תמונות בעמוד

and Eimeo. The months of July and August, previous to the date of our letter, had been with us and our poor people a time of trouble and great anxiety. The 14th of July we had set apart as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, and were joined by several hundreds of our people, in seeking mercy and protection from Him who has the hearts of all men in his hands, and to whose control all actions and events are subject. It was 'a day of trouble with us; and we and our persecuted people did call upon Jehovah; and we think there is no presumption in saying, our supplications were regarded, our prayers were answered, and according to his promise, He did send us deliverance,' though not in the way we anticipated or expected.

Those people at Tahiti who had embraced Christianity, having providentially made their escape and joined us at Eimeo, their enemies, as we mentioned before, quarrelled among themselves. The Attehuru party having fought with, and vanquished the Porionnu, Teharoa, &c. they and the Taiarapu party who had assisted them, quarrelled again among themselves, and fought; when the Taiarapuans were conquered, and driven to the mountains. After this there was a prospect of peace being established; and the people who on account of religion had fled to Eimeo to save their lives, were invited to return to Tahiti, and take repossession of their respective lands; those things made it necessary for the king and his people, and most of those about us, to go over to Tahiti

, in company with the different parties of refugees, and, according to an ancient custom of the country, to reinstate them in a formal manner in their old possessions.

On the arrival of the king, and those that followed him, at Tahiti, the idolatrous party appeared on the beach in a hostile manner; seemed determined to oppose the king's landing; and soon fired on his party; but, by the king's strict orders, the fire was not returned, but a message of peace was sent to them, which was productive of the exchange of several messages, and at last apparently issued in peace and reconciliation.

In consequence of this, several of the people returned peaceably to their different lands; but still fears and jealousies existed on both sides, and this state of things continued till Sabbath day Nov. 12th, 1815, when the heathen party taking advantage of the day, and of the time when the king and all the people were assembled for worship, made a furious, sudden, and unexpected assault, thinking they could at such a time easily throw the whole into confusion. They approached with confidence, their prophet having assured them of an easy victory. In this, however, they were mistaken. It happened that we had warned our people before they went to Tahiti of the probability of such a stratagem being practised in case a war should take place; in consequence of which they attended worship under arms; and though at first they were thrown into some coniusion, they soon formed for repelling the assailants : the engagement became warm and furious, and several fell on both sides.

In the king's party there were many of the refugees from the several parties who had not yet embraced Christianity; but our people not de

pending upon them, took the lead in facing the enemy, and as they were not all engaged at once, being among bushes and trees, those that had a few minutes of respite fell on their knees, crying to Jehovah for mercy and protection, and that he would be pleased to support his cause against the idols of the heathen. Soon after the commencement of the engagement, Upufara, the Chief of Papara, (the principal màn on the side of the idolaters,) was killed ; this, as soon as it was known, threw the whole of his party into confusion, and Pomare's party quickly gained a complete victory. However, the vanquished were treated with great lenity and moderation ; 'and Pomare gave strict orders that they should not be pursued, and that the women and children should be well treated. This was complied with; not a woman or child was hurt; nor was the property of the vanquished plundered. The bodies also of those who fell in the engagement, contrary to the former barbarous practice, were decently buried; and the body of the Chief of Papara was taken in a respectful manner to his own land, to be buried there.

These things had a happy effect upon the minds of the idolaters. They unanimously declared that they would trust the gods no longer; that they had deceived them, and sought their ruin; that henceforward they would cast them away entirely, and embrace this new religion, which is so distinguished by its mildness, goodness, and forbearance.

In the evening after the battle the professors of Christianity assembled together to worship and praise Jehovah for the happy turn which their affairs had taken. In this they were joined by many who had till then been the zealous worshippers of the idols. After this, Pomare was by universal consent restored to his former government of Tahiti and its dependencies; since which he has constituted Chiefs in the several districts, some of whom had for a long time made a public profession of Christianity, and had been for many months attending the means of instruction with us at Eimeo.

