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liverance was at hand. In her thirty-seventh year, her husband died in hope. His conversation was sanctified to her. “At his death,” she writes, “I felt deprived of every earthly refuge, and at this moment of anguish the Lord looked in mercy on my soul and revealed his glory as the Saviour of sinners. This I trust was the period of my conversion.”
An intimate acquaintance which she now formed with her pastor, the Rev. H. R. Vanlier, was very advantageous to her growth in grace, and she advanced in knowledge. She now earnestly besought the gracious Master to show her “ the continued witness of the prophets froin Genesis to Malachi; and the weight of their united and glorious testimony to the Saviour.” And now a sense of God's comforting presence and love refreshed her under every burden. She felt lively concern for the interest of the church and the world, and was laborious in her efforts to bring sinners to the cross of Christ.
Providence called Mrs Smith to leave Cape Town, and fixed her habitation at Rodezand, a village sixty miles from the Cape. Here she was enabled to execute the dearest wishes of her heart, by attempting the conversion of the heathen. Here she became a zealous helper to the Rev. Mr Vos. In company with him and another friend she made an excursion to the Moravian settlement at Gnadenthal, and like Barnabas, when she saw the grace of God, she was glad.
But a knowledge of her temper and feelings can be best obtained by a perusal of a few extracts from her journals :
January 4th. 1800. This morning at family prayer the sixty-ninth Psalm was much impressed on my heart. At 10 o'clock a female slave came to visit me, and we had delightful conversation, she being a sister in the bonds of the gospel. This being the first Monday in the month, I bowed my knees, united in spirit with multitudes of praying Christians, fervently entreating for the welfare of Zion, especially for the enlargement of Christ's kingdom among the heathen, and for the preservation and furtherance of missionaries in their work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope.
“20th. The interests of the church of Christ, and especially of one individual in it being heavy on my heart this day, I cast myself before the mercy-seat and pleaded with the Lord God of Israel to make bare his holy arm as he was wont in days of old, rernembering for my encouragement that Elijah was a man of like passions with myself, and that at his believing request the heavens were shut up and were opened. Then turning to the scriptures, I read the awful, yet animating description of the discomfiture of the Lord's enemies, contained in the first and second verses of the sixty-eighth Psalm.
February 5th. Very lifeless and afflicted with wandering thoughts. I was at length relieved from this barren frame, and felt enabled to believe that my name is in the book of life; for which lively acting of grace, I returned thanks to the Father of mercies.
13th. Pursued our journey, and rested a few hours at the house of a friend, where I wrote to Brother Vanderkemp with the view of affording him some comfort under all his labors. Then I endeavored in my humble manner to edify those around me, by representing the Lord's exceeding great love to sinners, which I was permitted to do with a sense of it shed abroad in my own heart. Remembering
the words of my Saviour,“ other sheep I have, which are not of this fold,” I had much liberty in speaking to all around me, concerning the good Shepherd of the sheep.
August 17th. Stepping to day into another year of my earthly pilgrimage, I renewed my gratitude, beseeching pardon and peace, through the sacred blood shed on Calvary.
In 1805, Mrs Smith left the Cape, and removed to Bethelsdorp, that she might assist the missionaries. The following is an extract from her journal on the route :
'I was refreshed this evening by many pleasing and useful meditations whilst contemplating the starry heavens. I thought of Abraham-of him who was called the father of the faithful, and the friend of God; to whom the Almighty promised that his seed should be as the stars in multitude, when as yet he had no child. O wondrous strength of faith which against hope could believe in hope, and rest in full security upon the naked promise, though all things in nature were directly opposed! But that which dim sighted reason could not behold, faith clearly discerned; faith saw and was strong, and staggered not. Ages have passed away, during which this promise was Accomplished, and still faith remains; and through the same infallible medium of divine revelation, sees and exults in that bright morning star which assures a more glorious day than that of Abraham, even the universal diffusion of gospel light. Already does it dawn upon multitudes who sit in darkness and the shadow of death; and although clouds of difficulty to the eye of nature yet remain, faith looks through them all; and, leaning upon the arin of the God of Abraham, goes on her way, rejoicing to work by love, and to be instrumental whether by actual missionary efforts, by the mighty efficacy of prayer, or by other appointed means, to chase away those clouds; and thus to hasten the approach of that glorious day of promise when the Sun of righteousness shall arise on all nations with healing in his wings; when the everlasting gospel shall be preached to every kindred and tongue and people; when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever an ever.'
