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Abbeokuta; or Sunrise within the Tropics
An Outline of the Origin and Progress of the Yoruba Mission

By Sarah Tucker

New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1854.

Chapter XX. Conclusion

"The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens."--Psal. civ. 22.

We must now bid farewell to Abbeokuta, with a thankful heart for all the blessings that have been vouchsafed to her. The rapid progress of the Gospel among the benighted Egbas has been like the dayspring in their own sunny land, like the "sunrise within the tropics," where, as our readers know, there is none of that lengthened dawn of our northern clime, which is so wearying to those who watch for the morning; but scarcely is the eastern sky tinged with the early beams of roseate light, than the sun himself appears, rejoicing "as a strong man to run a race." [Compared with most other missions, it has been very rapid. Here and there, there has been some more striking instance, such as the work at Sierra Leone, under the ministry of Messrs. Johnson, During, &c. (See Memoir of Rev. W. B. Johnson.)]

In the summer of 1846, when Mr. Townsend and Mr. Crowther first arrived at Abbeokuta, the only persons who could be called Christians there were [268/269] Andrew Wilhelm, and the very few who like himself were "faithful found among the faithless," unstable emigrants from Sierra Leone. Since that time up to the Latest reports of 1852, (i.e. in six years and a half,) the numbers that have been baptised from the native population may be counted by hundreds; there are now three hundred and thirty-three candidates for baptism, three hundred and fifty adults attend the Sunday schools, and two hundred and thirty-three have been admitted to the table of the Lord. [We have not been able to ascertain the exact number.]

We believe too that there is a hidden work going on in the hearts of many, who as yet only venture to believe "secretly, for fear of the Jews," and that there is among the people generally a consciousness of the vanity of idolatry. The only cloud that dims our bright prospects for Abbeokuta is, that none of the chiefs have yet embraced the Gospel. Ail of them are kind and friendly to the missionaries, and a few are evidently sincerely attached to them; most of the principal ones send their children to our Christian schools, and there are those among them who frequently attend public worship. But neither the mild and amiable Sagbua, nor the friendly Sumoi and Sokenu, nor even the generous and intelligent Ogubonna, have as yet submitted themselves to the [269/270] yoke of Christ. It is true that they are placed in difficult circumstances--their position as chiefs necessarily obliges them to the performance of various idolatrous ceremonies, and the omission of these would not only be attended with their own loss of authority, but would probably involve the disorganisation of their own local government, and be the signal for confusion and lawlessness among their own people. We can scarcely believe but that there are hearts and minds among them, upon which some conviction of the truth and vital importance of Christianity must have forced itself, and in this belief we would desire earnestly to implore for them that the Holy Spirit may be sent into their hearts with power, that their eyes may be so enlightened to see the excellency of Christ Jesus, that they may count all things but loss for His sake, may be enabled boldly to confess Him before men, and to leave the consequences with Him who has the hearts of all under His control.

Within the last few months the Yoruba Mission has been strengthened by the return of Mr. Hinderer with Mrs. Hinderer, and by the arrival of the Rev. A. Mann, the Rev. E. C. Paley and Mrs. Paley, with an infant school mistress. Three German missionaries--Messrs. G. T. E. Gerst, J. T. Kefer, and A. Maser--are also gone out as candidates for ordination by the Bishop of Sierra Leone, and we [270/271] believe the arrangements for the whole mission will be as follows: Mr. Gollmer will continue at Lagos with his catechist Mr. White, and is to be joined, if God permits, by one of the newly ordained German missionaries. He has two out-stations--Badagry, where a catechist is to be placed; and Otta, a town between Lagos and Abbeokuta, whither Mr. Morgan, a Sierra Leone catechist, has been sent from Abbeokuta. At Abbeokuta itself, there are Mr. Townsend, Mr. Crowther, and Mr. Paley, as missionaries, the latter of whom will especially direct his attention to education, and, as soon as practicable, form an institution for the training of catechists, school-masters, and, as it, is hoped, eventually for the raising up of native missionaries. Mr. King, Mr. Samuel Crowther, and Mr. Macaulay, are there as catechists, besides the other valuable assistants whose names we have so frequently mentioned. Early in next year, too, we hope that Mr. and Mrs. Smith will have returned to their station at Ikija.

Mr. Moore is still labouring with diligence and acceptance at Osielle; and we rejoice to find that he speaks of several there who are candidates for baptism.

Mr. Hinderer, we trust, has by this time returned to Ibadan, where he is to be assisted by another of the new German missionaries; and Mr. Mann, accompanied by Mr. Charles Phillips, as catechist, is appointed to the new out-station at Ijaye.

[272] We thankfully rejoice at this, yet when we remember that the earnest entreaties of the chiefs of Ife, of Ede, of Ketu, of our old friends the Isaggans, and of many smaller places near the coast, cannot yet be complied with, when we hear of the number of populous towns beyond our present stations which would, there is no doubt, now be accessible,* could our missionaries leave their present posts; and then turn our thoughts to the hundreds of thousands still beyond, among whom our friends desire to penetrate if they could; when we consider these things, we feel how great need there is for a far more plentiful out-pouring of the Spirit upon the churches at home, that fitting men and adequate means may be supplied. [At different distances from Abbeokuta, varying from two days' journey to six, we find the following places specified, besides those we have mentioned above. To the north, and north-east, are Ogbomoso, with 45,000 souls, and Isebin, with 70,000, neither of which have ever been captured; Aggo-oja, the residence of the king of Yoruba; Awaye, twice as large as Badagry; Berekodo, not so large; Erewa, Balo-run-polla, Erin, Iwawoom, and the noted Illorin, whence three days will take you to Rabba and the Niger. On the west, and north-west, there are Igboko, a very large town; Ilewo, Hugo, Aibo, Isala, Itobdo, Efia, and other smaller ones; while to the south-east, the country is still unexplored.]

[How thankful should we be if this little volume were to be made the instrument of stirring up any of its readers to a warmer interest, and more earnest endeavours, in this blessed cause! There are none, be their sphere ever so small, who cannot be in some way fellow-labourers in this work. Like the members of the body, the feeblest can add to the general usefulness. Those who cannot contribute even occasionally, may collect small sums from others, or speak on the subject to those who are unacquainted with it, or distribute papers that supply information; and for their encouragement there are very few, if any, neighbourhoods in which some friend of the Church Missionary Society may not be found to advise and assist them. Above all, there are none who are excluded from that privilege, as well as command--"Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest."]

[273] Still we bless God for what has been done, and we look forward in believing hope, that the Sun of Righteousness, that has risen on Abbeokuta, will speedily extend His bright beams to the tribes and nations all around her. Then will the fierce forms of idolatry, slavery, and cruelty "gather themselves together and lay them down in their dens;" there we trust to abide in chains of darkness till that more glorious day-spring shall arise, when every enemy shall be destroyed "at the brightness of His coming," who is "King of kings, and Lord of lords!"

Amin--Ke oh sheh--So be it!

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