John Williams (27 June 1796 – 20 November 1839) served with the London Missionary Society in the South Pacific. In order to expand his work to the Samoa and the Society Islands he build a missionary Ship – The Messenger of Peace – at Rarotonga. Following his death at the hands of cannibals in the New Hebrides, the London Missionary Society named seven of their missionary ships after him, the last of these being decommissioned in 1968.
This biography was digitised using a copy from the Library at Spurgeon’s College. This title is in the public domain.
Victor Arnold Barradale wrote two books that drew on his three years of missionary service in Samoa. Both had very similar titles. This is the earlier and more heavily illustrated of the two. My thanks to Redcliffe College for making a copy of this public domain title available for digitisation.
The exact date of Pastor Hsi’s birthday does not seem to be recorded, but he was born probably in the Autumn of 1836. Till he was seven years old the little Hsi lived the usual free life of the son of a Chinese scholar, and was encouraged in every way to be overbearing and self-willed. Then he was sent to school, a school where a shrine of Confucius occupied the place of honour. Here the boy begins the studies which, it is hoped, will make him a “Princely Man.”
But, favourable though circumstances are, they do not satisfy the heart of this boy. At the early age of eight years, as he wandered through the incense-filled Temple and gazed at the hideous idols and vivid representations of punishments and terrors beyond the grave, he would ask himself, what was the use of living. “Men find no good, and in the end—?” he said to himself….
The following four articles describing the progress of the Gospel in Samoa are now available on-line in PDF.
George Cousins, “The Past and Present in Samoa,” Sunday at Home 36 No. 1832 (June 8th 1889): 360-364. [Click here to download]
George Cousins, “The Past and Present in Samoa. II – Samoa Casting Off Idolotry,” Sunday at Home 35 No. 1833 (June 15th 1889): 373-376. [Click here to download]
George Cousins, “The Past and Present in Samoa. III – Samoa Under Missionary Pupilage,” Sunday at Home 36 No. 1834 (June 22nd 1889): 393-397. [Click here to download]
George Cousins, “The Past and Present in Samoa. IV – Samoa in Touch With the Great Outside World,” Sunday at Home 36 No. 1835 (June 29th 1889): 407-411. [Click here to download]
The Past and Present in Samoa
Fifty years ago missions to the South Seas were in their glory. Islands previously unknown were emerging into the light of day. John Williams and his noble compeers were sailing from island to island, from group to group, stationing missionaries or native teachers as they went. And marvellous to relate, where-ever they did this, the idolatry that had hitherto held undisputed sway, succumbed almost without a struggle. The gospel triumphed, and the natives placed themselves under Christian instruction forthwith.
Surprised and delighted as our fathers and grandfathers were at the changes thus wrought, it was after all not so much to be surprised at. The mere presence of white men in their midst filled the childish savages with awe. Coming from a world they knew nothing of, borne across the sea in strange vessels so unlike their own canoes, the missionaries were looked up to as gods rather than men, and their influence was supreme. Added to which, the paltry fetichism and superstitions of the Polynesians lacked all force and vitality. They fell like a house of cards before a gust of wind. The islanders were in gross moral and spiritual darkness. Light came streaming in upon them; the darkness fled; and for the time their eyes were completely dazzled with the brightness. No sooner had their foreign visitors mastered the grammatical construction of the dialect and acquired a sufficient knowledge of their vocabulary than at once they proceeded to give them a translation of the Word of God. Without a written language or any knowledge of letters hitherto, they were initiated into the mysteries of reading in order that they might at once become acquainted with the best of all books: from the lowest depths of mental destitution they passed at a step into the possession of rich stores of wealth. No wonder that their joy was intense; no wonder that the story of the work carried on among them reads like a romance.