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LABOURS AT THE PRESS.

283

the printing-house, and attended the school and chapel.

It gladdened the missionaries' hearts to see the knowledge of God, spreading from isle to isle, and those who were accustomed to do evil, learning to do good; which is as wonderful, as for the leopard to change its spots, and the black man to become white; but things that are impossible with men, are possible with God.

CHAPTER XXX.

1817.

QUESTIONS THE NATIVES ASKED ABOUT

RELIGION.

WHEN Mr. Ellis had finished the spellingbooks, he printed some catechisms, and then some little books containing a collection of texts. He had taught two natives how to help him at the press, and he spent eight or ten hours every day in the work—so anxious was he to supply the people with books.

Mr. Ellis, and Mr. Crook, with the assistance of the natives, finished their houses, and removed from the large native house into them.

Soon afterwards Mr. and Mrs. Orsmond ar

284

THE SUN-FLOWERS.

rived from the other side of the island, and inhabited the native house. Mr. Davies continued to live alone in his little dwelling.

Mrs. Ellis opened a school, in which she taught Mr. Crook's six girls to work at their needle, and any native girls who desired to learn.

The brethren, on their first arrival, had planted flowers and vegetables in their gardens. The king was much struck with the sunflowers in Mr. Ellis's garden, having never seen any

before, and be asked for some; Mr. Ellis, however, refused him, because he himself wanted the flowers for seed. The king then said, the queen and her sister each wished for one. Mr. Ellis could not deny their request, and sent them one apiece. They were much delighted, and placed them as ornaments in their hair. This little anecdote shows you that Pomare and his family had not left off their old habits of begging.

In the course of the summer a man died, of whom you have already heard some interesting particulars. You remember Fare-fau, who once threw the red feathers into the oven. He had continued to serve Christ ever since that time. He had often climbed the steepest rocks and mountains of Tahiti, to teach the people who lived at a distance from places of instruction. A few weeks before his death, he was brought to Eimeo in a deep decline ; yet it was not

MEETING FOR RELIGIOUS INQUIRIES. 285

supposed that he was so near his end. The day before he died, he told several people that his departure was at hand, but that he had no fears, for his mind was fixed on Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners, who filled his soul with joy and peace.

The brethren had a very interesting meeting every Monday evening for conversing with the natives upon religious subjects. As I suppose you would like to hear what remarks the natives made on these occasions, and what questions they asked, I will relate a few of them.

They often spoke of the sermon they had heard on the day before. They once seemed alarmed after having heard Mr. Davies preach upon the character of Balaam.

An old man afterwards asked, “What is the difference between a knowledge of God in the head, and a belief from the heart ?”

Sometimes they asked questions about the doctrines of scripture. Once a man asked,

May a man hope ever to be free from evil thoughts, while he lives?" The brethren told him, that as long as we lived, we had an evil nature to fight against, and an enemy to tempt us, but that if we loved Christ we should strive against sin, and grow more and more holy. Another time, a person inquired whether the wicked would ever be released from hell, and admitted into heaven. The brethren answered,

286

QUESTIONS ABOUT DUTIES.

that as the wicked would never repent in hell, they could never be released.

Another man asked, “Why the wicked angels fell ?" The brethren told them that it was pride that made them fall. But when the natives inquired “How pride came into heaven ?” the brethren could give them no answer, because the Bible does not explain this mystery.

Most of the questions asked at these meetings were about what things were right, or wrong to do. These questions showed that the natives were anxious to please God.

A person inquired whether it was right, that, at prayer-meetings, the chiefs should be asked to pray, while poor men (perhaps more pious than they) were not encouraged to take a part. The brethren said that it was wrong to show this respect of persons in religious meetings, though, on other occasions, respect should be shown to the chiefs.

Another time it was asked, whether a woman might lead family prayers, when her husband was absent, and no other man present, who could take his place. The brethren replied that it would be right for a woman in that case to lead the service.

Once a man asked, whether he ought to change his name, as he had been an Areoi, and

The brethren said that if his

very wicked.

SCRUPLES ABOUT OBSERVANCE OF SABBATH. 287

heart was changed, his name was of no consequence.

Another time, a man asked whether the sick ought to be brought to the chapel to be prayed for. The brethren told him that it was useless to bring the sick to any particular place, as God heard prayer everywhere.

Sometimes questions about keeping the sabbath were asked. It was inquired whether when a person was taken very ill, his friends might be sent for on the sabbath, though they lived at a great distance; and whether even a canoe might be sent to fetch them from other islands. The brethren said that it would be right to do so, for that whatever was necessary for the comfort of man, might be done on the sabbath day.

Two little anecdotes which were related at these meetings will show you how fearful the people were of breaking the sabbath. Once two canoes were lying on the beach; the sea, coming up higher than usual, washed them from the shore; the owner of the canoes saw them tossing upon the waves, but would not go into the sea and pull them to land, because it was the sabbath. In consequence, they were dashed to pieces among the rocks.

Another time a man saw a pig in his taro garden; he perceived that the fence was broken, and that therefore it would be of no

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