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DECEASE OF MISSIONARIES. WITHIN a very short period, six of our devoted missionary agents, some in the spring time of their career, and others veterans in the service, have exchanged the toils of earth for the rest and blessedness of heaven. Of these, the deaths of three were recorded in our October number; and it is now our mournful duty to add to the list the names of three others, of whose departure we have since received intelligence.
DEATH OF REV. W. ROSS, OF LEKATLONG, SOUTH AFRICA. The Rev. Wm. Ross, late of LEKATLONG, SOUTH AFRICA, after suffering from a severe and protracted attack of dysentery, expired peacefully in the bosom of his family on the 30th July.
Our esteemed Brother left England at the latter end of 1840, and reached Kuruman, in the Bechuana country, in July of the following year. After labouring at that station until January, 1844, he commenced a mission among the Bamanguaketze, at Touns, on the Kolong River. Thence he removed, in 1846, to Mamusa, and in 1851 to Griqua Town, where he remained until August, 1855, when he removed to Lekatlong to co-operate with Mr. Helmore, and on the lamented death of the latter, in April, 1860, he succeeded to the sole charge of the station. Mr. Ross approved himself a faithful, zealous, and laborious missionary.
LETTER FROM REV. ROBERT MOFFAT.
Kuruman (S. Africa), 20th August, 1863. “MY DEAR BROTHER,—It is probable that you will hear, through the Rev. W. Thompson, before receiving this, that our brother and fellow-labourer, Mr. Ross, of Lekatlong, is no more with us. He expired on the evening of the 30th ult. Having heard that he had been suffering from a severe attack of dysentery, I left this on the 14th, and on the fourth day after was with him. I found him sitting up, and considerably altered in appearance. After expressing the great pleasure he felt on seeing me, he added, ' Are you come to see me die ?' I said, “No! but I am come to endeavour, as far as in my power, to restore you to health.' Mr. Hughes, who had been there for the same purpose, returned home the day before I arrived. Mr. Ross had now been confined almost entirely to his bed since the 1st of June, having been suffering from diarrhea for three weeks previous. Just before Mr. Hughes left there were some favourable symptoms; but these, like others, had proved deceptive, for the morning after Mr. H.'s departure he appeared more than ever convinced that his sickness would be unto death, and calling in his younger children, spoke to them as a dying father would wish to do in the prospect of a long, long separation. After making myself fully acquainted with the case--the progress and extent of the disease, I felt convinced that there was very little room left for hope. It appeared also to me that everything had been done which circumstances permitted. Mrs. Ross, who possesses a valuable share of medical skill, had been, as might be expected, unremitting in her endeavours to arrest the deadly disease. Medicines and means were had recourse to, which I had scarcely known to fail, even in very desperate cases. But his strength gradually declined, and to those who were in constant attendance on him, the only wonder was that he held it out so long, and which can only be attributed to a naturally strong constitution.
“ His end was peace; and he died professing the blessed hope and a full assurance of soon being with Christ. He frequently repeated the text, “I know in whom I bave believed. I am not aware that he ever breathed a wish to get better, always expressing his entire resignation to the Divine will. The shadow of a doubt appears never once to have crossed his thoughts. His experience was quite in keeping with the general cast of his mind, and exhibited unwavering faith in the promises, entire submission to the will of God, and perfect peace. Passages of Scripture, which he frequently quoted, indicated a near view of heaven. Nothing like a murmur escaped his lips, though he did indeed long to depart and to be with Christ, a wish he often expressed. On one occasion, while holding Mrs. Ross's hand in one of his, and my band in the other, he looked on first one and then the other, and begged us most imploringly to help him. When asked what we could do, he repeated, again and again, with great earnestness, 'Help me on my way to be with Jesus ; I wish to be with Him soon ;' but pausing from a state of great excitement at what must have appeared a near prospect, he added, 'I hope I am not impatient.' To one entering the room (once a domestic), he asked, with a smile, 'Are you come to see how a Christian can die P' When he happened to witness strong expressions of feeling in Mrs. R., he would at once address her in consolatory language, assuring her of the happiness he felt in the prospect of death. His mind continued perfectly clear to the last. An attendant proposed to wipe his face and hands with a wet towel. He consented, and when this was done, he said, or rather whispered, 'I am going now. He was right, for in a few minutes more he found himself where he ad so often desired to be. He died at the age of sixty-one, having for twenty-two years laboured hard and perseveringly in the Bechuana Mission.
“Though I had been two weeks at Lekatlong, I felt it my duty, both on account of the mourning family of our departed brother, and arrangements to be made in reference to the Church, &c., to remain a week longer.
