How glad was the man to escape from a horrible fate! his body was faint and bleeding; but his life was preserved, and his heart overflowed with gratitude to God for his wonderful deliverance. He who delivered Daniel from the lion’s den delivered him from the tiger’s den. The tiger’s mouth, indeed, had not been shut; but his open mouth had not been suffered to devour the Lord’s servant.
There is a set of people in India more dangerous than wild beasts. They are called Thugs, that is, deceivers; and well do they deserve the name; for their whole employment is to deceive that they may destroy. Yet they are not ashamed of their wickedness; for they worship the goddess Kalee, and they know that she delights in blood. Before they set out on one of their cruel journeys, they bow down before the image of Kalee, and they ask her to bless the shovel and the cloth that they hold in their hands.
What are they for?
The cloth is to strangle poor travellers, and the shovel to dig their graves.
A Hindoo family were once travelling when they overtook three men on the way. These men seemed very civil and obliging; and they soon got acquainted with the family, and accompanied them on their journey. Who were these men? Alas! they were Thugs. It was very foolish of the family to be so ready to go with strangers. At last they came up to three other men, who were sitting under the shade of a tree, eating sugared rice. These men also were Thugs; and they had agreed with the other Thugs to help them in their wicked plans. But the family thought they were kind and friendly men, and consented to sit down with them in the shade, and to partake of their food. They did not know that with the rice was mixed a sort of drug to cause people to fall asleep. The family ate and fell asleep: and when they were asleep, the Thugs strangled them all with their cloths,—the father, the mother, and the five young people,—and then with their shovels they dug their graves. But before they buried them they stripped them of their garments and their jewels; for it was to get their precious spoils they had committed these dreadful murders. The Thugs went afterwards to the priests of Kalee to receive a blessing, and they rewarded the priests by giving them some of their stolen treasures.
But, after all, these wicked men did not escape punishment; for the English governors heard of their crimes, and caught them, and brought them to justice. Then these murderers confessed the wicked deed just related: but this was not their only crime; for it had been the business of their lives to rob and to destroy.
Do not these Thugs resemble him who is always walking about seeking whom he may devour? Only he destroys the soul as well as the body. He is the great Deceiver, and the great Destroyer. None but God can keep us from falling into his power: therefore we pray, “Deliver us from evil,” or from the evil one.