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Old Daniel by Thomas Hodson


We have already seen how Daniel tried to bring his heathen neighbours into the way to heaven; but another instance of his successful efforts is given by Mr Sullivan, the then resident Missionary: |Runga was a blacksmith, a very immoral man, who lived in Singonahully. Daniel instructed him and warned him. He told him of heaven and hell; showed him that unless he repented and believed in Christ he could not be saved. Sometimes Runga was attentive, and his case seemed hopeful, but at other times it was quite the reverse. At length he yielded to Daniel's invitation, and attended morning and evening in Daniel's house at the time for family devotions. After that he began to attend divine service in the Singonahully chapel. He was ridiculed and persecuted by the heathen, but he held on his way. These means of grace were blessed to him. He became penitent, and brought forth the fruits of repentance. The reformation in his conduct was evident to all who observed him. From being a drunkard he became a sober man; and he resolved never to take another drop of intoxicating liquor -- a resolution which he faithfully kept to the day of his death. He also became industrious, so that his wife and children, who had formerly been half starved, and who were covered with rags and dirt, now experienced a wonderful change. They had abundance of good food, were well clothed, and their house, as well as their persons, was always neat and clean. But Daniel, though pleased with this outward reformation, was not satisfied; he knew that something more was necessary. He persevered in exhortation and prayer for the man's conversion to God; and he wished him to make an open confession of his faith by baptism. As often as Daniel pressed this duty upon him, so often did Runga declare, `I am not worthy to be called a Christian; I am not worthy to be as you are. I believe in Christ for salvation, but I am too vile to be honoured with baptism.' One day, by way of showing that he had done with idolatry, he took a number of iron things -- not idols, but instruments that had been used in idolatrous ceremonies by himself and his forefathers -- and with his own hands he made them into reaping-hooks and other useful farming instruments, preceding his work by the declaration, `These things won't be wanted any more in their present shape, so I will make something useful of them.' When he was attacked by a fatal disease, some of the villagers said to him exultingly, `Ah! you have become a Christian; you trust in the Christian's God; let us see if He will cure you; He cannot; our god will kill you.' Daniel said to the sick man, `Do you believe that their god can harm you?' He said, `No, no!' Daniel's wife then added, `But we all think you will die; are you afraid to die?' He answered, `I am not afraid; I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.' When he became worse, and it was evident that he had not many minutes to live, Daniel said to him, `Runga, continue to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.' He replied, `I believe ONLY on the Lord Jesus Christ,' and in a few minutes he died. He was never baptised, but doubtless he was saved through the merit of Jesus' death, and Daniel was the chief instrument in his conversion.|

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