OF BR. GEORGE KMOCH, MISSIONARY IN LABRADOR, WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE AT OCKBROOK, DECEMBER 21ST, 1857, IN THE EIGHTY-EIGHTH YEAR OF HIS AGE.
(From: PERIODICAL ACCOUNTS, 22, 379-84; 433-40)
"I was born on the 24th of October, 1770, at Kleinforstchen, near Bautzen, in Saxony. About this time, my parents became spiritually awakened. They were in connexion with the congregation of the Brethren at Kleinwelke, and attended the Sunday services at that place. Hence, I was acquainted with the Brethren's Church from my childhood.
"My early life, till I had reached my eighth year, was passed in innocence, and in the blessed enjoyment of our Saviour's nearness, my dear parents striving to shield me from the world and its seductive influences. They also kept me employed as soon as I was able to do anything; yet this was effected in such a manner, that employment was rather a pleasure, than something to which I was constrained. In my fifth year, I had a severe illness, on which occasion, I rejoiced in the hope that I should go to our Saviour, and see Him; but He was pleased to permit me to recover. Several children from our village, besides myself, were in the habit of attending the services at Kleinwelke. On our return home from thence, we frequently held meetings, in imitation of those which we had attended there, conversing on what we had heard, with singing and prayer. These harmless assemblies were often graciously owned and blessed by the Friend of children.
"When I was eight years old, a school was opened in our house, in which a very aged and venerable man taught reading. He understood how to keep us in order, and to secure our love and respect, without exercising severity, -- for though he sometimes produced a stick, he never used it. At this time, I saw and heard much among my companions, which tended to disturb the innocence of my childhood, and aroused my innate depravity, the result of which was, that I lost the tender feeling of love to my Saviour, which I had hitherto enjoyed. My parents were the less able to guard me from the snares of the world, as they had to employ me, in various ways, on their farm. My mind was naturally inclined to frivolity, and I speedily acquired a taste for the amusements of giddy young people, which I endeavoured to gratify as much as possible, turning a deaf ear to the warning voice of the Holy Spirit. My dear mother, who was deeply concerned for the salvation of my soul, endeavoured to keep me in the right way, by affectionate admonitions, and when these did not produce the effect she wished, she had recourse to the rod. The former sometimes brought me to reflection, -- the latter only benefited me so long as I felt the pain of the chastisement.
"After a time, I was sent to the school at Godau, the master of which was a very intelligent man, who, though strict in maintaining order, took pains to make a difference in regard to the natural dispositions of the children under his care. I continued to accompany my parents to Kleinwelke on Sundays and festival-days, and was often deeply /380/ impressed, -- especially by the sermons of Br. Loskiel. But these impressions were soon effaced by my frivolity, and love for what was evil. When I was twelve years old, my parents had the grief to see me a lover of this evil world, and likely to perish with it. I think of this part of my life with horror. Had not my gracious Saviour providentially conducted me to a flock of His, where I was tended with faithful care, I should have become one of the most wretched of fallen men.
"It was in my thirteenth year, that I found myself unable any longer to resist the powerful warnings of the Holy Ghost. I began bitterly to bewail my bad life, and spent several days in great distress. At length, I retired to an out-house, where I knelt down and prayed as well as I could. Here our gracious Saviour revealed Himself to me, in all His suffering beauty; it was as if I saw Him with my bodily eyes, and heard Him say to me, `Thou art mine! Thy sins are forgiven thee!' O what a happy moment was this! Never shall I forget it. My heart became light, and I felt that I had obtained complete absolution. My parents were filled with astonishment, and when I told them what had taken place, they thanked the Lord with me. This was the first time that the faithful Friend of my soul revealed Himself so clearly to me. For some time, I went on in a happy frame of mind, and enjoyed abundant peace; but I did not enjoy the faithful care, with which children are favoured in the congregations of the Brethren. The deceitfulness of sin, and my tendency to light-mindedness again obtained the advantage over me, and I gradually returned to my former mode of life.
