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Full text of "Funeral services in memory of Mrs. M.F. Eells, one of the pioneer missionaries of the A.B.C.F.M., to the Spokane Indians of Oregon, in 1838 : held at Skokomish and Seattle, W.T., August 11 and 13, 1878"

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Mrs. M. F. Eells, 

One of the Pioneer Missionaries of the A. B. 

C. F. M., to the Spokane Indians 

of Oregon, in 1S38. 

at Skokomish and Seattle, W. T., August 11 and 13, 1878. 

Publishing House of Himes the Printer. 


JUttYw. ^OM 


The Christian's Future Assured. 

A discourse preached by Rev. G. H. Atkinson, D. D., in the Congregational 
church in Seattle, W. T., Azigust ij, i8j8, at tlie funeral of Mrs. M. F. 
Eells, * one of the pioneer Missionaries of the A. B. C. F. M. to the Spokane In- 
dians, of Oregon, in 1838. 

2d Corinthians, v., 1. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were 
dissolved we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 

The Apostle Paul was a Christian. He wrote this text for himself and his 
fellow-Christians then alive, and for those of all time. This was also the com- 
mon teaching and the common faith of the disciples of Christ, based upon his 
own words on the night before his crucifixion. " Let not your heart be troub- 
led ; ye bfliieve in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many 
mansions ; if it were not so I would not have told you. I go to prepare a 
place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and 
receive you unto myself, that where I am ye may be also." These promises 
were the legacy which the Master left for all his followers. He might have 
left them the riches of this world, for all were his, but he chose rather to en- 
dow them with the treasures of his Father's eternal Kingdom. As they re- 
ceived and cherished his pledge, they became like him, calm in trial and 
pain, full of zeal to make known his Gospel, (good news) courageous amid 
dangers, joyful in sacrifices and losses, abounding in hope and inspired by his 
love to do good to all mankind, that by all means they might win and save the 
lost. Paul became an eminent example of these qualities. His words and 
deeds were a living power in other hearts. "Ye are our epistle," he said to 
the church at Corinth, "written in our hearts, known and read of all men. For- 
asmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by 
us, written, not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God, not in tables of 
stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart." This figure reveals a fact. The 
words and deeds of a teacher live in the whole after life of his pupil. Your 
mother lives in you. All she was at home photographed itself upon your 
heart. You can efface the material photograph and destroy the phonograph, 
but the memory of her look and the tones of her voice remain the same amid 

* Mrs. Eells died August 9, 1878, at the Skokoinish Indian Agency, in Mason county, W. 
T. Memorial services were held in the Skokomish church on Sabbath, August nth, the 
employees and the Indians all attending, after which the body was taken to Seattle for burial 

all the tossiags on life's voyage and through all its darkness and its bright- 

Sure are these signs that we live in the future as in the present. Strange 
it would be for a thought and a voice to go on age after age like Paul's, like 
your wife's, your mother's or your teacher's, and that the thinker and the 
speaker should cease to exist. Marvelous is it for every particle of matter, 
and every impulse of force to remain forever indestructible, while the intellect, 
the affections and the will, even all the elements of the soul, are supposed to 
vanish into non-existence as soon as their bodily tenement crumbles away ! 
Nobler inspirations are these exultant notes: "For we know that if our 
earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved we have a building of God, a 
house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." 

i. Death dissolves only the form of things. Their substance takes other 
forms. This is not the metempsj'chosis of the Hindoos, or migration of souls 
into other bodies here, but it is the reunion of matter in new bodies, which 
matter is fitted to build up, and it is the clothing of the spirit in a body like 
itself, imperishable and eternal. " So also is the resurrection of the dead. It 
is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it 
is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown 
a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and 
there is a spiritual body." 

This lesson of the Bible is in harmony with the demands and th»* teachings 
of the latest exact science. As a fact the body is dying and dissolving away 
every moment while we are awake or asleep, and it is also living and building 
up itself anew every moment, awake or asleep, from the food we take, and 
the air we breathe, and the light we absorb. It dissolves entirely away if we 
cease to take and use proper nourishment. Its lack of food is sure death. 
The process of living must always exceed that of dying, or our frail bodies will 
soon be dissolved. We are not alarmed at the process of dying, which goes 
on with the process of living, only we are reminded that the latter must be 
kept in full vigor. We tremble- for him who hastens the death process by 
over-work, or by the reckless strain upon his powers, as when you strain a 
cable, or a mast, or an engine, and make them too weak for further use. 
Athletes, runners, rowers, boxers, wrestlers, gymnasts of all classes, shorten 
life by contests that over-task them. We tremble more for literary and busi- 
ness athletes whose fierce mental strains in the arena of scientific study, or the 
trials of the forum, the pulpit 01 the press, or in the sterner conflicts in the 
marts of business, snap the finer fibres of the brain, and leave the victims help- 
less wrecks along the shores of those seas where once their barks sailed grace- 
fully out on many a prosperous voyage. 

