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prevented his throwing himself on the ground. For a long time, the priest and one of the Raiateans struggled together; when the god, insulted at the rude liberty taken with his servant, left him, and the priest in silence retired from the assembly.
When one of the priests was exhibiting all the violent gestures of inspiration in Huahine, a bystander observed, that it was all deceit, and that if they were to open the body of the priest, they should not find any god within. The multitude, however, appeared struck with horror at the startling proposal, and seemed to think the individual who had dared to utter it would not escape the signal vengeance of the powerful spirit.
Although so much ceremony, and such extraordinary effects, attended the public or formal intercourse between the god and the people, through the medium of the priest, the communications between the priest and the god were sometimes of an opposite character, and ludicrously colloquial. Mr. Davies, when itinerating round the island of Eimeo, in the early part of his missionary labour in that island, arrived at a village near Tiatae-pua, where he endeavoured to purchase provisions from the inhabitants. Vegetables were procured with facility, but the only animals were a number of fowls, and these belongeu to the priest of the adjacent temple. Application was made to this individual, who looked at the articles (scissors, looking-glasses, &c.) offered in exchange, and seemed desirous to barter his fowls for them, but he said they belonged to the god, having been presented as offerings, and that without his leave he dare not part with any.
Again he examined the articles, and then said he would go and ask if the god was willing to part with any of the fowls. He proceeded to the temple, whither he
was followed by Mr. Davies, who heard his address to the object of hope and fear, in words to the following effect:-"O my atua, or god, here is some good property, knives, scissors, looking-glasses, &c. e hoo paha vau, na moa na taua; perhaps I may sell some of the fowls belonging to us two, for it. It will be good property for you and me." After waiting a few moments, he pretended to receive an answer in the affirmative, and returned, stating that the god had consented to the appropriation. The sacred fowls were accordingly hunted by a number of boys and dogs, and several secured, and sold for the above-mentioned articles.
The oracle was not the only method by which the people were accustomed to consult the gods; nor was the inspiration of the priests the exclusive manner by which supernatural direction was revealed to the people. nation, or augury, was practised in a variety of modes, and by these means it was thought that future events were made known, and information was communicated. Much of their augury was connected with the sacrifices they offered. The diviners noticed the manner in which the victims died, their appearance after death, &c. and by these means determined what was the will of the god.They had also a singular method of cutting a cocoa-nut, and, by minutely examining its parts, of ascertaining their portentous indications. These ceremonies were generally practised in the temple.
There were others, however, performed elsewhere, as the patu, which consisted in dividing a ripe cocoa-nut into two equal parts, taking the half opposite to that to which the stalk was attached, and proceeding with it in a canoe to some distance from the shore; here the priest offered his prayers; and then placing the cocoa
nut in the sea, continuing his prayers, and narrowly watching its descent, he thereby pretended to ascertain the result of any measures in which those by whom he was employed were interested. The patu was frequently resorted to while negociations for peace were carried on between parties who had been engaged in war. nation was employed to discover the cause or author of sickness, or to ascertain the fate of a fleet or a canoe that might have commenced a distant or hazardous voyage. This latter was often used in the islands to the westward of the Society group.
The natives had also recourse to several kinds of divination, for discovering the perpetrators of acts of injury, especially theft. Among these was Among these was a kind of water ordeal. It resembled in a great degree the wai harru of the Hawaiians. When the parties who had been robbed wished to use this method of discovering the thief, they sent for a priest, who, on being informed of the circumstances connected with the theft, offered prayers to his demon. He now directed a hole to be dug in the floor of the house, and filled with water; then taking a young plantain in his hand, he stood over the hole, and offered his prayers to the god, whom he invoked, and who, if propitious, was supposed to conduct the spirit of the thief to the house, and place it over the water. The image of the spirit, which they imagined resembled the person of the man, was, according to their account, reflected in the water, and being perceived by the priest, he named the individual, or the parties, who had committed the theft, stating that the god had shewn him the image in the water. The priests were rather careful how they fixed upon an individual, as the accused had but slight prospect of escaping, if unable to falsify the charge; but when
he could do this, the credit of the god and the influence of the priest were materially diminished.
Sometimes the priest, after the first attempt, declared that no answer had been returned, and deferred till the following day the repetition of his enchantments. The report, however, that this measure had been resorted to, generally spread among the people, and the thief, alarmed at the consequences of having the gods engaged against him, usually returned the stolen property under cover of the night, and by this superseded the necessity for any further inquiries. Like the oracles among the nations of antiquity, which gradually declined after the propagation of Christianity, the divinations and spells of the South Sea Islanders have been laid aside since their reception of the gospel. The only oracle they now consult is the Sacred Volume; and multitudes, there is reason to believe, give to its divine communications unreserved credence, and yield to its requirements the most conscientious obedience.
Increased desire for books-Application from the blind-Account of Hiro, an idolatrous priest-Methods of distributing the Scriptures-Dangerous voyages-Motives influencing to desires for the Scriptures-Character of the translation-Cause of delay in baptizing the converts-General view of the ordinance—Baptism of the king-Preparatory instructions— First baptism in Huahine-Mode of applying the water-Introduction of Christian names-Baptism of infants-Impressions on the minds of the parents-Interesting state of the people-Extensive prevalence of a severe epidemic.
A NUMBER of elementary books, and several hundred copies of St. Luke's Gospel, printed at Eimeo, and reserved for the Leward Islands, had been distributed among the people. But these were soon found inadequate to meet their daily increasing wants; and the great desire of all classes for books, furnished a powerful stimulus to hasten the printing, and we were soon enabled to furnish a supply of spelling-books.
I have often been amused with the perseverance and ingenuity manifested by the people to procure books, or at least a substitute for them. The bark of the auti, or paper mulberry, was frequently beaten to a pulp, spread out on a board, and wrought and dried with great care, till it resembled a coarse sort of card. This was sometimes cut into pieces about the size of the leaves of a book; and upon these, with a reed cut in the shape of a pen, and immersed in red or purple vegetable dye, the