"In 1784, I was confirmed in the church at Godau. My first enjoyment of the Holy Communion was accompanied by a delightful feeling of the peace of God. But the evil within soon effaced these impressions, and I thought but little of what my Saviour had done for me. My indifference to my mother's admonitions distressed her greatly, and at length she complained of me to my eldest brother, who lived at Kleinwelke. He took an opportunity to represent to me how sinful my conduct towards my mother was -- reminding me, that she had the welfare of my soul at heart. This rendered me uneasy, and I resolved that I would go to live in some congregation of the Brethren, thinking that all would then be well with me. I therefore asked permission of my father to do so. He did not oppose my wish, but said, `Consider well what you are about to do, for you will carry the same bad heart with you to Herrnhut. If you do not sincerely turn to our Saviour, and entreat Him to change your heart, to deliver you from iniquity, and to make you a new creature, you will soon be sent away from the congregation, -- and this last evil will be worse than the first, for such wanderers are most miserable.' However, I adhered to my resolution, and on the 2nd of February, 1786, I left my parents, with the earnest wish on their part, that I might prosper for the Lord, and not bring shame on His name.
"On the 4th of February, I arrived at Herrnhut, accompanied by my brother. When I saw the settlement at a distance, and remembered, that the first congregation of the renewed Brethren's Church had been collected there, I experienced an impression that I shall never forget. /381/ "Though small for my age, and by no means strong, I at once obtained employment in the tannery connected with the Single Brethren's house. I was much pleased with my abode here; and as I was active and attentive to my duties, I was liked by those with whom I had to do. However, it was eventually decided that I should not remain at Herrnhut. Since then, I have become convinced that this was good for me, as it led to my learning a trade, which was more useful in the service for which our Saviour destined me, than that of a tanner would have been.
"On the 14th of September, 1787, I arrived at Gnadenfrey, where I was apprenticed to the wheelwright's business. On the 13th of January, in the following year, I was received into the congregation; and, on the 13th of August, partook of the Lord's Supper, for the first time, with the congregation, on which occasion, I felt the peace of God in my heart.
"At the commencement of my residence at Gnadenfrey, I had much to suffer. My parents had always admonished me to speak the truth and confess any fault or mistake I might have committed. At Herrnhut I did this, and thereby gained the esteem of my master, who was a very amiable man. But my master at Gnadenfrey, who was naturally surly and rude, did not understand this conduct, but attributed it to stupidity, and treated me very roughly. So disheartened did I become, that I was on the point of running away; however, I mentioned my troubles to Br. Gammern, the warden, who encouraged me to persevere, and soon afterwards, I had the pleasure to perceive a great change in the behaviour of my master towards me.
"In 1789, I had an attack of fever, and became so ill, that my recovery was despaired of. Now, although I had gone with the congregation to the table of the Lord, and was looked on as a good Christian, I had not the assurance of my salvation, and was therefore overwhelmed with the fear of death. I mentioned this to one of the ministers, who directed me to Jesus, with all my sin and misery, and endeavoured to infuse into my mind a feeling of confidence towards Him. Nor did the merciful and faithful High- priest refuse to help me, but speedily gave me comfort, and filled my heart with His peace, so that the fear of death disappeared. After my recovery, my taste for the pleasures of youth revived, and my state of comfort was exchanged for one of levity; this I have since learned to look upon, as my own most dangerous enemy, and as one of the snares with which Satan seeks to entrap and destroy the young. Some time passed in a state of lukewarmness; I took delight in foolish talking and jesting, and became daily more dead, and more indifferent towards our Saviour.
"At length, on a certain occasion, I was led by the Holy Spirit to reflect on my spiritual state, and soon became convinced that I was in the way leading to destruction. Carnal reason strove to convince me that I was aiming at too much, that there was nothing wrong in the habits I had formed, &c. But all this gave me no comfort, while the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit called on me continually to return from my evil way, to seek earnestly to become a child of grace, and to obtain assurance of my salvation, through the blood and wounds of /382/ Jesus. But I had a dread of bearing the reproach of Christ; which may be experienced, even in a congregation, from persons such as those who had been my associates. Eventually, I related all these things to the labourer of the Single Brethren. He advised me to give up all that was in the way, and to dedicate myself to my Saviour, -- body, soul and spirit. I earnestly strove to follow this advice, and conferred no more with my natural reason, or with flesh and blood. I threw myself at the feet of the gracious Shepherd, who had so unweariedly followed me; solemnly surrendered myself to Him, and implored Him, for His blood and death's sake, to receive me, to forgive all my transgressions, and to number me among His sheep. I was not suffered to wait long. Again did my compassionate Saviour reveal Himself to my soul, in His suffering form, and give me the assurance of forgiveness. From that time forward, my gracious Saviour led me onward in the way of grace, step by step, till I knew Him as the Bridegroom of my soul. Since then, amid many vicissitudes and a deep conviction of my misery and sinfulness, I have never lost my confidence in Him, and He has remained my guiding star.
