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A History of the English Church in New Zealand

A warship conveyed Marsden to Australia


At the departure of the patriarch from our shores, the feelings of his converts reached their climax. From Kerikeri and from Waimate they came in crowds to the Bay to bid him farewell, and the scene on the beach resembled that at Miletus when the people of Ephesus "fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him." A warship conveyed Marsden to Australia, and during the voyage he spoke much of his lately-deceased wife, and of the many friends who had preceded him to the eternal world. On a friend remarking that the separation would not be for long, "God grant it," he replied; and lifting his eyes to the bright moon, which laid a shining pathway across the heaving waters, he exclaimed with intense feeling:

Prepare me, Lord, for Thy right hand, Then come the joyful day!

That day indeed was not far distant, for he died some nine months later, on May 12th, 1838, and was buried in his family vault in the cemetery at Parramatta. Seldom, surely, has it been granted to anyone to see such a rich result of his labours before his death. The New Zealand mission, be it remembered, was only one of the fields of his activity: the Tahitian mission of the London Missionary Society was almost equally indebted to his care and generosity; while his own proper work among the convicts of New South Wales was enough to try the most ardent faith. Yet, in every field, he lived to see enormous difficulties overcome, and a plentiful harvest gathered in. Next to his heroic faith must be placed his almost boundless liberality. No one ever discovered the amount of money he provided from his own private funds for the New Zealand work, but it was known to be very great. As to his whole career we may quote the words of Saunders, who would not be likely to show any favour: "He was not a great preacher, nor a great writer, nor a great actor; but he was a good man and wrought righteousness. His patience and courage were unbounded; his unselfish purity was brilliant; his benevolence was universal. He obtained no title, he acquired no landed estate, no monument was erected to his memory, his bones rest not in New Zealand soil; but the blessing of those who were ready to perish has come upon him; and the proud and secure position which the Maori now holds in civilised society is mainly due to the stedfast faith and trust in his ultimate capability, which nothing could drive from the breast of Samuel Marsden."

[Illustration: BISHOP SELWYN.]

CHAPTER VI.

"YEARS OF THE RIGHT HAND."

(1838-1840).

The right hand of the Lord bringeth mighty things to pass. --_Psalms._

We now approach the climax of the missionary period. The plant which had been rooted with so much difficulty, nursed with so much care, watered with so many tears of disappointment, was now to break into sudden and wonderful bloom.

The check caused by the Rotorua-Thames (or "bonnet") war was but of short duration. Long before its close, Chapman was back at Rotorua, with Morgan as his colleague. They built a new station on the island in the lake (Mokoia), and here their families and their wardrobes were in peace. Before long every village round the lake had its raupo chapel; and Chapman himself pressed on southward to Lake Taupo, where the effects of his labours will meet us later on.


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