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That time, however, is past.
The grace of God has turned our feet into the paths of peace and endless life. We never thought of looking to Him; we desired neither Him nor his salvation; but He sought us, He called us, and He made us to hear his voice. We, old people, well remember what we formerly were. We hated, and hunted, and killed one another. We once fed on husks, but now we feast on the ripe bread-fruit of the word of Christ. Through God's love alone that word was brought to us, by our kind friends and teachers, who leaped hither over the tops of the breaking waves to help us. May we, then, be faithful and steadfast to the end; never may you hear, after your return to Britain, that we have gone back to our evil ways; never may you have cause to exclaim
-- Behold, the land which we so much rejoiced to see is become a land to be sorrowed and wept over!' This is truly a harvest of joy. We have long waited for it, and it is come at length. I am an aged man, and I trust I am going to Jesus : had I died before I saw your faces, I should not have died so happily as I shall now.” Teaua, one of the raatiras, made the following remarks: Friends, you have come from a very far
country, out of love to our kings and chiefs, and to us, raatiras, and to all our people. By the goodness of God you are come. We did not love you ; we did not send any body to you to shew
kindness. We never had such friends before. The former king of Tahiti saw your former brethren and died. He is no more; but we live to see you among us and our rulers; and, having seen you, they and we rejoice and are happy together. Our kings are glad; our chiefs are glad ; our raatiras are glad; our people are glad; and we all bid you, our two elder brethren, welcome to Huahine, with praise and thanksgiving to Jehovah, for conducting you safely hither.”
THE RIGHT HAND OF FELLOWSHIP.
It may be observed, that these four persons addressed us, in the name of the respective ranks which they represented. They all spoke with ease, animation and fluency. No translation can be expected to convey more than the sentiments that were delivered, which, clothed in their native idioms, possessed a grace and simplicity not easily transferable into the diction of a more polished tongue. After these addresses we signified our willingness to give, to all who desired it, the right hand of fellowship, on behalf of the London Missionary Society, and in the name of the whole Christian world, which was deeply interested in the extension of its borders over the isles of the Pacific Ocean. The kind and ingenuous people were delighted with this token of our friendship, and all the congregation, in classes, according to their standings in the church, down to the Sunday-school children, came in due order to take their share in this hearty testimonial of good will, which, however long and wearisome, under other circumstances, it might have been, was truly gratifying to our purest feelings, and was evidently felt in the same way by all our Huahine brethren and sisters.
We spent the evening with our Missionary friends at the house of Mr. Ellis. Here a man and a woman came in, and, sitting down upon the floor, told us that they had enjoyed so much happiness at the public meeting that they could not go to rest, that night, without coming to
We questioned them upon several passages of Scripture, to prove their religious knowledge, when their answers were not only generally correct, but shewed that they had diligently read and considered those portions of holy writ which have been rendered into their native tongue.
Dec. 8. At six o'clock this morning we visited the VOL. 1.
SCANDALOUS REPORTS OF VISITORS.
schools, and were surprised to find two large rooms well filled; the one appropriated to men and boys, the other to women and girls, all attentive to their teachers, and employed upon their various branches of learning. Among the rest were the old king Mahine and his queen, who, with their class-fellows, were conning their Scripture lessons verse by verse, and answering interrogatories which were put to them as they proceeded. This is the exercise of every morning in the week, except Saturday and Sunday. Some were learning their letters, others spelling, many eading, and several were writing.
Mai, king of Borabora, has arrived here from Tahiti, with tidings of the death of Pomare, on Friday last. The island was in great sorrow and anxiety. Many rumours were afloat, and fears excited as to the result of this momentous event. The mission is in the hand of God, and we are content that He should do what seemeth Him good with his own work and his own servants.
Dec. 10. To shew how little confidence is to be placed in the reports of worldly-minded strangers, who visit these islands, and are ill disposed towards the moral revolution which has taken place since the old licentious times, we state the following circumstances. Captain R. having given out that one of the principal chiefs here had asked him for rum, which is a prohibited liquor,—on investigation of the fact we found that the chief had enquired if he had any wine, the Missionaries having advised him to obtain some, to take medicinally. The captain thereupon insidiously set before him a glass of rum, which the honest man, as soon as he perceived to be spirit, set down upon the table, and resolutely refused to taste it, notwithstanding the importunity of the captain. This makes us suspect the truth of the strange affair which was told us as having happened at
is not a
Tituroa.- Too many seamen, who touch at these islands, expecting to revel, as of old, in all manner of impurity, are ready, in their rage and disappointment, to propagate the most atrocious slanders against these islanders and their Christian instructors, through whose influence they are almost wholly prevented from alluring females on board their vessels. A Captain P., of the ship W., was so horribly provoked, when he was off here, that he threatened to fire a broadside, at his departure, on the innocent inhabitants, because they were more virtuous than himself, impudently telling them, that if any of them were killed the Missionaries must bear the blame. While this profiligate fellow was lately at Eimeo, he wrote a letter to a brother captain, at Tahiti, at the foot of which was this postscript: “ This is a desperately wicked island; there to be had for love or money.”
These things would be too disgusting to record, but truth and justice require that the British public should know of what spirit those men are who bring home evil reports of these Christian converts, and vilify the change of character and manners wrought by the gospel upon these quondam idolaters, who then were all that reprobate visitors could desire, and now are all that they hate.
We took a walk this evening up the side of the mountain. Many traces of houses are scattered abroad, the foundations of which only remain. At a considerable height are the ruins of a marae. Here, as in Eimeo and Tahiti, we find similar proofs of a population, in former years, far more abundant than at present. Huahine was subjected to the same devastating system of superstition and licentiousness as the other islands. There was not, indeed, comparatively, so much of war, human sacrifice, and pestilent disease, but infanticide was awfully frequent.
POMARE'S LAST INJUNCTIONS.
An old chief informs us, that his father told him this was a modern practice, resorted to by the women to prolong a youthful and attractive appearance, which they supposed would be lost, if they suckled their offspring; and the innovation was sanctioned by the chiefs, in regard to their own children, the fruit of unequal marriages, to preserve a pure and legitimate lineage of aristocracy. The Areois destroyed their children, because they would not be encumbered with them in pursuing their migratory habits; and girls were more especially made away with than boys, because it was very troublesome to rear them—the abominable proscription of the female sex requiring that their food should be dressed in separate ovens from that of their fathers, and brothers, their husbands and male kindred.
We have just learnt that Pomare, before his demise, nominated his son, an infant of eighteen months, to be his successor; and also appointed the queen, (the boy's mother) her sister, Pomare Vahine, and five principal chiefs of Tahiti, to be a regency during the long minority to come; he had further directed that the young king should be solemnly crowned in the European manner, and requested that all the Missionaries would attend, and take their part in the ceremony. Pomare's dying charge was, _“If my son grow up a good man, receive him as your king; if a bad one, banish him to Huahine !" He requested that his queen and her sister would continue to reside in Tahiti with his successor ; but if they should ever remove to Huahine (of which Pomare Vahine is queen) then that they would take his bones along with them. These things he carefully settled with his chiefs the day before his death. He likewise expressed anxious concern for the prosperity of the religion of the gospel among his people, to the last; enjoining all classes to give