -(epithets which are unsparingly applied, in these days of rebuke, both to the English and the Colonial Clergy)-and, also, stating them to be fully, if not over paid for all their services.
Undeserving aa we may feel of such misrepresentation, I trust we are all ready to regard it as a call to the exercise of our humility and patience and charity, and as a stimulous to increased zeal and fervour in our labours and prayers, with full faith and confidence in the protection of the MOST HIGH.
But it does not appear inconsistent with the most lowly opinion we can entertain of our best exertions, as they must appear in the sight of a holy and perfect God, to use all proper means for protecting our character and our labours from the unjust aspersions of misguided men.
The Society would not be without means for disproving any specific charge, if such were made, and would be quite ready to employ these means, but such general and vague calumnies as I have mentioned, can only be triumphantly repelled by plain and particular statements of all that is done, and doing, in their missions.
Being anxious to supply such statements as speedily as possible, I naturally turn to my brethren in
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the ministry for their assistance. In affording their help, I assure myself they will feel the importance of being scrupulously correct in their detail. Whenever there shall be any doubt in their mind, from want of momoranda, or clear recollection, they will require no caution from me to guard them from any thing like over-statement, and they will be desirous of being much within the truth, in preference to the least risk of exceeding these limits. I, therefore, beg to be early favoured with explicit answers to the following questions:-
1. How many Sundaye were you present in your mission during the year 1833 ?
2. How many services did you perform in the same year, and how often did you preach ?
3. How many miles did you travel in the same period, in every way, by land and by water, in the performance of your missionary duties ?
4. How many missionary visits did you make to separate settlements, and how many- pastoral visits to individual families ?
5. To how many sick, or afflicted persons did you administer the consolation. of religion ?
6. Have any remarkable occurrences in your mission in the last year required your special attention? - If any, detail them.
7. Have any remarkable cases required your spiritual care and consolation ?-If any, state their circumstances, your treatment of them, and whether you had reason to hope, in all Christian humility, that your ministry in these cases has been blessed to the patients, or to those around them.
8. How many Sunday schools have been established under your direction ? How many persons of all ages attend them, and how much of your time is devoted to them ?
9. What is the whole amount, or value, of the income you have derived, in the last year, from glebe, surplice-fees, contributions from your congregation, pew rents, or from any and every source, within your mission, and what are the average prices of the chief necessaries of life ?
10. What are the nature and extent of the inconvenience and hardship and distress which have already overtaken, or must speedily fall upon yourself, your family and dependents, in consequence of the 1ate unhappy reduction of your salary ?-State the number of your family, and any circumstances which may elucidate and support the facts you detail.
I shall hope to receive the information now require without any loss of time; and, as similar reports will be necessary every year, I must beg you to forward them to me, hereafter, in the first week of every January. That you may furnish them with complete accuracy, I particularly recommend your immediate commencement of a regular pastoral and parochial journal. You will be so good as to add your regular notitia of baptisms, marriages, burials, the whole number of communicants within your mission, population, and the number of schools and scholars.
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Earnestly recommending yourself and your flock to the continual care and guidance of the heavenly Shepherd, under every prosperous and every adverse circumstance,
Reverend and Dear Sir,
Your affectionate brother,
In another column is inserted the circular of the Bishop of Nova Scotia to his clergy, propounding certain questions designed to draw from them a statement of the duties performed by them as missionaries. The occasion of the circular being issued is the alleged prevalence of reports prejudicial to the character and interests of the clergy, the refutation of which, it is thought, will be most effectually accomplished by the statistica1 documents that will be given in answer to the queries which the circular contains. We doubt not that the. measure will be productive of good results, and will eventually raise the reputation of the missionaries by furnishing the Society, and through it the public at large, with the data for forming a just estimate of their labours. But we cannot restrain the expression of surprise and grief that the measure should have been rendered necessary: that a body of men, such as the missionaries of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, should be compelled to appear before the public in the attitude of defendants -not to specific charges which might be met and repelled-but to vague rumours, which as nobody will particularize, so nobody can refute. Such reports are among the sorest evils with which the clergy have to contend. They harmonize with men's natural disinclination for pure religion -a disinclination which in the minds of many is harboured until it ripens into positive malevolence,-and are thus sure to obtain an easy credence and extensive propagation. But if we had been asked to specify a band of clergy who more than any other might expect an exemption from such calumnies, we should have pointed to the missionaries of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.
