Sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind.
Sunday School Times.
At the death of Queen Mary of England, several Protestants were in the prisons awaiting martyrdom. Who can tell their joy when it was announced that the tyrant was dead and they were free! But what is deliverance from a bodily persecutor in comparison with the deliverance of a soul from the bonds of Satan? Jesus Christ comes as a conqueror to destroy the works of the devil; at His word the bonds of Satan's captives fall from them, and they are free.
Whenever a man is changed, as this demoniac was, the greatest change that ever can happen in this world takes place — the transformation of a man from a life of vulgarity, of passion, of appetite, of selfishness, of pride, and his translation into a new life, in which purity, truth, and love are the controlling elements. As God looks upon it in its bearings and relations to the eternal existence, there is no change that ever takes place, no change created by skill, no change in aesthetic art, so great and beautiful as this. It is taking place. The wonders of creation are not in Niagara, nor in the Mammoth Cave, nor on the stormy ocean. The wonders of creation are silent. All the thunder of the storm has not in it the power of one blade of grass. All the winds that rock the oak, and make it groan, are not to be compared in power with the suction that is going on in the roots of that one single oak. The powers of nature are silent; and the transformation of men from lower and vulgar conditions of mind into higher and spiritual conditions are the marvels, as God looks upon them. They are the marvels of power in this world; and not all the creations of Phidias, of Praxiteles, of Canova, or of Ward in our modern day; not all that Titian could do, not all that Raphael could do, not all that the great masters on canvas could do, in any age since the world began, can compare with it. These are thin and superficial pictures; they are nothing but a suggestion of what it is when a man is translated from the power of sin and Satan into the kingdom of light and glory. The earth ought to shake, and every string in heaven ought to quiver, with the outblown joy. It does; for there is more joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth than over ninety and nine persons that need no repentance.
The august terror of the one experience, and the sweet beauty of the other, are almost that which we see in some days of summer. The clouds bring forth their thunder and their lightning, and the whole earth shakes and quivers at the awful power which the sweeping tempest exhibits. But it sweeps on; the clouds roll away; the thunder grows lower and lower, and more and more distant; the sun breaks through; every tree and shrub is apparelled in jewels; the birds begin to sing; and the bright blue overarches the whole heavens. As between the terror of the storm and the clearing up of the storm there is an analogy of beauty, certainly, with this terrible experience of the demoniac in the tombs, and his sitting at the feet of Christ sweet as a newborn child.
A young man, an apprentice in an extensive tin factory in Massachusetts, who had been very profligate, but was converted by reading a religious tract, having applied for admission into a church, the minister called on his master to inquire whether any change had been wrought in his conduct, and whether he had any objection to his reception. When the minister had made the customary inquiries, his master, with evident emotion, though he was not a professor of religion, replied in substance as follows: Pointing to an iron chain hanging up in the room, "Do you see that chain?" said he. "That chain was forged for W — . I was obliged to chain him to the bench by the week together, to keep him at work. He was the worst boy I had in the whole establishment. No punishment seemed to have any salutary influence upon him. I could not trust him out of my sight. But now, sir, he is completely changed — he has really become like a lamb. He is one of my best apprentices. I would trust him with untold gold. I have no objection to his being received into communion. I wish all my boys were prepared to go with him."
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