« EdellinenJatka »
Mission to Otaheite, &c.-A narrative of a mission to Otaheite and other islands in the South Seas, down to Sept. 1817, has recently been published in London. The work itself has not reached us, but we have been able to obtain some account of it, and a few extracts, which we think will be interesting to our readers.
The first exertions of the London Missionary Society in this place were exceedingly ill-judged, indiscreet, and unsuccessful. But it is now stated that the perseverance of the Missionaries under discouragements the most trying and disheartening, has at length issued in producing a very extensive renunciation of idolatry among the islanders of the Southern Ocean. The Missionaries had begun to print the Taheitan Spelling-book on the 30th of June, on which occasion the king was present, and worked off the first three sheets. This edition consisting of 2600 copies, has been completed, and between 7 and 800 had been distributed in Otaheite and Eimeo. Translations of different parts of the Holy Scriptures were going forward, and an edition of 1000 copies of St. Luke's Gospel was about to be published.
The number of natives in the Georgian islands only, who were able to read and spell has increased to between four and five thousand, and Pomare (the king) had issued orders, that in every district of the islands, a schoolhouse should be erected, separate from the places of worship, and that the best instructed of his people should teach others. Several schools had already been erected in Otaheite, where the elementary books and the catechism are taught, and since the establishment of the printing press, the natives of that island pass over in crowds to Afareaitu, to obtain books from the Missionaries there. At this station a school had been erected, which was well attended; and of the natives who had been taught in the school at Papetoai there were few who could not both read and spell well.
The attendance on the public worship at each of the missionary stations, continued on an average to be from 4 to 500.
The christian religion is now professedly received by the inbabitants of Otaheite, Eimeo, and six other islands, in all of which, the Lord's day is devoutly observed.
This change has not been adopted without deliberation. The Otaheitans, for twelve years, had opportunity of closely observing the nature of practical christianity, as exemplified by the missionaries; and during most of that time, its doctrines had been explained, and urged upon their attention, in every district of the island. In declaring themselves christians, therefore, they well know what they profess to believe, and what kind of conduct they bind themselves to observe. That this
was very far from being the state of the barbarous nations of Europe, when first converted to Christianity, is obvious; neither do the sacred scriptures imply, that equal information had previously been acquired by the earliest converts of the Gospel.
Although Pomare, the first in rank, professed himself a christian before any person among his remaining subjects did so, he appears to have been too well informed of the principles and nature of christianity, to think of enforcing it on others. He patiently travelled round the only island, then subject to him, argued with the higher and lower ranks against their inveterate superstitions (to which none could be more notoriously addicted than he had long been,) prevailed with some, was opposed by others, but never appears to have aimed at any other influence than that of reason.
The London Missionary Society appear to be taking the most effectual measures for rendering this wonderful revolution in the religious opinions of these islanders permanent, by introducing among them a system of regular labour, as the best safeguard of their religious and moral habits. They have sent out a person at the recommendation of Mr. Marsden, for the express purpose of directing the attention of the natives to the sugarcane, the coffee, and the cotton trees, and other indigenous plants.
[Abridged from the Eclectic Review.]
Massachusetts Bible Society.-The anniversary of this society was held on Thursday, June 2d. The sermon was preached by the Rev. Jonathan Homer of Newton, and the following report was presented by the executive committee.
"THE Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Bible Society respectfully report, that they have distributed through the last year, Bibles and Testaments as follows.
Large Bibles, 183, Small do. 1846, Testaments, 1578, whole number, 3607.
It is gratifying to your Committee to state, that an important object, early proposed and steadily pursued by this society, is now in a great degree accomplished, viz. the distribution of bibles in a fair type and on good paper. Much service has been rendered to the cause in this particular by the American bible society. The poor now receive copies of the Scriptures, which they can easily read, and which claim, by their appearance as well as by their contents, a respectful treatment.
The demand for bibles has been increased by the establishment of numerous charity schools. Your committee are also New Series-vol. I.
bound to express their fear, that the liberality of this institution sometimes, if not frequently, produces applications from those, who are able to purchase the scriptures for themselves, and from some, who propose other advantages than spiritual, by obtaining your bounty. Among the inestimable benefits of Bible Societies, abuses have sprung up, not easily corrected. Your committee are disposed to think, that were the gratuitous distribution of the Bible to be considerably discontinued in our old settlements, and were the society to direct its efforts more to the procuring of cheap and good editions, and to the vending of them at the prime cost, it would do more good at home, whilst its bounty would flow more widely to the destitute parts of this and other countries. The truest method of perpetuating charitable institutions, which depend on voluntary subscriptions, is to free them from corruptions and perversions. Our very zeal in spreading the bible may sometimes defeat itself by making the benefit too cheap and common. In giving this book, we wish for some pledge that it will be valued, retained and used, and perhaps the best pledge is a willingness to make some exertions and sacrifices for obtaining it.