"In the year 1793, I witnessed the conflagration, by which the largest and best part of the settlement of Gnadenfrey was utterly destroyed. Shortly afterwards, I received a call to Gnadenfeld, where I arrived shortly before the end of the year. At this place, I was appointed to perform several duties, among which was the superintendence of the youths who resided in the Brethren's house. I did my best to perform my duties faithfully, but often failed in the needful ability, and made great mistakes. I have since become convinced, that the duty of a superintendent of youth is as important in its nature, as that of a Missionary among the heathen; since, by good example, by affectionate exhortation, and especially by a simple testimony concerning the love of God to poor sinners, one may be an instrument of much good use to these young souls, and prepare them to be useful servants of our dear Saviour.
"In the year 1795, a strong impulse, to offer myself for the Mission-service, arose in my mind. I however endeavoured to repress this feeling, from a conviction of my incapacity. Still this idea followed me, so that I had no rest, day or night, and my health began to suffer. At length, I was advised to write to the Unity's Elders' Conference, stating these circumstances. I did so, and then my mind was at rest. But, not long afterwards, I had to undergo some very severe spiritual discipline; the Holy Ghost discovered to me my deep depravity; I found that in me were the germs of all the evils of which we read in Matthew xv. 19, and I feared that I should at last be overcome thereby. My pride was deeply wounded. I wept and prayed; but it seemed as if the Lord would not hear me. Unbelief and doubts, as to the reality of the experience I had enjoyed, that our Saviour had done enough for me, had forgiven my sins, and had taken me to be His child, -- seemed on the point of overpowering me. To add to my perplexities, I became somewhat careless of my business; and, to my great distress, soon found myself in debt. So desperate did I become, that I actually thought of selling all I possessed, in order to pay my debts; and then, of leaving the congregation. However, my gracious Shepherd, who had chosen me to be /383/ His sheep, bestowed on me, during this period of trial, the bread and water of life so abundantly, that my strength did not utterly fail; and shed such powerful beams of light upon my path, that I did not go astray. But I learned that it was only when depending daily and hourly on Him, that I could escape the snares of the devil. I was truly humbled, and had learned to feel kindly towards other poor sin-sick wanderers.
"Not long afterwards, I received a call to serve in the Mission among the Esquimaux, on the coast of Labrador. Remembering, how faithfully our gracious Saviour had led me thus far, and entirely confiding in Him, for His aid for the future, I accepted the appointment, -- though I wondered that He should call such a poor, incapable being into His service.
"On the fifth of April, 1797, I received instructions in reference to my appointment, and was accepted acoluth, together with the Brethren Schmit and Reiman. The former of these went, nine years afterwards, to South Africa, and is well-known, as having had a combat with a tiger, or leopard; the other Brother was lost, while out shooting, in Labrador, and was never afterwards heard of.
"After a safe and pleasant journey by land and sea, we reached Okak, on the 27th of July, 1797. Thence, I proceeded to Nain, which was my appointed residence. I was very desirous to become at once acquainted with the Esquimaux language. But, at that time, we possessed only a very imperfect dictionary, a not very intelligible elementary grammar, and a hymn-book, comprising 150 hymns, many of which consisted of only one verse. In addition to the difficulties arising from these very imperfect means of acquiring a correct knowledge of the language, my hardness of hearing was a great hindrance to me. The result was, -- especially as there is much to do in the Labrador Mission, for which a knowledge of the language is not indispensable, -- that I, for a long time, made but little progress. Being, however, accustomed to labour, from my childhood, I was able to make myself useful in a variety of ways, and found the readiness which I had acquired in working in wood very beneficial.
