Page images
PDF
EPUB

fully to seek the salvation of his soul. Not long after, the Lord appeared unto him The fairest among ten thousand, and the one altogether lovely. He now felt to love and adore that Christ he before rejected. Love, joy, and peace flowed into his soul. He now recommends with pleasure and delight the religion of the Lord Jesus, and dwells with sweetest emotions of gratitude on the name of him who “Charms our fears and bids our sor. rows cease."

Many other instances might be mentioned in which the pow. er and grace of God have been most convincingly manifested; but lest I become tedious, I must cut short the relation, and close by making some general remarks upon the subject. For seven or eight weeks the work was so rapid and general that the people met for the worship of God daily. For several weeks it progressed rapidly, and with much harmony between the different denominations, until our Calvinistic brethren began to preach their limited system, which was so repugnant to the ex: perience and feelings of the young converts, that it immediately struck a damp on the minds of some; but thanks to God we trust the doctrines of free grace, and the sound of free salvation will triumph over these doctrines; the votaries of which acknowledge are not profitable to be preached in times of reformation.

The genuineness of the work is not only evident from the radical change it has produced in the hearts and lives of the subjects of it, but also from the consideration that its general influence has extended to almost all

ages

and and some who before endeavoured to regulate their lives by the rules of morality, as well as some of the most profligate, have been shaken from their sandy foundation, and led to build on Christ.

Since the work began upwards of fifty have professed to find peace with God: between twenty and thirty have attached themselves to the Methodist Church. Before I close I would make a remark on the utility of believing and preaching the doctrines which are supported by us. In the first revivals in this part of the town, about fourteen years ago, when sinners were brought to see their exposed situation, and to feel the inportance of a change of heart, gloomy and despairing exercises were very common, from the idea that God had passed them by, and that from eternity they were doomed to perpetual ruin. In this unhappy and wretched state of mind they have remained for weeks; but in this reformation we have not had an in. stance of despair ; and this astonishing and happy effect, I am led to attribute to the influence of those doctrines which are calculated to encourage the mourner, and to inspire the Christian with faith in Christ, and to pray for those who are weary and heavy laden. It is my most ardent prayer to God, that the

sexs;

doctrine of a full and free salvation may be preached and supported in all the earth. I am with respect yours, &c.

Lewis PEASE. Otis, May 12, 1820.

ACCOUNT OF THE WORK OF GOD AMONG THE WYANDOTT INDIANS

AT UPPER SANDUSKY.

Extract of a letter from Red. James B. Finley to the Editors.

Ridgeville, August 30, 1820. Dear BRETHREN,

THROUGH the mercy of God, I am still on the shore of mortality, and hoping for a better world, whenever I am called to leave this. In many sections of our country, religion is reviving, and in some places is rapidly advancing. We have had some as prosperous times, at the close of our last Conference year, as I have ever witnessed. Many profess to have experienced a divine change of heart, and have been added to the Church.

Believing it will be pleasing to many of your readers to know of the progress of the mission among the Indians at Sandusky, I send you a short account of it, with the address of the Wyandotts io the Ohio Conference. Perhaps it may be expedient to notice the manner in which the gospel of Christ was first introduced among them.

JOHN STEWARD, a coloured man, but born free, and raised in the state of Virginia, Powhattan county, having been brought to the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins, and be: come a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at Marietta, Ohio, being divinely impressed, as he supposed, the latter end of the year 1815, went among these people, with a view to impart to them a knowledge of the true God. Unauthorised by any body of Christians, he went of his own accord, under, however, a persuasion that the Holy Spirit had moved him to it; nor did he stop except for rest and refreshment, until he arrived at Upper Sandusky, where dwelt the Indians to whom he believed God had sent him. He was first directed to Jonathan Pointer, a coloured man, who had been taken a prisoner when young, and adopted by them as one of their nation. After making known his mind to this man, he prevailed on him to become his interterpreter; and he accordingly introduced Steward to the Indians as their friend. They were at that time amusing themselves in dancing, and they seemed at first very indifferent in respect to the message of their strange visitor. He, however, requested as many as were willing, to come together and hear the word of the Lord. To this they all consented by giving him their hands.

Accordingly the next day was appointed for the meeting, at the house of the interpreter; but, instead of a numerous assembly, which might have been expected, only one old woman attended. Not discouraged at this, Steward preached, (as Jesus had done before him to the woman of Samaria) the gospel to her as faithfully as if there had been hundreds. He appointed to preach again the next day at the same place, when his congregation was increased by the addition of one old nian. To these two he preached, and it resulted in their conversion to God. Next day being the Sabbath, preaching was appointed in the Council-house. Eight or ten attended at this time, some of whom appeared deeply affected. From this time the work of God broke out rapidly, and meetings were held every day in the several cabins, and on Sabbath-days in the Council-house. Many were convicted of the sinfulness of their hearts and lives, which they frankly confessed; and they seemed astonished that the preacher should know what was in their hearts; and their concern for salvation soon became general. The consequence was, that crowds flocked to hear the word, to learn to sing, and likewise began to pray in private and public for salvation in the name of Jesus. Such, indeed, was iheir deep solicitude for the salvation of their souls, that their secular concerns, for a season, seemed entirely neglected. This afforded an occasion for the mercenary traders to reproach them, and to accuse Steward of injuring the nation by keeping them from hunting, and thereby starving them ; though it was manifest their chief concern was, that the Indians would not furnish themselves with fur to purchase their goods, of which they stood in no need.

