A New Church on the Mission Hill
Mr. Anderson's Journal during the early part of
1868 is chiefly given to the describing of the erection of the new church on the
Sabbath, Jan. 5, 1868.—The year has opened on our
work promisingly, though the vexation of the king and several of the gentlemen
about the steps taken by me for the protection of life does not seem at all
Monday 6.—Glad to see the Moultau on her way up
the river, seeing that she brings with her our long-desired and needed new
Thursday, 9.—Very busy day getting up new church
from ship to hill. All the river gentlemen exceedingly kind and obliging in the
loan of longboats and Krumen.
Wednesday, 29.—Laying the foundation of our new
church. Captain White presided at the ceremony, and placed one of the corner
pillars in proper position. Mr. Lewis and I both engaged in prayer—I before the
placing of the pillar, and Mr. L. afterward.
Monday, Feb. 10.—The roof of the new church
finished at four p.m. Felt thankful when I saw the last carpenter reach the
ground in safety.
Tuesday, Feb. 11.—Glad to learn that the twenty
puncheons have been duly paid to the Consul by the natives. This is one of the
best lessons they have ever got.
Saturday, 29.—The work begun on January 29th was
finished a week ago; the new church was erected; all that remained was the
finishing of the painting. That was finished in the beginning of the week, and
all is dry now, and all is quite ready to receive a congregation tomorrow. One
kind river gentleman lends us seats for about 100, and we have put planks in
such a way as will accommodate as many more. We all feel deeply indebted to
river gentlemen for the loan of Krumen, carpenters, and painters. We are under
very special obligations to Captain White for his daily superintendence and
labour during the whole time of the erection of the. building. But for his deep
interest and unceasing vigilance, the work would not have been completed either
so speedily or so well. For all kind friends who have aided us in the work, I
present the prayer of Paul for Onesiphorus: "The Lord grant that they may find
mercy of the Lord in that day."
Sabbath, March 1.—A day to be remembered by us.
Held the usual Efik service this morning in the old church —now to be designated
the schoolhouse. Went to town and held usual meetings there. At 4.15 p.m. a
large congregation—that is, for Duke Town—assembled in the new church. All the
seats provided yesterday were occupied, and it was needful to extemporise a
considerable number more. The floor also had its complement of squatters. I had
sent a verbal message to our friend Bishop Crowther, at Bonny, intimating that I
should be glad to have him preach the opening sermon; but he did not hear of my
message (if he heard of it at all) till it was too late. I expressed to several
friends my readiness to ask any brother in the Mission to preach on the
occasion, should it be specially desired by members of the congregation; but the
feeling was that I was the person on whom the service seemed naturally to
devolve. I spoke a few words in Efik at the close. The collection, in English
money, was upwards of £12. It was afterwards made up to about £13, 13s., besides
8 brass rods, about 100 black coppers, and 2 teaspoons.
The service was altogether a happy one. I was
glad to learn that some of our oldest and most experienced members felt it to be
the happiest they had ever attended in this country. Some of them felt that the
Spirit of the Lord was with us of a truth, and that our earnest prayer, "Fill
this house with Thy glory," had been heard and answered. All our river friends,
as well as natives, are delighted with the appearance and the accommodation of
the edifice. The only drawback, both to appearance and comfort, is the want of
glass in the window-sashes. That privation will not be so much felt, however,
while the dry weather continues. We all feel a deep debt of gratitude to the
Mission Board for their great kindness in procuring for us and^ forwarding to us
our much-prized sanctuary.
Sabbath, 8.— Our first Communion in our new
church. We had a very comfortable season. Remembered that John Sago was with us
at our last Communion. That was his last Sabbath in the sanctuary below. We have
confidence that he is now drinking new wine in the kingdom of our Father.
Who can tell whether our small company of
thirty-one shall ever all again on earth surround the holy table!
