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and social benefits conferred by the gospel are more fully brought out by him than by the previous speakers. Mahamene shows that he is one of the people, and exults in the deliverance from oppression. He and the chiefs see things from different points. His views, all things considered, are at once minute and comprehensive. The past and the present state of his countrymen were vividly before the eye of his mind; and he very strikingly shows them that godliness has the promise of the life that now is, as well as that which is to
The Missionary life is not without its pains, privations, and perils ; but it has also its comforts and consolations. It is impossible for us to form any just conception of the exquisite pleasure with which Mr. Williams listened to such addresses as those which have been recited. How unlike to his the position of the military hero surrounded by those whom he has vanquished ! In the one case there is cruel selfishness repaid by indignant hatred ; in the other there is Christian benevolence inspiring gratitude, confidence, and love. Curses are the reward of the one, blessings of the other! The Missionary imparts more felicity than he receives. As the servant of the Most High God, who shows unto men the way of salvation, he communicates a wisdom worth more than worlds. What times were those which Messrs. Barff and Williams enjoyed at Atiu! At this island they were fully occupied night and day; the anxious natives would not allow both the Missionaries to sleep at once ; as soon as one was overcome they awoke the other, and in this way they were employed, alternately, during the nights, teaching the people to sing, and explaining to them the sacred Scriptures.
The hour of dissolution is the time to test principles ; and the value of all things is to be determined by their
* Williams, p. 69.
relation to death, judgment, and eternity. We have already listened to the testimony of the natives concerning the sanguinary nature of their idolatrous system, and the wondrous change produced upon their temporal condition by the glorious gospel ; let us now approach the tomb and confer with some of the converts in the immediate prospect of entering the eternal world. Vara will supply an appropriate illustration. During the reign of idolatry, one of Vara's functions was to provide human sacrifices, and among them he offered up his own little brother to the Moloch of the South Sea ! To Vara also belonged the office of rallying dispirited warriors ; and many a live-long night did he run from house to house to rouse the sunken spirit of his savage brethren to deeds of murderous vengeance, by assurances, on the authority of communications from the gods, of success in the coming battle. After a course of singular consistency from the day of his conversion, he reached at length the limit of his earthly span. Mr. Orsmond, seeing that his end was fast approaching, said to him, “ Are you sorry that you cast away your lying gods by which you used to gain so much property ?” This question stirred up the feelings of the dying man to the innermost soul. With tears of pleasure sparkling in his eyes, he exclaimed, “ Oh no, no, no,—what! can I be sorry for casting away death for life ? Jesus is my rock, the fortification in
hich my soul takes shelter.” The Missionary put another interrogatory, which elicited an exquisitely beautiful answer. me,” said he, on what you found your hopes of future blessedness ?” Vara replied, “ I have been very wicked, but a great King from the other side of the skies sent his ambassadors with terms of peace.
We could not tell, for many years, what these ambassadors wanted. At length Pomaré obtained a victory, and invited all his subjects to come and take refuge under the wing of Jesus, and I was one of the first to do so. The blood
of Jesus is my foundation. I grieve that all my children do not love him. Had they known the misery we endured in the reign of the devil, they would gladly take the gospel in exchange for their follies. . Jesus is the best King ; he gives a pillow without thorns.”
Shortly after, the Missionary asked him if he was afraid to die, Vara replied with surprising energy,
No, no. The canoe is in the sea, the sails are spread, she is ready for the gale. I have a good Pilot to guide me, and a good haven to receive me. My outside man and my inside man differ. Let the one rot till the trump shall sound, but let my soul wing her way to the throne of Jesus.' What an answer ! Which is the more adınirable, the thought or the expression ? How affecting the figure of “ the canoe in the sea !” Never was poet in his highest moods, more felicitous than this expiring islander! Only contrast the condition of Vara, providing human sacrifices for the gods of his country, and even shedding his youthful brother's blood ; and the condition of Vara on the verge of eternity, full of love to God and man, and exulting in the hope of a blessed immortality! Oh, what a transformation! Who shall estimate the worth of the blessing conferred upon this immortal creature ? What can be added to that blessing? How light, how little, and how contemptible is all sublunary good compared with the felicity which the gospel of Christ imparted to Vara the idolater, the purveyor of human sacrifice, and the murderer of his own brother!
Our next illustration is supplied by Me, who was among the first converts of Raiatea, and one of the earliest members of the first church formed in that island. Me had been a warrior of great note ; he was the terror of all the inhabitants of Raiatea and the adjacent isles ; but in the last battle that was fouglit
* Williams, p. 96.
before the introduction of Christianity, he received a blow which deprived him of sight. But although he was blind, none excelled him in diligent attendance on the means of grace. Me was at no loss for guides ; the most respectable females, the principal chiefs, and at times even the king himself, might be seen leading Me to the house of God. He attended the adult schools at six o'clock in the morning, and by hearing the Scriptures read then and at other times, he soon acquired an extensive acquaintance with the inspired volume. The death of this son of slaughter supplies a glorious illustration of the value of the gospel and the unequalled importance of Missionary labour. Mr. Williams on returning from one of his voyages, missed Me at public worship, and, ascertaining that he was ill, went to see him. On entering the blind man's hut, the Missionary said, Me, I am sorry to find you so ill.” The gladdened sufferer exclaimed, “ Is it you? Do I really hear your voice again before I die ? I shall die happy now. I was afraid I should have died before
The Missionary then inquired what brethren visited him in his affliction to read and pray with him. The poor patient naming several, said,
They do not come so often as I wish, yet I am not lonely, for I have frequent visits from God :- God and I were talking when you came in.” — What pathos, piety, and dignity in these words ! But this is little, compared with the burst of sublimity that followed. Mr. Williams having signified an opinion that the warrior's days were numbered, asked what were the views of himself in the sight of God, and what his hopes rested upon. Mark the reply : “ I have been in great trouble this morning ; but I am happy now. I saw an immense mountain, with precipitous sides, up which I endeavoured to climb, but when I had attained a considerable height, I lost my hold and fell to the bottom. Exhausted with perplexity and fatigue, I went to a
distance, and sat down to weep, and while weeping, I saw a drop of blood fall upon that mountain, and in a moment it was dissolved.” Here he paused. Mr. Williams, anxious for his own idea of the figure, asked what construction he put upon it. He said, “ That mountain was my sins, and the drop which fell upon it, was one drop of the precious blood of Jesus, by which the mountain of my guilt must be melted away.”—How vast were this man's conceptions of the magnitude of his guilt! How lofty and just were his ideas of the efficacy of the sacrifice of the Son of God! The Missionary thus concludes the scene. “ On saying, at the close of the interview, that I would go home and prepare some medicine for him, which might afford him ease, he replied, “I will drink it, because you say I must, but I shall not pray to be restored to health again, for my desire is to depart and be with Christ, which is far better than to remain longer this sinful world. In my subsequent visits, I always found him happy and cheerful, longing to depart and be with Christ. This was constantly the burden of his prayer. I was with himn when he breathed his last. During this interview, he quoted many precious passages of Scripture; and having exelaimed with energy, ‘0 death, where is thy sting ?' his voice faltered, his eyes became fixed, his hands dropped, and his spirit departed to be with that Saviour, one drop of whose blood had melted away the mountain of his guilt. Thus died poor old Me, the blind warrior of Raiatea. I retired from the overwhelming and interesting scene, praying as I went that my end might be like his.” *
Here my illustrations terminate : and the question which I now ask the man who pours contempt upon missions is, What think you of the facts which this and the foregoing letter lay before you? What think you,
* Williams, p. 97.