1867 - Moillet, J. K. The Mary Ira - XVII. Conclusion, p 291-324

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  1867 - Moillet, J. K. The Mary Ira - XVII. Conclusion, p 291-324
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HOW great are the changes of public opinion in a few years! Take a trip round the world for change of air, and on your return home you will find how public opinion has been jogging on in the realm of thought as fast as you can have gone your journey.

There is nothing like keeping our eyes open, not only to the little circumstances immediately around us, but also to those of the widest sphere. Most things gain by the enlargement of the

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plain of vision; and the satisfaction of a traveller consists not merely in the enjoyment of variety, but in picking up fresh objects for the almost imperceptible process of mental generalisation; but a reader is not so much impressed by little circumstances. He passes them lightly over, or what is more, his imagination only supplies him with what he meets with in his own highly artificial state of life; and herein, perhaps, lies the cause of that difficulty of realising things as they are elsewhere, and of learning that lesson from books of travel and voyage, which actual travel so effectually teaches, viz. --the mistake of narrow mindedness and of bigotry of opinion. Should this be admitted, we trust we may be allowed, by way of a concluding chapter--which either may or may not be read--to ramble on into a few of these generalities.

We started from Auckland, thither we will return. Queen Street is a fine, broad street, though we cannot say it is kept in first-rate order, for evidently the expenses connected with its re-

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pairs have been reduced to within very narrow limits. Many of its houses and shops would be considered extremely good in an English town, while the awnings, stretching their coloured stripes above the broad pavements, give it a decidedly foreign look. A new arrival would be reminded of an English watering place, which had been fostered into a dangerously precocious growth by a committee of speculative geniuses, who had come to a stand still for want of the needful; but after some time he would see other indications which would lead him to surmise that the committee were not so much in want of funds as that they were in that extremely embarrassing condition which arises from a factious and unaccommodating spirit among themselves; for not only do the internal arrangements of the town, bat even the houses themselves, appear to be the result, either of a partial success acquired by the one party over the other, or else of a forced compromise between them. While all workmanship is hurried and incomplete, all "conception"

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is of a decidedly eclectic character. There are, however, many exceptions. Some of the banks, government offices, &c, are fine buildings, and the extensive grounds round the "Demesne" are well laid out with gardens, which are opened to the public.

There are two principal roads leading from the town. The one runs to the east, through the village of New Market, and then branches off, on the one side to Onehunga, and on the other to Drury and the South. There is an omnibus which runs some thirteen miles along it, and though towards the further end the driver usually finds the navigation difficult, and the passengers have occasionally to walk by the side of the conveyance for considerable distances, yet, on the whole, the road is a good one, and it is certainly very beautiful, traversing not only patches of fine land, but also, in many parts, wild and bush-like scenery.

Mount Eden, which is only a short distance out of the town, is composed of rocky scoria, and

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prisoners are kept constantly employed by the authorities at the stone quarries there, with men keeping guard over them, armed with guns. The other road, the Great Northern Humbug, as it is called, leads out of Auckland, and sweeps along by the head of the harbour over a tract of cold, white, clayey land, covered with small fern and ti-tree. It is made of large fragments of tufa. It is hedged on each side with gorse, and some times in the gorse large geraniums may be seen growing wild and full of blossom. Elsewhere it is closed on either side with stone walls, or lofty kauri-wood palings, or simply a ditch. It crosses over many rivulets, with picturesque wooden bridges, and in low spots are to be seen the cabbage tree, and the phormium tenax, while lofty flowering grasses wave their white silky heads in the breeze. Here and there, near Auckland, are tolerably good, wooden houses, with willows and large laurel trees. About four miles from the town is the largest--if not the finest--building in the province, a huge lunatic asylum. About

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twelve miles further out, the whole country rises into wild, melancholy looking hills, covered with forests of richly coloured foliage, and the road itself becomes almost impassable.