"In 1810, I was called upon to take a share in the holding of meetings for the Esquimaux. At first, I declined doing so; and experienced a conflict, similar to that which occurred, when I first felt an impulse to offer myself for the Mission-service. However, I carried this trouble, with a heavy heart and much earnestness, to our Saviour, and was then directed to the words of Scripture: -- `Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.' (Zech. iv. 6.) I now resolved to venture, though it was with much timidity and trepidation. It was on the second Sunday in Advent, that I delivered my first sermon in Esquimaux, on the text, `If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.' (1 John, i. 8.) I speedily forgot all that I had intended to say, and could only speak what occurred to me -- or rather, what was given to me at the time. But the word of the Lord was fulfilled to me. The powerful influence of the Spirit of God was perceptible, so that the service was blessed to myself, and, I believe, to all that were present. Subsequently, whenever I had a similar duty to perform, and felt myself dry, empty, and incapable, I always went with my /384/ distress to our Saviour, and begged Him, for His name's sake, to bestow on me all that was needed for the benefit of the Esquimaux, and he graciously heard and answered my prayers.
"In 1811, I performed an exploratory journey, in company with Br. Kohlmeister, into the Northern portion of Labrador. The part of the coast examined by us, is that which extends past Cape Chudleigh, -- a lofty promontory, in N. lat. 61 degrees, and called by the Esquimaux Killinek, -- into the so-called Ungava [NOTE #1: This Esquimaux word signifies `on the other side.' Of this district, and the deep bay which it embraces, our Missionaries may be said to have been the discoverers.] district, as far as the Koksoak, or South River. On the voyage to Cape Chudleigh, we visited the Esquimaux at Kangertluksoak (now Hebron), Saeglek, and other places. We were acquainted with many of these people, and they frequently came to Okak, for purposes of traffic. Everywhere, we were received with great kindness. From Cape Chudleigh, we proceeded along the coast, past Kangertlualuksoak, or George River, to the South River. The latter we found to be an estuary, in some places two miles wide, and from ten to fifteen fathoms deep. The water was good and sweet. As far as we sailed up it, which was about twenty-four miles, we found it to be under the influence of the tides. The land, on both banks, was covered with trees, mostly pine and larch, twenty or thirty feet high. In these woods, Indians from the interior were frequently to be met with, in summer, who subsisted on the reindeer, bears, and other game, of which there was no lack. We fell in with no Indians, but saw some of their huts. We met, however, with several families of Esquimaux, who had come from the neighbouring islands, to procure wood for their kayaks, sledges, &c. Several of these people had never seen Europeans before. But they were all rejoiced to see us, and manifested much friendliness, and a disposition to serve us in any way they could. They were attentive, when we preached the gospel to them; and we hope the precious seed may have produced good fruit, in due time. From their statements it appeared that this region was but very thinly peopled. There are a few settlements, from 90 to 180 miles apart; and even these do not comprise a population of more than from 50 to 100 persons each. [Note #2: The population of this district has since been subject to many vicissitudes. At one time, it was reported to be nearly extinct, but of late years, a considerable increase appears to have taken place. See Periodical Accounts, volume xxii. pp. 316,325. -- Eds.] "During this journey, which lasted about fourteen weeks, we were exposed to many perils. We were three times in danger of being surrounded by drift-ice; once, our boat struck on a sunken rock, and was only saved from destruction by the extraordinary strength of the keel, which received the blow; and off Cape Chudleigh, we passed a /434/ whirlpool, which, at certain times, is so violent, that large masses of drift-ice are sucked down by it, and reappear, broken into small fragments. Beyond Cape Chudleigh, in Ungava Bay, the coast is flat and shelving, and the spring-tides rise thirty-six feet. This causes strong currents, and renders any approach to the land difficult, and in some cases impracticable for vessels, larger than the light boats of the Esquimaux. Once, in this dangerous locality, we encountered a violent storm, which lasted nearly a day and a night. In this perilous situation, our gracious Saviour preserved my courage and believing hope. We implored Him to deal with us, according to His wisdom and grace; and He heard our prayer. After a while, the storm abated, and we were enabled, with the assistance of our Esquimaux companions, to reach the land, where they united with us, in thanking and praising the Lord for His goodness. This providential escape was the means of trying our faith. Some of the Esquimaux wished to return. Yet this we could not agree to, without serious consideration. We had not attained the object of our journey, and were still about 90 miles from our destination, while the dangers of the voyage evidently increased. Under these circumstances, we retired and laid the matter with fervent supplication before our Saviour, imploring Him to counsel us, and to enable us to ascertain and execute His will. Nor did our gracious Lord leave us alone in our perplexity, but filled our hearts with His peace, and gave us the conviction, that we ought to pursue our voyage. Upon this, all hesitation vanished, and gave place to hope and confidence. When we told the Esquimaux, they were of the same mind with ourselves.