Such an event, if we mistake not, is a novel occurrence in the history of the Society. We, in this country, know something of the Society, and have good reason to cherish, as we do, the memory of its missionaries. We wish to say nothing to the disparagement of the clergy of the Church of England: but let their character for cheerful and manly piety, for effective but unostentatious usefulness be rated as highly as the warmest friends of the Church are disposed to rate it, we will say it forms too low a standard by which to estimate the worth of the Society's missionaries. Many causes combined to give distinctiveness to their character. In the very threshold of the entrance into the ministry was an obstacle, the
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encountering of which was a test of their earnestness and pledge of their future fidelity. And after their return from a perilous voyage, the difficulties to which they were exposed were such as to keep their weapons in order for constant use. They had to grapple with sectaries of every kind, and of very different mettle from any that were to be met with in Britain, and who had only left the old country because they excelled the main body of the Dissenters in the courageous temper of their minds, and uncompromising opposition to the Church. Thus the Society's missionaries were obliged to move, armed cap-a-pie, in the panoply of polemical warfare; nor is it surprising that we are enabled -as we justly are- to extend to many of them the tribute which, in a late British Critic, was paid to one of their number, that their learning was "worthy" (what nobler eulogy could be pronounced ?) " of the best days of English theology." But their piety and self-denial were better disciplined than their learning. Their labours were of the most arduous kind. Large districts were assigned to them, severally at a time, when the country was little better than a wilderness. Many among us remember their privation and laboure, and many more experience their fruits in the blessings of the knowledge of CHRIST and his Church, which they have been the means of transmitting to us. The patient, self-denying laboure which they were compelled to encounter, infused an energy into their piety, which approximated it more nearly than any milder discipline could have done to the true standard of a missionary of JESUS CHRIST. To this discipline, in its most important feature., the missionaries in the Canada's and Nova Scotia have been, and still continue to he, subjected, as well are those who were in our country; while the Society itself is guided in the appointment of its agents on the same principles, and we might therefore expect to find in both the same common traits of character. But we are not left to conjecture. We judge of them not by what we should think that they would be, but from what we have heard that they are. And much have we been deceived if an equal number of clergy can be found of more stirling piety and more effective usefulness, than the missionaries of the venerable Society in the British colonies. We have not long since published in our columns an account of the labours of one among the colonial clergy, which would have shone in the annals of the primitive Church. It is therefore not without surprise, as well as indignation, that we learn that the voice of calurany has assailed them, and cheerfully adopt the words of the editor of the St. John's Times, as expressive of our own sense of the injustice and futility of the charge.
The best, and most triumphant refutation of such calumnies will, indeed, be found, as is hinted by their diocesan, in the simple transcription from their different note-books, of their diaries and journals and it is confidently hoped that the Society which employs them, will do them the justice of printing their replies
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entire. Such a representation of the exertions of these men during any one year, would furnish, we feel convinced, the most complete specimens of a Missionary Annual which could be produced by al1 equal number of devoted servants of the cross; - it would gain to the Society, which is now in so great need of support from the Christian public, a host of new contributors; and it would stand forth, to posterity, a most imperishable monument of the zeal of the colonial clergy of the present generation, and of the acrimony, falsehood, and malevolence which could assail a body of men who, in the main, reserve, as, indeed, they, in the main, receive, the admiration and respect of all of every creed who are within the circle of their exertions.'"
Sunday, 14, (Trinity Sunday.)-Full service three times, three baptisms.
Sunday, 21.-Had returned to Sandy Point. Renewed a notice which I had previously given of my intention shortly to administer the Holy Communion, and invited inquirers to come to me for information and instruction. Preached familiarly upon the subject at each of my three services, and gave notice of a full service on Wednesday, 24,-St. John Baptist's Day.
Sunday, 28.-Three full services. Baptized three children in public service, and another at home, and churched a woman who had become a mother while I was there; administered the Lord's Supper. I find that by a strange omission I have neglected to record the number of communicants in my short notes. I can remember distinctly, however, the names and persons of five seemingly devout well-informed communicants.
Monday, 29. - St. Peter's Day, gave me an opportunity of holding a full service on the next day.
Sunday, 5, July.-Three full services at Sandy Point, so well attended, that I regret exceedingly there should be no missionary stationed amongst this very teachable quiet people. This harbour and the Barrisways, with an occasional visit to the Bay of Islands, and the settlements at Codroy Ri-
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vers and Island, would constitute a pleasant and no idle charge; and a school, as I found on an enumeration of the children with one of the inhabitants, might, in Sandy Point alone, congregate seventy children, if it could be opened tommorrow.
Monday 6,. -Went, this week, to visit the salmon fisheries, which are upon the main gut. Three or four families reside there. One night; as some of the people and an Indian boy were going out just at the rise of high tide, five canoes in all, to spear trout and eels, I joined them in the excursion. It employed us till an hour or two after midnight. The scene was an animating one. A brilliant moon hung over the hills, which were finely wooded, to the very cliffs and sand at the edge of the water. Bunches of birch bark were packed together, a dozen in each packet; these were stuck one at a time, as required, into a stick which was cleft at the top to let in this rude flambeau, to which a light was applied. The stick with the ignited birch bark was then put upright at the bow of the canoe; there, also, the man stood up, most insecurely balanced, as would seem, with his nighok, or eel-spear, a pole cleftt at the bottom with a spike inserted. This, on his striking a fish of any size, would open and admit it till the spike perforated it, and then closing upon it, would press it and prevent its escape. The sandy or stony bottom of the river in the shallows,- for in deeper water this sport cannot be pursued,-was seen as clearly as in the day, and every fish in it. The fish seemed at least bewildered, if not attracted by the light; and the quickness of eye, and adroitness of the man who used the nighok, impelling, as he did, the canoe with the thick end, and every now and then reversing it to strike, were surprising. He struck successfully at eight out of ten of each of the fish at which he aimed, and shook them off into the boat with a sudden turn of his arm, which left him at liberty to strike at two fish within a second or two. He kept his balance, also, with great niceness, when
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he seemed to have poised himself so far over the side of the light canoe, that he must, it seemed to me, have gone over-board, or capsized our crank bark. The light of the flambeau in the other canoes, as they came round the projecting points of leafy green; and the shade, as we again lost view of them behind the trees or rocks in the distance, was most imposing. Four hundred trout were thus speared in the canoe in which I was; some of them, were of such a size, that they would have been taken, as they frequently are, in the salmon nets. In the five canoes, above 1000 were taken in little more than two hours. I had the curiosity to weigh six of them, which together weighed twenty-two pounds, and had a barrel of this night's catch salted that I might take them with me to St. John's.
