7 Quotes From David Livingstone

The Daring Heart Of David Livingstone by Jay Milbrandt is an amazing account of this man’s heroic and history-altering life. Check out my full book review by clicking here. Below are a few quotes that Milbrandt shared in his biography. 

“It is something to be a follower, however feeble, in the wake of the great Teacher and only model missionary that ever appeared among men.” —David Livingstone 

“People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger now and then with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice.” —David Livingstone 

“I shall hold myself in readiness to go anywhere, provided it be forward. … Our duty is to go forward … I have observed that people who have sat long waiting have sat long enough before they saw any indication to go.” —David Livingstone 

“As they are experts with the spear I don’t know how it missed, except that he was too sure of his aim and the good hand of God was upon me.” —David Livingstone, after surviving two spears thrown at him during an ambush 

“The Gospels reveal Jesus, the manifestation of the blessed God over all as minute in His care of all. He exercises a vigilance more constant, complete, and comprehensive, every hour and every minute, over each of His people than their utmost selflove could ever attain. His tender love is more exquisite than a mother’s heart can feel.” —David Livingstone 

“If the good Lord permits me to put a stop to the enormous evils of the inland slave-trade, I shall not grudge my hunger and toils. I shall bless His name with all my heart. The Nile sources are valuable to me only as a means of enabling me to open my mouth with power among men. It is this power I hope to apply to remedy an enormous evil [in the East African slave trade]. Men may think I covet fame, but I make it a rule never to read aught written in my praise.” —David Livingstone 

“I am a missionary, heart and soul. God had an only Son, and He was a missionary and a physician. A poor, poor imitation I am or wish to be. In this service I hope to live, in it I wish to die.” —David Livingstone 

The Daring Heart Of David Livingstone (book review)

I’ll be honest: I only knew one small story about David Livingstone prior to reading The Daring Heart Of David Livingstone by Jay Milbrandt, and now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t learn more about this amazing man much earlier! 

Dr. Livingstone was a missionary, a world-renown explorer, and an avid abolitionist. Very rarely have I come across a biography that reads like a novel, but this book is just that! Milbrandt is a brilliant storyteller, and he makes the biography of Livingstone so intriguing that I could scarcely put it down. I love how many of Livingstone’s personal letters and diary entries are included in this book, as it almost makes it feel more like a memoir or autobiography. 

Dr. Livingstone first went to Africa as a missionary but then gained fame as an explorer, becoming the first man to traversing Africa on foot—from the Atlantic coast to the Indian Ocean. He wrote a book about these travels (including the people he met, the animal and plant life he observed, and the stories of the dangers he faced), which gave him celebrity status in England. So much so that when he wanted to return to Africa, both the London Missionary Society and the Royal Geographical Society wanted to be his sending agency. 

Livingstone desperately wanted to see the end of slavery on the African continent, and returned to Africa with that sole focus burning in his heart. Along the way, he met with massive struggles—some self-imposed and some unavoidable in the harsh environment of interior Africa. Yet through all of these hardships, Livingstone repulsed at the idea that anything he ever went through could be called a sacrifice, stating emphatically: “I never made a sacrifice!” 

Milbrandt writes, “Livingstone died perhaps believing he had failed in every aspect. Yet, in the few short years after his death, everything Livingstone had worked for had come to fruition.” Including the complete eradication of the foul slave trade across the African continent. 

What an amazing example for leaders to aspire to follow today! 

(Tomorrow I will share some quotes from David Livingstone that you won’t want to miss!) 

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