I concluded the service by repeating most of that
fine production of one who went to glory at an early age— Rev. Mr. Lyte—beginning:
"Abide with me; fast falls the eventide."
Sabbath, 22.—Our fourth Sabbath in our new
church. Several of our great men made their first appearance in it this
afternoon. Adam Archibong, Yellow Duke, and several of their friends were with
us—I can scarcely say "worshipped with us." It is so far good that they now know
the way to church. The attendance has hitherto been larger than ever it was, or
indeed could be, in the old church.
Saturday, April 18.—In usual turn round town
to-day, found Yellow Duke in great distress on account of the death of his first
(his earliest) wife. She died rather suddenly last Saturday, while he was at a
distant market. She was coffined and put into the grave on Sabbath, but the
grave was left unfilled till Yellow Duke should come home. He arrived on
Wednesday evening, sent at once to one of the hulks for the magnificent brass
coffin which he had got prepared for himself, had the body raised and
transferred to the new coffin ; and the funeral rites were proceeded with in the
Sabbath, 19.—After morning service in church went
to Yellow Duke's, where I found a large congregation, to whom I spoke of death,
judgment, and eternity. Mrs. Sutherland had also large assemblies of women in
Yellow Duke's different yards. Public services well attended to-day.
Friday, 24.—Mrs. Anderson able to be out in
verandah to-day for the first time since Wednesday week. She had continuous
fever for nearly eight days. We have no medical man in Mission or river. It is
matter for gratitude that there has been no very urgent necessity as yet for
professional aid; still, it is satisfactory to have someone within reach on whom
one can fall back in any case of emergency. Mrs. Anderson is very much
prostrated, but is in fair way of recovery.
Sabbath, June 14.—Our church benches arrived last
week, and were brought up and fixed in their places. This gave the church quite
a home-appearance to-day. It was an additional gratification that the benches
were pretty well filled.
Friday, 19.—Gave school children their midsummer
Monday, July 6.—Used to devote a day once in six
months, during our school vacation, to a friendly call on board each ship in the
river. Have scarcely been on board a single ship for eighteen months, finding my
work to be chiefly with the people of the town. Went round the shipping to-day,
however; was kindly received, and had a little pleasant and, I trust, profitable
intercourse with captains, supercargoes, and others. Distributed among them a
number of illuminated Scripture cards, kindly supplied by Miss Hood, a
Tuesday, 7.—Resumed school labours this morning.
The youngsters all as glad to resume their labours as I am to be again at work
Sabbath, 19.—Mr. Goldie with us to-day, and
preached in Efik in forenoon, and in English in afternoon. Excellent discourses
both. Our only regret was that, owing partly to Egbo being out, and partly to
rain, the attendance was much smaller than usual.
Sabbath, Aug: 16.—While God's work was being
carried on in one part of the town, Satan's was being carried on in another.
King Archibong had a runaway slave tied to a stake in the creek during the
forenoon. His death by the flood-tide was slow enough, but sure.
Friday, Sept. 4.—The house of our constant
friend, George Duke, was accidentally burnt down last night. Visited him to-day.
Finding him sitting among the ruins, but very composed, and acknowledging the
hand of God in the matter. George's bearing under the calamity reminds us very
much of the demeanour of that remarkable man, King Eyo II., under a similar
Friday, 11.—Conversed to-day with ten candidates
for Communion, and had much satisfaction in regard to all. Some of them would
like to acknowledge themselves as on the Lord's side by being baptized, although
they do not consider themselves fully prepared as yet for partaking of the
Lord's Supper. My idea is, that the same moral and spiritual conditions are
requisite for both ordinances; that nothing less is required to qualify an adult
for baptism than faith in Christ and love to Him, and that nothing more is
necessary in order to qualify for the Communion table. At the same time, I think
that if an intelligent individual feels himself impelled to crave baptism,
whilst he would like a little time for further consideration and
self-examination ere he take his place at the Lord's table, his desire may be
properly and safely complied with.