A strip of island sea-coast from one to three miles wide, and a hundred long, dotted with groves, and seamed across by the deep chasms of mountain torrents; behind this, for twenty-ﬁve miles, a belt of impervious jungle, fencing in, since the days of Vancouver, numberless herds of wild cattle; beyond, in the interior, a rough, volcanic wilderness, culminating in a summit 14,000 feet in height — a chaos of craters, some on the peaks of mountains, and some yawning suddenly before you in the forest, some long idle, some ceaselessly active, making the night lurid with their ﬂames, and still building at the unﬁnished island; one, a vast, ﬁery hollow, three miles across, the grandest lava caldron on the globe; 15,000 natives scattered up and down the sea belt, grouped in villages of from 100 to 300 persons, a vicious, sensual, shameless and yet tractable people, slaves to the chiefs, and herding together almost like animals — to this parish, a strange mingling of crags and valleys, of torrents and volcanoes, of beauty and barrenness, and to this people, a race of thieves, drunkards and adulterers, thirty-ﬁve years ago, was called the young missionary, Rev. Titus Coan. And here, for four memorable years, went on a work of grace scarcely paralleled elsewhere since the days of Pentecost.
This parish, long and narrow, occupies the eastern third of the shore belt of Hawaii. It comprises two districts—Puna, stretching off toward the south in black lava ﬁelds, with here and there a patch of verdure, and a cluster of cabins, and Hilo, on the north, a fertile tract, but exceedingly rough. The central point is Hilo Bay, which opens out to the Paciﬁc toward the east and north. Some leaven of the gospel had already been cast into this lump of heathenism. Different missionaries had resided here for brief periods. Several schools had been established, and about one-fourth of the natives could read. Rev. D. B. Lyman and wife, most efﬁcient co-laborers with Mr. Coan, were already on the ground. There had been a marked change in the mental and social condition of the natives. A little knowledge of divine truth—about as much, perhaps, as our street Arabs possess—was had by most of the people. There were a few hopeful converts, and a little church of thirty-six members had been formed.
After a voyage of just six months around Cape Horn, Mr. Coan reached the islands June 6, 1835, and at once engaged in the work.
To Mr. and Mrs. Lyman came the charge of a boarding school, and much other labor at the home station, while to Mr. Coan, robust in health, and fervid as a speaker, the preaching and the touring naturally fell. His mental force and abounding physical life revealed themselves at the outset. In three months’ time he began to speak in the native tongue, and before the year closed he had made the circuit of the island, a canoe and foot trip of 300 miles. On this ﬁrst tour, occupying thirty days, he nearly suffered shipwreck, or rather canoe-wreck, as also twice afterward; he preached forty-three times in eight days, ten of them in two days, examined twenty schools and more than 1,200 scholars, conversed personally with multitudes, and ministered to many sick persons, for he was, in a mild way, a physician withal. A letter of his, written at that time, says also: “I have a daily school of ninety teachers, and Mrs. C. one of 140 children, besides a large class of more advanced pupils.”
This vigorous beginning, however, was but the prelude to the more incessant labor and to the marvelous scenes of the years following.
When God has a great work for his servants, he usually gives them some special training for it. Mr. Coan was a townsman and cousin of Nettleton. In his early ministry he was a co-laborer with Finney. He had seen God’s Word in the hands of these men be as a ﬁre and a hammer. He had learned what truths to use, and how to press men to immediate repentance, and he had witnessed many conversions. Before he went to the Islands his spiritual nature was charged with the divine electricity of a revival atmosphere. An exploring tour in Patagonia, where he had been sent by the Board, and where he lived for several months, on horseback with savage nomads, had compacted his frame and inured him to hardship. Who shall say that the natives were not also in some sort trained for what was to follow ? May it not be that there was an educating power in the volcanoes near which they lived? They were the frequent witnesses of grand and terrible sights — the shudder of earthquakes, the inﬂowing of great tidal waves, the dull red glow of lava streams, the leaping of ﬁre cataracts into deep-lying pools, sending off the water in steam, and burning them dry in a night time. There was no day when the smoke-breath of subterranean furnaces was out of their sight. Once they traced a river of lava burrowing its way to the sea, 1,500 feet below the surface, and saw it break over the shore cliff and leap into the hissing waves. Once from their loftiest mountain, a pillar of ﬁre 200 feet through, lifted itself, for three weeks, 1,000 feet into the air, making darkness day for a hundred miles around, and leaving as its monument a vast cone a mile in circumference.
