by J. Sidlow Baxter

         Away back in the grim old days of slavery, see that emaciated Negro as he waits trembling in a slave market. Soon he is sold to the hardest slave-owner- who ever curled a whip over the bodies of his cringing victims. The servitude is almost un endurably rigorous; the chastisements for default are merciless; the plight of the wretched slave and his fellows is pitiful.  One night he attempts escape, but is dragged back, whereupon his gloating owner decides to inflict exemplary punishment - a major lashing such as almost always means death to the undernourished slaves. In the morning he is tied naked to the whipping-post; the whippers are called; and he is just about to be thrashed before on looking slaves and several white visitors, when a strange thing happens. One of the visitors, a tall, noble-looking gentleman, exclaims, “Stay; you cannot whip that poor slave so brutally; he will die!” The slave-owner, little dreaming what is to follow, glares and retorts, "Then die he shall, 'unless you, brave sir, will take his punishment.”' The handsome stranger steps forward. “You have committed yourself,” he says to the wicked owner. “Free the slave, and I will take the lashing .”  He bares his back to the smiters;   his body quivers under the lashes; but he endures manfully until the last two strokes,  when he sinks to the ground, lacerated, bleeding, exhausted.

There is more to follow, however.  Imagine our slave's increasing astonishment when, some days later, he is summoned  before his master, who says, “You are my slave no longer.  That man who suffered for you has paid such a price to free you that I cannot keep you any longer. Go. You are free.”

Nor is even that all; for on going out the freed slave is intercepted by a messenger from his amazing benefactor, with new clothing and good food, and a message that all the money he can require has been deposited for him at a central bank.

But the climax comes when, on enquiring at the bank, he learns the name of his wonderful deliverer- and succourer. He is a king's son;  is incalculably rich; is the freer of many, many other suffering slaves; is so upright and noble, so strong yet so humble, so unselfish, gracious and kindly, so understanding and individually sympathetic, that all his great household love him, and find him ever more lovable the more they know him. 

Well, is it surprising that the consuming passion of our liberated slave is now to traverse the hundreds of miles, whatever the hazards may be, if only he may get to his benign benefactor, fall at his feet, look up into his face, become his willing bondservant, then enjoy knowing him, loving him, serving him for ever? Is it surprising that he wants to ever in his noble rescuer’s presence, looking into that wise, kind, gracious countenance, knowing him face-to-face, and even heart-to-heart?

Does my little parable seem far-fetched or over-drawn? Is not that noble benefactor who suffered in the slave's place, and bought his freedom, & provided for his needs, & became so dear to him, my own divine Savior, the Lord Jesus?


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