Unless we acknowledge to a leaning towards the principles of Malthus, we must admit that there is something wrong in the present system of promoting emigration from England. It is common enough to hear from new arrivals sudden outbursts of indignation against the treacherous eloquence of some gentlemanly old colonist or other who, it may be, had induced them to emigrate. Now, this old colonist, who probably had been sent to England at the cost of the colony, for the sole purpose of promoting emigration, may have been perfectly sincere in all lie said. He may have simply made the mistake (which, by the way, is a very common one), of ascribing worldly success, not to "indomitable energy," but to the circumstances of life. Others again are often heard to express their indignation against the writers of certain persuasive little

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pamphlets circulated in England, and which, it seems, act the part of the old colonist in attracting vast numbers to our antipodes. Now, these pamphlets have probably been written by well-meaning men, and certainly they are written in a style affecting the greatest moderation and candour. They magnify, quite unintentionally, perhaps, the resources of the country, and quote the high rates of wages, but they do not at the same time give the whole truth; for though the rate of wages may have been such as they represent it, no mention is made of the want of stability in all such things, in the colonies; and also of the fact that, in bad times, the new arrival can get no employment at all, the older hands monopolising everything. It is unfortunate that the persons to whom these books are professedly addressed, are they who would never, we feel sure, entertain, even for a moment, the thought of quitting their own homes. Indeed, we can scarcely expect a well-to-do farmer, with plenty of capital and with a large family, to take so important a

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step; and, unless driven to it by necessity, he would be a fool, indeed, to break through all the pleasing associations of a lifetime, and to give up his whole circle of friends, who have grown up with him and around him from childhood. Hence, among the people whom these agents and books really affect, the majority are those who ought never to have left their own homes, and who probably never would have done so had they not been completely befooled by them.

But to look at the bright side of things, there can be no doubt that the life of one wealthy settler on the confines of the bush one which possesses very many attractions. It is a growing pleasure to live, among all that is rough, wild, and inclement, in an "oasis" of comfort, with a good, but unpretending house, delicious gardens, and sweet pastures, all made by yourself. There are cows, sheep, pigs, and poultry, every vegetable that can be imagined, plenty of wild fruit, such as peaches and grapes, while an abundance of fish can always be had. No want

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of the "kai kai" (or food). Sometimes, indeed, it becomes almost a difficulty to know what to do with it. The house, though simply a low cottage of sawn timber, with an irregular growth of supplementary rooms, spreading out around to suit the wants of the increasing members of the family, is yet a perfect home; the centre of every dear thought, associated with the gratification of all simple, pure desires. There they take their rest, there they expect their meals, there they find shade from the mid-day heat, while the smile of welcome greets them on their return from work. Great attention is usually given to make one room in the house more civilised and delightful than one would expect to find in such a place It is surprising sometimes to see the things that are gradually got together. A library of books, really erudite works, simple and good ornaments, and furniture arranged in good taste proclaim the inmates people of higher cultivation than would be supposed from first appearances.

Domestic happiness, too, of the truest and

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firmest kind is well nigh insured to the settler's family. There are no evil attractions outside, drawing the husband to debauchery, the wife to extravagance, and the children to riot. They are all thrown upon one another as their only resource for that social converse so needful for man. Thus bickerings, jealousies, and bad tempers are seldom seen. However, it must not be supposed that they are denied all intercourse with the rest of the world. Visits of friendship and business are constantly made, and strangers are often stopping at the house, asking for hospitality, and a bed for the night.

The settler's life is seldom one of much excitement, or of energetic money-making. He is his own master, in comfortable circumstances, after the first few years of his settling, and only cares to save enough, year by year, for his wife and children, so that in case he leaves this world for a better, they can still manage to get on without him. His cattle increase, and he must thin them, by sending a hundred or two every few

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years to market, to be sold by auction. However, there are exceptions to all this. Some employ themselves very briskly in the all important occupation of money-making; it quite depends upon the circumstances of the locality. If the land possess good stiff clay, brickworks may be made to pay; if an abundance of timber near a river, or a creek, saw mills may be set up. If in a district pretty thickly settled over, a store-house for provisions and other necessaries would often answer. If with simply a good water frontage, a cutter may be a means of making a good sum.

About three, or at latest four years ago, there were only two brick-yards in the neighbourhood of Auckland, and bricks were selling at seven pounds a thousand; now, there are upwards of twenty near the town, and bricks are selling at only thirty-five shillings. The clay is peculiar in its property of shrinking. A brick made ten inches, when burnt becomes reduced to eight inches and a half.

