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were intelligent, active, and devoted Christians, and their wives pious and amiable women.
On the 5th of July, 1821, they embarked with the chief and his friends, and, three days after leaving Raiatea, the ship made Rurutu. The next day Auura and the Raiateans entered a boat, and rowed towards the land. When they approached the shore, the boat's crew were rather alarmed by the eagerness with which the people waded into the sea to meet them; but, being assured that it was only indicative of a desire to bid them welcome, they resumed their confidence. They were startled at being saluted by the inhabitants in the name of "Jehovah, the true God;" of whom they afterwards found the natives had heard, by means of a woman who had left Raiatea four or five years before, and had, by a ship, reached the southern islands.
As soon as they landed, Mahamene and Puna kneeled on the ground, and rendered thanks unto God for their preservation. They were not aware that the spot on which they made this acknowledgment was sacred to Oro, and could not account for the earnestness with which the Rurutuans exclaimed, "This party will die." The strangers also inadvertently cooked and ate their food in a place that was considered as sacred: this, with the circumstance of the females eating with the men, filled the natives with greater astonishment, and they waited for some time, expecting to see them suddenly expire. At length they concluded that the gods would execute vengeance upon them during the night; and, so great was their anxiety on this subject, that they could not wait till daybreak -one of them went at midnight to the chief's house, and, calling aloud, inquired if his wife was
not destroyed by the spirit, or god. When they saw that the whole party had remained uninjured during the night, they expressed their indignation at the deception of which they had been the dupes.
The Christian natives had no sooner landed, than they made known the object of their visit, and proposed to bring the matter more fully before the inhabitants at a public meeting on the following day. Auura, the chief who had accompanied them, sent his own idol away by the captain of the Hope, who sailed on the same evening.
On the next day, which was the 12th of July, the entire population assembled, and the little Christian band appeared before them. Auura, who was then about thirty years of age, of tall and graceful figure, addressed his countrymen. He narrated succinctly the leading incidents of his voyage; alluded to their apprehension that he "had been eaten by the evil spirit in the depths of the sea," but declared that God had led him, by a way that he knew not, to a land where teachers dwelt, and where the word of God grew and flourished; that he had returned to them, that they might know the compassion of Jehovah, the name of the Son of God, and the work of the Holy Spirit, in enlightening their hearts. He declared, that their god, whom he designated on this occasion the evil spirit, was the great foundation of all deceit, and proposed that his dominion should be annihilated, and the images, or idols, burnt, that his influence might cease for ever, and that the government, or reign, should be given to Jehovah, &c.
The king and chiefs replied, "We will receive the word of life; we will burn the evil spirits; let
every thing made by our hands, as an object of worship, be totally charred in the fire." To these statements they added this remarkable declaration-" Behold, you say, O Auura, that we have souls, or spirits-till now we never knew that man possessed a soul." Auura then introduced the two Missionaries from Raiatea, stated their object, and recommended them to the kind attention of the people.
At this time, two men, pretending to be inspired by Rurutu's god, rose up. One said, "We will hold the good word." The other began by declaring his acquaintance with the foundation of the universe, his descent from Taaroa, his birth in the heavens and was proceeding, when the chief interrupted him, and requested him to demonstrate his relation to the celestial world, by "shooting up into the sky;" and then, accusing him as the destroyer of the Rurutuan people, ordered him away. The teachers then addressed the meeting, and, after briefly stating their object, recommended them to provide an entertainment the next day, of which they and their wives and children should unitedly partake, and thus prove the deception of their false gods.
On the succeeding day, a feast was prepared; turtle, pork, and other kinds of food considered sacred, were dressed, and a number of both women and children sat down, and ate of the prohibited dishes. The priests had declared, that any who should thus offend, would be instantly destroyed by the gods of their ancestors-this was to be the test of their power.
The inhabitants were not uninterested spectators at this feast; and when, afterwards, they saw no one convulsed, or suddenly stricken with death,
they arose, hurled their idols from the places they had so long occupied, burnt to the ground three of their sacred dwellings, in which their idols were kept, and, on the same day, proceeded, en masse, to the demolition of their temples.
A large boat, belonging to Mr. Threlkeld, had been towed to the island by the vessel which conveyed the teachers. After remaining about a month in Rurutu, the Raiateans attached to the. boat took leave of their countrymen, launched their boat, loaded with the rejected idols, and, after being six days at sea, reached in safety their native island.
The Christians in Raiatea, who had, in hope and faith, sent out their first Missionaries, little expected such immediate success. A public meeting was convened, at which the abolished idols were exhibited, appropriate addresses delivered, and sincere acknowledgments rendered to the Most High, for the favourable reception their countrymen had experienced.
On my return from the Sandwich Islands, in company with the deputation from London, I called at Rurutu, in October, 1822. As we approached the shore, a native came off, to a distance of one or two miles, not in a canoe, but in a large wooden dish used in preparing food; it was about six feet long, and eighteen inches or two feet wide. The native invited us to the shore. On landing, we were greeted with the most cordial welcome by the chiefs and people, and were astonished at the effects of little more than one short year's exertion. Many had learned to read, and some to write; the teachers had erected neat plastered dwellings for themselves, and, under their direction, the people had built a substantial chapel, eighty feet long, and thirty-six
feet wide. In this I preached to nearly the whole of the inhabitants, who were serious and attentive. After the service, we examined the building, the pulpit, &c., and were delighted to behold the railing round the table in front of the pulpit, and by the side of the stairs, composed of the handles of warriors' spears.
Twelve months afterwards they were visited by Mr. Williams, who found their industry and improvement had been progressive. The young king had died; and as there were two candidates for the supreme authority, this led to the formation of two settlements instead of one: to each of these, one of the teachers was attached; and as the friends of Auura had not succeeded in procuring for him the government of the island, the teacher attached to his party had proposed, as a sort of compensation, to make him king of the church. When this plan was mentioned to Mr. Williams, he informed them that the Lord Jesus Christ was the King of the church! that he was a Prince, as well as a Saviour! and that in the Bible there was nothing about the appointment of any other king of the church. This was sufficient, and Auura's friends were content that he should be supreme in his own district, but subordinate to the uncle of the late king, who had been the more successful candidate for the government of the island. This fact serves to shew the advantages of European Missionaries occasionally visiting the stations under the care of native Missionaries. In November, 1824, I again visited Rurutu, travelled across the mountains from one settlement to the other, and conversed with most of the inhabitants, many of whom were living in comfortable dwellings, and wearing decent clothing. Industry, activity, and cheerfulness, were every where mani