"On the 26th of August, we reached the Koksoak, or South River, which was our final destination. Here we found a pleasant locality, well suited for a Mission-settlement. In the sequel, however, insurmountable obstacles prevented the establishment of a station there. On the 29th of August, was my last Single Brethren's Festival. On this day, I was busily engaged in collecting firewood for our use on the voyage home. While thus employed, my thoughts reverted to the same day, three years previously, which I had spent in a cave in the rocks, while on a journey from Nain to Okak. However, I can say, that, on neither of these days, did I lack a festal blessing, for I enjoyed the nearness of my gracious Lord, experienced His blessing, and renewed my covenant, to abide His property, till it should please Him -- all trials and vicissitudes being safely passed -- to transplant me into His eternal kingdom.
"On the 2nd of September, we set sail for Okak, and reached that place in safety, on the 4th of October.
"On my arrival, I found the commission awaiting me, to accompany two children of Missionaries, who were proceeding to Europe for education. We accordingly set sail on the 19th of October, and reached London in safety, on the 5th of December. On account of the war between England and France, we could not proceed to Germany, but were directed to remain at Fulneck, in Yorkshire. I also visited several other congregations, and everywhere met with much kindness.
"On the 18th of May, 1812, I was united in holy matrimony to Sr. Mary Waters. I accepted this Sister, as destined for me by our /435/ gracious Saviour, who had often led me by a way which I knew not, but always a right way. So it was in this case, as I found in my dear wife an affectionate partner, most suitable for me in all respects. On the 15th of July, the same year, we arrived safely in Labrador, where we served together for nineteen years. My dear wife enjoyed excellent health, soon felt at home in her new position, and speedily acquired a knowledge of both the German and Esquimaux languages.
"In 1815, I was called from Nain to Hopedale. We set sail on the 4th of October, 1816, in hope of soon reaching our destination. But storms, contrary winds, and masses of drift-ice frustrated the captain's endeavours, and, at length, he was obliged to shape his course for England. In the course of this voyage, we experienced a storm, which lasted three days, during which nothing could be cooked on board. For fourteen hours, we were in a momentary expectation of going to the bottom. The bulwarks were washed away, and the vessel trembled like an aspen-leaf, beneath the shocks of the waves. My wife, who was generally sea-sick, experienced nothing of that complaint, during this trying period, and remained of good courage, and confident in the Lord. On the 28th of October, we arrived safely in London, where our dear Brethren and Sisters received us with much kindness. We spent the winter at Fairfield.
"Towards the end of May, 1817, we again set sail from London. We made the Labrador coast on the 8th of July. But so completely was the coast blockaded by vast masses of ice, that we could not get near the land. In the night of the 21st, we encountered a violent storm, during which, we were in constant danger of being crushed between the fields of ice. Our ship sprung a leak, which, however, was temporarily so far stopped, that she could be kept afloat by pumping. For three weeks, did we remain entangled in the ice, during which time, we experienced many alternations of rough weather, fog, and pleasant, warm days; but were always more or less in danger from the ice. [NOTE #3: The interesting and striking details of this perilous voyage may be found in Periodical Accounts, vol. vi. p. 397; and vol. xxi. p. 121. -- Eds.]
"At length, on the 9th of August, we reached Hopedale in safety. Our feelings, when we were again permitted to set our feet on the soil of Labrador, after passing through such imminent dangers, I cannot describe. They bore, perhaps, some resemblance to those of a poor sinner, when first he finds grace, peace, and the pardon of his sins, in the presence of Jesus.
"Our service at Hopedale lasted three years, and was marked by a variety of experiences. During our residence at that station, circumstances required that I should take a full share in the duty of preaching. But as I had many other duties to attend to, I found myself no longer able to devote so much attention to the composition of my discourses, as I had hitherto been accustomed to do. My preparation consisted only in fixing on the hymns I wished to have sung, selecting such passages of Scripture as were elucidatory of the subject on which I was about to speak, and, above all, in earnest prayer to my gracious Lord, that He would put into my mouth the words I /436/ ought to speak to my dear Esquimaux. And never was my confidence put to shame. The Lord heard my prayer, and blessed me, especially at times, when I felt my own weakness and insufficiency, in a peculiar manner.