A few years ago, carting was a thing that paid

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exceedingly well; a man could get one pound a day and more, with the greatest ease. Immediately every one started a cart and horse, so that now it is one of the worst businesses in the town.

Some people, however, manage to make money by getting a light covered cart, filling it with goods, and hawking them about the settled districts.

As regards the phormium tenax, it may, perhaps, in time become a marketable article. It contains none of the spinning properties of the European plant, having no fibres that run into equal threads, and therefore it ought not to be called a flax. It is but a mass of small fibres, gummed together by a resinous matter, and containing an oil which has to be extracted. There is, however, a process in use by which this is done, and after paying one pound a ton for the raw material, it can be manufactured by the New Zealand Flax Company, ready baled for shipment in Auckland, under ten pounds. Its value in England, as a good, sound hemp, is, we believe,

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superior to the Bombay, yet cheap enough to undersell that which comes from Manilla, Russia, France, and Italy. Should this method be in reality as great a success as it is represented to be, it is hoped that the government will stimulate it as far as possible.

Another resource for the settler, though, of course, entirely depending upon local circumstances, is found in the kouri gum. This gum, which is a transparent, amber-coloured substance, slightly resinous, is found at various depths in the earth in large lumps. It is usually dug for in the high pipe-clayish lands, which are covered with low scrubby ti-tree and ferns. It is supposed to have exuded from the kauri pines, which in former years must have flourished in these places. Its value is much less now than it used to be. It is, however, purchased by the Auckland merchants for about twenty-three pounds per ton. The supply is chiefly furnished by the natives, who collect it in large quantities and carry it in their canoes down the river to the stations.

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There is, however, one great drawback in the settler's happiness. There are seldom any places of worship within his reach. Moreover, in the colonies the Church of England is a "missionary" church, rather than an "establishment," as it is with us. It is a misfortune that the voluntary system, as regards the worship of God, is the only one at present in operation, for it certainly appears to work far from satisfactorily.

When a party of settlers agree together to build a church, desiring to have some "means of grace" within their reach--should they be so united as to be able to decide at once upon belonging to any one denomination--they apply to the head-quarters of their sect, and arrange to offer certain voluntary subscriptions annually, provided a good man is sent to them, and some little additional, or supplementary, aid furnished. Sometimes no minister can be sent, but every effort is made to procure one, and perhaps, after waiting some years, they attain the object of their wishes. But should their minister offend the

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principal settler by his faithfulness and plain speaking, an influential enemy is made, who endeavours to bring him into trouble with the others, so as to necessitate his removal. It must be said that this does not often occur, for the very obvious reason that the minister very soon learns not to look too severely upon the sins of his more influential patrons, lest he should be thus dislodged. But is this a satisfactory state of things? We give the following fact by way of illustration:--

A district that was rather populous had come to the conclusion to erect a place of worship, but a great difficulty arose from the fact that they were all of different persuasions. Some wero Church of England, some Baptists, some Presbyterians, and some Wesleyans. Alas! for divided Christendom! However, after some time a bright idea was struck out by one of them, who suggested that each of these denominations should apply to head-quarters for a minister; that thcse ministers should take their turns every Sunday

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in rotation; but that on the first occasion that a minister failed to appear the religious body whom he represented should forfeit its right in the chapel. This plan was actually, it seems, carried out, and was for a short time in full working order. In a year's time, however, all had forfeited their right to hold service there, except the Church of England and one of the sects. But what followed? The gradual extinction of the other sects had raised hopes in the survivor of finally obtaining exclusive possession of the chapel. A growing feeling of antipathy arose between it and the Church of England. At length it resolved to effect by stratagem the object in view. Various attempts were made to unseat the priest as he rode to perform the services on alternate Sundays. These, however, not succeeding, more open measures were resorted to. One Sunday he arrived at the chapel, and found a notice put up that no service would he performed that day; moreover, the doors were locked. With considerable astonishment he made his

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way to the house where the keys were usually kept, but found they had been surreptitiously withdrawn. He sent a message to the principal members of his congregation, and held a short service in front of the chapel door. On the next occasion of his ministration, having taken counsel from others, and finding the key had not been restored, and that the chapel was still locked up, he collected his people as before, and providing himself with an axe, smite the door and cut his way into the church. Thus was it saved to the Church of England.

