1852 - Barrett, A. The Life of the Rev. John Hewgill Bumby - CHAPTER V. DEPARTURE AND VOYAGE.

E N Z B       
       Home   |  Browse  |  Search  |  Variant Spellings  |  Links  |  EPUB Downloads
Feedback  |  Conditions of Use      
  1852 - Barrett, A. The Life of the Rev. John Hewgill Bumby - CHAPTER V. DEPARTURE AND VOYAGE.
Previous section | Next section      


[Image of page 184]



OUR friend's parting preparations were soon made, for his purpose was fixed; and though the separating process was painful, it was gone through with great decision. One important particular in those arrangements was, that his beloved sister Mary should accompany him. He attended a valedictory service at Queen-street chapel, London, September 14th, 1838, when his own address was specially touching and powerful. He deprecated that his country should fall, and regarded Christianity as her stay. He referred to the advance of the kingdom of Christ, spoke of a day of gloom intervening, but dwelt on the certain and final victory; and then quoted the following lines on England, with his usual pathos and effect;--

"I love thee when I see thee stand,
The hope of every other land;
A sea-mark on the tide of time,
Rearing to heaven thy brow sublime;
Whence beams of Gospel splendour shed
A sacred halo round thy head.
I love thee when I hear thy voice
Bids a despairing world rejoice,
And loud from shore to shore proclaim
In every tongue Messiah's name;

[Image of page 185]

That name at which, from sea to sea,
All nations yet shall bow the knee.
I love thee;--next to heaven above,
Land of my fathers, thee I love;
And, rail thy slanderers as they will,
With all thy faults, I love thee still."

The rest of his remarks were in full accordance with the spirit of this strain. Soon after, it was proposed to hold a similar meeting at Newtown chapel, in his own Circuit, in order that the Societies might have an opportunity of presenting him with some token of affectionate respect. On that occasion, Dr. Melson, after an appropriate prefatory address, directed the attention of the audience to a number of highly valuable works in History, Science, Biography, and Criticism; briefly commenting, with his usual ability, on their respective merits, as they passed in review: then, presenting them with several other offerings to Mr. Bumby, in the name of the Birmingham Societies, he thus concluded:--"We rejoice that you will be blessed with such a companion in your travels as your noble friend and ours, the Rev. John Waterhouse: like Paul and Barnabas of old, separated unto the work whereunto God hath called you, go, fraught with the hallowed and hallowing influences of your high vocation; and may the Gentiles hear you and be glad, and the word of the Lord be glorified."

[Image of page 186]

Mr. Bumby said, in reply,--

I am so overpowered by my feelings, and oppressed by the emotions of my heart, that I should prefer retiring to some corner to weep, rather than standing thus before you; yet I do not at all regret the step which I have taken. But it is the parting from friends, from old and tried and dear friends! O, it is all but enough to break one's heart! I consider that the Missionary work, I mean the foreign work, is the greatest and most honourable with which the affections of man can be connected. O, I would rather be a Missionary than possess the riches or wear the honours of the world. I believe that our beloved country has been raised to her present elevation, and preserved in her lofty position; that our blessings have been given us, our riches bestowed upon us, our possessions granted to us, and commanding influence placed within our hands, in order that we might be a Missionary nation, and spread spiritual Christianity through the world. And while we do this, I feel assured God will not fail to throw around us the shield of His protection. He will not fail to bless us, and make us a blessing. I believe I am called to the work of the Christian ministry; and while I bewail and regret my unprofitableness and unfaithfulness, such have been the circumstances in which I have been placed as the indications of the providence of God, and such the emotions of which I have been the subject as the promptings of the Spirit of God, that I could not with a good conscience remain silent. If my fathers and brethren, when I offered myself for this work, had thought that I was not qualified, then the responsibility would have rested with them; my conscience would have been disburdened, and I should have stood clear in the sight of God, and at the judgment-day. I will not yield to any in love for my country; I am not insensible to the undeserved and