“You will doubtless, with us, sympathize deeply with Mrs. R. and family in their painful and unexpected bereavement. She will probably remain two or three months, to arrange her temporal affairs, and will then remove to the south, where she has relations.
“I remain, dear Brother,
(Signed) “ ROBERT MOFFAT. “ REV. DR. TIDMAN."
DEATH OF REV. ROBERT WILSON, B.A., OF HANKOW,
CHINA. In October, 1859, the Rev. ROBERT WILSON, B.A., embarked for the city of SHANGHAE, full of hope and animation in the prospect of a long career in the service of Christ in China ; but within less than four brief years our brother's earthly course has been run, and his co-labourers in the field, and an affectionate wife, survive to lament their irreparable loss. Mr. Wilson, some time after his arrival at Shanghae, proceeded to Hankow, one of the newly opened stations in the north, to labour in conjunction with the Rev. Griffith John. In this most promising sphere, Mr. W. devoted his best energies to the acquirement of the language, and to a variety of important duties all tending to promote the future prosperity of the Mission. The subjoined correspondence will serve to show how eminently qualified was our dear and excellent friend for the work upon which he bad entered, and how deeply his death, which occurred on the 11th August, will be lamented.
LETTER FROM REV. GRIFFITH JOHN.
Hankow, August 14th, 1863. "MY DEAR BROTHER,—The news which this mail will bring you is very distressing. Mr. Wilson is no more. Quickly and unexpectedly has he been removed from among us.
" He was taken ill of dysentery on the 2nd inst. Till the evening of the 8th he kept gradually declining; still no serious issue was apprehended; but on the morning of the 9th a decided change for the worse took place, and it soon became evident that his case was very serious. On the afternoon of the 10th we thought that it would be impossible for him to survive the night. During the evening, however, he rallied slightly, and we began to entertain a faint hope that he might yet be spared ; but on the following morning another unfavourable change set in, and during the whole day he kept sinking, and about midnight breathed his last.
“I feel his loss keenly. Mr. Wilson was no ordinary man. If his life had been spared, he would have made one of the best Chinese scholars, and one of the most efficient missionaries. His greatest ambition was to be in China a fit and a powerful weapon in the hand of his Master. In his attempt to become this,-a somewhat advanced age for commencing a new and a difficult language, a weak constitution, extreme diffidence and modesty of temperament, a shrinking from doing things incorrectly or by halves, and a strong aversion to attempt what he did not feel sure he could accomplish,—these and such as these were formidable barriers on the way of his progress. In view of them, many would have retired from the field, and sought a less arduous and more congenial sphere. But this our brother could not do. He believed that it was God that brought him to China, and that he must obey—that he must go on—that he could not retire without proving himself unfaithful to his God, and unworthy of the trust committed to his charge. Hence he determined to march forward, advancing daily, if not with rapid strides, still with a firm and sure step, till the last barrier would be swept away, and the last obstacle safely surmounted. Had God spared his valuable life, I believe his efforts would have been crowned with success, and his anticipations realized.
“ In the removal of our departed brother, I feel that I have lost a most valuable friend, the Society has lost a noble-hearted Missionary, and this community has lost a godly man. Hankow will never see a more truthful, upright, conscientious, God-fearing, and Christ-loving man. Why such a man should be removed so early from his labours is very mysterious to us. 'Clouds and darkness are round about Him, but righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne. Oh! what a consolation it is to know and believe that it is love that sits on the throne of the universe, and wields the sceptre of universal dominion. It is the Lord ; let Him do what seemeth good in His sight.' Notwithstanding the removal of the good from this evil world, where they are so much needed, still we know that His glorious purposes are ripening fast.
“Our dear brother's death was triumphant. For three days did he contemplate death, and gaze on eternity without dismay. Calmly did he view the great waters rolling at his feet, and tell us, as he was about to march forward, “The waters are not pleasant, but it is all singing beyond.' ‘Brother, is it well ?' I inquired, as he was about to breathe his soul into the hands of his Saviour. “Yes,' replied he,' it is well! All well!' 'Is Jesus with you now? Do you feel His presence ?' Oh, yes !' was the answer ; 'He is the avenger of all His enemies, but the Saviour of all that believe.' He died in perfect peace, his soul resting on the Almighty arm of his loving, living Redeemer. To him Jesus was all in all, and the Cross his only boast. My dear friend's life was that of the righteous, and his death was glorious.
“His smitten and sorrowing widow endures her trial with Christian meekness and resignation. To her he was a most tender and an ever-watchful husband. Her loss is great indeed, and she feels it deeply. I affectionately and earnestly commend her and her dear children to your tender regard and kind consideration.
