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THE moral change that has lately taken place in the South Sea Islands has attracted general attention. As it appeared desirable to present the history of this change in a form acceptable to youth, the particulars have been carefully collected from various sources--especially from the journals and letters of the missionaries, published in the seven volumes of “Missionary Transactions,” and “ The Quarterly Chronicle.” Several more widely circulated works have also been consulted.*
*“ Ellis's Polynesia,” and “ Bennet and Tyerman’s Voyage round the World.” The former is elaborate, and calculated to satisfy the curiosity of the mature inquirerthe latter is more deşultory, and suited to afford entertainment to the young. “ Williams's Missionary Enterprises” treat chiefly of a period, and of places, only slightly adverted to in these pages, and would be read with much advantage after this history,
No attempt has been made by the slightest exaggeration to heighten the interest of this narrative. It is hoped that its adherence to facts will be a strong recommendation in the eyes of youth, who, while they much prefer narrative to didactic writing, show, by the earnest and oft-repeated inquiry, “Is it true ?" that they value truth above fiction. As the habit of reading fiction tends to blunt this salutary predilection, would it not be better to encourage the young to seek relaxation in manual employments, and in active sports, rather than permit them to indulge in this species of reading? A fondness for reading cannot be desirable, if that fondness extends to works, that not only indispose to useful studies, but may be the vehicles of much evil. Many fabricators of tales, being destitute of principle, and having it in their power to describe the results of actions to be whatever they please, leave a false and pernicious impression on the reader's mind. Even those writers of fiction who desire to inculcate a good moral, may unintentionally misrepresent the dealings of God with men.
But the narrator of facts walks upon firm ground. He, who undertakes to
delineate the dealings of God in his providence, affords so many instances of the truth of his word.
The history of the mission in the South Seas illustrates the doctrines of the depravity of man, of the misery of the wicked, (especially of those who forsake the Lord, of the blessedness of patient continuance in well-doing, and of the power of God in changing the hearts of the most obdurate. If any refuse to believe the testimony of the Lord in his word, none can deny the evidence of well-authenticated facts. The Scriptures themselves frequently invite us to consider the events of Providence.
“ Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.”—Ps. cvii. 43.
No candid and christian mind will sympathise the less in the sufferings, or rejoice the less in the success, of the devoted missionaries of the South Seas, on account of any slight points of difference between them, and ourselves, in discipline, or in forms of public worship. We, who belong to the Church of England, should not forget our union with the universal Church of Christ; and when one member suffers, we ought to suffer with it, and when one member