We are astonished at those who burn up their bodies and minds, brawn and 
brain, with whisky, or deaden them with narcotics. We are amazed at those 
who infect their bodies with leprous diseases, and visibly drop in pieces inch 
by inch. But we honor those who by useful labor develop and strengthen 

their bodies, and prolong the machinery of life to its utmost limit of use. 
We sympathize with and help those who were never very strong, but who, 
like our beloved sister, carefully used her strength so as to do the most and 
save it for the longest possible service to her family, to the Church of Christ, 
and to the poor Indian wives and mothers and their families. 

The Gospel is in harmony with the abundant provisions of nature to make 
the most of this bodily life, and to have it last as long as possible. Rightly 
understood, it puts no limit upon the proper use of body or soul. It stim- 
ulates the healthful activity of both. Its aim is the well-being, not the ill- 
being of any one. When it speaks of death, it is not to overcast the scene 
with gloom, but L o light it up if possible with the brightness of an assured and 
endless future of happiness. In doing this it keeps the path of Bible truth, 
and of reason, and fails not to sound the alarm at every point of danger. It 
warns as a friend, not as a foe. 

2. In the light of the Gospel, the future of the Christian is a subject of 
exact knowledge. " For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle 
were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens." Our service of Christ in sufferings, "even bearing 
about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might 
be made manifest in our body," gives a consciousness of the power and truth 
of Christ, which becomes the surest knowledge. "We which live are always 
delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made 
manifest in our mortal flesh. " The soul life within bears fruit, brings results, 
as the tree from its root, as the wheat from the seed. If you know the apple 
and the peach, and if you can weigh the tons of the wheat harvest, so you can 
know the hidden life from which they sprang. In like manner if you can 
measure the Christian work of a mother in her family, of the missionary wife 
in transfusing her words and example into the life of an Indian family, so you 
can know the realness and excellence of those spiritual forces which produce 
such works and examples. By thus following the Master we learn his mean- 
ing of the words, "If ye will do his will ye shall know the teaching." The 
scholar knows the book by doing what it commands. Our Lord's abounding 
grace thus becomes an experience of power in his disciples. "For which 
cause they said we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the in- 
ward man is renewed day by day." 

It is a prime fact to trust consciousness. By it you grasp truths which give 
strength, and which bring forth fruit. Two and two do not make four set side 
by side, but by a conscious operation of the mind. The timber in the forest 
never builds a house of itself, and the iron in the mine never in itself constructs 
the engine. These structures are first ideas and plans in the mind. They are 
the real things, the seed, known to the thinker long before they are seen by 
other eyes. Many things are possible, and are true and are known to the 
thoughtful scientist years before they are published. Inventions are known 
facts in the inventor's mind long before they appear in his models. The Re- 

deemer's Kingdom was a reality in his own mind, known to himself long # 
before a disciple believed on him, or the Great Apostle to the Gentiles went 
forth to preach. The missionary work of our beloved sister was wrought out 
in her own mind in her early childhood home in Holden, Massachusetts, where, 
as the child of thirteen, Myra Fairbanks, sixty years ago, publicly professed her 
faith in Christ and devotion to His cause, saying in her heart: " Lord, what 
wilt thou have me to do ? " and then learning day by day from his word, from 
her Christian parents, from her pastor, from the newly awakened religious 
press, the calls and claims of the heathen for the same gospel which had so 
blessed her in that quiet New England home. 

Her mind slowly and quietly took in all these lessons and her heart responded 
and her will bowed to the command: " Go ye into all the world and preach 
the gospel to every creature." Her spirit answered: " The vows of God are 
on me and I will go. I may no longer doubt to give up friends and idol 
hopes and every tie that binds my heart to thee, my country. Henceforth, 
then, it matters not if storm or sunshine be my earthly lot; bitter or sweet my 
cup. I only pray God make me holy and my spirit nerve for the stern hour of 
strife. Oh ! how this heart will glow with gratitude and love! Through ages 
of eternal years I'll ne'er regret that toil and suffering once were mine below." 

