The Wee Book of Glasgow

David Livingstone

David Livingstone,
page 4 of 13

that he betook himself to the manufacture of paraffin, by which he shed light into many homes and gained a princely fortune. When Graham died, Young erected in George Square the statue to his memory. With the same tenacity he held to Livingstone. All the world knows how generously he gave to the fund that was raised in public for Livingstone’s second and third expeditions, but “few know how entirely Young’s purse was at the command of Livingstone through all his travels. In fact, but for this they could not have been accomplished. Young gave to Livingstone a free hand in drawing upon him, and any monetary promise of his given to Portuguese trader or Arab slave dealer, written upon an old bit of leather or piece of bark, was duly honoured by Young. He did not join much in the plaudits given by the multitude to his friend, but he aided him in life in the best way he could ; and it is to him we owe this statue of the African traveller in George Square. His own statue should stand alongside of those of Graham and Livingstone. He stood by his friends in life and they should not be divided in death.

At this period great pains were taken by Livingstone’s parents to instil the doctrines of Christianity into his mind. He had for his father a filial regard, and for his mother a passionate love almost amounting to worship. She was a delicate, charming little woman, with a marvellous flow of exhilarating, healthy spirit, and remarkable for the beauty of her eyes, to which those of David himself had a strong resemblance. Her abounding love had never a chill or cloud on it, but poured on its objects freely, like the life-giving light of the sun. David, in many ways, consciously or not, followed this noble little woman; and it was the genial, gentle influence received by him under her training in the dear old Blantyre home that gave him the magic power to move the hearts of the savages in the dark regions of Central Africa. David, as a dutiful son, paid, as a rule, loyal obedience to his parents, but he resolutely preferred, at this period of his life, to read books of travel or science to such as Baxter’s “Saint’s Rest,” or Boston’s “Fourfold State”—found then in every pious home. He frankly admits, that on this one point, his difference of opinion with his well-meaning but austere father reached open rebellion. This dislike to religious literature continued for some years, but having alighted—“God ruled the happy chance”—on Dick‘s “Philosophy of a Future State,” his eyes were opened, and he then saw that religion and science were harmonious parts in the great unity of truth. It was at this time that he found God’s guerdon-jewel to the seeking soul, the truth that maketh free. His words concerning this change are memorable, and have in them all the loyalty which so well becomes a true soldier of the King: “I saw the duty and inestimable privilege immediately to accept salvation by Christ. Humbly believing that through sovereign mercy and grace I have been enabled so to do, and having felt in some measure its effects on my still depraved and deceitful heart, it is my desire to show my attachment to the cause of Him who died for me, by devoting my life to His service.”

Just at this time a missionary society was established in the village, and David became acquainted with the lives of Henry Martyn and other noble pioneers of Christianity in foreign lands. He had at first resolved to give to foreign missions all his means beyond what was necessary for his sustenance and studies, but the blessed enthusiasm so grew upon him that he ultimately determined to devote all his energies and his life to this noble work. He forwarded his application to the London Missionary Society. In due


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