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JOURNAL OF A VISIT TO THE ISLAND OF MAUPITI. Among the groups of the South Pacific Ocean which long since received the Gospel, are numerous small islands, containing populations so limited as to preclude them from the advantage of a resident European Missionary. All the instruction consequently conveyed to these little communities has been through the medium of native teachers, with the exception of the casual visits of the Missionaries; and those visits, owing to the peril of the navigation and other obstacles, occur only at uncertain and often lengthened intervals. Under such circumstances, it can be no matter for surprise that the inhabitants of these secluded spots have made but limited advancement, either in the arts of civilization or in religious knowledge ; but it is, nevertheless, a gratifying fact, that the message of a Saviour's love has, to a greater or less extent, been made known to them, and that Christian churches and schools for the young have been established in their midst,
About the middle of 1850 the Rev, G. Platt, of Raiatea, found an opportunity of paying a visit to Maupiti, one of the smaller islands of the Society group; and as the state of religion among the people of these remote and primitive settlements is but little known, we trust the following extracts from his journal will not be unacceptable: DEPARTURE FROM RAIATEA,
young poople, to whom I spoke from 1 Tim. “ June 15th, 1850.--Having procured & iii. 16. In the evening I addressed them small boat, I left home for Maupiti, to hold from 1 John v. 14. the anniversary of the Society. The moon * 17th.--Visited some of the sick. Dis. went down bofore we got round the point of ease is extensively prevalent here, as Borabora, and we got twice into perplexity. Raiatea, the sufferers being affected by pains As it was dark, we could not perceive our dis in the head and breast, with violent coughs. tance from the reef, and the wind being rather They had held a day of general humiliation against us, we were carried into the bubble of on account of the sickness, which affects both the current, formed by the receding wave adults and children, scarcely a family being from the reef, before we were aware, and per exempt. In the evening sailed for Maupiti; ceived the breakers close upon us.
before we got out of harbour, we met a boat however, pulled lustily at the oars, the boat from that island which had left on Saturday." answered quickly to her helm, and we got
ARRIVAL AT MAUPITI. clear."
" 18th. - This morning we found ourLANDING AT BORABORA.
Belves a little to leeward of the harbour at 16th, Sunday.--We reached this island this island, yet within sight of the white sand before day-break. Two whale-boats passed on the beach; the wind increasing, we beat up us in the harbour. Strangers, who had to the entrance, and were carried against & been on a visit to Maupiti, told us that the strong current into a channel between two people were waiting for 18. As soon as it was little islands; there we could not stem it, but light we went ashore, and attended the early oame to an anchor on the side of the smaller prayer-meeting. Surprise and pleasure were island. Some fishermen had arrived just expressed in many countenances at my unex. before us, and seeing us approaching they pected arrival. In the forenoon I was glad began to cook some fish and breadfruit for our to see a good congregation, including many breakfast. It is a frightful entrance even in
fair weather, and I have had reason to be thankful for several providential deliverances. Last year Mr. Barff and I could not approach it, but had to be taken over the reef on the opposite side of the island, under a lee, in canoes. Another time a shark made a leap at me in this same passage, but happening to strike the head of the boat, he fell over on his back and disappeared. My soul would praise the Lord for his goodness. On the present occasion we had scarcely made good our landing, when the wind increased to a gale. After the salutations of the people, I begged them to leave me alone for a short time, in order to obtain a little sleep, as I had been exposed all the previous night in an open boat, and cannot now sustain fatigue as in my younger days."
PASTORAL VISITATION. * 19th.—This morning I had public worship, and addressed a good congregation, from Isa. xliy. 20. In the evening several persons presented themselves as candidates for communion, among whom were two backsliders, who professed repentance for their evil conduct. The others declared that they were seeking the salvation of their souls, and desired to have a place among the people of God. A few also submitted difficult passages which they had met with in reading the Scriptures, and sought an explanation of them.