In consequence of these events, idolatry was entirely abolished both at Tahiti and Eimeo; and we have the great, but formerly unexpected satisfaction, of being able to say, that Tahiti and Eimeo, together with the small islands of Tapuamanu and Teturoa, are now altogether in profession, Christian Islınds. The gods are destroyed, the maries demolished, human sacrifices, and infant murder, we hope, for ever abolished; and the people every where calling upon us to come and teach them.

The Sabbath day is also every where strictly observed, and places for the worship of the true God have been erected, and are now erecting, in every district; and where there is no preaching, the people have prayer-meetings every Sabbath and every Wednesday evening, all round Tahiti and Eimeo.

But this is not all; we have also good news to communicate about the Leeward Islands. Tamatoa, or as he is now called Tapa, tie principal Chief, has also publicly renounced idolatry, and embraced Christianity. His example has been followed by i ost of the ot.ier Chiefs, and a large majority of the people throughout the sour Society Islands, viz. Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, and Borabora. Two Chiefs of Borabora, named Tefaaora and Mai, have distinguished themselve by their zeal in destroying the gods, and erecting a house for the worship of the true God. The Chiefs of these islands have sent letters and repeated messages to us, earnestly entreating us to send some of our number to them, to teach them also: and Mai, a Chief of Borabora, sent us a letter to remind us that Jesus Christ and his apostles did not confine their instructions to one place or country.

A war broke out lately at Raiatea also, one principal cause of which was that Tapa and others had cast away and destroyed the gods. The idolaters were resolved to avenge this, and conseqkently attacked, Tapa and his friends, but were themselves, as at Tahiti, entirely defeated, and afterwards treated with much more lenity than they deserved; but though they were then subdued, yet there is still a party at Raiatea talking of war, and the restoration of the gods ; but it is to be hoped that they will not be able to effect any thing of consequence, as the great majority of the people appear decidedly in favour of Christianity.

Since the above happy change of affairs at Tahiti, brother Nott; at the request of the brethren, went over on a visit to Tahiti, accompanied by brother Hayward. He preached to the people in every district all around the islands. Large congregations assembled with readiness every where, and their attention and behaviour was very encouraging.--At the present time brother Bicknell is there, partly for the purpose of preaching to the people in the different districts, and thinking also that the voyage and journey might be conducive to the restoration of his health, which is much impaired, and has been in a very precarious state for many months past.

The School, notwithstanding former discouragements, has prospered exceedingly, and continues to prosper ; though at present many hundreds of the scholars are scattered through the neighbouring islands, some of whom are teaching others in the different islands and districts where they reside, and thus, through their means, some krowledge of reading and writing has spread far and wide. There are at least 3000 people who have some books, and can make use of them. Many hundreds can read well ; and there are among them about 400 copies of the Old Testament history ; and 400 of the New, which is an abridgment of the four Evangelists, and part of the Acts of the Apostles.—Many chapters of Luke's Gospel in manuscript are also in circulation; and 1000 copies of our Tahitian Catechism, which several hundreds have learnt, and can perfectly repeat. T. Spelling-books which were printed in London, of which we had we suppose about 700, having been expended long ago, we had lately 2000 copies of a lesser Spelling-book printed in the colony. These we have received and distributed; and there is an earnest call from all the islands for more books, the desire to learn to read and write being universal. We want a new edition of the above mentioned books, and are now preparing the Gospel of Luke for the press. We intended to send the Catechism and small Spelling-book to the colony by this conveyance, and get 2000 or 3000 printed ; but having heard that a printing press is sent out for us, we thought it best to wait a while, notwithstanding the urgent call of the natives, as we wish to prevent expense as much as possible.

From a view of our present circumstances, our deficiencies, and the state of the mission, we rejoiced to learn that the Directors thought proper to accede to our request, and to add to our number, and that among those who are intended for these islands, there is a person that understands printing; we hope the others also are such as the present state of the mission particularly requires, and such as we have pointed out in our former letters, viz. such as possess a true missionary spirit, suitable abilities to acquire the language, and to engage in the immediate work of the mission, particularly to assist in the translation of the Scriptures. If this should be the case, and our hope be realized, we and our people will have cause to rejoice for such a timely supply. On the other hand, should the case be reversed, our disappointment and regret will be proportionably great.

