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[DEC. triumph; and the Missionaries beheld in him an argument against all despair.
On looking at the statistical table appended to Mr. Lawrie's visit, we find that there were already 37 chapels in Feejee, 23 other preachingplaces, 9 Missionaries and assistant Missionaries, 38 catechists and other paid agents, 68 local preachers, 117 day-school teachers, and nearly 4000 persons in attendance on public worship, including members and scholars. We sympathise with the reflection with which Mr. Lawrie records these moral triumphs, and gazes on whole islands that have been transformed within twelve years" This effect would not have been produced by legislation at home or abroad, nor by any bulls from Rome, nor by all the dancing-masters of France, nor by counting of beads and mounting of crucifixes; no, nor even by preaching the necessary efficacy of the sacraments, and the sacredness of those who are said to be the successors of the apostles. But the word of God—the simple preaching of Christ-has accomplished this moral miracle—this mighty revolution in Feejeean manners.”
Since the period of Mr. Lawrie's inspiriting visit, the word of the Lord has continued to grow and multiply. The vast majority of the population are still heathen, but everywhere the empire of darkness is on the wane, and even the priests own that the God of the Christians is a mighty God, and confess that their time is short. Even where the gospel has not yet achieved its highest and peculiar triumph, the presence of the Missionary and the evangelist acts as a powerful check upon self-immolation and cannibalism, and every year saves many lives. It is not the least remarkable fact in the history of Missions in Feejee, that, while the Missionary has so often stood forth as an intercessor and a protector between the ferocious pagan and his victim, whom revenge and appetite alike prompted him to destroy, not a hair of the head of a Missionary has been injured ; and in the unconscious restraint that has held back the hand of the man-eater from these devoted men, while so many whites have, during the same period, been mercilessly immolated, it almost seems as if their savage natures, restrained like the lions when the prophet was cast into the midst of them, had heard the command, “ Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.”
Among the latest intelligence, we learn that Tumbou, the chief town of Lakemba, has recently been adorned with a large and beautiful place of worship; that the older stations, such as Ono, are in a healthy state; that Totoya's four towns are now wholly Christian; and that the Moulans, as a whole, are now learning the ways of the Lord. In the Nandy circuit the people in general maintain their profession, and twenty heathen villages are visited for the purpose of affording Christian instruction, in addition to the eight places which form the circuit. “ Religion increases much in Feejee," says a native teacher in a recent letter; " and there are many small islands in the group on which all the people have lotued. There are also many chapels and many people who have embraced religion in Novitileva and Vanualeva, two large islands.” The Old Testament Scriptures have just been translated and sent to press, and an English and Feejeean dictionary finished. The picture is shaded by the intelligence of the murder of Elijah Varani, the Christian chief of whom we have already spoken, with two brothers and four of his people, and of persecution and malignant obstruction to the
1855.] TURKEY-DEMAND FOR THE BIBLE.
143 Mission, in other parts of Feejee. But scarcely had the Missionaries ceased to weep over Varani's grave, when they were astounded by the intelligence that the great Feejeean king Thakombau had publicly embraced the gospel, and that hundreds of the people of Bau, the royal island, walking in procession, and headed by their priest, had followed the example of their king, and bowed their knees in worship of the true God. Thakombau had threatened to kill Varani at the time of his lotu ; to which Varani had meekly replied, “Very well, but you will soon lotu yourself, and then will the thought follow you, I killed Varani because of his lotu.'” The first part of this prophecy of the Vewan chief was now verified, and with this a new day dawned on Christian Missions in Feejee. In the presence of his children, wives, sisters, chief women, and numerous male attendants -- in all about 300—Thakombau announced his renunciation of heathenism, and his profession of the faith of Christ. “Our hearts were glad,” writes the officiating Missionary. “I thought I could not have gone through the service. It was like the beginning of good days, like a dream when one awaketh ; yet a blessed reality.
Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things; and blessed be His glorious name for ever! Evil practices, of long standing and fearful magnitude, are done away with at a stroke; an effectual hindrance to the spread of the gospel removed. Feejee's brightest, best day! long to be remembered ! 'A foundation of great, extensive, and everlasting good !"
