From the Missionary Herald.
Monroe It was mentioned in the number of this work for February, and for April, that the Mission among the Chickasaw Indians, formerly under the care of the Synodical Missionary Society of Georgia and South Carolina, had been transferred to the Board. Mention was also made of a pleasing attention to religious instruction, which had been for some time witnessed at Monroe, one of the stations in the Chickasaw nation.
The Church at that station was organized in June, 1823; and then consisted of members of the Mission family, and one colored woman, who was the first fruits of missionary labors there. From that time, till the commencement of the present revival, the Lord had blessed the preaching of the Gospel in an encouraging manner, ' 16 had been added to the church.- Since March, 1827, 42 more have been added so that the church now consists of 58, exclusive of the mission family.
The school at Monroe has been suspended for nearly a year, because no suitable person could be obtained to teach it. The schools at two of the other stations are seriously embarrassed for the want of regular and devoted teachers. The station is in the most populous part of the nation there being, according to the best estimate, more than 800 souls within 10 miles of the mission family. Five-eights of them are Chickasaws, and the remainder colored people of African descent, with a few white men having Chickasaw families.
The annexed account of the revival was recently received in a communication from the Rev. Thomas C. Stuart, superintendent of the Chickasaw mission and contains dates as late as July 5th.
'The season of refreshing with which it has pleased the Lord to visit our church, commenced about the first of April, 1827. The first Sabbath in that month, being the time of our quarterly communion, brother Kingsbury and brother Gleason were with us. Having had a time of reviving at Mayhew, their hearts were warm in the good cause, and they seemed earnestly to desire that the Lord might here also display his mighty power and grace in the conversion of sinners. During the meeting, the Spirit of God was evidently present in a peculiar manner, exciting in is people a deep searching of heart, and a spirit of prayer for the prosperity of Zion. On the succeeding Sabbath, brother Byington was providentially with us, and preached once in English and once in Choctaw, to crowded assemblies.
A spirit of inquiry began now to be manifested by some who had been the most careless; and from this time it became evident that the Lord was in our midst. A solemn stillness seemed to pervade the assemblies which met for the worship of God; our weekly prayer meetings, which had been for some time suspended, were again revived, and crowded; and in a few days we were encouraged to appoint a meeting for anxious inquirers. At the first of these meetings, which were weekly, eight attended; at the next seventeen and soon twenty, and twenty-five which was the average number through the summer. By the first of July, the revival became general, the whole country seemed to be waked up, and persons came 30 and 35 miles to inquire what these things meant. Some of the most hopeless stubborn sinners, were the first subjects of the work.
There was nothing very remarkable in the character of the revival.- A solemn stillness marked its course; there was no noise, no excitement of animal feeling; the deep sigh and silent g roan might occasionally be heard and a few cases of conviction were so pungent, as to bring the subjects to sink down upon the ground and cry for mercy. This however, was not in the public assemblies, but in private interviews and secret places.
Perhaps it should be noticed as a remarkable fact, that in almost all cases of conviction, the individuals were peculiarly concerned, lest they should grieve away the Spirit, or settle upon a false foundation. A Gospel hope, 'a good hope through grace' was what they all desired ' earnestly sought for, and short of which they could not rest. The good word continued without any apparent abatement, until the middle of the winter, when it seemed to decline for a few weeks; but since the opening of the spring, it has been gradually growing in interest, and at this time, I rejoice to say appearances are very encouraging. The season for another communion is close at hand. Six new members have already been admitted.- Two of these are native young men of standing and influence; one of them is from the neighborhood of Martyn.- We expect to admit two or three more on the approaching occasion.- Besides these, there are six or eight others who give hopeful evidence of a change of heart, but we think it prudent to defer them until another communion.'
Under date of July 8 Mr. Stuart adds:
'The meeting above referred to has passed. We had a solemn time. About 200 persons were present, and I believe God was in the midst of them by His Holy Spirit, operating in a special manner upon their hearts.- We have indubitable evidence, that some deep impressions were made.- One young man, in particular, a native, and a prominent character in the nation, was deeply wrought upon. The people in this place are much stirred up. The late season has been a time of refreshing to their souls. A spirit of earnest prayer seems to be poured out upon them. A few of the young male converts in the neighborhood have resolved to meet together, on every Tuesday evening, to pray for the continuance and increase of the good work.
Our need of a meeting house is every day becoming more pressing.- Our school house will not now contain the people. On the late occasion we had to occupy the forest. A convenient place, in a beautiful grove of timber was prepared for the purpose.- Our communion table was 45 feet long and well filled.'
Death of Sarah
Mr. Stuart, in connection with the preceding narrative of the revival at Monroe, forwarded a biographical notice of Sarah, a colored woman, who recently died near that station.
'Only one member of our church has died, and that was a colored woman. As the circumstances of her death were somewhat remarkable, I have thought an account if it, together with a short history of her life, would be interesting.
'This woman was called Sarah, was born in Africa, from whence she was taken, when small, to one of the West India Islands. There she had an opportunity of hearing the Gospel, but from her ignorance of the English language, she was not instructed by it. After dragging out many long years in hard bondage in the West Indies, she was removed to New Orleans, where she resided a number of years among the French. By this time, she had passed the meridian of life, and was beginning to decline, having as yet no correct views of the true God, of her own miserable condition as a sinner, or of the way of salvation through a Savior. 'At length,' to use her own words, 'the Lord led me by the hand, thought unseen, into this land, where He revealed himself to me as a God pardoning sin.' As she lived within a few miles of the station, she was a regular attendant on the preaching of the Gospel from its first introduction into the country. It however, produced no saving effect upon her, until about a year before she died, when she became deeply impressed with her lost and ruined condition; saw herself exposed to the wrath of God, and was enabled, as she afterwards believed and hoped, to throw herself on the mercy of the Redeemer. Her life from this time was strictly conformed to the precepts of that holy religion which she professed. She generally enjoyed a comfortable hope of her interest in Christ; took great delight in hearing the Scriptures read, and in attending upon the institutions of the Gospel; and appeared to be fast ripening for the enjoyments of the heavenly state. As if warned of her approaching dissolution she spent the last ten days of her life in going from house to house, exhorting sinners to flee from the wrath to come, and encouraging Christians to faithfulness in their Master's service. On the night in which she took her departure from this world, she mingled in a little company of colored people who had assembled for prayer, it being the first Monday in the month. She was unusually happy; her soul appeared filled to overflowing with divine love, and she could scarce refrain from praising God aloud. About midway of the exercises she requested that a favorite hymn might be sung, in which she joined; and while it was singing, she rose from the bed on which she was sitting, went round and shook hands affectionately wit all in the room, returned and laid herself down, and before the song was closed winged her way , as we hope, to the realms of light to join the song which shall never end. So gently did she depart, that, although several were sitting on the same bed, they did not perceive it.- How great was their astonishment when at the close of their meeting they found that happy Sarah had left them. Indeed, they could not believe she was really dead, but supposed she was in a swoon, and used means to revive her. It was not known to anyone that she had any previous indisposition. Her age was unknown, she could not have been much short of threescore and ten.