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"This was Gray's case, and on this account he was held in high esteem by his own party, and dreaded by the other. He appears to feel deeply on account of his past wickedness. During the conversation we had with him, the words 'God is love' were mentioned. He caught at these words, and responded with great apparent feeling,
That He is, or I should not have been here to day.'
"What encouragement does this case afford to the friends of Bible circulation! and how affectingly and forcibly does it admonish us to embrace every opportunity that offers of addressing a warning word to our perishing fellow-men!"
MODERN CUSTOMS AND ANCIENT SUPERSTITIONS.
THE Social and domestic manners of a people, and more especially their prevailing system of belief in relation to the invisible and spiritual world, have always exercised an extraordinary influence in the formation of national character. The Gospel of Christ is designed and admirably. adapted to meet the moral condition of men of all countries and classes; and the rude Polynesian, the semi-civilized Hindoo, and the cultivated European, when made partakers of the common salvation, will readily recognise in each other those distinctive evidences of the new birth which have been wrought in them by the Spirit of grace and holiness; but it is not the province of the Gospel to root out those original peculiarities of character and temperament by which one nation is made to differ from another; and hence a South Sea Islander, for example, habituated from time immemorial to certain customs, associations, and modes of thinking, will, of necessity, even after his conversion to the faith of Christ, appear under aspects very different from what the Christian inhabitant of another country would exhibit.
In the following article, extracted from the Samoan Reporter, a semiannual publication issued by our Missionary brethren in that group, we are presented with a graphic account of the domestic habits and modes of living still prevailing among the people of Samoa; and also of the singular superstitions to which, in the days of their heathenism, they were addicted, but which, happily, have been superseded by a perfect and harmonious system of faith and morals, having God for its Author, and the eternal salvation of man for its object:
ANIMAL AND VEGETABLE Food.
"Breadfruit, taro, bananas, and cocoa-nuts form the staff of life in Samoa. Yams are cultivated, but chiefly as an article of barter. Sweet potatoes, Indian corn, melons, and pumpkins have been introduced, but are not much cared for amid the profusion of better food which generally obtains. Pine-apples, custard-apples, oranges, limes, citrons, figs, vines, and mulberries have also been introduced. Some apricot, loquot, and pomegranato plants have recently been added, and thrive.
The lagoons and reefs furnish a large supply of fish and shell-fish, of which the natives are very fond; and occasionally all, But especially persons of rank, regale themselves on pigs, fowls, and turtle. Oxen have been introduced, and are being prized by the natives.
"For about half the year, the Samoans have an abundant supply of food from the breadfruit trees. During the other half, they depend principally on their taro plantations. Bananas and cocoa-nuts are plentiful through.
out the year. While the breadfruit is in season, every family lays up a quantity in a pit lined with banana and cocoa nut leaves, and covered in with stones. It soon ferments; but they keep it in that state for years, and the older it is they relish it all the more. They bake this in the form of little cakes, when the breadfruit is out of season, and especially when there is a scarcity of taro. The odour of these cakes is offensive in the extreme to an European; but a Samoan turns from a bit of English cheese with far more disgust than we do from his fermented breadfruit.
"A crop of breadfruit is sometimes shaken off the trees by a gale, before it is ripe, and occasionally taro plantations are destroyed by drought and caterpillars; but the people have wild yams in the bush, preserved breadfruit, cocoa-nuts, and fish to fall back upon; so that there is rarely, if ever, anything like a serious famine. A scarcity of food occasioned by any of the causes just named, they were in the habit of tracing to the wrath of one of their gods, called Ole Sa (or, the Sacred One). The sun, storms, caterpillars, and all destructive insects were said to be his au ao, or, 'ministers of his, that do his pleasure,' who were commissioned to go forth and eat up the plantations of those with whom he was displeased. A Samoan, in describing the ravages of caterpillars, would have said of Le Sa: 'He spake, and caterpillars came, and that without number, and did eat up all the herbs in our land, and devoured the fruit of our ground.' In times of plenty, as well as of scarcity, they were in the habit of assembling with offerings of food, and poured out drink-offerings of ava to Le Sa, to propitiate his favour.
