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Bushmen and women began to look on me with eyes that bespoke heartfelt compassion. I began to feel a violent turmoil within, and a fulness of the system as if the arteries would break, while the pulsation was exceedingly quick, accompanied with a giddiness in the head. We made the natives understand that we wanted the fruit of the solanum, which acts as an emetic; they ran in all directions, but sought in vain. By this time I had got into a profuse perspiration, and drank largely of pure water. The strange and painful sensations I had experienced wore away, though they were not entirely removed for several days.
Instances of escape from peril, of an equally remarkable character, could easily be multiplied, did space permit; for missionary literature abounds with them. The narration of the following incident, however, must conclude this department of our subject.
Mr. Gobat, the present bishop of Jerusalem, when engaged as a missionary in Abyssinia, retired, on one occasion, in a season of deep spiritual depression and gloom, into a cavern, and there poured out his heart in earnest supplication, beseeching that God would not desert him, but encourage him in his trials. He
remained in the cavern for some time. When he rose from his knees, his
had become accustomed to the darkness, and he saw that he had been there with a hyæna and her cubs, which yet had marvellously not been permitted to attack him. At the very time when he deemed himself forgotten, he received this striking manifestation that the God of providence was nigh to shield and protect him.
We are not compelled, however, to revert to periods of persecution, or to sweep the missionary field, for evidences of God's parental care of his people. This truth bursts in upon our view at every turn, when we peruse the biographies of those who have devoted themselves to his service, and we are constantly reminded of the saying, that man is immortal till his work is done. We have abundant and very striking illustrations of this in the laborious and philanthropic career of John Howard. His whole mature life was one course of perils sought out and encountered in the cause of religion and humanity. On more than one occasion he had himself shut up in the plagueship, where the pestilence was raging with frightful virulence; he entered dungeons reeking with miasma, where the jail fever was
sweeping off its hundreds; he put himself into the hands of the most desperate ruffians, with no defence save 66 the shield of faith." He shrank from no danger, however fearful, yet he came out from all unhurt. He seemed to bear a charmed life, proof alike against the pestilence that walketh in darkness, and the arrow that flieth by day. A thousand fell at his side, and ten thousand at his right hand, but it came not nigh him. He breathed the poisoned air with impunity, and escaped unaffected from the deadliest contagion, for God was with him.
Nor were his perils and escapes all of this kind. It is recorded that once, during a temporary visit to his home, he took occasion to reprove a man in his neighbourhood for his ungodly and profligate life, and warned him of the inevitable consequences of the course he was pursuing. The reproof rankled in the man's heart, and he determined on vengeance. There seemed no difficulty in the way
of his gratifying his malignant designs. It was Mr. Howard's invariable custom every Sunday morning to walk alone, across the fields, to a chapel at the distance of two or three iniles from his house; and he resolved to secrete
himself in the path, and spring out upon his unsuspecting reprover. But on the
very morning fixed upon to accomplish his purpose, Mr. Howard departed from his custom, and rode to chapel, thus escaping the ambush laid for him. Deliverances from the designs of assassination, very similar in character, are recorded in the lives of the great Augustine and of Vavasor Powell, one of the most eminent divines of the seventeenth century.
Powell's illustrious contemporary and friend, the learned and devout Baxter, was on several occasions threatened with similar perils, but he escaped them all. Once, when administering the Lord's supper at Acton, he was fired at through a window just behind him by a ruffian outside, but the ball whizzed close past lim, and he escaped unhurt.*
Baxter records another escape, as having produced a great effect upon his mind. Sitting one day in his library, several of the highest shelves, just over his head, laden with ponderous folios, suddenly broke down, and the huge tomes fell all round him, without however
* This list of deliverances from assassins might be almost indefinitely extended. Several more are contained in a very interesting volume, published by the Religious Tract Society, entitled “The Life of Thomas Cranfield.”
inflicting any injury beyond a slight bruise on the arm : “ Whereas the place, the weight, and the greatness of the books was such, that it is a wonder that they had not beaten out my brains,” is his own account of the matter. To appreciate the danger and escape of the great theologian, we must remember that the folios in his day were bound in literal boards, their corners armed with brass, their backs clamped with iron, so that a blow on the head by one falling from a height would be certain death. A yet narrower escape was experienced by him in the winter of 1633, when, during a severe frost, he was riding from London into Shropshire to see his dying mother. In a very narrow lane he met a loaded wagon, which he could only pass by riding on the top of a high bank by the road side. In spurring his horse up this bank the animal fell, the girths broke, and he was thrown immediately before the wheel of the wagon ; at this critical juncture, the horses suddenly but unaccountably stopped, and his life was preserved. Three or four other escapes as wonderful, and as obviously providential, are recorded in the course of his eventful life.
In Cecil's life is recorded his escape from