* 20th. — Kept principally within doors by stormy weather: had a Bible-class in the morning, and afterwards attended the children's school, where there was a good attendance, considering the great amount of sickness that prevailed. In the evening held a churchmeeting, when about half the members were iissing through sickness.
“ 21st. — Bible-class this morning. In the afternoon a church-meeting again, after which a number of candidates were examined and received. Yesterday and to-day fourteen have been admitted to communion, and two restored, making a total of sixteen,and two deacons chosen. May their future lives and conversation witness the sincerity of their profession! Their knowledge is but limited, as they never had an Earopean teacher, with the exception of occasional visits from ourselves, and a short residence of the late Mr. Rodgerson among them during the war in Bornbora.
“ 23rd, Sunday. - This inorning went
to the early prayer-meeting, which was well attended, both by adults and children. After breakfast went to the school, rather more than sixty young people being present. I distributed to such as could read some chil. dren's hymn-books. May they sing with the spirit and the understanding! In the forenoon I spoke from John xix. 37, and administered the ordinance of the Lord's Supper; many absent, from the prevalent sickness. In the evening I spoke from Acts xx. 21, and baptized thirteen children. May they be indeed a seed dedicated to God! It was a day of fatigue; may it redound to the glory of God and the good of souls!
“ 24th. - After lessons we took a walk to the old settlement, to view once more the site of the former chapel, where my first efforts were made among these people more than twenty years ago. I should not have recognized the place but for an old tree, a horse-chestnut, which stood near the fence. Large breadfruit trees had grown up on the site, and the cocoa-nut trees planted at the four corners by Messrs. Tyerman and Bennett had been partly cut down. We visited the pool they dug for water, and built round with stones, which remained, and is likely to remain, as a memento of their visit to this little spot in the midst of the ocean.
“ 25th. - In the evening took a stroll along the beach, to view the luxuriance of vegetable growth on this formation. It exhibits a mass of solid rock, consisting, to a considerable extent, of pudding-stone, the trees and plants forcing their roots into the soil of the crevices. The entire formation seems very various; it produces two kinds of stone, which are not at present known on any of the larger islands. The plants and trees are the same as on the other islands, but not so large."
Early this morning a prayermeeting. After breakfast prepared for the anniversary.
A little food was prepared, when they rang for worship. I went and addressed a pretty large congregation, from Jer. xvi. 19. After wbich I read in the Acts of the Apostles and in Timothy, in reference to the choice and work of a deacon. Then two persons were set apart for the office, by prayer and laying on of hands. May God
also set to his seal, and make them eminently them with much energy and effect. After men of God! After dinner we had the dinnor they walked in procession up the settlepublic meeting of the society, when some good ment, [See Engraving, page 1.] I counted speeches were delivered, and resolutions upwards of sixty as they passed, some being adopted embodying the leading ideas of the absent from sickness and other necessary resolutions passed by the Borabora Auxiliary,
On their return we re-entered the of which they consider themselves as a chapel, and after singing and prayer, they branch. The collection was twenty-three came forward in classes, threw in their little dollars and upwards. It is small, but their subscriptions, amounting to about eight dol. means are limited. May God accept this mito lars, and then repeated the chapters they had to be used for his glory!
committed to memory, After a little conver" 27th.
The people preparing for the sation among the teachers, we concluded by children's feast, After lessons I took a walk, singing and prayer. In the evening held a and received forty-three dollars odd for the catechetical meeting with the people." Bibles we had sent to them, besides one dollar
FAREWELL SERVICES. three-quarters, and some oil, received after 30th, Sunday.- In the morning at. wards."
