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Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that
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JANUARY 11. 1819.
INTERVIEW OF MR S. WITH MRS D. P. FROM JAMAICA,
[The following very interesting conversation, which, it is presumed, is but partially known, is extracted from the Sixth Number of "Journal of Itinerating Exertions in some of the more destitute parts of Scotland.”]
BEING informed by Mr G. that Mrs P. has professed the Gospel, and is a member of a Christian church in Jamaica, I anticipated, with pleasure, the prospect of conversing with her on the subject of religion. Therefore, after a few general remarks, in answer to some questions put to her about the manner in which she was led to hear and profess the Gospel, in consequence of expressing my desire, if agreeable to herself, to know particulars, she began:
"My former life was spent in folly and sin. I regarded not de Christians, nor would I hear de Gospel by any mean. My moder had heard of dem, but sneered at dem. Tough I did not regard dem a bit, I used to reprove my moder for her conduct, and to tell her, dat if she did not like to be a Christian, she should let dem alone, and not laugh at dem." How were you at first led to hear the Gospel preached, and to feel concerned for your salvation ?-After narrating the agitation of her mind, occasioned by two dreams which she had had, and of which I did not at that moment think it prudent to take any notice she proceeded: "Soon after dis, my owner's eldest son, whom I nursed, den aged eighteen year, came home from America, and said to his moder, Moder, do you send your servants to de Christian preaching ? No, I do not.'-' Moder, you do wrong; you should send dem all; but my nurse must go by all means." Den he said to me, < Diana, are you
going to hear de Christian preaching ? No, I never was in der church? You must go, and be a goot Christian. I will go first, and if I like de minister, you shall go.' When he came from preaching, he said, Diana, you must by all mean go and hear sermon der.' Den I went, and continued going till now. Have you been alarmed by these dreams? "Yes, Sir." Was it a fear that you should perish? "Yes, Sir, for my sin." Did that fear continue long; or did it wear off by degrees, as soon as you went to hear sermons? "No, Sir, my fear continue more dan six mont after I had been hearing sermon." What was it that removed it? "God removed it." By what means? By de words of de Book." Do you recollect the particular words? "Yes, Sir- While de lamp hold out to burn-de vilest sinner may return: For Christ died to take away de sin of de whole world." Was it that which gave you ease, and removed your fear? "Yes, Sir." We place no confidence in dreams, and we give them no credit. "Nor we, Sir, in foolish dream." Have you any sin now that occasions fear in your mind? "I find my mind get warm when de children do any ting wrong: when I am in company dat spend time in doing or saying what dey should not, and tings like dat, I have.-Der are, you know, two spirit in every man, a goot and a bat. When de bat spirit work in me, I do sin; but some time de goot spirit prevail." No doubt-we find the corruption of our hearts operating to the endangering of our souls. "Dat is de ting I am saying." Desirous of knowing, as far as I could, the extent of her experimental knowledge of Divine things, I asked Diana, To what expedient have you recourse to get rid of sin, and banish the fear it occasions? Pointing with the fore finger to the floor, she said, "I fall on my knee, and pray to God to take it away by his Spirit." Is it on prayer you found your hope of obtaining the remission of your sins and eternal life?" No, Sir, but we must persevere trough grace to de end, or we perish." All our hope is placed on the atonement of Christ alone. "And all ours too, Sir, is fixed on his death; but when we sin, we must pray to God to take away our sin by his Holy Spirit, and trough his grace we must persevere to de end if we sin, and forsake de Lord, we shall perish. Were you long attending the ministry of the Gospel before you became a member of the church? "Tree years, Sir." How do you receive members? "We take time wit dem, to see if dey are goot Christian: wit us, dey are examined by de class leader, * and den by de elder; and if dey do not know, as de book, dey are sent away till dey do know-and dey must
*An office peculiar to one denomination of Christians, though they are not connected as a church with that body.
pray to God to teach dem, by his Spirit. When dey find de knowledge dey wanted, dey come to de class leader and elder, and are baptized." From what I had heard, I hoped their hearts were so far influenced by the sanctifying power of divine -truth, as to make then circumspect and holy in life; but to be particularly informed, I said to Diana, You were speaking of merriment and dances, and such amusements, among some people with you at Christmas: do you Christians not enjoy these too? "De foolish people do 'njoy dese musement, and we have our musement: we had it last Christmas; attending by four in de morning, de baptism of one hundred and fifty people. Dat (smiling) was our musement." Are all your people that have professed the Gospel good people? "Some of dem drink and de like; but, after 'buking dem, if dey don't leave off, we exclude dem, and consider dem as heaten men." How do you treat them afterwards-do you ever look after them again? "We speak to dem when dey meet us: you know, de Lord command to be kind to your broder; but we have no intercourse wit dem as Christian."
"We made Is not the
You were speaking of a large Meeting-house which you hold for worship. How did you get it erected? "We rected it ourself." How did you get the money?" In de church treasury. But how did you acquire that treasury? it." How? By hard labour-very hard." greater part of your members slaves? Yes, Sir." Is not, then, all the money you earn by your labour your owner's property? "No, Sir; de owner has ten shilling, or two dollar a-week, of every servant; de remainder is de servant's, to maintain himself." Does not the owner supply the servants with food and raiment ? "No, Sir, he maintain himself; de owner give him noting, if he be well.” *
In what manner do you collect for your treasury? member give a fi-penny piece every Monday, and twice as much between den and Saturday." And how many members are there in your church? "I don't know, Sir-very many.' Do you personally know them? "Yes, Sir." You must have had a rich treasury when there were so many of you—and did you, in general, give as much weekly as you say? "Yes, and some give tree or four pound a year beside."
Well, and how did you use that money? "Part in repairing de meeting-part in supporting our ministers; some we lay out in maintaining de poor and sick; some in paying de funeral charges of poor bredren, AND SOME IN PURCHASING DE
*Referring to slaves hired out.
That is, 5d. currency, or the sixteenth part of their dollar.