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than it has ever yet reached, the missionary zeal of our favoured country and age. But we must now hasten to notice more briefly other points of the work under review, which, if we cannot enlarge upon, we must not altogether omit.
How much have we heard from certain parties, who claim high superiority in wisdom and piety too, of the mis-directed efforts of our missionaries in these beautiful islands, and among their interesting inhabitants! We have been told, that the missionaries would rob the natives of all their innocent amusements, and subject them to general gloom and austerity. That they teach their disciples nothing but to sing psalms and repeat catechisms and prayers. That whatever might exalt these fine islanders to the industry, advantages, and knowledge of civilized life, is utterly neglected by these emissaries of puritanical fanaticism. And the conclusion sometimes expressed, sometimes implied, has generally been, that it was in an evil day, our missionaries disturbed the poor Polynesians in their gay and joyous idolatry. All this is superlatively Christian, to be sure; and about as true as it is candid. Let any one read this honest, simple book; he will find it equally devoid of exaggeration and of art. He will feel, as he reads it, that the author is telling the truth. Imposition, concealment, invention cannot be made to speak the language of ingenuous nature, such as is here employed. And what will he find? Such passages as the following. Closing some explanations which he has given of two very pleasing engravings, representing his own, and Mr. Buzacott's houses, he says,
“ It was my determination, when I originally left England, to have as respectable a dwelling as I could erect, for the missionary does not go to barbarize himself, but to civilize the heathen. He ought not, therefore, to sink down to their standard, but to elevate them to his.”-P. 475.
The following is an account of the author's advice to the native teachers in one of the Navigators' Islands :
“ The remaining part of the day was spent in conversing with the teachers upon various important topics. One subject considered was, the propriety of removing some of the missionaries to other parts of the Island, or to Upolu; and after much consultation, we determined that they had hetter remain together at present, and itinerate as much as practicable; but as there was so much danger in sailing among the islands in the Samoa canoes, it was resolved that they should immediately build a large boat, which they could accomplish with ease, as Te-ava had brought with him a pair of smith's bellows, and as I could furnish them with iron and a saw. They completed their task in a few weeks; and the boat has proved invaluable in their labours. As it was our invariable practice to impart all the mechanical knowledge we could to our native missionaries, before we took them to their stations, they experienced no difficulty in effecting this iniportant object. A second topic was the erection of a good substantial chapel, as a model for all the other settlements. I gave a decided preference to the Samoa buildings, as more substantial, and better adapted for places of Worship, than the Tahitian; the latter being long and narrow, the former nearly round. Besides this, the natives know how to build their own houses, but not such as the Tahitian, the erection of which the teachers would be required, not only to superintend, but in a great measure to complete with their own hands. I also recommended them to plaster it, to fir doors and Venetian windows, and to cover the floor with good mats, in order to impress the natives with the importance of the object to which it was set apart. Another very important point considered was, the extent to which the teachers
should advise the chiefs who became Christians to interfere with the amusements of the people. I gave it as my opinion that they ought to prohibit all the exhibitions which were infamous and obscene; but that their sham fights, fencing matches, erercises in darting the spear, pigeon-catching, and other pastimes which were not immoral, had better be tolerated; persuaded, that when the Christian religion was embraced from a conviction of its spiritual nature and excellence, those of them that were improper would soon fall into disuse."--pp. 439–441.
We find the intelligent author, in various parts of his work, expressing the most sound opinions, as well as the greatest anxiety on points connected with the civilization, commerce, and temporal welfare of the converted islanders. He displays his practical good sense in the remarks that the islanders will be more profitably employed in raising raw produce to barter for European fabrics, than in attempting manufactures of their own; that in endeavouring to instruct the natives in any of the more simple mechanical processes, less complex instruments and modes of work will be found preferable to our newly invented methods, which require a division of labour, and a degree of skill and resource, not to be found among these rude sons of nature. But we are almost ashamed to point out. these practical refutations, supplied by actual facts, of the envious charges brought against our honoured brethren, by those who begrudge to others the honour of a work they will themselves neither undertake nor assist. The only reply these censurers deserve is, go yourselves and conduct missions on your own superior plans, both to rescue the heathen from our incompetent hands, and to show us your more excellent way, that if you cannot drive us from the field, you may at least teach us how to cultivate it to good purpose.
