Images de page
PDF
ePub

EXAMINATION FOR THE CHURCH.

133

die, so our souls love Jesus Christ, and receive him for their Saviour, that they may not die.

Q. What is the holy wine?

Ans. It is the blood of Christ, which he poured out on Calvary, in Jerusalem, in the land of Judea, to save us sinners.

Q. Do we, then, drink the blood of Christ?

Ans. No, but the wine means his blood, just as the holy bread means his body; and all those who go to Christ, and lean on him, will have their sins washed away in his blood, and their souls saved forever in heaven.

Q. Why do you think it is more suitable that you should join the church than others?

Ans. Perhaps it is not, (hesitating.) If it is not proper, you must tell me. But I do greatly desire to dwell with you in the fold of Christ. (Here he wiped his blind eyes.)

Q. Who do you think are the proper persons to be received to the church?

Ans. Those who have repented of their sins, and obtained new hearts.

Q. What is a new heart?

Ans. It is one that loves God, and loves the Word of God, and does not love sin, or sinful ways.

Q. Do you think you have obtained a new

heart?

Ans. At one time I think I have; and then I think again, and think I have not. I do not know. God knows. I hope I have a new heart.

Q. What makes you hope that you have a new heart?

Ans. This is the reason why I hope I have a new heart. The heart I have now is not like the heart I formerly had. The heart I have now is very bad. It is unbelieving, and inclined to evil. But it is not like the one I formerly had. Yes, I think I have a new heart.

These questions were said to be all new to him, and answered from his own knowledge, without ever having committed any catechism.

Once in the church, this blind Bartimeus continued to grow in knowledge, grace, and usefulness. He became a true yoke-fellow with the missionaries, learning constantly at their lips, and communicating what he learned to the people.

In the year 1829, we find it said of him, that he was beginning to recover his eyesight a little, and was making a painful effort to learn to read. A missionary's wife at Hilo in 1830, where Bartimeus then lived as a Christian laborer, collected a few children and taught them the elements of reading. Bartimeus at once applied for admission to the class, but was discouraged on the ground of his blindness, and that the school was merely for children. His reply was, that he was a child, and must insist upon attending. And, by literally digging, as it was said-for he was so dim of sight that he used to bury his face in his book-he became able to make out a verse in the Bible.

REMARKABLE STRENGTH OF MEMORY.

135

The disease in his eyes, however, suddenly assumed such an aggravation, that he was forced to abandon his design of becoming a Bible-reader, and to throw himself for Scripture knowledge entirely upon the resources of his tenacious memory. Every text and sermon he then heard were indelibly fixed in his mind, and fragments of Scripture at that time being printed in his native tongue, were made fast in his memory, word for word, chapter and verse, by hearing them read a few times.

[ocr errors]

"The arrangement of Providence," says Mr. Green, by which he was obliged to hide the word of God in his heart, was a wise and benevolent arrangement; for he never could have become so eloquent and mighty in the Scriptures as he actually became, had he depended upon his imperfect vision, instead of his extraordinary memory. Still, his example at Hilo as a laborer, putting himself in the place of a little child, learning his letters, and spelling out sentences till he could actually read, was of incalculable value. It was to him, also, a matter of unfeigned delight, that he had been able, though for a short season only, to trace with his own eyes the lines of the Book of God, which he loved more than his daily food."

He labored with great assiduity and delight during the Great Revival of 1837 and '38, when he was publicly ordained to the office of Elder. In 1840, he was duly licensed, upon examination at Wailuku, as a minister of the Gospel in Honuaula, where he labored with great fidelity and acceptableness, up to the time of his

decease; returning, every few weeks, to recruit his stores and refill his urn at the missionary granary and well-head, where he was always welcome, at Wailuku.

I have heard Mr. Clark narrate with great interest an account of a sermon which Bartimeus preached there at a protracted meeting, when the King was present, in the evening. His text was Jer. iv. 13: Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind. He seized upon the terrific image of a whirlwind or tornado, as an emblem of the ruin which God would bring upon his enemies. This image, said Mr. Clark, he presented in all its majestic and awful aspects, enforcing his remarks with such passages as Ps. lviii. 9: He shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living and in his wrath. Prov. i. 27: And your destruction cometh as a whirlwind. Isa. xl. 24: And the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. Jer. xxx. 23: Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continual whirlwind; it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. Hosea viii. 7: For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.

Many other passages, also, he referred to, in which the same image is presented, always quoting chapter and verse, till the missionary was himself surprised to find that this image is so often used by the sacred writers. And how this blind man, never having used a Concordance or Reference Bible in his life, could, on the spur of the moment, refer to all those texts, was lit

INSTANCE OF POWER IN PREACHING.

137

tle less than a mystery. But his mind was stored with the precious treasure, and that in such order, that he always had it at command.

I was never, said our informant, so forcibly impressed, as while listening to this address, with the remark of the Apostle, Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; and seldom have I witnessed a specimen of more genuine eloquence.

Near the close of his remarks, turning to the King and his chiefs, he said, Who can withstand the fury of the Lord, when he comes in his chariots of whirlwind? You have heard of the cars in America propelled by fire and steam-with what mighty speed they go, and how they crush all in their way. So will the swift chariots of Jehovah overwhelm all his enemies. Flee, then, to the ark of safety! Here (added Mr. Clark) his appeal to the King and chiefs was bold, and yet persuasive, and, one would have thought, irresistible.

Many more things might be told, and addresses quoted of this blind Hawaiian Preacher, over the field of whose ministry in Honuaula I could not ride, without feeling that it was dignified as with the footsteps of angels, for having been the scene of the labors of this man of God. I praised, as I passed, the compensating sovereign grace of God, who, first choosing so unpromising an instrument as this dwarfed and deformed outcast of humanity, from whom wisdom was at one entrance quite shut out, did so marvellously make up to him the loss of outward sense by inward seeing. The

« PrécédentContinuer »