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gross darkness, guilt, and despair, they have spread light, purity, and hope. Bloodshed and anarchy have given way to peace and order. Men who lived but to suffer, and died but to perish, have been saved from wretchedness and been made partakers of an immortal inheritance. The howl of superstitious fear has been succeeded by the language of prayer, and the shouts of ferocious war by the song of christian praise. * Civilisation, too, is advancing with rapid steps in connexion with a purer faith. The hut of the Otaheitan is replaced by a comfortable house, supplied with the conveniences and even the elegances of Europe ; his canoe has been exchanged for ships of considerable burden; and his rude barter, or more lawless plunder, has been superseded by the intercourse of regular commerce. By their exertions, moreover, new fields of discovery have been opened to the philosopher. The missionaries have penetrated into regions where the foot of other travellers has never trodden, and have explored many regions which neither the love of gold nor the desire of knowlege could induce the boldest to enter. They have presented man under aspects the most interesting in which he can ever be contemplated ; adding new facts to illustrate his natural history, and to trace the lines of his migration from the parent settlement where he received the first rudiments of knowledge. To the treasures of philology they have brought an accession of new tongues, and exhibited in written forms alphabets and languages unknown amongst European scholars. Apart therefore from Christianity,
* “ On his startled ear
Conder's “ Star in the East."
and without any respect to the spiritual welfare of a large portion of the human race, it may be asserted, that the labours of those zealous men must prove at once extremely interesting and important to the philosopher, the scholar, and the politician.*
The object is unquestionably important, and no means,
* See Orme's Defence of the Missions in the South Sea and Sandwich Islands against the Misrepresentations contained in a late number of the Quarterly Review, in a Letter addressed to the Editor of that Journal (8vo, Lond. 1827), p. 75.
On this subject we are induced to quote a passage from the Works of the Reverend Robert Montgomery, the author of several popular poems, full of the fire and pathos of true genius:
“ GO FORTH AND TEACH !-and ye have gone, and done
separated from religion, seem adequate to the accomplishment of it. Simple instruction in letters and the arts will not suffice. The mind must be roused and alarmed by revelations which respect the eternal state of man; the savage must be made to feel that the eye of heaven is upon him; and that there is a powerful hand ever stretched out to punish or to protect. To effect these ends, the learned and refined are not the best qualified, for there is a delicacy of feeling induced by literary habits, which shrinks from the familiar descriptions and bold remonstrances indispensable to the success of the missionary. An illiterate artisan, if animated with zeal, and not ignorant of the first truths of his religion, is, for breaking up the ground of pagan superstition, an instrument better suited than the brightest ornament of a university, or the most eloquent expounder of doctrine in the city pulpit. Such men as went forth in the Duff act as pioneers : they prepare the way for the advance of a more regular force; they cut out a path in the wild thicket or morass, by which their successors may proceed to complete the work begun with so much labour; they sow the seed, with an unskilful hand perhaps, and on ground little cultivated, but whence, at no distant day, a crop will spring to enrich and beautify the whole land. The missionary in due time is followed by the churchman, who systematizes the elements which the other has created. Like a wise master-builder, the latter polishes the materials, already in some degree prepared to his land, and erects with them an orderly edifice, complete in all its parts, and having for its foundation the lively stones of an apostolical priesthood, qualified to offer the oblation of a spiritual sacrifice.
We must look to the next generation for the full effects of the exertions made in the present. The warmest advocates of South Sea missions are most ready to acknowledge that the work is still imperfect; that much evil is yet to be corrected, and all that is good still needs improvement. But it must not thence be denied, that a great benefit has been conferred, in which the Christian
and philanthropist may rejoice. The leaven of the gospel, indeed, has not hitherto leavened the whole population, so that many are still found who profess not to believe in it, and amongst those who do, numbers are Christians only in name, and by their conduct frequently dishonour their calling. Who that is at all acquainted with the progress of our holy faith in past ages, could expect it to be otherwise? The directors of missions are not such enthusiasts as to look for miracles. “We treat those to whom we send the gospel, as God has treated mankind at large. It is carried to them, and proposed to their understandings, as accountable creatures, accompanied with the declaration sanctioned by divine authority–he that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be condemned. The gospel is not only preached, but it is translated into their own language, and they themselves are taught to read it. As in every preceding instance, some have believed, and some have believed not. Those who have received it in truth, have evinced their sincerity by renouncing dumb idols, and turning to the living God. As to the extent to which this is done, it has been such as appears to afford, in a signal degree, a proof of the divine approbation of the means employed, as well as of the intentions of those by whom they have been supplied. It has been such as to give joy to the pious labourer, notwithstanding the objections which have been brought and the calumnies which have been uttered against him."*
Having presented a general view of the condition in which the natives of Polynesia were found, when first visited by Europeans, and described the means which have been employed for their improvement, in the arts of life as well as in the knowledge of their duty to Heaven and to one another, we now proceed to give a brief history of each separate group, as they have successively fallen under the notice of our countrymen, and employed their cares. In performing this part of our
* Vindication of the South Sea Missions, p. 412.
task, we shall not follow a strictly chronological order ; considering it more suitable to the end we wish to accomplish, to note the course of events according to the comparative importance of the several islands in which our missionaries have formed establishments for propagating the gospel. The statistics and commercial capabilities of the people on both sides of the equator will afterwards pass under review, more particularly with relation to the interests of Great Britain, to whose exertions chiefly they owe their political existence.