Some of the most moving stories of the ancient and the medieval world center around the redemption of those taken captive and held in slavery. On a tombstone in Corsica is an inscription which the person buried there wrote before her death. It reads: "Seafarer from the North, whoever you be, tell Wilhelm Lowenstern in Stralson that you have seen the grave of his wife who was sold into slavery in Africa and then released, and who died here in June, 1698. My son is still in slavery there. Let his father come to deliver him. If he passes by this place, he will find the remains of his Euphrasia."
Later excavation revealed another inscription: "Whoever you be that look within this grave, I know that G. Wachtendonk brought me news of my Euphrasia. I sought my son in Africa and found him dead. I have buried his remains here beside those of his beloved mother."
The medieval theologians, glorying in it, were wont to say that a single drop of the blood of Christ would have sufficed to redeem the whole race of mankind; and that is true, even if love had not driven mercy to the great extreme of the Cross. But this also is true—that if only one soul had been lost, Christ would have given himself and shed all his precious blood to redeem that one soul.
'I know that my Redeemer liveth' was Jenny Lind's, the Swedish Nightingale's, favorite text. The words are inscribed on her tomb at Great Malvern Cemetery. In the 'Messiah' this was the part she loved so passionately to sing. Born in Sweden in 1820, she became the 'queen of song', 'the slim girl with the marvelous voice'. She wrote to Professor Blackie the following words: 'My unceasing prayer is that what I give to my fellows may continue to live on through eternity, and that the Giver of the gift, and not the creature to whom He lent it, may be praised.' Asked why she abandoned the stage at the very height of her success, she replied, laying her finger on the Bible, 'When every day it made me think less of this, what could I do?'
(Ruth 4. 4-6; Job 19. 25; 1 Pet. 1. 18)
His, by reason of Creation:
His, He paid the price for me.
His, through the life-giving Spirit,
His because I want to be.
(1 Cor. 3. 23; 6. 19, 20; 1 Pet. 1. 18; Song of Songs 2. 16)
Secretary Lincoln said that the historic likeness of his father that would go down to posterity was that one in the noble 'Emancipation Group' in Washington where the Martyr-President stands with his outstretched hand above the freed slaves. In the hearts of all Christ's redeemed and in the heavenly anthem Christ Jesus will be enthroned as our Liberator, our Redeemer Who has 'loosed us from our sins in His blood'.
(Eph. 1. 7; Rev. 1. 5; 5. 9)
A little boy worked very hard, and, with a fine piece of wood and some tools, made himself a fine little yacht. He was very proud of it, and used to go to the lake with the other boys who had their yachts also, and sail it on the tranquil waters of the lake near his home. One day it drifted away out of sight, carried by a strong breeze and all the lad's efforts to reach it or even follow it with his eye, were unsuccessful. Some days later, as he was going through the busy street where most of the shops were, he saw the yacht in a shop window. He went in and claimed it as his lost yacht. But in spite of all his claims, and his repeated assertion that he had made it with his own hands, the shopkeeper said, 'If you want it, you must pay for it.' He returned home, counted up his little savings in his money box and found he had just sufficient to meet the cost of the yacht. So he went in and bought it back. 'You're twice mine!' he exclaimed, as he looked thankfully and proudly at his little yacht: 'I made you and I've purchased you.'
(1 Cor. 6. 19, 20)
Richard Coeur de Leon, captured by his treacherous enemy in Europe as he returned from a Crusade in the Holy Land, was thrown into prison. A colossal ransom was demanded for his redemption. The people of England submitted to heavy taxation and paid willingly, and many rich nobles contributed large sums, that their king might be set free. Hence the term—`a king's ransom'—is used to connote a tremendous amount of money.
Another Crusader, Sir Grimbald, was captured by the Saracens and held to ransom. To emancipate him and redeem him from death, his beautiful wife willingly gave the ransom price his captors demanded—her lily-white right hand.
(Job 33. 24; 1 Tim. 2. 5, 6; 1 Pet. 1. 18)
If Jesus ne'er had paid the debt,
We ne'er had been at freedom set.—Hart
Jesus, spotless Lamb of God,
Thou hast bought me with thy blood;
I would value nought beside
The story is told of a gentleman visiting a slave market, who was deeply touched by the mental agony of a slave-girl, who had been delicately reared and feared that she should fall into the hands of a rough master. The gentleman inquired her price, paid it to the slave-trader, then placed the bill of sale in her own hands, telling her that she was free, and could now go home. The slave-girl could not realize the change at first, but, running after her redeemer cried, "He has redeemed me! he has redeemed me! Will you let me be your servant?" How much more should we serve Him who has redeemed us from sin, death, and hell?—Selected