“Love!” said Cassy, with a fierce glare; “love such enemies! It isn’t in flesh and blood.”
“No, Misse, it isn’t,” said Tom, looking up; “but He gives it to us, and that’s the victory. When we can love and pray over all and through all, the battle’s past, and the victory’s come,—glory be to God!” And, with streaming eyes and choking voice, the black man looked up to heaven.
And this, oh Africa! latest called of nations,—called to the crown of thorns, the scourge, the bloody sweat, the cross of agony,—this is to be thy victory; by this shalt thou reign with Christ when his kingdom shall come on earth.
The deep fervor of Tom’s feelings, the softness of his voice, his tears, fell like dew on the wild, unsettled spirit of the poor woman. A softness gathered over the lurid fires of her eye; she looked down, and Tom could feel the relaxing muscles of her hands, as she said,
“Didn’t I tell you that evil spirits followed me? O! Father Tom, I can’t pray,—I wish I could. I never have prayed since my children were sold! What you say must be right, I know it must; but when I try to pray, I can only hate and curse. I can’t pray!”
“Poor soul!” said Tom, compassionately. “Satan desires to have ye, and sift ye as wheat. I pray the Lord for ye. O! Misse Cassy, turn to the dear Lord Jesus. He came to bind up the broken-hearted, and comfort all that mourn.”
Cassy stood silent, while large, heavy tears dropped from her downcast eyes.
“Misse Cassy,” said Tom, in a hesitating tone, after surveying her in silence, “if ye only could get away from here,—if the thing was possible,—I’d ’vise ye and Emmeline to do it; that is, if ye could go without blood-guiltiness,—not otherwise.”
“Would you try it with us, Father Tom?”
“No,” said Tom; “time was when I would; but the Lord’s given me a work among these yer poor souls, and I’ll stay with ’em and bear my cross with ’em till the end. It’s different with you; it’s a snare to you,—it’s more’n you can stand,—and you’d better go, if you can.”
“I know no way but through the grave,” said Cassy. “There’s no beast or bird but can find a home some where; even the snakes and the alligators have their places to lie down and be quiet; but there’s no place for us. Down in the darkest swamps, their dogs will hunt us out, and find us. Everybody and everything is against us; even the very beasts side against us,—and where shall we go?”
Tom stood silent; at length he said,
“Him that saved Daniel in the den of lions,—that saves the children in the fiery furnace,—Him that walked on the sea, and bade the winds be still,—He’s alive yet; and I’ve faith to believe he can deliver you. Try it, and I’ll pray, with all my might, for you.”
By what strange law of mind is it that an idea long overlooked, and trodden under foot as a useless stone, suddenly sparkles out in new light, as a discovered diamond?