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something but selfishness in all that I did.* I never saw my heart in such a light before, so self-righteous and proud. Mr. Raymond and his wife were continually urging me to exercise faith. It is a simple thing,' said they: and I went to God believing Jesus Christ had purchased it [the fulness of saving grace] for me, as for others. On one occasion in prayer I told the Lord I was willing to be anything and do anything-even to be crucified, or burnt at the stake. It occurred to me that Mr. Raymond had said, that, when he obtained this blessing, he felt willing to lie at the door of the house of God, for the people of God to wipe their feet on, if it were His will :' [adding,] 'Can you do this ? Are you willing to become nothing for Christ ?' At this my heart revolted, and I did not obtain the blessing at that time. On the following night I went to a prayer-meeting, but felt determined not to pray. At length I knelt down, and began to pray, and felt my heart beginning to give way. I felt willing not only to be anything, but to be nothing, for Christ. O, what glory then burst into my soul! I prayed and praised God as I had never done before. The last thing, to which my proud heart could not consent, was, to be nothing. I feel now that my whole being is consecrated to God. I can say,—
"'Didst Thou not die that I might live
No longer to myself, but Thee ?
To Him who gave Himself for me?
Take the dear purchase of Thy blood.' "The dark cloud, which used to hang between my soul and God, is now entirely taken away. God has for Christ's sake banished all pride, selfishness, and uncleanness. He has not only pardoned all my sins, but cleansed me from all unrighteousness. Bless the Lord ! it is something worth possessing. There is now in my soul something which passeth all understanding; a peace that flows like a river,--peace in believing. I have got a taste, but I want a feast. O, what a blessed state is this! I cannot praise God enough. Glory to God for such a salvation !—Perhaps some may doubt whether the African can know what it is to be [wholly] sanctified. I am an African, and I know what it is by blessed experience. It is to be renewed in the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness. Now I know what it is to be a perfect Christian. Glory to God, that I know what it is to love God with all my heart, and mind, and soul. When I was sanctified, I became dead to sin and alive to God. I am now growing in grace, and in the knowledge of the truth.
“I rejoice to say, that I am not alone in this great and glorious work of full salvation. Others (and among them my wife) are now
* This phraseology is retained, though imperfect. The sense is obvious; and we are unwilling to dispel by needless verbal alteration the charm of the simple narrative, --EDITORS,
enjoying it. God has blessed the labours of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond; and we will ever bless God for sending them among us.”
At the Conference of 1848 Mr. Decker was received as an AssistantMissionary on probation, and appointed to the York Circuit. Here he laboured for three years in the above capacity. In January, 1852, he removed to the Freetown Circuit, where he still laboured, faithfully and diligently, and endeared himself especially to the young. In 1854 he was appointed to Wellington. In his journal he made the following entries :-“January 14th.--As the District-Meeting is now over, and my family already gone to our new station, I have no mind to stay a day longer. I started in the evening, and was accompanied by several of our young people a little beyond Kissy. It was a beautiful moonlight night. As it was Saturday, and moreover getting late, I urged them to return home; which they did very reluctantly. What a thing parting is ! In taking leave, they sang that hymn,
* Here we suffer grief and pain,
In heaven we part no more,' &c. It was so affecting, that myself and they were all in tears. I gave them a short address, and we parted, commending each other to the hands of our faithful Creator. The separation from my dear young converts was indeed very painful; but go I must,
“ 15th.— First Sabbath at Wellington.—It is fifteen years since I left this station for York. I was then labouring here in the capacity of a School-teacher and Local Preacher ; but it pleased the Lord to bring me back in a different capacity,—that of a Native Minister. At half-past ten A.m. service commenced, and the chapel was densely crowded. In gazing round, I missed a great many of my old friends, but saw many strange faces. Several, with whom I was acquainted, are no more: they have gone to their long home, where there shall be no death, and where parting is unknown. By the request of an aged Leader, who was as a father to me, I preached from Luke ii, 29, I felt great liberty, but still feel my insufficiency and incapability. It was indeed a day of rejoicing. I preached in the erening from Philippians iïi. 8. The Lord was with us. The people were so attentive, that I could have spoken to them all night.
