Billeder på siden

on his death-bed; and, as he firmly declared that he believed in Jesus Christ, had baptized him. The people in the neighbourhood bore testimony to his marked good behaviour after beginning to read the books given him by the Missionaries.

In addition to this aggressive work, Mr. Scott laboured hard to consolidate the Church over which he was placed. On September 22nd, 1865, he presided at what he believed to be the first Local Preachers' Meeting ever held at Point Pedro. There were present Messrs. Joseph Benjamin, Niles, Solomon, and John Valupille. It was agreed that Mr. Niles should come forward in three months for examination, and that Messrs. Solomon and Valupille should present themselves in six months from that date. On December 23rd, Mr. Niles was examined, and won golden opinions. It seems that nearly all the 'Institution Questions' on the Evidences and Doctrines, drawn up by Dr. Hannah, were asked, and the answers were declared to be as good as any given before a District Meeting in England. Mr. Niles, who is now one of our Native Ministers in Ceylon, is the son of the Rev. Mr. Niles of the American Mission, one of the earliest converts gained by that Society in the island. The 'experience' of the young Local Preacher is interesting. He was educated at the Batticaloa School, began to attend the Enquirers' Meeting at the age of fourteen, and was soon after converted. He began to preach under the direction of the American Missionaries, but finally joined the Wesleyan-Methodists. On Christmas Day the examiner and examinee met again, but for a more pleasurable employment. Mr. Scott invited Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Niles to breakfast, and thus the English Missionary and his native guests celebrated the season of peace and goodwill.

Mr. Scott also commenced a Tamil class for the study of the Evidences of Christianity, composed of the senior boys in the English school. At the first meeting six youths were present, and they were subsequently drilled in Leslie's Short and Easy Method with the Deists.

At the close of the year 1865, the first Watchnight Service held at Point Pedro was conducted. It took place in St. Peter's Chapel, and the congregation included Sivites, Burghers and native Christians. Mr. Scott and Mr. Benjamin preached, and the Rev. William Walton, of Jaffna, gave the final address. The solemnity of the occasion was somewhat marred by the boy to whom had been committed the duty of striking a bell twelve times at the midnight hour. In his excitement the youth dropped the bell with a clash, and his subsequent conscientious attempts to 'ring out the old' only heightened the grotesqueness of the performance. However, all discords died away as the new year was ushered in with that hymn which, as the marching music of the Methodist host, will one day beat round the globe:

'Come, let us anew

Our journey pursue,

Roll round with the year,

And never stand still till the Master appear.'

Mr. Scott's residence at Point Pedro was pleasantly diversified by visits to Jaffna, where, at the monthly meetings of the English Missionaries of various Societies, interesting conversations occurred and much strength was derived from the sympathy of fellow-workers. In Jaffna also he had the pleasure of renewing his acquaintance with Dr. Claughton, the Bishop of Colombo, whom he had previously met at Trincomalee. On Friday evening, August 11th, just before sunset, the Bishop invited Mr. Walton and Mr. Scott to take a walk with him, and the conversation was most pleasant. Its theme was the divisions existing in the Christian Church and the best manner of removing them. We will give Mr. Scott's recollections of what was said:

'The Bishop expressed himself with surprising liberality in reference to Dissenting Churches, and deeply deplored that we could not or did not unite in worship and communion. He proposed to us his plan of reconciliation, so as to unite us in future. It was this: That, on the point of Ordination, all Dissenting Ministers who are already ordained should be acknowledged; and that, respecting those who shall be ordained hereafter, the Bishop should be called in to join in "laying on hands" with the senior Ministers who perform the ceremony, after which the Bishop should have nothing to do as the Pastor of the so-ordained Dissenting Ministers-indeed, should have no power over them whatever. This, Dr. Claughton thought, would be sufficient to secure & good understanding, and allow an exchange of pulpits, worship in the same place, and partaking of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper together.'

Mr. Scott rather slyly remarks that 'the Bishop said nothing about the senior Dissenting Ministers being called in to assist in the ordination of Episcopal Clergymen.' A second part of Dr. Claughton's scheme related to Confirmation. He suggested that when the Bishop made his tour he should confirm the children of the various Dissenting congregations, but that such children should be prepared for Confirmation according to the teachings of the sect to which they belonged, provided that they were not radically mistaught.'

