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nothing out.” “If we have food and raiment, let us therewith be content.” “I feel,” said he, “no wish to be rich, but I am thankful to have a little more than I want for my own use, that I may assist my beloved friends, who have lost all for Christ's sake and are now in bondage.” He often remarked to his Christian friends, that he could not feel satisfied with merely supplying them with the food that perisheth, unless he did all he could to supply them with spiritual food, knowing they could not be happy in their present condition, unless their souls were nourished with the heavenly manna.
“If the body,” said he, “is not regularly fed, it becomes weak, feeble, and unable to bear the fatigue of hard labour. So is it with the soul, it will become weak in faith, hope, and love, if not regularly supplied with spiritual food, and as those who are called to hard labour are not satisfied with weak food, such as milk and eggs, so neither let us be satisfied with spiritual milk, but let us seek for stronger food, that we may be strong in the Christian graces, for we know not what hardships await us.” That he might be able to afford opportunities to his Christian friends to meet together for prayer, reading the scriptures and religious conversations, he removed from the village mentioned to a private spot, where he could entertain them without its being noticed by the villagers, and his house became a home to the afflicted Christians until his death.
He was not satisfied with doing good to his Christian brethren; he extended his benevolence to all around him. He spoke of the love of Jesus to his neighbours as far as he could, and was the instrument of inducing several to
believe in the Saviour. He was particularly attentive in this respect to three lepers who had their hut a short distance from his house. Those infected with this disease are numerous in Madagascar, and as soon as it is discovered, the leper is removed from all society, and is placed at a distance from all other habitations, to remain there until death. Their relations supply them from time to time with provisions, placing it on the ground at a few hundred yards distance from the hut, and calling to the sick to fetch it. Rafaralahy felt much for the three that remained near his house, and often said to his Christian friends, “How happy they might be in the prospect of death if they knew the Saviour. How pleasantly and delightfully they might spend their time together in reading the Scriptures, and conversing on the love of Christ, and uniting together in prayer and praise! They might read, sing, and pray without any fear of being discovered ; what a pity they had not learnt to read before they were taken ill!” At last he determined on making an attempt to teach them to read and instruct them in the way of salvation. He went to them with a spelling book for each, and told them the design of his visit; they accepted his kind offer most gratefully, and immediately commenced learning, and in a few weeks they were able to read the New Testament tolerably well, a copy of which he presented to each of them. One of them happening to lose his copy,
the whole three went in search of it, and continued searching a whole day but in vain. They returned to their humble shed and united in fervent
that God, from whom nothing is hid, would discover to them the spot where their treasure was. After the prayer, they
ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN.
again commenced searching, and happily soon found the book. One of the three died a few months before Rafaralahy, in full assurance of hope. And there is ground to believe that the others are true believers in Christ. They were full of grief and sorrow when they heard of the death of their kind benefactor. They entreated most earnestly the first Christian they saw, after hearing of this event, to continue to them the instructions which he had imparted to them. He promised to do so, but in a few hours after leaving them, found that he could but just save his life by immediate flight.
This fresh burst of persecution was occasioned by the following circumstance. Rafiakarana, or, as sometimes called, Ramahazo, was a native of the same village as Rafaralahy. They were well acquainted with each other from their childhood. The former was placed in the mission school by Radama, he conducted himself well, and made good progress. He was chosen to be one of the printers, when the press was set up in Madagascar. When permission was given by the queen to baptize and admit the natives to the Lord's Supper, he was among the first to express a desire to receive these ordinances, and was baptized. He appeared zealous in promoting the spiritual welfare of his countrymen, and fixed on his native village as the more immediate field of his labours. He obtained a house in the village, went there on the Sabbath, and sometimes on week evenings. Rafaralahy attended his religious instructions, and received some good impressions from them. The latter learnt to read and made some progress in the knowledge of the Scriptures. As the love of the Saviour increased in him, he
became more decided and took a bolder part with the Christians, and for the last year or two of his life, his whole mind was turned to the relief of his brethren in tribulation, and to promote the welfare of others. Rafiakarana, on the suppression of Christianity, became one of its greatest enemies, and attempted more than once to accuse the missionaries of printing things at the press which the queen
had made unlawful. He addicted himself to vices which brought on him a disease under which it is said he labours, and probably will, to the end of life. Rafaralahy feeling himself under great obligation to Rafiakarana for the advice and religious knowledge which he had formerly communicated to him, was much concerned respecting his condition, and determined to converse with him on the subject. He put him in mind of his own former advice, and endeavoured to impress on his mind the awful situation in which he would be found if, after teaching others, he himself should be found destitute of the one thing needful. This seemed to have some effect, he confessed his errors, but complained of poverty, and urged that as a reason for acting the part he had done. “I am obliged,” said he, “ to be at my fanompoana from morning till evening and receive nothing for my service; yet I have a wife and children to support.” He requested Rafaralahy to admit him into partnership with him in trade as a huckster. Rafaralahy thought him sincere, rejoiced that he had gained his brother, and received him into partnership, on condition of not selling on the Sabbath. The new partner most willingly consented to this, and pretended he was as anxious to keep the Sabbath as a day of rest as Rafaralahy himself. They continued friendly
RENEWED CHARGE AGAINST THE CHRISTIANS.
for some weeks; Rafiakarana gained the confidence of Rafaralahy, and the latter told him how the Christians were still in the habit of meeting at his house, which he had built at a distance from the village for their accommodation. They kept respectively a portion of the goods on sale. Rafiakarana lost a part of what was under his care, or pretended he had. His companion of course was obliged to bear part of the loss : and of what was sold, Rafiakarana kept the money
it. He now owed fifteen dollars to Rafaralahy, and when the latter asked him for the money, he hastened to Rainiharo, and accused Rafaralahy of holding religious assemblies at his house.It is thought,” said he, “ that the Europeans have gone home, but it appears their persons only are gone, their spirit and customs still remain; there are religious assemblies still held in Imerina.” Are
you sure of what you affirm ?” said Rainiharo," so that I
may of it, for when your statement is once before her, you cannot withdraw it.” The accuser replied, imagine, Sir, I would dare to mention it if I were not sure ? Are not you as the queen herself? Many of a certain class (Tsimiamboholahy) assemble frequently at Rafaralahy's house, who has removed for that very purpose out of the village to a private spot, and erected a high wall around it, and a gate that no one might get in and take them by surprise." "If what you state is true," Rainiharo replied, say who they are, that their names may be taken to the
queen. He then mentioned Rafaralahy, Ratsimindrana, Tsimosarena, Tsimanova, Tsindramina, Ravahiny. All these were living in the family of Rafaralahy, and in addition to these were discovered
tell the queen
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