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Reverend David Cargill's diary Part 13

Sikeli Qounadovu
Sunday, January 28, 2018

REVEREND David Cargill was informed by the chief in Lakeba that he was willing to accept Christianity but not at the moment, because of fear of a revolt or losing his allies.

It was also here the first scripture in the Fijian language was read to the congregation.

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 in 1977.

Monday, November 2, 1835

On Saturday, October 31, Naufahu, the son of the late king of Vavau with his people11, about 50 in number, professionally embraced Christianity. He appears a young man of great simplicity and openness of character. Probably thinking it more auspicious to commence his worship of the true God on the Sabbath, he at first expressed his intention to begin his devotional exercises on that hallowed day. Being asked if anything prevented him from worshipping Jehovah immediately, he answered in the negative and added his willingness that moment to call our God his God. With grateful and joyful hearts, we sang a few verses of a hymn and then prostrated ourselves before the searcher of hearts and prayed that the divine blessing and unction of the Holy Ghost might rest upon the young converts to truth. May this important step which they have taken terminate in their eternal salvation! On Sabbath morning the congregation consisted of about 200 persons, Tonguese and Feejeeans, who listened with deep attention while Brother Cross read the 1st Chronicles of Genesis in the Feejeean language and preached in Tonguese. After service I had a long and interesting conversation with the king and Naufahu, on the necessity of being decided in favour of Christianity. I enlarged upon the misery of those who serve idols,and pointed out the blessedness of those who worshipped Jehovah in spirit and in truth. The king professed his belief in Jehovah as the true and only God: and expressed his intention to serve him at some future period: and assigned as a reason for his procrastination, his fear lest the Islands which do not acknowledge him as their sovereign should make war upon him: or lest some of the chiefs who submit to his authority should be offended at the change of religion, and dethrone him. Naufahu very earnestly joined me in urging upon him the folly of such fear and the danger of living in heathenism. He admitted the truth and propriety of our remarks, and told us not to be faint-hearted, for he intended to embrace Christianity at an early period. In the afternoon I addressed a congregation of about 150 on the obligations under which we are laid to worship Jehovah and Him alone. The people seemed considerably interested in what they heard. May the seed sown bring forth fruit to the honour and glory of God!

Sunday, November 8, 1835

This morning I read a discourse in the Feejeean language to about 200 individuals - Tonguese and Feejeeans. The king was not present. His absence was a disappointment and a source of grief. The conversion of the king is very desirable, not only on his own account, but on account of his people; - as it is very probable that few if any of them will embrace Christianity, till he shall have openly avowed himself a worshipper of the true God. They are the subjects of our daily and earnest prayer. For my own part, I feel the necessity of an increase of that faith which prevails with God. I see the necessity of a humble yet firm dependence on God, not only for the retention of personal religion and for growth in grace, but also for the establishment of the great work in which I have the honour to be employed. O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity; enlighten the minds, soften the hearts, and convert the souls of the dark, degraded, and miserable Feejeeans.

Monday, November 9, 1835

This afternoon, I admitted 10 new scholars into the Tonguese female school. The total number in the school is about 50. And all manifest a great desire to learn to read. This is encouraging. As we have no chapel or school-house, we have to conduct the school in the open air. Old and young sit upon the grass under the shade of a tree, and seek instruction with great assiduity. When shall we see the Feejeeans panting so eagerly to drink of the streams of salvation?

Sunday, November 15, 1835

In the afternoon the rain fell in such torrents that we were obliged to assemble the natives in our dwelling house, to hold divine service. Our house is a very unsubstantial building, being made of coconut leaves: This however was no drawback on our devotion. Some of the congregation it is hoped realised the divine presence and could say in truth, This is none other than the house of God, and the very gate of heaven.

Monday, November 16, 1835

Met my class of Tonguese, who are only seven in number. One of them is a young man of great piety and promise who accompanied us from Vavau in the capacity of a servant.

Sunday, November 22, 1835

Very heavy and constant rain prevented us from worshipping God under the canopy of heaven. About 80 persons assembled in our dwelling house about eight o'clock am. I endeavoured to explain the necessity of obtaining the pardon of sin in order to secure admission into heaven at the day of judgment. After service we were highly delighted by the receipt of letters from the Brethren in Tonga and of periodicals from England. In our present seclusion from civilised society, any event that interrupts or variegates the monotony of our lives is important, but communications from home - from our fathers in the church, and from our parents and friends are surpassingly interesting12. Our family circumstances too, were at a critical juncture, as we did not know the hour when our number might be increased13.

While the tempest raged, the Feejeeans were in great terror and through the medium of the chief Priest, frequently consulted their god of wind about the cause of the storm and the time of its duration. The oracle responded that he was angry because Christian missionaries had been allowed to remain on the island and as a punishment for such disrespect to his divinity, he had resolved to turn the island upside down14. Numerous and expensive sacrifices were offered to appease his wrath, and now the priest and people congratulate themselves on the success of their pious offering. Our hearts bleed when we think of their ignorance and misery, and their unwillingness to abandon being vanities. But we pray that the time of their conversion may soon arrive.

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