tended the early prayer-meeting. Sickness MEETING OF THE CHILDREN
still prevails, though decreasing. Those who " 28th.—This day was set apart for the are sufficiently recovered to crawl out to children's festival La fine day and a delight worship, have violent coughs, so that at inful time for them all seemed happy. After tervals, especially at the close of a chapter or breakfast I collected the young people in the prayer, there was general coughing, which chapel, while the parents and teachers were rendered it impossible to speak, so as to be arranging the tables. We sang a hymn, and heard, till the fit was over. In the forenoon I gave them a word of exhortation, as also to I spoke from Isa. xlv. 14, and baptized an the parents who were present, and concluded infant. A fair wind having sprung up-& with prayer. The children adjourned to the rather rare circumstance at this time of tables, which exhibited a great variety, both year—and the frightful little opening of the in the arrangement and in the food: some harbour being smooth, we had the evening were spread with white table-cloths, some service at an early hour, so that we might with print, and some with leaves, some heaped get well out to sea before dark. A good with food, and some portioned out according breezo soon sent us quite clear, and next to the number of children in the classes. morning we arrived in safety at Raiatea." While at table two of the deacons addressed
MEDICAL MISSION IN CANTON. While the servants of Christ, labouring at the outposts of this vast empire, have too often had oceasion to deplore the impenetrable apathy with which the natives listen to the message of mercy, it is, nevertheless, a subject for thankfulness that the messengers themselves have almost uniformly been treated with urbanity and respect. There is, however, a marked exception in the case of Canton. The inhabitants of this great commercial capital having been brought into frequent and injurious collision with Europeans, their prejudice against them is excessive and indiscriminate. This state of things has proved a serious hindrance to the progress of the Gospel. The Missionaries, finding it impracticable to obtain suitable residences beyond the limits of the British and American
factories, have been restricted in their labours, nor can they appear in the streets of the native city without exposure to popular insult.
In these circumstances the Medical Mission has proved itself an invaluable pioneer in breaking down the force of prejudices, apparently insurmountable by other means. For upwards of three years, in the very heart of the city of Canton, Dr. Hobson has been enabled to minister to the physical maladies of thousands of the population; and while engaged in these benevolent labours, he has enjoyed an immunity ascorded to no other Missionary agents, and has also been enabled, by means of the oral instruction of native evangelists, and the distribution of books, to scatter far and wide the knowledge of Divine truth. In the following letter, bearing date 20th August, ult., Dr. Hobson feelingly describes the trials and difficulties under which his labours have been carried on :
" I am thankful to tell you that, through where a higher and foreign power reigns, the Divine mercy, I and my family have continued Chinese prove accommodating, and even in the enjoyinent of good health since I last servile; but in their own cities, and surwrote to you, and have been preserved also from rounded by their own people, they are bold the direful calamities of fire, pestilential fevers, to speak out what is in their heart. I obattacks of robbers, &c., which have happened serve, however, a considerable difference even to some of our neighbours. I am often dis- in this between the natives of Shanghae and tressed and dispirited at the painful exhibi- those of Canton. Fear and less rooted prejudice tions of misery, disease, and vice, that so control the tongue of the northern Chinese, frequently come before me, arising as they do, and outwardly they are obliging, civil, and for the most part, from the effects of sin, even respectful; but here, to a foreigner, they idolatry, and ignorance, for the removal of are the most rude and uncivil of all people. which all human aid would seem to be con- This, united to an unsufferable self-conceit, temptibly inadequate. If I had no hope in and extreme contempt for, and dislike to the fulfilment of God's promises, and faith in strangers from all nations, makes the position the infinite importance and certain truth of and labours of a Christian Missionary 80 the blessed gospel, I should long ere this have peculiarly distressing and difficult. But still, been utterly overpowered by the distressing with all these disadvantages and opposing oband discouraging circumstances that attend stacles, I have no wish to leave my post, and the Christian Missionary, in endeavouring to never in all my life have I felt a deeper andermine and destroy the complicated and interest in the conversion of the heathen than universally-spread system of idolatry that now, and it has been growing ever since I exists in this the most ancient and densely popu- have been placed among them, in one of their lated country in the world. Probably, every greatest cities. This is the prevailing feelMissionary thinks that his position is more ing of my mind, and then all my duties are unfavourable than one removed at a