"It has been questioned whether this savage custom ever prevailed in Samoa. During some of their wars, a body was occasionally cooked; but they affirm that, in such a case, it was always some one of the enemy who had been notorious for provocation or cruelty, and that eating a part of his body was considered the climax of hatred and revenge, and was not occasioned by the mere relish for human flesh, such as obtains throughout the Fiji, New Hebrides, and New Caledonian groups. In more remote heathen times,
however, they may have indulged this savage appetite. To speak of roasting him, is the very worst language that can be addressed to a Samoan. If applied to a chief of importance, he may raise war to avenge the insult. Sometimes a proud chief will get up and go out of the chapel in a rage, should a native teacher in his sermon speak of 'hell fire.' It is the custom, on the submission of one party to another, to bow down before their conquerors, each with a piece of fire-wood, and a bundle of leaves, such as are used in dressing a pig for the oven; as much as to say: 'Kill us and cook us, if you please.' Criminals, too, are sometimes bound hand to hand and foot to foot, slung on a pole put between the hands and feet, carried and laid down before the parties they have injured, like a pig about to be killed and cooked. So deeply humiliating is this act considered, that the culprit who consents to degrade himself so far, is almost sure to be forgiven. It is not improbable, therefore, that in some remote period of their history, the Samoans were more familiar with the savage custom to which we refer, than in more recent times.
"The Samoans have the mode of cooking with hot stones, which has been often described as prevailing in the South Sea Islands. Fifty or sixty stones, about the size of an orange, heated by kindling a fire under them, form, with the hot ashes, an ordinary oven. The taro, breadfruit, or yams, are laid among the stones, a thick covering of breadfruit and banana leaves is laid over all, and in about an hour all is well cooked. In the same oven they bake other things: such as fish, done up in leaves, and laid side by side with the taro, or other vegetables. Little bundles of taro leaves, too, mixed with the expressed juice of the cocoa-nut kernel, and some other dishes, of which cocoa-nut is generally the chief ingredient, are baked at the same time, and used as a relish, in the absence of animal food. Salt water is frequently mixed up with these dishes, which is the only form in which they use salt. They have no salt, and are not in the habit of preserving fish or pork, otherwise than by repeated cooking. In this way they keep pork for a week, and fish for three weeks or a month. However large,
they cook the entire pig at once; then, using a piece of split bamboo as a carving knife, cut it up and divide it among the different branches of the family. The duties of cooking devolve on the men; and all, even chiefs of the highest rank, consider it no disgrace to assist in the cooking-house occasionally.
66 FORBIDDEN FOOD.
"Some birds and fishes were sacred to particular deities, and certain parties abstained from eating them. A man, for example, would not eat a fish which was supposed to be under the protection and care of his household god; but, he would eat, without scruple, fish sacred to the gods of other families. The dog, and some kinds of fish and birds, were sacred to the greater deities--the dii majorum gentium of the Samoans; and of course all the people rigidly abstained from these things. For a man to kill and eat anything he considered to be under the special protection of his god, was supposed to be followed by his displeasure, in the sickness or death of himself or some member of the family. The same idea seems to have been a check on cannibalism, as there was a fear lest the god of the deceased would be avenged on those who might cook and eat the body.
"The young cocoa-nut contains about a tumblerful of water, something resembling water sweetened with lump sugar, and very slightly acid. This is the ordinary beverage of the Samoans. A young cocoa-nut baked in the oven yields a pleasant hot draught, which is very grateful to an invalid. They have no fermented liquors; but they make an intoxicating draught from an infusion of the chewn root of the ava plant (piper methysticum). A bowl of this disgustingly prepared stuff is made and served out when a party of chiefs sit down to a meal. At their ordinary meals, few partake of it but the father or other senior members of the family. It is always taken before, and not after the meal. Among a formal party of chiefs, it is handed round in cocoa-nut-shell cups, with a good deal of ceremony. When a cup is filled, the name, or title rather, of the person for whom it is intended, is called out; the cupbearer takes it to him; he receives it, drinks
it off, and returns the cup to be filled again, as the 'portion' of another chief. The most important chiefs have the first cups, and, following the order of rank, all have a draught. The liquor is much diluted; few drink to excess; and, upon the whole, the Samoans are, perhaps, among the most temperate ava drinkers in the South Seas. The old men consider that a little of it strengthens them and prolongs life; and often they have a cup the first thing in the morning. Foreign liquors have been introduced, but there is no demand for them yet among the natives; and long may they be preserved from the curse of drunkenness!