"About a year after our arrival at Hopedale, a fanatical spirit manifested itself among the Esquimaux. It took its rise among those who were newly awakened, and who were concerned for the salvation of their souls. These were joined by others, who were reluctant to be convinced they were really poor sinners, and who desired to be at once freed from all temptations. They began to meet in their own houses, and were accustomed to state to each other, the transgressions they had committed, -- somewhat in the way that this is required to be done at the Romish confessional. This was, without doubt, done in the belief, that, after this candid avowal of their sins, they would be freed from their power, and would perhaps also find peace of conscience. The result of all this excitement was, that those who were the subject of it began to have strange dreams. These they also communicated one to another. At length, they were led to apply to themselves that quotation from the prophet Joel, which we find in Acts ii. 17, 18, and began to imagine signs and wonders, of a character, which plainly evidenced, that a wicked spirit of fanaticism had crept in among them, in the guise of an angel of light. It was now high time to endeavour, by the exercise of kindness and firmness, to reclaim the wanderers from their dangerous path. By the gracious help of our Lord and Saviour, we were successful in doing this. Those who had gone astray, were led to perceive the deceitfulness of the Evil one, and were brought back in safety to the plain gospel-way. To the present hour, I cannot sufficiently thank the Lord for averting the danger, which, at this period, impended over our congregation, and which we did not perceive, till it was almost too late. For Satan, undoubtedly, intended nothing less than the ruin of the Hopedale congregation. An abundant supply of grace and patience is required for the proper treatment of newly-awakened persons. They feel their lost condition, and, as man will rather help himself, than be helped, -- they wish to become pious, to do good works, and to cease from sin. But as they have no power to resist evil, they sometimes hit upon strange and foolish methods of driving out the devil. And to this they are impelled by pride, which is innate in us, and is the source of all misery. At the time of the general awakening, which commenced in 1805, at Hopedale, and soon extended to Nain and Okak, NOTE #4: For some interesting particulars respecting this remarkable event, communicated fifty years after its occurrence, by the venerable subject of this Memoir, see Periodical Accounts, vol. xxi. p. 361. -- Eds. ] -- it not infrequently happened, that some broke out into loud weeping and howling, in the meetings. Such persons really could not restrain themselves, and there was no pretence or hypocrisy in their conduct. Had the attempt been made to repress such manifestations, the good might easily have been injured, in rooting out the evil. But our Saviour bestowed the needful grace and wisdom on the Missionaries at that time, so that they treated the awakened with patience, gentleness, and love, leading them to the conviction, that the matter of chief importance for us is, with childlike /437/ simplicity and in faith, to cast ourselves, with all our guilt, at the feet of the Saviour, who was crucified for us, and to obtain from Him the assurance in our conscience, that He has forgiven our sins, for the sake of His blood and death. This obtained entrance into the hearts of our dear Esquimaux, and they found grace and peace in the blood and wounds of Jesus.
"After a three years' service at Hopedale, we were called to Okak. Here our faith and confidence in our Saviour were put to the test in an unexpected manner. The enemy of souls often seeks to ruin the servants of Jesus by means of self-love and pride, and their natural consequences, disharmony and mistrust, -- and thus it was at this time. However, the Lord graciously helped us, and the last seven years of our Missionary-service were spent by us in peace. During this period, I was much engaged in work connected with repairs and buildings on the Mission-premises. In 1829, I also assisted in the erection of the temporary buildings at Kangertluksoak, preparatory to the formation of the settlement now called Hebron.
"By this time, we began to experience a decided failure of strength; and this circumstance, together with repeated attacks of illness, induced us to seek permission to retire from service. In 1831, we consequently received a kind invitation to return to Europe, and retire to rest in one of our congregations. On reviewing our service in Labrador, -- which in my own case had lasted thirty-four, and in my wife's, nineteen years, -- we wept tears of contrition and gratitude, at the feet of our gracious Saviour, and implored Him to cover with His blood the many faults and mistakes we had made.