Sunday, 12. - Three full services at Sandy Point; but, hearing that old Mrs. Huelen of the Barrisways was dangerously ill, I walked up thither in the following week to see her. A son at the farther Barrisway, who was also an invalid,was gratified by my visiting him in his sick-room.
Sunday, 19.-Three full services at the Barrisways.
Friday, 24.-A new schooner belonging to my kind friends, Mr. Horatio Forrest, and Joseph Pennall, for the launching of which I had been anxiously waiting, being now rigged and loaded and ready for sea, I took leave of the worthy inhabitants of St. George's Harbour, (of whose kindness I shall ever entertain an affectionate recollection,) in an evening service which was very crowded, and
Saturday, 25.-Sailed from Sandy Point at five A.M.
Sunday, 26. - Put into Port aux Basque, and held full service at the house of Michael Guillam, where I slept. I baptized a grandchild which had been added to his family since I passed and officiated here in May.
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Near this place, I saw on Shagrock the hull of the ship James. She had been wrecked here since I passed, and had been sold for twenty shillings. The hull of the " Nathanael Graham," which had been wrecked within an hour of her, was also visible Forty passengers had lost their lives. It was on this occasion that Joseph Miessau distinguished himself as mentioned under the date of May 7. While I was in St. George's Bay many articles, such as beds, blankets and tools, which had been washed from these wrecks, had been driven ashore there, and, among other things a trunk with female apparel, and some letters directed to persons in Canada and the United States. These I enclosed and forwarded, with an account of the sad fate, which it was too likely had arrested the person to whose charge they had been confided.
Monday, 27.-A difficulty which prevented our getting up our anchor for some hours this morning, I lamented at the time, but was afterwards thankful for it. Through the delay thus occasioned, I met, off La Poile Bay, a cutter, which, I should else have missed, that my dear wife and friends in St. John's had hired and fitted up, and dispatched for me at the beginning of July. They had been much alarmed for my safety, as no accounts of me whatever had reached them for three months, when a letter reached them, which I had sent from St. George's Bay via Sydney, Cape Breton Island, and another via Quebec. As we have in sight, she hoisted a flag, which I have had made for occasions of this kind, bearing the arms of the see of Nova Scotia. I did not expect any thing of the kind, however, and did not consequently recognize it, taking it for some merchants private signal. We only spoke to them, for the chance of her having come from St. John's, and having letters on board for me, or papers, for which, it may be imagined, I was most anxious, as I had only heard once from my wife during my long absence. I soon recognized the person, of my friend Mr. James Stokes on her deck, who had kindly engaged to assist in the;
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search for me. He had touched at several places upon his way, and, although he had occasionally collected some slight information of my movements during the winter, the intelligence which he could collect was, on the whole, so little satisfactory that he had positively given me up. I now shifted my quarters at sea, which many would not have been sorry to do, as the new schooner had a considerable leak, which could not be discovered, and made very frequent pumping absolutely necessary. I would readily, now that I had the disposal of a nice cutter and crew, have called on the interesting inhabitants of the Borgeo Islands whom I had been so sorry to pass as I went along on the 2nd of May. I directed that we should bear away for them immediately on getting on board; it was night, however, when we got abreast of them: the coast was a dangerous one for our attempting to keep standing off and on for the night; the wind, moreover, was fair, so we filled the sheet, and by the morning were near St. Peter's Off this island we were becalmed, and the weather became very thick. We went to the roads, therefore, and called in at St. Peter's where I had pleasure in renewing my acquaintance with the French commandant, Captain Brue, and partook of kind hospitalties of several of his people during the two days of our detention. I had had many opportunities of hearing, and, indeed, of witnessing instances of the slight estimation in which the French, who were fishing on this coast from St. Maloes and Granville, hold their clergy. When the cutter had put in, on its way, at St.Peters, among other places, to make inquiry for me, considerable surprise was excited among the French people at the fact of any anxiety's being shown in St. John's for the safety of a padre, and they declared that if a whole ship's load of their padres were to go to the bottom, they would none of them break their slumbers on that score ! It is to be feared that the levity of this remark may have not far exceeded the bounds of truth; and that the melancholy view
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which it gives of the slight esteem in which the French hold their ministers of religion, is too faithfully descriptive of the people. When the wind allowed of our departure we weighed anchor, and,-except that we were mercifully preserved from running ashore on Goose Island, near Caplin Bay, when the wind was on shore, and the weather so thick that we could see no land, nor the very breakers which discovered the land to us more than the cutter's length a-head of us! there was nothing in the remainder of my passage worthy of record.
