R.H. CODRINGTON, D.D.
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE
NEW YORK: E.S.GORHAM.
THE memoir of which the following pages contain a translation was written in the Mota language at Norfolk Island, while the author, Clement Marau, was waiting there for his ordination, He had come from the Solomon Islands with that in view in the year 1889, and, owing to Bishop Selwyn's absence from illness, had some months to wait. During this time his thoughts went back to the days when he first lived at the Mission Station, now so much altered in outward things; he recalled the experiences of his own life, by which he had himself returned so different from what he was; and, as he considered it, he was able to view his life as a whole--his call to the work he was to do, his training for it, and the work itself so far as it was done. He naturally spoke often of what was so constantly in his mind, and Mr. Palmer, who had known and helped him throughout, thought it would be very useful to the present and future scholars at Norfolk Island if he would write down what he had experienced and observed. To the new generation, Bishop Patteson is unknown, and the early days of the Mission seem far away; to recall him and his teaching is to show the foundation on which the Mission has been built up. In accordance with Mr. Palmer's wish, Clement wrote with a view to Melanesian readers, without much thought of arrangement or completeness, not to give a history of himself, but to point out the lessons of his experience. When I was in Norfolk Island, last May, the manuscript was given me to read. I copied it, and have now translated it. It appeared to me to be worthy of publication in English, and to require for that little more than a few omissions and as accurate a rendering as I could give. The story, however, will hardly be understood without a few lines of introduction.
The island of Merlav--in the Mota form of the name, Meralava--is a volcanic cone rising from the sea, with a base of three miles in diameter, to a height of three thousand feet. Its steep sides are fertile, and were cultivated by a numerous people of the race which inhabits the Banks' Islands, to which Merlav belongs, and the northern New Hebrides, of which it stands in view. The language is closely connected with those of both groups, and there was a good deal of intercourse and intermarriage among them, particularly with Mota, Sta. Maria, and Aurora. When these groups of islands were discovered by the Spanish navigator Quiros, in 1607, Merlav was the first that came in sight. He saw, as it appears, in the night the light of the then active volcano, and named the island Nuestra Senora de la Luz. The French navigator Bougainville, long after, renamed it Pic de l'Étoile, and it is now, in English, Star Island.
When the Melanesian Mission began to work in the Banks' Islands, friendly intercourse began with the Merlav people. In 1863 Bishop Patteson took his party ashore, and we were the first white men who entered the villages and passed through the terraced gardens on the mountain-side, where the soil was held in its place by rows of logs. The chief man of the island was then, or soon after, Qoqoe, who rose to the highest dignity accessible to a native of the group, and was styled Wetuka. He was, in fact, what in the Solomon Islands would be called a great chief; on that side of the Banks' Group there was no greater man than he, no other man could rise in rank without his consent, or without adding to his wealth. Marau, who here tells his own story, and alludes on page 41 to the station in which he was born, was this man's youngest son. Two elder brothers, twins, Woqas and Womber, were educated at Kohimarama, in New Zealand, and there baptized with the names of Clement and Richard. These were so exactly alike that their own father could not distinguish them, and once gave a morning's meal twice over to one of them, thinking that he was providing for them both. At Norfolk Island they were favourites of all, famous for singing and playing together on the drum; they died within a few hours of each other, of the malignant fever that visited the island in 1868, and their grave was marked by the first stone put up in the Mission graveyard--a stone with twin crosses, made and given by the stonemason resident on the island. When, therefore, the next year the little Marau, exactly like his twin-brothers as we thought, came into their place, he was not only received into the affections of the bishop, but was at once an object of interest to all the Mission party. It is characteristic of Bishop Patteson that he never, so far as I remember, mentioned his own danger as the opening of this story shows it, much less his own conduct in it. It was new to me when I read this narrative; but I remember his telling us, with warm feeling, how the father in all his fresh grief gave up to him his youngest boy, that, like those whom he had lost, he might be "enlightened."
Marau, who thinks that he was twelve years of age when he came to the bishop in 1869, could not have been so old by quite two years. As he tells his story, he narrates his earliest experiences, but he leaves very much that passed untold. In the year after the bishop's death, he was at home for a holiday; when he returned again to Norfolk Island he was baptized, and named Clement, after one of his brothers. In the year 1875 he went in the Southern Cross with Mr. (soon after Bishop) Selwyn to Sydney, and was confirmed in the cathedral there, on St. Luke's Day, by Bishop Barker.
He was thus apparently being prepared to be the teacher of his own people, among whom his position would be at once assured; but he gave up his home and friends to help the people of Ulawa, in the Solomon Islands,--a people of strange speech and unknown ways of life, very far away, as it seemed, from the world he knew. He tells what it was that moved him to do this in the way of Christian principle; but there was besides the example before him of similar self-sacrifice, and he was drawn, moreover, by friendship and care for an individual. At that time, in the Norfolk Island school, the first candidates for baptism were coming forward from one island after another, and very much was done by the elder lads, communicants, who were chosen by them as their "witnesses." To these they often confided their first desire and purpose to be baptized; by them they were encouraged, taught, and helped, better than by white teachers, who could not know their needs so well; and the bond so formed proved often very strong and lasting. It was particularly close, because so individual, where a boy, the first from his own heathen island, called to his help an elder friend from an island more advanced; it was this connexion that took Ulgau and Viletuwale from Mota to Arag and Ureparapara, as well as Marau to Ulawa.
Ulawa, Contrariété Island, one of the Solomon Group, had often been visited by the Southern Cross and by the Mission clergy, and a succession of scholars had come from thence to New Zealand and Norfolk Island without progress being made. Mr. Atkin, who was killed at Nukapu with Bishop Patteson, and, after him, Mr. Still, knew the people well, but no school had been established at the date (1877) when Clement Marau accompanied his godson, Walter Waaro, to the island on his return thither after baptism. Waaro had been in Norfolk Island with Bishop Patteson, had returned to his home, and had been reported dead. In 1873, however, we found him recovered from a severe illness, and eager to come away. He made good progress, and was baptized. The time came for him to go home again, and he was old enough to begin to teach; but he was almost alone, and, moreover, Mr. Still had then been obliged to give up his work in those islands. At this critical time, Clement Maiau began the work in Ulawa of which he relates the failures and success. During the whole period of his residence there, Mr. Comins has from time to time stayed with him, superintending and strengthening the work; but it must be remembered that Clement, if he seems to pass this by, was writing about his own work for the instruction of his brother Melanesians.
When Bishop Selwyn returned to Norfolk Island, Clement Marau was ordained deacon, on July 5, 1890; he preached his first sermon in the Mission chapel on the 15th. He had brought with him, as witnesses of his ordination, a man, with his wife, who was the son of one of his chief opponents in Ulawa. This man was much impressed by what he saw at Norfolk Island, and, after a dangerous illness, was baptized there. Since Clement's return to his charge, his work, with some trials and difficulties, has been blessed with advancing success.
As experience everywhere shows to be the case, the gospel does not fail in the place and among the people from which one goes forth to carry it elsewhere; Merlav has not lost because Ulawa has gained. Qoqoe did not die till he and his people were Christian; William Vaget stepped into the place of teacher, and was himself ordained deacon last year by the Bishop of Tasmania.
