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a place. But wait a little, and you will not be surprised. I have not told you yet the character of the people who lived in Tahiti : they were thieves, liars, and murderers—could they be happy?
There were some people who loved God in England who were grieved to think of the poor natives of Tahiti, “ Ah!" thought they,“ you may sit beneath your spreading trees, eating the golden bread-fruit, or drinking the sweet milk of the cocoa-nut: but how can you be happy when you know not of the paradise above, nor of the Saviour who can wash out your many crimes in his blood ? for soon death will snatch you from your sunny isle, and bring you before the judgment-seat.”
Did these people in England think it enough to grieve for the poor Tahitians ? No-they remembered who had said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;" and they formed a plan to send the gospel to Tahiti.
Several gentlemen consulted together and collected money, and inquired whether any pious men would go as missionaries to the South Sea Islands.
At last they found thirty men who consented to go. Only four of these men were ministers : the rest understood useful trades, The gentlemen who agreed to send them
THE SHIP DUFF.
out were called, "The Directors of the London Missionary Society,” because they met and consulted together in London.
They bought a ship called the Duff, and they found a very pious captain named Wilson to manage it. Captain Wilson engaged twentytwo sailors to go out with him: one of them was his own nephew, William. Six of the missionaries had wives, who were to go with their husbands, as well as three children belonging to them.
No one can tell what the missionaries felt when they left their native land, and set sail for a country of savages. One of them wrote in his journal, “ I felt deeply when leaving my native country, and my dear friends, whom I loved as my life: but loving the Giver of life, I trust, more than all, I went with tears of joy."
The missionaries embarked from London in the river Thames, on August 10th, 1796, at six o'clock in the morning. A beautiful flag waved in the wind as they set sail--it was purple, with three doves bearing olive-branches in their bills. It was not a ship of war, but a ship of peace, in which these holy men had entered. As they sailed down the river they sang the hymn beginning,
“ Jesus, at thy command
THE DYING CHILD.
The sailors in the ships they passed, listened with surprise to the sweet sounds. Many of their friends stood on the shore, and waved their hands, never hoping to see them more till they met before God's throne on high.
The ship did not leave England immediately, but sailed along the shores for several days, as it was to stop at Portsmouth on its way; therefore several ministers went in it as far as that town. One of these good ministers was Dr. Haweis, whose heart was filled with pity for the heathen.
In about a week the ship arrived at Portsmouth. Any person who wished it, had now an opportunity of returning to his home, but there was only one who desired to do so.
This was Mrs. Hudden, the wife of a missionary. She had been made sick, as well as the rest of the passengers, by the movement of the ship; and she felt so much disheartened that she wished to return home. She accordingly was put in a boat, and her husband, feeling he ought not to forsake her, went with her. It was well she left the ship so soon, for surely she never could have borne the great trials that awaited her companions. One other person left the ship for a sweeter home than England. He was a little boy of twelve years old, named Cover, the son of a missionary. He was in a consumption when he set out, but
had been so anxious to accompany his parents, that they could not leave him behind. His body was taken on shore to be buried.
There were now one man, one woman, and one child less in the ship than when it set sail from London.
After waiting at Portsmouth a fortnight, the time of departure arrived.
Dr. Haweis joined with the missionaries and some of the sailors (most of whom were pious men) in taking the Lord's supper--and then took leave of them with many tears—all to be wiped away when they should meet again, if they remained faithful to their Lord.
HOW THE MISSIONARIES WERE RECEIVED IN
The ship was soon out of sight of land : and the missionaries expected never to see its shores again; but they knew who had said, “ There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for
the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come, life everlasting."
They employed their time partly in reading accounts of the South Sea Islands, in learning some Tahitian words, (which a sailor who had been in Tahiti had written out in a book,) in teaching each other a little of the trades they knew, and, above all, in studying God's word, and in prayer, sometimes together and sometimes alone.
All the winter long the ship was tossing on the waves. Sometimes the missionaries and their wives suffered much from cold, and storms, and sea-sickness.
They did not all intend to settle in Tahiti ; so it was necessary, before they arrived, to agree which of them should stay there, and which should go to other islands.
Each of them wrote down on a piece of paper his name and the place to which he wished to go, and showed the papers to each other on a certain day.
Eighteen missionaries wished to settle in Tahiti. The five women and the two children belonged to some of these. You would doubtless like to see a list of the names of these people and their ages.