[Image of page 187]

extraordinary kindness of my friends; I deeply feel what it is to go away from them; I have counted the cost; to go away will be to tear asunder all those sympathies which bind heart to heart, and mind to mind; I have thought about the storms of the elements, and the perils of the seas, to which I may be subject; and of the privations, inconveniences, and dangers of residence in a foreign land, and intercourse with a barbarous people. "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God." I accept this expression of your affection with feelings of the liveliest gratitude: I feel myself to be altogether unworthy of such surpassing kindness. The only return I can make, is to love and pray for you. I commend you collectively and individually unto God. Your names are engraven on my heart, and nothing shall obliterate the impression. Farewell! I again commend you to God. Farewell!

On the 20th of September, 1838, about noon, the Mission-party, accompanied by several Ministers and friends, went on board the ship "James," at Gravesend, bound for Hobart-Town, and partook of a social repast, which was kindly provided by Mr. Lidgett, the owner. Afterwards, the Rev. Dr. Bunting, the senior Missionary Secretary, conducted a devotional service of singing and prayer, the power and unction of which melted all hearts into tenderness and awe. When the friends who accompanied them were retiring to the shore, the Missionaries with their wives and Mr. Water-

[Image of page 188]

house's children were called into the cabin, to meet the Secretaries, and receive their final benediction. It was an hour never to be forgotten. Dr. Bunting remarked, so far as he could by struggling with labouring emotion, that there were two persons in the Missionary band in whom he felt most deeply interested. Then he referred, in a very affecting manner, to Mr. Waterhouse and our friend; observing, with regard to the latter, that he had known him under rather peculiar circumstances, and all the way through had loved him very much; and that wherever Mr. Bumby went, his best affections and prayers should follow. The venerable Doctor, who had often borne the contumely of unreasonable and turbulent men against himself with unshaken firmness, was much moved at the parting moment. He fell upon the neck of his son in the Gospel, wept as he embraced him, and solemnly commended him to the good keeping of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose service they both delighted to offer up their all. After the usual bustle was over, they were soon fairly out of the river; and now we leave our voyager to give a sketch or two of details with his own pen.

September 21st.--Last night, after social worship, in which all the cabin-passengers joined, we retired to rest for the first time on board, under circumstances the most auspicious; but did not sleep much, owing to the feelings

[Image of page 189]

hearts. It is impossible but that the heart should be sick. However, we are the Lord's; and He has a right to do what He will with His own.

Sunday evening, 23d.--Wind strong and contrary. Obliged to put in at Portsmouth. Last night the waves were so rough and boisterous, that the vessel was literally tossed by the elements. As might be expected, this morning found us in great confusion. All on board, with the exception of officers and sailors, were ill, more or less. It has been very unlike the Sabbath, away from the sanctuaries and ministries of grace; but we lift up our hearts to Him who rides upon the whirlwind, and directs the storm.

24th.--Several landed at Cowes to breakfast. Wind has changed in our favour: so we shall soon be off.

25th.--Passed the Lizard-Point. The wide ocean now our home for the next five months.

27th.--Favoured with friendly breezes, we are skirting the Bay of Biscay, without having any of those gales and squalls which we had feared and foreboded. Hitherto the Lord hath helped us.

28th.--The ocean to-day of a deep dark-blue colour, indicating unfathomable depth, has presented a surface unruffled by a single breeze. Have made but little way. Still the quiet is favourable to the spirits of our companions suffering from sea-sickness.

Sunday, 30th.--Divine service on deck, at which all the sailors and passengers attended, with the exception of a few sick ladies. Mr. Waterhouse preached an appropriate sermon from, "Casting your care upon Him," &c. (1 Peter v. 7.) It was most interesting to worship God under the broad expanse of the sky, and in the midst of the ocean. I hope the bread cast upon the waters will be found after many days.

October 1st.--The oldest and most experienced seamen on board never knew the winds and weather so

[Image of page 190]

favourable. It is impossible not to acknowledge the hand of God upon us for good.