The reader of these pages is introduced, or enters, perhaps, more intimately, into a particular Mission; he sees of what stuff the Melanesian native teacher and clergyman is made, can judge of his mental and spiritual capacity, views his training and his work. It is true that few boys probably from among a savage people bring the natural capacity of Marau under the influence of such a teacher as Bishop Patteson. But the progress and establishment of Christianity in similar backward races depends on the growth of a native ministry; and an example is here given which may show that a system of mission work which aims at providing such a ministry has everywhere, with God's blessing, the promise of success.
R. H. C.
THE occasion of my first leaving my native island was this. The month of planting was near, and we all of us, with my father, had gone to clear the garden ground, and were chopping away the trees, when, in the very middle of the day, we heard people shouting for a ship. We asked where it was, and they said, "Look out there, full in the midst of Mota!" We looked, and saw that it was Besope's [the Bishop's] vessel. Father and all of us ran down at once; we thought nothing of our work, but ran straight down to the shore, because the ship was close at hand; and there we waited for a boat to pull in to us, all of us looking out eagerly in expectation to see those two twins who had gone with Besope, and thinking that we should see them both with joy. But when the boat came to land we saw that there were other people in her; there was R. Pantutun of Mota and W. Qasvar of Roua, and two others, and Besope at the stern, with the rudder-lines in his hands; but we looked in vain for the faces that we knew.
Then father asked the question, "Where are those two twins?" And Besope said that they were dead. But when he so answered that they were dead, such a weight of grief came down upon the minds of all the crowd of people there upon the rocks, that in the silence it was as if no crowd was there at all; because every one was sorry for those two, and we all of us thought much of them and loved them. But presently the whole crowd broke out into wailing for them--those two, my brothers. And, oh! I cried loudly for them myself. But before long I composed myself enough to go near the boat and see Besope; and I crept down by my father's side and stepped over into the boat, and R. Pan took hold of me, while the crowd of people were thinking of nothing but their lamentations. Then Besope stretched out his arms and put them round my neck; and he untied the handkerchief from his own neck and tied it round me. After some time had passed, and the wailing was quieter, the people for the first time observed that I was in the boat. Then my second father (my uncle), when he saw that I was in the boat already, was filled with rage, and this is what he said, "Ha! he has taken away those two, and they are dead, and now he wants to finish by killing this one, the last of all." Then he clutched his bow and ran down, with a handful of white poisoned arrows in his hand, and one already fixed upon the bow-string, and with his bow full-drawn, ready to let fly and kill Besope, R. Pan, and all in the boat. But Pan saw him and cried, "Bishop, they are attacking us!" The Bishop said to him, "Wait a bit;" and then he threw up his open hand, as if he would make a sign to them to be quiet and let him know what was the matter, and he said, "If you want to harm us, shoot me, but take good care of these others, that they are not hurt." When he said this he drew down the heat of the people's anger; and when there was a little silence Besope asked the man, "What do you want? What shall I do for you?" He answered, "I am angry because of those two sons of mine, and this is the third; you want to make me lose them every one." So Besope took out an axe to comfort him, and he was pacified; but it was a near thing that he did not shoot and kill every one in the boat. That man was not really my father--he was my father's brother; and he was a famous fighting man. And my own father all the while was sitting quiet, all his thoughts lost in weeping for his sons whose faces he should never see again; and as he wept he cried, "Alas, my sons! your eyes, that were the food of my life, are lost and gone from me! Alas, my sons!"
Then Besope begged my father to let him have me, and he let me go with him; and all the people pitied me, and advised my father to let Dume go too, that we might go together. And so it was. And the evening was drawing on, the sun was sinking towards the west, as we rowed off to the ship, and the people went up the steep paths into the island, weeping as they went.
When we came to the ship's side I wondered how ever I should climb up and not fall and be killed on the side of the vessel, or be drowned in the sea; and then I should never see my father again, and my native island, like those my two brothers; for these Tonga men [foreigners], I thought, will never take much care of us. But I soon saw that they let down a ladder and lifted us up carefully by our arms, and set us on the deck, where we sat by the bulwarks. I began to look about, and when I turned my eyes down to the stern of the vessel, I saw a man standing at the wheel, and I thought to myself that this was nothing else but a spirit, because he guided the ship through the wilderness of the sea; but this was the captain steering, and he was not the least unsteady on his legs, and never turned his eyes about, but he looked straight forward towards the vessel's head.
and his beard was long, down over his breast; and I thought for certain that this was a spirit that stood on guard over the stern of the ship and kept it safe from being wrecked; and I was afraid of going near the stern. But that was Captain Tilly steering; and after a while I saw him leave the wheel, and talk with Besope and walk about in the ship. And he came near to me, and spoke gently to me; and then I changed my mind about him, and thought he was a man, and not a ghos^ or a spirit, as I had foolishly taken him to be.
And I observed this in Bishop Patteson, when he first took me and Dume, and we did not know how to eat the food of the ship--and I am astonished at it now, when I remember it--that when he went ashore in the boat he used to buy cooked food ashore--mash, or taro, or yams--and bring it in the boat and give it for us two to eat, as if we were his own children. For at that time we were but a few of us alone in the ship, Robert and William and two others. And after we were taken on board we went about among the islands of Opa, Maewo, Raga, Tasiko, Mae, and others at first, and then came back to Gaua, Mota, Motalava, and took many more on board, and with them Codrington and Bice, who had been staying some time at Mota. And when the boat brought them from the beach at Mota I was astonished, and thought to myself that here was the Englishman's country close to my own, and why did we not come over to buy fish-hooks and axes from them at Mota? for here was England very near, which I had thought was a long way off. But after some time I heard that these two had been staying only for a time at Mota, while the Bishop was going round the islands, and that their own country was on the other side of the world; and that when it was noon with us it was midnight in England. So we turned our back upon those islands, and made a straight course to Norfolk Island.
THERE was this thought in my mind which was the bait that made me venture to embark in the English vessel and come here to Norfolk Island. The first thing was the wish to see the graves of my two brothers, the twins, and then go home again; but, after I had come to this place, I thought that I would get fish-hooks and axes and clothes, and then go back. When we first came ashore here we had no proper clothes; some of us had just pieces of sail-cloth sewn together, some had only waist-cloths. We had no trousers or flannels; but as we played along the road we never thought of being ashamed of this, our eyes were not yet opened to discern between bad and good. For my own part, I thought it was all the same as my own island, with altogether the same way of living. But when I had been here some little time I saw that there was nothing but peace in the place; I never heard of fighting, or quarrelling, or bad conduct. I saw that the girls kept properly by themselves, and that Palmer and his wife looked well after them; that the boys kept properly by themselves, and were well looked after at meals, sitting down and rising up all together; and that the white teachers all taught us properly, taking good care of us to prevent our going out in the rain, looking well after us to see that we washed ourselves properly, and dressed ourselves properly in our clothes, and forbidding us from quarrelling, or following after any bad heathen practices, or speaking bad words. And I heard continually the sound of the bell ringing to call people together, and I saw everything done regularly and in good order; and then I thought quietly within myself that this was a different way of living, and a thoroughly good one. All the bells had names--the bell for meals, the school bell, the prayer bell. When the others had finished morning prayers we all of us had our breakfast properly. We stood up first [for grace], and then sat down to eat; and when we had finished we stood up again, and then went out. Then we waited a while till the school bell rang, and then we went back into the room where we had our meals, and H. Tagalad, F. Pantitin, E. Sakalraw, Wevhog, and others brought us reading-sheets, and pointed to the things printed on them, and we repeated the names. Then, when school was over, we went out and took hoes and went to work on the sweet potatoes, yams, and bananas, that were to be our food. Palmer was at the head of the work, and gave the orders; he looked perfectly well after everything, and gave very much help in the work. He did not only give orders, he did the thing himself. The others also, Bice and Joe (Atkin), worked in the garden with us, just like black people, giving great help.