The people who were familiar with such scenes could understand at least what Sinai meant, and what are “ the terrors of the Lord.”
There were signs of unusual attention to the truth on Mr. Coan’s ﬁrst tour, the latter part of 1835.
“Multitudes ﬂocked to hear,” — we quote from our pencilings of a recent interview, and from his letters to the Board—“many seem pricked in their hearts.” “I had literally no leisure, so much as to eat.” “One morning I found myself constrained to preach three times before breakfast, which I took at ten o’clock.” He could not move out of doors without being thronged by people from all quarters. They stationed themselves in small companies by the wayside, and some followed him for days from village to village to hear the gospel. Much of this, doubtless, was surface excitement or the mere curiosity of an idle people. But some of it, as the event proved, was the working of a divine leaven.
The tours of 1836—he was accustomed to make four or ﬁve a year—revealed that the work was deepening. “I began to see tokens of interest that I did not talk about, that I scarcely understood myself. I would say to my wife on returning, ‘The people turned out wonderfully.’ More and more came to the meetings and crowded around me afterward to inquire the way.” “I preached just as hard as I could. There was a ﬁre in my bones. I felt like bursting. I must preach to this people.”
In 1837 the great interest broke out openly. It was the time of a wonderful stir through all the Islands. Nearly the whole population of Hilo and Puna turned out to hear the Word. The sick and lame were brought on litters and on the backs of men, and the inﬁrm often crawled to the trail where the missionary was to pass, that they might catch from his lips some word of life. And now began a movement to which the history of the church furnishes no parallel since its ﬁrst revival. The exigencies of the case demand unusual measures; 15,000 people, scattered up and down the coast for a hnndred miles, hungry for the divine bread — what is one preacher, or at most two, among so many? He needs the wing as well as the tongue of an angel to preach to them the everlasting gospel. But he is mortal. The preacher cannot go to them. They must come to him. And so whole villages gather from many miles away and make their homes near the mission house. Two thirds of the entire population come in. Within the radius of a mile the little cabins clustered thick as they could stand. Hilo, the village of ten hundred, saw its population suddenly swelled to ten thousand, and here was held, literally, a camp meeting of two years. At any hour of the day or night a tap of the bell would bring together a congregation of from 3,000 to 6,000. Meetings for prayer and preaching were held daily. But it was not all this. The entrance of the word gave light in every way. The people wrought with a new industry at their little taro patches. The sea also gave them food. Schools for old and young went on. “ Our wives held meetings for the children, to teach them to attend to their persons, to braid mats, to make their tapas, hats and bonnets.” “ Numerous and special meetings were held for all classes of the people, for the church, for parents, mothers, the inquiring, and for church candidates.” There was no disorder. A Sabbath quiet reigned through the crowded hamlet, and from every booth at dawn and at nightfall was heard the voice of prayer and praise.
THE GREAT CONGREGATION.
Let us look in upon one of the great congregations. A protracted meeting is going on. The old church, 85 feet wide by 105 feet long, is packed with a sweltering and restless mass of 6,000 souls. A new church near by takes the overﬂow of 3,000 more, while hundreds press about the doors, crowding every opening with their eager faces. What a sight is there to look upon. The people sit upon the ground so close that no one, once ﬁxed, can leave his place. You might walk over them, but to walk among them is impossible. It is a sea of heads with eyes like stars. They are far from being still. There is a strange mingling of the new interest and the old wildness, and the heated mass seethes like a caldron. An effort to sing a hymn is then made. The rude, inharmonious song would shock our ears, but the attempt is honest, and God accepts it as praise. Prayer is offered and then the sermon comes. The view is most affecting, and calls for all the power of the reaper to thrust in the sickle. The great theme is, You are sinners, great sinners, dead in trespasses and sins: Christ died to save you. Submit your hearts to God. Believe in Christ and you shall live. And multitudes do submit. Under the pungent setting home of the truth, the whole audience tremble and weep, and many cry aloud for mercy.
It must have required rare gifts to control such meetings, in order to secure good results. But Mr. Coan seems to have had the tact and ability to do it. “I would rise before the restless, noisy crowd and begin. It wasn’t long before I felt that I had got hold of them. There seemed to be a chord of electricity binding them to me. I knew that I had them, that they would not go away. The Spirit would hush them by the truth till they would sob and cry, ‘What shall we do?’ and the noise of the weeping would be so great I could not go on.”
