That was the way in which eighteen rescued slave boys began to live a life with more light, and therefore also more responsibility than their former life as savage children in Africa.
But what of the thousands who are not rescued, but are taken to places along the coast of Arabia and sold? Their lot is miserable. In Mecca there is a slave market where boys and girls are sold to the highest bidder. At Sur, in South Arabia, there are still many Arabs who make money by buying and selling poor negro children. Only last month a little negro lad called “Diamond” told me how he had been captured and sold to a merchant in Persia. I am very glad that I can tell you that the little lad escaped to a British ship and is now free.
A writer who travelled in the Red Sea says that he passed hundreds of slave-dhows. What a lot of misery that means; not only misery to the parents of these stolen children in Africa, but to the children themselves. There may be many slaves in Arabia who get enough to eat and have good clothing to wear, but they always remain slaves at the best, and are taught a false religion by their masters. I think dearly all of them were happier at home in Africa than in dark Arabia.
It is hard to love the cruel slave trader, is it not? Yet Jesus told us to “love our enemies.” The way to root out the slave trade is to evangelise the slave trader. The entire west coast of Arabia has not a single missionary; no wonder that here the slave trade is carried on without hindrance! Will you not pray for western Arabia, and also for the Arab slave dealers that God may soften their hearts and make them stop their bad work? And will not all the girls pray for their enslaved black sisters in Arabia, whose lot is very miserable?
ABOUT SOME LITTLE MISSIONARIES
Some little missionaries came to Arabia a few years before any of the American missionaries did, and have been coming ever since. Most of them were born in a country not far from Arabia, and yet only one of them visited Arabia before Mohammed was born. Although they never write reports of their work in the papers, yet I have seen a few splendid little accounts of their work written on tablets of flesh with tears for ink. It is just because their work is done so much in secret and in out-of-the-way places, that they are generally overlooked and often underestimated. They receive only bare support and no salary, and get along in the most self-denying way by fasting and living all together, packed like herring in a dark, close room, except when they go out into the sunshine on their journeys.