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be required in a “physician” (Col. iv. 14.) John, singularly perspicuous and uniformly benevolent. Peter, whose soul glowed with the most ardent zeal for the diffusion of the gospel : and Paul, a man of the most exalted genius, a great orator, and eminently acquainted with Grecian and Hebrew literature. Assuredly these were authors, infinitely
“ Above all Greek, above all Roman fame !"
8. Means of Preservation. What an ample theme of disquisition we have in this particular alone : the transmission and preservation of the Holy Writings! By what singular means they have been kept from century to century, throughout various nations; and in what condition we now have them, as contrasted with their original character when first published ! On the footing of infidelity, the very existence of the Bible at this period of the world's history, is really inexplicable.
A sort of national book-chest was provided by the Hebrews at the express command of the Almighty. It was made of a measurement given with the utmost precision-Exod. xxv. 10-16; and of materials the most durable. The scripture history of the “ Ark of the Covenant” is replete with instruction; and its minute investigation, throughout the period of the sacred story, might be made a very interesting and valuable juvenile exercise! Nor must be forgotten, the subsequent corroborative fact of " sacred chests” by other nations in ancient times, noticed by various travellers and historians.
In the times of the Prophets, articles of pottery, Jer. xxxii. 34, were employed for the preservation of written documents.
But there were “ libraria” of a certain character; for sometimes we read of “ House of Rolls,” Ez. vi. 1; or the Royal Library at Babylon, and the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia, Ezek. x. 2; relative to the composition of which some very interesting particulars may be seen in Dr. A. Clarke.
J. W. Broughton Cottage.
LINES ON THE SABBATH.
A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands, with remarks upon the Natural History of the Islands, Origin, Languages, Traditions, and Usages of the Inhabitants, by John Williams, of the London Missionary Society. Published for the Author, by J. Snow, Paternoster Row, and J. R. Leifchild,
Piccadilly. London, 1837. We have heard this delightful book complained of for want of literary skill in the composition and getting up of the work; and it must be owned that the volume in itself might admit of improvement by compression of the details, and a more orderly arrangement of the materials. But then, by this improving process the book would lose far more than it would gain. It would cease to be what it now so beautifully is, most characteristic of its simple-minded author, and his noble enterprises. He narrates his labours, as he performed them, in his own way, and such a book as this could only be produced by the man who could voyage and travel, labour and dare, as its author has done. To our minds there is a life and charm in these artless, unvarnished narratives and descriptions fresh from nature and from truth, which the smooth accuracy of art would destroy, without any adequate compensation in the superior literary merit it might impart. Nor indeed is the work destitute of passages of vigorous thought and expression, and it has many vivid descriptions of scenery, and many lively dramatic narratives of incident and affairs, in which character is most naturally displayed. Notwithstanding occasional obscurity and confusion in the course of the narrative, it is a book which interests and delights the reader, both by the intrinsic importance of its facts, and by the lively, plain, and free manner in which they are communicated. To say the truth, we are charmed with the book, and though we sat down to read it with a view to prepare a critique upon it, we have no heart for any such cold, professional treatment of a volume which ought rather to be read, that the mind may be filled with gratitude, joy, and zea!. By many thousands we hope it will be so read, and exert a wide and powerful influence in promoting the missionary spirit and operations of our favoured age.
There is no circumstance connected with the modern missionary enterprise which more unequivocally displays the hand of God in it, or on which its friends may look with more satisfaction, than the eminent, devoted, and able men who have been raised up to carry it on. Among them the author of this work is entitled to a high place. He is a man of large views, great courage, strong sense, and eminently practical talents, and all his qualifications are dedicated to his work with most simple-minded, thorough consecration.
He was besides exactly fitted for the sphere of service in which he has laboured ; just as well qualified to be the maritime apostle of the South Sea Islands, as was Morrison to be the translator of the Chinese Scriptures. His spirit of enterprise, his frank and cordial demeanour, his ready talent for mechanical contrivance, his energy to sustain great exertions and hardships, all united to fit him for navigating the glorious Pacific, for carrying the gospel from group to group of its fair islands, and for exerting influence over the minds of their rude but intelligent inhabitants. Every page of the book affords proof of this, while the whole volume abounds also with the most varied information concerning the people, and the most animating details of the success that has crowned the introduction of the gospel among them.