"After taking a very cordial leave of our dear European and Esquimaux Brethren and Sisters, we set sail from Okak on the 16th of August, 1831. As the ship touched at Nain and Hopedale, we had the pleasure of once more seeing those among whom we had served at those places. On the 16th of October, we reached London in safety, and, after a short stay there, proceeded to Ockbrook, where we arrived on the 5th of November.
"On the 20th of March, 1834, my dear wife departed this life - trusting in the merits of Jesus, -- so gently, that I hope my end may be like hers. The pain of parting was indescribably severe, and I wept many tears, at being thus separated from one, who had so faithfully shared my joys and sorrows for twenty-two years. I threw myself, with my sorrowing heart, at the feet of my merciful Saviour, and implored Him not to forsake me, but to be my comforter and companion for the rest of my days. And He graciously heard me, -- for, on the day after my wife's funeral, I experienced the peace of God in an unspeakable degree, comforting my sorrowing spirit, and encouraging the hope, that my Saviour, who had led me so tenderly and graciously thus far, would continue to guide me with His right hand, even unto the end.
"In 1839, I was so ill, that my dissolution was expected. At this time, the sister of my late wife came to nurse me, and, after my recovery, continued to attend upon me faithfully, until her happy departure in 1854.
"The many proofs of kindness and affection which I have received from the dear congregation at Ockbrook, as well as from /438/ esteemed friends elsewhere in England, abase me much. May our Lord and Saviour bless you abundantly, my beloved and faithful friends!
"If, through my stupidity and want of consideration, I have given offence to any one, I herewith beg to be forgiven, as Christ has forgiven us.
"On taking a retrospect of my course through time, I perceive that PRIDE is our greatest and most dangerous enemy, and that this sin defiled, more or less, all the transactions of my life, especially during my Missionary service. Pride and folly are always companions, and, in my case, they have sometimes had the effect, that I have not listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit, and have eaten of the forbidden fruit. Happy he, who has become acquainted with our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Bridegroom of His soul, and who daily finds in his wounds pardon, comfort, and cleansing from all sin!
"I wait for Thy salvation, O Lord!
"Once more, happy am I, and happy is every one who in spirit hath seen our dear Saviour, weeping and sweating bloody sweat on Olivet, and who can believingly appropriate himself His dying cry upon the cross, `It is finished!'
Thus far, our late Brother's own narrative.
The Minister of the congregation at Ockbrook adds the following: --
"The residence of our late beloved Brother amongst us for twenty-six years, will be long and affectionately remembered by all who knew him. He was universally respected for his sincere and simple piety, and his undying interest in the Missionary cause. Few of our Christian friends or members of other congregations visited Ockbrook, without calling upon him, and carrying away agreeable and edifying recollections of this aged pilgrim.
"He was fond of reading, and was a diligent student of the word of God.
"He loved and valued the Brethren's Church, for the grace of God, which he saw in its origin and history; but he especially loved its Missionary work, taking a lively interest in all that related to it, but particularly in everything connected with the Mission in Labrador, with the Brethren employed in which he kept up a correspondence.
"We all know his manner of life amongst us -- his faith, simplicity, and zeal for the cause of Christ, and the humility with which he spoke of himself. His complaint of pride, as a besetting sin, was often repeated in the conversations I had with him, and no doubt with perfect sincerity; but it was not a failing, which even near friends would have readily suspected.
"His disposition was distinguished by almost unvarying cheerfulness. Even when he was compelled by increasing weakness to lay by his tools, and cease from all exercise, his spirits still flowed in the same even course.
"For the last two years, the tokens of failing health steadily /439/ increased, and his attendance at chapel, even on sacramental occasions, was very infrequent. The Holy Communion of November 15th, 1857, was the last time he was present among us. He was fully aware, that the Lord was calling him home, and he longed and prayed for his release, as pain and weakness increased. On Thursday, the 17th of December, the blessing of the Lord and of the Church was imparted to him, at his own request. On the evening of Sunday, the 20th, it required an effort for him to rouse his attention to what was passing around him; yet, when reminded of the Saviour's words, `Behold, I come quickly,' he responded in feeble accents, `Welcome, welcome!' Next morning, at two A.M., he breathed his last, aged eighty-seven years and two months."
