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THE HLVER WEDDING..
as well as from absent friends, who fid not forget to send by post various acceptable offerings.
With the exception of a few chairs, carpet and curtains, my morning room was cleared of furniture; the warm stove, hardly excluding divers frostings on the windows. which partly obscured the beautiful landscape where the mountain villages, and hills of Valcartier, from whence our pine trees were brought, appeared in their December garb of snow. Every afternoon, for a week. I was at home with several ladies each day, who kindly assisted me to receive the silver bestowed upon the Church Missionary Society. Some of my friends spoke of golden weddings, and I may say that the general feeling of the parties who accepted my invitation was that of satisfaction.
It is gratifying to believe that the pleasure of attending a Christmas Missionary Tree may be altogether unselfish, the contributors having at the same time an opportunity of aiding the cause of the glorious Gospel of salvation, while bestowing gifts on dear friends at their happy Christmas homes. The heathen have no Christmas homes, no hopes of future happiness, until the voice of the Missionary brings to them glad tidings of mansions of bliss prepared for those who believe in the Lord Jesus. Many years ago, a circumstance worth recording happened at P-, in Hampshire, where I had a class in the Sunday school, not far from our residence. I had made choice of the class myself, and had reason to be satisfied with the general conduct of the children; but one Sunday afternoon I was sorry to find my scholars inattentive, and perceived that the careless behaviour of one little girl, whom I shall call Annie, attracted their notice, and caused unwillingness to attend to the Scripture lesson. The chapter was John xiv.; but those beautiful words, "In my father's house are many mansions," so calculated to arrest the Christian's contemplation, failed to fix Annie's attention, and I almost blamed myself for harshness in my useless endeavour to explain the lesson, especially when I found she came no more to the Sunday school, as she was unwell. My thoughts, however, were called off to other topics of interest, and I left home very shortly to visit a friend in Sussex. On my return, the Rev. Mr. D——— called to ask me to visit Annie. "She was ill," he said, "and would like to see me." The continued illness of a relative prevented my complying with the request, and as our valued and excellent clergyman visited her, I fancied that my going would be of little avail. Again Mr. D- called. “You had
better go," he said: "she will not last long." I determined to delay no longer, and prepared immediately to visit Annie, taking the shortest road, which was across the lawn, where I hastily picked a beautiful bouquet for the sick child, which I laid before her on entering her room. Annie, though reduced since I saw her, seemed excited and pleased at seeing me; and when I told her how sorry I was to find that she was unable to leave her bed, she drew my attention to the Testament before her, open at the fourteenth chapter of St. John's Gospel. She expressed her sorrow for her inattention, saying, as she pointed to the chapter, “I have learnt it all by heart." She also said that she remembered every word I had said to her, though I had but little recollection left of the circumstance. Mr. D had not prepared me for this affecting inter
ABIEFU, OF OSHIELLE.
view, and tears prevented my speaking. But Annie did no longer require my poor teaching: her Saviour's own words were her meditation, and His promises her joy and hope. Before Annie's departure from this world I again visited her. On the table I saw the withered stems of the bouquet I had given her; not a vestige remained of the bright hues of those moss-roses, nor a particle of the rich scent of the carnations. Annie's mother told me, when I left the room, that she had requested her upon no account to touch or remove the flowers I had brought her. Dear Annie and her younger sister, who was also very ill, spent the short time allotted to them in singing hymns and in prayer to their beloved Redeemer, whom they were waiting to behold in those mansions on high, which He has Himself prepared.
Mount Pleasant, Quebec, Christmas, 1867.
ABIEFU, OF OSHIELLE.
OSHIELLE is a town about nine miles distant from Abeokuta, where a little flock of converts from heathenism has been gathered under the charge of a native pastor, the Rev. W. Moore. He deals with them very faithfully and lovingly, and seeks to lead them into the green pastures of the Lord's own word, and beside the still waters of heavenly comfort which are to be found there.
Mr. Moore is not only a pastor, but an evangelist, entering into conversation with the heathen, visiting them in their houses, and speaking a word in season, as opportunity is afforded.
