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draw them upward, and lead them to heaven, whose noblest spirit is one of song, and whose most glorious exercise is thanksgiving and praise ? I have read in the work of an old writer, that in time past music had been used to cure diseases. I do not know how far a prescription left by a musical man-I say it with all respect for the profession-which directed 'four bars of two-four time, with instrumental accompaniment, to be administered every three hours,' would answer in the place of the usual tablespoonful every hour;' but this I do know, that music has a wonderful power over the mind and body too, and I believe there are some very excellent friends of my acquaintance, and in whose fellowship 1 rejoice, who would not need nearly as much medicine as they do in their bodies if they had a little more music in their souls."
In reference to the importance of the work committed to the teacher, Mr. CHOwn observed :
" And then there seems to come another voice, which whispers to one's soul from out this vast assembly, and shows again the great importance of this work, and it seems to say, 'Remember those amongst whom we are working, and on whom our power is employed. And so I do. I know that you seek to influence the young, to lay hold of the tree of the next generation while it is but a sapling, and train it so that it may grow to be as the tree of life, whose fruit shall be good for all, and the very leaves of which shall be for the healing of the nations. You labour among those for wliom Satan is waiting and watching, casting his lures before their eyes, and his entanglements around their feet—those who will in all probability be the possession in years to come of those who have them now; for those who can keep the young are generally those who will have the middle-aged and the old. You have committed to your charge those who are the hope of the world and the church too. It is said of an old Roman general, that on a great procession day in Rome he stood amongst the multitudes, and as the aged passed by with their robes wrapped round them, he heard their shout, We have been brave !' and the old man sighed, and said, When they can no longer go to battle, who will take care of the country?' Then there came the young men, proud and stalwart, and they shouted, “We are brave !' and again the old man sighed, and said, ' Alas! these, too, will soon be gone, and who will take care of the country then!' After awhile it was said, Here come the children.' The old man leaned over his staff, and listened to catch their shout; and at last he caught it as it was wafted on the breeze, and as their clear loud voices rung out, it was in the cry, We will be brave !' And then the old man's heart leaped up within him, and the fire flashed from his eye, as he said, • It is enough,-my country is safe.'”
It is unnecessary to add any comments. The extracts thus given, will serve to recall to those of our readers who were present at the meeting, the impressions then made on their minds; and they will enable those who were not so favoured, to share to some extent in the pleasure and profit which it so largely yielded
Missions ÎN WESTERN POLYNESIA: being Historical Sketches of those
Missions, from their commencement in 1839, to the present time. By A. W. Murray, Twenty-five years a Missionary in Polynesia in connexion with the London Missionary Society. London : John Snow. pp. 489.
Tuis handsomely printed and illustrated volume is a fitting companion to the “Nineteen Years in Polynesia," of the Rev. Dr. Turner, reviewed in our volume for 1801, page 264. The works both relate to the same field of labour, and embrace, to a great extent, the same period of time, and yet they differ considerably in their character. Dr. Turner's narrative referred more especially to the Mission on Tanna, an island of the New Hebrides Group, and to Samoa, the native name of the group of volcanic islands in Central Polynesia, commonly known as the “ Navigators,” where the labours of the London Missionary Society have been so greatly blessed, and from which Gospel truth has been spread to so great an extent through the islands of these southern seas. But the great interest of Dr. Turner's work consisted in the large information it conveyed as to the manners, customs, and mythology of the native tribes of Polynesia, and which furnished many interesting Scripture illustrations. Some of these have found a place in our pages, and have no doubt been read with interest.
Mr. Murray's work is devoted to a somewhat full detail of the progress of the Gospel in Western Polynesia, especially in the group of islands called the New Hebrides, extending about 400 miles N.N.W., and S.S.E., discovered by Quiros in 1606; visited by Bougainville in 1768, but only fully explored by Cook in 1774. The group comprises thirty inhabited islands, two of which are about 200 miles in circumference.
In contemplating the results of missionary labour in these islands, we are first struck with the savage character of the inhabitants, of which this volume affords many examples, and which, revolting as they are to our feelings, ought to be kuown, in order that due honour may be done to the men and women who, under the influence of love to the Saviour, undertook the perilous service of making known the Gospel, and that devout thankfulness may ascend to Him who has made their labours and self-sacrifice so productive of good.