Now does not all this very materially tend to weaken the independance and authority of the minister's position? and to place those who are learners on a par with, or even above their teachers? It is certainly extremely damaging to the whole theory of the Church of England, and converts its duly ordained clergy into mere lay-preachers, holding their position on sufferance, so that as apart, if you will, of the

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KINGDOM of heaven, it becomes reduced, as it were into an American REPUBLIC. Perhaps the settler, from his manner of life, becomes more narrow and republican than the rest of us. Still, we are all impatient of moral control, and St. Paul was exceedingly wise when he refused to be at any man's charge, and preferred to labour with his hands rather than to be in any way dependant upon those to whom he ministered.

A few words, in conclusion, on the subject of missionary labours. We have frequently heard it said that it is on the introduction of Christianity and European manners that the seeds of decimation among the native races are sown. Now this we cannot for a moment allow. We believe their numbers would have decreased nearly as fast, even though they had never heard of Christianity, nor been corrupted by the vices of civilisation; and this for the very obvious reason that their customs amongst themselves have become so fearful and their practices so abominable, that it, in fact,

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seems a matter of surprise to us that they have not, as a race, become long before this utterly extinct.

But, notwithstanding, we very much question whether Christianity has done as much for them as it might, had a more judicious application of its principles been resorted to. Captain Erskine, alluding to Laury's visits to the Friendly and Feegee Islands, says--"that some of the works lately published are so full of exaggerated accounts of the ordinary dangers and privations of a sea voyage, unfounded insinuations of a want of sympathy and protection on the part of the small naval force in these seas, and aggravations of the difficulties under which the business of the mission is carried on, as to repel the reader who desires information on subjects of more interest and higher importance; whilst tedious accounts of love feasts, and of miraculous interferences in favour of the Christians against their spiritual enemies, might almost induce one to suppose that

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the effect of missionary success would only be the supplanting of the old superstitions of the natives by almost equally gross superstitions of their own."

We of the Church of England do not look for miracles in these days of enlightenment. Yet, to the uncivilised Jew, we read that signs and wonders were vouchsafed; and hence we may suppose them to have been necessary in order to produce on that barbarous people a sufficiently powerful impression.

The question arises: If miracles were necessary in those days, are they less so now, as regards the uncivilised savage?

The spiritualists do not hesitate to reply in the affirmative.

Thus Mr. Howett, a fair representative of that school, says, "Where is now the favorite boast of the Anglican church, that Christianity once proved by miracles, that proof is sufficient for all time? Here we have the answer from Bishop Colenso. He has found that it is not sufficient

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for sharp witted Kaffirs. They refuse to accept Christianity, except on the same conditions that the ancient world accepted it, accompanied by those supernatural evidences which pronounced its divinity. They are right and protestantism is wrong, and must go to school to the spiritualists, if it is not to go to utter ruin."

But is it not a simple fact that the Deity does not, so far as we know, work miracles in these days through the instrumentality of men, and may we not therefore rightly conclude that they are unnecessary; and this is in truth the fact, for the white man is so great a miracle to the poor savage that if he acted up to his whole nature, there would be no need of miraculous interference. The savage has naturally so great a respect for the white man, provided the latter is a sincere Christian, that he unhesitatingly accepts whatever he is told whether intelligible to him or not. His superior knowledge, his arts and sciences and more especially his musical talents, all tell in his favour, so that he ranks as a standing miracle,

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and almost in loco dei. It is from this and from the absence of miraculous interposition, that we are led in a special manner to regard the christianising and the civilising of the savage as a duty incumbent upon ourselves.

But how is this imposed obligation to bo performed by us in the most judicious manner?

We are scarcely justified in forming notions on this important question solely in accordance with our own conceits; especially when we have in the Holy Scriptures a clear and inspired record of the method which the Author of all Wisdom has Himself employed under similar circumstances. Yet, in our opinion, the course pursued by missionaries is not that which a consideration of God's dealings with mankind, preparatory to his reception of Christianity, should lead us to adopt. We submit, it is scarcely based upon the wide principles by which the Wisdom of God constructed gradually out of the "base material of a barbarous age the great edifice of the Catholic Church." Theologians tell us that the Christian

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dispensation could not have been intelligibly embraced by man without the preparation which the elder dispensation afforded--the Mosaic dispensation being purely theocratic, with a wide though impassable boundary, based upon severe ceremonials and details, which subsequently became, step by step, as the educational progress permitted, less theocratic in its nature with more circumscribed boundaries; till conscience takes the place of legal punishment and till love takes the place of conscience, so that eventually thought and feeling have become identified with action-- in Christianity.