“The themes preached were the simple old standard doctrines. It has been an object of deep and uniform attention to keep the holy law of God constantly blazing before the minds of all the people, and to hold the claims and sanctions of the gospel in near and warm contact with their frigid hearts.” “I preached just as plain and simple as I could; applied the text by illustrations until the whole congregation would be in a quiver; did not try to excite them; did not call on them to rise and show interest.” It was God’s truth sent home by the Spirit that seemed to do the work.
And there were not wanting those
which have usually accompanied the mightier works of grace — especially among ruder peoples. Under the pressure of the truth there would be weeping, sighing and outcries. “When we rose for prayer some would fall down in a swoon. There were hundreds of such cases. I did not think much of it. On one occasion I preached from “Madness is in their hearts.” I can see them now. It was such a scene! The truth seemed to have an intense power. A woman rose—she was a beautiful woman—and cried, “Oh! I’m the one; madness is in my heart!” She became a true Christian. A man cried out: “There’s a two-edged sword cutting me in pieces; my ﬂesh is all ﬂying in the air!’ There was a backwoods native, wicked, stout, who had come in to make fun. When we rose to pray he nudged those about him with his elbows to make them laugh. All at once he dropped like a log—fell suddenly. When he came to, he said, ‘God has struck me.’ He was subdued and gave evidence of being a true Christian. Once, on a tour, I was preaching in the ﬁelds at a protracted meeting. There were perhaps 2,000 present. In the midst of the sermon a man cried out: “ Alas! what shall I do to be saved!” and he prayed “God be merciful to me, a sinner!” and the whole congregation did the same,—joined in with ejaculations. It was a thrilling scene. I could get no chance to speak for half an hour, but stood still to see the salvation of God. There were many such scenes.
But men would come and say,
My answer was, ‘I didn’t get it up.’ I didn’t believe the devil would set men to praying, confessing and breaking off their sins by righteousness. These were the times when thieves brought back what they had stolen. Lost things reappeared and quarrels were rec- onciled. The lazy became industrious. Thousands broke their pipes and gave up tobacco. Drunkards stopped drinking. Adulteries ceased and murderers confessed their crimes. Neither the devil nor all the men of the world could have got this up. Why should I put it down? In the Old Testament church there were times when the weeping of the people was heard afar. I always told the natives that such demonstrations were of no account, no evidence of conversion. I advised to quietness. I said, if they were sorry for their sins, God knew it; if they were forgiven they need not continue to weep. And I especially tried to keep them from hypocrisy.”
In this work God’s providences wrought with his Spirit. Notwithstanding the great interest, many opposed it and hardened themselves. But God had a sermon for them more pungent than human lips could utter. It was Nov. 7, 1837. The revival was at its height, and a protracted meeting was going forward. The crescent sand-beach, the most beautiful in the world, dotted all over its mile and a half of length with the native booths, and reaching up into the charming groves behind, smiled in security. A British whaler swung idly at its moorings in the harbor, and the great ocean slept in peace. The day opened as usual with the natives out en masse for the daybreak prayer-meeting, and the customary routine went on,—a scattering for break-fast, a ﬂocking together for the nine o’clock sermon—there were four preached each day—with the accustomed crush of 6,000 inside the old church, and the swarms pressing about the doors and windows, then the usual surging of inquirers and the crowds following the missionaries to their homes, and then again the sermon at twelve and a half, and so on through the day. There must have been a funeral that day, for the natives tell, although the preacher does not remember it, that the text was, “Be ye also ready.” At seven o’clock in the evening, just as Mr. Coan was calling his family together for prayers, a heavy sound was heard, as of a falling mountain upon the beach. Immediately a great cry and wailing arose, and a scene of indescribable confusion followed. “The sea, by an unseen hand, had, all on a sudden, risen in a gigantic wave, and, rushing in with the rapidity of a race horse, had fallen upon the shore, sweeping everything into indiscriminate ruin. Men, wo- men, children, houses, canoes, food, clothing, everything ﬂoated wild upon the ﬂood. So sudden, so unexpected, was the catastrophe, that the people were literally ‘eating and drinking,’ and they ‘knew not till the ﬂood came and swept them all away.’ The wave fell upon them like the bolt of heaven, and no man had time to ﬂee, or save his garment. In a moment hundreds of people were struggling with the raging billows and in the midst of their earthly all. Some were dashed upon the shore, some were drawn out by friends who came to their relief, some were carried out to sea by the retiring current, and some sank to rise no more till the noise of the judgment wakes them.” Through the great mercy of God only thirteen were drowned. But the loud roar of the ocean, the cries of distress, the shrieks of the perishing, the frantic rush of hundreds to the shore, and the desolation there presented, combined to make it a scene of thrilling and awful interest. There was no sleep that night. “To the people it seemed to be as the voice of Almighty God when he speaketh.” The next day the meetings went on with renewed power, and through all the week, as the sea gave up, one after another, its dead, and the people with funeral rites bore them to their resting-places, the Spirit set home this new sermon with divine effect.
