Stanley and Livingstone and the Exploration of Africa

Glasgow Colour Street Map

David Livingstone,
page 5 of 13

course it was accepted, and he was summoned to London. Thence, after having successfully passed his preliminary examination, he was sent to the vicarage of Ongar, in Essex, where the Rev. Mr. Cecil had other missionary students for theological training. After remaining there for some time he took the usual course in the London hospitals.

Livingstone had resolved to go to China, and was for this end preparing himself. An event now occurred that changed his destination. One evening, that veteran in the missionary cause, Dr. Moffat, called at Mrs. Sewall’s, in Aldersgate Street, where Livingstone and other young missionaries boarded. David, who had heard the great missionary’s stirring addresses in Exeter Hall, became fascinated with the man on the occasion of his visit, and ere he had left the house, told him freely of the wishes of his heart. He then asked him whether he thought he might go to Africa. “Yes,” was the reply,” if you won’t go to an old station, but push on to the vast unoccupied district to the north, where, on a clear morning I have seen the smoke of a thousand villages, and where no missionary has ever been.” It was this counsel that fixed the eventful future of David’s noble life. He was appointed to South Africa, but before setting out he sat for his medical diploma in Glasgow University in November, 1840. On the evening of the last day of the examination, he walked out to Blantyre. There he proposed to sit up all night, as he had to leave for London early in the morning, but his mother, in her solicitude for his personal comfort, would not hear of this. He and his father—and how often in after years must have David remembered that night!—sat together and talked till midnight on the prospects of Christian missions, and of the yet unrevealed future on which the eager youth was about to enter. The whole family arose early next morning, and were ready to sit down together to breakfast at five o’clock. “Mother made coffee,” his sister wrote in after years, “and David read the 121st and 135th psalms, and prayed.” We can imagine the comforting effect on that little company in the humble Blantyre home, as, in that solemn hour of his life David read aloud, with firm faith, if with emotion, that glorious psalm in which the Christian lifts up his soul to that God from Whom cometh his aid, ending with the sustaining promise—

“Henceforth thy going out and in
God keep for ever will.”

After the farewells were over, the two, father and son, walked to Glasgow to get the Liverpool steamer. On the Broomielaw they parted in the dim light of that November day, and never on earth met again. He sailed for Algoa Bay on 8th December, 1840. On his arrival there he started at once, in an ox-waggon, for Dr. Moffat’s station at Kuruman, seven hundred miles up the country. When he arrived at Kuruman he found that, as yet, he had no instructions from his directors, and was thus, for the time being, left with a free hand. He began to practise as a doctor, as a means of reaching the hearts of the natives, his other immediate aim being to learn the language in order to communicate the unsearchable riches of Christ. His medical skill was praised far and near, so greatly that he soon got the reputation of being a Wizard, and people came in crowds to him, some from a distance of over a hundred miles. Soon he was able, so assiduous was he in his studies, to translate into Sechuana verse half-a-dozen of our finest hymns, including “There is a fountain filled with blood” and “Jesus shall reign where’er the sun.” After having practised here and in the surrounding district


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