Everything was well looked after, and all went well when managed so. The gardens were good, and had excellent crops. There were many cows, and many pigs, all in good condition, in a fence that was full of them. As for the sheep, there were certain fellows who looked after them, and called them with a pipe, and they heard it, just as men would, and ran to their keeper. The yams were most abundant, and much bigger than they are now. There were abundant crops of sweet potatoes, some of them very large; they fed the pigs well with sweet potatoes, just as men eat them, and fed the horses well with them too. All the things in the garden were well looked after; everything in those days at the beginning was good--the crops were abundant, everything grew well--and yet the gardens were not so large as they are now. And there were companies of cooks, and the chief cooks took good care of the little ones. All these things I used to observe, and wondered silently by myself. I began to think within myself that after I had gone home again I would come back, as those two who were dead had done. Because, at the first my thought had been that I would only see their graves; and afterwards, when I had gone on board the ship, and come as far as this, I thought I would acquire all sorts of property, and then go back to my father; but now I saw that it was a good place, and a good way of living, with harmony, and everything well managed all round, and I turned my mind away from the thoughts with which I came.
Now, the chief man above us all was the Bishop; he and Codrington were both of them middle-aged men. I lived in the Bishop's house, and there he looked after us, the Bugotu, Maewo, Opa, and Gaua boys, and our two selves only from Merlav. Oh, this Bishop Patteson, his was a wonderful character; his loving disposition was beyond all thought. Every single boy of us he loved entirely; he took the hand of one and another, and snapped fingers to say good morning, as if he thought himself no greater than the boys, and he was full of kindness. He would put his arm round the neck of any one of us black fellows here, and call him "my son;" and sometimes he would put his nose to one of us boys as if he were his own child, or as if he were of no more consequence than ourselves; and he was truly bountiful to us, as if we were his own children. When he took a boy's hand to say good morning there was money in his hand when he let it go; he would not give it openly, but as it were in secret in this way. I saw more of this than most boys; my eyes have seen it so, and my hands have felt it. Sometimes, also, I used to wonder when he slept and when he woke; for there he was, sitting and reading, and not lifting up his eyes from his book. And I used to think with myself whether this our father was ever hungry or not,--whether, perhaps, he were solid inside, and so could not eat food. These are the things that I observed here in the place, and in our father, in the space of that year before he died, on account of which my mind began to change to different thoughts from those with which I had come.
I suppose that when I left my father and came here I was about twelve years old. And when I left my father I was dirty, and born in dirt--that is, in sin. And I came here with such a dirty mind and nature, and I thought that I should take back with me that dirty character and mind. But I went about my daily tasks in this place, and observed how good all was--the place good, and the food [of knowledge] good--and, without intending it, I ate what was good and sweet, and swallowed it down, and it was sweet to me for ever; but as yet I ate but little. Then, again, afterwards I went about for a good while, and I saw a pool of water [of baptism], clean and deep; and I bathed in it, and I saw that it cleansed me and made my body clean.
THE time came when I pretty well understood those reading-sheets I spoke of, that they used to point to for us in school time in the dining-hall. I had come to see that what were called m and a, or s or o, were names of the places and shapes of our mouths and tongues; because when they were joined together one could say that they made real words such as came out of one's mouth. Then I thought to myself, this is a wonderful thing that these English people make what comes out of a book turn into words! And when I could read large print, Bice used to make us point one by one to words we chose; and whoever chose a word and pointed to it and called it right more often than the rest, received a bit of money; and sometimes I called the words right and got the money, and then I thought to myself that this was good, and I took a good deal of pains to read well, and came to understand it. Then they began to teach us to read a book in small print, and I began to see that it was like real talking, and they called it Question and Answer. Thus it asked, Who made you? and Who made all things? And it answered that it was He alone who created the heaven and the earth and all things therein, and men besides, and that He is neither man nor ghost, and not Qat, as you ignorant people used to think; but He is the true Spirit, and His name is God. He is everlasting, He is omnipresent, He governs all things, and not a single thing can be hid from Him; be it night or day it is all the same to Him, and nothing at all is hard for Him to do. With Him is the source of light; He is Master of life and death. So they taught us about the one God who made the whole world; and they told us that whoever understood the words of this book and believed in Him, the one Creator, who is Lord of life and death, if he should die, he would live again hereafter. Then I remembered and understood about those two brothers of mine who had died, and I began to find light and comfort within me, and to think that it was good for me to stay here altogether, so that I might understand the words of this book, and be able hereafter to see those two; because I supposed that they had come well to know about the Creator, and had indeed believed, and I should be like them. Then, when about a year had passed, and I was well able to read and understand pretty well some of these words, they moved me from that lowest class of all and put me up among the boys who were in the middle of the school and were reading the Book of teaching from the Gospels; and so on some mornings we went to school with Bishop Patteson. He taught us about the Lord's Prayer--Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. He fully explained to us some of the words of that prayer, speaking to us of such things as were not difficult, but suited for us to hear and understand. On one day he would finish teaching on some subject, and then on another day he would go back and ask us questions. He dealt with us as when one feeds an infant lately born with milk or with soft food. He began thus: What is prayer? It is asking. But asking of whom? Of the Father. Who is the Father? God. Why do we call Him Father? Because He made us. But where is He? He is in heaven. What! only in heaven above? No, we said, He is everywhere. Thus he went on with his teaching through the prayer to the end, and I well remember up to this day what he told us about the words of it; I recollect all about that prayer, though I forget other parts of his teaching. After this he ordered books of prayers to be given to us, and made us read and understand certain holy words and hymns. Then he told me to ask some black fellow to write me a short prayer, which I was to learn by heart and use to pray by myself. Lelenga wrote it for me, and I did accordingly.
Then it was that an opening for light was cut through within me, and I could plainly discern the truth of this religion. The Bishop spoke to us also about Baptism, and I was quite willing to receive it, though I did not quite understand all the meaning of it.
Indeed, this Bishop Patteson of whom I write was one who spoke softly, as it appeared, but yet as if there were spiritual force that could not be mistaken in his words. I myself have felt it so; as if God had put hard power in those soft words of the Bishop and in his love. There were the love and the soft words outside, but the power in what was inside his words; just as there are some trees the outside of which is soft, but in the inside part of them they are hard, so that if they fall upon other trees it will break them in pieces. Like that was his speech. I myself was only able to recognize this in a part of what he said. I did not stay very long with him, so as to hear and understand thoroughly all he said, as those did who were a long time with him. I saw him only for the short time of about a year. I did not have my eyes fastened for a long while upon his actions; I did not listen for a long while to his teaching; but this is true, in his heart there was love and nothing else. I see clearly that he has received a garland for his head that will never fade away. Well, indeed, will it be whenever any one shall take up that character and that way of life that he began for us here in Norfolk Island, whether he be white or black; I think that if any one can follow that example he will be the right man indeed, and that the right example.
