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This universal observance of the Sabbath-day appears to an Englishman in humiliating contrast with its profanation in many favoured sections of his own country. The contrast is still more striking when compared with the manner in which it is perverted into a season of activity, business, and unwonted gaiety in the pursuit of pleasure, in Catholic countries-but it never appears so surprising as when viewed in comparison with the actual state of the people themselves only a few years ago. No Sabbath had then ever dawned, no happy multitudes met for praise and prayer, no lovely throngs of children gathered in the Sabbath-schools, no inspired page or christian preacher directed their attention to the Lord of the Sabbath; but when the devotees met for public worship, it was under the gloom of dark overshadowing trees, amid the recesses of some rude temple, before some rustic altar, or in the presence of some deity of frightful form and fearful attributes, the offspring of their own imagination.

CHAP. VI.

Public assemblies during the week-Questional and conversational meeting Topics discussed-The seat of the thoughts and affections-Duty of prayer-Scripture biography and history-The first parents of mankind-Paradise-Origin of moral evil-Satanic influence-A future state -Condition of those who had died idolaters—The Sabbath-Inquiries respecting England-The doctrine of the resurrection-Visits to Maeva -Description of the aoa-Legend connected with its origin-Considered sacred-Cloth made with its bark-Manufacture of native cloth-Variety of kinds--Methods of dyeing-Native matting-Different articles of household furniture.

THE religious services of a general kind, among the natives, during the week, are not numerous. There is one lecture, which is on Wednesday evening.Numbers assemble at this time, and the exercise we have reason to believe is useful, in keeping alive that interest in matters of religion, which might be diminished by the secular engagements of the week. The following account of one of these meetings is given by Captain Gambier, in the extracts of his journal.

"On Wednesday afternoon we attended a native divine service. It was begun with a hymn; then Mr. Nott, who did duty, prayed extempore for some length, and then read a passage from the Scripture, upon which he preached with great fluency in the Otaheitan language. The church was well attended, though not so full as on Sundays, when it is crowded. Almost all the women, young and old, were habited in the European manner. The most perfect order

reigned the whole time of the service. The devout attention these poor people paid to what was going forward, and the earnestness with which they listened to their teacher, would shame an English congregation. I declare, I never saw any thing to equal it! Objects of the greatest curiosity at all other times, they paid no sort of attention to, during the solemnity of their worship. After it was over, crowds, as usual, gathered round, to look at our uniforms, to them so new and uncommon. I looked round very often during the sermon, and saw not one of the congregation flag in their attention to it. Every face was directed to the preacher, and each countenance strongly marked with sincerity and pleasure. I had heard of the success of the Missionaries before I came to Otaheite, and, after making great allowance for exaggeration in the accounts they had sent home, there remained sufficient to lead me to anticipate that they had done a great deal. But I now declare, their accounts were beyond measure modest, and, far from colouring their success, they had not described it equal to what I found it. It is impossible to describe the sensations experienced on seeing the poor natives of Otaheite walking to a Protestant church in the most orderly and decent manner, with their books in their hands, and most of them dressed in European clothes.Having just quitted the Marquesas, where we saw the very state the Otaheitans were in at the time of their first visitors, we of course saw the change to great advantage; and the magnitude of it is so astonishing, that all has the appearance of a dream. When, however, fully convinced of the reality, the hand of an Almighty Providence is distinctly acknowledged.”

There are special meetings, held once a week, for the instruction of those who desire to make a public profession of the Christian faith by baptism, and another for the candidates for communion. In addition to these, there is a public meeting for general conversation, or rather for answering the questions of the people, held every Monday afternoon or evening.

This meeting originated in that held on the 26th of July 1813, for the purpose of writing the names of those who were desirous of publicly professing Christianity; and was designed for the more particular instruction of such individuals, though it has since assumed a more general character. This has been one of the most important and efficient means of promoting general and religious improvement in the islands. The greater part of the inhabitants of the settlement in which it is held, and many from remote districts, having assembled in the place of worship; we usually took our seats near a table at one end of the building. Soon after the Missionaries have entered, a native, perhaps in some distant part of the house, stands up, and, addressing them by name, asks a question, states a difficulty that may have perplexed his mind, begs an explanation of a passage of Scripture, or makes an inquiry relative to some subject or portion of the sacred volume, &c. Our answers generally lead to farther questions, either from the first inquirer, or other individuals in the assembly. The conversation is sometimes continued until a late hour; and both the queries and the replies are usually listened to with great attention. We always endeavoured to divest these meetings of all formality and reserve; and studied to render them engaging, by accompanying our

illustrations with suitable anecdotes, and encouraging in the people the most unembarrassed confidence ; requesting them to present all their difficulties, and solicit explanations or directions.

This meeting has always been highly interesting, and has generally indicated the progressive improvement of the people. The subjects discussed are perhaps less miscellaneous than they were some years ago, when the people were totally uninformed in all the first principles of Christianity; and the nature of these meetings in some of the stations has, perhaps, undergone a slight change. They are, however, productive of important benefit.

Subjects of every kind were formerly discussed, and questions brought forward relative to the discipline of children, the forming of connexions, and the whole of their domestic economy, agriculture, trade, or barter, legislature, war and politics, history and science, as connected with the natural phenomena by which they were surrounded; and occasionally what might be termed the first efforts of philosophical research, in their partially enlightened minds.

When the political questions referred to their foreign relations, or their intercourse with other islands, we sometimes allowed them to be entertained; but whenever they were connected with any civil proceedings, or the internal government of the island, although the person who introduced it was not interrupted during his speech, the matter was always referred to the king and chiefs, for whose consideration he was directed to present it at a convenient season, unless the chiefs, who were generally present, wished it to be then discussed.

One of the most curious and interesting topics of

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