Eliza Nelson


The following excerpt is taken from Black but comely, or, Glimpses of Aboriginal life in Australia, by missionary Rev. J.B. Gribble (1847-1893):

Eliza Nelson, a pure aboriginal, was, when I found her in the camp, a most pitiable object; but under Christian training she soon exhibited some most attractive traits of character. First of all she was led to see herself a lost sinner. She showed every sign of a true repentance, and then there followed a simple trust in Christ, which she never again lost. I saw from the first that she was very delicate.

Consumption, the dread enemy of our blacks, claimed her, and she rapidly declined. A few days before she died her sister came to be to say that Eliza was very ill, and would like to see me. I found her surrounded by weeping friends. She was having a hard struggle for breath. I said: “You are very weak, Eliza. Have you any fear of death?” She replied: “No, because Jesus is with me.”

“The Lord Jesus,” I said, “is always near those who put their trust in Him, and especially those who, like you, are passing through the dark valley.” Clasping her hands, and with a look full of meaning, she said: “I know that, sir, I know that.”

On the night of her death she sent for me. I hastened to her bedside and found that she was indeed passing away. I poured into her ears portions of the Divine Word, which I knew she loved. She was unable to speak, but enjoyed perfect calm and peace.

Her little boy stood by her side, and to him she had said just before I arrived: “Harry, I am going away from you to Jesus; I want you to be a good boy. Give Jesus your heart; serve Him, and then when you die you will meet me in heaven.” Thus Eliza Nelson, one of the first fruits of our Mission, was gathered to the eternal home.