Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Decline of Mahomedanismi

139

my object, and I might rest secure, that nothing should be want. ing on the part of the Government, and wished to receive informa tion when I should preach, as he would attend and hear me. Hithera to the Lord God hath blessed me. For ever blessed be his holy

name.

I preached last Lord's-day to a very respectable number of people. I think, my dear brother S. you would have been please ed with the solemnity of the people; some were on their knees, and a profound silence pervaded the assembly.

“At the close of this meeting, I appointed a concert of prayer for the next evening, being the first Monday in the month. There were, perhaps, one hundred and fifty persons present. We opened the meeting by reading a chapter, and spent about fifteen minutes in an exhortation. Five prayers were offered, and part of six hymns were sung, and our meeting dismissed at 9 o'clock. This was one of the most interesting meetings I have witnessed since my arrival. We agreed to establish a Bible Society here as soon as possible.

“We also had a meeting last evening, and found eight or ten brethren and sisters who stand fast in the faith, and we have agreed to have the Lord's supper administereď next Lord's-day. This again was a precious season; may thy name, O Lord, have all the glory.

"My christian love to the Board. I beg a continuance in your prayers."

DECLINE OF MAHOMEDANISM. The following important communication may be depended upon as authentic; it is from the pen of a gentleman whose rank and character render his testimony indubitable.

" You ask me if the Mahomedan religion is on the decline. I answer; in Persia they can scarcely be called Mahomedans : they are Deists, if any thing, and are ready to receive the christian faith. A few such men as Mr. Martyn would soon effect a change.

You cannot conceive the eagerness with which they ask for his translation of the New Testament. I have distributed several hundreds, and could have done so with twice the number if they had been sent me. At Mecca, the resort is so much fallen off, that not one in a hundred (perhaps if I were to say two hundred, I might be nearer,) now goes for those that did. Indeed the revenues in consequence of this have so much decreased, that in lieu of overflowing treasuries, the Ottoman government is obliged to make large remittances for the payment of its officers and troops.

Those pilgrims who now resort make no offerings or presents ; they are satisfied with going. Indeed, from my own observation, af. ter a residence of near twenty-four years amongst the Arabs and Persians, I can safely say that Islamism is fast falling to decay."-Baptist Magazine.

SANDWICH ISLANDS. The Directors of the London Missionary Society received, in September last, some encouraging communications from these islands, from which we shall make a few extracts. They consist of a long letter from Mr. Ellis, giving a general account of the Mission, on his arrival on the 5th February, 1823; an amiable correspondence between Mr. Ellis, and his American brethren,

his joining them in their labours; and a literal translation of a letter from the king Tamehameha to the Directors of the Lon. don Society. Of Mr. Ellis's letter the following are the most important passages:

I was happy to find the good work had gone on more encouraginglý since our departure. The king and principal chiefs of all the islands we found very favou rably disposed towards the religion of Jesus Christ, and diligent in the use of the means of instruction, several of them having made a very respectable proficiency in reading and writing, being able to write intelligibly and read the small spelling-book published in their language. The Sabbathday is kept as a holy day, by aļl the chiefs and many of the people, who to a great degree abstain from labour, barter, and other worldly occupations. Every Saturday night, Mr. Pitt* sends the king's crier round, to proclaim throughout every part of the village,

• Karaimoka, the King's Prime Minister, so called.

[merged small][ocr errors]

that the morrow is the sacred day, that they must not plant their gardens, build houses, make canoes, beat cloth, sell sandal wood, shoot birds, or follow any of their games or play, but go to the place of worship and hear the word of God! Few public criers have such commissions ! We have very good congregations on the Sabbath days, and also on Wednesday evenings; frequently about one thousand attend, though not more than five hundred can be accommodated inside the chapel; but this is not perhaps one-fifth of the population of the village of Honoruru, where for several Sab. baths past we have had a meeting in the evening, either at the king's large house or in one of the public school-houses, which is in general well attended. Messrs. Bingham, Thurston, and myself, each share in the labours of preaching, which enables us to be more extensively useful ; and we sometimes have preaching in two different places at the same time.

The work of teaching goes on pleasingly, though not so rapidly as we could wish. The arri. val of the missionaries from America will render very considera. able aid to this department of labour. Auna, whom we left here on our former visit, is actively engaged in teaching the people to read, and, together with his wife, exerts, we believe, a very favourable influence over the people at large. Taua, the native teacher we have brought with us this time from Huahine, is, by the chiefs' re. quest, attached to the king's mother and her connexions, to teach them to read and write. The king's mother and her husband are chiefs of considerable influence, and are very friendly; we trust, · Taua and his wife will be of great service to them. We reoeive almost daily applications for books; as the edition lately printed is found inadequate to the demands of the people, the brethren intend soon to print another edition, adding sixteen pages, which will render it a very useful little book.

