We have now followed Dr. Livingstone throughout his three journeys in Africa. He was not completely successful because he didn’t achieve some of the things that he had set out to do, and the total records of his travels is somewhat like an incomplete story. We have definitely followed him long enough to make a correct judgment of his character, though.
This great man traveled over a distance of 10,000 miles in Africa, and was the first to cross through the continental center. He spent nearly 30 years of his life in that vast wilderness, learning to speak the native tongues of many tribes. With all this experience, though, he does not mention having met one single king.
He had a fixed purpose, and his inflexible motto was, “Prove all things.” There was no vanity in his nature. He believed that Bangweolo lake was the Nile’s chief source, and that the Lualaba river was the connecting stream between Lake Albert and Bangweolo. He had every reason to believe his theory to be correct, both from his own observations and the information he received from natives whom he consulted. But even with all this knowledge, he would not claim a discovery that he had not rightly made, seen with his own eyes and totally proved.
His modesty was wonderful, and could only be equaled by the noble, exalted, pure and beautiful Christianity which filled his great heart. While journeying toward Bangweolo the last time to prove his theory about the Lualaba being the outlet and source of the Nile, with a hand almost palsied with fatal disease, he wrote in his diary: “The discovery of the true source of the Nile is nothing to me, except as it may be turned to the advantage of Christian Missions.”
He brought an influence of civilization to all the places he stayed at in Africa, but more than that by the attitude with which he died. He surrendered up his Christian life in a blaze of glory. All honor to the name of Dr. David Livingstone, the greatest of all African explorers! Worthily he sleeps beside kings, though his desire was to rest at Shupanga, in the silent wilderness, beside the lonely grave of his loved wife, Mary.