Here is something by which I observed the loving-kindness of Bishop Patteson's character, when P. Wesom and I disobeyed an order he had given that no one should make a fire in the chimney unless he said it was to be done. I did not think of this, and we two got fire and piled up wood upon it. He saw it and did not reprove us at once, but first asked the big boys whether they had ordered it to be done or not. When they told him that we had done it of ourselves, he came to us in anger, and, for my part, I thought that he was going to flog us, or punish us in some way severely. But thus he spoke: "Hallo, my sons, who has told you to do this at your own pleasure?" And then he moved away the fire from the chimney, and asked us with a quiet voice where our bags were. We told him that there they were hanging up. Then he took down those two bags of ours with all the clothes we had in them, and three shillings of mine, and carried them into his room, saying, "I shall take away your things because you have done this;" and he put them in his own room without any words of scolding. And there the things were about four days, and all the while I was very anxious about that bag of mine; it was nothing but a rice-bag, but I thought it the best of bags; and I thought of the red shirt in it that had been given me and I had never yet put on, and of the three shillings in it, and I sat and grieved continually over it, and was always afraid of him. Then one day after, he came and took us two into his room and thus he said:--"My sons, do you wish me to give you back your bags for nothing?" So he took them out and gave them to us, and said, "Don't do that again without orders." Indeed, I learnt by this that what we had done carelessly was wrong, because I thought that if I had forbidden anything and any one had disobeyed me, I should have broken his head with a stick, or, if I didn't do that, I should have scolded him hard; but here was the Bishop reproving us with the right thought that he had in his mind. He was skilful in managing the character of black people, because at the first it was a good deal more difficult than it is now. I think he tamed the ignorant with love like that. And at the last he gave himself up to death for us black people; never for any other thing did he break off his love for us, either in his own country or in his place of power; it ceased only in his lowly place of death in one of our heathen islands, but, indeed, his honour is surely great in heaven. I have seen, myself, the place where they killed him, and parts of the house they killed him in, where I suppose he knelt, where I suppose he leant his hand, there where he died. I myself chopped off some of the wood and gave it to our Bishop who has taken his place, and he took it to Norfolk Island, or to England; that wood of the house that I chopped off was like casuarina wood, exceedingly hard.
With regard to this Bishop Patteson, it is true that I saw him but for a short time only before I was myself enlightened; but as to me it was delightful--his character, his love, his helpfulness, how delightful it must have been to those who could understand! And how pleasing to our Father in heaven He Himself only knows. But if he had lived long, and we all of us had seen him and heard him, how should we have loved him! And how should it be now when we think of his character and all he did for us!--how he turned his back once for all on his country and his relations, and his reputation was little in the things of this world, and his worldly life he made nothing of, because he was not in the least careful of his life, and thought it of no importance. And he never went back ev^n once to his own country, having turned his back once for all upon the things of this world, and father and mother and brothers, according to the word of our Lord, who said, There is no man that hath left house or parents or brethren, who shall not receive manifold more, and in the end everlasting life. Indeed, if we were to think of him we should see that there was a true part of the example of our Lord in him; and, moreover, it is well for us black people to think very much of him, and to thank God above all for him, because he laid down his life entirely on our behalf. And if it may be so, let us all lay down our lives for those who are still in ignorance. It is true that we have a good example in Stephen, the deacon, and a good example in Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. Therefore, let none of us ever say, I can't leave my father or my friends, or my native food, or all my property in land, or my place of honour; or say of another island that it is worse than my own country, and the people there utterly heathen, or that I shall be all alone there, and all those things that one thinks of;--nothing of that. But let us look at our Lord, and look at our Bishop, and at this second one that now is, and at all those who help us now. If we all of us are of this mind, this work we have to do will succeed. And, above all things, don't let us think much of ourselves; let that be done by others, if it must be done. This is a little of what I have observed.
I must go on to mention what I thought when Bishop Patteson was lately dead, and those two with him, Joe and S. Taroaniara. When the news came that those three, the Bishop and those two good men with him, were dead, ah, how greatly, how strangely were the feelings of the place here moved! Grief crushed down and utterly overwhelmed men's feelings in the place, because we had been joyfully expecting the vessel and the Bishop and all of them, and the shout announcing that they were in sight had spread to us. But now all was lost, and grief for those three rose to a height and pressed upon us. For my own part, because I did not yet quite understand things, there was this thought also that arose with me, Alas, here I am for ever! This added wonderfully to my grief, and I think that probably there were other boys who felt the same. And continually at one time and another I saw the clergy--Codrington and Palmer and Bice--standing sorrowful and talking together about what should be done. I did not know what they thought of it, because they stood and talked in Bishop Patteson's room; but when the day was far advanced we were all arranged according to our islands in the various houses, and the Rev. R. Codrington was at the head of us, above all. The Rev. Jackson had the charge of the house where the Bauro boys were, where the Maewo and Motlav boys were also mixed with them. This also was a good man, and very energetic, taking much pains to look well after the good behaviour of those who were under his care. Everything was arranged properly, according to the system Bishop Patteson had laid down. This was the second year after I came to Norfolk Island, and I had begun to see the meaning of things more plainly than before. Here is an observation that I made. The right thing for us, when we want to help those who are not yet eager to follow our belief and way of life, is to give instruction that is correct, and to do ourselves what we bid them. It is this that will make them stick to this religion; but if this is not done all our pains are wasted. It is one thing to give commands to those who are enlightened, they can attend and obey, but it is another thing with those who are ignorant, if we don't take the lead of them in doing things ourselves; because they are not yet tamed, the light of day has not yet dawned within them. And when we are giving orders we ought to consider about every word with which we give them--whether this is a pleasant way of speaking or not; whether this will hurt another's feelings and disturb his temper or not--because everybody's temper is not the same; some will easily obey and some will not, some will obey with reluctance and some won't attend at all; and it is a good thing to choose in all cases the words that suit dispositions of these three kinds; and if a man will do thus he truly is a skilful man. I know very well that it is a difficult thing to teach the heathen. Nevertheless it is true that if any one has real spiritual power he need only give his orders, and the heathen will be tamed. But this is not in every man; it is in those only to whom God adds increase of His grace of spiritual power, the beginning of which is true faith. Still, every one who has faith can do this; he can live dutifully before the eyes of the heathen people, with a good example, which they can see and follow, and they will seek to hear his teaching and practise it. Let every one of us men, who have been among the first to believe, and every woman of us also, take the lead of our fellows and set them a good example. For my own part, I give thanks to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I know very well that I am one who was in bondage as a child of death; but by the mouths of those who explained what is said in the Holy Scriptures about the loosing of the bonds of sin, I have been taught, and I have, by the grace of God, come to see plainly that God is not far off from any one who sincerely seeks for righteousness; and it is quite certain that He has very greatly helped me to turn away from all the filthy and evil ways into which I was born from my forefathers, as I have been educated and enlightened. Yet I am still standing, and still have to stand, in the middle of a road where many paths branch off. There is danger of turning aside from the right road, and I have not yet reached the end; but I can reach it if God help me with His gift ot grace. Not that it is entirely done by God giving grace; we have our part to do in seeking to know and do His will, in which He will always help us.