Tuesday, August 4.~ After a vain attempt to get into the Narrow of St. John's Harbour, the cutter put back, at my suggestion, into Petty Harbour. Thence I walked to town after dark with Mr. James Stokes, by the new line of road through the woods to St. John's, on which the road commissioners have lately expended 691.l was exceedingly grieved, on my return to St. John's, to find that a factious party under the influence to which allusion is made at the date of March 3 had, in my absence occasioned much apprehension to the more orderly inhabitants of St. John s and the island at large They had openly declared from the altar that the sword of the church was unsheathed. Mr. Henry Winton the editor of one of the public newspapers who had rendered himself obnoxious to the Right Reverend Bishop Fleming and his seditious political colleagues in the priesthood, by his simple remonstrance against their interference with the political rights of the people; who never moreover had written a syllable in the way of reflection except respectfully, upon their religion had (besides other attacks on his person ) been savagly assaulted in open day, and his ears mutilated, to the danger of his life; those who subscribed to his paper, or dealt with him and other protestants who were named, were denounced from the altar and if Romanist were excommunicated; under which sentence I found some of the most respectable of that communion on my re-
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turn, and know that the same sentence is on them at the moment of my writing. Persons had been directed from the altar of the Romish chapel in this town, which is a temple of sedition, to affix their names to a petition which the same factious party had got up against the Honourable Henry John Boulton, our excellent chief justice, whose only crime is an unflinching, impartial administration of law, which that priesthood are constantly affirming from the altar, is unnecessary in Newfoundland, as they have a power far superior to that of the law in this island. The sense of his Majesty's government on this petition has reached us, while I am writing, and it is a matter of sincere rejoicing to all who love good order here, that the good Chief Justice has been supported by his Majesty's government, in the entire legality of all the acts on which the factious promoters and writers of this petition had founded their vindictive and false allegations, and that he will return to preside over our legal tribunals.
Sundays, 9, 16, and 23.-I was happy to renew my connection with the interesting congregation of St. Bartholomew'.s church, Portugal Cove, to which place, through the exertions of the late excellent governor, Sir Thomas John Cochrane, there is a very good road from St. John's, far different from that by which I travelled on my first visit to this island in 1827. Here I held two full services on each Sunday, baptized six children, and administered the Lord's Supper to twenty-two, the usual number of communicants at that settlement.
Sunday, 30.-Appointed two sermons at the church of St. John's, for a collection in aid of the district committee of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, with a special view to the supply of bibles, prayer books, and tracts, to the settlements on the southern and western shores which I had lately visited. I took the pulpit on one part of the day myself, and the cause was ably advocated on the other part of the day, by
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the Rev. Thomas Martin Wood. Our appeals were responded to very liberally by the people, and above 30l, were collected for the object, which is a greater sum than any two sermons ever procured at St. John's in one day before; but liberal as the aid thus afforded me was, shall I be thought unreasonable if I exclaim, "What were they among so many?" Books to the whole amount have been forwarded, or are packed up, waiting opportunities of being forwarded, from the merchants' houses, to the anxious expectants, many of whom will, I fear, have already been tempted, - in their impatience for the sacred volume which I promised them, and which, above all, has been prized,-to exclaim, "Ah! the Deacon,"-for in this manner they designate the archdeacon,- "has forgotten his promise !" But I have not forgotten my promise; and one grand object of my submitting these pages of my journal to other eyes than to those of the Committee of the Society whose servant in the church I am, is, that the sympathy of a christian public may be enlisted in the behalf of the people of Newfoundland. And, Christian reader! I am convinced, that I have not over-rated your generous sympathy, when I have promised myself, that in this matter it would give you pleasure to help the societies, which have so often helped myself and my brother missionaries. The wants which I have discovered -of books alone -have, I grieve to say, been very, very far beyond what my means - far beyond what the means our district committee could place at my disposal, would enable me to supply. I sincerely hope that my narrative may stimulate the charitable at home to a more liberal aid of the societies; * that the missionary may never lack the Bible and other good books, to send into some lone district, where they may supply to the people,
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in some degree, the hallowed associations which their sacred structures supply to the inhabitants of Great Britian, and what their zealous and justly beloved spiritual pastors are to them.
Shall I be thought tedious, if, before I close this journal, I subjoin a letter which bears reference to an appeal which I am now making to the British public for funds for the erection of a second church in the town of St. John's, the capital of this island,-a convenience which was pronounced to be most requisite both by my predecessor in this archdeaconry, the venerable George Coster, and by the late governor, Sir Thomas John Cochrane, and which was so strongly recommended to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, that, before my arrival in the island, its committee thus expressed itself in the Society's Report for 1827. " The population of St. John's has far outgrown the accommodation which the present church affords for public worship, and strong representations have been made to government for the erection of a second church, and the appointment of the archdeacon as the officiating minister. It would be a gratifying circumstance to record the commencement of such a laudable undertaking, but as yet the impediments have been found insuperable," p. 38.
