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The diary of Reverend David Cargill - Part 6

Sikeli Qounadovu
Sunday, December 03, 2017

More and more converts were baptised and Reverend David Cargill also had the opportunity to preside over Tonga's first Christian weddings. Slowly he is improving his Tongan speaking skills.

This is the account of the late Reverend Cargill from the book The Diaries and Correspondence of David Cargill, 1832-1843, edited by Albert J Schütz and published by the Australian National University.

Tuesday, February 11, 1834

Accompanied Brother Turner to a place about four miles distant called Feletoa. The chapel there holds, I think, about 400 people. It was nearly full. I took part in the service, by giving out two of the hymns and reading a lesson while Brother Turner explained and enforced.

Wednesday, February 12, 1834

This afternoon attended divine service in the chapel. After Brother Turner's address to the congregation, we witnessed an interesting sight in the marriage of four couples: including the King and Queen of a small island about 40 miles from Vavau. Native teachers have been sent to instruct them. With the divine blessing on their labours, the people about 60 in number have led resolved to abandon idolatry and embrace Christianity. The King and some of his subjects have come to Vavau to be married and baptised. The rest of the people of the island are expected when the wind is favourable to the sailing of the canoes. And thus one island after another is deserting the ranks of idolatry and Satan's empire is becoming less extensive and powerful. O that the day may soon dawn when not only every island in this vast ocean shall have been Christianised, but when the friends of religion shall triumphantly sing — Jesus the Conqueror reigns, 'In glorious strength array'

'His kingdom over all maintains, 'And bids the earth be glad.'

Thursday, 13 February, 1834

Accompanied Mr Turner to Makave (a place about one mile distant), Mr Turner preached in a chapel containing about 200 people. The congregation was attentive during the address, but few were able to sing. I feel very anxious to be able to address the people in their own language, and regret that my progress in it must be retarded in consequence of not having a place where I can conveniently sit with a native teacher.

Monday, February 17, 1834

This morning it was our painful duty to expel from the society, twenty females; who presumptuously threw themselves in the way of temptations by going on board the vessel, which brought us here. The brethren have adopted the prudent precaution, to enjoin all females on pretention to go on board any vessel that may come into the harbour. The persons who transgress this rule, are invariably prohibited from meeting in class at least for a certain time. This resolution being made known to the delinquents, they were dismissed with a serious admonition from Mr Turner. Some of them appeared careless, but they were sorry and seemed to regret their folly.

Tuesday, February 18, 1834

I accompanied Mr Turner to a place about six miles away. The extreme heat and the distance of the place made our walk very fatiguing. We found about 400 people assembled in a commodious chapel. I read to them from one of the printed books, a lesson, on the institution of the Sabbath and prescriptive of our duty on the Lord's Day. Mr Turner enforced the precepts. The people listened with close attention. After service, they sent us a basket of coconuts and boiled yams. We partook of our homely repast under the shade of a tree: and then pursued our journey homeward.

Thursday, February 20, 1834

Went to Makave and took part in the native service by giving out the hymns and reading a prayer which I had previously composed in English, and with the assistance of Brother Turner translated into Tonguese. May the Lord forward with his blessing my endeavours to acquire the language, that I may be able to enter fully on the work of a missionary.

Saturday, February 22, 1834

Early this morning great anxiety was excited by the appearance of a canoe sailing towards the harbour, and a rumour that it was manned by Feejees, who were coming with the intention of making war on Vavau. But all alarm was speedily allayed, when the report of the people in the canoe was heard. They had come from Niua, an sland about 150 miles distant to procure books. Some time ago a native teacher had been sent to instruct the people, and through his instrumentality, the whole island was turned from idolatry to the worship of Jehovah. The men informed us that 300 people met in class; and that as they were destitute of books; they came with the intention of getting a supply, and if possible a missionary to instruct them. Those who met in class have Christian names but are neither baptised nor married, as the native teachers are not allowed to do either. They told us that a canoe had left Niua about seven months, to come to Vavau for books, and that they have not since heard of it. In all probability this canoe has sunk and the people perished. May the spirit of God increase this panting after knowledge, until all the sons of Adam shall have been made wise unto salvation. The number of persons in the canoes amounted to 40, 20 each of whom we gave a book; and distributed among them several copies of the rules of the society.

Sunday, February 23, 1834

Read a prayer in the morning and one in the afternoon in the native language, both of which were previously examined and corrected by Brother Turner.

To be continued...

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