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the proper place, and at the proper time. Instead of losing ourselves in idle gazing on the awful abyss of futurity, and guessing about what might have happened had he survived, it becomes us to rein in our fancy, and allow our judgment to examine the facts of his marvellous history, and to weigh well what he has done. Calm inquiry on this point will, perhaps, establish the conclusion, that he had performed all that can be wisely permitted to one man, and that more usefulness and more honour would have been as incompatible with his own safety as with the Divine purpose. As in earth, so in heaven,
“ Vivite felices quibus est fortuna peracta
Before me lies the memorandum left by Mr. Williams on the day preceding his death: “ This is a most memorable day, a day which will be transmitted to posterity; and the record of events which have this day happened, will exist long after those who have taken an active part in them shall have retired into the shades of oblivion; and the results of this day will be — " I know not what to make of this extraordinary passage; I am equally touched and perplexed by it. Hitherto we have heard of nothing done to signalize this 18th of November, 1839, except leaving some teachers at Tanna, an event of so common a character, and so disproporționate to the intensely glowing expressions of the memorandum, that one impatiently asks for something more, something which will warrant and sustain its language ; language so unlike the ordinary manner of the calm, cool, and simple Williams. But, my dear Sir, shall we not wait in vain? Was there not in the memo
randum something prophetic ? Did not our departed friend, like the prophets of old, write words of which he saw not the full import? Was not the prediction of the 18th verified in the catastrophe of the 20th ? In this view the expression of the memorandum is not exaggerated : it is barely sufficient to clothe the awful facts. Yes, the prediction will have a full accomplishment. The day of the martyrdom of Williams is indeed “a most memorable day, a day which will be transmitted to posterity.” I cannot doubt that the servant of God wrote—though unconsciously-under a supernatural impression, a feeling of high, very high excitement: and it continued; for when, on the next day, the Camden sighted Erromanga, the narrator says, “Mr. Williams was excited with such an intense desire to leave the native teachers there, that he could hardly sleep.” Ah! he little thought that he was to leave, not them, but his own body!
The readers of the “ Missionary Enterprises” will now be taught to connect with the death of Mr. Williams, a circumstance which had occurred full fifteen years before, as detailed in the following passage :
“My mind had, for some time before this, been contemplating the extension of our labours to the Navigators' Islands and the New Hebrides; and, as far back as 1824, I wrote to the directors of the Missionary Society upon the subject. As the gospel was now established at the Hervey Islands, I began more seriously to think of taking a voyage to those distant groups; and, prior to my leaving Raiatea, I communicated my wishes to Mrs. Williams ; who, on learning that the islands I proposed to visit were from 1800 to 2000 miles distant, and that I should be absent about six months, exclaimed, How can you suppose that I can give my consent to such a strange proposition? You will be eighteen hundred miles away, six months absent, and among the most savage people we are acquainted with ; and if you should lose your life in the attempt, I shall be left a widow, with my fatherless children, twenty thousand miles from my friends and my home.' Finding her so decidedly opposed to the undertaking, I did not mention it again, although my mind was still fixed upon the object."* Yes, his apostolic “mind was still fixed upon the object;" and, so soon as he was able, to the New Hebrides he went, and at the New Hebrides he fell!
At a subsequent period he was still bent upon visiting the New Hebrides, prior to his arrival in England, but was deterred by “the painfully distressing accounts he received" at Tongatabu.+ Throughout all his course he was in constant danger," in perils by water, and in perils by land.” For the sixth time," he was rescued from a watery grave” on the shores of Atiu. He had also narrowly escaped death from shooting and from stabbing. Till the arrival of the predestined hour, however, he was immortal; but then, in a moment, when full of security, he was cut off, in the midst of his strength and usefulness.
“ - Ultima semper
Dear departed friend! in what region of the universe is thine abode? What are the bounds and laws of thy
* Williams, p. 37.
† Ibid. p. 79.
Ibid. p. 70.
sphere of action, knowledge, and vision? Does it comprehend our world ? Art thou a ministering angel to thy weeping widow and scattered orphans? Hast thou access to the field of thy former toils ? Hast thou been allowed to visit Raiatea, Rarotonga, and Upolu, and to brood, with forgiving solicitude, over the shores of Erromanga ? Hast thou returned to England, and revisited the temple in which thou wast born of God ? Hast thou penetrated the studious retirement of thy “father in Christ?” Wast thou present when we lately met, and largely conversed of thee? Have thy sublimed faculties witnessed my affectionate and reverential meditations during the composition of these letters? Is it permitted thee to hover above my page, and note its record ? Is thy gentle spirit now before me? Oh that thou wouldst speak! Oh for one day of free converse ! But the wish is vain :
“Ille discessit: ego somno solutus sum.”
TO THE REV. THOMAS GILLESPIE, D.D., PROFESSOR
OF LATIN IN THE UNIVERSITY OF ST. ANDREWS.
INTELLECTUAL AND MORAL GREATNESS COMPARED AND ILLUS
TRATED FROM HUME, BYRON, THE ANCIENT CLASSICS, AND THE LATE JOHN WILLIAMS.
My Dear Sir, —Your high and sympathetic genius, combined with your generosity and humanity, have induced me to address you in the present letter. Independently of this, however, there are other weighty considerations which might have prompted me to do so. My personal obligations to that ancient and famous seat of learning, the University of St. Andrews, in which you hold so important and influential a station ;-to its Literary and Philosophical Society, with which also you are associated;—to that first of European scholars, your illustrious relative and predecessor, the late Dr. Hunter ;—and last, not least, to yourself ;—these are circumstances, any one of which would have dictated the propriety and duty of such a dedication. In this volume, however, personal considerations have, in all cases, been excluded; and the individuals to whom the Letters are inscribed have been chosen solely on