Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

to establish a mission in the islands, which is yet but in its infancy, and, we trust, will not come under the title of these papers till it shall no longer be needed by its object having been accomplished.

The relinquished, or we should say suspended, mission, which we are about to notice, is that established by the Wesleyan Methodists in 1799; an abridged account of which we shall copy from Mr. Williams's valuable Missionary Ga

zetteer.

In the beginning of the year just mentioned, a Methodist missionary, the Rev. J. Stephenson, a native of Ireland, proceeded to the Bermudas. Coming from Ireland at that particular juncture, it was instantly concluded that he must be a rebel, and that he was about to introduce disaffection among the slaves. Under this preposterous notion, many of the inhabitants were unwilling that he should come on shore, and would probably have exerted them selves to prevent it, if an enlightened magistrate, who happened to be standing on the quay, had not disarmed their prejudices and dispelled the gathering storm.

After waiting upon the governor, and laying before his excellency the certificate of his ordination as a Methodist preacher, and the testimonial which he had received prior to his quitting Dublin, certifying that he was appointed as a missionary to the island of Bermuda, he commenced his ministerial labours; and, though at first his hearers were but few in number, and of those the greater part appeared hostile or indifferent to the subjects introduced to their notice, the violence of prejudice and opposition soon began to subside; his congregation visibly increased; subscriptions were raised for the erection of a chapel; and by the year 1800, seventy-four Whites and thirty Blacks had joined the society.

The prosperity which now began to shine upon the infant mission was viewed with a jealous eye by

the enemies of religion; and as they found themselves incapable of checking its progress without the aid of law, they procured an edict to be passed by the house of assembly, prohibiting all persons, not ordained according to the rites of the Church of England or Scotland, from preaching, lecturing, or exhorting, any collected audience, public or private, under a penalty of 50., and six months' imprisonment for every offence; and inflicting a similar punishment on the person in whose house the meeting should be held. Mr. Stephenson, considering this law as hostile to the spirit of toleration-as an infringement upon the birthright of every subject of the British crown, and as diametrically opposite to the avowed sentiments of the reigning monarch,-continued his ministerial labours as formerly; but though he was suffered to proceed for a few weeks without interruption, he was at length apprehended, carried before the magistrates, and committed to the common gaol, to take his trial at the next assizes. The person in whose house he had preached was also committed with him. Mr. Stephenson, however, procured bail, and obtained his liberation on the fifteenth day of his imprisonment, as his companion had done some days before. He was at length brought to trial for the crime of having preached the Gospel, or as one of the principal evidences swore, of having "read prayers from a book which he held in his hand, and sung Psalms to a congregation." And for this offence he was sentenced to be confined six months in the common gaol, to pay a fine of 50l. and to discharge all the fees of the court. After he had been imprisoned about five weeks, the governor offered to set him at liberty, on condition of his promising to quit the island within sixty days; but as he conceived such a proposition dishonourable to the cause for which he had suffered, he declined accepting it, and remained a prisoner till

the period of his incarceration expired. He continued on the island some months after; but his health was so seriously impaired that he was no longer equal to the exertions he had formerly been accustomed to make; and, as the interdiction of the law precluded him from uniting in public or social worship with the members of the society, he was recalled from Bermuda in 1802, and those who had formerly heard the word of God with gladness from his lips, were left as sheep without a shepherd.

Applications, in the mean time, had been made to his Majesty's government in England, to disallow the intolerant edict which had driven Mr. Stephenson from the scene of his labours; but though the request of the petitioners was readily granted, nearly three years elapsed before the repeal of the act was publicly announced. And even subsequently to that period, so determined a spirit of hostility continued to be exhibited, that no missionaries could be induced, for some time, to venture among the inhabitants. The mission was, however, at length resumed; for in the spring of 1808, the Rev. Joshua Marsden sailed from New Brunswick to Bermuda, with the view of re-establishing it. After repeated interviews with the governor, Mr. Marsden was permitted to commence his ministration; and though at first he was at tended only by twenty or thirty hearers, his congregation soon increased; and in the beginning of September, he had the satisfaction of uniting about fifty persons to the society, most of whom were Negroes or People of Colour, who appeared anxious for spiritual instruction. A chapel was afterwards erected, and some of the most respectable persons in the island became regular attendants.

