He slept on the sand that night, and was again refused. The next morning, nothing daunted, he made the request again the third time, and was asked by the captain, “What can you do?” and he answered, “Anything.” Thinking he was an able-bodied seaman, and, as two men had deserted and he was short-handed, he asked, “What do you want?” meaning pay. Samuel said, “I want to see Stephen Merritt.” He said to the men in the boat, “Take this boy aboard.”
He reached the ship, but knew nothing of a vessel or of the sea. The anchor was raised and he was off. His ignorance brought much trouble; cuffs, curses and kicks were his in abundance; but his peace was as a river, his confidence unbounded, and his assurance sweet. He went into the cabin to clean up, and the captain was convicted and converted. The fire ran through the ship, and half or more of the crew were saved. The ship became a Bethel, the songs and shouts of praise resounded, and nothing was too good for the uncouth and ungainly Kru’boy.
They landed at the foot of Pike street, East River, and after the farewells were said, Samuel, with a bag of clothing furnished by the crew (for he went aboard with only a jumper and overalls, with no shoes) stepped on the dock, and, stepping up to the first man he met, said, “Where’s ‘Stephen Merritt?” It was three or four miles from my place, in a part of the city where I would be utterly unknown, but the Holy Spirit arranged that. A tramp was the man accosted, and he said, “I know him; he lives away over on Eighth Avenue, on the other side of the town. I’ll take you to him for a dollar.” ”All right,” said Samuel, though he had not one cent.
They reached the store just as I was leaving for prayer meeting, and the tramp said, “There he is.” Samuel stepped up and said, “Stephen Merritt?” “Yes.” “I am Samuel Morris; I’ve just come from Africa to talk with you about the Holy Ghost.” “Have you any letters of introduction?” “No; have no time to wait.” “Well, all right; I am going to Jane Street prayer meeting. Will you go into the mission next door? On my return I will see about your entertainment.” “All right.” “Say, young fellow,” said the tramp, “where is my dollar?” “Oh, Stephen Merritt pays all my bills now,” said Samuel. “Oh, certainly,” said I, as I passed the dollar over.
I went to the prayer meeting, he to the mission. I forgot him until just as I put my key in the door about 10:30, when Samuel Morris flashed upon my remembrance. I hastened over, found him on the platform with seventeen men on their faces around him. He had just pointed them to Jesus, and they were rejoicing in His pardoning favour. I had never seen just such a sight. The Holy Ghost in this figure of ebony, with all its surroundings, was indeed a picture.
Think, an uncultured, uncouth, uncultivated, but endowed, imbued and infilled African, under the power of the Holy Spirit, the first night in America winning souls for Immanuel-nearly a score. No trouble now to take care of him. He was one of God’s anointed ones. This was Friday. Saturday he stayed around. Sunday I said, “Samuel, I would like you to accompany me to Sunday School. I am the superintendent, and may ask you to speak.” He answered, “I never was in Sunday School, but all right.” I smilingly introduced him as one Samuel Morris, who had come from Africa to talk to their superintendent about the Holy Spirit. I know not what he said. The school laughed, and as he commenced my attention was called, when I looked, and lo, the altar was full of our young people, weeping and sobbing. I never could find out what he said, but the presence and manifested power of the Holy Spirit were so sensible that the entire place was filled with His glory.
This is the penultimate article in this series. Next week will be my last post. I hope you have been blessed. Going forward I wish to put more energy into writing books.