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Bible Society, and a very large supply of religious and other school-books, being liberally aided by Lord Bexley, President of the Bible Society, Earl Fitzwilliam, and Dr. Sumner, Bishop of Chester, the present Archbishop of Canterbury.
Mr. Williams's success in his missionary work, may in part be inferred from one paragraph in his statement relating only to the Rarotongans: he says “In reference also to Rarotonga, I cannot forbear drawing a contrast between the state of the inhabitants when I first visited them in 1823, and that in which I left them in 1834. In 1823, I found them all Heathens; in 1834 they were all professing Christians. I found them with idols and marais; these, in 1834, were destroyed, and in their stead there were three spacious and substantial places of Worship, in which congregations amounting to six thousand persons assembled every Sabbath day. I found them without a written language; and left them reading in their own tongue, the wonderful works of God. I found them without a knowledge of the Sabbath ; and when I left them, no work was done on that sacred day. When I found them in 1823, they were ignorant of the nature of Christian worship; and when I left them in 1834, I am not aware that there was a house in the whole island where family prayer was not observed every morning and evening. I speak not this boastingly; for our satisfaction arises not from receiving honours, but in casting them at the feet of the Saviour. Still I do not assert that all the people are real Christians.”
Mr. Williams returned to the fields of his missionary service, leaving the British shore, April 19, 1838. He renewed his labours on his return to the island; and projected new missions : but his work was finished. “On the 19th of November, 1839, the apostle of the Pacific unfurled the banner of peace on the Island of Tanna, where the barbarous people showed him no little kindness, and gladly received the two Christian teachers brought from Samoa. In the evening he recorded his gratitude to God for their success, especially in a letter to a lady in England; but on the next day, while attempting to render the same service for the islanders of Erromanga, the poor deluded savages fell upon him on the beach, and murdered him and his attached friend, Mr. Harris.” Thus fell this enterprising Missionary, honoured as a devoted servant of Christ, praying for his murderers, and as a martyr to the doctrines of his Divine Redeemer!
MEMOIR OF THE REV. DR. YATES. DR. WILLIAM YATES was honoured in being the colleague and successor of Dr. Carey, as a translator of the Holy Scriptures. He was a man of uncommon attainments in learning, though he rose from a humble station in life. He was born December 15, 1792, at Loughborough; and received an English education in the high school of his native town: but as a boy he displayed no peculiar aptitude for learning. Religion, however, awakened his latent powers ; and, as one observes, “his mental history seems to furnish a lively illustration of the power of vital Christianity in quickening the intellect.”
His parents feared God; and William was benefited by their instruction in the doctrines of Christ from the Bible; so that in his fourteenth year “he was baptized, on a profession of repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and became a member of the General Baptist Church” at Loughborough. His pastor, the Rev. J. Stevenson, gave special attention to the young men of his congregation, and five of them united with William in a class for mutual improvement. This led to their preaching in the villages ; to a thirst for learning ; and to a concern for the salvation of the heathen. At the age of eleven, young Yates left school to work at his father's trade of a shoe-maker : but now arrangements were made for him to spend four hours a day in the Classical school, under the Rev. Mr. Shaw, so that he was soon able to read Latin and the Greek Testament. A situation, as usher in a school, near Derby, was procured for him ; but his thoughts were intent on the Christian ministry; and, being recommended by the Rev. Robert Hall, he was admitted, in 1812, to the Baptist College, Bristol.
Mr. Yates pursued his studies with extraordinary diligence; and he was accepted as a Missionary for India. He was ordained at Leicester, August 31, 1814; the Rev. Dr. Ryland, Rev. R. Hall, and Rev. A. Fuller taking part in the service; he sailed for the East, on the 24th of October, and landed at Calcutta, April 16, 1815.
Dr. Carey received Mr. Yates as his successor in the work of translating the Scriptures; for which his studies, even on the voyage, and in India, were most diligent. “As a son with a father, he served with him in the Gospel,” admiring the character and spirit of the venerable father of the mission. January 1, 1827, Mr. Yates embarked for England, and he visited America. He landed there April 15; and left on the 9th of August; so that he reached his family on the 12th of September. On the 13th of August, 1828, he re-embarked for India.
Dr. Yates resumed his labours at Serampore. He was complimented with the honorary degree of “D. D.” from Brown University, America, in 1836. But his health again failing, his physicians ordered his return to England. He embarked on board the Bentinck, on the 3rd of June, 1845, but he breathed his last on the 3rd of July, within three days sail of Suez, on the Red Sea. The Rev. J. S. Wardlaw, of the London Missionary Society, on board with him, acted as a Christian brother to him; and he testifies the sweet composure of his mind, as, in full assurance of hope of eternal life, he fell asleep in Jesus.
It is impossible here to give a detail of the various labours of this faithful Missionary; but the reader is referred to the admirable Memoir of his Life, by his friend, Dr. Hoby. The mural tablet to his memory, in the Circular Road Chapel, Calcutta, truly states :—“He was distinguished by elevated piety, eminent wisdom, undaunted firmness, childlike humility, extensive erudition, and unwearied diligence. He translated the New Testament into Hindusthani and Hindi ; the whole Bible into Bengali; the New Testament and a great part of the Old into Sanscrit; and was the author of many useful works in various languages.”
“ The Committee of the Calcutta Auxiliary Bible Society," as their resolution records of Dr. Yates, “having long entertained the highest admiration of his eminent piety, learning, and usefulness, and cherishing now a grateful remembrance of his distinguished Christian character, and his very important and valuable labours as a translator of the Scriptures, desire to record their deep sense of the great loss which not alone those who are engaged in the work of Bible translation or distribution, but all the members of the Church of Christ, have sustained, by the removal of that remarkable and honoured man from this scene of his zealous and patient toil, to the rest which remains for the people of God,” &c., &c.