“ 29th.-Sabbath morning.-- At half-past ten the chapel was densely crowded. I preached to a neat and well-clad congregation ; and the presence of the Lord was in our midst. Many recognised me, and after service flocked round me, saying, “We glad to see you
May the Lord keep you! Since you left us, many died; but our good Father keep some of us to see you again.''
At the District-Meeting of 1855 he requested to be stationed in the same Circuit another year, in order to carry out the plans projected, and to complete what he had commenced, especially in the building and repairing of chapels. This request was granted by the Meeting, and sanctioned by the Conference.
Mr, Decker generally enjoyed good health. This led him to be less careful than he ought to have been. His last sickness commenced in the month of November, 1856, when cold was brought on by excessive labour and exposure. He gradually grew worse and worse, till he was moved to King Tom's Point for a month. He returned to Wellington late in December, not much improved. About three weeks after, he wrote to say he was getting better, but soon after suffered a relapse, and continued to decline till Sunday, the 22d of February; when it was evident, both to himself and his friends, that his end was near. To an inquiry he made answer, that bis confidence was in the Lord. “ Have you a clear manifestation of the Divine love ?” asked his friend. “ Yes !” he said : “ it would be impossible for me to have preached the Gospel so long, and not to be assured of this. Yes! I feel
* Labour is rest, and pain is sweet,
If Thou, my God, art here.'
I feel that God is love, and He has loved me. I feel that, if I were at this moment called to die, I should die in the Lord. He is my Rock and Shield.
• My Jesus to know, and feel His blood flow,
About six hours before his death he asked Mr. Paul Creighton, his brother-in-law, to read a chapter to him; and John xiv. was selected. After this Mr. James Hero and others prayed, when he with a loud voice responded, “ Amen! Amen!” On Monday evening he expired, being in the thirty-eighth year of his age.
His remains were brought down to Bathurst-street chapel, Freetown, when an address was delivered by the General Superintendent. They were thence removed to the new burial-ground, followed by a vast concourse of people from Freetown, Hastings, and Wellington. The funeral service was read iu the chapel by the General Superintendent, and the remainder in the grave-yard by the Rev. F. Pocock, the Colonial Chaplain, who kindly officiated without any previous arrangement.
The character of Mr. Decker, as a man and a Christian, was well known to the public. His conversation and whole life were sufficient proofs that he loved God. He was a practical Preacher. In almost every town and village he published to his fellow-men the unsearchable riches of Christ. He laboured “in season, out of season.” Simple in manners,—of a liberal heart and a liberal hand, (too much so for his means,)-spending, in fact, all he had,—he lived for God alone, and the good of His cause. In the prime of life, and in the midst of his usefulness, he was called away to his everlasting rest.
The Editors of the “ Wesleyan Missionary Notices” thus offer their tribute to his memory :-" The Rev. George H. Decker, Native Minister, (whose interesting letters in our former Numbers will be remembered)
we regret to announce, is now numbered with the dead. In his removal the Society has lost a faithful and laborious fellow-labourer, and Africa an affectionate son, who devoted his life and energies to her best interests. He is taken away to rest, at the will of Him who gave him, and who, in answer to our prayers, can raise up many more of his countrymen to follow his bright example."
MEMOIR OF MR. ROBERT VOAKES,
OF HOLME, NEAR HOWDEN.
