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engirdled by the winding shore, or leaning against the dark-blue heaven, where distant uplands, with their green declivities, and craggy summits, looked down from the very firmament upon the puny eminence on which we had taken our stand, and where we felt ourselves at a giddy height, so little were we, individually, amidst grandeur and beauty so overwhelming. In the scene beneath, the coral barrier, rising from unfathomable darkness, to “ the warm precincts of the cheerful day,” and stretching across the harbour, formed a conspicuous object. On this, the ocean-billows broke in foaming light, while smooth within, the bright lagoon lay calm and exquisitely pictured with patches of landscape, shapes of floating clouds, broad paths of sunshine, and clear depths of downward sky, reflected from its surface. Our companions told us that, in their days of ignorance, they believed the long rough coral reef to be a rib of one of the gods, but how it came there, they did not pretend to know. We explained to them, as well as we could, how these marvellous structures are formed by multitudes on multitudes of the feeblest things that have life, through ages working together, and in succession, one mighty onward purpose of the eternal God; while each poor worm, among the millions which perhaps an angel could not count, is merely performing the common functions of its brief existence, and adding, perhaps, but a grain to a mass of materials which, in process of time, may fill up the bed of the Pacific Ocean, and convert it into a habitable continent. We shewed them how thus the motus had been gradually raised above the flood, and become lovely spots of verdure, capable of maintaining both animals and men; producing trees for food and for building; as well as plants to nourish hogs and fowls, or sheep and cattle, such as had been introduced into Eimeo, and
TEA-DRINKING IN HUAHINE.
might hereafter be bred in all the fertile islands of this southern hemisphere. This turn of the conversation led us to speak of our wells, and the depth to which we must often penetrate to obtain water; also of our mines, and coal-pits, which sometimes were extended even under the sea, as well as sunk into stupendous caverns, in the hearts and beneath the foundations of the highest hills. They listened with patient but gratified curiosity; and informed us that when our countrymen first visited their shores, they thought that England must be a poor hungry place, since the people sailed so far to obtain their abundant and delicious food; nay, they used to wonder much that king George had not long ago come hither himself, as he must have tasted or been told of their fine pork.
On our return to the house, the raatiras were again drawn up to honour our entrance, holding their war-spears, as ensigns of dignity, in their hands, there being happily now none but holiday use for such barbarous weapons here. These persons are the possessors of landed estates in capite. . They are an important class of the community, and well aware of their importance. In their public speeches they compare the island to a canoe upon the ocean. The king is the mast, and they (the raatiras) are the ropes by which it is supported and the sails are managed. While the ropes continue good the mast is strong, and winds and waves in vain would overset the vessel of the state. Tea was now served to us, in the English manner, with all the complete apparatus of cups and saucers, teapot, caddy, tray, spoons,
, &c., all which had been purchased from ships touching on the coast. Fried bananas and sea-biscuits were handed round, and nothing that hospitality, in such a place, could offer was withheld from us. After tea a prayer-meeting was proposed and gladly acceded to.
PIOUS PRACTICES OF CHRISTIAN NATIVES.
humbling and heart-cheering sight to behold all these ruling personages joining in such an act of devotion, and pouring out their souls in fervent supplication before the King of kings. Nor let it be imagined that these are insignificant barbarians vested with a little brief authority. No European potentate possesses the despotic sway which they once exercised; and, in their evangelized state, their conduct and demeanour, as rulers and ministers of secular government, becomes them well, and would adorn more polished and splendid courts in all that constitutes simple dignity and honest courtesy. King Mahine, being first called upon to engage in prayer, requested his nephew to give out a hymn and read a chapter in one of the gospels, which the youth did with great modesty and seriousness. Mahine then offered up an extemporaneous prayer with natural fluency and deep pathos. A hymn, in English, and a chapter in the same, were afterwards sung and read, when Mr. Tyerman prayed, in his native tongue, for all blessings, spiritual and temporal, according to their wants, upon the sovereigns and their subjects here and through all the groups of isles adjacent. The domestics were all present at this family service. Wherever the Christian native of these newly-enlightened lands builds an house, like Abraham of old he raises an altar there, and, with his household, calls upon the name of the Lord.—After much interesting conversation, at the close of the evening we retired, equally edified and charmed with our visit. The soldiers and raatiras - had remained at their posts all the while, and so soon as we had reached the foot of the hill a farewell volley of musketry was fired.
Dec. 14. The more we consider it, the more marvellous in our eyes becomes the change which the gospel—the great power of God indeed !-has wrought in the hearts
CHANGES WROUGHT BY THE GOSPEL.
and minds of these people. Meekness, gentleness, generosity, are their leading characteristics. They seem incapable of a cruel deed, owing to principles engrafted upon the once harsh but now regenerated stock of nature, which forbid every act of injustice, and are favourable only to kindness, forbearance, and forgiveness of wrongs. It is hard, perhaps impossible, for British Christians to divest themselves entirely of those feelings of horror with which they are wont to look upon murderers, adulterers, and criminals of the foulest die in their own country, when they judge of heathen and savages, who formerly were all these, and worse than may be named in the ear-however holy, harmless, and exemplary may be the lives they now are leading in the fear of God and in charity with all mankind. Though such converts give every testimony, that men can give, of “ being born again of water and the Spirit,” yet even experienced “ masters of Israel,” when they hear the report thereof, are ready to exclaim, with Nicodemus, “ How can these things be?” We answer, they are; and “the day will declare it.” A man called upon us to offer a small present. In conversation with him we were struck with the humility, kindness, and devotional spirit which he manifested. On enquiry, afterwards, it appeared that this very person had been one of the most savage and less of his species so long as he remained an idolater and a warrior. On one occasion, having been sent by Pomare to destroy an enemy, he went, surprised his victim, ripped him up alive, and actually left the wretched man on the spot after his bowels had been torn out—the assassin not having mercy enough to put him out of torture by another stroke. After their ferocious conflicts were over, the conquerors were wont to pile the slain in heaps, with their heads towards the mountains and their feet towards
SHOCKING PRACTICES OF THE OLD IDOLATERS. 211
Next morning they would visit the carcases to wreak the impotence of an unappeasable vengeance upon them, by mangling and polluting them in the most shocking ways that brute cruelty or demoniac frenzy could devise. One would turn up the face of a slaughtered enemy, and, grinning with fiend-like malice at it, would exclaim, " Aha! you killed my father at such a place; now I will punish you!” Another would say to a putrifying corpse, “ You robbed me of my wife; and now I will have my revenge." Then they would mutilate the limbs, and trample them in the dust, cut off the head, pound it to pulp, dry it in the sun, and, when converted to powder, scatter it on the wind; sometimes even, we have been assured, they would prepare the body itself in such manner that it became parched up like leather, and then they would wear it over their own shoulders, in the manner of one of their tibutas, thrusting their head through a hole made for the purpose, the arms and legs dangling down, before and behind, till the loathsome envelope dropped, piecemeal, from their backs. Their outrages upon the women and children, both living and dead, of their vanquished foes, when they sacked their dwellings, cannot be described. If the enlightened Greeks and the heroic Romans, in their heathen state, were without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful,” what better could be the ignorant barbarians of the South Seas, insulated as they had been, till our own times, from all communication with civilized nations ? And if some of those Romans, afterwards, through “ obedience to the faith,” were “ called of Jesus Christ,” and “ beloved of God;" and if many of those Greeks were "sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints," who shall doubt that these “ Gentiles in the flesh,” 6 aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in