It was to the praise of Mrs Smith, that she espoused the missionary cause when other friends abandoned it. Thus when Dr Vanderkemp was exiled by the Dutch government, and many friends were lukewarm, she felt for the little band at Bethelsdorp, and offered her services, to supply, as far as possible, the place of the banished ministers.
But her compassion and zeal embraced many objects. She opened a Sabbath and day school for the Cape Town slaves, instituted an African Missionary Society auxiliary to that of London, the funds of which amounted to near fifty dollars per annum. She formed a school at Bethelsdorp for the Hottentot females, which was productive of the most happy results ; and in 1810 set on foot the “Cape Ladies' Society for the Relief of the Poor." In 1813 she commenced a Juvenile Missionary Society, and here indeed she proved a mother in Israel.
In 1818 her health failed, but she was permitted to behold the
my arrival in South Africa, in meeting Mrs Smith, I expected to meet a zealous good woman ; but I was scarcely introduced to
her when I found that in estimating her character I had formed my estimate much too low. Mrs Smith had nothing like common place in her mind, or in her conversation. She had an expressive countenance, and a dignity in her manner which instantly inspired awe and respect.'
Toward the close of 1821, this venerable saint might unite with the apostle and say, "The time of my departure is at hand.”
At the advanced age of seventy-two, it pleased her gracious Master to call her home by a gentle death.
During her closing illness, she entered but little into conversation, yet at intervals declared her assurance of hope, her prospect of glory, and "spoke of Jesus as the all-sufficient refuge of her soul.” She resigned her spirit into the hands of her Father and her God, on the sixteenth of November, 1821, leaving her benevolent schools and the numerous objects of her charities, but above all, missions and missionaries, to mourn her loss.
With regard to her frequent engagements in conducting the worship of others, and her impressive public expositions of scriptural truth, her biographer remarks, in The situation of this venerable saint on the almost heathen shore of southern Africa, was far different from that of pious females in christian Britain where the multitude of able ministers, and zealous active laymen, might render similar exertions by the weaker sex superfluous, perhaps presuming.” He adds,
"The flame was unkindled in South Africa when Mrs Smith, like Deborah, arose to be a light in darkness, to break the iron chains of spiritual bondage, and to direct the enslaved to the glorious liberty of the children of God,--to be like her a mother in Israel. For forty years have elapsed, during the greater part of which, as the prophetess of old, she may be said to have judged Israel. But in reading of the triumphs of the Captains of the Lord, or in witnessing the present edification and increase of the African church, let us not, in either instance, forget those times of darkness when the spark of divine grace was fanned by the unusual efforts of public piety, and those days of bondage when public deliverance was vouchsafed at the hands of a woman.'
We deem it to be almost impossible that a Christian should read this delightful volume without profit. He would be constrained to glorify the grace of God in raising up such a bright and shining light; and, while admiring her luminous character, he would feel disposed to lament his own deficiencies in her graces, and want of ardor in that cause with which her life appears to have been identified.
We have been peculiarly struck with the adaptation of her character, talents, and endowments to the sphere of her labors. There is nothing in her writings to excite uncommon admiration, if we except their unfeigned piety: it is her actions which call forth our wonder. She was adapted for a sphere where personal effort was required; and there she brought to bear all the force of her character and influence, with untiring and persistive energy. AUGUST, 1826.
It ought to be known, for encouragement and imitation, that this eminent saint accomplished her mighly works of mercy-not by the expenditure of a large fortune ; for this divine providence saw fit to deny her. Her income was only four hundred Rix dollars; but she exerted her influence, and made that subservient to the glory of God.