SOME time after this, when I had recovered from an illness, I was sent into the printing-house to help there, because I was not strong enough in body to work in the gardens. Then, also, money was thrown away in teaching me, Vilitlea, and Reuben Bula to play the harmonium. Besides this Cod-rington began to teach me the English language: but I was stupid about these things, and more idle than some of my brethren that have come after me. But at this time the measure of belief and understanding of good things that I had attained to led me to think about the other islands and the natives of them, who were different from us and a long way off. I am not going to boast of myself, but it is true that what I had observed made me say to myself that, with the mercy and grace given to us, we ought to begin to help our brethren in the one faith. I considered that we black people who had been born in heathen ignorance, ought to be able to clear away from the minds of the heathen a great deal that we knew more about than our white fathers did, who did not yet quite understand what our evil customs really were. If we had been delivered from our evil ways by knowledge and by faith, we should be well able to help our brethren, and deliver them from ways we thoroughly understood not to be good; it could not fail to succeed. Of course the white teachers must educate us, and support us, and keep watch over us, passing on to us some of the spiritual power which God gave them, but our business was to open a path for them. I was able through mercy and grace to see this plainly; for certainly one who is black can very well understand when he is well taught, the grace of God helping him. However, I will say no more about my observing this, lest you should say that I am boasting; but I do say that this is what we ought to think, and not to think this the business only of our white fathers. I am sure that God can give spiritual power and every grace with corresponding character and heart, as He sees fit, whether the man be a Roman, or an Englishman, or a Solomon Islander, whether he be white or black. Therefore it is that when we want to teach our heathen brethren, whether they be very wild or not, we must look out for the food that suits them; as we feed infants. we must begin with what is easy and soft to them. If you do this you will see that a heathen man is just such a one as yourself. But we can only succeed in this with prayer. Ah, how sure is the prayer of faith, when you pray earnestly for what you eagerly desire, and what God will help you in! We know what it does. Your thought comes to a point in your belief and sticks fast in the thing that you desire; He will help, and you cannot fail. It is the not making up our minds that makes the grace of God of no effect with us.
I had been on and off at Norfolk Island for about nine years when Walter Waaro begged Rev. R. Codrington to let him have me to go with him for a time to Ulawa; it was only to be for three weeks, and then I was to come back. He asked me if I wished to go there and stay with them, and I said I did. Then he said to me, "You had better take time to think about it; if you really wish it, and have made up your mind about it, it can be done." I answered that I would try, because that island was entirely heathen, and no one had yet begun to show them the Christian religion. Then he spoke to me about another country, Fiji, and said, "It would be a good thing for you to go there, where there are a great many people of your own island whom you could teach; besides, there is a printing office there where you could work, and you could play cricket there, whereas there is nothing good at Ulawa. There are many English in Fiji; you will be able to learn the English language well there, and you would play the harmonium there." But I thought within myself, "This won't do; he is tempting me and trying me;" and I made up my mind hard and fast, and said that I would go to Ulawa, and nowhere else. Then he said that I was quite right And when the vessel came to take us back, and he bade me farewell, he told me to take good care of myself in prayer, and said that he would pray for me as I should pray for him, so that we might still be joined together in prayer. It was Rev. A. Penny who was with us in the vessel when we left Norfolk Island. He was one who was very fond of those from the western islands who were in his charge, and was very bountiful to them; but we also of the other islands liked him very much. He was an eloquent man; when one heard him speak one understood what he meant, because he did not speak as if he were thinking of two things at once, but spoke to the point whatever it was he was talking about. He was then anxious to get down to the western islands, and we who belonged to the nearer islands could not wait long among them; we just saw Rev. Edward Wogale at Vava, and then went right on till we came to anchor at Wango, in San Cristoval. The next morning we reached Ulawa, on a Sunday, and there was a north wind, so that the landing-place was not in a fit state for us to take the boat in; but we found a landing where there was a little sandy beach, got through the reef, brought our boat to land, and carried up our boxes on the shore. There were W. Waaro, H. Haarara, myself, and two more boys. The whole crowd of the people of the place came down with spears and clubs and guns; but they did us no harm, they only carried up our things into the village. Mr. Penny went with me into the village, which was very agreeable to me, because, although he was a great man, he and I were good friends, and he was very good and kind; it was he who put me down for the first time on Ulawa. That day it rained till nighttime, and as he and I stood in the open space in the middle of the village, where a great number of people were assembled, they were crying [over the returning boys] with loud voices just like cows; the whole place resounded with the deafening noise of their crying, and my mind was a good deal confused. However, after some time the evening began to draw on, and it was still raining hard when Mr. Penny had to leave me. He took me aside and leant upon my shoulder, and said to me, "My brother, I have to leave you; take care of yourself, and God be with you; if we live, and it be His will, we shall see each other again."
I stayed two months in Ulawa before the vessel came back with Bishop Selwyn on board and also Rev. Comins. We left him there, and Bishop Selwyn took me to go about with him in the further islands, where we found Mr. Penny.
At one place in Bugotu, after prayers in the morning, when the Bishop was going ashore, he asked me whether I should like to go up into a house built on a tree like a bird's nest. I agreed, and we ascended that tree; it was very tall, like a pine, and they had built a house on the top of it--a house of full size, with ovens to cook food in, and a great quantity of stones. I trembled much with fear as I mounted up. The object of making these houses is to guard against the attacks of enemies; because they are continually being assailed, and in case of attack they remain in safety up above; and when the enemy come near they sit comfortably in the tree and pelt them down below on the ground, the enemy not being able to do anything for lack of guns in former days. There were some other things we saw in the place before we went back to the ship to sleep, and the next morning we went across in a boat to Oka's village. In that place they had built their houses on a great rock, for the same reason of securing themselves from enemies. When I saw it I thought how appropriate was the comparison to the Church of Christ. After this we returned to Florida, and stayed some time at anchor at Sara, while the Bishop and Mr. Penny were gone off to Boli, to baptize two men there, making a beginning in that place.
After this we hauled up our anchor and passed on to anchor again at Gaeta. There we went ashore with the Bishop, and up to a village, where they talked with the people and inspected the school. This was a school very well begun by C. Sapi, in a place where they began at once to listen to him without the long delay there was at Boli, and the numbers were considerable; how many had been baptized there I do not know. When we had taken our departure, and were going back down the path, the Bishop and Mr. Penny in front, and I behind, a man on the road began to beg me to help him, saying in his own language, "Friend, tell the elder to marry me now; if he docs not I shall have to make the marriage myself." When I heard this I laughed quietly to myself, wondering within myself at the same time, and I said to him, "Why did you not speak out in the village, where they would have attended to you and married you, I suppose? Have you said anything to Sapi about it? He is the chief man with you, and he can tell these two about the matter; he is the proper person to speak to them; I am no one here." But when he said, "Speak to the elder, my brother, do!" I told the story to the Bishop and Mr. Penny, who asked why the man had not spoken till now, when there was no time or place for what he wanted. However, when we had reached the beach, and had to wait for the boat at the landing-place, we made haste to go into a house near by, one they kept their canoes in or one of Kalekona's, I am not sure what it was, and there they married the fellow and his wife. Now that again was a good thing, and was a proof to me that C. Sapi had taught the people well, and that they had a good idea of the proper way of life.