Again, the Committee of the above Society, in its Report for 1830, the year in which I commenced residence in St. John's, observes, at p. 33: " The archdeacon, in conformity with the wishes of the Society, has removed from Bonavista to St. John's, a station affording a more ready communication with the clergy, - and better adapted for the performance of his own duties. At St. John's, the archdeacon officiates at a third service in the church, which, insufficient as it is for the accommodation of the increased population, still remains the only building appropriated to the members of the Church of England, in a place where the Protestants amount to more than 5000."
This inconvenience arising from want of
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church-room, which had been lamented previous to 1827, has, it may be imagined, increased since: it was so much felt by a very worthy lay-member of the Protestant Episcopal Communion in 1833, that he addressed me upon the subject as follows:-
"St. John's, Newfoundland,
"To the Venerable ARCHDEACON WIX.
"As late as ten o'clock last evening, I was made acquainted with the fact that the Roman Catholic Bishop, Dr. Flemming, when in Ireland, had raised a very large subscription for the purpose of erecting a new chapel in this town, which, I am informed, is to be one of the finest buildings in any of the provinces, Having so frequently heard you lament the want of church-room in the present church, for the professors of the Protestant Episcopal creed, as well as their inability, from various causes, to raise sufficient funds for a suitable building to be dedicated to the worship of God, where the poor Protestant Episcopalian may be allowed to partake of the same blessing of hearing the Gospel preached to him, that is now almost exclusively enjoyed hy his richer neighbours, and, being strongly impressed with a belief, - indeed, I may say, thoroughly convinced that your labours would be attended with success, I cannot resist the strong impulse which I feel of calling on you to proceed to England, and there advocate that cause to which you have already dedicated your best energies here.
"Neither, have you any reason to be discouraged. With the example of Mr. Codner's success, in establishing through-out our island those schools, which will ever rank among its greatest blessings, with the example of an humble individual conferring a benefit on a colony to such an extent that, but to have predicted at the commencement of his labours, would have rendered the prophecy a cause of ridicule, even to the most credulous, and excited the incredulity of the most sanguine. Hav-
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ing, also, the success of a Roman Catholic Bishop, in so poor a country as Ireland, what reason can there be for doubting the liberality, the charity, or the Christian spirit of her more wealthy neighbour, or for supposing that her exertions in the cause of religion would be less than we have already proved them to be in that of education ?
" What country than England has done more for the cause of CHRIST, and to what part of the habitable world has she not extended His Gospel ? Shall that country that cares for the salvation of the Hottentot, the Esquinaux, and the poor degraded Sudra,-shall she suffer her own children to lack the means of grace in one of her oldest and nearest colonies, where poverty at home has compelled them to seek the means of subsistence ? Will her aristocracy, whose land has been, in a great measure, relieved by us of the burden of maintaining a superabundant population at home, withhold from us its band in assisting us to provide the means of worshipping our God after the manner of our fathers ?
Will her merchants and manufacturers, into whose coffers the largest part of the profits of our joint laboure imperceptibly flows, refuse to contribute their portion to a purpose where their offering will be thrice blessed; blessed in the giving, blessed in the receiving, and once again blessed here-after? Will even her poor withhold from us their mite for the purpose of extending to their distressed brethren that privilege of worshipping their maker which they themselves so abundantly enjoy at home ?
" Once more, then, I call on you (and let the occasion be my apology,) to plead the wants of the poor, to advocate the cause of our REDEEMER. You, to whom the pulpits of our church will at all times be open; who, from your rank among her clergy, possess advantages which no lay-man can obtain, appear, under GOD, to be likely to procure the means of enabling her to keep pace with her powerful competitors in this island. We have, already, two disscenting chapels, while the Roman Catholic establishment is about to be doubled; with
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but one place of worship, and that too small to contain those of her creed who can afford to pay for accommodation, what choice have the poor among the Episcopalians between apostacy and infidelity ?
"May I entertain the hope that, at no very distant period, I shall see you embark on this hallowed pilgrimage, and have the pleasure of saying, ' God speed you !'
Although the writer of this letter did but represent the wishes of several most estimable members of the church here, who were equally interested with himself in the measure proposed, I did not feel at liberty to desert my charge on such a mission. Ill health, however, made it absolutely necessary, at the close of that year, that I should seek the rest of a sea voyage, and temporary repose in England. On my arrival in England, I fondly entertained the hope that I might be permitted to devote such strength as I possessed to pleading the cause of the church in Newfoundland; and many clergy, to whom I offer my thanks in the name of the poor protestant Episcopalians of the town of St. John's, most kindly offered me their churches that I might make appeals to their several congregations on behalf of the Newfoundland, emigrant churchmen. The committee of the "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts," to which this island is altogether indebted for its church institutions, its clergy and till recently has been indebted also for all its schools, discountenanced my making any appeal to the public at that period, however, on the supposition that any appeal to the public for a particular specific object might operate prejudicially against the success of some grand appeal which that Society at that time meditated making for its general objects. Of course it was my duty to comply with this decision of a committee of the Society in the service of which I am engaged, and, after I had, through God's blessing on my native air, sufficiently recruited my strength, I returned with a very
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heavy heart to the scene of spiritual destitution, without having been able to accomplish any thing for its improvement. The evil which I had hoped to remedy had increased, and is still increasing, to such a degree, that some effort must immediately be made, if our communion is to be protected from serious loss.
