522 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
could be heard, measuring, with silent touch, the last moments of mercy and probation to that hardened heart. It was but a moment. There was one hesitating pause,
— one irresolute, relenting thrill, — and the spirit of evil came back, with sevenfold vehemence ; and Legree, foaming with rage, smote his victim to the ground.
Scenes of blood and cruelty are shocking to our ear and heart. What man has nerve to do, man has not nerve to hear. What brother-man and brother-Christian must suffer, cannot be told us, even'in our secret chamber, it so harrows up the soul! And yet, oh, my country! these things are done under the shadow of thy laws ! O Christ! thy church sees them, almost in silence !
But, of old, there was One whose suffering changed an instrument of torture, degradation, and shame, into a symbol of glory, honor, and immortal life ; and, where his spirit is, neither degrading stripes, nor blood, nor insults, can make the Christian's last struggle less than glorious.
Was he alone, that long night, whose brave, loving spirit was bearing up, in that old shed, against buffeting and brutal stripes ?
Nay ! There stood by him One, — seen by him alone,
— " like unto the Son of God."
The tempter stood by him, too, — blinded by furious, despotic will, — every moment pressing him to shun that agony by the betrayal of the innocent. But the brave, true heart was firm on the Eternal Rock. Like his Master, he knew that, if he saved others, himself he could not save ; nor could utmost extremity wring from him words, save of prayer and holy trust.
" He 's most gone, Mas'r," said Sambo, touched, in spite of himself, by the patience of his victim.
" Pay away, till he gives up ! Give it to him ! — give it to him !" shouted Legree. " I '11 take every drop of blood he has, unless he confesses !"
Tom opened his eyes, and look'ed upon his master.