Sunday, September 26, 2010

Give a character sketch of James Smith.

James Smith, the successor of Mr. Brown, was a hard task master. He was of the view that kingdom of God did not depend on large crowds. He stressed the importance of the few who could convey the message of God in the earnest spirit.
He said, "Our Lord used the whip only once in his life—to drive the crowd away from his church." He loved decency. Within a few days of his taking over the charge from Mr. Brown, he suspended a young woman from the church for pouring new wine into old bottles. This woman had also allowed her husband to mutilate her dead child for the fear of its entering her womb to be born and lose again. He said, "Narrow is the way and few the number, to fill the Lord's holy temple with an idolatrous crowd clamouring for signs was folly of everlasting consequence."
He was opposed to Mr. Brown's policies of compromise and adjustment. He found certain evils in the administration of church activities and removed them. He condemned Enoch's behaviour at the meeting of the leaders of the church. He also rebuked Okeke his interpreter for supporting Enoch for his unbecoming and indecent behaviour. Okeke advised his master that Enoch should not be hidden in the church because he would draw the wrath of the clan but Mr. Smith did not agree to what he said. He detected so many evil customs prevailing in Ibo society such as throwing away the twins and mutilating the dead children and condemned these as inhuman. According to him Mr. Brown's lenient outlook contributed much to flourish such evils. After his arrival in Umuofia, he found everything topsy-turvy. He saw things as black and white. "He saw the world, as a battlefield in which the children of light were locked in mortal conflict with the sons of darkness." He believed in slaying the false deities of the Ibo people.
Mr. Smith was bold. He faced the attack of masked spirits boldly When the spirits came, he walked quietly to the door which commanded the approach to the church compound, and stood there. But when the first three or four egwugwu appeared on the church compound, he nearly bolted. He overcome his impulse and instead of running away, he went down the two steps that led up to the church and walked towards the approaching spirits.
It was for the first time that Mr. Smith was a little afraid, when he heard the mother of spirits wailing for her son. The chilling sound affected Mr. Smith and he was at a loss to understand how to face the challenge posed by the ancestral spirits of the clan.
Ajofia, the leader of the ancestral spirits asked Smith to go back to his land leaving their village. He told him that they would not harm him but the church would be destroyed because it had bred untold abominations in Ibo society. He added that his anger was great but he had held it down so that he might talk to him. In reply Mr. Smith said to his interpreter to ask them to go away from there, Mr. Smith said that the church was the house of God and that he would rather die than permit the spirits to destroy the house of God. The interpretor did not repeat Mr. Smith's words as it is to the ancestral spirits. He acted wisely and told the crowd that the whiteman had said that he was happy to meet them and he would try to remove their grievances. Thus, the interpreter put off the danger which might prove fatal to Mr. Smith's life. Mr. Smith stood his ground. But he could not save his church which was reduced to a pile of earth and ashes.
It is taken for granted that Mr. Smith proved victorious in his mission. But this all happened due to the might of the government's power exercised by the District Commissioner. He was opposed to Mr. Brown in thought and action. His approach was dictatorial and not humanitarian like that of Mr. Brown. He was true to his creed. He preferred death to demolition of the church at native's hands.

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