Under these circumstances, I have felt it to be my imperative duty to set about the erection of a second protestant episcopal church in St. John's. The good wishes which were every where expressed towards this measure, while I was in England, and the many offers of aid which my correspondents in the parent country have kindly made me, in the event of any public appeal being yet made for the object in England, embolden me to hope that I shall not now be left alone in this very serious undertaking. Two thousand pounds are needed for the accomplishment of the object which is at present contemplated, viz., the building by contract of a church sixty-two feet by thirty-six, with galleries, capa ble of holding seven hundred persons, at least, one half of whom will, in the event of the measure being properly aided, be accommodated with free sittings, and the remainder with seats, at a much lower rate of payment than is now required for such accommodation. The publishers of this journal are authorized to receive subscriptions for this object; and most anxiously will the writer look for the next arrivals from Europe, which may announce to him the degree of success which has attended his present appeal.
His primary object is, indeed, that of exciting the liberality of those who have the means of helping him in his attempt to afford this necessary church accommodation to the members of the protestant episcopal communion in St. John's. But he would wish, also, to excite a feeling of Christian sympathy for the entire population of the island, which is upwards of seventy thousand. He has recently visited several portions of it which had never before been visited by any minister of any name. The
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same cannot be said of several other portions which he lately visited, Only because, five years since, he had himself paid them, before, the first visit which they had ever received. -- Those who desire the spread of the Redeemer's kingdom, and are anxious to hear the state of their less favoured brethren abroad, will, doubtless, have been interested in the report which he has submitted to their notice, of the religious state of a portion of the Christian family with which they were not previously acquainted, or but imperfectly acquainted.
The analogy between the case of Christian missionaries, and that of the spies who were sent into Canaan, (Numbers xiii.) will not hold in one particular. They went out from the wilderness; and they went into Canean, the land of promise, to the very name of which we are accustomed to attach ideas of joy and peace, and tranquil rest, and calm delight in God's presence and favour. But, ah ! your missionaries go forth out of more favoured districts into those less privileged! We leave the seats, in which are the comforts of religious society, and the treasures of religious privilege, and the parts which we traverse are the desert and the wilderness. Do not expect, then, favoured members of the church I that, if we be faithful in our testimony, we can bring you, like Caleb and Joshua, a thoroughly favourable report of the goodness of the land into which we are sent. With Caleb and Joshua, we would say to the Christian, who is properly zealous for the spread of CHRIST'S kingdom; " Go up, and possess it. The LORD will give it into your hand." But we are compelled to say also, with the greater number of those who had viewed the land of Canaan, that there are formidable obstacles against your extending in it immediately the triumphs of the cross; " The children of Anak," giants in wickedness, may occasionally be found.
And who can be surprised that such should be the fact? Readers! which of you, who know the first principles of our faith, can wonder that man, left to nature,
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should break out into acts of wickedness ? You have been religiously and virtuously brought up, -you have lived beneath the light of christian privileges,-you have had opportunities of improvement by religious intercourse,-your sabbaths have been past within sound of the bell which has called you regularly to the house of prayer: but have you, with all these rich advantages, been able to root out all propensity to evil ? Are you living to the Spirit ? Can you be surprised, then, that men, removed from the restraints which a christian society imposes upon you,-removed from all opportunities of obtaining religious information from their cradle to their grave, should, some of them, live without GOD in the world ? and that the more serious of them, who have had some little education, should bring to the inquiry, "what shall we do to be saved !" an ignorance of a sadly fearful character ?
The word of GOD might teach us, before experience, what would be the state of persons so situated; an acquaintance with their actual condition strengthens our belief in the testimony of the sacred volume. Could you see it, you would be led by the sad contrast to value the more highly the religious privileges which you enjoy your-selves; you would be led to inquire of yourselves " What are we doing for the increase of religious knowledge among persons thus circumstanced ? And when an opportunity such as this is afforded of pouring some rays of light upon the path of those who are wandering in darkness and error, you would be led in your love for souls, and your desire to promote GOD'S honour, to ask not how little-but "how much can I give unto the LORD ?"
Place yourselves in the lonely cabins some of which I have endeavorded to describe to you. In the absence of all other teaching, will you deny them the word of God, which may be their guide in life - their comfort in death ? I need not tell you who believe, that the salvation -the eternal salvation of those for whom I plead may hang upon this thread. When a drunkard
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has been rebuked will you not enable your missionary to follow his warning by the gift of a silent preacher which five hundred miles from where I now am writing, -above two thousand from where you are reading -may remind him, of the sin and danger of his habit? When parents have shewn a desire to lead forward their little ones to godliness and prayer will you deny your missionary the means to supply them with, the book of instruction which may help them in their christian efforts ? When any who have shown a desire to learn the way to heaven are ignorant of the first principles of our faith shall not your missionary be enabled to supply them the instruction which may direct them to CHRIST and teach them the need of the Holy Spirit? Follow the donation of books which your bounty has supplied to the missionary; follow it with your prayers; but follow it too in imagination. I speak not of the delight with which he is himself penetrated when he receives the welcome testimony of your sympathy in his labours and puts his confidence for a blessing on their use in that GOD, whose blessing he believes you have invoked on them before you sent them forth; but follow them, I beg you - follow them in imagination upon their further voyage, when they are sent forth by your missionary to gladden the eye of many a christian mother, to encourage the emulation of many a lisping, child, to bring, tears of penitence to the cheek of man or woman, who is living, in iniquity, to soothe the bed of sickness, and to smooth the bed of death.