The first great point, the first in importance which Mr. Williams brings distinctly before the view of his readers is the existence in the islands of the Pacific of two distinct, widely spread, numerous races of people. The Malay or Asiatic Polynesians, inhabiting the more easterly islands and groups, from New Zealand in the southern, to the Sandwich Islands in the northern Pacific; and the Negro Polynesians, a gigantic, fierce, and savage race, occupying the Westerly Islands and groups from the Fijis to the coast of New Holland. We shall therefore offer no apology for the length of the following quotations, because the first paragraph, marked with italics by us, explains that wise and just view of the missionary field in the islands of the Pacific, which fixing itself firmly in Mr. Williams's mind, originated and guided all his noble exertions narrated in this volume; and because the rest of the extract gives a summary and most soul-exhilarating view of the successes already realized among the Asiatic Polynesians; and of the further exertions, hereafter, and we trust, soon to be made in that other vast, and as yet, unoccupied field of labour among the Negro tribes of Polynesians.
“ Notwithstanding all that has been effected in the Tahitian and Society Islands, in transforming their barbarous, indolent, and idolatrous inhabitants into a comparatively civilized, industrious, and Christian people, I never considered this group alone as worthy the lives and labours of the number of missionaries who have been employed there. It is only by viewing the Tahitian Mission as a fountain from whence the streams of salvation are to flow to the numerous islands and clusters scattered over that extensive ocean, that we can perceive it to be worthy of the importance that has been attached to it, or of the labour and erpense which the London Missionary Society has bestowed on it. To this mission, however, considered in its relation to other islands, too much importance cannot be attached; for, in addition to the numerous islands now professedly Christian, there are, within a comparatively short distance, many large and extensive groups, of which little is known. Among these are the Fiji, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, Solomon's Archipelago, New Britain, New Ireland, and, above all, the immense island of New Guinea. This island is said to be 1200 miles in length, and, in some parts, about 300 in breadth. It is reported to be a most beautiful island, rich in all the productions of a tropical climate, inhabited by several millions of immortal beings, suffering all the terrific miseries of a barbarous state, and dying without a knowledge of God, or the Gospel of his Son. The Fiji is an extensive group, said to comprise from 100 to 200 islands, which vary in size from 5 to 500 miles in circumference-all teeming with inhabitants, in the most degraded and wretched state of barbarism.
“These various islands and clusters are inbabited by distinct tribes, diverse from each other in appearance and habits, but principally by those of the degro race. They are men of immense stature, with black complexion, spreading noses, and curly hair ; decidedly distinct from those inhabiting all the islands to the eastward, who are distinguished by their light copper colour, Malay countenance, and straight hair. I sincerely hope that the London, or some other Missionary Society, or the Societies unitedly, will adopt some effective measures, by which these extensive and inviting fields may be brought under moral culture. It will, no doubt, be attended with much danger, as some of the inhabitants are cannibals of the worst character; others of ferocious habits and cruel practices, using poisoned arrows, and poisoning the very food they bring to sell, and even the water which is taken from their shores; whilst others are wild in their manners, and kind in their treatment of strangers. The adventurous trader, however, braves all these dangers ; and shall the devoted missionary of the Cross, whose object infinitely surpasses in importance that of the merchant, and who professes to be influenced by motives of a higher order, be afraid to face them ? Has he not the arm of Omnipotence for his protection, and the promises of a faithful God for his encouragement?”— pp. 6–8.