After we left Florida we came to Teatea's place, in Malanta, and at midday the Bishop with Mr. Coote went ashore in a boat, taking some of us who wanted to trade. There was a great crowd assembled, some with guns, but most of them with spears, standing round us. I was trying to buy some spears, when the Bishop asked me if I would like to go inland with him to the village, because he had heard of a sick child there, and wanted to see him and give him some medicine. I consented, thinking it, however, a strange thing that he should want to help heathen people with whom we had no acquaintance, and whose language we did not yet understand--people utterly ignorant, who had not been taught ever so little of Christianity. We mounted up along slopes as steep as Merlav, for a good distance before we came to the village; and there again we saw a great crowd assembled, preparing food. The Bishop inquired where the sick boy was, and when they told him, he went into the house, saw the boy and gave him medicine which cured him. This boy was the son of the chief of the place; and the reason why so great a crowd was assembled was that they had come to see how large a sum of money that chief had laid out to view to pay for avenging his father. This was done that people who saw how much money there was might determine to gain it by attacking the village on which the chief, whose name was Rehe, wished to take vengeance for his father's death. This Rehe, when we returned, gave us thirty bundles of mashed yam, and showed himself very well disposed towards us.
WHEN I first took up my abode at Ulawa I knew nothing more of the language of the island than the four words, inoni, man; lae mai, come here; teana, good; tataala, bad. On that Sunday, when (as I have related) I was put ashore in heavy rain, after Mr. Penny had left me to return to the vessel, and I was all by myself, the multitude of people in the canoe-house, who had been crowding round him and me, began to ask one of the Ulawa boys who had been with me at Norfolk Island, what this young man had come with them for. I had already been eagerly desiring to speak to the people in the canoe-house, and had been preparing myself to do it, because their coming together into shelter from the rain gave a good opportunity; so I asked Walter Waaro what it was that the people were saying. He answered that they wanted to know what I was come there for. I asked him whether he was willing to speak as my interpreter, and he willingly agreed to try. Then I answered them and said, "This is the reason why I am come here: it is that I may tell you of a new religion as I have heard it myself, and in this way I wish to help you. For I myself have heard of One Spirit better than the spirits that we ignorantly believe in. He is God, He is Creator of heaven and earth, the Maker of everything that is, of men whether white or black, whether natives of this place, or travellers, or guests. He is the Father of us all, and He still takes care of us and of all things." So I began to tell them the story of Creation up to Adam and Eve; and some who heard it said it was good, while some did not wish to hear it. For four days they met together in this way and heard me; that is to say, the men did, there were no women or boys who came. After that time, I found that they came no more.
After those days, therefore, I began to go about and beg the fathers to let me have their boys to begin school with them, and they let them go. They asked me what school was, and I told them that it was teaching the boys to call the names of the letters on the paper, and to know how to speak out of books as white people do, besides getting enlightenment about a great many other things. The boys who came to me to be taught were eighteen in number; and I taught them to read the letters till they knew them and could join them together, and could follow the words on the paper as they read. Then after twelve weeks (as above related) the vessel took me away, and Rev. Comins stayed in the place about three weeks, during which time Walter Waaro went on with the teaching and reading, till we left the islands altogether.
The next year again we went down to the islands, and Bishop Selwyn placed me again at Ulawa. On this occasion I stayed a year with them, a time long enough for me to understand the people when they spoke, and to ascertain that their ways and character corresponded to ours of the eastern islands in our heathen days, except that some of their practices were different from ours. Moreover, in some respects their natural disposition was harder than ours, and they did not seem to know how to be ashamed of what was bad. They seemed, too, to have an impudent way of speaking, as indeed they had often been very impudent when speaking to Rev. Comins and myself. However, Waaro and I went on teaching twenty-four boys till twelve months were past, and then I sought how I might speak to the grown-up people as well, inviting them to come together to the school-house and hear the new things I had to tell them. They came indeed quickly enough, and filled the house so that there was no room left inside, and some had to sit without. They listened gladly at first, coming regularly every evening, and I was happy while this went on and enjoyed my work, being quite at ease in my mind about my progress. Indeed, at that time I was very zealous in speaking to them, but after some three years had gone by without much result, I saw that the crowd had been gradually diminishing, till there was none left and the house was quite empty. Then I was in perplexity and great grief, as if death or something as bad were upon me; indeed, I was utterly oppressed with anguish. I was ashamed to see the house standing empty; although those boys still kept with me at school, it seemed as if the boys were nothing in my thought; it was those grown-up people that I thought of, who had been so quick to listen and now were lost and gone. I remembered the parable about the sower, whose seed fell upon the rock. Still I never gave them up; I went over and over again to the older men and tried to persuade them to come back to me to school. I asked them what harm I had done them. I said to them, "Why have you fled back from this religion? Have I said anything bad to any one of you? Is there anything wrong that I have done to make you angry and sulky with me? Tell me what it is, and I will not do so again. Have I deceived you in what I have taught you, or done anything that is forbidden?" They answered that it was not so. I most earnestly sought to know what I should do; I prayed to God for them that if it might be only a few of them might come back to school and it would be well; but it was not to be so soon. At that time truly I could not eat my food with pleasure or take pleasure in my work; while things were so there was but weeping and grief deep down in my heart that could not pass away. It was, I suppose, about three years while things were so, when as yet the people did not come; the boys still came to school, but if I spoke properly to them to stir them up, when they went home their parents blocked up the road to their hearts with the rubbish of their old religion. But there was one boy whom I observed to be sharper than all in that set, and I waited long for him before he was my friend; then he became like a brother to me or like my own child; his natural disposition was very different from that of the rest, and when he saw that I loved him he stuck close to me and never wished to leave me. Still I had already entertained the thought that when the Bishop came again I would withstand him to his face and go away, and never stay in that island again. That boy had heard me say so, and declared he would go with me, begging me not to leave him alone but to have pity on him and take him with me. So when the Bishop came to Ulawa I spoke plainly out to him, asking him to take me away from that place; if he should think good, let him choose another island for me to stay in, or else let him set me back in my own island; for here I had been three years already, and it was as if all my labour was in vain. Thus I spoke with weeping to the Bishop. Then said the Bishop, "My son, this work is not your own; God watches over it and He knows, you do not. He will choose out the tree and He will make that tree bear fruit; what you have to do is to work on patiently. It is right that you should still stay here for a time; and remember that parable which tells us how the owner of the garden ordered a tree to be cut down and cleared away from his garden because it failed to bring forth its fruit, but the man who worked in the garden forbade it, begging that it might remain for a single year more, and he would dig in manure round it; then if it did not succeed the tree should be cut down and cleared away." He walked about with me that day until the sun was nearly set, and then he knelt down with me and prayed over me. The boy I have spoken of was standing with us, and looked hard at us as we knelt in the darkness, but nothing did he say. So the Bishop left me, and I stayed for another year. During this time again I sought more carefully than before how I might get some good words settled down in that boy's heart. Some nights I would tell him to sleep with me in the school-house, and I arranged for him that one night he should sleep with me and the next with his father; and so it always came to be. On the nights when he slept with me I always urged him to follow this new religion, and explained to him the meaning of God's laws, telling him how Jesus died and rose again, and how all those who believe Him and follow Him to the end will rise again like Him. One night, when he was passing the night with his father, he told all this to him, and he added that if his father and mother did not follow him to go to school he would not stay at home any more with them. When this began the parents would not agree to what their son said, but the boy prevailed upon them. Then I used to go to them sometimes in the middle of the night, when all the people were asleep, and tell them the Bible story, urging them to follow their son. He and I gave them no rest till they were tired of our entreaties. So one morning when I was ringing the bell for school the boy's mother rose and came out of her house into the school-house, and she sat down and listened while we and the boys were at school. When school was over she asked for a piece of cloth to put round her to come to school in; I gave it to her, but she did not put it on at once. Afterwards her husband came and asked for a piece, but they neither of them tied the stuff round their waist as yet, because they dreaded the ridicule of the people. I therefore encouraged them, telling them that if they really wanted to follow their son in this religion they should not think of the people; they would not die because of what was said. So in the morning they two tied the cloth round their loins and came out to school; and as they were following the path to come, the crowd of people in the public hall and in the houses shouted at them and ridiculed them, wagging their heads; really, the way they treated them was astonishing, enough to make their hearts sink back at what they said, as they laughed at them and scoffed; because that is the way of the heathen people if they see any one with a loincloth, to make out that it is something bad and something to be very much ashamed of. But I encouraged them and told them not to be afraid or ashamed, for "Here am I," I said to the people, "a black man like you, and I wear clothes; it was just the same as this formerly in my country too, but the people there have made the change and nothing whatever has happened to them to hurt them; it is only the wickedness that we commit that makes us bad and is a cause for shame and death, but nothing that is good and belongs to a good religion can possibly hurt you." I used besides a proverb of their own, telling the man and his wife that such words as these are not like spears which would stick into them. Upon this the couple declared that they had determined not to attend to the insults of the people any more; and they began and continued to hold close to me and that boy their son. I found great comfort in those three; and every day I used to go to their house to talk to them and exhort them to stand firmly to that root of faith which they had believed. I asked them, to try them, whether they would fall back from their son and me if any calamity should happen to them, and they answered that if I were to go away from them or die and leave them before my time they could not tell, but if things remained as they then were it would be my part to bury them in this religion, supposing that they would die before me, as was likely, since they were both in middle life. Waaro also was very useful to me in encouraging them, and they continued constant in our company.