A Yoruba house, or, more properly, compound, consists of ten, twenty, or, may be, fifty rooms, so disposed as to enclose a quadrangular court or area, which is open to the sky. These rooms are from ten to fifteen feet long and seven or eight wide, without windows, and having only one door, which is scarcely four feet in height. These rooms are of course very dark; but this is of little consequence, as they are only used for storing goods and chattels, or for sleeping in when the weather is too wet for the inmates to remain in the piazza, or yard. "The court is entered from the streets by a single large door or gate, and the little doors of the rooms open inward into the piazza, which runs entirely around the court. The gate of the house is prudently armed with charms or amulets, among which is sometimes seen the curved or horseshoe-formed iron, and which are affirmed to have the power of defending the premises against evil spirits. The interior court is ornamented with sundry large earthen pots, which are the resting-places of the poultry, and bristled all over with short stakes, to which the women tie their goats and sheep every evening."
Into these compounds the Missionaries enter, speaking kindly to the inhabitants, repeating their visits as they find themselves welcome, and teaching, line by line, and precept on precept. In one of the compounds Mr. Moore made the acquaintance of a woman named Abiefu. There was something in this woman that interested him, so that when he came to the part of the compound where she was mistress, he directed his discourse chiefly to her, while she listened with marked attention. He
HYMN FOR THE MORNING HOUR.
her for personal attendance boded no good, and that some evil was intended to her. What could be done to help her? God could help her; man could not. It was agreed, therefore, among the Christians, that prayer and supplication should be offered to Almighty God that the danger might be averted, or that, if the worst came, she might remain stedfast in the faith. They remind us-these African Christians—of the church in the Acts of the Apostles, when Peter lay fast bound in prison, and prayer was made without ceasing unto God for him.
Abiefu set out for Abeokuta. Several days passed over, and nothing was heard of her. Anxiety on her behalf became great, and prayer became more fervent. From her family all they could learn was, that she was well, and that the Ogbonis had accepted the feast at her hands, but whether she had sacrificed her faith before the feast was accepted, this they could not ascertain. That this was the object which the Ogbonis had in view, when they insisted on her being present, was well known.
When they least hoped for it, Abiefu came back, uninjured in every way, her faith unbroken, and yet without having had to endure personal violence. It was a trying moment when she appeared before the Ogbonis. She was hard pressed; and as she had resolved, whatever it might cost her, not to deny the Lord that bought her, it was impossible to say to what their exasperation might lead. The poor woman did feel her need of help, and help was raised up to her of God from a quarter wholly unexpected. A nephew of hers, who had been of the number of her persecutors, rose in the council to speak in her behalf. Addressing the Ogbonis, he desired that she should be let alone, seeing she was an aged woman, who had long served the gods of her ancestors; and no doubt, had she found them serviceable to her, she would not have left them; so they troubled her no more.
Abiefu acknowledged with gratitude the Lord's goodness in putting it into the mind of her nephew to speak for her; and the Christians at Oshielle read in this His answer to their prayers; and thus all has worked for the confirmation of their faith and the establishment of the infant church.
HYMN FOR THE MORNING HOUR.
66 EVEN ME."
LORD, I hear of show'rs of blessings,
Pass me not, O God, my Father,
Pass me not, O mighty Spirit.
Thou canst make the blind to see;
Testify of Jesus' merit,
Speak the word of power to me.
Have I long in sin been sleeping,
Love of God, so pure and changeless;
One soweth and another reapeth.
