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QUEEN POMARE VAHINE.
is a woman of royal blood, and majestic presence, with courteous manners. She dresses in the English fashion. This exalted and good man has lately sustained a severe stroke of affliction in the death of his son, by a former wife, who, had he lived, would have been king of Huahine. He was cut off by rapid consumption in his twentieth year. To aggravate the grief of the aged parent and the community at large, who had a national interest in his life, the youth was the last branch of his family that had seen the light. He left, however, a wife far advanced in pregnancy; and on the expected birth of a grandchild the poor bereaved father hangs his hope of reparation of the ruin of his house. In this prospective solace all the people affectionately sympathise. His son died about a month since, and was buried in the chapel-yard; on which occasion, close by the grave, Mahine had a little hut erected, wherein he remained, night and day, sorrowing and seeking resignation, till a few days ago, when he came forth as one who could say, Father, thy will be done.”
Our next visitor of rank was Pomare Vahine, sister to Pomare's queen, and herself the queen of Huahine. Her robe was a long shirt which reached nearly to the ground. She is an agreeable woman in person and manners. Next came Hautia, another princely personage, with his wife, a helpmate worthy of him. He is prime minister to the queen—in fact he is regent, and governs on her behalf. He was followed by a person who was once the chief of all the soothsayers, but who now appears a pious and exemplary Christian. The deacons of the church, and many of the second rank of chiefs, who are the land-owners, also waited upon us with their cheerful congratulations. This hearty reception of ourselves, as the representatives of the Parent Society, was the more peculiarly gratifying to us because
it proved the high esteem in which the resident Missionaries are held here. Mr. Bennet was invited to take
his abode with Mr. Barff, and Mr. Tyerman with Mr. Ellis. These excellent men, with their amiable wives and families, occupy comfortable dwellings, built in the English style, surrounded by neat and well-stocked gardens; and, while they zealously devote their talents to the service of man and the glory of God, they enjoy the filial affection of the people among whom they labour.
Similar testimonies we can bear in reference to all the faithful Missionaries whom we have yet seen on the other islands.
Dec. 8. Being the Sabbath, we went to the early prayermeeting in the chapel, and were astonished to find not fewer than a thousand persons assembled to pay their morning vows to God. These devout exercises, as in Tahiti and Eimeo, were conducted entirely by natives, and consisted of singing, praying, and reading the Scriptures. About twelve hundred men, women, and children, afterwards constituted the congregation, at the public service in the forenoon. The chapel is very compact and commodious, and as many as sixteen hundred auditors have occasionally been crowded into it. The pulpit stands on one side of the square area.
Around it are placed the pews of the royal family and those of the principal and secondary chiefs, according to their rank; beyond these are the forms on which the commonalty sit, and also the Sunday scholars, of whom there were four hundred present. Among these were the children of the royal line, and of the great chiefs, prettily attired, as their only distinction, in purau-mat tibutas. After the sermons, on both parts of the day, it was difficult for us to escape from the good folks, who thronged around us to express their gladness at our arrival.
But what pleased us most was a notice, given out after service,
MEETING TO WELCOME THE DEPUTATION.
that to-morrow there would be a public meeting of the islanders to aroha us among them. The word aroha strictly means to compassionate, but it is used also to signify love and delight, as well as earnest desire, towards an object. Here it implied, to give us a fervent welcome a welcome in which the tenderness of affectionate hearts should be mingled with the joy of grateful minds, on seeing the representatives of those Christian friends, in a far country, who did not neglect to aroha them in their low estate, but sent the messengers of the everlasting gospel to raise them from the dust, and set them among the princes of the Lord's people, yea, to make them sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.
Dec. 9. Agreeable to the notice yesterday, the people assembled in the chapel, at three o'clock this afternoon, to aroha us on our arrival. The royal princes, chiefs, raatiras, (landowners) and other persons, of both sexes, all ages, and divers classes, were present. A beautiful, heart-moving spectacle it was, to look upon a thousand human beings, so changed, as the adults all were, from what they and their fathers had been, through untold generations, and especially to meet the lovely countenances and gazing eyes of four hundred children among them, now training up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—who, had the gospel not found them on the threshold of life, and rescued them, would (for the most part at least) have been murdered, at their birth, by the parents to whom they owed their existence, and from whose hands, perhaps, (as idolaters, wallowing in all manner of abominations,) death was the best boon they could have received. After singing and prayer, we each addressed the assembly on what God had done for them, in them, and by them; exhorting these Christian professors, not only to hold fast that whereunto they had attained, but to go on to perfection,
following after holiness with entire devotion of heart, soul, mind, and strength, to the Lord's service. We also explained to them the purposes of our visit, as a deputation to these islands from the London Missionary Society. Several speeches were then addressed to us; our good brethren, the Missionaries, acting as interpreters to both parties. We shall record specimens of these as translated for us on the spot. Auna, one of the deacons of the church, said:
66 Brethren, our hearts rejoice exceedingly on account of the great goodness of God in bringing you among us this day. Our hearts are filled with love and affection towards you, though we never saw your faces before yesterday. My tears of gladness almost prevent my saying more. You come from a very far land, on an errand of good-will to us, and we desire that your
visit should be such an one as that of Barnabas to Antioch, who, when he had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they should cleave unto the Lord. We, here, were in darkness, without the knowledge of God or the way of life, when you, in your country, turned your eyes towards us. But it was God who inclined you to think of us, and send teachers to instruct us in the good word, and lead us into the way to heaven. We now, with you, look to that Saviour who gives endless life to those who believe in his name; and we, as well as you, love Him because He first loved us and sought us out when we were running along the road to destruction. We are pleased to find that you have received our little property, which we sent to the Society to help them in causing the word of God to grow in every country;
weary in thus well-doing, but go on and increase in our endeavours, that others may be made as happy as we are. Pray you, dear friends, for us, that we may hold on to the end;
and we pray
that we may
SPEECHES OF NARII AND MAHINE.
and, if at any time we faint in this work, may we remember the word of Him who hath said, 66 Come unto me,
ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Narii, a church-member, next spoke: 66 Friends, elder brethren, fathers ! Peace be unto you, on coming among us, from God and from Jesus Christ! Our prayers have been answered, and you have been brought hither in safety to the delight of our hearts. We long ago learnt that you were on your way, but now we have heard
voices and seen your faces, in the midst of us and our teachers, in the house of our heavenly Father, yours as well as ours. Our faith is confirmed, this day, by hearing from you the same things which we hear from our teachers; because we see that your word and theirs is one. Some of our brethren, who had heard that you were coming, have died without seeing you. It is the goodness of God which has lengthened our breath to bid you welcome. These children, on whom you
love so much to look, we also rejoice to behold alive at this time; they are property given unto us of the Lord, which we dearly prize, and which we are determined to dedicate to him; in former days they might have been all murdered! But they and we now meet you in the temple of Jehovah! Ah! it was not so once. Pray, then, for us, that the Spirit of Christ may dwell in our hearts, and we will pray for you. If we never meet you again on earth, may we meet you, and all our friends beyond the sea, at the right hand of our Redeemer, in the kingdom of God.”
Mahine, king of Maiaoite, then rose and said: were on the brink of the fire of hell, when the first English captain found us; and, when the second came, we were all leaving down the precipice of death. The ship Duff brought us the love of God, and the message of mercy. And yet we continued in the same wicked way.