It may increase your desire to send to these destitute people of Newfoundland the means of spiritual improvement, if I relate to you the constant temptations to which, even the most remote settlements are exposed through the introduction among them in trading vessels, of the means of intoxication at a very cheap rate. The effect of the visits of these vessels in many places, as I have already remarked, has been to make the visits of the missionary perfectly useless in situations, where no
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christian member has ever been before, and where none may, during the lives of some of the present inhabitants, he ever seen again, and I have found in places where the inhabitants were most addicted to the use of these liquors, such enormous depravity practised as I cannot name; such as would have roused execration in the most liceotious days of heathen Rome.
Again, shall I mention in vain that I have seen in a settlement where the simple people were desirous of seeking GOD,-where seventy children might be collected in any school which might be opened, so anxious are their parents for their religious instruction. There an infidel, of better education than those around him, has been settled (since my first visit to the place in 1830) from the states of the American Union. For the last four years, I found that it had been his delight to ridicule what he esteems the prejudices of the Christian believer ! To spread among such of his neighbours as can read, the licentious tracts of the free-thinker, and to encourage in the young, an early assertion of their independence upon the parents under whose roof they were thanklessly lodging, and whose bread they were idly eating I If I could only send into each settlement of the island, printed Gospel Truth, in the same quantity which this pestilent American settler had ready to disseminate of publications of a contrary character, I should be happy.
Christian reader ! Can you read with indifference that, in a place where scriptural knowledge is necessarily very low, publications should be propagated of so mischievously and offensively infidel a character, that their editors have been prosecuted, and sentenced, for their blasphemy, even in the American state of Boston, where infidel opinions must be irreligious indeed, to provoke a successful prosecution ? Can you learn with unconcern, that I saw several hundred copies of another publication, the aim of which was the overthrow of man's belief in an eternal punishment for sin, and which conveyed notions the most confined, and confused, and unsatis-
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factory, respecting, our divine atonement ? And, lastly, can yon learn, without horror, that I saw many copies of works which were written for the express purpose of persuading men to look to their own worth and their own works for salvation, and to think of Jesus only as a mere man like ourselves ? Language, moreover, was, in one of these publications,-a Boston weekly periodical, which, I regret to write, has its 2000 subscribers and an agent in Halifax, the capital of the diocese of Nova Scotia, and another at Quebec, - language was, in this, used respecting that JESUS, at whose name we bow, of such awfully blasphemous character, that the most profane about the wharfs of this very profane place in which I am now writing, would, I trust shudder at its repetition!.
These books were in the hands, too, of one who travels much about the island; who has opportunites of visiting distant settlements, conversing with the people, and influencing their minds, which the missionary might envy. And these books are his companions! These frightful tenets are the topics of his conversation! These are his sentiments on revealed religion, and these he takes delight in spreading. But, Christian reader of this appeal! shall these books and these opinions,-shall any unscriptural tracts, by whomsoever propagated, be permitted to poison the minds of the growing generation, and will you not be ready to help to draw out the poison? Will you not lift up your hands in prayer, as you look upon the country, from your own holy mountain; while you send forth the weapons of the Spirit, pointed from the armoury of God, to fight such foes ? What, though the children of Anak he mighty? In such a trial they must faint, and fail, and fall! Their defence will depart from them. We may be assured, that the Lord will be with us, and we need not fear them ! I have been grieved to see such works in such a quarter; - I have grieved as I have viewed the mournful destitution of the members of our church along, these rugged shores. I am
Pages 250 - 251
deeply, deeply grieved, when I think of the thousands in this town alone, who are now as sheep having no shepherd. Yet I trust that the fact of the existence of these evils may be over-ruled by a kind God for good ! It will be so,-if you, who read this, will only give me the means of sending through the island the pure word of God, and proclaiming here, and propagating elsewhere, the plain exposition of the doctrines of man's salvation by grace, and his need of spiritual holiness. The youngest child may then supply his slings from the fountain of God's word, and the giant must fall. The truth must prevail! the land must be ours for the Lord CHRIST.
I have dwelt, it will be thought, long enough on the more sad portions of the report which may be made of those parts of the island which I have lately visited. I think I hear my readers ask, What! are there none of the pomegranates and figs which were found in Canaan? none of the clusters of the first ripe grapes ? Has our missionary found there no milk and honey, no fruits to tell him of what the land might produce under spiritual culture and nourishment? O, yes! blessed be God ! he has met much to comfort, much to encourage him ! It has not been all cloud; there have been rays of cheering light in the wilderness through which he has been led ! Some of the fields are even now ripe for the harvest. He has, indeed, met with some sad, very sad testimonies to the ungodliness of the natural man. Yet too, he has met, in so many instances, with proofs of the blessing of the Holy Spirit on very small advantages of religious information, that he does not distrust the pleasing assurance that the land may yet be ours. He places great hope on the divine blessing upon the effort which you will make in answer to this earnest appeal, and upon the alms which you are already eager to throw into this treasury of the LORD.