The following remarks are from the pen of the senior Secretary to the Missions, who had long known our late Brother, and had stood in close official connection with him: --
"The venerable subject of this memoir was no ordinary man. This will be readily admitted by all who enjoyed opportunities of familiar intercourse with him, whether personally or by correspondence, during his lengthened Missionary service, or his almost equally protracted earthly Sabbath -- the foretaste of his heavenly rest. His faults and deficiencies were obvious to the many; his valuable qualities were FULLY appreciated only by the few. His exterior was plain, though by no means rustic; his manners unpolished, yet far from repulsive; his address blunt but not uncourteous. And though his quietude and even taciturnity in general society -- the effect in part of a deafness contracted in early life -- might be mistaken by some for dulness and want of interest, the attentive observer would discern in his speaking eye, his beaming countenance, and his fine open forehead, the traces of deep feeling and genuine intelligence. The defectiveness of his early education he always regretted, as sincerely as he prized the acquaintance with the things of common life, to which he had been introduced in his years of childhood and of youth. The latter he found to be of essential service to him, in his Missionary calling; while the former, diffident as it made him as a public speaker, and backward in communicating with those in whom he did not feel perfect confidence, can scarcely be said to have detracted from the pleasure which his friends derived from intercourse with him. Faulty as was his orthography, (for being of Wendish or Vandal extraction, he had learnt German, in some measure, as a foreign language,) and devoid as were his letters or journals of the graces of a good and correct style, -- they never failed to repay the trouble of a careful perusal; the vein of good sense, the tone of right feeling, and the evident earnestness and sincerity by which they were characterized, rendering them superior in real merit to many more correct and polished compositions. That he had some talent for description, he proved on various occasions, and never more strikingly than in the narrative of his perilous voyage to the coast of Labrador, in the year 1817, which is to be found in Per. Accts. vol. vi. p. 397, and vol. xxi. p. 121. He was, indeed, a shrewd observer, an original thinker, and a diligent inquirer -- interested alike in the past, the /440/ present, and the future. This he showed by his careful perusal, at the age of 70 years, of the History of England, in the pages of an antiquated volume, which he met with at Ockbrook; by his lively attention to the occurrences continually taking place in the Church and in the world; and by his study of the prophetic Scriptures and the subject of the millennium, to which he was led at a still later period, by the `SIEGS-GESCHICHTE' of the celebrated Jung Stilling.
"From the ingenious and instructive memoir of his life, which he has left behind him, it is evident, that he had a tender conscience, a deep sense of his own depravity and proneness to sin, and an earnest desire to know and do the will of the Lord, as revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. He loved much, because much had been forgiven him, and served his Saviour gladly, from a principle of gratitude as well as of obedience. This was proved by the character of his long and often trying Missionary service, and by his whole demeanour, after he had been reluctantly compelled to retire from it by a severe rheumatic affection, which made him apprehensive of becoming a burden, rather than a help to his Brethren. Nor did any thought disturb the comfort of his retirement so often or so seriously, as the idea that he had quitted his post too soon, and that, having obtained partial relief, it was his duty to return to it. The well-being of his dear Esquimaux, and the prosperity of the Lord's work among them, continued to be the subject of his daily remembrance at the Throne of grace; and to help forward the Mission, or assist the Society, which has the temporal charge of it, afforded him the sincerest pleasure. This was, indeed, one object which he had in view, in the manufacture of a variety of articles, -- (for he was a skilful worker in wood), which proved a healthful recreation to him, during the closing stage of his pilgrimage.
"His talents may be said to have fitted him rather for a subordinate, than for a superior station. To lead or to command, he was not particularly qualified; but to give good counsel, and to impart effectual help, he was as able as he was ready; and his solid information and varied experience were always valuable. Though his firmness was at times not unmixed with the obstinacy, generally ascribed to the Slavonian race, the integrity, frankness, and decision of his character, procured for him universal respect; while his loving spirit, and his cheerful and contented demeanour, rendered him the object of sincere affection.
"The `aged pilgrim,' as he was fond of styling himself, well known to many who may hear or read this imperfect tribute to his memory, has now laid aside his staff and his sandals, and has gained the home and the place of rest, for which he ardently longed, in his Father's house above. Thither may we follow him, relying on the same Saviour, supported by the same grace, and led by the same Spirit, and thus be permitted hereafter to unite with him, and with the whole company of the redeemed, in ascribing `Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.'"