After this I begged the man and his wife and Waaro to help me in persuading some others to join us, whose character they knew. They did so, and spoke to a man whose house stood next to theirs, exhorting him to move. He listened to them and rose up and followed the three who had already come to school, he, who was a strong man to fight, and his wife and children. There were now six grown-up people with me, and the first three and I spoke to another young man who lived near them and prevailed with him, so that there were now eight with me; and every day, morning or evening, rain or fine, these were with me at school. Then I said to them that I was not yet quite sure whether we who met there every day were sincere or not; I was still in doubt whether we should hold constantly to this religion. There were eight of us in the midst of temptations; if any calamity should happen to us, should we be likely to fall back in our purpose, or should we not? They made answer to me with one consent, "If you go away from us, or if death deprive us of you before we quite understand, we shall go wrong; but if it be not so, it is for you to say what is to be done, and we will try to do it, according to our Father's will." Then said I, "I don't wish that we should hold fast at the same time the religion of Christ and the religion of former times, which has to do with spirits that deceive us; just as it was when we first began and all the people came to hear me, but their old belief remained in them and drew them back again. But if you are sincere, let me see a sure proof in you that you desire to follow this religion in a way that I have thought of for making a good start at the present time." They said to me, "You will soon see." After that they asked me if they should clear their houses on Sunday, because the}' had things belonging to deceiving spirits in their houses--holy stones and money sacred to deceiving spirits--and things used in sacrifices. I told them that it was all the same, whether on Sunday or any other day, it might be done; but since they had chosen a holy day, let it be then, so that they might regard the day as sacred to God, in the place of all those things that they used to regard with veneration. Consequently we threw out of their houses all the things that belonged to deceiving spirits, and the stones that belonged to them they gave to me. Some of these I sank out of sight in the sea, and some we broke up, and some I kept locked up in a box. But a certain object of sacrifice that they held in great respect still remained, and so did a sacred grove, because they said that all the people in Ulawa had great dread of that place, saying that if any one did anything there he would become full of ulcers on the spot, as the spirit revenged himself upon the man, and moreover that there were a great many snakes in the place. They said that we would destroy that some other day, cutting down the grove, casting out the things used in sacrifices, and pulling1 down the fence; but this we should not do when there was no one about. "When a crowd comes together for a wedding, then," they said, "we will burn that grove and utterly destroy it, and by that you shall see the proof of us that we have no part in what belongs to the spirits, and the heathen people shall see a proof for themselves in us whether any calamity befalls us, as we used to think it would. If nothing happens to us they will be able to understand for themselves that the True Spirit whom you have made known to us is Almighty, and that He is God."
When the day arrived for the people to come together in crowds to the wedding, these three said that we should destroy the holy grove at once, before the great number of people should arrive. So in the early morning the father of the family went up inland, and began to chop asunder the vines that grew over the place, and the whole party of us filled the space inside the fence and pulled the fence down. We brought out the most holy stone of all that they used to venerate, and we desecrated it, laying it down to be trampled upon by the people in the path. We destroyed the whole sanctuary and made it into a garden, as it is this day. But when the crowds were assembling for the feast, they came close by tht place on their way, with very great fear, saying that something would soon happen to those three who had done this thing. However, they saw that nothing happened that day. Then they fixed on a day when the spirit would punish those three, but it did not succeed; afterwards they foretold the month, and saw that nothing happened. Some then changed their minds and said that it was certain that there was a true power in the Spirit belonging to the people who visited them in their ship, and that this had been brought to the island and had driven away the power of the spirits that belonged to them. But on that day, when the people were assembled for the wedding on that part of the island, they were much troubled considering what they should do to us, some saying that one of us ought to be killed, or that some mischief should be done to us all. As they were crowded together and talking, there was a man among them, a relation of the bridegroom, who had invited me to the feast. I did not wish to refuse him, and I asked whether, if we joined that crowd, they would do anything to us. My party answered that it was all right, we would certainly go. When we came out into the open space before their eyes, though still at a good distance, they cried out with angry voices and strong words to stop us. But I walked on in front of the school-party, and we went straight on with confidence to meet the crowd, without their saying another word, till we had entered one of the houses. Then they said, "These people are not afraid; what teaching is this? We forbid them, and they are neither afraid nor ashamed!" One man, however, of a very bad disposition, ran and began to beat his son, who had come in our party. I ran out and carried the boy away from him into the house where I was. Afterwards we came out of the house, and went back to the school before the face of the assembled people, who gazed at us without doing anything to us, only wondering at the destruction of the holy place, and at the way in which the school-party followed me and were not afraid. There was one of the baptized young men from Norfolk Island who did not accompany us, but lay hidden somewhere afraid. He did not help us, either, to destroy the sacred grove, because he was always hearing the heathen threatening us and saying that if the spirit were to cause the death of any one of consequence among the heathen, they would utterly destroy us who belonged to the school; on that account he never gave help to my school in anything.
