Church Missionary Society, Northern District.
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CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
From Mr. Davis's Journals we extract the following account of the
Tranquil aspect of the District subsequent to Heke's death.
Dec. 7, 1850 --Since the death of Heke we have enjoyed our quietude. There is now a degree of peaceful serenity in our atmosphere to which we were previously almost strangers. O for gratitude to the Giver of this blessing! The people of this place appear to enjoy their deliverance from that tyranny and oppression to which they were subject during his lifetime. They are now putting up stock-yards, and looking after their cattle. They are also preparing to break in some of their oxen to do their work, and they have in contemplation the opening of a dray road to Waimate. This will be a great thing for themselves, and a saving to us, as we have now to procure all our supplies from Waimate in back-loads, which is laborious for the poor Natives, and expensive to us. Heke's people retain their hardened state, and there is but little hope of them. One of our teachers returned from their place about six weeks ago with a very heavy heart. They told him not to come again, as they all had books and could read them, and knew quite as much as he did. The teacher was a meek and humble Christian, and felt their treatment very much. On the following day, one of them called upon me, and requested that I would send no more people to teach or preach to them, as they could read their books and pray for themselves: he, however, acknowledged, that, although they could read the Scriptures, yet that they could not understand them. The poor fellows appear to be lifted up with that pride which their late Chief possessed in a very eminent degree. No Chief has yet appeared to take Heke's place. One of his leading Chiefs, and a near relative, lately told me that it was not their intention to raise another Chief to a superior dignity, as many of them had suffered much from the power with which they had invested Heke. This I was thankful to learn.
And now, as the country is again open before us, may the Lord pour out His Spirit upon us, that we may arise and repair the sad breaches which have been made in the walls of our Zion! At this place we hold on our way; but it is with difficulty, as the enemy appears, at all points, ready to dispute every inch of ground we endeavour to reclaim. The only advance amongst us is the inward work of the Spirit in the hearts of the faithful few; and this advance is very slow--yes, painfully so.
On the 3d of last month I ventured to baptize two adults--one of them an old Chief, who was very ignorant, but he had been a long time a Catechumen, and appeared anxious and sincere; the other a young married woman, whom I have long considered to be under the teaching of the Holy Ghost. She, was remarkably clear in her answers to the questions put to her. She has, I trust, in spirit entered into life. Difficulties and trials doubtless await her, as the poor woman is united to a worthless husband.
Visit to Reweti Maika's place.
I have lately visited Mangakahia. The old party are going on much as usual. They may be considered as being in a pleasing, hopeful state, but their progress in the knowledge of Divine things is very slow--much too slow to give me satisfaction. They felt disappointed because I did not baptize any of their Catechumens; and one of the Chiefs told me he should take them to another Missionary to get them baptized, which led to a serious and not unprofitable discussion.
This Chief, and also the teacher, accompanied me down the river to the new party at Reweti Maika's place. Here I found the Catechumens in such a state of discipline, that the difficulty would be as to whom I should not baptize. On the following day we repaired to the Chapel at an early hour, and fairly commenced our examination; and after having examined them in the most close manner I was capable of, nine adults were admitted into the visible Church of
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Christ. At this place the Redeemer appears to have a people whom He is preparing for Himself. May they shew forth His praise! The little Chief is very earnest, and a great disciplinarian. These people belong to the tribe of which Kawhiti, the old leading Chief in the late war, is the head. One of his sons, I believe the only one who survived the war, is among the Catechumens preparing for the next baptism.
On the following day we left this place to retrace our steps homeward; but as the wet weather kept us in the neighbourhood I visited them again on the following Sunday. After the baptism, the Chief and teacher, by whom we were accompanied from the upper chapel, most candidly acknowledged that they saw they had been in error in wishing their Catechumens to be admitted to baptism, and expressed their surprise at the examination that Reweti Maika's People had undergone.
Peace brought about by native agency.
June 20, 1850 --William Watipu is now in the Bay, endeavouring to reconcile the mind of a Chief of considerable note to a serious insult which he has received from a neighbouring Chief. Should he not accomplish his object, Waimate is likely to become the scene of war.
July 15 --Through the goodness of God, the quarrel at Waimate was brought to a peaceful close through the efforts of William Watipu and his friends. Thus has the Lord honoured His Word, and the endeavours of His servants, in the presence of His enemies.
Mr. Davis subsequently writes, in August--
The Otaua People had taken a prominent part in the quarrel, and it was on their hardness of heart that our worst fears were grounded. One night, as some of the Christian Party, who were there as mediators, were sleeping among them, two of them sat up and conversed with each other on the things of God. In the midst of this conversation, one of the Otaua Chiefs sat up. He told them he had been listening to their conversation, and lamented his hardness of heart, and wished that he again could be what he once was, in order to be enabled to join in such talk. He told them he was unhappy, and they had been living a wretched life since their fall from God. The Christians requested him to return, and assured him of acceptance. He told them he would try, and that he would recommence his religious duties as soon as he returned. This he has done, and they are now preparing materials to build a Chapel. Since their return, they have been twice visited by our teachers; and although, from the account they give, there is still much to mourn over, yet, as they appear to be again within the pale of the Gospel power, there is hope.
