« PreviousContinue »
A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE ISLANDS.
to delay the battle till after he had delivered his message. When they had heard of the grace of God, they determined to become the servants of Jesus Christ, and to live in peace with each other.
No particular description has been given of this little island, nor of the preceding. It is enough to say that they resemble Tahiti in the grandeur of their mountains and the beauty of their groves. These groves, however, are little enlivened by the warbling of birds; for there is but one solitary songster in all the islands. It is in appearance like a blackbird, and in voice like a thrush, only far less sweet.
Note.—The progress of religion in these islands is recorded yearly in the Report of the London Missionary Society. The Missionary Magazine also (price one penny a month) gives accounts of the missions of that society, and the Missionary Register (price sixpence a month) of the missions of all the societies, especially of those of the Church of England Mis. sionary Society. The Children's Missionary Magazine has lately appeared at the price of one penny per month.
As many persons have been induced, by the reports that various captains have circulated, to doubt whether the inhabitants of the South Sea Islands have really been rendered happier, and better by the instructions of the missionaries, it has been thought advisable to subjoin a few of the testimonies that have been borne by various visiters to the great change that has taken place.
It is not surprising that the enemies of godliness should have slandered the work of the Lord in these islands; for such misrepresentations have been made in all ages. The enemies of Jesus said of him, “ We have found this fellow perverting the nation.” Luke xxiii. 2. The enemies of Paul and of his companions said of them, 6. These that have turned the world upside down, are come hither also.” Acts xvii. 6. Of the early Christians in general it was declared, “As concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against." Acts xxviii. 22. St. Peter, in addressing the early Christians, and referring to their enemies, observed, "They speak evil of you, as of evil doers."
In our days, also, the servants of God have been
spoken evil of, as evil doers. Men who have hazarded their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who have spent their years in banishment, their days in toil, and their nights in watchfulness, and who have received tokens of God's favour in rich blessings descending upon their labours; even these men have been publicly slandered : but God will bring forth their righteousness as the light, and their judgment as the noon-day.
TESTIMONIES TO THE HAPPINESS AND GOOD
CHARACTER OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE CHRISTIAN ISLANDS OF THE SOUTH SEAS.
WRITTEN AFTER THE SHIPWRECK OF THE FALCON, AN AMERICAN
WHALER, AT RURUTU, IN AUGUST, 1825.
The natives gave us all the assistance in their power, from the time the ship struck to the present moment. From the first day, while landing the things from the ship, they were put into the hands of the natives and carried up to the Native Missionhouse, (a distance of half a mile,) and not a single article of clothing was taken from any man belonging to the ship, though they had it in their power to plunder us of everything that was landed; which fully proves the honesty of the natives of this island. Since I have lived on shore myself, officers and people have received the kindest treatment from the
natives that can be imagined, for which I shall ever be thankful. Myself and officers have lived in the house with Puna, who, together with his wife, has paid every attention to make us comfortable, (they both being fine people,) for which I return my unfeigned thanks, being the only compensation I can make them at present.
Bend. C. Chase.
Extract from "A Visit to the South Seas,” by the
Rev. C. S. Stewart, Chaplain in the United
August 1829. Matavai Bay at Tahiti. A number of the officers and crew attended the services of Mr. Wilson's chapel, both in the morning and afternoon. We landed at nine o'clock, previously to which we had seen the people in large numbers going to, and returning from a prayer-meeting at sunrise. Hearing the sound of recitations in the schoolhouse, we directed our course to it.
A sabbath-school, consisting of about one hundred and fifty boys and girls, from the ages of three to seventeen, was there assembled, in which several respectable middle-aged men acted as teachers and superintendents. Many of the parents and friends were present as spectators. Mrs. Wilson and her daughters were present as teachers, and managers of
the female scholars. In the whole aspect of the school, there was a cleanliness and propriety of dress and personal appearance, and an intelligence and order, equal to those found in any of the kind in our own country.
While at prayer, “ the sound of the church-going bell” began to reach us from a neighbouring grove, and shortly after, the scholars, in a procession of two and two, quietly made their way to a temple of God, founded within the last fifteen years, on the ruins of altars, which, for time unknown, had been steeped in blood.
Crowds of islanders of every grade were also seen gathering, by well-made gravel walks, leading in various directions, beneath the thick shade of he trees covering the point, to the same spot, all clad in neat and modest apparel, principally white, and exhibiting in their whole aspect a dignity and respectability of character becoming a christian people. Almost
individual had in his hand a copy of portions of scripture, (translated into the language of the group,) and a book of hymns.
The chapel is a large and neat building, one hundred and ten feet long, and forty broad; lofty and airy, and well finished in all its parts, and wholly of native workmanship. The number of worshippers amounted to about four hundred, (the usual congregation at this place,) including almost entirely the population of the vicinity. The whole appearance of the people, their attention and seeming devotion during the exercises of reading the scriptures, singing, prayer, and preaching, were as markedly decorous as