Before the general introduction of , Sunday schools into England, our humble fishermen, I have already reminded you,
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brought with them, it may be imagined, a very scanty degree of spiritual knowledge to this country of their adoption. Yet many who thus came out as boys, have, through the blessing of GOD upon the use of the Bible and Book of Common Prayer, kept up a religious feeling in their settlements; and their children and their children's children are now inheriting the blessing. But these very rays of encouragement should affect you as strongly as the darker shades of the picture; they should interest you as deeply in behalf of the people; they should stimulate your liberality as much. You will not be sending the missionary, the school, the Bible, the treasures which you value so much yourselves, to people who do not know their value; they may have no silver or gold to offer for them, but they esteem them not the less. You will not be casting pearls before swine.
I have informed you of the worthy man who lamented to me with deep feeling, that, when he and his neighbours were "sick and sore there was none to visit them none who cared for their souls !
Will you not enable me to supply him and the many who feel like him with the volume which may teach him to sanctify any suffering and to look out of this wilderness into the bounds of the land of promise ? I have informed you of another (and may there not be many such ?) who often drops a tear on the Lord s day when he thinks how different it is where you are and where he once was where the sweet Sabbath bell may be heard throughout the day; did I think too well of you when I thought you would enable me to keep my promise to him that he should have a volume of good sermons, such as he had heard in the church of his youth which he might make useful to his neighbours by reading them aloud ? And when another has said to me and not without tears at the time of uttering it that it often made him weep, in the wild place of his present abode to think of the fine opportunities he had wasted while a boy declaring that he
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should think more, were he again at home, of church-going now than he did then, shall I not be enabled by you to send him what may lead him, even at the eleventh hour, to redeem the time? And was I wrong when that young housekeeper told me with an air of artlessness which forbade the suspicion that she was exaggerating, that next to the death of her dear parent, she had never felt a calamity greater than leaving behind her, on her marriage, some books which I gave her, five years ago, and which were so prized in her native settlement, that the surviving parent and her friends would not permit them to be removed ? Was I wrong in thinking that you would have pleasure in joining with me to prepare for her the grateful surprise of receiving a like present ?
"Give me a Bible; for years I have been craving for a bible. My eyes are getting bad, and my bible is broken, and dark from smoke, and, were it not for that Testament, the print of which is larger, I could not read at all; but what I have read, has taught me to pray, and, in several instances I have had prayers answered in a most remarkable way," said another to me. He had been often in perils, and most signally preserved. Between the time of my seeing him, and the present, he has fearlessly exposed his own life in his endeavour to save some fellow-creatures who were almost in an exhausted state, from one of the sad wrecks which are so common on this coast; eight or nine of which came under my knowledge this spring. " I'd sooner perish myself, than see a fellow-creature drowning!" was his noble cry; and, relying on his GOD, he dashed into the surf, and happily succeeded in drawing them through the breakers ! Shall I not be enabled to send this child of prayer, this intrepid child of storms, a copy of the Scriptures, by which his own faith in CHRIST may be confirmed, and he may be led to see farther the duty which is upon him to strengthen his brethren ?
Christian readers ! you are yourselves looking forward with the humble confi-
Pages 256, 257 and 258.
dence of one day being admitted to the glories of an Heavenly Canaan, through the merits of your divine Redeemer JESUS CHRIST. You have received, I trust, first fruits of the Spirit, some earnest of the rich inheritance of the saints in light. From these pledges you know, as well as from GOD'S word, that Emanuels land is an exceeding good land, a land which flows with milk and honey. You do not doubt of reaching this land; though there are obstacles and trials in your way, you rely on One who is mightier than any one who can be against you; who has promised to be with you even in your passage over the separating sea of death. In common with the rest of your fellow-creatures, you are called to endure trials. Do the hopes which you entertain of reaching this good land, give you comfort to support you under them ? Would you barter away this hope for any of the treasures, any of the pleasures of this world ? No, NEVER !!
Then help me to extend the knowledge of this land to those here who are in ignorance of its excellence and beauty. Shall any perish in this wilderness, whom you, reader! might furnish the means to direct in the path which leads to a better country, and a happy, Heavenly home ? Oh ! I feel convinced that you will aid me by your alms to instruct the babes of the fold of CHRIST who are looking to you to be fed! to enlighten the ignorant who are seeking to be informed in the way of Salvation! to comfort the sick who have no pastor to breathe by their beds the prayer of assurance in their dying hour! You will, at least, contribute your mite towards the erection of a second church in the capital of this island, where, taking, his stand upon the world to come, the Christian missionary may effect a moral spiritual movement, in the mass of ignorance, superstition, idolatry, and various wickedness by which he is surrounded. You will, - you will entitle yourselves to the thanks, the prayers, and the blessings of those who are fainting and ready to perish; who, through your means, shall drink of the fountain of living water, and be refreshed and satisfied, and saved through JESUS CHRIST !
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Transcription by Bill Crant, Elmsdale, NS Canada
Posted 25 May, 1999, updated May 26, 1999.
Revised by Jim Butler, September 2002
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