“There are about sixteen merchants, including the American consul, who reside here constantly, to transact business with the natives and with the shipping that are continually arriving Honorura, possessing the most convenient harbour of any of the islands, is a place of very considerable commerce; sixteen large vessels have arrived during the short period that we have been here, most of them whalers, who put in for refreshments; among them are two English ships, viz. the Indispensable, Captain Brooks, and the Princess Mary, Captain Clark, both of London,

[ocr errors]

The great population, and the very frequent arrivals of vessels, which generally want fresh supplies of provisions, firewood, &e, render those articles very dear. The common price for a hog is from six to ten dollars. Potatoes are about one and a half dollar per bushel; firewood, ten sticks per dollar, and other articles in proportion. A dollar a day is also the common price of I aboor, though the natives sometimes work for less.

“A very considerable reinforcement of labourers is almost daily expected from America, among whom there will be perhaps five preachers; but it will be some time before they will be able to speak to the people ; and even were they able to begin their la« bours immediately on landing, the field is wider than they could occupy. The population is stated 150,000 in all the islands, prebably it exceeds a hundred thousand, to all of whom a preacher has now free access; but to many, even when additional aid shall arrive, only occasional visits can be paid, and those probably at distant intervals.

“The prospects of usefulness here are very great and encourage ing; the set time to favour this people seems indeed fully come. The indications that God is about to smile upon them in a remark. able manner are daily becoming more numerous and striking. The ear of the people seems given to the words of instruction,

The balance with respect to all the people of authority and influence is decidedly turned in favour of Christianity. The united and continued prayers of the American churches in behalf of this people appear to have been most signally answered in the very pleasing attention which they pay to the outward means of grace. Let Brie tish churches unite their prayers with those that arise from the western shores of the Atlantic, and.I feel convinced that the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon them, in all its mighty energies and operations. His holy influence alone seems wanting, in order to another nation's being, as it were, born in a day. May God in mercy stir up the churches, both of Eng“. land and America, to united, fervent, special prayer, not only for this nation, but for every groupe and every solitary island upon the bosom of the vast Pacific, till they shall all become evangeliz. ed; till all shall rejoice in the pure rays of gospel truth, and bask in the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, which shall chase away the ignorance, darkness and cruelty, that now envelop their de

Sandwich Islands.

148

We

lightful abodes. I have since our arrival here, had several inters views with a native of the Marquesas (lately arrived from thence), with whom I could converse intelligibly. He informed me several Tahitians had occasionally visited them; that the chiefs and people were desirous missionaries should be sent to them, and that they would not molest them. It has long been a matter of deep regret to us all, that they should remain so long in the neighbourhood of the Society Islands, unvisited, degraded by idolatry and wretched. ness, without a friendly guide to conduct them to the temporal and spiritual enjoyment of all those inestimable blessings which Christianity is calculated to impart."

The affectionate welcome of the American Missionaries to their fellow-labourer, is thus expressed :

Honorura, Feb. 19, 1823, “Dear brother Ellis,-Safely and seasonably arrived at this new missionary field, as the scene of your future labours in the gospel of our common Lord, you will permit us as your brethren to tender our sincere congratulations and affectionate welcome. have with admiration witnessed some of those striking movements of Providence which led the way and brought you hither to unite your experience, your counsels, your prayers, your labours, and your influence with ours, in the great work of giving to this nation the inspired word of God, with ability to read it intelligibly, and leading them to the obedience of the truth as it is in Jesus; and we regard your arrival and settlement here as an important means of comfort and aid to us, and an accession of strength to the cause of missions here; and as one of the special tokens of God's mere ciful designs towards the benighted and degraded inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands.

“We have long ago opened our arms and our bosoms to receive you; we now gladly hail your arrival; and with unfeigned satisfaction and unreserved approval, as your brethren and fellow-la. bourers, embrace you as a minister of Christ, and as a missionary of his cross; and while we feel and cherish an ardent desire that we may ever be mutual helpers and comforters in the toils and trials of a missionary life, you will in all matters relative to the acquisition of the language, the translating and publishing of the Scriptures, recommending important measures to the governpent, devising and executing plans for urging forward the intel.

« AnteriorContinuar »