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Bishop Patteson: As the Natives Saw Him.

By Edward Wogale

From Southern Cross Log, Vol. X, No. 109, Auckland, May 15, 1904, pp. 10-12.

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Retired Bishop of Malaita, 2012

[A short Memoir by Rev. Edward Wogale, native deacon; died, 1879.]

[Translation of Edward Wogale's Memoir.]

FORMERLY, when I was little, I lived in my heathen land, and I used to see Bishop Patteson coming frequently to us, but I thought that he came to us without a reason, and I did not think that he would take me away by and bye; but he took me, and I lived with him when I was still a boy. I saw for myself his work, and 1 did not see, nor did I hear at all, any different custom or teaching with him, none whatever; but this. Listen: He taught me altogether about this good teaching that I have received, about baptism also, and about confirmation, and about the Holy Sacrament, and about prayer. And about prayer he said thus: If I pray I should pray for myself, and for all my brethren, and for him also, and that I should pray daily. And I think that he taught me thoroughly and truly about these things.

And I saw myself that there was a heart very good indeed with him, thus: A generous heart, and full of love and pity, When he was still weak, because he had been ill, he did not consider that at all, but still gave all his energy to teaching us, ready for our going to the lands to the north.

Now on that voyage in which he died, for myself, I went together with him to Mota, and I saw that he gave very much of his heart to teaching the Mota people during that visit: for in the morning and in the evening he was always talking to them about this good teaching, and if he saw anyone on the road walking or sitting down anywhere he would speak altogether to him about this teaching. And he urged very strongly, also, us who went together with him, that we should give all our energies, together with him, to proclaiming this teaching to them; and the Mota people loved him very much. During that time that he lived at Mota he baptised men, adults, and children also. When they were counted there were 297 who then received for themselves baptism at that time. And his clothes, he distributed them all to those who had received baptism, and he gave also his handkerchief to them.

[11] And when we rowed ashore to the islands to the north, he used to do like this: If it was a good landing, we put him ashore with the crowd; but if it was at a land where they did not know him well, he would ask for the boat to float at a distance from the shore, and he alone would remain amongst the crowd. But if the landing-place was bad, he would swim ashore to the people, and the boat would float on the sea. Then, when he had remained with them for a time, he would make presents of many things to them, and then swim back again to the boat. He did like this always in all his voyages.

And this also when we were about to receive the Holy Sacrament, he would take us into the chapel on the Saturday, in the evening, and talk to us about it, and tell us again that we should prepare ourselves thoroughly for it, lest we should come in vain; but that, if we came with clean hearts, it would then be good.

And he taught us about the Gospel of S. Luke, and S. John, and the Acts of the Apostles, and all the Prayers, and the Collects, and Gospels. And, when we were sailing about amongst the islands to the north, he did not cease school with us. Listen, on the sea, or on shore, to him it was one altogether about that. He did not rest himself at all from this, either on shore or on the sea also.

And when we two stayed at Mota he said to me: Think always for yourself about the word to speak to those who are ignorant, that may open their hearts to their sins. And he said also to me:
If I should live on any other island, that was still heathen, I should pray secretly by myself in prayer to God like this, "Thy kingdom come here into this land." And he said also to me that, when I pray, I should add a prayer of this kind, That God might thoroughly strengthen me for this work.

And, as we were going to that land where he died, but were still in the midst of the sea, he had school daily with us from the Gospel of S. Luke ii. and iii. to the vi. chapter, and then he died, leaving us. And he spoke to us daily in the prayers, each day, in the morning and evening from the Acts of the Apostles: and he had taught up to the vii. chapter when we arrived at the land where he died. And he spoke thoroughly and very strongly to us about the death of Stephen; after this he went ashore at that land, Nukapu.

But when we were living here he used to tell us to ask him about the things we should do bye and bye, and about the words that he spoke to us in school; and when the school was finished, either at night or in the morning, we would go to him to ask him about those things, and he would tell us about them. And at Christmas-time and at Easter he would distribute amongst us a. great deal of money and other things, also very many.

[12] But in New Zealand he did not have school daily, earnestly with us as he schooled with us here at Norfolk Island, where he schooled daily, earnestly, and with pleasure. And when he taught at the beginning he taught about things that were not difficult but, if anyone was enlightened already, he then spoke about things not very difficult; but, when he was still more enlightened, he then spoke about things that were difficult.

The Bishop was good indeed; he did not live apart from us, but he was always friends with us, and we lived always in his house with him. And he did not despise at all anyone amongst us, but he kept us thoroughly with him. And he said that he did not wish us to be shy with him, or to be afraid of him. Not this, but if anyone wished to speak to him about anything, that he should speak out, and not fear him. Yes, indeed, there was a very humble disposition (or nature) with him, and he said daily to us thus: That we should not pride ourselves; but if we humbled ourselves that would be good.

And, again, he was very patient with us. He did not do anything to make one fear him, but he spoke quietly always about anything that was right for that one: whether it was ordering him, or forbidding him, he did it quietly: and truly it was always right.

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