distance; for the most part pleasant; but I am free to and often, very often, I imagine that this confess, at times my faith and zeal scem all place is the hardest and most trying of all. I but extinguished from the result of circumhad my elf no conception of the difficulties stances above named. of the Missionary work till I had resided Hospital, or rather dispensary practice, is here some time, and been taught by bitter very enervating to the strength, and gives experience how deceitful, proud, and self- but little satisfaction to an European pracsatisfied the Chinese are. In their native titioner, from the difficulty of bringing all the villages and towns you see them in their appliances of his art to bear upon the sucnatural element. In Hong-Kong, and places cessful cure of diseases in a foreign land, and
with such small resources at his command; by the venerable A-fa, and both he and the but it serves one good end-in drawing large Tract Society's colporteur are engaged all the congregations for the Christian teacher to time, during hospital treatment, in exhorting the address, and producing generally a good im sick, explaining the truth, and solving doubts pression (to those who think at all) in favour by familiar conversation with those around of that religion we come to teach them. In them. On the Sabbath, Leang-a-fa preaches other cities and places open to the Christian from a portion of the Gospels, but, on the Missionary in China, there appears to be no week-days, it is thought better to speak from great difficulty in gathering congregations one of Milne's Village Sermons,' or from together; but here, shut out as we are, in a some selected piece from the Scriptures, or great measure, from mixing with the people tracts printed by the Lithographic Press. in the streets, public places of resort, and pri In either case, every person has the tract to vate houses, healing of the sick seems an be explained and commented on put into his almost indispensable adjunct to Missionary hands. labour. Not because (far be it from me to " I have now been a resident in the western think so) the blessed and glorious gospel is districts of Canton for more than three years, deficient in power, or needs to depend upon and I suppose that not less than seventy science and art for its success; but, owing to thousand, including those who do, and those the prejudice and darkness of the heathen who do not return, have been here during mind, no Chinese has the slightest concern to that period. In the hospital alone at least come and hear it. Hence the necessity and sixty thousand tracts, large and small, have value of combining the practice of the healing been distributed, and one thousand sermons, art with the preaching of the gospel, to attract or prepared addresses, have been delivered to their sensual miods to something that is the assembled audiences; but the only appadirectly and manifestly beneficial. Without rent fruit is the conversion of heart and life this auxiliary I could not have occupied this to the Christian faith of six persons, two each place, or maintained my position; nor could I year. The gospel is heard, but no one behave succeeded in getting large and frequent lieves it; it excites no remark, and produces, audiences in my house. I am still unable to so far as we know, neither impression nor inrent the front--that is, the street-side--of the quiry. It is often a common observation by hong, and have thorefore no command of the us, that we meet with no such questions asprincipal entrance; and consequently I can What is faith? Are these things so? What not use a gong, or bell, invitation-cards, or must I do? And we still wait to hear that other expedients, to attract my neighbours any tract has been of use to lead a poor, and passers-by. I am convinced the few that guilty sinner to Christ. In the hospital the could be gathered together would, without a books are received, and of course politely, hospital, form a most discouraging auditory, as and perhaps, in some cases, carefully read ; was clearly evidenced in the case of Mr. Burns, but we have evidence that, in the public at Tak-Hing-Kae, and is constantly felt by streets and shops, they are frequently torn to others who are or were similarly circum pieces and used for waste paper. Very frestanced. But, as you have already seen from quently they will not be received. my letters, there has never been any want as " I am also often pained to witness the inregards attendance, or the slightest trouble in attention and perfect indifference to those collecting persons from different quarters, as truths which we regard of such solemn imthe general number averages from six hun. port, proving how true it is their ears are dull dred to eight hundred a week all the year of hearing, and their hearts gross and blind, round, occasionally one thousand a week. so that they do not see or understand. I The difficulty lies in getting any of these to feel how little we can do for them ; but it is give serious attention to the solemn and comforting to know we can pray for them, momentous truths delivered to them, either and look up continually for the blessing of by the living voice, or by the printed page. God and the saving influence of His grace. I
The gospel, especially on the Sabbath-day, mentioned two had been admitted this year is preached with much earnestness and fidelity into Christian communion. One of these had