“I remain, yours very truly, “REV. DR. TIDMAN."
(Signed) “GRIFFITH JOHN.
We have much pleasure in inserting the following communication from the Rev. Josian Cox, an esteemed Missionary Brother in connexion with the Wesleyan Society, addressed to the parents of Mrs. Wilson, and consisting of extracts from his journal :
“ Hankow, August 13th, 1863. “MY DEAR MR. AND Mrs. BRUCE,- As I take up my pen it occurs to me that I can scarcely fulfil my purpose better than by copying an entry made in my private journal.
“ August 9th.- Poor Wilson is dangerously ill of dysentery; but, almost against hope, the prayers offered to God for him lead me to expect his recovery.
“ 13th.--Alas! the hope of the above entry was doomed to disappointment. After remaining for two days on the verge of death, with alternations between a slight hope and the heaviest fear, he died at 12.20 A.m. of yesterday, and was buried last night, in the new cemetery, at 6 P.M. I was with him during the last few hours of his life, and at his death. It was an occasion never to be forgotten. I heard but little of what he said. He spoke in a low and very feeble voice, and it was the privilege of Mrs. W. and of Johu to catch those latest utterances. His mind was clear; he was in perfect peace, and spoke of Christ and the things of Christ with remarkable richness, fulness, and firmness of thought. It was as though one from the heavenly world was speaking to us, or as though on a still unruffled lake one bebeld the tints and beauty of the heaven above. I caught the following sentenees: to s remark about his children, he answered, "The Lord reigneth. I can leave them with Him. If it were not so, it would be very hard indeed to leave them to this cold, cold world. Mr. John came in and said, My brother, give me your parting
blessing.' He answered, “ My blessing is of poor value ; however, May God bless you--in your own soul, in your health, and in your family-in each member of it. And may He bless you in your work; in the native church ; and oh! may yon have many, many souls as the crown of your rejoicing in that day.' Then, offering his hand, he continued: “We part good friends. Oh, may we meet again ; meet to enjoy pure, unsullied friendship for ever.' He now offered me his hand, and said, “The same to you, Cox ; God bless yon, and make you a blessing; and don't darken your mind by groundless suppositions, but walk in pure and fervent love to your life's end.' Afterwards, apparently thinking aloud, he said, 'Jesus is the avenger of all that disbelieve, and He is the Saviour of all them that put their trust in Him.' He also gave parting words to his wife, and afterwards to two young Christian friends who were present, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Soule. Presently, John asked, • Is all well, Wilson ?' 'Yes, all's well-All is well! These were his last words before disease affected his mind. His last kiss to the two dear children was an affecting sight. Mary,' he said, “Mary, dear, be good; hear what mamma says to you, especially what she says about sus. Mary! papa wants Mary by and by to come to papa.' The calm, earnest, heavenly manner in which these words were spoken cannot be conveyed in narration. It was grand and holy to hear a dying man so speak.
“ About half an hour before his death mental disorder was evident; violent delirium came on, which exhausted his remaining strength, and left him quiet and peaceful. Then the wheels of life gradually slackened, paused, and stopped
“I shall never forget that parting scene; and may I never forget Wilson's example. May I be careful to follow his words of counsel to me; and also, by the grace of God, his thorough integrity; his constant devotion to duty; his humbleness of mind, his gentleness, his goodness, faith, patience, and his charity. He lives in my memory as an embodiment of them. I think I have not met another character so pure as Wilson's; and I loved him deeply.
“Many things might be said of his excellent character, but that is not my design, nor to you, my dear Mr. and Mrs. Bruce, is that necessary. Still, when the loss of him fills the heart with grief, one cannot but call them up before the mind. Our Hankow Mission, in losing him, his prayers, his careful judgment, his sure ability, and his fidelity ever to be relied upon, has suffered a great loss! Our Master knows, but only He, how it can be repaired.
“When I came up here, a stranger missionary of another name and society, he did me great kindness. Though occupying but the half of a house of very small dimensions, he placed his study at my disposal, and helped me in every way. I became a member of his family, and soon admired and honoured him for his devoted love of wife and child. Ah ! how great is their loss.
“But I must not run on. Only a word or two more. Mr. John is a noble-hearted colleague, and will do all that a brother's heart can suggest for the bereaved family. Mrs. Wilson is esteemed highly wherever she is known; and though in a land far off from home, she has many friends who deeply sympathize with her in this heavy calamity.
"I doubt not that you will find 'great consolation in the character and the promises of God. I pray that you may be enabled to trust your child-too soon