When the letter came from him who was to be her life companion, her hus- 
band, her reply was: "You could not possibly ask one more willing to go on 
a mission than I am." It was the ripe fruit of a long buried seed. Our men- 
tal life is unseen but it is real and it is known. Our joy or sorrow, pleasure or 
pain, our sense of right and wrong are realities, better known than even the 
objects seen with the eye, or felt by the hand. We are conscious directly of 
the former and indirectly of the latter. In like manner we are conscious of a 
fellowship of kindred souls, which gives happiness, and creates desires for a 
permanent union. The drawing together of two souls is a known fact. The 
apostle John wrote: "And truly our fellowship is with the Father and His 
Son Jesus Christ." " Whom having not seen ye love, in whom, though now 
ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of 
glory," wrote the apostle Peter. The flower holds up its petals to the sun be- 
cause there is a sun to send down its life rays to the flower. The soul that 
looks upward to God the Father with delight and love, and meets the loving 
eye of that Father is drawn towards him, and he is drawn towards that soul. 
He that loveth me, said Jesus, loveth my Father also, and we will come unto 
him and make our abode with him. This affinity of the souls with the Father 
and the Son is real. The apostles knew what it meant. Our departed sister 
had a growing knowledge of its reality for sixty years, and never was it more 
clear and precious than during her last years and last days and hours. 

The argument rests here. It is sure ground. You will go where your treas- 
ure is. You will dwell forever where you are fitted to dwell. The body is 
only a tent that keeps the soul away from its final home. This tabernacle can 
be easily taken down and let the spirit, which desires like Paul to depart 
and be with the Lord, go to that prepared mansion. The apostle's strong asser- 



tion that we know this, is like knowing that two drops of water will flow 
together, or that two kindred hearts will dwell together. The way being open, 
their union will occur and the opposite or the separation will be impossible- 
Death opens the way through which the soul departs to its celestial and eter- 
nal home. 

3. Once a child in God's family, there is no reason for change. To go 
no more out forever is assured by the nature of things. Mortality is swallowed 
up of life. To be absent from the body is to be ever present with the Lord. 
He who formed this body to be the earthly home of the soul of this dear wife 
and mother, has been at no loss to form her spiritual and incorruptible body. 
This new mansion, and having no element of decay or waste or need of repair, 
will of necessity be immortal, thus eternal. 

4. The conscious and growing fitness and desire for such a heavenly home 
is the only question to be tested. The evidence of it is to be sought in one's 
own heart. Into its sacred musings no eye of friend or foe can look. The in- 
quiry and the answering signal must be within us. Only the author of our 
soul can share this inspection and approve or reject our self-judgment. What 
thoughts and motives and purposes thus pass in review, will give sentence in 
ourselves ere it can be know abroad. The bank defaulter knows his condition 
in advance of his directors and of reporters. The upright have the secret 
conviction of approval in advance of all records. 

Into two ranks only will the human race range themselves. "For we must 
all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive 
the things done in his body according to that he hath done whether it be good 
or bad." 

Outward tests signify the inner life. "By their fruits ye shall know them," 
is as true of characters as of trees. What we sow we must reap. He who 
sows to the flesh must reap corruption. He who sows to the spirit must reap 
life everlasting. 

We find it here wisest to carefully try everything on which our safety and 
welfare rests. We test the boat, the engine, the compass and chart and the 
chronometer for the voyage. We test every element of business and social life 
as much as possible. The same wisdom applies to the fitness for eternity. Yet 
it is a process not settled at once. It requires a practiced eye to see and a 
quick ear to hear. The Great Teacher often said: "He that hath ears, let 
him hear." The use of our own powers in deciding the condition of our souls 
is required as much as in the diagnosis of health. If we would be clear and 
true in the latter, much more in the former. The Great Apostle boldly met 
this self duty and left an example of its value in the assurance: "We know 
that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved we have a building 
of God, a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens." Our beloved 
sister whose body we commit to the grave, was in the habit of trying herself 
and proving herself whether she was in the faith. Sixty years ago, when a 
child she professed Christ, she began the habit of self-examination on this 