Donations from England for the Schools.
Feb. 19 --Yesterday we received a valuable parcel from Mrs. Col. Cowper, of Woolwich. It contained remnants of print, books, &c, for the children of our Day School. This renewed instance of the goodness of God to our poor half-naked children, filled our hearts with gratitude to Him who put it into the heart of that Christian lady to respond so readily to the notice, which it appears you kindly put into the "Church Missionary Record" in the month of August 1849. As the kind lady has given us her name and address, we shall gladly embrace the opportunity to write her a letter of thanks without loss of time.
June 20 --We have again received parcels containing clothing for our dear schoolchildren. O that those kind-hearted Christians could but know how thankful we are! Please to make our very best acknowledgments to them.
Aug. 12 --We have again, in the name of our School-children, to express our most sincere thanks to other unknown Christian Friends for an additional supply of clothing. May a blessing from the Lord rest upon them, and upon their families! Through the bounty of such friends, fifty-four poor naked children have been clothed during the winter, which has been unusually severe, and there has been but little sickness among them. They have also now a small stock on hand, which will be preserved for next winter.
Report for the Year ending Dec. 31, 1850.
The Report of this Station for the year ending Dec. 31, 1850, has been received from the Missionaries, the Rev. J. Matthews and Mr. W. G. Puckey. It is as follows--
In reviewing the events of the past year, we must acknowledge that God has
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been gracious to us and our people. Our Natives have lived in peace, with the exception of a quarrel between two parties in the district of Whangape, and which ended in a skirmish, in which three were wounded, but none killed. There was a small Christian Community of Natives and their teacher between the parties while fighting, not one of whom joined either side. When the teacher--Apollos --who is a Chief, saw that on either side one was wounded, he insisted on their ceasing to fire; and in a few days, with the assistance of one of our principal Chiefs, peace was made. The affair ended in many attending the Herekino Chapel from each of the parties engaged. We have before now observed that quarrels have ended in the parties more or less embracing the Gospel, from a conviction that the Gospel of peace is the only remedy for all wrongs. We are thankful for the assistance which many of our Chiefs and teachers have afforded us during the year: on any appearance of outbreak they have always been ready to exert their influence in preventing evil and promoting good.
Our teachers have regularly attended the weekly meetings held for them at the settlement, and we trust that much sound scriptural knowledge has been diffused. They now possess printed skeletons of sermons on the Epistles and Gospels, and on the First and Second Epistles of Peter consecutively, and on the Epistles to the Seven Churches. The want of Prayer-books has been, and still is, much felt: they are well supplied with the New Testament, and the donation of the Pentateuch from the Bible Society was most acceptable.
We have endeavoured during the year to urge upon the native teachers to have regular School with the young at least; but we are led to see more than ever the necessity of having teachers well trained, for many of our most useful men, as preachers of the Gospel, are in nowise competent to instruct a School of young people. We look for important results to arise from the Native Teachers' Institution at Waimate, and hope to see the day when duly qualified teachers for the more populous places, at least, will be appointed, and receive a competent allowance for daily school-keeping, which is absolutely necessary to ensure this.
With regard to temporal things, our Natives have a fair prospect of bountiful crops of wheat and potatos. We observe that some have begun to grow barley. During the last year the demand has been greater than the supply, and thus our Natives see that we have really benefited them. As a body, they are peaceable and industrious, and are gradually becoming more enlightened.
There has been less severe sickness, and fewer deaths, during this year, than in the one previous.
Sixty-four infants and thirty-five adults have been baptized, twenty-five of the latter at Parengarenga Chapel. There were four sick and dying natives baptized in this neighbourhood, one of whom said that the prayer, God be merciful to me a sinner! was her "sleeping friend."
Our Schools for Native Boys and Girls have each been carried on separately under our superintendence, assisted by monitors instructed by us. These Schools enjoy the confidence of the Natives. Many of the Chiefs have sent their children, and they have remained in Schools till they have married. The number of girls who are boarders is sixteen. The boys have averaged fifteen, but it is only the want of food which has prevented twice that number from attending.
On the Sabbath, Divine Service has been regularly held three times at the settlement--twice for Natives, and once for Europeans. We have also had a Sunday School, which is generally attended by the whole Congregation, and we trust much good results therefrom.
In the week-day we have had two Services for the Natives and two for our own families, partaking of the nature of social meetings.
The distant places of Oruru, Parakerake, and Parengarenga -- i. e. North Cape--have been visited by us; as also the Natives of the Whangaroa District. The Lord's Supper has been administered twice during the year. The number of Communicants on the last occasion was 280. There are at this time sixty adult Candidates for Baptism.