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FOR FEBRUARY, 1821.
MEMOIR. OF MR. WILLIAM TURTON.
(Concluded from page 10.) On February 17, being Sunday, I was invited to preach : I did so, from Job xxii. 21, and I felt great freedom in endeavouring to persuade the people to be acquainted with God; and they heard with great attention. May the Lord grant that the word may be profitable to them. As soon as service was over, we set sail, and reached the next settlement, (Spanish-Wells) at eight, P. M. I rested on board all night. At six next morning we made sail for Harbour-Island, where, after passing the most dismal shoals I ever saw, we arrived at twelve o'clock. With a recommendation, I waited on the school-master,, who procured me a house, and I began house-keeping. Here are a people, without the knowledge of salvation, or salvation's plans. The Lord grant them light, and make me an instrument of doing them good! At night I was visited by a Mr. Saunders, who lamented over the rising generation, to think what would become of them with such few advantages as they had for life or godliDess.
“ Tuesday 19. This day I felt comfortable both in body and in soul. I thought of many plans to do this people good, but could fix on none. The vast expense of keeping a preacher here, and the little help which can be expected from the inhabitants, make a barrier to the constant labours of a missionary. In the course of the day some black people called on me, desiring me to pray with them in the evening, and I promised them I would. As soon as I began, the house was Blled with people. I spoke a few words, sung and prayed, and then dismissed them. The Lord grant they may find favour in his sight, and be preserved to everlasting life through Jesus Christ. Amen!
“Sunday the 24th, in the morning, I preached from Psalm cxxvi. 3; in the evening from Psalm xxxiv. 9. The people behaved as well as could be expected. The congregations VOL XLIV. FEBRUARY, 1821.
here are large. Children in abundance. My mind had been much exercised in the course of the day, lest I should preach in vain; but, after preaching, I was comforted in hearing that one or two had felt, in some measure, the influence of the word. The Lord grant it may abide with them to the end!
“Monday 25. This day I heard many approve of the doctrine, and wish to have such a preacher to reside among them; but, alas ! they are not as yet sensible of what is to be left undone, and what to be done. The work is the Lord's, and he can make bare his holy arm, and work for his own glory. With respect to myself, I feel heavy on account of the souls of men in general, and my great unworthiness to preach the gospel. I have conversed with a few on things pertaining to the happiness of the soul, and find some apparently willing to become Christians. Oh! that in mercy, my Maker may open a way to them!
“Tuesday, March 5. This day I have had a slight touch of a fever. How uncertain are all things beneath the sun! How necessary to be always ready! Every twig of the rod puts me in mind of death, and the dreadful consequences of dying without God. Thanks to his blessed name, that I have been called to the hope of the gospel.
“Saturday 9. My thoughts have been employed to-day on the approaching sabbath. The Lord is still precious to my soul, and supports me by his grace: he has given me a strong desire after the salvation of this people; but I am in doubt whether I shall be able to accomplish my purpose.
“ Thursday 14. I engaged a passage for town. I find it is the general wish for me to return. My soul looks to the Lord as my only director, and I have a full hope he will assist me to do what is right. Oh! that my visit to this Island may be a lasting good to the inhabitants!
“ Friday 15. At ten o'clock I set sail for New-Providence. At twelve, we arrived at Spanish-Wells, where I met with a people in a like situation with the former, and willing to receive the gospel. At night ) preached from Psalm v. 3. The people were very attentive. Oh! how ought I to pray that these people may have soon the word of life preached to them, for indeed they seem willing to receive it.
Saturday, Sept. 16, I sailed from Spanish-Wells at half past 6 o'clock, and arrived at three P.M. at Nassau, where I once again saw my friends, and, looking back on my little adventures, felt grateful to my God, who had enabled me to speak forth his praises to an unenlightened people. 'I pray that the word which they have heard with their outward ears, may be written on their hearts, and bring forth fruit in their lives, to the glory of God."
