« VorigeDoorgaan »
A MARTYR'S CALMNESS.
Andriamadio, Rasata, Ramahazo, Rabodomanana, Ralaingomanga, Ratsaramiarana, and Andriantsalama.
Rafaralahy was immediately seized and put in irons, and every thing was done to extort the names of his companions from him; but he remained inflexible, saying, “ Here am I; let the queen do what she pleases with me; I have done it, but I will not accuse my friends.” After being in irons for two or three days, he was taken to Ambohipotsy, the place of execution, where he was speared to death. The calmness and tranquillity with which he met death made a deep impression on the minds of the executioners. When they came to the door of the house where he was bound, they asked, “Which is Rafaralahy?” He replied very calmly, “ I am, Sir.” They approached him and took off the irons, and told him to go along with them; he arose immediately, went with them, speaking to them all the way of Jesus Christ, and how happy he felt at the thought of shortly seeing Him who had loved him and died for him. On arriving at the place of execution, he requested them to allow him a few moments to commit his soul to the Saviour; this being granted, he offered a most fervent prayer for his country, for his persecuted brethren, and commended his soul to his Saviour. He then rose from his knees, and the executioners were preparing to throw him down on the ground ; he said there was no need for that, as he was now ready to die; he laid himself down, and was immediately put to death. His friends were allowed to bury the body in the grave of their ancestors.
After Rafaralahy's death, his property was of course confiscated. Rafiakarana put in a claim, insisted that
Rafaralahy owed him a sum of money, and took pos-
above mentioned had been previously accused, and this contributed to save them from capital punishment. They were dealt with more leniently than those who had been accused six months previously. Their friends were allowed to redeem them from the nominal slavery to which they were reduced, owing probably to their being Tsimiamboholahy, the same clan as Rainiharo's, and because there were among them some of the best workmen in the government musket manufactory at Ilafy. Besides this, the number of the accused was now so considerable, the government seemed unwilling to reduce any more to perpetual slavery; and it was thought that, as several among those now accused had been accused once or twice before, it would be sufficient to punish them capitally, and that this would deter such as were accused for the first time, from a second offence.
The first step taken by the government after the death of Rafaralahy was the apprehension of his wife, and another young Christian, Andriantsalama; they were confined together, flogged and threatened with cruelty, unless they would tell the names of all who had been
INTIMATION OF DANGER.
in the habit of visiting Rafaralahy for religious purposes. Fear at length compelled them, and though as yet none of those who had been formerly accused had been again accused, they were now. Among them were Rafaravavy, Paul, Andrianantoandro, Andrianomanana, Joseph, &c. Some of their friends at the capital, who were anxiously on the watch, heard that the names of these persons had been again given in to the queen, and as they knew there could be no hope of their lives being saved this time but by immediate flight, they immediately conveyed to them intelligence of the imminent danger to which they were exposed.
The measures which they adopted in seeking safety by flight, and the many providential interpositions by which they were preserved, will be detailed in the following chapter.
ESCAPE FROM THE CAPITAL.
From the Martyrdom of Rafaralahy to the Escape of the
Christian Refugees from the Capital, on their way to Tamatave.
At the time the intelligence was sent to our friends respecting the apprehension and execution of Rafaralahy, it happened that Rafaravavy was at the house of a pious friend, residing not far from the capital, and had with her two Christian female companions. The three women and the owner of the house were conversing together on religious subjects, when, on a sudden, a servant entered the house with a note for Rafaravavy, telling her that Rafaralahy had been put to death, that his wife and a young friend were now in irons, and had been flogged, to compel them to tell the names of all who had visited Rafaralahy; and that her name, and the names of the two women then with her, had been disclosed. This sudden intelligence somewhat alarmed her. Her friend perceiving that there was something serious in the matter, asked to know the contents of the note. She told them all. All were alarmed, and the owner of the house himself, though his name had not been mentioned, neither had he attended any of the meetings at Rafaralahy's house. • What is to be done?” said he ; “ you know that I can do nothing for you: the last time you were
ESCAPE FROM THE CAPITAL.
accused you were scarcely saved, and you are sure to be put to death now, if the information just received be correct.” “We trust,” said they, “God will give us strength to be faithful even to the end."
After some consultation the three women determined to go up to town, for Rafaravavy’s master lived at Ambohitsirohitra. They set out in company, and came together until they reached the foot of Ambohipotsy, talking together of the Saviour, and of the holy delight they anticipated on seeing him for the first time in heaven. Here they had to separate. Rafaravavy intended to go straight to her master at Ambohitsirohitra. She preferred being apprehended there and put to death, rather than at her friend's house, which was about two miles south of the capital. Perhaps some kind Christian friend, she thought, might be at hand to cast a friendly look upon her there ; but at the other place no Christian could be expected. The other two women were going to the east side of the town, to a friend's house. Before they parted they knelt down together, and most affectionately and fervently commended themselves and each other to the care and protection of the Keeper of Israel ; and then parted with the full hope of shortly meeting together in heaven; for they had not, as yet, even the most remote idea of making their escape. They felt as if they had done with earth, and said to one another, “We have to walk from hence to town, thence to Ambohipotsy, and there we shall say farewell to all below.”
The two women proceeded to the east side of the town, and Rafaravavy proceeded west of Ambohijanahary towards Ambohitsirohitra; and during the whole of the