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Early on the Sabbath morning, Pomare, and eight hundred persons, (some of whom were armed with spears and guns,) were collected in the chapel in Bu-na-a-u-i-a. They were just going to begin service, when they heard the sound of their watchmen's guns. They looked out, and perceived an army at a distance, carrying before them flags in honour of the idols.
ATTACK ON THE SABBATH DAY.
"It is war, it is war," the Christians exclaimed. Some of them were hastening to their tents for arms, when Pomare arose, and requested them to remain quietly in their places, assuring them, that God would protect them during his own worship, which ought on no account to be forsaken. A hymn was then read by one of the company and sung by the congregation: a portion of scripture was next read, and a prayer was offered. The service being thus finished, those who were unarmed, went to their tents to procure weapons.
The battle was fought on the sand of the sea-shore, and among the trees that grew close to it. Many of Pomare's army had not yet become Christians; these were not placed in the front, as they could not be so well trusted as the Christians, who even requested to occupy that situation. Among the warriors was the queen's sister, Pomare Vahine, a tall, strong woman, who wore a sort of net of cords for
DEATH OF UPUFARA.
armour, and held a gun and spear. On one side of her fought Fare-fau, her bold christian servant. Pomare himself sat in a canoe, and shot at the enemy.
The heathen rushed upon Pomare's army with furious courage, having been assured by their priests, that their gods would give them the victory. But the Christians looked up to their God for help, and often knelt, during the battle, upon the grass, (either alone, or two or three together,) and offered up a short prayer.
Several were killed on both sides. At length Upufara (the chief captain of the heathen) was shot, and fell. As he sat gasping on the sand, his friends gathered round him, and endeavoured to stop the bleeding of the wound. "Leave me," said the dying warrior. "Mark yonder young man; he inflicted the wound,on him revenge my death." Thus, breathing vengeance, Upufara expired. Two or three strong men ran towards the man, who had shot their captain; one of them overtook him, and sprang upon him before he was aware; but, as he was endeavouring to strangle him, was himself slain by the same gun that had destroyed Upufara, and which the man still held in his hand.
The news of Upufara's death greatly discouraged the heathen army, who were at last obliged to flee to the rocks and mountains for shelter. The king's soldiers were going to
BURIAL OF THE SLAIN.
pursue them as in former times, but Pomare approached, and cried out, "A-ti-ra," or "It is enough. Pursue none who have fled from the battle, neither burn their houses, nor murder their children." You know what cruelties were practised by the heathen on their conquered enemies. How great a change had God wrought in Pomare's once cruel heart! Even the bodies of the enemy, instead of being left upon the shore for dogs and swine to devour, were properly buried, and the body of Upufara was carried to the place, where his fathers lay in their tombs.
Instead of ending the day in slaughter, Pomare assembled his army to thank God for their great deliverance. How much had depended upon the battle fought this day! Had Pomare been conquered, all the Christians would have been cruelly killed or made slaves, and the idol gods would have been honoured as in former days. But now God was praised by his servants, and even by many who had never before worshipped him, and who joined in the praises of that evening.
Instead of killing his enemies, Pomare determined to destroy their idols. He sent a band of men to the temple of Oro to overthrow it. Before they set out, he said to them, “Go not to the little island, where the women and chil
dren of the enemy have been sent for safety; turn not aside to burn houses, nor to destroy groves, but go straight along the highway." The men obeyed. When they arrived at Oro's temple in Tiairabu, (the smaller part of the island,) they were afraid lest the people should be enraged at an attempt to insult their god, and should attack them; however, they were not prevented by these fears from acting in a very courageous manner. They began by firing into the small house where the idols were kept, saying, "Now ye gods, if ye be gods, and have any power, come forth, and avenge the insults which we offer you." The multitude stood round, astonished both at the boldness of the men, and at the helplessness of the idols. The house was soon afterwards pulled down, and the gods shot through and through, and cast into the fire. Oro himself was not destroyed; only his covering and ornaments were thrown into the flames. He was merely a piece of wood rather longer than a man, and about the thickness of a man's leg. This senseless god was carried to Pomare, and laid at his feet.
THE FATE OF ORO.
And what use do you think the king made of Oro? He set it up as a post in his kitchen, fixing pegs upon it, on which baskets for food were hung, and after a time he used it as fuel.
This was the end of Oro, about whom the Tahitians had fought so fiercely for many years. Thus may all God's enemies perish!
The people, who had fled to the mountains, sent persons secretly in the night, to see whether their wives and children had been hurt. They were astonished to hear that they were safe, and that the king and his friends promised to pardon all their enemies. At first they could not believe the news. After a few days they ventured to leave the mountains; and when they found that neither their houses nor families had been injured, they readily went to entreat the king's pardon, and to promise obedience for the future. They now saw how good the God was that Pomare worshipped, a God who taught him to be merciful to his enemies. "We had done everything to offend the king," said they, "and yet, when he was able to destroy us, he freely forgave us." They had often heard before that God so loved his enemies, as to give his Son to die for them, but now they believed it.
As soon as possible after the battle, Pomare sent to inform the missionaries in Eimeo of his success. A man (once a chief priest, and an areoi) was the bearer of the message. The missionaries and their scholars saw the canoe approaching, and hastened to the beach; but before they could ask a single question, the messenger exclaimed," Conquered! conquered! by
THE TRIUMPH OF MERCY.