« PreviousContinue »
ISLAND OF RAIATEA.
had been much pleased with the natives while he lived there. They had behaved with so much honesty, that though he had no bolt nor lock upon his door, not one article had been stolen. You have not forgotten their former thievish disposition, but now they stole no more.
It would be tedious to relate where each missionary first settled, after leaving Eimeo, for several of them soon changed their stations. It will be sufficient to say, that by the next year there were six missionaries in Tahiti, four in Eimeo, three in Huahine, and three in Raiatea.
The people in Raiatea had never had a missionary residing amongst them, but four years before they had been visited by Mr. Wilson and Pomare in a very singular manner. Both these visiters had come against their will; they had entered a ship that touched at Eimeo, and had immediately been driven by the winds to Raiatea, where Mr. Wilson preached the gospel, and Pomare entreated the chiefs to abandon idols.
The king of Raiatea and many of his chiefs had also visited Eimeo to assist Pomare in his wars, and had heard the gospel preached there. They returned to Raiatea soon after Mr. Wilson had preachedin it, and they used all their efforts to prevail upon the people to abandon idols. At length they succeeded, though they were
a man, and
obliged first to fight against an army of heathens who attacked them.* The name of the king was Ta-ma-to-a: he had been a very wicked man, and, according to the custom of his country, had been worshipped as a god. Amongst other sins, he had been addicted to drinking, and had been so furious when disturbed after drinking, that he had once rushed out of his house, and with his fist knocked out the
of broke two joints of his own fore-finger. Yet, , after his conversion, he never tasted spirits, attended school regularly at six o'clock every morning, and was so zealous in the cause of God, that he always chose to prepare the cocoanut oil for the Missionary Society with his own hands. Tamatoa was the father of Pomare's wife, and was now an old man. His appearance was very remarkable, as he was seven feet high, all but one inch! It was this Tamatoa who entreated some of the missionaries to come and settle in Raiatea.
Mr. Williams and two others consented to go. They knew very little of the language, having only arrived at the islands the year before; but Tamatoa would hear of no excuse, and promised that he and his people would teach them their language.
From this time the missionaries were scat
* See Williams's Missionary Enterprises, p. 187, for an account of this battle.
MISSIONARIES' VARIOUS STATIONS.
tered amongst the islands. I have subjoined a list to show where they were stationed the year after they had left Eimeo.
For some time past Pomare had been building a very large and handsome chapel in Tahiti, at a place called Pa-pa-o, which was only four miles from Matavai.
The missionaries had advised the king not to
THE CHAPEL AT PAPAO.
build so immense a chapel, as it would be of less use, than a smaller one : but Pomare had replied that king Solomon once built a very magnificent temple, and that he wished to imitate him. This determination was not wise. God had desired Solomon to erect the temple, as a figure of the Church of God, which is composed of believing souls.
All figures are now passed away, and the reality is come. Those who endeavour to persuade people to believe in Christ, help to build the living, and true temple, and they please God. God does not regard the size, or appearance of buildings, but dwells in every place where men worship him in spirit and in truth.
Pomare, however, chose to have his own way. His immense chapel was finished in the spring of 1819. It contained one hundred and thirty-three windows and twenty-nine doors. It was seven hundred, and twelve feet long, and fifty-four feet wide. There is not a church in England of so great a length.* As it was impossible, that a preacher could speak loud enough to be heard to the end of the chapel during a whole sermon, three pulpits were placed in it. The ceiling was covered with fine matting, and the floor with dried grass, and the building was filled with forms, and pews.
* St. Paul's Church in London is 500 feet in length, and 180 in breadth.
OPENING OF THE CHAPEL.
The most remarkable thing in the chapel was a stream of water, that ran in a slanting direction through it. The stream had not been observed, till after the chapel had been begun. The builders might have tried to turn the course of this stream, (which flowed from the mountains into the sea,) but then, perhaps, the water would have overflowed; therefore they suffered it to pass through the chapel. I think those who sat near it, must have been reminded by the sight of this living stream of the living water, that Jesus gives to those who ask him, and of the crystal river that makes glad the city of God.
The chapel was called the Royal Mission Chapel. Great crowds of people flocked from all the islands to be present at the first service performed in it in May. The tents of the visiters lined the shore for four miles.
The day when the chapel was opened, the king and royal family were present. A minister stood in each of the pulpits. Mr. Darling, who was in the middle pulpit, gave out a hymn in a voice loud enough for all to hear, and the six thousand people who filled the chapel joined in singing it. Then each minister read Luke xiv. to the people around him, and afterwards prayed. Though three voices were raised at once, yet, from the great size of the place, they did not interfere with each other. The three