from “The Poor Man’s Portions” by Robert Hawker
“Sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind.”-Luke 8:35.
Look at this man, my soul, and see whether you can find any resemblance to yourself. Before he heard the voice of Jesus, he was under the possession of the evil spirit. It is said of him that he wore no clothes. He dwelled in no house, but abode among the tombs. He was cutting himself with stones. No man could tame him, neither fetters nor chains bind him. Poor miserable creature!
And yet, my soul, was not this a true picture of your state, and indeed, of every man’s state by nature? Had not Satan full possession of your heart and affections, my soul, before you became savingly acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ? Did he not lead you in the pursuit and gratification of your lusts and pleasure at his will? You might truly be said to wear no clothes; for you were so far from having on the garment of Jesus’ righteousness. In those days of your unregenerate life, you were living in the shame of your nakedness and in the filth of your nature. You did not dwell in the house of God, nor even delight to go in. And, just as this poor creature lived among the dead, so you lived with creatures like yourself, dead in trespasses and sins. And as this miserable man was wounding himself with stones, so were you; for your daily commission of sin was giving wounds to your soul, infinitely more alarming than the wounds he gave his body. And could no chains or fetters be found strong enough to bind him? So neither did all the solemn commands and threatening judgments of God’s holy law act with the least restraint upon your ungoverned passions.
Pause, my soul, over the portrait, and acknowledge how accurate and striking the similarity. Then ask yourself, are you now sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in your right mind? Yes! Like this poor man, have you heard the voice of Jesus, and felt the power of his grace in your heart? If one like the Son of God has set you free, brought you to his fold, opened your ear to discipline, and your heart to grace, then you are free indeed. What do you say, my soul, to these things? Is there this change, this blessed change, from dead works to serving the living and true God? Oh then will not the language of your heart be like Jesus, and his church of old? “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isa 61:10)