That such was the mode of procedure we cannot but believe is generally admitted; and history tells us that this same mode was wisely re-instituted by the Roman Catholic Church; for when the overthrow of the Roman Empire occurred by the irruptions of the northern hordes of barbarians, Christianity became legally powerful, exacting, and ceremonious, and the Pope acquired temporal authority. Surely we may

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argue from this that in these days Christianity should, amongst savage races, assume to some extent a like objective form, as being better suited to their low condition.

In the absence of miracles, where Christianity is left to the support afforded, not by the purity of its truths which cannot be appreciated, but by the power of a higher civilisation which can, it should not only have special laws, theocratic and inflexible, aimed against immorality and impurity and other details, but the very sphere itself should be extended to such limits as shall be both practicable in respect to the present condition of the natives, and yet be so powerful a check to such excesses as pass beyond that sphere as to put an effectual stop to the rapid decadence of the race. These exoteric limits, of course, are always capable of being narrowed, as occasion serves, to an exoteric circle, and individuals, whenever ripe for the reception of the higher teachings of Christianity, can pass from the one to the other.

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We know nothing more deplorable than witnessing the effects of the higher and more sacred truths of Christianity when forced into the minds of natives who cannot, even in numbers, rise to the conception of the abstract. The same mistake appears to us to be often made in England by well meaning, but injudicious parents, who expect from their children obedience to the law of Christ, from the motive of love alone, without the wholesome admixture of a little nursery discipline.

Without mentioning the many laws on minor points, and little details of conduct, &c, which should be all inflexibly maintained among the natives, under the severest penalties, we will allude to those which should regulate their excessive immorality.

We firmly believe that the very strict morality which the missionaries attempt to impose upon the natives is too great a strain on their nature, and is the cause of still greater impurity, resulting

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in that acceleration of their extinction which we have mentioned. Consideration should be had of their eastern origin, and of the consequent natural predominence of the females over the males, and of the fact that polygamy is in strict harmony with the Old Testament dispensation. The law, we are told, was a schoolmaster, whose discipline was tempered to suit uncivilised man, and whose introduction previous to Christianity seems as necessary now as it was then, not only to his happiness, but also, as it would appear, to his very existence.

It may, perhaps, be objected to this that we are not at liberty thus to set ourselves up as Gods, but, it should be borne in mind, we are speaking of the larger boundary, and that our Saviour tells us that this is exactly what Moses did to the Children of Israel in the matter of divorcement. It was "suffered," though "from the beginning it was not so." It is only by adapting Christianity to the skliro kardia [Greek] of our weak, coloured

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brethren, that we can fulfil our obligations to them, and put an end to that which is committing such fearful havoc in their numbers. 1

We had expected to find some important information on this subject in the work of Bishop Williams, which has just issued from the Press, entitled "Christianity among the New Zealanders." However valuable the book may be in other respects, we confess to our disappointment in this. There is, however, remarkable testimony in favour of the views we here propound, which will be immediately perceived when we recollect that the subjects of the Bishop's remarks are the Maories of New Zealand, and that his views are, therefore, based on the fact that the proportion of sexes among this race is four men to three women, and that, as regards their customs, polygamy is never practised, ex-

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cept by a few of their principal chiefs. He says, "While, however, there was some hesitation as to what course should be followed in the case of converts to Christianity, the difficulty was disposed of by the natives themselves. The majority of those concerned were under the influence of higher principles, and without hesitation they put away all their wives but one." We may regard this as admitting in some measure the principle that the narrow sphere of Christianity may be extended on occasions: for he not merely speaks of it as a matter not to be dealt with without "some hesitation," but also as "a difficulty" which was decided by the natives themselves, Why not, then, let them always decide it? Surely those who can be brought under the influence of higher principles sufficient to provoke them into compliance with this Christian precept, would belong to the esoteric circle of which we have been speaking. But our own experience teaches that of principle any sort is quite beyond a savage who has not received instruction from his earliest

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childhood, and that even is necessary for two generations except in very rare instances. Dr. Temple has well shown that it is these first principles, learnt so readily by a child, which are so impossible to inculcate in those who have attained maturity. "In reality," says he, "elementary truths are the hardest of all to learn, unless we pass our childhood in an atmosphere thoroughly impregnated with them; and then we imbibe them unconsciously, and find it difficult to perceive their difficulty." * * * * "He needs to see virtue in the concrete before he can recognise her aspect as a divine idea."