"Like the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans, the Samoans have a meal about eleven A.M., and their principal meal in the evening. At the evening meal, every family is assembled; and men, women, and children all eat together. They have no tables, but seat themselves cross-legged round the circular house on mats. Each has his portion laid down before him on a breadfruit leaf; and thus they partake, in primitive style, without knife, fork, or spoon. Should any strangers be present, due respect is shown to them, as of old, by laying before them 'a worthy portion.' After the meal, water to wash is handed round.
"Formerly, the head of the family, in taking his cup of ava at the commencement of the evening meal, would pour out a little of it on the ground, as a drink-offering to the gods, and, all being silent, he would utter aloud the following prayer:
"Here is ava for you, O gods! Look kindly towards this family: let it prosper and increase; and let us all be kept in health. Let our plantations be productive: let fruit grow; and may there be abundance of food for us, your creatures!
"Here is ava for you, our war gods! Let there be a strong and numerous people for you in this land.
"Here is ava for you, O sailing gods!* Do not come on shore at this place; but be pleased to depart along the ocean to some other land.'
"It was also very common to pray with an offering of 'flaming fire,' just before the even
"Gods supposed to come in Tongan canoes and foreign vessels.
your presence; and may health and long life be given to us all.'
Among the rubbish of Samoan superstition, there was much to prepare the heathen mind for the pure and holy doctrines which the Christian Missionary came to make known much calculated to facilitate his labours. To give thanks before meals, to unite in prayer, and to be quiet and orderly during religious services, did not seem at all strange or unnatural. Now, the evening meal is commenced by thanking the one living and true God for his goodness, and is generally followed by family worship, in conducting which, they praise God, read the Scriptures, and unite in prayer."
MONDAY, MAY 19TH. SACRAMENTAL SERVICES.
Rev. J. J. FREEMAN presided. Addresses by the Revs. J. SPENCE, W. ROBERTS, and J. MORISON.
TRINITY CHAPEL, POPLAR.
Rev. Dr. ALEXANDER presided. Addresses by the Revs. G. SMITH, W. TARBOTTON, W. P. LYON, JOHN KENNEDY, and J. E. RICHARDS.
HANOVER CHAPEL, PECKHAM.
Rev. Dr. COLLYER presided. Addresses by the Revs. G. CLAYTON, J. BURNET, H. J. GAMBLE, G. ROGERS, J. S. PEARSALL, and H. ADDISCOtt.
TOTTENHAM COURT CHAPEL. Rev. R. FLETCHER presided. Addresses by the Revs. J. WOODWARK, T. SMITH, J. DALGLIESH, E. CORNWALL, and J. W. RICH
dresses by the Revs. J. SHERMAN, S. MC ALL, J. ROWLAND, A. TYLER, J. BODINGTON, J. BRANCH, and T. DAVIS.
FALCON SQUARE CHAPEL.
Rev. T. ADKINS presided. Addresses by the Revs. E. MANNERING, S. THODEY, R. HAMILTON, and W. SPENCER.
Rev. T. BINNEY presided. Addresses by the Revs. J. NUNN, J. C. HARRISON, E. PROUT, and J. L. POORE.
OLD GRAVEL-PIT CHAPEL, HOMERTON.
Rev. Dr. ARCHER presided. Addresses by the Revs. J. DAVIES, W. CAMPBELL, A. BUZACOTT, E. STALLYBRASS, and G. THOM
Rev. Dr. HARRIS presided. Addresses by the Revs. J. DAVIS, J. KENNEDY, T. GREENFIELD, Dr. HEWLETT, and S. MARTIN.
GREENWICH ROAD CHAPEL.
Rev. E. JONES presided. Addresses by the
Rev. JOHN ALEXANDER presided.
The thanks of the Directors are respectfully presented to the following:For Mrs. Le ge's Female School, Hong-Kong. To the Maberley Jnvende Missionary Working
Party, per Mrs. Philip-For a Case of Useful and Fancy Articles. To Mrs. McNeil and Friends, Elgin-For a Box of Cottons and Useful Articles.
For Mrs. Young, Amoy. To Mrs. Luke and
For the Trevandrum Mission. To Friends at Sher-
For Mrs. Porter, Madras. To the Young Ladies of Miss Blyth's establishment, Clarence House, Richmond-For a Parcel of Useful and Ornamental Articles. To the Great George Street Ladies' Working Society, Liverpool-For a Case of Useful and Fancy Articles.