So, as the time passed on, the heathen people observed that nothing belonging to the spirits they worshipped had power over the party at the school, and some of them perceived pretty clearly that our religion was true and had power in it. There was a sacred place near the beach yet remaining undisturbed, something like a salagoro of the Banks' Islands, where women could not enter, where they used to sacrifice when they fished for bonito or when they dug their yams, where they always sacrificed when the crop of anything they ate was ripe. Whatever a thing may be, small or large, of the sea or of the land, they sacrifice for it and then they eat it or take it. Nothing can be done without proper observance. When the yams are ripe no one will touch them with the tip of his finger, even if it be a thorough thief that sees them to be fit for food, until a sacrifice has been offered for them. Even though a man be extremely hungry and near to death he will not touch food anywhere if he be all alone by himself; it is impossible to him. I have been utterly astonished at the real reverence in which they hold the spirits of their dead; and when I have seen it so, I have said to myself that surely if these people were properly taught the religion which is of God they would duly reverence Him, considering that they think so much of spirits that deceive them. As for that sanctuary by the beach, with its object of sacrifice, we desecrated it, and let the girls of the school go into it, and we made away with the skulls and bones that they used to venerate. We made the whole place common; yet the heathen people were still afraid, and did not as yet go into the place that we had thrown open. Besides this, we threw away out of sight all the things belonging to the three who first joined me that had to do with any heathen beliefs and practices; all charms that were supposed to work in fragments of food and to produce ulcers we threw clean away, and the things to eat, which had to do with dead people, which were thought to be food for ghosts and could not be eaten by the people, our party took again for food. When the heathen people heard of all this they were exceedingly afraid that something would happen, that some calamity would before long come upon the island, because the things that they had been used to venerate so much had been treated with disrespect.
This was the beginning made in their new religion by those three natives of Ulawa when I sought a proof whether they would let it slip again or not. I saw plainly that in outward matters they were thoroughly sincere, though as to the thoughts that lay hidden within them I could say nothing; yet certainly I believed that it was God who had so far strengthened their minds. This is how the beginning was made by three persons, and now there are already sixty-two of us. When any one wishes to enter the school he asks that he may be thought of in prayer; and on the day that he comes in as a hearer he declares that he will entirely give up all that has to do with the ghosts of the dead or the spirits that he has worshipped; on that day he gives those things up entirely, and he begs me to teach him a little prayer that he may pray to God to protect him from the anger of those spirits. I write a short bit of a prayer for him, and I make him learn it by heart for a month or two, explaining to him something of the meaning of the words, and then he prays and has no more fears. That is what is done in every case, and it gives me a great deal of trouble, because they don't like that any one should enter the school carelessly without his bit of prayer, in consequence of the fear he has had in his mind. It is the case of the grown-up people that I speak of, the younger generation read for themselves. All this I have seen to be right, because at first I began wrong, beginning with a great number of people at once, and failed entirely; whereas afterwards I came to see that it is a good thing to begin with one person rather than with many. I believe also that it has been God's doing, who helped me when I prayed to him day after day.
I must say that I wondered very much when I saw these Ulawa people, every family having their own spirit, every man sacrificing without fail, and sacrificing without exception about everything. If it be a little suckling child, he will hold an offering to sacrifice with; if it be a woman in extreme old age, or an old man, they will not fail to sacrifice; in every place there is the place or object of sacrifice, according to the family; at every landing-place there is the place for sacrifice; in every garden a sacrifice is made for its advantage. If a man is born there will be a sacrifice, if one dies there is a sacrifice. When a man dies they fix a space of time during which nothing is to be eaten until after the funeral, when, after a sacrifice, food may again be taken. Whether it be a child or a full-grown person, even in case of extreme hunger, it must not be done till then; it is impossible to eat from the one day to the other before the sacrifice is performed. Again, in every family a pig is set apart for the spirit and kept so; and on occasion they kill the pig and cut it in pieces, burning some of it at the place of sacrifice; then the man to whom the spirit may be said to belong eats first a piece himself and afterwards gives some to those worshippers of the ghost about him who are of higher rank; but the greater number of people who are of inferior position in the family cannot eat of it, nor can the women and the children. Part of the meat is simply put upon the place of sacrifice, and some is thrown into the sea. These things I used to see and wonder at, because it was all so very like what the people of Israel did; but with this difference, that the people of Israel did it knowing what they were doing, and fulfilling the commandment that bade them do it, whereas these people did it all amiss, because they knew not the One who really is, and only attained to what was bad. I used to consider about it and saw clearly how it was. I observed these things, and perceived that these people were acting in the dark and had hit upon what was bad; yet I thought that if some one who thoroughly understood the matter were to come there and teach them properly about Him who really is, making them see the truth about sacrifice and worship and veneration, so that the change might be made to the true Sacrifice, then they would come back and attain to Christ, coming back to worship and venerate the true God. That is what I plainly saw myself to be the case; but is it so or not?
I have not observed that the Wango people think so much of these things, or the Saa people either, at any rate not in any very great measure; and further down at Florida, I am not aware whether or not, it is quite the same; but certainly in all the islands eastwards I have seen nothing resembling what there is in this island of Ulawa. There is also a real practice of fasting among them. If a man has lost a child by death whom he has loved very much, he will not eat food of every kind till he dies. In my poor opinion these people who have the practice of sacrifices and prayers, if hereafter they are able to read the Holy Scriptures, will have a complete understanding of the parables and comparisons taken from sacrifices and prayers, much more than we who belong to other islands, because we of the eastern islands don't know much about prayers and sacrifices and things of that sort till we learn about them here at Norfolk Island.
There still remained one sacred place in the middle of the village which some of the people had reserved by their own choice, asking me if I pleased not to destroy it, and they would build a house to be sacred to God in the place of it. I agreed that it should so remain for a time, but said that it would be well to clear the place underneath, cutting away the creepers and chopping down the big trees; the stones with which it was fenced should be carefully piled in a heap, and at some future time we would see what could be done.
By this time part of the people had made up their minds to come over in a body to the school, and there were others on the other side of the island who wished to have a school begun among them, though there was as yet no teacher for them. Moreover, there was one public hall in the middle of the island far more sacred than all the others, in which they believed there was a ghost of the greatest power, to whom they sacrificed for success in war, and for other things besides. If they were victorious they would come and deposit arms and warlike ornaments there, and if they were getting up an expedition to fight, they would sacrifice there and ask the question of the ghost whether they would be successful or not. They came to sacrifice there from all round Ulawa, and if a visitor came he would also make his sacrifice. The chief priest of this sanctuary was that very man who was the first to receive the new religion. The hall stood right opposite the principal road, and the people were continually passing by it with the utmost reverence. One day, some of them talking about it said that the spirits in those sanctuaries which had been destroyed, were not of the real sort, whereas if any one were to touch this one with the tip of his finger to desecrate it, he would die forthwith, because of the spirits dwelling in it who were far superior to the others. This man therefore came to a determination within himself, considering that as he was the chief man concerned with the sacrifices to those spirits, so he said, "I am the man to make away with them, and to see which has the greater power, the Spirit of God that is in me or these; because here am I seeking holy baptism, and I am seeking Him who is really holy, and this Holy One will give me the power to prevail over these false spirits that have impoverished me; I don't see that any benefit from them has come to me for what I have done." So he ran to the building with a heavy club and smashed one side of it all to pieces, while the crowd of people were shouting at him to stop him, and crying, "Oh, oh! Alas for our spirits brought to desolation!" They called upon the spirits to kill that man Marita; they cursed him by those spirits to kill that man Marita; but they saw that nothing came of it. Then they began to say that in truth this is the real Spirit, spiritual power like fire dwells in Him, and Marita has obtained this in place of that after which he used to follow. He and his son, of whom I have often spoken, proceeded to smash to pieces all the dead men's skulls that were in the hall, with some of the bones; and the people never raised a voice again in anger to prevent Marita from clearing away anything belonging to the old religion from the land.