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which has been advanced of the unsuitableness of the services of our Episcopal church to the circumstances of rising congregations in heathen countries, an opinion which had previously more than once been suggested to my own mind, though certainly without any solid foundation; and I am therefore forward to express the conviction I now have, from what I have lately seen, that the very opposite is, in point of fact, the truth. I refer not here to the partial adoption of our church services as translated into some of the twenty-three languages, in which it now leads the devotions, and excites the piety, of multitudes in every quarter of the globe by missionaries of other churches for the use of their converts; for I need not go further than what I saw in New Zealand, as perfectly conclusive on the point. Natives in that country, proceeding from one station to another, thus find their fellowmen using prayers in which they can undistractedly unite, and with the sentiments of which their varied circumstances and experiences are found to correspond; so that they can at all times, through divine grace, cordially enter into the spirit of them, and adopt their expressions with comfort and advantage; and, although I would not for a moment arraign the usages of other reformed churches, which have dispensed with liturgies, I cannot but feel assured that a due consideration of the subject, and a visit to the rising churches of this interesting country, would silence most of the objections which are by some taken to the services of our venerable church.
After morning prayers the male school commenced, and the weather being fine the classes were formed in the open air, in the church-yard or compound, and I
do not recollect a more delightful and interesting sight. The Islington system of mutual instruction by circulating classes is followed throughout the school, both male and female, here, and as I afterwards found at the station of Waimate; and they are only waiting for tickets for it to be in like manner introduced at Keri Keri and Tipuna. I distinctly remember the complaints which a few years ago were made by the missionaries in New Zealand of the apathy and indifference of the natives, and the extreme difficulty they experienced in getting a few of them only together for instruction. I here beheld the gratifying improvement which has since taken place in this respect, in the spectacle of near seventy savages, as they might be termed, assembled and classed, not according to age, rank, or previous ideas of precedence, but solely with reference to their respective qualification and attainments in learning-old and young, rich and poor, chief and servant, bond and free, engaged in a school, the system of which would necessarily frequently make the highest in native ideas the lowest, and exalt the slave to the situation of teacher. More than this, the natural antipathy of hostile tribes has latterly been entirely overcome in our missionary settlements, and although for some time a man of one tribe would not thus associate with one of another tribe, the sons of contending Chiefs have, at length, been brought to live together in harmony in our settlements at Keri Keri and Waimate, even at the very time when their respective tribes were engaged in active hostilities; and in the scene before me I now beheld as it were "the envy of Ephraim depart," and, so far as external conduct goes, "Ephraim no longer
envies Judah, nor does Judah vex Ephraim"blessed prelude to the state of the church when " thing shall hurt or destroy in all God's holy mountain." A striking proof of this appeared in the person of a Chief who was pointed out to me, the brother of a powerful Chief in the Bay of Plenty, who had come up all the way to Paihia, on purpose to obtain instruction in our schools, on acquiring which he will again return to his own place.
In order to appreciate the existing condition of the New Zealanders who are under instruction, and the labours of the missionaries, it is right to bear in mind that only a few years ago the New Zealanders possessed no written language, nor had any conception of such a mode of communicating ideas. They were almost wholly taken up with intestine wars, and sunk to a state truly designated by the epithet savage; placing all their ideas of greatness and distinction in their prowess in war in scenes of treachery and blood, and delighting in nothing more than in devouring the bodies of their foes slain in battle, and murdering their captives, on their return from such engagements, in cool blood, to furnish their friends with the same unnatural and detestable feast. And when the mental darkness and moral depravity of this people are considered, not as characteristics of a few, but of the whole of the nation, it is equally astonishing and gratifying to contemplate the beginning which is now made in the elevation of their character.
In the male school some classes were engaged in repeating catechisms, others in reading the New Testament, others in writing, cyphering and spelling ; whilst the junior classes were engaged in learning the
alphabet and forming letters: and the excellence of the circulating class system is very conspicuous in the facility with which these schools are conducted, the whole machinery being in active operation without requiring more than a very general superintendence of one or other of the missionaries. Indeed, as will
hereafter be seen, a school of this description has actually been established by the natives themselves, without any direct interference of the missionaries, in a village which I visited in the interior, where mutual instruction upon the circulating class system is carried on without any difficulty; a convincing proof of its adaptation to the circumstances of a community however ignorant and debased, and of the facility with which they may be extended even where European superintendence is not available for their management.
The male school at Paihia closes at 8 A. M., when the females of the settlement all assemble, and the same system of instruction is followed as in the male school. The monitors (or umpires, as they are designated in the Islington system) are men instead of women, a measure which does not appear to offend the native prejudices, or to be attended with inconveniences, under the superintendence of the ladies of the mission, one of whom generally attends. The system of circulating classes appears to perfect that plan of mutual instruction which, in Bell's system, had been already, in various parts of the world, so successfully commenced. There were fourty-four women and girls in the female school at Paihia, and the attainments of many were most respectable in reading, writing, and needle-work. Some were married women with large families, who, rather than be kept away,
brought their infants at their back; so anxious are they for instruction. Indeed, I was assured by several of the ladies, that the native women now consider it quite a deprivation to be kept from school. What a gratifying contrast does this present to the state of things only a few years ago! Instead of viewing the missionaries with suspicion and distrust, and treating them with rudeness and contempt, plundering their houses, and threatening their persons and their lives, the New Zealanders, I may safely affirm, now look up to them with affection and respect. I am now writing from a recollection of all I saw when mixing amongst them, and could the numerous incidents in support of this persuasion which occurred during my visit be collected, they would be allowed most fully to bear me out in this assertion. One striking proof of the influence which the missionary character has acquired in New Zealand was afforded in the admission of a gentleman who has for some time been engaged in commercial pursuits in that country; who, though himself avowedly sceptical as to the utility of missionary operations, and who, indeed, almost denied the existence of a single convert to Christianity amongst the natives, admitted that, on an occasion of his being once stopped by some hostile and thievish natives, he had only saved himself from being plundered of all he possessed by affirming that it belonged to a missionary. This word, once the reproach of man in that country, now proved his safe passport, and he was allowed to proceed unhurt. Such admissions convey an indirect testimony which cannot fail of its effect upon the candid mind, for they show that the lives and doctrines of these missionaries have not been exhibited before a