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328

THE PRINCE'S BAPTISM.

him to have the child taught English. Pomare seemed inclined to consent, and willing that Mr. and Mrs. Crook should have the charge of him.

He

appeared in high spirits during this visit. Soon afterwards he returned to Papao.

When the infant prince was three months old, he was taken in a boat to Papao, and baptized by Mr. Crook in the Royal Mission Chapel, in the presence of a thousand people. At the same time Mr. Crook baptized the queen also, while Mr. Nott baptized the queen's sister and the princess Aimata. But though the queen and her sister were baptized, they were not admitted to partake of the Lord's Supper; for notwithstanding their desire of instruction, and attention to the forms of religion, they did not yet seem decidedly pious.

Some years had now passed, since any of the missionaries had been taken away. During this summer, Mr. Tessier became ill, at Pa-para in Tahiti, where he was stationed with Mr. Bicknell. He had such slender abilities, that he had never been able to learn the language of Tahiti well enough to preach in it. He had, however, instructed the children, and led a blameless life. He did not know, till the morning of the day on which he died, that he was dangerously ill, and then he seemed pleased to hear it. It was a sabbath day. “I shall exchange an earthly sabbath,” he observed,

MR. TESSIER'S DEATH.

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“ for a heavenly one ; I rejoice to think that heaven is not only a happy place, but also a holy one.”

He then sent for the children he had taught, and spoke seriously to each of them about their souls. After this, he wished all his friends farewell, as cheerfully as if he was going to set out on a pleasant journey.

His fellow labourer, Mr. Bicknell, preached a sermon upon his death. A few days afterwards, he was taken ill himself, with the same disorder, of which Mr. Tessier had died. At first he was much distressed in mind, with the thought that he had spent too much time lately in making his house comfortable, instead of instructing the natives. Afterwards he was more easy, and was heard to say, “ Thanks be unto God, for Jesus Christ,” “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth ?” and other like sentences.

He bade an affectionate farewell to each of his four children, the eldest of whom was eight, and the youngest four years old. Then he requested to be left alone for a short time, that he might think of eternity. He desired Mr. Crook, who was going to preach to his people, to tell them that he had taught them the word of God, and that if they perished he was clear of their blood; but then (remembering that he might have done more for them) he corrected himself, and added, “Not quite clear neither."

330

MR. BICKNELL'S DEATH.

He addressed a dying exhortation to the pious chief Tati, who stood at his bedside, bathed in tears. He also exhorted Mr. Crook to show more love to the natives, that they might love him more.

Mr. Bicknell, like Mr. Tessier, expired on a sabbath, and only one fortnight after his fellow labourer, at the age of fifty-four years.

How empty and faulty do the best spent lives appear, when viewed upon a death-bed! This pious missionary had laboured twenty-three years in Tahiti; (for he was one of those that had come in the ship Duff;) he had borne

m, and poverty, and dangers, and desolation for Christ's sake; yet when he came to die, he felt that he had cared too little for souls, and too much for earth. What, then, may some feel on their deathbeds, who have lived chiefly for their own pleasure, and done little, or nothing, for Christ!

The people of Papara had received a solemn lesson by the loss of both their teachers, in the space of one fortnight. They had reason to fear, lest God was punishing them for their negligence, and lest he should quite remove the candlestick out of its place. Mr. Davies, however, came from Huahine, to fill the post of the departed brethren, and laboured with unwearied diligence in preaching, teaching, and translating the Scriptures.

CHAPTER XXXV.

1821,

THE STRANGERS FROM THE SOLITARY ISLE.

You have already heard that the gospel spread from island to island in the South Seas; but the manner in which it came to one of them is so remarkable, that it must be related.

There was a little island called Ru-ru-tu, that lay so many hundred miles from those where the brethren laboured, that it had never even been heard of in them. Though it was only seven miles long, it was so fruitful that six thousand people inhabited it. At length it was visited by a dreadful plague, which mowed down the people like grass, till only three or four hundred remained alive.

Amongst the chiefs of Rurutu, was a young man named A-u-u-ra. He felt a great desire to leave the island, which he feared would soon be his grave. The thought came also into his heart, that in some other land he should hear something good, although he knew not what. Auura persuaded some of his friends to accompany him in a large canoe. His wife also went with him. There were in all twenty-five

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THE TEMPESTUOUS VOYAGE.

persons in the canoe, and a good store of food, and water. They arrived at length at a heathen island called Tu-bu-ai, a hundred miles off, where they were treated well, and their health was restored. After some time had passed, they set sail to return to their native island, hoping either to find the plague abated, or to persuade the inhabitants to remove to a happier spot, as they feared that the curse of the gods rested on their country. During their voyage a tempest arose, which drove them out of their course. They rowed day after day, but could see no land : at length their food and their water were spent; they could only refresh themselves with sea-water, and they grew so weak that they often were obliged to suffer their canoe to float idly upon the water, while their terror was increased by the fear lest they should be swallowed up by the evil spirit of the waters. Yet He, who holds the wind in his fists, was guiding their little vessel to a right haven.

After three weeks spent at sea, they saw land.

one of the christian islands, and was called Ma-u-pi-ti. The astonishment of the strangers was great to find people dwelling in white cottages, clothed from head to foot, and to see men and women eating together. They now heard for the first time of the unseen God, and they appeared struck with what they heard, and anxious to learn to read.

It was

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