Obrazy na stronie


soundly, being extremely fatigued, and was in my first sleep, when I felt as if some one aroused

I sat up, and saw the wick of the candle hanging down on one side in a flame, and on the very point of falling into the straw. Another moment, and it would have been too late. I could not sleep again, but have lain awake, silently thanking God for the extraordinary preservation we have experienced."

South Africa has subsequently been the scene of Mr. Moffat's well-known missionary toil. His volume is too familiar to the generality of our readers, however, to permit us to do more than quote very partially from its pages. Let it suffice to say, therefore, that it details a career of danger and difficulty singularly illustrative of the care of God.

“It is," says Mr. Moffat himself, pleasing, sometimes an exciting exercise, to look back on the rugged path which we have been called to tread, and to recount the dangers from which a gracious Providence has rescued

Some of these have been so striking that, when I recall the circumstances, I am forcibly impressed with the sentiment that man is immortal till his work is done.'

On one




journey, when travelling alone in a woody and sequestered place, I left the direct road to avoid a ford where there were many crocodiles. I had not proceeded two stone-casts, when it occurred to me that I should like to examine a projecting rock which lay beyond the path I had left. After examining the object which had attracted my attention, I turned toward the place from whence I had come, in order to retrace my steps, but saw a lion, which had caught scent of me on that spot, looking about for his prey. I, of course, made for the old ford, when, after throwing in some large stones to frighten away the crocodiles, I hastened to the other side, glad enough to get the watery monsters between the lion and myself. The lions, in this part of the country, having once gorged on human flesh, do not spend time in looking at the human eye, which some are said to do, but seek the easiest and most expeditious way of making a meal of a


“In one of my early journeys, I had an escape no less providential. I had left the wagons, and wandered to a distance among the coppice and grassy openings in quest of game.

I had a small double-barrelled gun on my shoulder, which was loaded with a ball and small shot. An antelope passed, at which I fired, and slowly followed the course it took. After advancing a short distance, I saw a tigercat staring at me between the forked branches of a tree, behind which his long spotted body was concealed, twisting and turning his tail like a cat just going to spring. This I knew was a critical moment, not having a charge of ball in my gun. I moved about as if in search of something in the grass, taking care to retreat at the same time. After getting, as I thought, a suitable distance to turn my back, I moved somewhat more quickly ; but in my anxiety to escape what was behind, I did not see what was before, until startled by treading on a large cobra da capello serpent, asleep in the grass. It instantly twirled its body round niy leg, on which I had nothing but a thin pair of trousers, when I leaped from the spot, dragging the venomous and enraged reptile with me; and while in the act of throwing itself into a position to bite, without turning round, I threw my piece over my shoulder and shot it. Taking it by the tail, I brought it to my people at the wagons, who, on examining the bags of poison, asserted, that had the

the wagons.

[ocr errors]

creature bitten me, I could never have reached

The serpent was six feet long." It was the parting promise of our Saviour to his disciples—when commanding them to evangelize the world--that his followers should "take up serpents;" and that “if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.” We have seen, in the above adventure, how singularly the first part of the promise was fulfilled ; and a subsequent incident in Mr. Moffat's life will show how the second portion of it was also exemplified in his eventful career.

“On one occasion," he writes, “I was remarkably preserved when all expected that my race was run. We had reached the river early in the afternoon, after a dreadfully scorching ride across a plain. Three of my companions, who were in advance, rode forward to a Bushman village, on an ascent some hundred yards from the river. I went, because my horse would go to a little pool, on a dry branch from which the flood or torrent had receded

* This adventure of Mr. Moffat was paralleled, however, by that which occurred to a devoted missionary servant of God, Lewis Christopher Deture, at Panamaribo, in South America. One evening, having been attacked by a paroxysm of fever, he resolved to go into his hut and lie down in a hammock. No sooner, however, had he entered the door, than he found him. self in the embrace of a serpent, probably of the boa species, which had suddenly fallen down upon him from the roof. Pursuing him closely, the creature twined itself several times about his neck and head as tightly as possible. Expecting to be strangled or stung to death, and being afraid lest his brethren should suspect the Indians had murdered him, he reached out his arm for a piece of chalk, and with singular presence of mind wrote on the table, “A serpent has killed me.” Suddenly the promise of the Redeemer darted into his mind, “They shall take up serpents,”—and they “shall not hurt them." Nerved with fresh vigour by the power of faith, he seized the creature with immense force, tore it loose from his body, flung it out of his hut, and thus escaped from all further injury.

a larger course. Dismounting, I pushed through a narrow opening in the bushes, and, lying down, took a hearty draught. Immediately on raising myself, I felt an unusual taste in my mouth, and looking attentively at the water and temporary fence around it, it flashed across my mind that the water was poisoned for the purpose of killing game.

At that moment a Bushman from the village came running, breathless and apparently terrified, took me by the hand as if to prevent my going to the water, talking with great excitement, though neither I nor my companions could understand him ; but when I made signs that I had drunk, he was speechless for a minute or two, and then ran off to the village. I followed, and on again dismounting, as I was beginning to think, for the last time, the poor

« PoprzedniaDalej »