Welcome to the Whyte House Family Spoken Nonfiction Books podcast: Black History Month edition episode #118. Today we are celebrating the life of Samuel Morris from the book “100 Most Influential Black Christians in History” compiled and edited by the editors of BCNN1.
Pastor and missionary
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26)
“It is not my work. It is His. I have finished my job. He will send others better than I to do the work in Africa.” (on having pneumonia and not being able to preach)
Over 130 years ago, in a small Liberian village in West Africa, Samuel Morris was born Prince Kaboo, the eldest son of a Kru tribal chieftain. While still a child, a neighboring clan defeated his people and demanded that Kaboo’s father pay a hefty ransom for his son’s return.
The conquering chief subjected Kaboo to terrible treatment and cruel labor.
During one of many intense whippings, Kaboo said he saw a bright light and heard a voice from Heaven telling him to flee. Kaboo recalled that the rope binding him fell to the ground, after which he gathered his strength and ran into the jungle.
Traveling at night and hiding in the hollow of trees by day, Kaboo navigated blindly through a jungle dominated by jungle law. Eventually, he arrived at Monrovia, the one city of the thousands in Liberia that was civilized and under the rule of law. At a coffee plantation that provided work and shelter, a young boy invited him to church where Miss Knolls, a missionary and graduate of Taylor University (then known as Fort Wayne College), spoke on the conversion of the Apostle Paul. Kaboo immediately recognized the story as being similar to his escape. Shortly afterward, he accepted Christ as Savior and was baptized under the name of Samuel Morris in honor of the missionary’s benefactor.
Morris spent the next two years painting houses in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. He became a zealous member of the Christian community and displayed a fervent desire to learn about the Holy Spirit. Missionaries encouraged him to travel to America and seek the instruction of Stephen Merritt, former secretary to Bishop William Taylor. With no money or means of transportation, Morris began his journey on foot.
Sleeping on the beach at the Robertsport harbor, Morris waited several days before finding passage on a ship in exchange for work. The journey would prove a difficult one as Morris was often beaten and assigned to the most dangerous tasks. However, by the time the ship docked in New York in September of 1891, the captain and most of the crew had accepted Christ because of Morris’ witness.
As a pastor and sponsor of a rescue mission, Merrit warmly received Morris. He contacted Thaddeus Reade, then president of Taylor University, and requested to enroll Morris at the school. Due to Taylor’s financial debt, Reade personally started a fund for Morris. The fruit of his effort would later be known as the “Faith Fund.”
In December of 1891, Morris arrived on Taylor’s campus (then in Fort Wayne, Ind.). When asked by Reade which room he wanted, Morris replied, “If there is a room that nobody wants, give that to me.” Morris’ faith had such a profound impact on the Fort Wayne community that he was frequently invited to speak at local churches. At night, he could regularly be heard in his room praying, which he simply called “talking to my Father.”
Morris often asked others to read Scripture to him. When one student refused, saying he did not believe in the Bible anymore, Morris replied, “My dear brother, your Father speaks to you, and you do not believe him? Your brother speaks, and you do not believe him? The sun shines and you do not believe it? God is your father, Christ your brother, the Holy Ghost your Sun.”
President Reade once said, “Samuel Morris was a divinely sent messenger of God to Taylor University. He thought he was coming over here to prepare himself for his mission to his people, but his coming was to prepare Taylor University for her mission to the whole world. All who met him were impressed with his sublime, yet simple faith in God.”
On May 12, 1893, Samuel Morris died after contracting a severe cold. His death inspired his fellow students to serve as missionaries to Africa on his behalf, fulfilling his dream of one day returning to minister to his own people. Hundreds of spectators lined the streets of Fort Wayne as Samuel Morris’ body was carried to Berry Street Methodist Church. Lindley Baldwin, author of Samuel Morris, writes “the burial ceremony in Lindenwood cemetery, his last earthly resting place, was attended by a multitude such had never before accompanied there.” Morris’ untimely passing prevented him from participating at the laying of the cornerstone at Taylor’s new Upland campus, where he was scheduled to speak and sing.
Thank you for joining us for this episode of Whyte House Family nonfiction books. You may purchase a copy of this book and any other Christian nonfiction books read on this podcast from Amazon.com.
Now, dear listener, please know that God—the divine Author of all things—wants to write a great story with your life as well. But first you must give Him the pen by trusting Him with the life He gave you and surrendering your heart to Jesus Christ as Savior. Here is how:
1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
May God bless you until next time.