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Psalms and the New Testament were rendered into Persian. And by him the imposture of the prophet of Mecca was daringly exposed, and the truths of the gospel of Christ vindicated in the very heart and centre of the Mohammedan Empire, so that some of the most learned at Shiraz declared their conviction of the truth of Christianity.
MEMOIR OF THE REV. HENRY NOTT. MR. HENRY· Nort, the translator of the whole Bible into the Tahitian language, was born in the year 1772. He was among the first Missionaries who were designated to evangelize the South Sea Islanders. He was one of the twenty-nine who were solemnly ordained and set apart for the work of the gospel ministry, on Thursday, July 28, 1796, in Sion Chapel, London.
Peculiar interest attached to that remarkable ordination, it being the principal united movement among Christian ministers of different denominations which led to the origination of the Religious Tract Society, and the British and Foreign Bible Society. No less than ten ministers engaged in that extraordinary service; three offered public prayers on the occasion ; Dr. Hunter preached; and Dr. Williams delivered a solemn charge to the Missionaries. An Episcopalian, a Presbyterian, a Scotch Seceder, an Independent, and a Methodist, united in the designation of the Missionaries, addressing them severally in the following words, “Go, our
beloved brother, and live agreeably to this holy word (putting a Bible into his hand), and publish the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Heathen, according to your calling, gifts, and abilities, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” To this each replied, “I will, God being my Helper.”
They embarked on the 10th of August, in the ship “Duff,” commanded by Captain Wilson, and anchored safely in Matavai Bay, Tahiti, March 6th, 1797. A long series of painful trials exercised the faith and patience of the Missionaries for nearly twenty years, when idolatry was subverted, and king Pomare, with the population generally, embraced Christianity.
Mr. Nott persevered in his work of translating the Scriptures, amid extraordinary difficulties and various extreme privations, until he had finished the whole Bible, with which he arrived in England, June 19th, 1836. This valuable fruit of forty years' labour was revised by him while in this country, and printed at the expense of the Bible Society. He embarked on his return, August 18th, 1838; and, after having remained for a time at Sydney, he reached Tahiti in September, 1840, his Christian converts being inexpressibly delighted with the completed volume of the Scriptures.
Mr. Nott's health soon afterwards began to fail ; through which he was obliged to retire from his active ministry as a Missionary. And thus, after a life spent in the service of his Lord and Saviour, he departed from this world, at Tahiti, in the faith and
hope of the gospel, to inherit his reward, May 2nd, 1844, aged 72 years.
Mr. Nott added thus to his active Missionary labours this translation of the Bible into the Tahitian language; and left it to the people for whom he had lived, as an invaluable boon, the most precious material gift of God.
MEMOIR OF THE REV. JOHN WILLIAMS. JOHN WILLIAMS was honoured above most of his missionary brethren as a successful labourer among the Heathen. For them he translated the New Testament; and by his evangelical labours, in which he fell a martyr for Christ, he acquired a name venerated among all denominations of Christians.
This extraordinary man was born June 9, 1796, at Tottenham, near London. His parents were reputed pious persons, especially his mother, whose exemplary godliness appeared to exert a happy influence on his mind; for she not only directed him in reading the Bible; but when a youth at school, he was led by her to write prayers and hymns, to aid his exercise of private devotions.
March 27th, 1840, John Williams was apprenticed to Mr. Tonkins, an ironmonger, in London ; but though he was faithful in his service, he declined from his early seriousness as he became acquainted with several irreligious young men. “I often scoffed at the name of Christ and his religion," he afterwards confessed, “ and totally neglected those
things which alone can afford solid satisfaction.” His altered state of mind was observed by his mother, who prayed more earnestly for his spiritual welfare; and her prayer was graciously heard and answered: for Mrs. Tonkins, on her way to the house of God,—the Rev. George Whitefield's Tabernacle-on Sunday evening, January 30, 1814, saw him waiting for an acquaintance, and prevailed on him to go with her. The Rev. T. East preached, and the sermon was blessed for his conversion to God.
From that hour, John Williams dedicated himself to the service of the Redeemer. He joined the church at the Tabernacle, and sought how he might be useful. “ His first step in the splendid course of Christian benevolence which he was permitted to pursue, was to become a teacher in the Sabbath-school. This important work he performed with steadiness and delight, and soon won the affections of his pupils and the esteem of his fellow-labourers. Thus, also, he formed some of those habits which prepared him to cultivate a wider sphere. In this school he delivered his first public addresses, and by these he became emboldened to appear before larger assemblies. Nor were his early efforts to honour Christ unfruitful. A letter now before me,” says his biographer, “ from a young person thus connected with the school, ascribes to one of them her conversion to God.”
John Williams also joined the “Youths' Class,” at the Tabernacle, consisting of about thirty young men, meeting weekly for their intellectual and religious improvement. One of the great subjects brought before their minds was that of Missions to the Heathen, as the information from Tahiti and other islands of the South Seas, and from South Africa, was so wonderful regarding the conversion of the natives. These tidings were urged upon their attention by their pastor, the Rev. Matthew Wilks, and John Williams burned with ardour to devote himself to the cause of Christ among the Heathen. He made known his wishes, and he was accepted by the Directors of the London Missionary Society. Mr. Tonkins gave up the service of his apprentice; and Williams, thirsting for literary and theological knowledge, consecrated his life to the work of his Divine Master.
Mr. Williams was ordained at Surrey Chapel, London, September 30, 1816, with eight others, one of whom, the Rev. Robert Moffatt, became the “ Apostle of Africa ;” and he embarked November the 17th, for his work among the South Sea Islanders. To follow him in his extraordinary missionary labours would indeed be interesting to every reader; but all must be referred to “ Williams's Missionary Enterprise,” and “ Williams's Life,” by the Rev. Mr. Prout. It may, however, be stated, that he returned to England, in 1834; and, in 1838, he embarked in his own “ Missionary Ship,” the Camden, which the friends of Missions had purchased for him, accompanied by ten devoted Missionaries, with 5,000 copies of the New Testament for the Rarotongans, into whose language he had translated it, printed at the expense of the British and Foreign