WE have recently received the Fourth Annual Report of the Sierra-Leone Native Church-Pastorate Auxiliary; and there is one part of the report that we must introduce into the pages of the Gleaner," it affords such a beautiful commentary on our Lord's words "One soweth and another reapeth." It is as follows
There are evident signs on all sides that the Lord does condescend to own and bless the labours of his servants for the spiritual welfare of his people. That Gospel, which to the Jews proved a stumbling-block and to the Greeks foolishness, has proved the power of God unto salvation to many in our various congregations. The enemies of Christianity may spend their last breath to prove that Mohammedanism is better fitted for the African race than Christianity: this is a mere speculation: the fact still remains. The Gospel has done for the "sun-burnt child of Ham" precisely what it has done for any of his fairer brethren, raising him to a proper conception of his moral character; conveying to him a true idea of the one living God, and of a future state; giving peace and comfort to his mind; and inspiring him with bright hopes of a happy immortality. It is the sweet privilege of those who are now engaged in watering the precious seed sown, with many tears, by the worthies of former years, to behold in many a member of their congregations, not only how the religion of Jesus can adorn and bless the life, but also how it can make death peaceful and happy. One instance may be adduced here in proof of this, confirming the truth of those words of the Psalmist, "Mark the perfect man, and behold_the_upright; for the end of that man is peace.' This recently occurred at Regent, and is thus described by the Rev. G. Nicol-" Mammy Hagar, as the subject of the following remarks was called, was of the Ebo tribe, and was brought into the colony some forty years ago in the usual way, i.e. by British cruisers, and was baptized by the late Missionary Johnson. She confessed that then she did not understand the nature and requirements of the Gospel; but she was wonderfully kept by God's grace, so that, from the time she was baptized until her death, which occurred in December last, she has always been a consistent member, and humble; attending to all the means of grace. Poor as she was, and a widow (for she lost her husband many years ago), and depending on the charity of friends and the small Government allowance of twopence a-day granted to invalids and persons in her circumstances, she always managed to pay her class coppers regularly every week for the pastorate, and subscribe her mite
to the Church Missionary Society, the Bible Society, and, in fact, to every object brought before her notice in the parish. Three years ago she was brought near death's door. We gave her over. I felt deeply for her, because she was constantly at our house, and was like a grandmother to my children. However, it pleased the Lord to raise her up, contrary to her own expectation and that of her friends. Her appear
ance in church at her place, after a long and dangerous illness, was an occasion of great joy to all the members of the congregation, and hearty thanksgiving was publicly made for her. Still she never felt herself all right again. It was plain to all that she was much shaken; and in October last there were unmistakable signs that the earthly tabernacle would soon be dissolved. She was missed in church, being laid by with severe pains and general debility. I visited her, and felt in my own mind that with her it was only a question of weeks, perhaps days; that soon her happy spirit would be removed into the presence of the Lord. It was now that Jesus was glorified in his servant. Reduced to a mere skeleton, there she lay on a mat, near the ashes—literally so—the picture of a dying saint. Her sick chamber became the scene of great encouragement. She said to me, on one occasion, "Heaven, Sir, is not far; heaven live here," pointing to the palm of her hand: "I want to go to rest." Then she began to repeat, although she could not read a letter of the alphabet (and this, by the way, shows how the memories, as well as, I trust, the hearts of our people are well stored with Bible knowledge), that beautiful text, "Come unto me, all ye that labour," &c. &c., to "heavy laden." She repeated, "Me, Hagar John, have rest. Glory be to God." All who were present, with myself, burst into tears. But she turned round and said to me, "Master, my son, why do you cry?" I replied, "We all envy you: we would rather say, like Paul, "To be with Christ is far better."" "No, no," she said, "my son, my master; you have work to do: I am going home: mind your work. See Jesus near you" (pointing to the feet); "hold on; patience : without patience no man can see the kingdom of heaven." After a short pause, I replied in her own words, "Heaven, it is true, is not far; it is quite near." She turned round and said, with a feeling I shall not soon forget, "Master, it be far, far from the wicked; but near, very near to the righteous," pointing to her palm again. On another occasion when I visited her I read those beautiful words of our Saviour, “Let not your heart be troubled." As soon as I began she took it up, and repeated in broken bits (if I may so speak) the first verse and part of the second, then the latter part of the third, exactly like one who never learnt to read, but who could repeat bits of Scripture by rote. When she got to the end of the third verse, she said, with a consciousness of being perfectly correct, "That in 14th of St. John, 1st verse, not so?" I replied in the affirmative. She said, “Jesus prepares fine, fine room for poor Hagar, and fine, fine clothes: no trouble, no pain, no crying, no sin, for ever and ever. Amen." After this noble testimony to the value of Christ's Gospel she spoke but very little. She rather wished not to be disturbed, being in constant communion with God. Thus, after a few days of weariness and suffering, she fell asleep (for it was a falling asleep) in Jesus. A large company of Christian friends followed her remains to the grave, thanking God for having delivered our sister from