In 1811, a quantity of Bibles and religious tracts were sent to Bermuda, and the happy effects resulting from their distribution are CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 329.

thus described by Mr. Marsden :"The Bibles which you sent to this place, were as the sun rising upon a dark and benighted land. The poor Blacks, who could read, eagerly inquired for them; and those who could not, began to learn, that they might peruse the word of God. To this new employment, their intervals of rest, their meal-times, and their Sabbaths, were devoted. Passing through a field or a lane, with a spelling-book in their hands, they would solicit little boys coming from school to teach them; and would frequently beg of me, upon the road, that I would stop a few moments, and hear them repeat their lessons. To be able to read, was to them like being placed in a new world, as they beheld things in a different light, and a train of new ideas sprang up in their minds. In a short time many of them understood the word preached, and a work of reformation was immediately visible among them. Profane oaths and imprecations were now laid aside; the polygamist left all his wives but the one who had a prior claim * the evening worship called them from the licentious dance, and the midnight theft; the stupid and slothful became pliant and diligent; monsters were transformed into men; and the voice of religious melody sounded from huts and cottages, formerly blackened with the vilest pollutions."

;

-It is not our province to follow up the account of this mission to the present moment. That it has

• And yet the chaplains, catechists, and other agents of another society, have not effected even this initial reform upon estates under their own care, which for many generations have been wholly under their controul, and with all the weight of the society's authority to urge them to the effort. What can these individuals, and their predecessors, urge in extenuation of their negligence; when a few Bibles and tracts, and the labours of a despised Methodist missionary, could, by the blessing of God, so speedily effect what they have represented as impracticable? The Methodists never tolerate polygamy, in any of the islands, among their members, 2 R

done much good, especially among the poor neglected Slaves, and the People of Colour, is clear; and though we could have wished that ministers of our own church had been the labourers in this field of Christian mercy, we feel no inclination on that account to disparage the labours of others, where ours are not bestowed. The chief justice of the island, the Hon. J. Esten, publicly stated, in 1824, that "the Methodist Missionaries in Bermuda and in the West Indies in general, had entitled themselves to the thanks of the Established Church, which they could not, without calumny, be accused of undermining; that, on the contrary, they were the humble but useful pioneers, to remove impediments, and prepare the way for the West-Indian church establishment; that they had laid the foundation upon which the fabric of the church will be reared among the slaves; and that what they have sowed in tears, the church will reap in joy." We are informed that a Bermudan slave, a man of deep piety, exemplary character, and good abilities, has been recently emancipated gratuitously by his master, in order to enable him to accept a situation as an itinerant preacher, or missionary, in connexion with this society; and that he is now labouring with zeal and success in one of the West-India islands. Would that we could add that the intolerant and persecuting spirit which expelled Stephenson from Bermuda, and Shrewsbury from Barbadoes; which glutted itself with the virtual murder of Smith in Demerara, and Grimsdale in Jamaica, were extinct. In melancholy proof that it is not, our readers need only refer to the AntiSlavery Reporter appended to our Number for last March; or to the case of Grimsdale himself, and his companions, in that for last December. The respected names of Austin and Harte, who also have been honoured in bearing a portion of their Master's reproach, will shew

that it was not merely because the missionaries above named were Methodists or Dissenters, that they incurred the displeasure of WestIndia communities. A bishop him. self, if he would act in the WestIndies, up to the demands of his holy office, must go out in the spirit of a martyr.

POETRY FROM THE ANNUALS.FRIENDSHIP'S OFFERING.

We conclude our poetical extracts from the Annuals with a few passages from "Friendship's Offering;" of course selecting those which most befit the nature of our work. The general character of the volume we have noticed in a former Number.

SAUL, THE PERSECUTOR. By T. Roscoe. Whose is that sword-that voice and eye of flameThat heart of inextinguishable ire? Who bears the dungeon keys, and bonds, and fire? Along his dark and withering path he cameDeath in his looks, and terror in his name, Tempting the might of Heaven's eternal Sire. Lo the Light shone! the sun's veiled beams expire

A Saviour's self a Saviour's lips proclaim!
Whose is yon form, stretched on the earth's cold
bed,

With smitten soul and tears of agony
Mourning the past? Bowed is the lofty head-
Rayless the orbs that flashed with victory.
Over the raging waves of human will
The Saviour walked-and all was still!

THERE'S JOY.

By Miss Strickland. There's joy! above-around-beneathBut 'tis a fleeting ray;

The world's stern strife, the hand of death,
Bid mortal hopes decay:

But there's a deeper joy than earth
With all her charms can give,
Which marks the spirit's second birth,
When man but dies to live!