Thus in the island of Aniteum,
" The horrid practice of strangling is still carried on to a fearful extent. There have been much sickness, and several deaths among the natives of late ; and many poor women have fallen a sacrifice to a most revolting and barbarons superstition. In one case three women were strangled on the occasion of one man's death. Often the first intimation of a man's illness, is the information of his death, and that of his wife. A few mornings ago, as we sat at breakfast, a dead body slung upon a long pole, and borne by a number of people, was carried past our door. In a few minutes another body, carried in a similar manner, made its appearance. These were the bodies of a man and his wife: the former having died, and the latter having been strangled. They had been brought from the interior of the island by an inland tribe to be buried in the sea.-PP. 68, 69.
The following refers to the labours of Christian teachers on the Island of Vate :
"They have also been the means of saving the lives of infants which heathen custom was wont to bury alive. One child was actually buried, and dug up again by its parents, and is now alive. Three aged women would have been buried alive, but for the remonstrances of the teachers. This custom is awfully prevalent here. It is even considered a disgrace to the family of an aged chief if he is not buried alive. And when the poor old heathen feels sick and infirm, he will tell those around to bury him. The grave is then dug, and the old man's dying groans are drowned amid the weeping and wailing of his family and friends."-pp. 241, 242.
The following painful statement shews the peril which attends the attempts made to evangelize these savages. In 1853, two Christian teachers, with their wives, from Samoa, were left at this same Island of Vate, where the natives gave them an enthusiastic reception. In October, 1854, the Island was visited by Messrs. Hardie and Sunderland, who
“Were horrified to find, that the teachers and their wives, who had been so recently left in such promising circumstances, had all been murdered, and devoured by the wretched people who had welcomed them with every demonstration of cordiality and joy. A more striking and painful illustration of the extreme fickleness of man can scarcely be conceived. Only nineteen days intervened between the landing of the teachers, and their murder. One of the teachers had a son, a little boy, who also shared the fate of the parents. Thus the whole party, five in number, were cut off."--p. 256.
Our readers will probably think these extracts afford sufficient testimony to the character of these savages. What must have been the strength of those principles which impelled Christian missionaries from Europe, and the Christian natives of other islands, who well knew the perils to which the undertaking exposed them, to attempt to introduce the Gospel among them? Mr. Murray's volume is principally occupied with the narrative of the successive efforts to accomplish this object. It was on the 19th of November, 1839, that John Williams commenced the work, by placing Christian teachers on the Island of Tanna. On the following day, he proceeded on a similar mission to Eramanga, and was there suddenly called to lay down his life. But this sad event did not disconrage his brethren, who still sought to carry out his design, nor does it appear that there ever was any difficulty in finding Christian natives to occupy the post of danger. Thus, when in 1858, Messrs. Stallworthy, of Samoa, and Gill, of Raratonga, visited these islands, and were approaching Vate, where the teachers and their wives had been murdered and eaten, they called a meeting of the Raratonga teachers they had on board,
" And asked them if they had any desire to be stationed on Vate. Several of them replied that that was the land of their choice. After getting the news from the shore, we again consulted with them, and it was agreed that three of them should be landed, namely: Teamaru, Teautou, and Toma. We committed them by prayer to God; their supplies were lowered into the boats, and we accompanied them to the shore with their wives and children.”—p. 259.
A very naiural enquiry will present itself to the mind : what has been the result of these efforts to introduce the Gospel amongst the islands constituting the New Hebrides group? Here a fact meets us well worthy of observation,—the work of evangelisation has been carried on, not by European missionaries, but by Christian teachers from Raratonga, and the Samoan group. Visits have been paid occasionally by the former, and, in some cases, a missionary has been located with the teachers; but, in some cases, these native teachers have been left to their own resources, and, in all, the work has mainly rested upon them. Our space will not allow us to go into detail as to the success with which it has pleased God to bless these labours. The volume itself must be perused, and it will be found filled with motives for the grateful exclamation, “what hath God wrought !"
