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with spear in hand, they would exclaim, Tui i vaho, pierce through—and thus transfix him to the couch on which he was lying.
Sometimes they buried the sick alive. When this was designed, they dug a pit, and then, perhaps, proposed to the invalid to bathe, offering to carry him to the water, either in their arms, or placed on a board; but, instead of conveying him to the place of bathing, they would carry him to the pit, and throw him in. Here, if any cries were made, they threw down large stones in order to stifle his voice, filled up the grave with earth, and then returned to their dwellings.
The natives once gave me an account of an unhappy sufferer, whom they were conveying to the grave; he perceived it at a short distance before they approached, and, influenced by fear, sprang from the board, and endeavoured to escape. He was pursued, and crippled by a large stone, and thus secured by the murderers. I was acquainted with two persons, who were sawyers, and resided some time in the island of Huahine, who had both been engaged in burying one of their companions, merely because they felt the few attentions required, a burden. One of them, whose name was Papehara, is dead; the other is still living.
It is unnecessary to add to these details. Every friend to humanity will rejoice to know, that since the subversion of that system, under the sanction of which they were practised, they have ceased; and that now, from the influence of Christian principles, although the aged do not receive that veneration which is paid to gray hairs and length of years in some countries, they are treated with kindness.
The sick are also nursed with attention by their
relatives and children; and so far from deeming it a burden to attend to them, in Eimeo, Huahine, and, I believe, in some of the other islands, the natives have formed benevolent societies among themselves, for the purpose of building houses, supplying with food and clothing those who, in their old age and helpless state, have no friends or children to take care of them. In these dwellings they are lodged, and clothed, and fed. Persons also visit them for the purpose of reading the scriptures, and praying with them; their present necessities are supplied, the decline of life made easy, and their passage to the grave comparatively tranquil and happy. It is only necessary to contrast this with the former treatment of individuals under similar circumstances, in order to strengthen our conviction of the incalculable diminution of misery which has resulted from their reception of the gospel, and the temporal blessings it has imparted.
During the year 1820, the Mission in the Windward Islands sustained a heavy bereavement in the decease of Messrs. Bicknell and Tessier. The latter, who was a man of modest and unobtrusive habits, but patient and unremitting industry in the important work of educating the rising generation, died on the 23d of July. His Christian course had not been splendid or attractive, but it had been undeviating and unsullied. His end was not only peaceful, but triumphant in faith, and glowing in anticipation of the holy and spiritual joys awaiting him in the abodes of blessedness.
Mr. Bicknell, whose health was not firm, followed the remains of his faithful coadjutor to the tomb; and while standing on the edge of the closing grave, and addressing the sorrowing multi
tude around, felt indisposed from the exposure. This was followed by fever, which terminated his life fourteen days after the death of Mr. Tessier. Though his illness was short, his mind, towards the latter part of it, was tranquil, in reliance on that Saviour who alone can support in the prospect of dissolution.
I have heard that he was the first individual who offered his services to the Missionary Society, and was among the first who landed from the Duff in 1796. He remained in Tahiti till the civil war in 1808 drove him and his companions from the islands, at which time he visited New South Wales and England. When Pomare invited the Missionaries to return, he was the first to resume his station, which he never abandoned, till called by death from a field, on which he had bestowed upwards of twenty years of patient persevering toil, and from which, though long barren and fruitless, he had ultimately been honoured to reap the first-fruits of a glorious harvest.
In 1818 he removed to the populous district of Papara, on the south-west side of Tahiti. This district had, prior to the last war, been the stronghold of idolatry, and was the head-quarters of the pagan army; and the inhabitants, until the death of their chieftain in the memorable battle of Bunaauïa, obstinately opposed the progress of Christianity. Here, under the favourable auspices of Tati, Mr. Bicknell commenced his labours; and while Mr. Tessier daily instructed numbers in the school, Mr. Bicknell collected around him large and attentive congregations, baptized many, and gathered an interesting Christian church.
His latest earthly concern regarded the sted fastness and welfare of his charge. On the last even
ing of his life, and but a few hours before his departure, he addressed Mr. Crook (who had attended him during his illness, and who was then about to perform divine service among his people) on the subject. "Tell them," said the dying Missionary, "that my conviction of the truth of those doctrines I have taught, is now stronger than ever. Tell them I am dying, but that these truths are now my support. Tell them to be stedfast." He left, not only a destitute church and afflicted congregation, but a sorrowing widow and five fatherless children, to mourn his departure. Mrs. Bicknell was afterwards united in marriage with Mr. Davies, but she did not long survive, and the children are now orphans. Mr. Caw, who had been sent out to instruct the natives in shipbuilding and other arts, but who had been long incapacitated by illness, died about the same time.
General view of a Christian church-Uniformity of procedure in the different stations-Instructions from England-Preparatory teaching-Distinct nature of a Christian church-Qualifications and duties of communicants-The sacrament of the Lord's Supper-Formation of the first church of Christ in the Leeward Islands Administration of the ordinance-Substitute for bread-Order of the service-Character, experience, and peculiarities of the communicants-Buaiti-Manner of admitting church members-Regard to the declarations of scripture-Instances of the power of conscience-Appointment of deacons-Improvement in parental discipline-Great attention to religion.
WHILE the Lord of Missions was thus thinning our ranks, he was shewing us that the work in which we were engaged was not ours, but his; that though the agent was removed, the agency under which he had acted was not thereby impeded. The pleasing change we had observed among our people every year, increased during the present in an astonishing manner, and we had the high satisfaction of witnessing the formation and organization of the first church of Christ in the Leeward or Society Islands. It took place early in the month of May, and shortly after the opening of the new chapel.