The scenes of the Bible seemed to repeat themselves with an almost startling likeness in some of the incidents of this work. We will speak of but one. In a secluded valley of Puna there was a village—a small one—peculiarly wicked. It was a depth below the deep of the heathenism around. The missionary took special pains with them for two or three years with no good results. The people hardened themselves, and with a “superﬂuity of naughtiness” denied food to those who came to them with the gospel. “One time I went there with a number of native Christians to hold a meeting. ‘Haven’t you any food?’ I said, ‘not even a potato?’ ‘ No, not half a potato.’ Night came on and my men lay down, hungry as bears. When the villagers thought we were asleep, we heard them go to the foot of a tree, uncover their food and eat. In the morning I said to them, ‘I have come time after time preaching, and you never gave me so much as a cocoanut. I do not care for myself, but here are these hungry men. I shake off the dust of my feet against you. I will never come again till called.’ In a short time, although they were forty miles from port, the small-pox singled them out, and nearly every person died. There were only three or four survivors. And in 1840 a lava ﬂood came down upon them, scathing every tree, burning every house, obliterating the very site of the village, and leaving only a black lava ﬁeld.” But this was the Lord’s “strange work.” To multitudes he was the merciful God. The case of
is of peculiar interest. He was a man of majestic presence, six feet ﬁve inches in height, and his sister, co-ordinate with him in power, was nearly as tall. As great high priest of the volcano thirty miles away, his business was to keep the dreadful Pele appeased. He lived upon the shore, but went up often with sacriﬁces to the ﬁery home of their deity. If a human victim was needed, he only had to look, and point, and the poor native was immediately strangled. He was not only the embodiment of heathen piety, but of heathen crimes. So ﬁerce and tyrannical was his temper that no native dared tread on his shadow. Robbery was his pastime. More than once he had struck a man dead for his food and garment — the whole of it not worth ﬁfty cents. At last he crept into one of the meetings, and the truth laid hold of him. He came again and again, and would sit on the ground by the preacher, weeping and confessing his crimes. “I have been de- ceived,” he said. “I have lived in darkness and did not know the true God. I worshiped what was no God. I renounce it all. The true God has come. He speaks. I bow down to him. I want to be his child.” His sister came soon after, and they stayed months to be taught. The change in them was most wonderful. They became quiet and docile, and after due probation were received to the church. They were then about seventy years old, and a few years afterward they died in peace, witnessing to the marvelous grace of God.
In the year 1818 the waves of salvation rolled deep and broad over the whole ﬁeld, and the converts were numbered by thousands. To us who seldom see above 100 accessions to a church from a revival, this appears almost incredible. And how such a work could have been managed and made to stand in permanent results seems a mystery. There were but two missionaries, a lay preacher, and their wives. The extremes of the parish were a hundred miles apart. Portions of it were reached only at the peril, almost, of life and limb. It ts true that thousands came in to the central station from the far-off villages, and stayed many months. But this could not last. By what aids and means were such results wrought and secured in permanency? There was a marvelous outpouring of the Spirit. This was ﬁrst and highest. The battle cry was “The sword of the Lord.” But it was also “The sword of Gideon.” The human means used were adapted to produce the results. Mr. Coan was greatly assisted by his associates. Mr. Lyman was a true yoke-fellow alternating with him, in addition to his school labor, in preaching at the protracted meetings. The missionaries’ wives, surrounded by the brood of their own little children, held daily meetings with the women, the audiences sometimes numbering thousands. But to the method, energy and zeal of Mr. Coan the chief place must be given.