2d.--Evening sky variously tinted,--a sublime and beautiful spectacle. Mission-party in good health and spirits.

3d.--The week for holding Missionary prayer-meetings in our native land. Never did I feel it such a privilege to be remembered by those who have power, as since I became a voyager on the great deep.

4th.--Weather warmer: thermometer at 75 deg. Fahrenheit. A canary belonging to one of the passengers escaped from its confinement, and perished in the waters.

Sunday, 7th.--Service on deck, at which I officiated; but a storm of rain coming on, we were obliged to adjourn into the cabin, where I finished my sermon. It is far more pleasant to worship God in the assemblies of Zion, than amid the storms of the ocean; but the same Lord is rich in mercy unto all that call upon Him.

9th.--This evening the water around the ship spangled with evanescent scintillations. Sister much better of her sea-sickness.

10th.--Gliding sweetly through the never-broken waves, at the rate of one hundred and forty or fifty miles per day.

11th.--Breakfast at eight, lunch at eleven, dinner at half-past two, tea at six,--is the history of a day. Captain a plain man, good-tempered, sincerely pious. Chief Mate the son of a Methodist in Cornwall,--lively, amiable, and obliging. Second Mate the son of a Clergyman in Yorkshire,--likely to rise in his profession. Steward a man of colour, and the cook an experienced sailor; both quite equal to the situations which they occupy, and most accommodating to the passengers; but they have vastly too much upon their hands.

12th.--Sky bespangled with innumerable stars: scene enchanting: everything to be thankful for.

[Image of page 191]

Sunday, 14th.--Mr. Eggleston preached on deck to-day, from Rom. xii. 1, a good and very appropriate sermon.

15th.--In the trade-winds, and getting finely along. Best of all, God is with us, and His presence makes our paradise.

16th.--Off Cape-de-Verde Islands. Weather excessively hot. The water on board is becoming disagreeable both to the smell and taste.

17th.--Several vessels at a distance. A dolphin chasing some flying-fish. Friends left behind very dear to my heart. I loved them when with them, and having the opportunities of intercourse and converse; but they seem to be much more interwoven with my affections, now that the waters of the ocean roll between us. I can see their faces and hear their voice no more: my only relief and solace are to "enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus," and mention their names, and plead their cause with the Hearer and Answerer of prayer.

19th.--Setting sun last evening magnificently splendid. Clouds heaped on clouds, of all colours, shades, and shapes. After dark, lightnings played behind them, and occasional flashes spread out into various parts of the heavens.

20th.--A few showers of rain: every drop precious. Basins, bottles, &c., eagerly put in requisition: never drank with more relish. A squall, too: swift in its approach, terrible in its aspect, it swept along like a giant rejoicing to run a race. Had we not been prepared, its stormy greeting might have been too much for us; but we were preserved by God's good hand.

Sunday, 21st.--Mr. Warren preached from, "But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself." (Psalm iv. 3.)

25th.--Five weeks have elapsed since, amidst circumstances the most touching and affecting, we left the land of our birth. None but God knows what have been the

[Image of page 192]

exercises of my mind and heart during the interval. It is a mercy, wanderer as I am on the vast ocean, away from all I love best, to be able to recognise God as my Father, and Christ as my Saviour, and the Holy Spirit as my Comforter. If I know my heart, I only wish to live to and glorify God, serve my generation, and save souls from death.

26th.--Thinking of the honour God has conferred upon me, in counting me faithful, putting me in the ministry, and especially in calling me to preach to the Gentiles in the islands of the sea the unsearchable riches of Christ, I have been affected to tears, and had my heart drawn out in prayer that I may indeed be faithful, that I may give up my account with joy, and not with grief. Increasingly do I feel the importance of eminent personal piety in order to extensive ministerial usefulness.

Sunday, 28th.--Have been in company with six or eight vessels. Torrents of rain. Service in cabin; and, consequently, no sailors there.