point. Over the whole* chart of her inner life her eye surveyed often every 
motive, every thought, resolution, wish and purpose. To him who for forty 
years best knew her habit of spiritual diagnosis, the outward tokens of true 
submission to the will of God, of earnest desire to discover that will and of 
hearty consecration to the service of Christ, were very precious pledges of her 
being a child of God and an heir of heaven. One of the sweetest experiences 
of domestic life is the daily evidence of true piety in your companion. You 
rest in its assurance. Out of it spring your best hopes for yourself, your 
family and your work. Christianity has already so impressed itself upon the 
world, that those who do not profess it choose for trusted companions those 
who do profess it. They are pained when in any respect this trust fails. 
They rejoice when it proves true. How much this has applied to companions 
in the missionary work, among the Indians and in the settlements of this north- 
west during the last forty years! On every occasion of trial, in joy or sorrow, 
light or darkness, health or sickness, peril or safety, this beloved wife and 
mother evinced a Christian faith, patience, courage, prudence, hopefulness and 
energy, which enabled her companion to fulfill his duties, which cheered and 
led onward and upward her fellow laborers in every place, and which brought 
forth "the fruits of righteousness" in her own and in other households. Such 
impressions have been made upon my mind during an acquaintance of over 
thirty years. Without boasting she could say in death: " I am comforted. 
Jesus is mine and I shall soon go to him." 

To examine and test ourselves in like manner is wise and comforting. To 
shrink from it shows a lack of courage. To judge hastily is rash. To conceal 
any facts is a vain effort. To judge ourselves is to forestall judgment. It is 
to be like our sister, ready and waiting for our Lord's call. It is, if proved a 
Christian experience, to welcome death, and exclaim: "We know that when 
our Lord shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." 
"And he that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure." 

Address at the Skokomish Church. 

Delivered by the youngest son of the deceased, Rev. Myron Eells, Missionary 
the Indians, and pastor of the Church, on Sabbath, August u, 1878. 

Acts vii., 60. " He fell asleep." Also Psalm 23. 

"Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep, 

From which none ever wakes to weep.'' 

As a child goes to sleep, so she went to sleep in her Savior's arms to wake 
in glory; no struggle, simply going to sleep. 

At such a time as this it is hardly proper, certainly not wise for me to say 
much, yet perhaps a few things ought to be said. Hence I propose to let her 
speak, myself only being the one who shall convey her words to you. 

The Psalm which I read speaks both of life and death, and there is a beauti- 
ful calmness running through both parts of it. The Psalmist speaks of trust- 
ing his Shepherd when in the green pastures, and beside the still waters, 
when in the presence of enemies, and when in the valley and shadow of death; 
in joy and trial in this life, and in the passage to another: it is "trust all the 
way through." 

So she speaks to us to-day; in joy and sorrow, in life and death, she has^ 
spoken and lived the words of this Psalm. Sixty years of life as a Christian is 
a long one in which to set us an example, while in the green pastures and in 
the many trials of life; and seventy days of lying on a bed of sickness has been 
long enough to show us that she had the same trust when passing through the 
valley of the shadow of death. 

Her life speaks first. Let us listen. She was born in Holden, Massachu- 
setts, May twenty-sixth, A. D. eighteen hundred and five, and hence was 
seventy-three years, two months and fourteen days old. At the early age of 
thirteen she made a public profession of religion, and when we celebrated the 
anniversary of her seventieth birthday, she stated that she had never regretted 
becoming a Christian when so young, and it had been the means of saving her 
from much temptation and trouble. How thorough this consecration was to 
Christ is seen in the fact, that before her marriage, which took place forty 
years ago the fifth day of last March, she had given herself the work of teach- 
ing the heathen, first with the idea of going wherever the Lord should send 
her, and, second, with the expectation of going to Africa, but the Lord sent 

her to the Indians of this coast. When the first letter was written to her be- 
fore her marriage by him who was to be her husband, asking her if she were 
willing to go to a missionary field, she replied: "I doubt whether you could 
have asked any one who is more desirous to become a missionary." 

The same consecration is seen from the fact that the day after her marriage 
she started for her destined sphere of labor, when Oregon in point of time was 
more than three times as far from her home as China is from us to-day; fully as 
far as many portions of interior Asia, and also as far as the most distant parts 
of Africa, where Livingstone and Stanley have been exploring. 

She was the oldest of a family of eight; two brothers and six sisters — three 
sisters now remain. She loved them, with her father and mother, but she 
loved Jesus more, she loved the souls of the lowly more, and so she came when 
it took nearly six months to make the trip, most of the time on horseback, and 
in 1838, when but one company of white women two in number, had ever 
made the journey. 