This scheme showed a stronger desire for unity than any Mr. Scott had heard of before. The Bishop admitted that the Church of England would be an immense gainer by it, but that was not his point-he longed and prayed for unity in the Church. Mr. Scott asked him if he thought Baptism should be administered to adult heathens before they gave signs of true conversion ? To this he answered that he considered a fair knowledge of Christianity and sincerity on the part of the candidate were sufficient, even though the person had not savingly trusted in Christ, because, by refusing the rite, he might be cut off from Christian privileges, and its administration would probably lead him to a saving acquaintance with the Saviour afterwards. Mr. Scott says of Dr. Claughton: He seemed to have a good opinion of Methodists."


The District Meeting held at Jaffna in February, 1866, was shadowed by the serious illness of one of the little Missionary band, the Rev. William Walton. He was a native of Staleybridge, and was born December 24th, 1834. At the age of nineteen he was converted to God during special services held

Wesley Chapel, Halifax. Being convinced that it was his duty to devote

himself to the work of the Ministry, he offered himself for the Foreign field. After being trained at the Richmond Institution, he sailed for Ceylon, reaching the island in July, 1861. He immediately addressed himself to his work. 'In the Anglo-vernacular school, in the study with his native teacher, and in the streets and lanes of Point Pedro, he found abundant and congenial toil.' He was, at the time of which we write, the acting Chairman of the North Ceylon District, in the absence of the Rev. John Kilner. His growing physical weakness was only too evident. He took part in the Tamil examination of Mr. Scott and the Rev. Simon H. Stott, but nearly fainted twice during its course. On account of his illness there was no sitting of the District Meeting on the Saturday of that week. continued to sink, but was borne up by his resolution not to vacate his post until relief was sent. But the doctor interfered and ordered him to leave the island. Mr. Scott assisted him in his preparation for departure, and, on February 12th, he and his wife embarked for Madras. A sorrowful leavetaking ensued, the conviction being deep in each mind that they would never again see each other's face on earth. As the vessel steamed out of the harbour a great sadness fell upon the hearts of those who were left behind. Mr. Walton reached Madras, and there became rapidly worse. Not long before his death he exclaimed with emphasis:

'I the chief of sinners am,

But Jesus died for me.'


To the questions put to him by his wife, he replied: "The Spirit comforts me for Jesus' sake. Jesus is the Rock of my salvation. I am going to glory.' Thus died William Walton, in the morning of his days, and by his death the Church lost a man of more than ordinary promise.

This sad event necessitated the immediate removal of Mr. Scott to Jaffna, where he commenced his work under its solemn influence. His labours now became almost too much for his strength, as he had to pay frequent visits to Point Pedro. However, a great hope, now near its fulfilment, buoyed him up. He was looking forward to the time when his loneliness would be relieved by the arrival in Ceylon of the lady who was to share the joys and sorrows of his after-life. On September 9th, he received news that his future wife was to sail on the next day from England. He determined to leave Jaffna for a time and seek some restoration of his health, now severely shaken. On the 12th of September, in company with. Mr. Stott, he embarked, and on the 15th entered Colombo Bay. He remained in Colombo until the 6th of October, and then went to Kandy, where the kindness of his host, Mr. Eaton, made a deep impression on his mind. Kandy became a green spot in his memory: the climate invigorated him, he conducted several services which were marked by special results, he baptized a Tamil youth, two English soldiers found peace in a Class-meeting which he conducted, and the glorious scenery appealed most strongly to that sense of beauty which especially distinguished his mind. Again and again

[ocr errors]

he was reminded of English scenes and customs. Just like England!' was a sentence continually on his lips. With great regret he left Kandy on the 22nd of October and returned to Colombo, to find it in the throes of a rice

After visiting Negombo he went to Galle, to await the arrival of the Dane with its precious freight. The Rev. James and Mrs. Nicholson received him at Richmond Hill, and there an anxious time was spent.