Thursday, November 1st.--A shark caught this morning; part was cooked for breakfast: I just tasted, and found nothing exceptionable; but could not divest myself of the disagreeable idea that the creature might have fed on human flesh. We have had torrents of rain; which, together with the sad countenances and complaining speeches of many of the passengers, in consequence of the wet finding its way into their berths and beds, have rendered the day somewhat uncomfortable. The Captain has been almost at his wits' end to keep the peace.

23d.--To-day between twenty and thirty of the passengers were ill with eating salt-fish at breakfast: through some means it had become bad. I was ill for ten hours. Poor Mary was in a sad way, as I was insensible. The following day, thank God, I was better.

Sunday, 25th.--Mr. Eggleston preached a good ser-

[Image of page 193]

mon from Heb. iii. 2. To me it was a day of sadness, but also one of profit.

Monday, 26th.--Great mental exercise and spiritual conflict.

Tuesday, 27th.--Last evening a surpassingly fine sunset. A magnificent rainbow-arch spanned the heavens; the moon appeared in silvery brightness, while the western firmament glowed with [cloud-land] sketches, [as though] vast forests, fair lawns, hoary fortresses, and ruined towers, mixing and moving in fantastic dance. O what must be the throne which is "like a jasper and a sardine stone, and round about" which there is "a rainbow, in sight like unto an emerald?" To-day one of the ship's apprentices fell overboard, when the vessel was going at the rate of seven miles an hour; but, being a good swimmer, and the boat being let down immediately, he was soon picked up, and brought safely on board.

Wednesday, 28th.--At noon to-day the sun vertical: no shadow to be observed. Fresh breeze, with a few cooling showers.

Thursday, 29th.--Passed out of the tropic of Capricorn into the Southern Atlantic. The weather remarkably fine. Daylight from five A.M. to seven P.M. The moon shining brightly and clearly, the night is nearly as light and pleasant as the day. Strange to us who have been accustomed to the short, dark days of November in England, to have the light and warmth of midsummer.

Saturday, December 1st.--Since coming into these seas, the appearance of things has very much altered. The horizon is more remote; a wider expanse of ocean is observable; and the sun-sets are even still finer.

Sunday, 2d.--Never, since coming to sea, have I been so much affected as to-day, during the celebration of the Lord's Supper. Recollections and feelings connected

[Image of page 194]

with my personal history and experience, views of my Redeemer, and thoughts of my friends in different places and under different circumstances, all but overwhelmed me.

Monday, 3d.--It is the settled purpose of my soul, trusting to be empowered from on high, to live a life of self-denial and indefatigable labour in the cause of my Divine Master, whose service is perfect freedom.

Tuesday, 4th.--Last night unable to sleep: went on deck, and prayed for my friends in England! For the first time, saw the constellation known by the name of the Southern Cross, and was reminded of the atonement of Calvary. O for more of the Spirit of Jesus!

Wednesday, 5th.--Last night saw the Magellan Clouds, which are like the Milky Way.

Monday, 10th.--Several fine albatrosses caught.

Friday, 14th.--My eyes would be blind not to see, and my heart stone not to feel, the goodness of God towards me as to my health. I have not been seriously indisposed, with the exception of the illness through the bad salt-fish, since leaving home. I have stood the voyage as well as any on board.

Saturday, 15th.--Our last sheep has been killed today, which it is supposed will supply us with fresh meat till we get to the Cape, when we hope to get a further supply of live-stock.

Sunday, 16th.--To-day a water-spout a little way from the ship. In the evening a fiery meteor shot athwart the heavens. Mr. Ironside preached from Heb. ii. 10: "For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."

Monday, 17th.--We are about sixty miles from the Cape of Good Hope: many are looking out for land.

Tuesday, 18th.--About twelve o'clock, Table-Mountain

[Image of page 195]

was discovered. I bless God for the strong consolation I enjoy as a believer in Christ. I know not what my Master may intend for me, in the way of labour and suffering, in the islands of the sea; but this I know,--that He is graciously carrying on His work in my soul. Never did I feel more resolutely determined to live to God.

