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FIRST CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY. 127
SKETCHES OF THE BLIND PREACHER AND THE BIRTH-rLACE OF KAAHUMANU, IN EAST MAUI.
There is no light without companion shade:
There are no griefs which do not herald joys:
And every thing must have its equipoise.
Its melody complete, its octaves true;
If there be any discords, they are few;
And when they cease, the rhythm flows anew. *
The law of compensation illustrated—Memorials of the first convert to Christianity— His birth and boyhood—Early deformity and loss of sight—Skill in the Hula— Adoption by the court as a buffoon—Abandoned to perish—Dawning of the dayspring—He hears of Christ—He turns to the Pono—The chiefs send for him to make sport—Memorable answer—Journal respecting him—Affecting attitude—Divine sovereignty exemplified—Probation for the church—Record of his examination—First-fruits—He grows and endures-—Light breaks—Light is withdrawn— He is thrown upon memory—He hides the Word of God—Acquires extraordinary strength and tenacity of memory—Labors effectively with the missionaries—Is licensed to preach the Gospel—Account of one of his sermons—Power as a preacher —Surprise of the missionaries—Resources of illustration—Ministry in Honuaula— Life and death—We pass and ponder his field of labor—Supposed mental exercises in his blindness—We proceed to Hana—Remarkable road over clinkers—How made, and by whom—After-streams from the volcano—The warfare of a nightVictory to the Ukulelo—A chief of the olden time—A dance at Kaupo—Perils by canotj—Sketches of the missionary station of Hana—Natural features and productions—Riding up to the clouds—Cave where Kaahumanu was bora—Two strange things in the kingdom of nature and kingdom of grace—A volcanic bathing-house.
The truth at the head of this Chapter, that there is evermore a law of compensation and equipoise running through all things, has its comment and corroboration in the character and history of a remarkable man, through the earthly scene of whose labors I have been passing, in i rder to reach the eastern extremity of the Island of SAvvii.
That man was the first convert to Christianity at these Islandi, and the first who received the Christian ordinance of laptism, formally introducing him to the fellowship cf tin universal Church, under the Christian name of Bartimeus, on the tenth day of July, 1825. His name is on heavenly records, and it is familiar to the ear of Protestant Christendom, as the Blind Hawaiian Preacher, or Bartimeus L. Puaaiki.
The district of Honuaula, in East Maui, through which we hav? been travelling, was the sphere of his faithful labors as a minister of the Gospel for the four or five years prior to his death in September, 1843. He was born in the densest darkness of Savage Paganism, six or seven years after the death of Captain Cook; and, when buried alive by the hand of his own mother, he was saved, in the providence of God, to be a chosen vessel to bear his name before kings.
He was a neglected and wicked heathen boy; and, between his early addictedness to the use of intoxicating awa, his filthy habits, and exposures, with scarcely a rag of clothing, or a hat to shield his eyes from the rays of the tropical sun or wind, he had nearly lost his eyesight before attaining to man's estate. In a brief sketch of him by one of the missionaries, it is said that he was hideously diseased; his beard flowed down to his bosom; his only garntent was an old dirty kihei, or native kapa, thrown over his shoul
EARLY LIFE OF BARTIMEUS. 129
ders: diminutive in size, he was a laughing-stock of the boys, and was fast wearing himself out in the service of Satan.
"In these circumstances, he attracted the notice of Kamamalu, the favorite Queen of Liholiho, or Kamehameha II., who afterwards died in England. His skill in the hula, or native dance, his being a hairy man, and other reasons not easily known at present, recommended him to the favor of the chiefs; not, indeed, as a companion, but as a buffoon. When sent for, he made sport for the Queen and other chiefs, and received in return a pittance of food and of his favorite awa." ,
On the arrival of the pioneers of the mission at Kailua, in the spring of 1820, Puaaiki was there with the chiefs, but he probably knew nothing of them or of their errand. Having given permission to the missionaries to remain at the Islands for a season, the King and chiefs sailed for Oahu. Mr. Bingham accompanied them, and the blind dancer followed in their train. On arriving at Honolulu, he had a severe fit of sickness. In addition to this, his disease of the eyes became much aggravated; so that, shut up in darkness, and unable to make his accustomed visits to the Queen, he was well nigh forgotten, and in danger of perishing.
"But the time of deliverance to this poor captive of Satan (says the writer of the sketch above referred to) had now come. He was visited by John Honolii, a native youth educated at Cornwall, Connecticut; who,