We most cordially concur in these views and hopes. We long for the time when the adventurous author will be again employed in exploring these islands, and conveying to them European and native missionaries. It was actuated by these views that Mr. Williams built at Rarotonga his “ Messenger of Peace," and performed those voyages and labours, of which this volume contains the delightful narrative. Not only what has been accomplished in the various groups of smaller Polynesian islands by the missionaries of the London Society, and their brethren from America, but the successes of the Church missionaries in New Zealand among the fiercest of the tribes, of Malay features and origin, encourage hope, that when the blessed gospel is introduced among the immense nation of negro Polynesians, inhabiting such delightful regions, and spreading so wide over the western part of the glorious Pacific, they too will come under the power of the blessed gospel, when their civilization will follow of course; becoming Christians, they will become men also ; the arts, the comforts, the virtues, of cultivated human nature will be grafted on the rude stock of their now savage state, as has proved the case in so many recent, happy instances. We long to hear of missions and missionary triumphs among the Negro Polynesians. As this is the great and glorious missionary object, not only of Mr. Williams's book, but of his life; as to promote it, his visit to his native land, and all his journies and labours since he arrived, have been devoted ; and as he proposes to return to the far remote Pacific and consecrate his future days and energies to the noble work of carrying onward the gospel from Western to Eastern Polynesia, we extract another passage of his book which brings the subject in a condensed and powerful manner before the mind of the reader. We do this from zeal to promote Mr. Williams's grand design. We are anxious his book should not be read for amusement and gratification merely, though in this view it is more delightful than fictions framed for no higher purpose; nor for interest and thankfulness merely in the past triumphs of the gospel
in the South Sea Islands, though he can be no Christian who can read the book without those emotions; but that it may direct forward the views of British Christians to new fields of labour, spreading wide, and inviting their approach; to new triumphs more extensive than the first, but to which the first have opened the way, and furnished the encouragement.
“I have already stated that the numerous isles of the Pacific are peopled by two races of men, who, although possessing many characteristics in common, exhibit many traces of a distinct origin. This clearly appears in their physical conformation, colour, and language. The one race is allied to the negro, having a herculean frame, a black skin, and woolly, or rather crisped hair; while the hair of the other is bright, lank, and glossy, the skin of light copper colour, and the face resembling that of the Malay. The latter inhabit Eastern Polynesia, which includes the Sandwich, the Murquesan, the Puumotu, the Tahitian and Society, the Austral, the Hervey, the Navigators, the Friendly Islands, New Zealand, and all the smaller islands in their respective vicinities; while the former race, which we may designate the Polynesian Negro, is found from the Fijis, the coast of New Holland, which, for the sake of distinction, we shall call Western Polynesia. It will appear then that the natives on the eastern part of New Holland, and the intertropical islands within thirty degrees east of it, including New Guinea, New Britain, the Archipelago of Lousiade, Solomon's Isles, New Caledonia, the New Hebrides, and the Fijis, differ essentially from the copper-coloured inhabitants of the other Islands. There is, indeed, in most of the islands, a partial intermixture of these races; but the great mass of the people clearly exbibits the distinction I have made. Hitherto missionary labours have been entirely confined to the copper-coloured natives. We have now, however, proceeded so far west, as to reach the negro race, and our next effort will be to impart the same blessings to them. To this we are encouraged by the fact, and a fuct more interesting can scarcely be found, that nearly the whole nation of Polynesian Asiatics is now converted to the Christian faith."--pp. 501-2.
How would the heart of Dr. Haweis, the father and stedfast patron of the mission to the South Seas, have rejoiced to read the closing sentences we have marked with italics. The largest expectations of that eminent man, and his great associates, are now probably surpassed. Our own may be equally exceeded by the events and triumphs of the next forty years. In that term the missionaries in the South Seas may be pushing on their triumphs westward through the nation of Polynesian negroes, till, from evangelized New Guinea, they press on through the Indian Isles for the ports of China; while our missionaries in India urge their eastward course across the Ganges, through the kingdoms of Siam and Burmah, may shout to their associates, meeting them in an opposite direction from far remote regions, for a united effort on the last strong holds of idolatry left in our world. We could not have satisfied conscience without pointing out the commanding position of our most important mission to the South Seas; and the demands arising out of its present prospects on the future energies and efforts of our British churches. The church, or rather Christendom, lost not only the world, but herself, by fifteen hundred years of apathy and indolence. Her glory and increase will be the reward of her reviving energy, enterprise, and zeal. We trust the wide circulation of this spirit-stirring volume will be one means of raising to a higher tone