VERSES ON THE LATE REV. DR WAUGH.
(By one who knew and loved him.)
Whoe'er thou art whose eye may hither bend,
If thou art human, here behold a friend.
Art thou of Christ's disciples? he was one
Like him whose bosom Jesus leant upon:
Art thou a sinner burthened with thy grief?
Ilis life was spent proclaiming sin's relief:
Art thou an unbeliever? he could feel
Much for the patient whom he could not heal.
Whate'er thy station, creed, condition be,
This man of God has cared and prayed for thee.

Do riches, honours, pleasures, smile around?
He could have shewn thee where alone is found
Their true enjoyment-on the Christian plan
Of holiness to God and love to man.

Annuals

Are poverty, disease, disgrace, despair,
The ills, the anguish to which flesh is heir,
Thy household inmates?-Yea, even such as thee
He hailed as brothers of humanity;

And gave his hand and heart, and toiled, and
pled,

Till nakedness was clothed, and hunger fed;
Till pain was soothed, and even the fiend Despair
Felt that a stronger arm than his was there.

And ye far habitants of heathen lands,

For you he raised his voice and stretched his hands;

And taught new-wakened sympathy to start
With generous throb through many a British
heart,-

Till wide o'er farthest oceans waved the sail
That bade in Jesus' name the nations hail,
And Afric's wastes and wildered Hindostan
Heard the glad tidings of Good will to man.'

Such was his public ministry. And they
Through life who loved him till his latest day,
Of many a noble, gentle trait can tell
That, as a man, friend, father, marked him well,
The frank simplicity; the cordial flow
Of kind affections; the enthusiast glow
That love of Nature or his native land
Would kindle in those eyes so bright and bland;
The unstudied eloquence that from his tongue
Fell like the fresh dews by the breezes flung
From fragrant woodlands; the benignant look
That like a rainbow beamed through his rebuke-
Rebuke more dreaded than a despot's frown,
For sorrow more than anger called it down;
The winning way, the kindliness of speech,
With which he wont the little ones to teach,

As round his chair like clustering doves they
clung-

For, like his Master, much he loved the young,
These, and unnumbered traits like these, my

[blocks in formation]

THERE'S NONE A FEELING HATH WITH ME.

By Henry Scott.

'Tis morn: the sun comes blithely on
And rouseth Nature's glee;
All earth is glad, but there is none
A feeling hath with me!
The very trees are not alone,

The breeze doth fan them, and the sun

Doth woo them fervently:

The birds are singing to the flowers,
And Spring is busy in the bowers.
'Tis sad to mark the joy and life
Around, above, below-
Earth, ocean, air, with joyance rife
In nature's vernal glow,-
Then turn and gaze into my breast,
And mark all there in darkness drest,
There weeds of sorrow grow;
And watch the spirit's strife within
And fear Despair the victory win!

But hush! thou impious heart of clay,

Thyself in ashes bow;

How dare a thing created say

[ocr errors]

High Heaven, what doest thou?"

am not all aloneThere is a Friend-a Mighty OneWhose blood for me did flow; And hope doth whisper unto me "There's One a feeling hath with thee!" THE HEART'S CONFESSIONS. By J. Fairbairn. Heart! wrung with grief and bitter care, Thy wounds unsalved and bleeding still, Who pierced thee thus, poor heart, declare? "'Twas my own will."

Thy will! What tempter full of guile
Could turn thee from thy hopes aside,
And life's young well with wrath defile?
"'Twas my own pride."
When all around,
good, conspired to move

Bad counsellor!
Great, fair, and
From humble joys, what had thee bound?
"'Twas my self-love."

Alas! the charities were near,
The duties too, an armed troop,
To guide, to fortify, to cheer!

"I could not stoop."

Faith stretched from Heaven her golden key,

And purity twice born, before

The narrow portal beckoned thee!

"I could not soar." Wretched! from earth and heaven returned Empty, what findest thou within, To balance what thy madness spurned? "Error and sin."

LYNDEN DALE. By T. Pringle.

Our native land, our native vale,
A long and last adieu!
Farewell to bonny Lynden-dale,
And Cheviot mountains blue!
Farewell, ye hills of glorious deeds,
And streams renowned in song;
Farewell, ye blithesome braes and meads
Our hearts have loved so long.
Farewell, ye broomy elfin knowes,
Where thyme and harebelles grow;
Farewell, ye hoary haunted howes,
O'erhung with birk and sloe.