As we turn over his letters, written at that time, the wisdom to plan and the strength to execute, which were given him of the Lord, seem marvelous. Often on his trips he preached twenty or thirty sermons a week, and this was but part of the labor. “On these tours,” he says, “I usually spend from two to ﬁve weeks visiting all the church members in their respective villages, calling all their names, holding personal interviews with them, inquiring into their states, their hearts, prayers, and manner of living; counseling, reproving and encouraging, as the case may require; and often ‘breaking bread’ from place to place.” The physical labor of these tours was not small. The northern part of his parish was crossed by sixty-three ravines—we see his method by the exact count of them he has recorded—from twenty to a thousand feet in depth. “In many of them the banks are perpendicular, and can only be ascended by climbing with the utmost care, or descended only by letting one’s self down from crag to crag by the hands. In times of rain these precipices are very slippery and dangerous, and in many places the traveler is obliged to wind his way along the sides of a giddy steep, where one step of four inches from the track would plunge him to a fearful depth below.” And then the rivers, leaping and foaming along the old ﬁre channels, “dashing down innumerable precipices, and urging their noisy way to the ocean,” how shall they be crossed? “ Some of them I succeeded in fording, some I swam by the help of a rope, to prevent me from being swept away, and over some I was carried passively on the broad shoulders of a native, while a company of strong men locked hands and stretched themselves across the stream, just below me and just above a near cataract, to save me from going over it, if my bearer should fall.” This experience would often be repeated three or four times a day. “ My least weekly number of sermons is six or seven, and the greatest twenty-ﬁve or thirty, often traveling in drenching rains, crossing rapid and dangerous streams, climbing slippery and beetling precipices, preaching in the open air, and sometimes in wind and rain, with every garment saturated with water.”
But it was only by an exact and steadily- worked system that Mr. Coan could “ overtake “ his parish of 15,000 souls. Not Dr. Chalmers nor Pastor Harms knew their people better than he. When his church numbered more than 5,000 he could say, “ My knowledge of the religious experiences and daily habits of the individuals of my ﬂock at the present time is more minute and thorough than it was when the church numbered only ﬁfty or a hundred members.” “By drawing lines in my parish; by dividing the people into sections and classes; by attending to each class separately, systematically and at a given time, and by a careful examination and a frequent review of every individual in each respective class; by keeping a note-book always in my pocket to refresh my memory; by the help of many faithful church members, and by various other collateral helps, I am enabled, through the grace of God, to gain tenfold more knowledge of the individuals of my ﬂock, and of the candidates for church membership, than I once thought it possible to obtain in such circumstances.”
The children did not escape his care. From his earliest ministry he had believed in childhood conversions. When in this country a few weeks since—now venerable with his seventy years—a woman in Baltimore said to him, “When I was eight years old you took me in your lap and talked to me of Christ. I was converted then.” This practical faith in the conversion of children led him to give them special and constant care. Beside Sabbath-school instruction a regular weekly lecture was maintained for them through the year. There were also numerous occasional meetings for different classes of children — for those in church fellowship, for baptized children and for the anxious. During the protracted meetings there was usually a sermon each day for them at eight o’clock in the morning. As the result of this faithfulness there were in 1838 about 400 children, between the ages of ﬁve and ﬁfteen years, connected with his church.
It was a settled plan that there should be no living person in all Puna or Hilo, who had not had the claims of the gospel repeatedly pressed upon him. There was no village so remote, insigniﬁcant or inaccessible, that it did not receive frequent visits. If a native family, through freak of temper or stress of fortune, had hid itself away in some fastness of the mountain, it was tracked out and plied with the invitations of mercy.
To do this required the active co-operation of the church. “Many of the more discreet, prayerful and intelligent of the members were stationed at important posts, with instructions to hold conference and prayer meetings, conduct Sabbath schools, and watch over the people. Some of these native helpers were men full of faith and the Holy Ghost, and they succeeded admirably.” “Other active members were selected and sent forth, two and two, into every village and place of the people. They went everywhere preaching the word. They visited the villages, climbed the mountains, traversed the forests, and explored the glens in search of the wandering and the dying sons of Hawaii. On one occasion Mr. Coan sent out about forty church members to visit from house to house, and in all the ‘ highways and hedges,’ within ﬁve miles of the station. They were instructed to pray in every house, to look after all the sick, the wretched and the friendless, to stir up the minds of the converts, and to gather the children. Two days were spent in this way. Every cottage was entered, every fastness of Satan scoured. The immediate result was, that several backloads of tobacco, awa and pipes were brought in and burnt, and about 500 hitherto careless and hardened ones were gathered into the house of God to hear the words of life. The Spirit of the Lord fell upon them, and it is believed that many of them were born again.”