The present state of the islands makes us decidedly of opinion that there should be at least two missionary establishments, one for Tahiti and this island, and one for the Leeward Islands ; but we are anxiously looking for the arrival of those brethren said to be coming to us, and for further information and directions from you, so that we may know better how to act.

We enclose another friendly letter of his Exellency Governor Macquarie ; as also a letter from Pomare, concerning his family gods, which have been delivered to us, that we might either destroy them, or, if we think proper, send them to you. We have chosen the latter, and send them by this conveyance, nailed up in a case directed to Mr. Hardcastle. These are the king's family gods, and are a good specimen of the whole. The great national ones, which were of the same kind, only much larger, have been some time ago entirely destroyed. Your brethren, &c. &c.


WILLIAM HENRY, Wm. ASCOE CROOK, Henry Nort, John Davies, Samuel TESSIER,



To the Missionaries. FRIENDS,

May you be saved by Jehovah and Jesus Christ our Saviour. This is my speech to you, my friends. I wish you to send those idols to Britane for the Missionary Society, that they may know the likeness of the gods that Tahiti worshipped. Those were my own idols, belonging to our family from the time of Taaroamanahune*

* Taaroamanahune lived some ages ago, and was one of the ancestors of Pomare's family

even to Variaatoa* : and when he died he left them with me. And now, having been made acquainted with the true God, with Jehovah, He is my God, and when this body of mine shall be dissolved in death may the Three-One save me! And this is my shelter, my close hiding place, even from the anger of Jehovah. When he looks upon me, I will hide me at the feet of Jesus Christ the Saviour, that I may escape. I feel pleasure and satisfaction in my mind; I rejoice, I praise Jehovah, that he hath made known his word unto me. I should have gone to destruction if Jehovah had not interposed.-Many have died and are gone to destruction, kings and common people ; they died without knowing any thing of the true God; and now when it came to the small remainder of the people, Jehovah hath been pleased to make known his word, and we are made acquainted with his good word, made acquainted with the deception of the false gods, with all that is evil and false. The true God Jehovah, it was he that made us acquainted with these things. It was you that taught us; but the words, the knowledge, was from Jehovah. It is because of this that I rejoice, and I pray to Jehovah that he may increase my abhorrence of every evil way. The Three-One, He it is that can make the love of sin to cease ; we cannot effect that; man cannot effect it; it is the work of God to cause evil things to be cast off, and the love of them to cease.

I am going a journey around Tahiti, to acquaint the Ratiras with the word of God, and to cause them to be vigilant about good things. The word of God does grow in Tahiti, and the Raatiras are diligent about setting up houses for worship; they are also diligent in seeking instruction, and now it is well with Tahiti.

That principal idol that has the red feathers of the Otuu is Temeharof ; that is his name, look you, you may know it by the red feathers; that was Vairaatoa's own god, and those feathers were from the ship of Lieut. Watts [in 1788 ;] it was Vairaatoa that set them himself about the idol. If you think proper, you may burn them all in the fire; or, if you like, send them to your country, for the inspection of the people of Europe, that they may satisfy their curiosity, and know Tahiti's foolish gods !

This is also one thing that I want to inquire of you; when I go around Tahita, it may be that the Ratiras and others will ask me to put down their names; what shall I do then? Will it be proper for me to write down their names? It is with you—you are our teachers, and you are to direct us.-We have had our prayer-meeting the beginning of this month, February ; it was at Homai-au-Vahi; the Ratiras and all the people of the district assembled, leaving their houses without people. They said to me, “ Write down our

Vairaatoa, one of the names of old Pomare, the king's father, and though a friend to the Missionaries, yet he was a most zealous advocate for the gods, and the old religion.

† Temebaro was one of the principal family gods of the royal family of Tahiti ; but Oro was the principal national god, and to him alone human sacrifices were offered, at least in modern times. Temeharo is said to have a brother called Tia: these were famous men deified after their death.

« הקודםהמשך »