There is nothing in the happy results of successful missions to the heathen which goes more directly and powerfully to the heart, than the immediate, certain rescue of the female sex from brutal degradation and tyranny. This touches every natural feeling, every Christian sensibility. On this every thoughtful mind, every humane heart, dwells with unmixed satisfaction. If the treatment of women, enjoined or produced by idolatry and Christianity respectively, stood alone, the single contrast by which to test the nature and character of the two systems, it would itself be decisive; it would brand the one as the offspring of depravity, it would prove the other to be an emanation from benignity. Glorious for woman, and therefore for man, is the tendency of the great missionary enterprise. Whats ever is pure in morals, sweet in social affections, happy in domestic order, useful in early training, in first impressions, in the formation of character, all depends on woman. He does not deserve the endearments of mother or wife, daughter or sister, whose heart does not glow and exult when he reads how successfully Christian missions have in every clime, amongst every race of idolaters, elevated and purified women, established them in the respect and affections of the men, and brought them to occupy the all-important station intended for them in human society. Delightful are the details given by Mr. Williams, on the happy change wrought by the Gospel in favour of our Christian sisters in Polynesia. : . Every successive year is adding to the cumulative proofs that VOL. I. N.S.
missions to the heathen are life, and health, and salvation to the christian church. Some work replete with interest, some character of commanding qualities, the missionary work is continually bringing before public observation to move, to convince, to delight every christian heart. The grandeur of the object, and the various interest of its details, supply safe and salutary exercise for the imagination, a faculty which in religion cannot be neglected with safety. The very nature of the enterprise tends to correct and humanize the theology of all evangelical believers. The generous affections, and the benevolent spirit it awakens, unite minds, soften tempers, place differences of sentiment in the shade, and gather together differing Christians in peace and love. The sacrifices, the consecration, the enterprise it demands, awaken and employ the noblest virtues. The appeals it urges, grounded on the purest motives, to every individual Christian for his personal aid, extends its impulse and its benefits over the whole church. Such a book we are now reviewing - such a character is Mr. Williams. Nothing but the missionary enterprise could have produced either. The man and his communications have done, and will do, good to tens of thousands of his countrymen. In these his native Western Isles, as well as in his adopted southern groups, it is his honour to diffuse the highest blessings. Here, to elevate Christians: there, to produce them. To be a conductor of the sympathies of believers, and of the benefits of the gospel from one hemisphere to another. For the spread of the Christian religion in one region first springs out of, and then in its turn promotes the revival of it in another.
We cannot discuss, and yet must not pass over unnoticed, the author's observations on the geological structure of the islands of the Pacific. Profound scientific disquisitions would be out of place in a work like this; and the writer's heart and head, time and hands, have been too faithfully consecrated to his proper work, to allow of his either acquiring the knowledge, or pursuing the observations, necessary for them. But this we must say, Mr. Williams's remarks on this interesting subject display strong sense, an active and inquisitive mind, and very respectable general knowledge of science; and both his facts and his reasonings are worthy the consideration of those whose higher scientific attainments would enable them to make the best use of his materials. We own ourselves but indifferently qualified to pursue a discussion on the subject, even if our limits allowed, or our object required it. . We feel confident that we have few readers, who will not also be readers of his delightful book. The Christian who does not peruse it, subjects himself to loss and injury. For ourselves, we avow that Mr. Williams, and his Messenger of Peace, and his voyages from island to island, and his native converts, have established themselves in our lasting recollections and sympathy. We confess without a blush, the deep emotion with which we heard him in Exeter Hall announce the tidings which we feared were but too true, “that his dear little ship" was wrecked on a reef. He may, and we trust will, build a larger and a better ; but the enterprise and the interest of this first naval effort can never be repeated. The Messenger of
Peace was worth a score such essays as the first boat built by Peter the Great.
Who does not regard with pious envy, if such a thing there be, the man who could write the following paragraph, and yet wish he may hereafter be able to write many more such ?
“In reference also to Rarotonga, I cannot forbear drawing a contrast between the state of the inhabitants, when I first visited them, in 1823, and that in which I left them, in 1834. In 1823, I found them all heathens; in 1834, they were all professing Christians. At the former period, I found them with idols and maraes; these, in 1834, were destroyed, and, in their stead, there were three spacious and substantial places of Christian worship, in which congregations, amounting to six thousand persons, assembled every Sabbath day. I found them without a written language; and left them reading in their own tongue
the wonderful works of God.' I found them without the Sabbath ; and when I left them no manner of work was done during that sacred day. When I found them, in 1823, they were ignorant of the nature of Christian worship; and when I left them, in 1834, I am not aware that there was a house in the island where family worship was not observed every morning, and every evening. I speak not this boastingly; for our satisfaction arises not from receiving such honours, but in casting them at the Saviour's feet; ' for his arm hath gotten him the victory,' and 'HE SHALL BEAR THE GLORY.'”-pp. 572, 3.