Many of these natives were wonderfully gifted in prayer. “They take God at his word,” says Mr. Coan, “and with a simple and child-like faith, unspoiled by tradition or vain philosophy, they go with boldness to the throne of grace.” “How often have I blushed, and felt like hiding my face in the dust, when I have witnessed their earnest wrestlings, and have seen how like princes they have had power with God and have prevailed.” “With tears, with soul-melting fervor, and with that earnest importunity which takes no denial, they often plead the promises, and receive what appear to be the most direct and unequivocal answers to their prayers.”
The great harvest years were 1838 and 1839. Seven or eight thousand natives had professed conversion, but very few had thus far been received to the church. The utmost care was taken in selecting, examining, watching and teaching the candidates. The ever-faithful note book was constantly in hand. Those from the distant villages came in and spent several months at the station previous to their union to the church. Day by day they were watched over and instructed with unceasing labor. Together with those on the ground, they were examined and re-examined personally many times, sifted and re-sifted, with scrutiny and with every effort to take forth the precious from the vile. Many of them were converts of two years’ standing. A still larger class had been on the list for more than one year, and a smaller number for a less period. The ac- cepted ones stood propounded for several weeks, and the church and the world, friends and enemies, were called upon and solemnly charged to testify if they knew aught against any of the candidates.
The communion seasons were held quarterly, and at these times the converts, thus carefully sifted, were added to the church. The ﬁrst Sabbath of January, 1838, 104 were received. Afterward, at different times, 502, 450, 786, 357, and on one occasion a much larger number. The station report for the mission year ending June, 1839, gives the number of accessions for that twelve months at 5,244.
A large number of these never came to the central station. The sick, the aged and the inﬁrm were baptized and received into fellowship at their own villages. Some believers were thus accepted who could neither walk nor be carried, and who lived far up in the mountains, where the only water for baptism that could be found were the few drops trickling from the roof of caves.
The ﬁrst Sabbath of July, 1838, was a memorable one, not only in this church, but in the history of Missions. It was the day of the greatest accession. On that afternoon 1,705 men, women and children, who aforetime had been heathen, were baptized, and took upon them the vows of God; and about 2,400 communicants sat down together at the table of their Lord. We look in upon that scene with wonder and awe. The great crush of people at the morning sermon has been dismissed, and the house is cleared. Down through the middle, as is ﬁtting, are seated ﬁrst the original members of the church, perhaps ﬁfty in number. The missionary then calls upon the head man of each village to bring forward his people. With note-book in hand, he carefully selects the converts who have been previously accepted. They have been for many weeks at the station. No pains have been spared, no test left un- used with each individual, to ascertain if he be truly a child of God. The multitude of candidates is then seated upon the earth ﬂoor, in close rows, with space enough between for one to walk. There is prayer and singing, and an explanation—made many times before, lest any shall trust in the external rite—is given of the baptism they are now to receive. Then, with a basin of water in his hand, rapidly, reverently he passes back and forth along the silent rows, and every head receives the sealing ordinance. When all have been baptized, he advances to the front, and raising his hands, pronounces the hallowed words: “I baptize you all into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.” “I never witnessed such a scene before,” said he, looking back through the lapse of thirty years. “There was a hush upon the vast crowd without, who pressed about the doors and windows. The candidates and the church were all in tears, and the overshadowing presence of God was felt in every heart.”
Then followed the sacrament. And who are these that take into their hands the emblems of the Lord’s death? Let him tell who broke the bread and gave the cup.
“The old and decrepit, the lame, the blind, the maimed, the withered, the paralytic, and those afﬂicted with divers diseases and torments; those with eyes, noses, lips and limbs consumed with the ﬁre of their own or their parents’ former lusts, with features distorted and ﬁgures the most depraved and loathsome, these come hobbling upon their staves, and led or borne by their friends, and sit down at the table of the Lord. Among this throng you will see the hoary priest of idolatry, with hands but recently, as it were, washed from the blood of human victims, together with the thief, the adulterer, the sodomite, the sorcerer, the highway robber, the blood-stained murderer, and the mother—no, the monster—whose hands have reeked in the blood of her own children. All these meet together before the cross of Christ, with their enmity slain, and themselves washed and sanctiﬁed, and justiﬁed in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Has Jesus come again? Is this one of the crowds which he has gathered, upon whom he has pronounced the words of healing? Surely it is. In very deed he is there. These are the lost whom the Son of Man came to seek and to save. And the rejoicing angels are there. They leave behind the pomp of cathedrals, and ﬂy with eager wing to this lowly Island tabernacle. With holy wonder, with celestial delight, they hover over the bowed heads of these weeping, redeemed sinners. And heaven catches the joy. “The bright seraphim in burning row,” ring out anew the praises of the Highest as they hear recounted these marvelous triumphs of Almighty grace.