Thursday, 20th.--On Tuesday evening, about eleven o'clock, we safely anchored in Table-Bay. The following morning, after breakfast, we were heartily welcomed, and most hospitably entertained, by Mr. and Mrs. Hodgson. Early in the morning we again expect to put to sea.

Saturday, 22d.--Left the Cape of Good Hope. On the preceding evening, when it was blowing very hard, a boat was seen trying to make up to our vessel, apparently in distress. It contained a party from the "Platina," who, on account of the boisterous state of the winds and waves, could not make their ship. With becoming humanity, all hands were immediately employed, assisting the terrified fugitives on board, two of whom were women. Of course, we provided them with accommodation for the night, and most probably saved them from a watery grave. It was most delightful to help the strangers in distress, and deeply affecting to witness their gratitude and thankfulness.

On Christmas-day I thought of my much-loved and valued friends in England. Distance, instead of diminishing, has increased my affection.

26th.--A boat came on board from the "Clematis," American whaler, conveying the Captain of that vessel, who stated, that his ship had been twelve months at sea; his chronometer was broken; several of his men were decrepit with scurvy; and, being in trouble, he requested a few vegetables. Our Captain immediately ordered him some potatoes and pumpkins; the passengers made him up a basket of fruit. He took the latitude and longitude,

[Image of page 196]

and quickly departed, gratified and thankful. I felt the truth of Hannah More's remark, that

"All worldly joys are less
Than that one joy of doing kindnesses;"

and was particularly pleased with the generosity of our men, who plentifully supplied the sailors in the boat with the little comforts which they possessed and could command. The sailors are a noble race of men. O when shall the time come, when the abundance of the seas shall be converted unto Christ!

On New-Year's day read over [to myself] the Form of the Covenant, according to our usage; but, on account of the tremendous rolling of the vessel, and an unusual commotion among the passengers, was less thoughtful and devotional than I could have wished. The God, however, with whom I had to do, knew my heart; and, as Henry Martyn says, "I have no business in life but the work of Christ; neither do I desire any employment, to all eternity, but His service."

January 12th, 1839.--Saw St. Paul's, a small island, 38 deg. south latitude, 77 deg. east longitude. It stands boldly out of the sea, and presents a rocky and barren appearance. It is uninhabited, except by sea-fowl, wild goats, and hogs. About noon, coming alongside the island, we lay-to; and the Captain, with some of the passengers, went out in a small boat to fish. They returned in about three hours, with as much fish as they could conveniently bring, a few specimens of grass, and some penguins.

27th.--Most tempestuous. The raging of the sea and the rolling of the ship were almost terrific: one of the yards was broken, and one of the sails split to pieces. We had to go under bare poles.

29th.--Wind subsided. On the following day the mountains of Van-Diemen's Land saluted our view. How lovely to our eyes, and welcome to our hearts, none

[Image of page 197]

can tell but those who for months have been prisoners at sea. The excitement which prevailed on the announcement of land was quite bewildering. The Captain, especially, was delighted that his calculations and reckonings had been so accurate.

Next day, at six o'clock in the morning, the pilot came onboard,--a steady, well-informed man, but very peculiar and rough in his appearance. In approaching the island of Van-Diemen's Land by Tasman's-Head, through Storm-Bay, and as we went along the beautiful river Derwent, many of the passengers were filled with delight; indicating, by their countenances and conversation, that they were not disappointed after the long and tedious voyage which we had experienced. At ten o'clock we safely came to anchor at Sullivan's-Cove. Mr. Orton, the Superintendent of the Hobart-Town Circuit, came on board, and gave us a hearty welcome. In a short time we were all on shore, variously disposed of among the friends. Some of the gentlemen-passengers were put to inconvenience, as there are but few lodging and boarding houses in the place, and it is expensive to tarry long at an hotel. A few of the Missionary party were obliged to return to the ship to sleep.

