Page images
PDF
EPUB

credulity to ask him to believe that a people now so remarkably peaceable and gentle, among whom the safety of human life and property is unparalleled anywhere on the face of the earth—that only one generation back they were the warlike, ferocious, infanticide race, sacri•ficing each other to their gods, which unquestionable facts make them to have been.

The last human sacrifices are said to have been made at this place in 1818. One man was then sacrificed for putting on the malo (girdle) of a chief, one for eating a forbidden article of food, one for leaving a house that was tabu and entering one that was not, and a woman was put to death for going into the eating-house of her husband when intoxicated. On the authority of natives, former kings have immolated eighty victims at once, as in the days of Umi, whose blood-thirsty. god, after one of his victories, kept calling from the clouds, Give, give, until the priest and himself were all that remained of his train.

In the revolution so marvellously effected at these Islands, how remarkably is fulfilled that prediction of Holy Writ in the Prophecy of Zephaniah, The Lord will FAMISII all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him every one from his place, even all the ISLES of the heathen!

When the first band of missionaries landed at Kailua, only fifteen miles from this Bay, in the spring of 1820, just thirty-one years ago, the appearance of the natives was thus described by one of that heroic company :-“A first sight of these wretched creatures was

HEROISM OF THE FIRST MISSIONARIES.

47

almost overwhelming. Their naked figures and wild expression of countenance, their black hair streaming in the wind as they hurried the canoe over the water, with all the eager action and muscular power of savages; their rapid and unintelligible exclamations, and whole exhibition of uncivilized character, gave to them the appearance of being half-men and half-beast, and irresistibly pressed on our minds the query : Can they be men ? Can they be women? Do they not form a link in creation connecting man with the brutes ?? This, indeed, seemed to be the general impression., The officer heading the boat sent to the shore, on his return exclaimed, as he ascended the deck, 'Well, if I never before saw brutes in shape of men, I have seen them this morning ;' and, addressing himself to some of our company, added, “You can never live among such a people as this: we shall be obliged to take you back with us.'”

Some of their number, says Mr. Bingham, with gushing tears, turned away from the spectacle. “Others, with firmer nerve, continued their gaze, but were ready to exclaim, “Can these be human beings! How dark and comfortless their state of mind and heart! How imminent the danger to the immortal soul, shrouded in this deep pagan gloom! Can such beings be civilized? Can they be Christianized ? . Can we throw ourselves upon these rude shores, and take up our abode, for life, among such a people, for the purpose of training them for heaven ?' “Yes,' (they replied,) though faitho had to struggle for the victory,

“these interrogations could all be answered in the affirmative.""

These were the hopes of the pioneers themselves, sustained by secret refreshings from on high, and their life hid with Christ in God. But tell us now, ye men of the world, judging according to sense, what can these humane but Quixotic fanatics, as they were then deemed, what can they do with these untutored abjects of humanity in the remote heart of the Pacific? What, think you, will become of them, left all defenceless with these “brutes in the shape of men ?" Two husbands and wives from the realm of Christendom, unbacked by navies, unsupported by armies, planting themselves at the very heart of the most abject paganism, among a horde of naked, squalid savages, already doubly brutified and debased below the level of ordinary savageism, by contamination from those moral ulcers which had been bred by the riffraff of civilization —what shall they do there?

What means do they possess of transforming such miserable creatures into intelligent, conscientious, civilized and Christianized men and women? Will they succeed in the experiment? Or will they fail? Will the labor and money expended upon them be thrown away to no purpose? Or, going forth and weeping, bearing precious seed, will they come again with rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them? Let the harvest of 1850 answer, just one generation from the deposit of the first germ :TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND MEN AND WOMEN IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH; SEVENTEEN THOUSAND PUPILS IN CHRIS

MEANS OF THE MARVELLOUS CHÀNGE.

TIAN SCHOOLS ; and their contributions in the year 1849, while decimated by, a wasting epidemic, to different religious objects, over Seven thousand Dollars !

Statesmen and philosophers, and socialist reformers, have started innumerable plans and theories for the improvement of our race and the reconstruction of society. But while we behold here a triumph of the Gospel over the direst combination of evil influences, what instance is there on record, in the annals of the human family, of a nation emerging from barbarism by any other means, and ascending to a moral position so eminent, in a single generation ? Is there any other agency known to man, but the “ foolishness of preaching" capable of producing such results? We say with certainty, No, there is not.

Had Napoleon obtained for France to the full his three wishes—“I desire Ships, Colonies, and Commerce"—they would never have done for France, or for the countries colonized and traded with, what Christianity has done for the Island Heart of the Pacific. The transformation here accomplished is little less than miraculous.

Never, in the history of man, has so great a change been effected in so short a time. Where robbery and murder but a few years ago were practised as trades, and were events of every-day occurrence, life and property are now safer than under any long-established government that can be named. Great as is the Hawaiian love of waiwai, (property,) and degraded and bad as they still are in many ways, yet such is now the force of law and the effect of the Gospel, that we might almost say a man may travel afoot and by canoe, through the entire cluster of Islands, from Hawaii to Nihau, and with a net bag of shining dollars, without fear of molestation, unless it be from some desperate runaway foreigner, or a straggling Hawaiian sailor, hardened by his cruises abroad. If the same be true of any other land, we have yet to know it. To the Gospel, that has wrought the change, be all the glory.

Christianity as the Cause, Commerce and Civilization as the consequents and handmaids, have done it all. Without the missionary, carry to them all you could of modern art and culture, Hawaiians to this day would have lived and died in as besotted and gross barbarism as in the days of Cook. God would not be in all their thoughts ; and where God is not honored, civilization can neither be established, nor can it hold its own. It was because the glorious Gospel of the Son of God went first to this Island Heart of the Pacific in the year 1820, that facts like the following turn up in the year 1850.

When the Sandwich Islands Mission was first started, a young wheelwright in Massachusetts was called upon to contribute for it, and was told that his quota would be a dollar. He paid it, but with the feeling then that the dollar was thrown away. Within the present year this same wheelwright has received an order from those Islands for twenty pairs of cart-wheels and bodies, at ninety dollars a pair.

Now we say with confidence, that without the Chris

« PreviousContinue »