Thus is the gospel rapidly extending its triumphs in Feejee, and narrowing the domain of darkness, crime, and death. What it has done for Ono it is able to accomplish for the whole island-group-it will yet accomplish for the whole world. It is one of the sublime fancies of geology, that, through the labours of the coral insect, and the outbursts and upheavings of the volcano and the earthquake, vast coral platforms shall rise above the bosom of the Pacific, knitting and cementing those numerous isles into one spacious and blooming continent. But the greatest and best of moral revolutions meanwhile advances at a far more rapid pace. Already many a serene and smiling Patmos lifts its head above the waves, and is the home of those who converse with God; and every year the Mission ship is gliding among its islands, and leaving new evangelists to gather new and early triumphs. As cannibalism and infanticide disappear, population will increase, and colonists, attracted from New Zealand, and even Australia, by the fruitful soil and fragrant climate, will add their multitudes to the native tribes, and, by intermarriage, trade, and commerce, elevate and expand their minds. Christianity will adjoin this island-group to her blessed empire, and enable Feejee to add to the scenery much of the sanctity of Paradise. “The multitude of the isles shall be glad thereof. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea. They shall glorify the Lord in the valleys, even the name of the Lord God of Israel in the isles of the sea."
TURKEY-DEMAND FOR THE BIBLE. The following facts will be perused with interest and thankfulness by our readers, as evidencing the increasing demand for the Holy Scriptures among the Turks. They are communicated in a letter
(DEC. from Mr. B. Barker, in correspondence with the British and Foreign Bible Society.
On one occasion, some Turks calling at our dépôt for Ingils (Testaments), not only readily paid the price asked for them, but observed that those books were invaluable, and deserved a bakshis besides their cost. Another time, on the Rev. Mr. Spencer's (one of the Scripture readers) presenting Testaments to two Turks, when they saw what books they were, they kissed them, and placed them in their bosom, thanking Mr. Spencer over and over again for them. One day, when a Turk bought a Bible from our dépôt, he observed, “ This book belongs to us, for we took possession of it when we took Constantinople: we then cared nothing for it, and the English have since printed it.” This, I suppose, he intended as an excuse for purchasing a Bible in the presence of Christians. A Turk who is persuaded of the truth of the gospel, but dares not avow it publicly, expressed a wish to open a shop to sell the Scriptures, and other Turkish religious publications, in a quarter of Constantinople entirely inhabited by Turks, and applied to the American Missionaries for books for that purpose. These brethren have taken into consideration the courageous proposal of this Turk, and will, no doubt, give him a helping hand to put his project into execution, provided they can feel confident that no serious harm will befall him.
It is a remarkable fact, that years ago our Society possessed only a small obscure dépôt in Galata, which was opened only twice a week, and where the Turks never put their foot in, and the Christians entered it rarely, and by stealth. Now, besides the great dépôt, which is kept open all day long in a most frequented street in Constantinople, leading to the principal bazaars, the Society's books are exposed for sale in the grand street of Pera, at the Scripture-Readers' Depository and Reading-room at Galata, at the London Jews' Society's stores at Constantinople, and last, not least, they are hawked about the streets of this vast capital by colporteurs, and may be met with on the great floating bridge, and other parts of the city, taken there by vendors of books. This, indeed, is a sign of the times, and all praise is due to God, who has brought about such wonderful changes. Italy, Spain, Portugal, &c., may truly blush to see the inveterate enemies of the cross countenancing the circulation of the Scriptures, whilst they, who avow to be the champions of that cross, studiously and energetically shut up all avenues against the promulgation of the words of our blessed Saviour, the precious founder of our redeeming faith. But theirs, alas! is a wooden cross, without life or spirit to kindle in their bosoms a sacred flame of pure vital Christianity.
A HINT. The plan of halfpenny-a-week contributions to the cause of Missions is rapidly extending in Switzerland, Alsace, and the south of Germany. By this means, in the space of six months, nearly 13,000 francs were secured ; and a small Missionary periodical, transmitted to each in return for his subscription, has been placed in the hands of 25,000 subscribers. It is a fact worthy of notice, that this effort numbers thirty subscribers among the poor prisoners in the Bâle jail, where a gratifying revival of religion has been recently enjoyed.
AND HANOVER STREET, HANOVER SQUARE.