Though we have no direct sympathy with the Roman Catholic body, yet Christianity is Christianity, whether preached by St. Paul or Apollos, and we were curious to learn what course they would pursue in like circumstances, and the following passage from the Bishop's work may have its interest as bearing on the subject.

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"The natives believed that a change might be to their advantage, and they gladly availed themselves of the more easy discipline of the Papists, which allowed them to retain much that the missionaries had told them was to be given up. These new teachers gave their sanction to polygamy, and to the practise of tattooing, and they allowed their followers to do various kinds of work on the Sabbath day, and to continue also their old heathenish dances. The consequence was that numbers rallied to their standard, and their praises were loud in the mouths of all the more worthless part of the community * * * The novelty (!!) soon wore off, and the majority of those who had taken up with the new superstition (!!) not from any principle (!) but because they wished for a change, joined the Protestant (!) community." The notes of admiration are our own, which we have inserted in order to show how, even in mission-work, the dis-union of Christendom is made the devil's engine for hindering the

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Work of Christ. When we consider the utter incompetence of the natives to acquire the simplest idea of the fact of the Incarnation, still less to form a conception of the most holy groundwork of all Catholic truth, the doctrine of the Trinity, how evident does it become that the Bishop's words are mere vapourings for the sake of catching the sympathy of those who, happily for missionaries, retain the fanciful pictures of our charming black brothers as drawn by Mr. Pickwick's, Shepherd and Co.!

Should not any missionary, truly zealous in his work, on observing that a Christian teacher was able to attract by his style a large number of natives let the preaching of Christian truth, infer that his style was based on a wiser principle than his own? and the more worthless the part of the community thus attracted the better, one would think. There cannot be a shadow of doubt that, in all mission work, the system pursued by the Roman Catholics is infinitely more successful

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than that of our own church, --even though we expend such enormous sums of money, and have all the advantage of position and government support. The only way of accounting for this is, that their system leaves no stone unturned by which to attract them; and their teachings and restrictions are within the scope of practicability, as founded on a knowledge of their simple nature. The mantle of old Samuel Marsden, that Elijah of missionary work, has been caught up, not by our church, to whom it was left, but by a few earnest, unmarried young men, sent out, with scarcely more than scrip or staff, by the Church of Rome, and unless our church seizes hold also of that mantle she will irretrievably be beaten from the ground.

It is impossible to lay too much stress upon the facts known to every traveller, and upon which the opinions here advocated are based. Ail travellers who view mission work from the outside, making a rough estimate of the proportion of the

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work done with the expenses and size of the establishments, can be but of one opinion as to their complete inadequacy.

The principles on which, we are assured, from the pressure of public opinion, mission work will have to be conducted in future, may be gathered under two heads, viz.:--

Firstly--That a powerful discipline should be maintained among such natives as are baptised into the church; that this discipline be on the widest possible basis, extending not only to their religious duties and general conduct, but to their particular mode of life, place of residence, and industrial pursuits; and that the power of enforcing this discipline, either by a strict, religious rule, of his own appointing, or by a magisterial or other influence conferred on him, whether by the European or native authorities, be the first object of every missionary.

Secondly--That the ceremonies and appliances of external religion should be made to occupy

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such a place in the savage mind that his attention should be fixed on deeds and on the objective sides of religion, rather than on thoughts, or feelings or motives.


T. C. NEWBY, 30, Welbeck Street, Cavendish Square, London.

1   It is too evident that the prohibition of polygamy necessarily results in the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes. The missionaries, while powerful enough to break down polygamy, cannot enforce that which they hoped would replace it. We need scarcely say that promiscuous intercourse is the only sensible way of accounting for the decadence of these races.

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