Silencing the Messengers

An African chief had done something for which the English government wished to punish him. A gunboat had been sent out for this purpose. Upon arrival, a runner brought the first word of warning to the chief that the boat had entered the river. If the chief knew in time, the people could be warned. They would have time to gather their belongings and hide deep in the jungle far from the reach of the cannon balls which would then destroy only their simple mud huts.

Instead of appreciating the warning, the haughty chief had the courier killed. The next day a second runner arrived to tell him how far the boat had come up the river. This poor fellow also lost his life. Day after day, other couriers met the same fate.

When the last messenger arrived, the people had time only to flee for their lives. It was already too late to save their belongings. But still the warning was rejected and scorned by the native chief. The people remained in their village unaware of the impending disaster.

Of course, the chief's rejection and the people's ignorance did not keep the English boat away nor delay the day of judgment. Suddenly the jungle echoed with the thunder of cannons. The huts of the kraal collapsed as if made of cardboard. Terrified shrieks filled the air as the villagers scrambled for a place to hide from the horrible judgment falling on their unprotected village.

Thus the judgment was executed. It should be pointed out here that there are three parts to a judgment. The first is the investigation, the second is the sentencing, and the third is executing the sentence that has been set. In the above story, the British government had already investigated the deeds of this chief and decided the sentence. Now they were executing the judgment.