Of Mrs Smith we think it may indeed be said, that she walked with God, was distinguished by humility, love to God and to man, great decision of character, much cheerfulness and ardent zeal for the divine glory. Whilst perusing this Memoir, we were frequently reminded of Mrs Graham. She would have found in Mrs Smith a sister spirit. They both passed through the waters of affiction ; both drank deeply of that heavenly spirit which formed the prominent feature in the character of their Lord and Mastercompassion for the miseries and sufferings of the human race. It is matter for pious gratitude, that while America had Isabella Graham, Africa had Matilda Smith; and this fact is an illustration of the beautiful remark of Samuel Pearce : “ Were all the planets of our system embodied and placed in close association, the light would be greater and the object grander ; but their usefulness and systematic beauty consist in their dispersion."
The volume is adorned with an engraving of Mrs Smith.
Dr Phillip has furnished an interesting book, and we admire the plain good sense which characterizes his remarks.
It may not be improper to add, that this gentleman was pastor of a large church and society in Aberdeen, and had been settled for many years; but at the call of the London Missionary Society, he relinquished the pleasures of home, and sacrificed ease and honors to become the superintendent of the missionary stations in Southern Africa.
May his valuable life be spared, and his abundant labors meet with the divine blessing.
An Inaugural Address, delivered in the City of Washington,
March 11, 1829. By STEPHEN CHAPIN, D. D. President of the Columbian College.
The spirit and style of this address are well adapted to make a deep and lasting impression. The subject is The Business of Human Life. And the sentiments are worthy of the President of a College in the midst of a Christian land. They are such as must commend themselves to the approbation of considerate parents, and strengthen the confidence of the friends of this Institution, that it will yet be an extensive blessing. The pecuniary embarrassments, with which it has been struggling, are well known; and they have put 10 a severe test the faith and patience, and, in every respect, the Christian spirit of the Baptist Denomination. But when we look back from the ground which the College now occupies to the point of depression at which it stood a year ago, we shall see that
much has already been done towards its resuscitation. We have abundant reason to acknowledge the hand of God in what has been accomplished. Can these dry bones live?' many a sincere friend has despondingly said. But already they have sinews, flesh, and breath; and we hope that it will in truth soon be added, "They stand upon their feet.'
The Denomination that founded it may justly congratulate themselves on seeing what they can effect, when but partially moved to sustain one of their great interests. Besides the debt of thirty thousand dollars which was given up by Congress, a little over one hundred thousand dollars stood against the College a year ago. By compromising with creditors, selling Bank stock, and appropriating what has been collected of the fifty thousand dollars subscription, this debt has been brought down to thirty-two thousand dollars. Unhappily a large amount of the fifty thousand dollars subscribed, has failed of being realized. It is difficult to make an estimate on which absolute reliance can be placed, of the amount which can be collected, of what is due on this subscription. The current interest of the debts which remain unpaid, and the expense necessarily connected with the settleinent and management of its pecuniary concerns, must be provided for. It is therefore believed that from twenty-five to thirty thousand dollars, besides what is now collected of the fifty thousand, is requisite for the entire liquidation of the debts.
In contemplating the history of the College, we should not overlook what has been done in the great work for which it was founded. We should not dwell exclusively on the fearful picture of its financial calamities, but give some weight to the redeeming fact that under the obvious disadvantages of infancy, a very limited number of instructers, and a feverish existence,' of only five years, before its suspension, much has actually been accomplished in the work of education.
In the regular college classes and the preparatory department, more than two hundred and thirty students have enjoyed the advantages of the Institution. Of these a large number, without finishing a full course, but after acquiring what preliminary education they deemed necessary, have entered on the study of a profession. About thirty took their degrees in regular course ; and many, after its suspension, entered other colleges, and have since completed their course. More than thirty have either entered the ministry, or are now finishing their theological studies.
While it is thus consoling to know that money and labor have not been spent in vain ; still we should do great injustice to the Institution, should we estimate its importance by what it accomplished in the trying circumstances of its early existence. Had it not been oppressed and borne down by embarrassments that ought to have been prevented, it would long since have demonstrated to its friends and to the country, that its establishment was the result of enlightened policy.
It should not be forgotten, but be recorded with gratitude, that the great Head of the church blessed the Institution with a revi