A SKETCH OF
efforts towards printing and putting in circulation books of instruction and portions of the Scriptures. A degree of earnestness and attention on the part of the listeners to Sabbath instruction, surpassing any that had before existed, was observed, and a chapel was erected in the northern suburbs of the capital.
The efforts of the artisans were at this time highly prized by the government. Mr. Cameron, who was engaged in the construction of machinery and other public works, had nearly six hundred youths under his charge in constant employment; and while instructing them in the mechanic arts, he encouraged their regular attendance on divine service. On the 29th of May, 1831, twenty of the first converts to Christ in Madagascar, were publicly baptized, in the presence of a highly interested and deeply affected audience. Among these was a former juggler and diviner in the service of the idols, a revealer of destiny, who had made considerable money by the practice of his art. At his baptism he took the name of Paul. These converts gave every evidence of entertaining a thorough appreciation of the Christian religion.
The spirit of that religion, however, is so utterly opposed to idolatry, that there cannot long be a settled state of harmony between them. The Christians began to be hated and despised by the idolaters, as they had been in the earlier days of the church. This opposition on the part of the government soon began to manifest itself in an open, unmistaken manner. Radama, in the earlier part of his reign, had established a law prohibiting the use of wine or spirituous liquors, and though it had never been rigidly executed, especially against the Europeans, it was now taken advantage of by the heathen party to embarass the Christians. It was not allowed to them at the Lord's supper, and the Christians, strangely enough, concluded to celebrate that sacrament by the use of water instead of wine! The persecution was already carried to the extent of prohibiting the scholars at the public schools and the members of the army from receiving the rite of baptism, or joining in the fellowship of the church; and this order was subsequently extended to all other subjects of the Queen. And true to the spirit of slavery, as exhibited not only among barbarians but also in Christian America, the benefits of reading and writing were withheld from every slave in the country.
The government still valued the services of the missionaries, and held a high appreciation of the schools, but it was