For Mrs. Lewis, Nagercoil. To the Ladies' Missionary Working Association, Mayer's green Chapel, West Bromwich-For a Box of Clothing, &c.
For Mrs. Porter, Cuddapah. To Mrs. Oughton, Poplar-For a Parcel of Fancy Articles.
For Mrs. Whitehouse, Nagercoil. For a Parcel of Clothing and Useful Articles.
For Rev. J. S. and Mrs. Wardlaw, Bellary. To the Ladies of the Nottingham Missionary Working Party-For a Box of Useful and Fancy Articles.
For Rev. A. Corbold, Dewan. To Friends at Wallingford-For a Box of Useful Articles. For Fanny Pullen, in Mrs. Addis's School.
Mrs. Chick's Bible Class, Bristol-For a Box of
For Rev. James Read, Kat River. To Mrs.
To the Rev.
John Ross and Friends, Woodbridge-For a Box of Clothing. To Miss Pritchett's Young Ladies' School-For a Parcel of Clothing. For Rev. N. Smith, Graham's Town. To Miss His op and Pupils, Ashtead Park, Epsom-For a Box of Clothing and Useful Articles. For Rev. G. Barker, Paarl. To Mrs. Barnes and a few Friends at Saffron Walden-For a Box of Drapery, &c.
For the Native Teacher, "Gasebonie Moffat," Mamusa. To Mr. S. McMillan and Friends, Moffat-For a Box of Clothing, &c.
For Rev. R. Birt, King William's Town. To the
For Rev. J. H. Hughes, Demerara. To the Ladies
For Rev. J. Andrews, Morant Bay. To Friends at
the Old Meeting, Norwich-For a Box of Use-
For Schools in the West Indies. To Mr. Smithies,
For Rev. W. Gill, Rarotonga. To the Argyle Chapel Missionary Dorcas Society, Bath-For a Bundle of Clothing.
For Rev. H. and Mrs. Nisbet, Savaii. To the Ladies' Missionary Society in connexion with the Presbyterian Congregation, Oakville, Canada West-For a Box of Clothing and other Useful Articles. To the Missionary Sewing Society, Belgrave Chapel, Darwen, per Mrs. PotterFor a Case of Clothing, &c.
For Rev. Henry Royle, Aitutaki. To the Ladies of the Coventry Missionary Clothing Society-For a Box of Children's Frocks. To the Ladies of the Missionary Working Party, Grosvenor Street Chapel, Manchester - For a Box of Clothing; and to the Juvenile Missionary Working Party-For a Parcel of Clothing. To the Young People of the Missionary Working Class, Coggeshall, per Mrs. Beard-For a Box of Clothing and Useful Articles.
For Rev. T. Powell, Pago Pago. To the CastleGate Sabbath School Missionary Working Party, Nottingham-For Two Boxes of Clothing and Useful Articles.
For Rev. A. W. Murray, Tutuila. To the Park
For Rev. Wm. and Mrs. Mills, Savaii. To Friends
For Rev. W. Harbutt. To Mrs. Somervell and
For the Native Teacher, "Benjamin." To the Long
For Rev. C. Pitman, Rarotonga. To the Sunday School Children in connexion with King Street Chapel, Portsea-For a Box of Clothing, &c. For Rev. A. and Mrs. Buzacott, Rarotonga. To Mrs. Stenner and Friends, Dartmouth-For a Parcel of Clothing. To Mrs. Dyer and Friends, South Molton-For a Parcel of Clothing. To Mrs. Clapson and Friends, Exmouth-For a Parcel of Clothing. To Rev. Wm. Gregory and Friends, Clifton-For a Box of Useful Articles. To the Young Ladies of Clarence House, Richmond-For a Parcel of Clothing. To the Juvenile Missionary Working Society, Ramsgate-For a Box of Clothing. To the Ladies of Rev. J. Barter's Congregation, Weston-super-Mare-For a Case of Clothing. To Mrs. Crane's Working Party, FinchleyFor a Parcel of Useful Articles. To the Rev. W. B. Woodman-For a Copy of the "Imperial Dictionary," and a Farcel of other valuable