The various dishculties which attend the different concerns of life in which we enter, evidently call for energy; but powerful energiés, experience has proved, when not prudently directed, have frequently frustrated their own designs. Prudence, therefore, in accomplishing our purposes, must be considered as a very necessary accompaniment to our zeal: the same holds good in prosecuting the work of God; for, although its ultimate success depends not upon any thing human, yet, as man is used as an instrument, be may, by an indiscreet direction of his efforts, do much harm to the cause of truth. So that it is equally necessary, all who are employed in the great work of the ministry, especially missionaries, should be careful to mix prudence with their zeal. This prudent zeal kept brother T. from hastily determining on which of the out-islands he would fix the mission, with respect to Harbour-Island. Obstacles presented themselves, one of which, as appears from his journal, was the great expence which would be incurred to the Mission-Fund. Such a circumstance, in the infant state of the mission, certainly demanded a careful consideration; but to the honour of the friends of missions, it should be observed, and it will, no doubt, afford them no small consolation to know, that their pious and generous assistance has enabled missionaries, in a great measure, to surmount obstacles of this kind. In 1812, the mission was established on that Island, and has ever since been privileged with the constant la. bours of a missionary. We have now a society there of four hundred members, many of whom walk in the light of God's countenance, and some can witness they are saved from sin.
As this servant of God had caused the important work of extending the mission to devolve on himself, it was necessary for him to arrange the concerns of his circuit properly, that his col. league might enter, with pleasure, into his labours; but his ardent desire to make known the Word of Life to the destitute, would give him no quiet, even while making his necessary arrangements. On it he writes: “A desire to go the Islands followed me, and has been much increased by reading Brainerd's Mission to the Indians. I am delighted with his piety, and zeal for the salvation of souls; his mission was attended with great labour, and much difficulty: but notwithstanding, his indefatigable zeal surmounted every obstacle. His example speaks loudly to missionaries, and shows what diligence ought to be used to win souls. God make me so faithful as to imitate that holy man. I feel comfortable in my own soul, and know that God is with me.” Whilst consulting which place he should next visit, a poor woman from Rock-Sound, in deep distress of soul, being in town, having applied to one whom she thought could instruct ber; but finding the direction given, not suitable to her state, called on him to solicit his advice and prayers. The place of her residence had never been privileged with a visit from a minister, and in consequence, the moral conduct of the inhabitants was exceedingly bad. For vulgar vices,
such as fighting and drunkenness, they were pr overblal. He therefore, considered this as a particular call from God to visit the place; or, at least, it appeared to him as a providential opening, which, if embraced, would be a means of the gospel's having a successful entry among them. The correctness of this conclusion will be seen, by the manner in which he was received, and the success which attended his labours.
“ Monday, May 7. I once again took ship for the Islands. I arrived at Tarpum-Bay, Eleutbera, Thursday, about three o'clock in the morning, and landed at six, to the great satisfaction of the inhabitants. I preached in the evening; most of them were present. They heard with attention, and, I hope, with profit.
“ Friday 11. I set sail for Rock-Sound, and arrived about seven o'clock in the evening. The bay was covered with people, who received me with joy. My heart was filled with gratitude to God for his goodness in giving them a disposition to receive the gospel, and for making me the messenger. I was desired to preach that night; but being much fatigued, I gave them an exhortation, and dismissed them.
“Sunday 13. I preached to a large congregation; the word was attended with the power of God; many felt its force, and the Lord was present to bless. Oh! that the word of God may prove • the savour of life unto life,' to this people !
“ Sunday, Dec. 22, understanding the people in this place made the Nativity of our Lord a time of rioting and drunkenness, I took occasion to shew the manner in which they ought to keep Christmas, what joy the season called for, and was graciously assisted while addressing them.
“ Wednesday 25, bcing Christmas-day, I held service at four o'clock in the morning, again at ten, and in the evening. It gave me great pleasure to see the people quite altered from their old practices; instead of dancing, &c. all, or most of them, at. tended Divine service, and the day was spent in a solemn manner. God be praised: he doth all things well. It is his own work.”
These extracts, which comprehend eight months of his l bours, abundantly prove that he was walking in that path which God had marked oul. Satisfied from the manner in which his labours bad been blessed, he determined to give Eleuthera his constant labours, and accordingly made it the subject of his spiritual charge until 1818, that he took a voyage lo the continent of America.
The debility which brother T. had brought upon himself by his excessive labours in New-Providence, was by no means relieved, but increased, by his exertions in Eleuthera, and having experienced a severe domestic trial in the loss of a pious wife, his powers were much impaired. It was, therefore, thought advisable for him to take a voyage to America, which was readily granted him by the Committee. In 1808, he set sail for Philadelphia ;