Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,…
The Rev. John Thomas, who may be regarded as the founder of the Friendly Islands' mission, had laboured for some time at Hihifo, in Tonga, with but little fruit, being continually thwarted and persecuted by the Pagan chief Ata: when, having heard that the paramount chief of Haabai had renounced idolatry, and was anxious to have a missionary, he made up his mind to remove thither. But as the commencement of a new mission in another group of islands would involve considerable expense, he wished first to hear from the missionary committee in London, who had some time before been written to on the subject. Whilst waiting at Nukualofa, in a state of considerable anxiety and suspense, in the month of January 1830, an incident occurred which clearly shows the superintending providence of God in the affairs of the missionary enterprise. A small box was washed on shore and brought to Mr. Turner by one of the natives. On being opened it was found to contain a letter from the missionary secretaries, giving the sanction of the committee for the extension of the mission in the Friendly Islands, and the appointment of a missionary to Haabai without further delay. The vessel by which this communication had been sent, a schooner from Sydney, had foundered at sea, and all on board were lost. It is said that neither vessel, nor crew, nor any of the goods with which she had been freighted were ever seen or heard of again. The package containing that letter alone, a messenger of mercy for a people waiting for the law of the Lord, guided by Him "whom wind and seas obey," escaped the general wreck, and was cast on shore at the right place and the right time to relieve the minds of the anxious missionaries, and to enable them to go forward and enter the openings which appeared before them for the proclamation of the "glorious gospel of the blessed God."
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,