While Ginsburg was conducting a meeting in Uptinga, a group of assassins boldly entered. The first one carried a scythe with which he struck and felled a man. The second assassin brandished a revolver. The third, wearing a mask, carried a long sword. He made a terrific slash at the missionary as he sat playing the organ by the light of a borrowed lamp. If the aim had been good, it would have decapitated him, but the sword struck the lamp instead. The place was instantly in total darkness and a great commotion ensued. When Ginsburg struck a match he found the place deserted.


The noted bandit, Silvino


Shortly after this he had another remarkable deliverance. In the northern section of the state of Pernambuco there was a band of bandits who were roving about and committing many atrocities. Their chief was Antonio Silvino, a daring and desperate criminal who had a well-founded reputation for quick and accurate shooting. An Italian monk, Celestino by name, told this bandit some wild stories about Ginsburg and hired him, on payment of fifty dollars, to kill the hated missionary. They found out that on a certain morning he was to visit the village of Moganga. He left Nazareth at two o'clock in the morning and about five o'clock he saw a man by the road, holding a double-barreled gun. Thinking the man was out hunting, Ginsburg stopped his horse, greeted the man in a friendly fashion, then rode on. The people of Moganga heard of the plot and were surprised to see him alive. A great crowd turned out for the evening meeting which lasted till almost midnight. Utterly exhausted, Ginsburg lay down in his hammock to sleep. Just then there was a knock at the door and a voice said, "I am Antonio Silvino and I want to see Senor Solomao."

Ginsburg's heart quailed within him. He had escaped the bandit in the early morning only to be tracked down at midnight! Thinking his end had come he fell on his knees and prayed for strength to give a good testimony in death as he had endeavored to in life. He stepped into the adjoining room where the visitor was waiting.

"Do you know who I am and why I have come here?" asked the bandit.

"Yes, you are Captain Antonio Silvino and you have been hired to kill me," replied Ginsburg.

"That is true," the bandit muttered.

Ginsburg closed his eyes and breathed a fervent prayer on behalf of his wife and children, whom he never expected to see again. At length the bandit chief looked up and, with tears and genuine admiration said: "The monk said you were a wicked, dangerous person and gave me money to kill you. Early this morning you spoke to me so kindly I decided not to shoot you at once but to find out more about you. I was present in disguise at the meeting tonight while you were singing and praying and preaching. Sir, I know now that you are doing a good work and I will not kill you. I had rather kill the man who told me such lies about you."

They talked and prayed the rest of the night. The bandit chief, who had killed sixty-six persons, was converted and the transformation in his life became the talk of the entire region. A reporter for a paper went to interview him and disgustedly reported: "All Antonio Silvino will talk about is the Bible and the Baptists." "It is simply wonderful," wrote Ginsburg, "what the Lord can do for a poor, degraded penitent sinner. The blood of Jesus is still efficacious and saves unto the uttermost."

After a month of travel he reached home and found a letter from a group of women in Americus, Georgia, saying: "Dear Brother Ginsburg, In our missionary meeting today we felt led to offer special prayers to our Heavenly Father to bless you and protect you from all danger." When he looked at the date of the letter, it was the very day he met the celebrated bandit, Antonio Silvino.


From: Blazing the Missionary Trail by Eugene Myers Harrison. Chicago, Ill.: Scripture Press Book Division, c1949.


From: http://www.wholesomewords.org/