Your committee have no facts to report, which are not probably known to the society in general. The good cause is every where making progress. New friends and patrons of Bible Societies are springing up in every quarter of the globe. History affords no example of an equally extensive cooperation in a benevolent and pious work. It seems to us a corroboration of the divine original of the Bible, that it is binding together good men of so many nations, that it is calling forth an unheard of charity, that it is a central point to the benevolence of the world. Of one fact we have the fullest evidence, that no institutions have done so much as Bible societies to break down the partition walls between christians, to bring near to one another the long divided disciples of Jesus, and to teach them to recognize in each other the features of brethren.
Of the operations of the parent institution in Great Britain we need not speak. We must cease to praise, because the language of praise is exhausted. The extension of the Bible Society in Russia under the patronage of the munificent Alexander, when joined with other expressions of the christian dispositions of that sovereign, is one of the most encouraging events in this age of hope and promise. We have heard with peculiar pleasure of the formation of a Bible Society in France, which we hail as the bursting forth of a living fountain in a parched land, from which many are to drink and be revived. We have received letters from Paris acknowledging gratefully the reception of the sum forwarded by this society to assist in the dis
tribution of the scriptures in France, and we are more persuad. ed than ever, that a wiser appropriation could not have been made.
We are thus encouraged to proceed in the good work, which for many years we have assisted in advancing. It is true that amidst the numerous and vast contributions of christians to this design, our charity attracts little notice, just as, on the map of the earth, scanty streams find no place among mighty rivers and oceans. But the stream which winds in silence is a provision of that same Almighty Goodness which pours forth the seas and floods; its course is marked with approbation by the same All-seeing Eye; it is essential to the variety and beauty of the beneficent system of God. Let us not discontinue our efforts, because we cannot do more; but be grateful, if in any degree we can communicate the uncorrupted records of Christianity to those, who, equally with ourselves, need its light and consolations.
By the Executive committee,
WILLIAM E. CHANNING, Chairman.
Officers of the Massachusetts Bible Society, elected June,
His Honour WILLIAM PHILLIPS, President.
Mr. JOHN TAPPAN, Treasurer.
Mr. JOHN GREW, Assistant Treasurer,
Rev. James Freeman, D. D.
Joseph May, Esq.
Benjamin West, Esq.
Rev. William E. Channing. Edward Tuckerman, jun. Esq, Rev. Henry Ware, jun,
Mendicity Society in London.-The following abstract of the late Report of this Society, may be found interesting in connexion with the second review in this number.
The Report mentions that the Society had been instituted in consequence of the great distress observable in the streets, at the commencement of 1818, in order to remove the shocking objects which presented themselves, by relief, and where imposture should be detected, by punishment. In March, the society opened an office, from which they issued printed tickets to be distributed to street beggars. The tickets referred them to the society's house, where they were immediately supplied with food, and a statement of each case was registered, the truth of which was afterward ascertained by personal investigation and inquiry. It appeared to the Board that the society had already done much good. Since the opening of the office on March 25th, 2676 cases have been referred to the society, during the investigation of which the applicants were supplied with food, as well as 677 children belonging to them, and in many cases with temporary lodging. The applicants were disposed of in different ways. A great number were permanently relieved; 564 impostors and desperate vagrants were detected and ordered to be prosecuted. Multitudes were sent to their parishes and provided with situations. Of those who applied, 1568 complained that they had been reduced on account of want of employment. The great difficulty in the way of entire success appears to be the conduct of the parishes, who oftentimes turn loose again, those, who are sent home to them; and the want of sufficient discretionary power in the magistrates.
Springfield, May 27, 1819.
ON Thursday last, in presence of a large number of people, was laid the corner-stone of the Church erecting for the Second Congregational Society in the First Parish in this town, in which was deposited a plate, bearing the following inscription: "MAY 20, A. D. MDCCCXIX. THIS CORNERSTONE WAS LAID, It being the foundation of a House to be erected the same year (Mr. SIMON SANBORN, being the Architect,) at the expense of JONATHAN DWIGHT, Esq. of this town, and by him given to "The Second Congregational Society in the First Parish in Springfield," in humble hope and expectation that it may long continue a place consecrated to the public worship of the true GOD: and that the Society will, from time to time, make choice of such pious and prudent men for their ministers as will not perplex their people with unprofitable speculations of men, but preach and exemplify the