Back of the platform of Faneuil Hall, Boston, stands a large painting of Webster's debate with Hayne, inscribed, "Union and Liberty, one and inseparable, now and forever." I was present when old General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once made an address in Faneuil Hall. His peroration was dramatic. Turning to the painting, he cried, "'Union and liberty' — union with Christ and liberty from sin—'one and inseparable, now and forever."' The one safeguard against sin's thralldom is union with the living Christ. There is no spiritual liberty apart from this union.—Teacher's Quarterly.
Herod could incarcerate John the Baptist and finally behead him, but John was free while his captor was a slave although he was called King; Nero was the slave while Paul was God's free man shouting, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me," in a Roman prison. King James could imprison that humble tinker, John Bunyan, for preaching, on the streets of Bedford, a great spiritual emancipation; but Bunyan was free in a soul that reveled in spiritual visions and delights. Madame Guyon was imprisoned in the lonely Bastille but she sang:
"Stone walls do not a prison make
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
These for a hermitage;
When I am free within my heart
And in my soul am free
Angels alone that soar above
Enjoy such liberty."
This is the true freedom that lives under the compulsion of love. Brother, are you really free not only as a citizen of America but of that Heavenly Country? Or are you under the dominion of sin, compelled to give way to evil tempers and lusts—a servant of Romans 7th experience? If so move over into the 8th chapter and shout, "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus bath made me free from the law of sin and death." —Gospel Herald.
Booker T. Washington, in his book, Up from Slavery, describes the scenes among the blacks on the night of the proclamation of their freedom.
"There was no sleep that night," he says. "All was excitement and expectancy. Early in the morning we were all sent for. The proclamation was read and we were told that we were free and could go when and where we pleased. ... There was great rejoicing, followed by wild scenes of ecstasy. But," he goes on to say, "the wild rejoicing did not last long. By the time the colored people had returned to their cabins, there was a marked change in their feelings. The great responsibility of being free seemed to take possession of them. It was very much like suddenly turning a youth of ten or twelve out into the world to provide for himself. Within a few minutes the wild rejoicing ceased and a feeling of deep gloom seemed to pervade the slave quarters. Now that they were liberated, they found possession of freedom to be much more serious business than they had anticipated."—Selected.
James H. McConkey relates a very helpful incident, bearing upon this question.
"Shortly after the Civil War a Northern woman came the South to visit some friends. She stopped at a little wayside hotel for entertainment. There she was waited on by a colored woman who had been a slave. The service was careless, listless, and inattentive. As this went on, the Northern woman became nettled. Finally she burst out with: `Auntie, is this the way you treat people who have set you free?' The woman made no reply but left the room. By and by she returned. Her whole demeanor was changed. Her figure was erect, her eyes were flashing, and her voice was full of tears as she cried out with great emotion, `Oh, Missus, is we free? Is we really free?' The Emancipation Proclamation had really set her free. But she was as much a slave as though that document had never been issued. For she had not believed it. Her failure of faith meant failure of freedom. Multitudes of Christians are in the same plight."—Way of Victory.
One reason many have never realized their bondage to sin may seem very paradoxical, but it is, nevertheless, very true. It is because they have never tried to get free. There is a yard where a dog is heavily chained. The dog, however, is fast asleep, and so he does not realize his bondage. Later on we may even notice the dog eating his food, still chained, but as the food is close to the kennel his chain is not irksome, and he is thus still unconscious of his bondage. But soon comes the owner of the dog, who, forgetting the chain, calls the dog. The animal springs up, eager to reach his master. What happens then? All his efforts are vain, and now for the first time he feels the irksomeness and restraint of his fetters. It is exactly similar with sin. Try to get free, and you feel your bondage.—Dr. W. H. Griffith Thomas.
"The truth," Jesus said, "shall make you free" (John 8:32). On the night of the emancipation of the Jamaica slaves in 1838, a mahogany coffin was made, and a grave was dug. Into that coffin they crowded all the various relics and remnants of their previous bondage and sorrow. The whips, the torture irons, the branding irons, the coarse frocks and shirts, and great hat, fragments of the treadmill, the handcuffs—they placed in the coffin and screwed down the lid. At the stroke of midnight the coffin was lowered into its grave: and then the whole of that throng of thousands celebrated their redemption from thralldom by singing the Doxology! It is a picture of the Christian's buried past.—The Daum.
"I wholly disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it."—Voltaire.
Madame Guyon wrote while in prison in France for her Saviour's sake. This cultured, refined, educated, and (until smitten with smallpox) exceedingly beautiful woman spent ten years of her life in different French prisons from 1695 to 1705. Here are her words:
"My cage confines me round;
Abroad I cannot fly;
But though my wing is closely bound
My heart's at liberty.
My prison walls cannot control
The flight, the freedom of the soul.
"Oh, it is good to soar
These bolts and bars above,
To Him whose purpose I adore,
Whose Providence I love;
And in Thy mighty will to find
The joy, the freedom of the mind."—Selected.