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ILLUSTRATIVE AND ORNAMENTAL WOOD ENGRAVINGS,
DIFFUSION OF USEFUL KNOWLEDGE,
MURAL AND RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES.
SIXTEEN LARGE OCTAVO PAGES, WEEKLY.
EDITED BY THEODORE DWIGHT.
AUTHOR OF A TOUR IN ITALY, THE FATHER'S BOOK, NORTHERN TRAVELLER,
SCHOOLMASTERS' FRIEND, &c.
THE NATIVES OF RAROTONGA,
Bringing their Idols to Protestant Missionaries. This scene is described with much force s brutes which perish,” to “ the horse and the by some of the spectators; and extracts muls, which have no understanding,” so far from similar accounts will be found below. below the ox which knoweth his owner,”
To an intelligent mind, and especially to as to adopt a block of wood as an object of a sensitive Christian heart, the spectacle, so
adoration instead of our common Father well represented by a skillful artist, is re- and Creator, benefactor and proprietor, the plete with interesting and affecting con.
Lord God Almighty, the source and centre sidera ons. How can a human being, a
of all love and perfection ? member of that race which was created " in Yet the melancholy fact is before us the image of God," a brother of our own and here is presented to our view sad evi. family, have been sunk so low in knowl. dence of the truth, that, although in all ledge, judgment and taste, so like to the ages the heavens declare the glory of
God," and all are without excuse who say there is no God, “yet the human race have generally chosen “not to re’air God in their knowledge," and have been given over to a reprobate mind, changing the truth of God into a lie, and worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator."
We have before spoken at some length of the obligations under which the Protestant missionaries of modern days have laid us all, by the accurate and well-timed information they have collected and furnished us with, in different departments of knowl. edge. We owe them still more, however, for the important moral lessons they have taught us, by displaying to our view the effects of heathenism, and the triumphs of Gospel truth faithfully preached and exhibited in practice. Their labors and sacrifices have in this way produced great good upon many of those whom they have left behind, scarcely less perhaps than those conferred on the objects of their benevolence.
The contrast between the moral state of the Sandwich, Friendly and other Islands in the Pacific, and the sublime or beautiful scenery, the benignant climate and the lux. uriant vegetation, was of a melancholy nature. Many superficial persons have imagined idolatry to be harmless, and not a few writers have praised some of its features, as humane and refining. The nearer and more accurate views, which our missionaries have enabled us to take of it, in its various forms, have discountenanced such groundless representations, and given us reason to contemplate false religions with horror, and their unhappy victims with the deepest compassion.
Idolatry is a religion of forms, and there. fore, from its very nature, embraces the spirit of persecution. History teaches us that it has ever been so, and the cause is easily explained : for it demands confor. mity, and that can be secured by com. pulsion. Nebuchadnezzar endeavored to convert the prophet Daniel by means of a fiery furnace and a den of lions, and all sorts of punishments and tortures have been resorted to by other zealots. A religion of the mind and heart, on the contrary, aims at unity of opinion and feeling; and this can be gained only by convincing the judg. ment and influencing the affections. This no force can accomplish ; and no man who acts on the principles of Christianity will ever resort to compulsion in his efforts to propagate it.
The Sandwich Islanders, having gradually lost much confidence in
their idols, from an intercourse with foreigners of about forty years' duration, although in other respects they generally derived much evil and little good from their visitors, overthrew the system of superstition before the first missionaries landed on their shores. This was not accomplished, how- .. ever, without a violent struggle; and the heathen party continued for several years to resist the propagation of Christianity. By degrees, however, rulers, people, and even priests, yielded to truth and conscience, and a reformation took place which may well be regarded with wonder, gratitude and encouragement.
Idolatry is also cruel. Its priests require sacrifices of various kinds, under the pretence of propitiating their divinities, but really for the purpose of gaining power or honor for themselves. In some of the Islands, oppression, cruelty and murder, especially infanticide, prevailed in a shocking degree. A priest, at some of their ceremonies, had only to point at any person present, to have him despatched in an instant, his heart torn out and laid at his feet.
The Areoi Society was a strange and detestable association, formed on the most immoral principles, and for the perpetration of the greatest crimes. It had existed from time immemorial, embraced a large portion of the people, and exerted a most baneful influence. It seems indeed wonderful that any remains of decency could have subsisted in a nation where so degrading and subversive an institution had a footing. In some of its principal features the Areoi may be compared with customs known among many of the tribes of Weste 'n Africa, and in some other parts of the work., as well as with the Bacchanals of the Romans. Strange as it may seem, however, even that profligate institution soon began 10 succumb before the influence of the Gospel, and was finally annihilated.
