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BIPOC Voices in the Victorian Periodical Press
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THE Island of MANGAIA is one of the HERVEY GROUP, lying in about 22° south latitude, and 158° west longitude, and is about twenty miles in circumference. The island, which is encircled by a coral reef, was discovered by Captain Cook in 1777. Its population in 1867 amounted to 2,237 persons. In 1823 the Rev. JOHN WILLIAMS visited the island, and two native teachers were stationed there in the following year. A little church was formed in 1834. The Rev. W. WYATT GILL is the present missionary.
We have often called attention to the efficient work carried on by the native teachers in the South Sea Islands, especially in preparing the way for the English missionary. Few histories contain more striking examples of simple faith, earnest consecration, and even heroic steadfastness, than the accounts of these good men. The teachers of the Hervey Group have been distinguished for their enterprise, their self-reliance, their ready use of the instruments of that superior civilization which Christianity brought to their shores. They have also been good students of the Word, and many have returned home to rest after hard service in heathen islands. One of these good men, SADARAKA, who has long been a native teacher in MANGAIA, has recently written to his late pastor, the Rev. GEORGE GILL, of Burnley, who for fifteen years laboured in the service of the Society in that island. Mr. Gill has kindly favoured us with a translation of Sadaraka's letter.
''March 8th, 1869
"To my Father, Mr. Gill,
"Great is my affection towards you and to your wife and family. Accept my salutations; blessings be with you from our Lord, the Messiah. Amen and Amen. It is I, Sadaraka, who now write to you; I, whom you, as one of your own children, fed with the good word of God. True, indeed, I have grown like the tree, age is upon me, my body is feeble, my eyes are dim; if one be in the distance I cannot tell who it is, he must be near me before I clearly see who it is. But, my father, I have spent my strength in the work of God, and it is my desire to spend what strength I have left in the service of our Lord, yes, even unto death; that I may observe what you so foten exhorted me to do—to be steadfast unto death. I am still living and working with my other missionary father here, and he feeds me with the word of God, as you also fed me; and as he exhorts me, even as you also did. I strive to regard and obey. Upon this I say no more: that is all here.
"I wish to write you to make known the state of our land, from the time you left us to the present. This is our state: No trouble has grown upon the land save only a few trifles here and there, just occasionally. It is the same also with the three churches here; no serious matter or trouble has grown, trifles only have now and then been known. Trouble only grows among the self-willed. With respect to the majority, it is their desire to live by the word of God; and our missionary is diligent and zealous as he makes known that true word. The deacons also, on their part, show the same right spirit. The king and tho governors also, on their part, show great diligence in maintaining the laws and restricting evils, that troubles may not grow upon the land.
"The great concern of this old generation is to instruct the new generation, that our young men may hold fast to the true word of God, that it may be a blessing to themselves and to the generation that may follow them. You will understand the sorrow of my heart when I tell you that the fathers of the generation with whom you lived so long have nearly all gone the way of death; but few are left—only nineteen—shall I tell you their names?
"But with respect to these, my father, you will not forget that the outward man faileth. Some move only with the staff, some abide in the house, but all hold fast to the word of God which they have received. Many, as I have said, have gone the way of death; these only remain. My father, I entreat you not to forget this our land in your prayers; and remember especially our three churches that God would guard His own people, that His rich blessing may never be taken away, that the glory of God in His precious Gospel may be the glory ever to overshadow us, tha Ichabod may never be written for us, but that peace and every blessing may abide with us for ever and for evermore. Amen.
"My father, it is with a feeble and stammering tongue that I am now able to speak, but it is my joy to know that the word of the kingdom and the love of Jesus are established in our land. All dwell in peace by night and by day; we rejoice in this. God forbid that the tares of the enemy should ever be cast into our hearts, and may God grant that the generation to follow us may be kept steadfast. I often think how sad it would be if the words of Paul should be fulfilled in this land, when 'Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils;' and, when I think of this, I call to mind how Jesus beheld the city of Jerusalem and wept over it. This however is my consolation, that evil will not grow unless men forget and forsake the word of God. Let us ever pray that God may keep us, that His kingdom may grow in this land and all other lands throughout the wide, wide world, that the power of the devil may be broken, that all evil may be conquered, that the kingdoms of this world may all become the kingdom of our Lord, even of Jesus Christ, and He shall reign King of kings and Lord of lords, for ever and for ever. Amen.
"This is all, my father, that I have to say. Blessings be with you. It is I, SADARAKA, who now write."
Digital Publication Details
Title: “South Seas.—Mangaia”
Creator(s): Anonymous; Sadaraka
Translator(s): George Gill
Publication date: (1870) 2022
Digital publishers: One More Voice, COVE
Critical encoding: Trevor Bleick, Kenneth C. Crowell, Dino Franco Felluga, Kayla Morgan, Kasey Peters, Adrian S. Wisnicki
One More Voice identifier: liv_025038
Cite (Chicago Author-Date): Anonymous, and Sadaraka. (1870) 2022. “South Seas.—Mangaia.” Translated by George Gill. Edited by Trevor Bleick, Kenneth C. Crowell, Kayla Morgan, and Kasey Peters. In “BIPOC Voices,” One More Voice, solidarity edition; Collaborative Organization for Virtual Education (COVE). https://onemorevoice.org/html/bipoc-voices/digital-editions-soas/liv_025038_HTML.html.
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
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