Tried by any proper standard, the results do abide. There were reactions. But what revival in America—where the people garner into themselves the growth, culture, moral stamina of a thousand Christian years—is not followed by reaction? There were apostasies. But did there not appear one in Christ’s Twelve, and many in the apostles’ churches? On examining the matter with some care, we are constrained to say that the permanence of the results seems to us almost as marvelous as the revival itself. During the ﬁve years ending June, 1841, 7,557 persons were received to the church at Hilo. This embraced about three-fourths of the entire adult population of the parish. The propor-tion of those under discipline was about one in sixty—a discipline stricter than ours at home, and that among mere babes in Christ. The greater part of these were restored, and the ﬁnally excommunicated were few. The accessions from that day to this have been constant. “I never administered the quarterly sacrament without receiving from ten to twenty persons. No year has the number gone below ﬁfty. It did not prove a great ex- citement to die out. When I left, in April, 1870, I had received into the church, and myself baptized, 11,960 persons, and had also baptized about 4,000 infants.”
Under this training the people became more and more settled in faith and morals. An irruption of Catholic priests, backed up by French cannon and brandy, drew away almost none of them.. There never was a grog shop in the entire parish. It is probable that there are to-day more people, in proportion, in Illinois, who cannot read and write, than in Hilo and Puna. Not in New England is the Sabbath better observed; and the industries of civilization have now largely taken the place of the old savage indolence.
In 1867, the grand old church was divided into seven local, independent churches, six of them with native pastors. Three of these are on the lava ﬁelds of the south, and three among the ravines of the north. The remaining one is at Hilo, where, also, is an American church for the foreign population. To accommodate the widely scattered people, these churches have built ﬁfteen places of worship, holding from 500 to 3,000. Five of them have bells, and one building—that at Hilo—cost about $14,000. This has been done mainly with their own money and labor.
But this people have especially vindicated their claim to a place among the churches of the Lord by their
The Monthly Concert was held from the beginning, and with it a contribution was always taken. They “ﬁrst gave their own selves to the Lord,” and then it was “according to that a man hath,” a ﬁsh, a fowl, a cocoanut, and, later, money; but in it all, sacriﬁce and worship. Each month, on the ﬁrst Sunday morning, a sermon was preached on some department or interest of Christ’s kingdom in the broad world. They never so much as heard that miserable sentence of a narrow faith, “So much to do at home.” Their lips never uttered the miserly falsehood, “It takes another dollar to send one to the heathen.” They were instructed in all causes, and gave to all. More than $10,000 have come to the United States from their contributions ; $200 went to a Chinese mission, and $100 to Syria at the time of the massacre and famine. The appeal of Father Chinquiy, in Kankakee, Illinois, reached them; and when the letter which brought him $200 from these poor Islanders was read, his whole congregation bowed down weeping. Their monthly collections have averaged from the beginning about $100, the highest reaching $265 and the grand aggregate for all religious purposes amounts to above $100,000. And they have done more—They have given themselves. Twelve of their number, wholly sustained by the church that sent them, have gone out as foreign missionaries, 2,000 miles to the dark islands beyond.—1871.
After an absence of more than thirty years, Mr. Coan in 1870 visited this country. While here he exercised his superabundant strength in visiting twenty of our States and Territories, making in all two hundred and thirty-nine missionary addresses. Upon his return the evening of his days was spent as pastor of the large church at Hilo, and in apostolic supervision of the other churches which had sprung up under his care.
A few months since, in the midst of a special interest among his people, he was suddenly smitten with a paralytic shock. After some weeks of utter helplessness, at the ripe age of almost eighty-two years, he “passed out of toil into rest.”