To intimidate Steward, these traders threatened him with im. prisonment. He however gave them to understand that he should not desist from his labours; and even if he went to prison, the Indians would follow him, and he should have an opportunity to preach Christ to them there.

After continuing among them about three months, he proposed to return to Marietta, promising to come back when the corn should shoot. Accordingly he appointed a farewell meeting in the Council house, at the close of which there was an universal weeping among the people ; and such was their affection for him, who had been instrumental of their conversion to Christianity, that crowds of them followed him some distance when he took his departure. He stopped at their sugar works several days, which were spent in prayer, and in praising God for his mercies in sending them the good word by their brother Steward. At length he left them. During his absence, they continued their meetings, being aided by the interpreter, who united with

1

them, in praying for the prosperity of religion ; so that on Steward's return, he found some added to the number of beliey.

[ocr errors][merged small]

His return was hailed by many, and they were now fully con. firmed in his faithfulness. After his departure many slander: ous reports had been circulated respecting bim, which tended to excité suspicions in some of their minds; but these suspi. cions were soon removed after his return among them. It is to be lamenied that certain mercenary men opposed this gracious work, and even succeeded in enticing some back to their old practices, who, in their turn, became persecutors of their breibren. After some time, Steward proposed leaving them again, but a circumstance occured which prevented it for the present. A certain woman of some note among them, and who was a violent persecutor of the Christians, was suddenly arrested so powerfully that she lay some time senseless and motionless. When recovered, she declared that she had been warned in a vision, that she was in the way to destruction; and also that Steward was sent from God to teach the people the right way. She yielded to her convictions, and exhorted others who were unfriendly to the Christians, to repent and to believe. The work now revived and progressed rapidly for some time.

Steward, like the first apostle to the Gentiles, who taught from house to house, went from cabin 1o cabin, and from camp to camp; and with Jonathan the interpreter, who had now become an experimental Christian, exhorted them to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. They thus laboured for two years with success, without any assistance of either a temporal or spiritual nature, except now and then a transient visit from some white preachers, which was of but little use. After this Steward made a visit to Urbanna, Champaign county, Ohio, where he became acquainted with a coloured man, who was a member of the Methodist Church, and persuaded him to accompany hiin to Sandusky. Shortly after he returned with a request of Steward to the Quarterly Meeting Conference of Mad-river circuit to afford him some assistance and counsel. In compliance with this request, Moses Hinkle, junior, volunteered his services, and went to Upper Sandusky. He was highly gratified in beholding the reformation which had been effected among the Wyandott Indians. At the next Quarterly Meeting Conference held at Urbanna, Steward attended, presented his certificate from his society at Marietta, and received a license as a local preacher, and was appointed as a missionary among the Indians at Upper Sandusky, where he continues to labour as a faithful servant of God. His excessive labours have induced various afflictions of body, so that he seems daily declining in health, Frequent fasting, sometimes watching all night, long and loud

VOL. III.

55

speaking and singing, have contributed to lay the foundation, if not of premature death, yet of great debility.

Perhaps it may not be amiss here to mention some of those national prejudices with which Steward and his colleagues have had to contend; for the Indians, like the Jews, have their traditions, to which they are strongly attached.

1. They think the Indians bave a different God from the whites, distinguished by colour and dress. Their God is red, paints his upper parts, and dresses with the richest trinkets, such as bells, beads, rings, bands, brooches and buckles, and that he requires them to imitate him in this respect. And even those who are in some measure awakened to a sense of their condition, find it difficult to free themselves from these pecuhar notions.

2. The making feasts for the sick, and offering sacrifice to appease the wrath of the Deity, that the sick may be restored to health, is another of their traditional customs, to which they cleave with great tenacity, and especially since they have abandoned the use of ardent spirits at iheir feasis. Those, however, who are truly regenerated by the power of the Holy Ghost, are opposed to all these vanities; and as some of their nation who are yet strangers to Jesus Christ, will yet hold their idolatrous feasts in the Council-house, Steward and his pious brethren have resolved, if possible, to build a house of worship. He constantly contends with those of them who are yet attached to these customs, and it is greatly hoped he will, by the blessing of God on bis endeavours, succeed in persuading them all to forsake them. Their missionary, Moses Hinkle, bas commenced building the meeting-house.*

3. Another, and of very evil tendency, is their universal be. lief in witches. This exposes them to death; for this is the punishment they inflict on those suspected of witchcraft. The mere assertion of their conjurors is sufficient to convict à person, and expose him to punishment, and especially if the suspected person belong to another nation. This evil

, however, subsides in proportion to the progress of divine illumination.

4. Dunkenness is a very prevailing evil among them. But Steward, and all connected in society with him, bave manifested the most determined opposition to any use of ardent spirits ; and they will not allow it sold among them, except it is to be used medicinally.

* If any who may read this account, should feel disposed to assist these poor Indians in building them a Meeting-house, they may deposit their donations with N. Bangs and T. Mason, 41 Jobo-street, New-York, or with Martin Ruter in Cincinnalti, or with James B. Finley, Lebanon, Ohio, and they may rest assured that such donations shall be appropriated for that purpose.

J. B. FINLEY.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »