The New Zealand Evangelist
During the height of the excitement caused by the earthquake, when life and property were in so much danger, a feeling of despondency came over the minds of many. It was thought the settlement was ruined for all time coming. A few persons left this place partly on that account, and it is possible that when accounts of this visitation reach home, some intending emigrants may be deterred from coming to this settlement, but if the earthquakes are their only obstacles, let them not be deterred for a single day on that account, unless they are afraid to come to a place where God's mercy has been pre-eminently displayed in the preservation of it, where he has kept us as in the hollow of his hand. With no wish to shut our eyes on the losses we have sustained, or the dangers we have escaped, we see no grounds for misgivings for the future on account of any calamity that comes directly from the hand of God. We fear no evil but sin, but we fear its daily ruinous effects upon the community far more than the occasional calamities sent by God's providence. We dread the effects of intemperance, for example, for one year, more than the earthquakes for half a century. In times like the present we are apt to look at the dark side of the picture; this is not right; we ought to look at both; at our advantages as well as our disadvantages, our fair prospects as well as our heavy losses. We may be over-sanguine, we may be too easy about page 144 the future; we certainly have no sympathy with those who would doubt and distrust the mercy and goodness of God, as revealed in his word and displayed in his son. We are not
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils;
But when an equal poise of Hope and Fear
Does arbitrate the event, our nature is
That we incline to Hope rather than Fear.”
Earth is not Heaven, New Zealand is not Paradise. Every place has its draw-backs; some of one kind, some of another, but we have certainly not more here than falls to the average share of other places that have perhaps fewer advantages. We have a soil containing the richest elements of fertility; a climate salubrious to a proverb; water in abundance, the best and purest on earth; wood in plenty and variety; droughts are unknown; snow is seen only on the tops of the highest mountains; frost is rarely seen, and then only slightly felt; we are equally removed from the extremes of heat and cold; thunder and lightning are rare; it is not oftener than once or twice in the year that we have a thunder storm, and, then the clouds are so high and distant that when the peals roll over our heads, there is more of the sublime and less of the terrible than in almost any region of the globe. The weather is, upon the whole, vastly better for most occupations than in Britain: a fortnight or three weeks will often cover all the time lost by bad weather in out-door occupations for a whole twelvemonth.
We have often high winds, occasionally heavy rains, once or twice a year a slight earthquake, but so slight as often not to be observed; we have had an alarming and destructive visitation, and we may have a return of a similar kind, but this is an extraordinary and not a common occurrence. All the danger and loss of life and property have been caused by the falling of buildings. In all countries men learn to construct their dwellings on the principle best adapted to resist the most hostile elements around them. The three principal forces to be resisted here in house building are high winds, battering rains, and earthquakes; the last is the force most difficult to be estimated; but from all that can be gathered from experience, observation, and tradition respecting the causes now in operation, there is nothing serious to be dreaded in future; and if buildings are kept low, sufficiently braced and bound together, and kept always in a proper state of repair, we need dread very little real danger from earthquakes, but may in this way safely commit ourselves to the care of a wise, watchful, and merciful providence. Let no one, however, suppose, because all danger from the earthquakes seem to be over, that they may therefore return to wickedness or continue in sin; for no law in the universe is more fixed and certain in its operation, than that sooner or later sin is always followed by suffering and misery, while holiness always leads to happiness and joy.Printed at the Office of the "Wellington Independent," corner of Willis Street and Lambton-quay.