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Kalli The Esquimaux Christian by Andrew Murray

Baptism of Kallihirua

We now come to an important event in the history of Kallihirua; his Baptism, which took place on Advent Sunday, Nov.27th, 1853, in St. Martin's Church, near Canterbury. |The visitors present on the occasion,| said an eye-witness, |were, the Rev. John Philip Gell (late Warden of Christ's College, Tasmania), accompanied by Mrs. Gell, daughter of the late Sir John Franklin; Captain Erasmus Ommanney, R.N. (who brought Kallihirua to England), and Mrs. Ommanney, Captain Washington, R.N., of the Admiralty, and the Rev. W. T. Bullock. The Rev. T. B. Murray, Secretary of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, who had been invited, was, in consequence of engagements in London, unfortunately unable to be present|.

[Footnote 6: St. Augustine's Occasional Paper.]

[Illustration: St. Martin's Church]

|Towards three o'clock in the afternoon, small parties began to issue from the College gateway in the direction of St. Martin's, -- that picturesque little church, looking from its calm hill-side over the broad Stour valley, and over the cathedral and the steeples of the town half emerging from the smoke. In the interior of this oldest of the English churches there is an ancient font, which stands upon the spot (if it be not the very font itself), where King Ethelbert, the firstfruits of the Anglo-Saxon race, was baptized more than twelve hundred and fifty years ago by Augustine.

|In the enclosure round this font sat Kallihirua, and his 'chosen witnesses' Captain Ommanney, and the Subwarden, Mrs. Bailey, and Mrs. Gell. The remainder of the church was quite filled with an attentive and apparently deeply-interested congregation, many of them of the poorer class to whom Kalli is well known either by face (as indeed he could not well fail to be), or as the comrade of their children in the spelling-class at school.

|After the Second Lesson, the Warden proceeded to the font, and the Baptismal Service commenced. Kallihirua, as an adult, made the responses for himself, and in a clear firm tone, which seemed to intimate that he had made his choice for once and for ever, that he had cast in his lot with us, and taken our people for his people, and our God for his God, and felt with an intelligent appreciation the privilege of that new brotherhood into which he was admitted.

|May his admission within the pale of Christ's holy Church be, (as was the prayer of many, beyond the walls of St. Martin's, on that day,) both to himself and to many of his race, an event pregnant of eternal issues! 'May the fulness of God's blessing,' to use the words of one of our most valued friends, 'rest upon it, and make it the first streak of a clear and steady light, shining from St. Augustine's into the far North.' The Christian names added to his original Esquimaux name, were 'Erasmus,' after Captain Ommanney, and 'Augustine,' in remembrance of the College.

|The service being concluded, an excellent sermon was preached by the Rev. J. P. Gell, on the text, Isaiah lxv.1: 'I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.' Afterwards the same kind friend attended our Sunday evening meeting in the Warden's house, and gave us some interesting details of the missionary work (in which he had himself borne a part) in Van Diemen's Land. The drift of his remarks was to give encouragement to the principle of steady faithful persevering energy, undamped by early difficulties, and not impatient of the day of small things; and to show by convincing examples (especially that of Mr. Davis, a devoted missionary in that country) how such conduct is sure in the end to meet with a success of the soundest and most permanent kind, because founded on the spontaneous sympathy of the people, and on the blessings of the poor, 'not loud but deep.'

|Kallihirua had received a very handsome present in the shape of a beautifully bound Bible and Prayer Book, as a baptismal gift from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.|

It may be interesting to add, that the water used in the baptism was from the river Jordan, and that it had been brought from thence by Captain Ommanney himself.

In the Gospel Missionary for February, 1854, was a pleasing description of the Baptism of Kallihirua: and this was the sound and practical conclusion: --

|Before we conclude, we may, perhaps, express the hope that our young friends will sometimes think kindly of their new Christian brother, ERASMUS AUGUSTINE KALLIHIRUA, and that they will pray that God will bless him, and make him to advance more and more in the knowledge and the love of His dear Son JESUS CHRIST. When they thus think of him who is now made their own brother by baptism, and is thus brought into the family of CHRIST'S people, let them learn to value the good things which GOD has given them in such rich abundance. Let them be thankful that they were born in a Christian country, in which they have been taught from children to know the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make them wise unto salvation through faith which is in CHRIST JESUS.|

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