The subject of the following brief memoir was born at Melbourne, an agricultural village in the East Riding of Yorkshire, on the 7th of July, 1763. Melbourne has now two very neat and commodious
pels, where respectable congregations regularly assemble ; but at that time it had no place of worship, and no religious service of any kind; the nearest being at a small village about two miles distant, where the parents of Mr. Voakes were accustomed to attend the ordinances of the Church of England. Robert was taken to this sanctuary till he was nearly fourteen years of age. No very serious impression seems to have been made upon his mind; nor were his thoughts directed to the great subject of personal salvation, until an elder brother, who had heard some of the Methodists, came home and spoke to his parents, in Robert's hearing, on the necessity of the new birth. The youth listened, and inwardly asked, “How can these things be?” He had received no Sunday-school instruction, had never attended a prayer-meeting, and had been favoured with no one to instruct him in the great truths of a living Christianity : for, though his parents had “a form of godliness,” they were strangers to “the power thereof." Hence, to him, this “new birth" was a great mystery.
Shortly afterwards be left home, and hired himself as a farmer's servant in a village where he had an opportunity (which he eagerly embraced) of hearing the Gospel preached in its simplicity and fulness. “The blessed Spirit,” he says, “ accompanied the word to my heart.
I saw myself a poor, miserable, sinful creature : I mourned, and wept, and tried to pray. The Lord enlightened my dark mind, and gave me the meltings of a broken heart." He appears to have continued in this state of mind for some time ; and, through the influence of his mistress, (who became concerned for the salvation of her own soul) he was allowed regularly to attend the Methodist ministry. He procured Alleine's “Alarm," “ The Great Assize," John Nelson's “Journal," the “Pilgrim's Progress," and several other books of a similar character; while, avoiding sinful companions, he availed himself of every occasion of reading alone, and frequenting the means of grace. But he found a law in his members warring against the law of his mind, and bringing him into
captivity to the law of sin. Hence he was led to exclaim, “O wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?”
Here, then, was the work of grace commenced. Happy, bad it been at that time matured! But, the following year, he removed at his father's wish to Hailthorpe, where he found neither church, nor chapel, nor meeting for prayer; and, worse still, had to reside in a wicked family. How many blooming hopes have been blasted in this very way! “I leave my case," he writes, “as a warning to all parents who love their children's souls. Here I was beset on every side ; no one to help me, no means of grace. I neglected to pray, and to read ; joined sinful companions; and became a poor miserable creature, having nothing left but a guilty conscience, an angry God, and a yawning hell. Sometimes I wished there were no God to punish sinners; at others, that I had no soul, or that I had never been born.” In this state he remained for nearly seven melancholy years ; during which time he married, and went to reside at SeatonRoss, in the Pocklington Circuit. There, however, he seems to have been powerfully re-visited by the Spirit of God; and, through the kind invitation of a Class-Leader, he was led again to attend chapel, and to listen to the truth. The oracles of God became anew the subject of his study. “One day," he records, “I opened my Bible to Deuteronomy xxviii., and read the blessings pronounced upon the obedient, and the curses denounced on the disobedient. The word came home to my conscience. I saw I had no share in the blessings, but the curses were my portion ; and I felt it was in vain to expect prosperity for body or soul, so long as I was under the curse.” From This time he became decided, and began in good earnest to cry to God for mercy and converting grace. The following is his emphatic language :-"I thought of the years I had spent in sin, and felt that, if I could only recall them, I would willingly give everything I had in the world : I hated sin, and hated myself because of my sin. I wept and prayed, read and meditated. I seemed pursued by the curses of the law, and by the threatenings of the Gospel ; the wrath of God seemed like a cloud ready to burst in vengeance upon my guilty head.” This distress did not continue long. “To this man will I look,” says the Holy One, “even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” He who delighteth in mercy saw the affliction of the penitent, heard his cry, and came to his deliverance. Meditating on the “exceeding great and precious promises,” the mourner was enabled through Christ to claim them for his own.
And now his sorrow was exchanged for the voice of gladpess :—“I shall never forget that day, so long as memory holds its seat, I felt that I had come to Jesus the Mediator,' and 'to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.' My heart was filled with love, my eyes overflowed with tears of joy, and my tongue shouted aloud the praises of the Lord.” Most appropriate passages of Scripture were at this time applied to his mind by the Spirit of God; by which means his faith was strength