We can think of no more beautifully-ordered departure than his. It seemed eminently ﬁtting that he who had labored with such restless energ should show that, at his Lord’s bidding, he could also suffer and wait. It was meet and right that a life which had wit- nessed such scenes of revival should have given its last labors in ardent efforts for lost souls, and that in the midst of the toils of a season of refreshing from the Most High, the tense bow should have broken. There was a divine and delightful ﬁtness that the spirit of the aged warrior should ascend to its reward, the gracious conﬂict still raging, from the very battle-ﬁeld where such amazing triumphs of inﬁnite love had been achieved.—1883.
What is termed The Great Revival at the Sandwich Islands may be said to have commenced in the year 1836 and to have extended to 1842. The missionaries ﬁrst sighted the snowy summit of Mauna Kea, eighty miles away, March 30, 1820. They found a people in the utter moral and physical degradation of savage life. It opens a rift into the darkness of their condition to know that “the thought of the chief” was the only law; that marriage and the family constitution were almost unknown; and that at least two thirds of the infants perished by the hands of their own parents. To their own unutterable corruption had been added the worst vices of civilization and their consequent diseases. Through infanticide and other crimes three-fourths of the women were childless, and the population of the Islands was diminished each year by several thousand. It was in this desperate condition of things that the remedial forces of the gospel began their work. There were favoring providences. Just before the missionary arrived, partly from caprice, partly from a desire for greater license, possibly also from some dim sense of their futility, the tabu had been broken and idolatry abolished. Doubtless behind it all was the hand of a divine providence. The same divine hand gave the missionaries from the ﬁrst a degree of acceptance with the king and the high chiefs, and especially with some really noble women. And where these led the way the people, accustomed to the most abject servitude, easily followed. It must be said to the inﬁnite shame of our civilization that the worst and most dangerous opposition came from foreign ship-masters and their dissolute and desperate crews. To this, however, there were some marked and most helpful exceptions.
We now turn forward the leaves of this history sixteen years. The signs have been so hopeful that the evangelizing force is greatly increased. Twenty-seven ordained missionaries are on the ground, with sixty helpers, including their wives. The language has been reduced to writing. The translation of the whole Bible into the Hawaiian language is nearly completed. The schools are crowded with pupils, chieﬂy adults. But it is thought encouraging that the parents have learned to let their children live, instead of putting them to death. About one-fourth of the population can read. More than a thousand Christian marriages re-solemnized in the year. A code of laws forbidding certain of the grosser vices, with a Bill of Rights, has been voluntarily adopted. The seventeen congregations have an average attendance of 14,500, or about 900 each. And in the ﬁfteen churches are 1,049 members. And now the spring of the years of mighty refreshing comes on apace. The hearts of multitudes in the home land are wonderfully drawn out in prayer. The spirit of grace and of supplication is poured forth with unusual power upon the missionaries. Protracted meetings are held. Great throngs of from 2,000 to 6,000 ﬂock to the thatch-covered places of worship, or lift up their cries for mercy and their rude songs in the shade of tropic groves. The missionaries, with a wisdom, zeal and power which seem from above, preach, guide, instruct, warn, entreat, rebuke. And the mightily converting grace of God comes upon the people. This continues several years. The converts, that the reality of their experience may be tested, are kept as candidates for from six months to two years and then comes the ingathering. In 1839, 5,403 are received into the churches; in 1840, 10,725; in 1841, 4,179; in 1842, 1,473; from the commencement of the mission, 22,806.
Now we turn forward to 1870, the year the American Board gave these churches over to their own care, and what is the summing up?—58 independent, self-supporting churches, 44 of them in charge of a native ministry—with a membership of 14,850— about one fourth of the entire population. That year they gave $30,000 to various Christian objects. Thirty per cent of their ministers are foreign missionaries to the dark islands beyond. Twenty-two per cent of their contributions are for the foreign ﬁeld; $1,500 was expended upon Chinese emigrants. Their 120 church buildings are valued at a quarter of a million of dollars. Such is the result through the blessing of God upon the faith and toil of forty ordained missionaries with their wives and consecrated lay-helpers. The spirit of the whole movement is beautifully symbolized by the speech of the veteran native missionary Kanwealoha on the 15th of June, 1870. In the presence of his king, foreign diplomats, old missionaries, and a great assembly, he held aloft the Hawaiian Bible saying, “Not with powder and ball, and swords and cannon, but with this living Word of God, and with his Spirit, do we go forth to conquer the Islands for Christ.”—S. J. Humphrey, Four Memorable Years at Hilo