Friendly Letters to the Society of Friends, on some of their distin
guishing Principles. By Ralph Wardlan, D.D. 12mo. pp. 382.
Glasgow and London. 1836. “ To the law, and to the testimony.” This is the motto of Protestantism : the motto of dissent from the established church; and it ought, as a principle of action, to be carried out into practical effect, by all who profess and call themselves Christians. But this has not been the case. Sects have set up their own standards of truth, to which their ardent adherents have been wont to make their unquestioning and unreasoning appeal as to infallible rules of allperfect rectitude ; and loud has been the murmuring, and dire the clangor, of the spears, shields, and battle-axes of the spiritual armoury, when a determination has been expressed to test principles, doctrines, ordinances, and moral conduct by a different, and the only authoritative standard - the word of God. .
There were few charges brought against the church of Rome by the Reformers, which were not well sustained, and certainly none was better substantiated than this, that that church assumed the right of determining all controversies, and regulating all discipline, by her own authority, instead of the authority of God's word. It was admitted by that church, that from her decision there lay no appeal: and he who presumed to make scripture, and not the church, his supreme judge in all doubtful matters, exposed himself to the frowns of the priest, the curse of the bishops, the ban of the Pope, and the sword of the civil magistrate. The Romish Church believed that none could be safe who were without her favoured enclosure. She therefore, acted consistently when she employed every means to reclaim the wanderer, and to punish, for the sake of a salutary warning to others, the contumacions heretic. By a bigotted priesthood, and an ignorant people, the assumption of infallibility was readily admitted; and did a similar ignorance and bigotry prevail at the present day, a similar assumption, whether by the church of Rome, or by some other church, would not be made in vain. But tempora mutantur: and yet we should be in error, were we to imagine that the claim to infallibility, by a dictator to conscience merely human, is altogether in abeyance. For as it is said by the votaries of the church of Rome that she is infallible, so it has been, and we fear still is said by the passionate admirers of some other churches, no matter what or where, that they never err. The fiery partizans of these churches are accustomed to view their creeds, their confessions of faith, their platform of discipline, as comprehending all truth, and free from every, even the least particle of error. The great idol has indeed been destroyed and his temple desecrated ; but idols less imposing in outward splendour, and less powerful with the secular rulers of the world, have been openly or secretly set up, in the room of the great “ mystery of iniquity,” and like their hideous predecessor, they “ work,” and will continue to work, till He shall come whose right it is to reign, and His holy word be regarded as the only legitimate standard of truth; and thus Christ alone be acknowledged as the sole law-giver in his church. The mere outward shape or decoration of the idol is of inferior moment. It may wear a triple crown, or a regal diadem, or an Episcopal mitre, or a Presbyter's gown, or it may claim and receive homage under the broad-brimmed hat and capeless coat of a Fox, a Penn, or a Barclay. Under this last and least suspected garb, this idol has received homage too long. But its influence is on the wane, The Bible is diffused, and the absurdity of substituting an inferior for this the supreme standard, is becoming daily more and more apparent, even to the Society of Friends themselves, who have been, perhaps, the last among the sects to perceive that they had any other than the most correct standard.
os Call no man master upon earth," is a precept from the lips of incarnate wisdom equally binding on all disciples; and wherever it is carried into practical effect, the error we are combating, an error pregnant with incalculable evil, will be avoided. For what greater injury can be inflicted on the church, either viewed as a whole, or contemplated under any of its sectional parts, than to subject it to the traditions or opinions of men, instead of submitting it to the prescripts of infinite and unerring wisdom. The sects who assume as their specific designation the names of those whom they regard as their founders, inevitably submit to the low standard we are condemning. That a Wesleyan, a Swedenborgian, a Huntingtonian, should each place the founder of his own sect on a level far above that of all other interpreters of the word of God, and view his opinions and decisions as all infallible, is perfectly natural; and the effect produced on the religious character of these unthinking partizans is far from beneficial. They take the character of the object of their admiration, and it is too frequently not so much the mould of the gospel into which they are cast, as into those prepared by Wesley, by Swedenborg, by Huntingdon, or by some other great leader. Hence each sect has its peculiar manners, phraseology,