Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/158

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"white chief" who had visited Savaii, he made a sign to his people, who rushed into the sea, and carried the boat and all who were in it high and dry on the beach in their enthusiastic welcome; but when they learnt that the religion-ship had brought no teacher for them, their disappointment was unbounded; and so, we may well believe, was that of the zealous apostle who had discovered these isles "white to the harvest," but had failed to find reapers.

So eager was the desire to know about the better way, that there were many places in the isles where the people, having only heard a dim rumour of what others had learnt, had actually built places for the worship of the unknown God, and, having prepared their food on the Saturday, assembled there at six o'clock each Sabbath morning, and again twice in the day, not for service, because none knew what to say, but to sit together in reverent silence, waiting for some revelation of His will. It seemed a strangely literal illustration of the words of the Hebrew prophet, "The isles shall wait for His law."

Passing on to the beautiful little isle of Manono, and the great isles of Savaii and Upolu, the missionaries were received with extravagant joy by teachers and people; and by the high chiefs with more nose-rubbing than was agreeable! They heard with delight that all the principal chiefs and many of the people had already declared themselves Christians, and had proved themselves in earnest by truly consistent conduct; and that the majority of the people had resolved to follow their good example. Upwards of a thousand sat breathlessly to hear the white man's words, spoken in Tahitian, and interpreted by one of the teachers. Then Makea, the king of Rarotonga, a man of magnificent stature, who had accompanied Mr Williams, addressed the people, and explained how wonderful had been the change wrought in his own isles since they embraced the lotu;[1] how, in old days, they had been for ever fighting and murdering one another, till at length they had hearkened to the voice of the teachers, and, in fear and trembling, had brought their idols to be burnt, and had watched from

  1. Christianity.