The battle mound, the border-tower,
That Scotia's annals tell;
The martyr's grave, the lover's bower,
To each to all-farewell!

Home of our hearts! our fathers' home!
Land of the brave and free;
The keel is flashing through the foam,
That bears us far from thee.

We seek a wild and distant shore,
Beyond the Atlantic main;

We leave thee to return no more,
Nor view thy cliffs again.

But may dishonour blight our fame,
And quench our household fires,
When we, or ours, forget thy name,
Green Island of our sires!

Our native land-our native vale-
A long, a last adieu!

Farewell to bonny Lynden dale,

And Scotland's mountains blue!

[blocks in formation]

Hast thou not heard the news

That bards and poesy are "out of date?" And that the only Mews,

Now cared for, is of quadrupedal state? "Cui bono?" is the cry;

Mechanics'institutes, Steam engines, shares In some new company,

Omnium and scrip the talk of bulls and bears. Some new and vulgar wonder,

Far more than poetry may hope to please; Thames and its Tunnel under,

Or else Don Miguel and the Portuguese! Or Wright and his champagne,

So much per dozen, counting in the packing; The price of hides and grain,

Or peerless qualities of Warren's blacking! Such are the themes and things

Which now are popular; but who for such Could tune the lyre's sweet strings,

Nor feel that he profaned them by his touch?

Then be the harp unstrung

Till simple Nature re-assert her reign; And hearts once more grown young,

Respond with feeling to its gentlest strain.

Till then, alas! I fear,

Whoe'er may sing, the world will heed them

not;

But just as soon would hear

Sir William Curtis as Sir Walter Scott!

A FATHER'S LAMENT.
By W. Howitt.

Two creatures of a pleasant life were mine;
My house they filled with a perpetual joy;
Twin lamps that chased all darkness did they
shine,

My fairy girl and merry hearted boy.

I never dreamt death would their mirth destroy; For they were dwelling 'mid life's freshest springs;

And I was busied with a fond employ,
Ranging the future on hope's fearless wings,
And gathering for them thence how many plea
sant things!

But a dark dream has swept across my brain,
A wild, a dismal dream that will not break;
A rush of fear, an agony of pain-

Pangs and suspense that inly make me quake.
My boy my boy! I saw thy sweet eyes take
A strange unearthly lustre, and then fade;
And oh! I deemed my heart must surely break
As, stooping, I thy pleasant locks surveyed,
And felt that thou must die, and they in dust be
laid.

Spring like a spirit is upon the earth

Forth gush the flowers and fresh leaves of the

tree,

And I had planned, with wonder and with mirth,
The bird, the nest, the blossom, and the bee,
To fill thy boyish bosom, till its glee

O'erflowed my own with transport! In far years

I felt thy hand in mine, by stream and lea Wandering in gladness. But these blinding

tears,

Why will they thus gush forth, though richer hope appears?

Far other land thy happy feet have trod;

Far other scenes thy tender soul has known; The golden city of the Eternal God;

The rainbow splendours of the Eternal Throne. Through the pearl-gate how lightly hast thou flown!

The streets of lucid gold-the chrysolite Foundations have received thee. Dearest one! That thought alone can break affliction's might— Feeling that thou art blest, my heart again is light.

Thanks to the Framer of life's mystery!

Thanks to the Illuminator of the grave! Vainly on Time's obscure and tossing sea,

Hope did I seek, and comfort did I crave; But He who made neglected not to save.My child!--Thou hast allied me to the blest; I cannot fear what thou didst meekly brave; I cannot cease to long with thee to restBut heaven is doubly heaven with thee, with thee possessed!

REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.

1. Hora Catecheticæ, or an Exposition of the Duty and Advantages of Public Catechising in the Church. By W. S. GILLY, M. A. 5s. 6d. London. 1828. 2. The State of the Curates of the Church of England, in reference to the Rev. W. S. Gilly's Hora Catecheticæ. By A PARISH PRIEST. London. 1828. 3. A Translation of the Heidelberg Catechism, with Scripture Proofs at length. By A GRADUATE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD. 3s. Oxford. 1828.

4. The Geneva Catechism, Translated from the French. Second Edition. 5s. London. 5. Catechism, No. Three, being the

Church Catechism enlarged, explained, and proved from Scripture. By the Right Reverend BISHOP HOBART. New York. 1827.

IF, instead of transcribing the above few titles from publications which happen to be now lying before us, we had endeavoured to collect a complete catalogue of recent cate

« AnteriorContinuar »