On the 10th of November a letter arrived for Mr. Scott from the Rev. John Mitchil, of Jaffna, from which he learned that cholera was raging there, and that Mr. McArthur, the Church Missionary, was stricken down. Two days later, another letter arrived for him, addressed in Mr. McArthur's hand. On opening it he found that Mr. Mitchil himself had been attacked with dysentery and was dying. He knew not what to do. Mr. Nicholson was away from home, so he could not consult him. He was riven by a desire to hasten back to Jaffna, and by the very natural wish to wait until the Dane arrived; she was due in four days. Next morning a letter came from Mr. Benjamin, stating that Mr. Mitchil died on the 7th of November. Mr. Scott felt the loss keenly. He speaks of him in his journal as being so good, so loving, so kind!' Mr. Mitchil was born at Mount Sorrel, near Loughborough, August 9th, 1839. His vigorous understanding and sound learning were subordinate to the one most prominent feature in his character-love. Shortly before he died, he said, 'I am going to Jesus. I am perfectly happy. I have perfect peace. I have no fear.' Well might Mr. Scott cry on the receipt of the intelligence of the death of such a man, 'The Lord have mercy on the North Ceylon Mission!' The condition of that Mission was indeed most serious. Mr. Kilner was in England; Mr. Walton, who had been left in charge of the District, was dead; Mr. Mitchil was dead; Mr. Stott had gone to the Coolie Mission, Natal; and Mr. Scott, the only veteran English Missionary in the District, was fighting a hard battle with weakness and threatening collapse. Fortunately, the Rev. Edmund Rigg had arrived in the island, and the Revs. John O. Rhodes and John Brown (D) were on their way; but for awhile the whole weight of the Tamil work seemed to be resting on Mr. Scott.

True to her time, the Dane steamed into port on the 16th, and the load of Mr. Scott's anxiety was lessened. He had been so exhausted, however, by waiting and ill news, that whilst giving out the last hymn in the service on the Sunday he fainted away.

On November 20th, he was married in the Galle Chapel, and a week afterwards Mr. and Mrs. Scott sailed from Colombo for Jaffna. The voyage was rough, rain falling and the sea running high. On December 1st, they landed in the darkness, amid torrents of rain; no stars shone in the sky, and as the boat that brought them from the steamer's side struck three mes they had to be transferred to a smaller one. It being very uncerwhether it was safe to occupy the Wesleyan Mission-house, Mr. rthur very kindly took the wearied travellers in. The next day, ay, as far as Mr. Scott could learn, no services were held in Jaffna,

unless amongst the Romanists, because of the cholera, and his ears were filled with the doleful tidings of the havoc made by the pestilence. On Monday he visited the Mission-house, and found it very dreary. With the doctor's permission, however, he moved into it, lighting cocoa-nut fires, in order to drive out the chill and the damp. Such was the young bride's first experience of Missionary life! The next Sunday, English and Tamil services were commenced, and erelong the different departments of the work were in vigorous operation. The shadow of cholera hung over the solemn Watchnight Service that was held in the Jaffna Chapel, and the new year came upon them with special impressiveness.

On January 21st, 1867, the Revs. Messrs. Rhodes and Brown arrived at Jaffna; and on March 14th, Mr. Kilner, 'the much desired,' landed to the joy of all.

The District Meeting having been held, Mr. and Mrs. Scott left Jaffna, and took up their residence at Point Pedro. But from this date it became clear that Mr. Scott's Missionary career was drawing to a close. At the next District Meeting he was too feeble to discharge the duties of Secretary, and the men who watched him saw that his doom was fixed. Nevertheless, good work was done, and the results of previous toil began to appear. He was especially encouraged by the condition of the Mutual Improvement Society he had formed. Although most of the boys attending it were heathens, he had the satisfaction of making the following record of their conduct on an occasion when their devotion to the gods was tested. He says:

'About 6.30 p.m., just before our Mutual Improvement Society began, a noise and blaze of torches announced the approach of the idol Pullear, returning from his hunting expedition. They came close by the Mission-house. There was one sight which I shall not soon forget. As the procession, with its torches, drums, pipes and hunting idel came up the road, the youths of our Mutual Improvement Society gathered round me at the gate of the Mission-house-some twenty of them. They seemed to manifest no interest in this exhibition of heathenism, but rather collected to watch the impression the follies of their country would make on me. They smiled as it came up, and then as the people turned to the right on their way back to the temple, the young men turned to the left without manifesting the least desire to join the procession, and walked off to the School Bungalow to be present at the meeting, and hear a lecture on Caste from one of the members. This may be justly regarded as a sign of progress, if not in its way an absolute triumph of Christianity, as all the boys are still heathen. I believe that there was one Christian boy in the group who had come to attend the meeting. We commenced at once. The lecturer repudiated "caste," quite contrary to our expectations, as he had opposed a former lecturer who took up his position against it. He explained himself by saying that he opposed at the previous meeting for the sake of bringing out the other side of the question, and so lead to a discussion. He brought up the subject again for the express purpose of showing that he did not uphold or believe in the monstrous system which is the bane of all progress in India.'

At Christmas the school broke up. The first class was dismissed. Mr. Scott says: Two of the boys spoke with considerable feeling on taking leave of the school. These two boys are not far from the kingdom of heaven. May God bless them!' Mr. and Mrs. Scott had the pleasure of

« ForrigeFortsæt »