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John Horden: Missionary Bishop
A Life on the Shores of Hudson's Bay

By the Rev. A. R. Buckland, M.A.

London: The Sunday School Union, no date.

Chapter XII. Closing Scenes

Translational Work--A Sudden Blow--"He has been Very, Very Good"--Death--Memorials.

IN the autumn of that year Horden was busy upon his translations, when he was struck down with rheumatism. He described the attack thus, in a letter to myself, dated from his "sick chamber," just a week before his death

"My translational work I divided into two portions; in the morning of almost every day I was engaged on the revision of my Cree New Testament, while every afternoon my much valued Indian assistant sat with me in my study, when we carefully examined all my last winter's translations from Joshua to Esther. This is now all but completed, and will, I hope, be entirely so long before this letter leaves Moose.

"I continued on my New Testament work until November 21, when my pen dropped from my hand, and I have not since touched it. I had completed the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark, and eleven chapters of St. Luke. On the preceding day I had felt perfectly well; I had preached at the English service from Malachi iii. 14, 17. I had taken my large class at the Indian school, and had then preached at the Indian service from Jeremiah xxiii. 5, on a greater deliverance than that from Egypt.

"On Monday I arose quite well and strong before it was light, and at a quarter past seven sat down to write, beginning the twelfth chapter of St. Luke. I worked on steadily for a quarter of an hour, when I received what seemed to me a terrible blow on the lower part of my back. I thought it a stroke of rheumatism, and supposed its effects would pass off in the course of a few minutes, but in this I was disappointed: blow succeeded blow, until I could scarcely move.

"I sat up, however, until after prayers and break fast, when I was conducted to my bed-chamber, and put to bed. Almost directly an automatic torture-machine of the finest temper and of the most exquisite sensitiveness established itself near my left hip, and, at my every movement, set to work with horrible intensity and regularity. What I suffered it is impossible to describe, and, even if I could describe it, it would not be under stood by those who have not passed through a similar ordeal.

"Rheumatism and myself had been companions for many years, as was to be expected from the great exposure to which I have been subjected, in my summer and winter journeys through the mighty diocese of Moosonee, with the thermometer varying from 100 degrees in the shade to 50 degrees below zero. I had suffered in back, legs, feet; I had been so bad occasionally that I could not walk down over the stairs, and when assaulted by my unpleasant companion out of doors I have been often obliged to exercise my strongest force of will to prevent myself from being thrown down in the snowy road.

"All these things I did not mind much; I could bear pain; and they did not interfere materially with my work, and as long as that could go on I was content. But it was a different thing now. With increased pain came inability to work, and for a week I lay almost unfit for anything. I seemed for a while to make progress towards recovery, and, three weeks after the attack, was able to walk from my bedroom to my study with a little assistance; then a relapse occurred, and I scarcely have been out of bed since, and when I shall again God alone knows.

"But He has been very, very good; He has kept me in peace; He has kept me in fairly good bodily health, and endued me with as much cheerfulness as I ever had possessed. Our young medical man has been indefatigable in his efforts for my recovery; he has rubbed and kneaded me; he has mustard-plastered and blistered me, until the whole of my left leg bears testimony to the constancy of his attentions. I was to have gone to Winnipeg in the coming summer, and then to have returned finally to England after my long service. At present I see no probability of my being able to take that journey, as, before arriving at the railroad, there is more than a fortnight's hard work up one large river, which is impeded by many rapids and falls, necessitating frequent porteraging, which is utterly beyond my present powers. I suppose I shall be obliged to return home by the annual ship, but I dread this much, as there is no accommodation on board, and especially for one in my condition. I know that every effort will be made, were I obliged to return home this way, to make me as comfortable as circumstances permit for I meet with nothing but the greatest kindness from everyone connected with the Hudson's Bay Company. I need not trouble myself much about this; I can trust all to the hand of God; He will provide that which He deems sufficient for my case."

This letter was never finished. The following postscript was appended by Mrs. Broughton:--

Jan. 24th.--"Since the above was written, my dear father, the Bishop of Moosonee, has passed away; he died quite unexpectedly on the morning of January 12th.

In a subsequent letter, Mr., now Bishop, Newnham described the bishop's end. Early in January he had felt better, but in the second week of the month signs of weakness began to show themselves, and the doctor grew anxious. On the night of January 11th, all save the doctor went to bed, hoping to find the patient better in the morning. The doctor sat up till one A.M., and returned at five. By eight o'clock the bishop was so weak that his daughter and son-in-law were called into the room; but almost before they reached him he had passed away, from failure of the heart's action.

As he lay in his coffin, the people, young and old, ca to take one last look at him that had dwelt in the place for forty years. The final scene of all is thus described by a young Indian, whom the bishop had for some years been teaching:--

"Saturday, Jan. 2lst.--We had the funeral. The coffin was closed in the presence of four clergy. It was a lovely afternoon, almost spring-like, when the beautiful Burial Service was read, and the first Bishop of Moosonee's body was committed to the grave before his bereaved people. The whole adult population went to the church and to the grave. There he was laid amongst his flock, as he had said he wished to be. While still lying in the church, young and old came to take the last farewell of the face they loved so well, and who went in and out of their homes, over forty years, as a missionary, pastor, friend, and bishop."

Horden's grave is beside that of a daughter and a grandson.

So ended a work of forty-two years in a land of many hardships, yet also of many triumphs. Horden's successor found the diocese fully organised--one native clergyman, and twenty-six native lay teachers at work, and nearly 3600 baptized native Christians; the Bible in the hands of the people, and other literature also. And the work, under God, was mainly Horden's.

In the Cathedral of Exeter, the town of Horden's birth, a monument has been raised to the memory of their townsman. Another is found in the wall of the school under whose roof he first resolved to be a missionary. A simple statement of the main facts of his life is there followed by this short text, which aptly describes his career--

"Faithful unto Death."

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