“Gleanings from Recent Letters. A Conversation with Yoruba Market Women”

BIPOC Voices in the Victorian Periodical Press

Please turn your mobile device to landscape or widen your browser window for optimal viewing of this archival document.

Gleanings from Recent Letters.


A Conversation with Yoruba Market Women.

From a journal recently received from the Rev. James White, Native Pastor at Otta, in the Yoruba Country, we extract the following. The concluding sentence is a striking illustration of John iv. 34:—

Nov. 20th, 1873—To-day I went out, and, calling at a market-place where a few women were vending their articles, I walked up to them, and, having saluted them, I accused them of hatred against God, and grounded my charge on the fact of their obstinate refusal to enter into the House of God. Unwilling to admit so grave a charge they denied it, and declared that, far from hating God, they served Him according to the manner laid down by their ancestors. I asked them, "Which is right in paying homage to a king or chief: to go to his house, or to sit at home?" "The former is right," they replied. "If, then, you wish to serve God," I replied, "go to the house that is called by His name, and upon the day set apart for that purpose. As regards the manner of the worship of our forefathers, our forefathers have erred; and this," I said, "I could prove to them." I then asked, "To get the best and purest water, where should we go—to the fountain-head, or the running stream, which is made foul and turbid by the crossing and re-crossing of many individuals?" "To the fountain-head," they said. "If, then," continued I, "you wish to know whether idolatry—the religion of our forefathers— is right or wrong, let us go back to the fountain-head. You will agree with me that all your idols were originally human beings, who, having ac- quired a great fame during their lifetime, either by their valour or other merits, were deified after their death." "Yes," they said. "Again, your fathers and mothers are worshipped as gods after their death." "Yes," they answered. "The worship of your fathers, then, or of the idols made to represent them, could not have existed before anything like death is known." They admitted this statement. "The tradition of our forefathers say (and it is consonant with what the Word of God declares), that the whole world originated from one man and one woman, who were not born as other earthly parents, but made by God." They answered in the affirmative. "Having known no other parent than God, whom did they serve and worship?" "God," they replied. "But that God," I continued, "has never since been dead, neither can He nor will He ever die." "True," they said. "Do you see, then, that the worship of the one true God, which we come to teach, is the very same which existed at the beginning of the world, and that it is prior to the worship of idols, which commenced after men began to die?" "Yes," replied they, but rather coolly. "I have led you to the very fountain," I said, "and shown you that the worship of the one true God, the Creator of all things, is the religion which existed at the beginning of the world; and if that be the fountain-head, then none but those who draw water from the fountain have the purest water, and no other religion but the worship of the one true God is right. Other systems, therefore, must be wrong. All who worship idols are only drawing water from a foul and turbid stream occasioned by the depravity of the human race."

Convinced of the force of my argument, but not willing to give in, they all raised up loud acclamations as if to confound me—one saying one thing, and another another thing. Some said they would have become Christians were we not subject to death as well as they, but since none is exempted from death, they would prefer remaining in their own religion.

I took no breakfast before leaving home, not having made up my mind to remain out so long; but the whole of the time that I was engaged in discussion with these people, I felt no pinch of hunger whatever—I felt it such a pleasure and delight to be able to make manifest to them the hidden things of God.

Digital Publication Details

Title: “Gleanings from Recent Letters. A Conversation with Yoruba Market Women”

Creator(s): Anonymous; James White; Anonymous Yoruba Market Women

Publication date: (1875) 2022

Digital publishers: One More Voice, COVE

Critical encoding: Kenneth C. Crowell, Cassie Fletcher, Adrian S. Wisnicki

One More Voice identifier: liv_026043

Cite (Chicago Author-Date): Anonymous, James White, and Anonymous Yoruba Market Women. (1875) 2022. “Gleanings from Recent Letters. A Conversation with Yoruba Market Women.” Edited by Kenneth C. Crowell and Cassie Fletcher. In “BIPOC Voices,” One More Voice, solidarity edition; Collaborative Organization for Virtual Education (COVE). https://onemorevoice.org/html/bipoc-voices/digital-editions-amd/liv_026043_HTML.html.

Rights: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Accessibility: One More Voice digital facsimiles approximate the textual, structural, and material features of original documents. However, because such features may reduce accessibility, each facsimile allows users to toggle such features on and off as needed.