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atonement of Christ, and to indulge a hope of exemption from all the fearful effects of sin and guilt, this apprehension has not, in many instances, been attended by that sudden relief, and that exstatic joy, which is often manifested in other parts of the world, by individuals in corresponding circumstances. Yet, in many instances, we have not doubted the sincerity of their declarations, or the genuineness of their faith in the Redeemer.
We have often tried to account for this apparent anomaly in their Christian character, but have not been altogether satisfied with the causes to which we have sometimes assigned it. It does not appear, generally, that their emotions are so acute as ours, or that they are equally susceptible of joy and sorrow with persons trained in civilized society. Besides this, though their ideas of the nature and consequences of sin, the blessedness of forgiveness, and the hope of future happiness, were correct so far as they went, yet the varied representations of the punishment and sufferings of the wicked, and the corresponding views of heaven, as the state of the greatest blessedness, being to them partial and new, the impressions were probably vague and indistinct; while with us, from long familiarity, they are at once vivid and powerful. Without pausing to inquire into its cause, it seemed right to mention the fact; better reasons may perhaps be assigned.
We have often also remarked, that there are but few of what would be called sudden conversions. In general, the process by which their views and feelings have been changed, has been gradual, and almost imperceptible, as to its precise manner of operation, though ultimately most de
cisive in its nature, and unquestionable in its tendency. Though these gradual transformations are the general means by which, through the Holy Spirit, we hope many have been made partakers of the grace of eternal life, there have been exceptions. Some have been melted under the truth, others have been led to rejoice in the promises of the gospel, and raised to gladness and praise. These facts are adapted to shew that the Spirit of God is not limited, in the manner of His operations on the human mind, to any one particular kind of order and rule.
The accounts of their views of Divine truth, and their reasons for desiring to join with us, have often been delightful and satisfactory, not only in the Society, but also in the northern isles of the Pacific. One from a native of the latter, although it has appeared in the American Missionary Herald, has not been given to the British public; and its character is so unequivocal, that I cannot deny myself the pleasure of inserting it.
Buaiti, the individual to whom it refers, is between thirty and forty years of age. believe I had the honour of preaching the gospel in his native islands the first time he ever heard it. It, however, produced no salutary effect then; nor, indeed, until some time after. Since I left the islands, the preaching and instructions of Mr. Richards have been singularly useful to this individual, as well as to others; he has given every evidence of their having, under the blessing of God, produced an entire and highly beneficial change in his sentiments, feelings, and conduct.
The late queen of the Sandwich Islands, with her usual benevolence, had always treated him with kindness; and the recollection of it is still
retained. Buaiti was his native name, but, when he was baptized, he wished to be called Bartimeus ; and, in order to preserve the sense of his loss in the death of the queen, he requested that Lalana, London, the place of her death, might be added to his name. When he was admitted a member of the Christian church at Lahaina, he was asked by the Missionary, Why do you request to be received into the church? He replied
Because I love Jesus Christ, I love you, and I desire to dwell with you in the fold of Christ, and to join with you in eating the holy bread, and drinking the holy wine.
What is the holy bread?
It is the body of Christ, which he gave to save sinners.
Do we then eat the body of Christ?
No; but we eat the bread which means his body and, as we eat bread that our bodies may not die, so our souls love Jesus Christ, and receive him for their Saviour, that they may not die. What is the holy wine?
It is the blood of Christ, which he poured out on Calvary, in Jerusalem in Judea, to save us sinners.
Do we, then, drink the blood of Christ?
No; but the wine signifies his blood, just as the holy bread signifies his body: and all those who go to Christ, and lean on him, will have their sins washed away by his blood, and their souls saved for ever in heaven.
Why do you think it more suitable that you should join the church than others?
Perhaps it is not, (hesitating.) If it is not proper, you must tell me. But I do greatly desire to dwell with you in the fold of Christ.
Who do you think are the proper persons to be received into the church?
Those who have repented of their sins, and have obtained new hearts.
What is a new heart?
It is one which loves God, and loves the word of God, and does not love sin, or sinful ways. Do you think you have obtained a new heart? At one time I think I have, and then again I think I have not. I do not know, a new heart.
I hope I have
What makes you hope you have a new heart? This is the reason why I hope I have a new heart. The heart I have now is not like the heart I formerly had. The one I have now is very bad, it is unbelieving, and inclined to evil. But it is not like the one I formerly had. Yes; I think I have a new heart.
The satisfaction arising from this simple yet decisive testimony, is increased from a knowledge of the fact stated by Mr. Richards; namely, that these questions and answers were not committed to memory, and merely recited on the occasion, but that they were the undisguised motives and feelings by which he was influenced. He had no knowledge of the questions that would be proposed, until the time when they would be publicly asked, and consequently could not have previously framed the replies he gave. The above may be taken as a sample of the kind of declarations made by those who are united in church-fellowship; and though it relates to a native of the North Pacific Isles, it resembles, in its principal characteristics, many given by the natives of the Southern group. Simplicity is the distinguishing feature in all their religious intercourse of this kind.
The meeting of such as were desirous of uniting with us continued; and from among those who attended, many were added to the church. Besides this meeting, we held one with the communicants only, on the Friday evening preceding the Sabbath when the ordinance was administered, which was the first Sabbath in every month. At these times, new members were proposed by the Missionary, or by any member, to the whole body. Inquiry was made of those present, as to their eligibility, and if any had objections to an individual, he was requested to state them there; if not, one or two of the members were directed to call upon the parties at their habitations, to converse with them, and report the same at the next meeting, for the satisfaction of the church. It was regarded by us a duty, to see these persons more than once during the intervening month.
At the next meeting, these individuals were proposed by name; the recommendation of the persons who had visited them, and of the Missionary, given; and if the members present knew any reasons why they should not be united with them, they were requested to state the same; if not, to signify assent by lifting up the right hand. When the members proposed had been thus individually approved, as they were usually in attendance, they were brought to the chapel, and interrogated singly, as to their reasons for desiring to unite with
To these questions brief replies were usually rendered; and they were informed that the members of the church, considering them proper persons, were happy to receive them. The right hand of fellowship was then given by the Missionaries, and subsequently by the members, to those thus