The following is a description of one of the numerous and interesting scenes which occurred during the early days of Christi. anity in the Islands.
“In one of the visits which Mr. Nott made to the residence of Taaroarii, for the purpose of preaching to his people, he was followed by Patii, the priest of the temple of Papetoai, the district in which the missionaries resided. This individual appeared 10 listen most attentively to what was said ; and, after the conclusion of the service, he and Mr. Nott proceeded together along the beach towards the settlement. As they walked, Patii disclosed the feel.
ings of his mind to Mr. Nott, and assured him vulgar eyes, stripped them of their ornaments, that on the morrow, at a certain hour, he which he cast into the fire; and then, one by would bring up the ido's under his care, and
one, threw the idols themselves into the publicly burn them.
crackling flames, sometimes pronouncing the This declaration was astounding, it was name and pedigree of the idol, and expressing too decisive and important in its nature, and his own regret at having worshipped it, at promised results almost too momentous, to be others, calling upon the spectators to witness true. Mr. Nott, repli d: “I fear you are their inability even to help themselves. Thus jesting with me, and stating what you think
the idols which Patii who was we wish, rather than what you intend. I can powerful priest in Eimeo, had worshipped, scarcely allow myself to believe what you publicly destroyed. The flames became ex
tinct, and the sun cast his last beams, as he “ Don't be unbelieving,” replied Patii; sank behind the western wave, upon the ex“ wait till to-morrow and you shall see." piring embers of that fire, which had already
The religion o Jesus Chrisi was the topic mingled with the earth over which it had of conversation until they reached the settle been kindled, the ashes of some of the once ment. The arrival of the evening of the fol obeyed and dreaded gods of Eimeo. Patii was lowing day was awaited with an unusual agi not on this occasion prompted by a spirit of tation and excitement of teeliigs. The pub daring bravado, but by the conviction of truth lic adherents of Christianity were few (less deeply impressed upon his heart, and a dethan fifty ) and surrounded by jealous and sire to undeceive his deluded countrymen ; cruel idolaters, who already began to wonder probably considering that, as his conduct and whereunto this thing might grow. Patii, how Instruction had heretofore done much to exever, was faithfnl to his word. He, with his tend and propagate the influence of idolatry, friends, had collected a quantity of fuel near so his thus publicly abandoning it, and expothe sea-beach ; and, in the afternoon, the sing bimself to all the consequences of their wood was split, and piled on a point of land dreaded ire, would most effectually weaken in the western part of Papetoai, near the hair confidence in the gods and lead them to large national marae, or temple, in which he desire instruction concerning thai Being who, had officiated. The report of his intention he was convinced, was the only living and had spread among he people of the district, true God. and multitudes assembled to witness this
PRUSSIA.—Berlin. It is said that a suspidaring act of impiety, or the sudden venge.
cious Catholic association, called the “ Order auce which they thought would fall upon the of Roses," has been discovered in Berlin.sacrilegious criminal. The missionaries and This confederacy seems to be organized as a their frnds also attended.
lodge of various degrees and sections. It is
headed by a Popish priest .and it is supposed “) short time before sunset, Patii appear.
that the society was organized for the spread ed and ordered his attendants to apply fire
of Popery amongst the lower orders. The af. 1, the pile. This being done, he hastened to fair was discovered by a Protestanı servant girl. the sacred depository of his gods, brought
The Weser Gazeite states that, in the eve
ning of the 26th ult., an estafette arrived at them out, not as he had been on some occa
Posen, with accounts that an insurrection sions accustomed to do, that they might re
had taken place in the small town of Samfer, ceive the blind homage of the waiting popu during which an attack was made upon the lace, but to convince the deluded multitude magazine, in which the arios of the Land.
wehr are deposited. It is also rumored that of the impotency and the variety of the ob
a mine had been discovered at Pusen, which jects of their adoration aud their dread. When
had very nearly reached the powder magazine. he approached the burning pile he laid them A Berlin letter of the 9th, after alluding to down on the ground. They were small,
the revelation to the King by a private soldier
of some conspiracy, and stating that he had carved wooden images, and imitations of the
been largely rewarded by his Majesty, adds, human figure, or shapeless logs of wood, that at Posen, amongst the persons recently covered with finely braided and curiously arrested are Count B., one of the most weal. wronght cinet, of cocoa nut fibres, and orna.
thy landholders of the province, and all his
stewards and agents. mented with red feathers.
It is stated that the provincial Statss of Patii tore off the sacred cloth in which they
Prussia will certainly be transformed into a were enveloped, to be safe from the gaze of į States General.