The next morning was cold and rainy, though in the middle of summer: snow was seen on the top of Mount-Wellington. Hobart-Town is extensive and straggling. The buildings are thinly scattered; the streets wide, containing a few respectable houses, and some good shops abounding with everything that can be desired, at a reasonable price. The Mission-premises extensive and valuable. The chapel is small and neat; but a spacious and beautiful one is in course of erection,--a building which bids fair to be the Wesleyan cathedral of this part of the world.

Sunday, February 2d.--Went to chapel in company with the Captain, chief Mate, and several of the sailors,

[Image of page 198]

--a party of eleven or twelve. Mr. Waterhouse read Prayers, and I preached. At the conclusion of this service, Mr. Waterhouse baptized the child of a relative of his, who has been resident in Van-Diemen's Land some sixteen or eighteen years. Altogether the season was delightful and profitable. At the ends of the earth I was pleasingly surprised to meet with a congregation so large, and in its aspect so much resembling an English audience. In the afternoon Mr. Eggleston gave us a plain, faithful discourse. Afterwards Mr. Warren preached out of doors, when several New-Zealanders were present. In the evening Mr. Waterhouse preached; and we finished the day with the administration of the Lord's Supper. I shall not soon forget my emotions on the first Sabbath spent on land, after being tossed for nineteen weeks on the billows of the restless ocean. After all, my heart clings to England. I love the very stones and dust of my native land. At the same time, if I know anything of myself at all, my master-purpose, my leading desire, is to live to and glorify God.

March 7th.--I have preached several times in Hobart-Town, to large and interesting congregations. Feel thankful that I am proceeding to New-Zealand. To be a Missionary in the colonies, is like being engaged in the work at home. Everything is British. Have had numerous applications to remain in Hobart-Town for a few years. Some have said, that I am going out of the way of usefulness. Several persons have remarked, "New-Zealand will never do for you: you will soon be back to the colony." Perhaps it may be so: but I am sent to the Heathen; and, in the name of my Master, to the Heathen I will go.

One day, all the Missionaries and their wives dined at the Government-House: a small party of select friends met us. The entertainment was sumptuous, and splendidly served. His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor

[Image of page 199]

and Lady Franklin were particularly affable, and did all in their power to render the occasion interesting and pleasant. Before we left, about eleven o'clock, Mr. Waterhouse read a chapter out of the holy Scriptures, and I engaged in prayer. Her Ladyship seems to be religiously disposed; and Miss Williamson, who is her companion, is decidedly pious.

Have heard that Mr. Turner's house at Mangungu has recently been burned down. In consequence of this calamity, we shall be subjected to some inconvenience on our arrival in New-Zealand; but still the Lord, the Saviour, reigns, and He doeth all things well.

9th.--Left Hobart-Town; and, after a pleasant and expeditious voyage, found that the long-wished-for mountains of New-Zealand, and a considerable length of coast, were in sight. It is impossible to express what I felt in thinking of my friends far away over the deep blue sea, and in looking upon the scene of my future labours. The Lord grant that I may be faithful and useful in this dark and dreary land! Yesterday we were driven, by a contrary current, too much to the southward of the island, and were obliged to put back to sea. This morning, about eleven o'clock, the wind was favourable, and we got over the much-dreaded bar of the river in fine style, and are now safely riding at anchor in the Hokianga. We have to go about twenty miles more, before we find our Mission-station in Mangungu. Soon after our arrival, we were visited on board by several friends, and multitudes of natives tattooed and clothed in blankets.