We cannot, however, refrain from giving some extracts. The following refers to the Island of Mare. Two Samoan teachers were located there on the 9th April, 1841, but it was some years before success attended their labours. Mr. Murray, with a brother missionary, the Rev. J. P. Sunderland, visited the island in 1852; reaching it on Saturday, June 5th, and spending the Sabbath at Waeko, one of the stations
“ We went on shore at the very spot where eleven years before we landed the teachers. What a change since then! Instead of a rude, disorderly rabble of naked savages, we found a company of people-six or seven hundred-all seated in a circle ; all more or less clothed; all quiet, mild, and kind. We proceeded to the chapel. The scene there, and the emotions to which it gave rise, batia description. The chapel is 72 feet long, and 24 broad. It was densely crowded with evidently deeply interested worshippers. There is a Sabbath school at noon, attended by about 200, who apply themselves to learning to read with the utmost vigour. Another general service is held in the afternoon. There are 31 good readers, 200 members of a select Bible class, and 51 candidates for baptism, and the Lord's supper. The state of things at Guahma, one other station on this island, is rather in advance of what it is here. Guahma is the principal station. It is the centre whence the astonishing movement now in progress took its rise. There is a chapel there 120 feet by 30, which the teachers say is filled every Sabbath."-pp. 305, 306.
It should be observed that although the number of native teachers had been increased to 4, yet they had only the very occasional visits of European missionaries, and it was not until 1854, thirteen years after the commencement of the mission, that the desires of the people were realized by the residence among them of Messrs. Jones and Creagh. The last visit of the “ John Williams” to the island was in 1800, when it appeared that about 4,000 people on the other side of the island still cleave obstinately to their heathenism, but that all in the districts occupied by the missionaries, amounting to 3,000, were professing Christians. The church members amounted to 234, and 210 were candidates for church fellowship.
The perusal of this most interesting narrative will draw forth feelings of gratitude to God, for the blessing which has been bestowed on the labours of his servants in these islands of the seas, and will lead to earnest prayer, that similar tokens of the divine favour may rest on all portions of the mission field. We therefore trust that it may be largely read.
LITTLE CROWNS, AND HOW TO WIN THEM. By the Rev. Joseph Collier.
London : James Nisbet & Co. pp. 160.
Tuis little volume contains nine short sermons preached at a children's service, held in Mr. Collier's own church, and which are printed, because he hoped that he might thus preach them to a still larger congregation. They are well adapted to interest the young, and to suggest the suitable manner of addressing young persons. The style in which the book is got
up, and its pictorial illustrations render it a most appropriate gift book. We regret that some expressions in page 97 will render it objectionable to those who think infant baptism unscriptural; and for the general usefulness of the work it would be desirable they should be omitted. It is a reprint from America, and it would be well that the allusions which would be interesting and intelligible to American children, should be changed for others more familiar to the little ones of our own country. It rather amused us to find an American preacher making kings and crowns so prominent. The illustration harmonizes very well with our ideas, but does not seem so suitable in a republic. In page 65 there is a misprint, “We are all" instead of “are we all,” which entirely alters the sense, and should therefore be altered in another edition. We have mentioned these defects because the book is one which deserves to have every imperfection which might hinder its usefulness removed.
A TRAP TO CATCH A SUNBEAM. By the Author of Old Jolliffe. London :
Lockwood & Co.
This is a cheap edition of a well known and interesting little work. It is sold only in packets of twelve at 1s. 6d.; and if any of our readers have not read the tale, we recommend them to buy a packet, and after their own curiosity is satisfied, to circulate the copies amongst their neighbours, none of whom will be the worse for the perusal.
GLEANINGS AMONG THE SHEAVES; OR HANDFULS LET FALL ON PURPOSE FOR
THE POOR. By the Rev. Josiah Viney. London : Book Society. pp. 110.
The object of this little work is to furnish a short, pleasant, and useful reading for the Sabbath afternoon. It is intended for the working classes, and aims to improve passing circumstances, and to portray Scripture scenes. We shall rejoice at its finding its way largely into the families which it is especially designed to interest and instruct. We select the following passage from the article on maternal influence, entitled “My Mother" :
“Only let your life correspond with your prayers. Artless, but very beautiful, was the answer of a Sunday school child to his teacher, who, when the class was asked, in illustration of human depravity, “if they knew any one who was always good,' promptly replied, 'Yes, Sir, I know one-my mother.''
OUR VILLAGE GIRLs. By Hetty Bowman.
London: The Book Society.
This is an account of some of the members of Miss Weston's "Grown up Class” in the Sunday school. It may afford useful hints to those who have the charge of similar classes, and is a very suitable book to put into the hands of young women in our senior and adult classes.