To show how much she loved her friends an extract from a letter of her's 
dated July 9, 1838, to her sister will show: "It costs me tears every time I 
write home, and every Sabbath when I think how neat and nice we used to go 
to church together, my tears are never suppressed; not that I wish to return or 
that I have once regretted that I have left you all, my dearest friends, and what 
my soul holds dearest on earth; no, we rather count it a privilege, if we may 
labor among the heathen, and be the means of doing any good." 

For ten years she remained with the Indians in the Eastern part of this Ter- 
ritory — as long as she could on account of Indian troubles, and wherever she 
has been since, while working in the places God has assigned her, at Salem, 
Hillsboro and Forest Grove, in Oregon, or at Walla Walla, or in this place in 
this Territory, her thoughts have been for the good of the Indians, her prayers 
have been for their conversion, and her eyes have looked for their salvation. 
It is also proper to add, that of those among whom she first came to labor, 
although their faces were dark here, and their hearts black forty years ago, 
yet there is good reason to believe that some of them, profiting by the teach" 
ings of Christ, which she helped to carry to them, have had their hearts 
washed white in the blood of the Lamb, and having put off their dark skins, 
have gone before to welcome her to "the home over there," while others, wait- 
ing a little longer, she will welcome to the "land of the blest." 

In 1847, after the massacre of M. Whitman, M, D., at Walla Walla, when 
the country was passing through the Cayuse war, and there were compara- 
tively very few to go and protect her and hers, she wrote in the spirit of this 
twenty-third Psalm: "Clouds and darkness are round about him, yet righteous- 
ness and judgment are the habitation of His throne" and she could trust 
the righteousness of her Heavenly Father, notwithstanding the clouds and the 

During all these years her favorite hymns have been : 
" From Thee I seek protecting power." 

" God is the refuge of His saints." 

Which breathe the same spirit as that of the Psalm. 

Thus for sixty years she has been living as well as speaking these words. 

Her last sickness says the same. When she was first taken sick, as you 
know, her husband was absent; and when he returned, he said, "This is a 
different meeting from what we expected." She replied, "How gentle God's 
commands." More than once she has spoken of it as "passing over, passing 
over." That was all there was of death — passing over the rivei. When asked 
whether she wished to live or die, to go to Colfax or not, she repeatedly said, 
"I do not wish to decide." Once, in regard to the anticipated removal to 
Colfax, she said, "I prayed that God would decide it for me, and I think He 
has done so." "I would like to do something for you," was said to her one 
day. She replied, "It is too late." "I would like to do something to com- 
fort you," was said again. "I am comforted," she said; "Jesus is mine, and 
I shall soon go to him, I guess." When a funeral took place among the In- 
dians, the difference was spoken of between her own condition and that of the 
deceased. "I hope in Christ," she replied. At another time she repeated 
the words, "Jesus can make a dying bed feel soft as downy pillows are. 
Pray for this." She was then asked, "Do you think this a dying bed?" "I 
do," she said; but afterwards added, "It is not dying now, but I think 1 
cannot get well." "Does he make it soft?" was then asked. "Is it not 
soft to be resigned ?" she replied. At one time she thought she was going, and 
said, "Pray for me." When asked, " What shall I pray for?" she replied, 
"Faith, patience and grace." 

True, she has not said very much while sick, for she has not been able to 
converse much; but she has said these things, and I think that any one who 
has been with her has noticed that she had faith, patience and grace. Her 
prayer was answered, and while not saying much, she has lived these graces 
while passing through the valley of the shadow of death. Patience for other's 
convenience and for God; submission to the will of others and to Christ's will, 
she has by not speaking, and by not acting, but by lying still, spoken and acted 
these more plainly than words could express them. 

Thirty years ago, in writing to her mother, she said, in speaking of death, 
' ' How much we shall have to praise the Redeemer for, if we shall be per- 
mitted to meet at his right hand." We trust she is there. What infinite 
happiness, two and a half days in Heaven ! But being dead she yet speaketh 
these things to us, and asks us to trust in the same Shepherd, while now in 
green pastures or beside the still waters, or when in the presence of the enemies 
of our souls, or when passing through the valley of the shadow of death, so 
that we may meet her at the right hand of Christ. She has fallen asleep. 
Let us follow her — follow Christ.