Mr. Bumby and his companions were most affectionately welcomed by the Missionaries at Mangungu. To them the arrival of a reinforcement was a joyful and important event. Mr. Bumby seemed highly delighted with the river-

[Image of page 200]

scenery, the settlement, the surrounding plantation, and was struck with the novelty of everything he saw. The evening of the day after, he conducted the Mission-house class-meeting, and produced a deep impression upon the resident brethren by the spirituality and fervour of his counsels. He was present at a native service, too, on the Saturday evening, the language of which, of course, he could not understand; but he caught the full sympathy of devotion, and was full of wonder at the decorum and reverential behaviour of the natives. The next day, the Sabbath, was one of more than ordinary interest and joy. One thousand natives, at least, were on the station, and the chapel was filled to overflowing. Mr. Hobbs preached in the morning, from, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;" and the attention of the natives was fastened upon the Preacher. About two years ago, it had happened that three of the Native Teachers went among a heathen party, to persuade them to turn to God; when, in return for their benevolent efforts, they were fired at, and two were killed; the third having a very narrow escape from a ball, which grazed his blanket as he fled. At this service one of that hostile party was present, and also the young man who escaped, William Barton. At the close of the service, Mr. Turner called upon William to pray. William obeyed, and

[Image of page 201]

began in a strain of humble fervour; and, amongst other supplications which he presented to God, he prayed for the heathen native in question, the murderer of his companions, and implored that he, too, might have given to him a heart to pray. This produced a very deep simultaneous and tender feeling; and our friend saw, to his comfort, even within a few days of his landing, that a New-Zealander could learn the lesson of the Cross, and echo his dying Saviour's prayer. What impression was made upon the mind of the man Kaitoke, who was thus pleaded for, it is hard to say; but he remained in the neighbourhood, and, it is said, was on very friendly terms with the French Roman Catholic Bishop.

In the afternoon, Mr. Bumby addressed the largest English congregation ever seen in New-Zealand, from the words of the Apostle,--"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content;" and in the course of his address, which was very impressive, he felicitously described "discontent" as "a grave where all God's mercies were buried."

In the evening the congregation assembled again; when, after an address in Maori by Mr. Turner, the whole Society, comprising both Europeans and natives, partook together of the Lord's Supper, administered in the usual and most affecting manner.

[Image of page 202]

Simon Peter, the Chief who has been mentioned before, as having accompanied the Missionaries to Waikato, had been made a Class-Leader, and in that capacity was very useful; but he had departed in the faith and hope of the Gospel some months before our friend's arrival. His name had beforetime excited disgust and dread wherever it was mentioned. Once, on a war expedition, he, with his party, took several of his countrymen prisoners; and on their way home he made a large oven, bound the wretched captives, and pitched them alive into it, roasted them as they were, and then feasted on their bodies. He was present at many cannibal feasts, at which the bodies of young and old were served piecemeal at the hellish repast. O glorious Gospel, to conquer a lost wretch like this! But he was conquered, and washed and sanctified too. Mr. Woon had seen the big, scalding tears streaming down his tattooed cheeks on occasions when, in the native service, they had been singing hymns expressive of the love of Christ; and it was not to be doubted that, for some time prior to his death, he could adopt the language of the newly-pardoned Simon Peter of old, and say, "Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee."

It was evident, to Mr. Bumby, that the Christian natives were passing through a trying

[Image of page 203]

process; namely, the transition from a barbarous to a civilised state. They had begun to wear European clothing: this made them more liable to danger from wet and exposure; and hence every instance of neglect, or of natural recurrence to former habits, brought on morbid affections, which often resulted in inflammation, consumption, and death. The wife of William Barton, a fine young woman, daughter of Nene, or Thomas Walker, one of the Christian Chiefs of the Hokianga, was in a declining state from this very cause. Many died about this time; but they died in the Lord. Mr. Turner introduced our friend to this same Chief, Nene, who was a relative of Patuone, his protector when fleeing from Wangaroa; and the meeting gave pleasure on both sides. Mr. Turner spoke of his companion as the "father" (that is, the Superintendent) of the Missionaries. "Ah!" said Thomas, who was a very shrewd and sensible man, and subsequently took a very important part in his country's affairs, "it is well; but he a father! he is but a boy; but perhaps he has the heart of a father."

Previous section | Next section