He redeemed me! He redeemed me! He redeemed me!
(The Preacher's Book, 1885)
The tears of a slave girl just going to be put up for sale, drew the notice of a gentleman as he passed through the auction mart of a southern slave state. The other slaves of the same group, standing in a line, for sale like herself, did not seem to care about it — while each knock of the hammer made her shiver.
The gentleman stopped to ask why she wept, and was told that the others were used to such things, and might even be glad for a change from a hard, harsh master — but that she had been brought up with much kindness by a good owner, and she was terrified to think who might buy her.
"What is her price?" the stranger asked. He stood a moment in deep thought when he heard the greatness of the ransom, but paid it nevertheless.
But no joy came to the poor slave girl's face when he told her that she was free. She had been born a slave, and knew not what freedom meant. Her tears fell fast on the signed parchment which her deliverer brought to prove it to her. She only looked at him with fear. At last he prepared to go on his way, and as he told her what she must do when he was gone, it began to dawn on her what freedom was.
With sudden joy, she cried out, "I will follow him! I will serve him all my days!" And to every reason urged against it, she only cried, "He redeemed me! He redeemed me! He redeemed me!"
When strangers afterwards visited that master's house, and noticed, as all did, the loving, constant service of the glad-hearted girl, and asked why she was so eager with unbidden service night and day — she had but one answer, and she loved to give it: "He redeemed me! He redeemed me!"
So may it be with us. When any note the joy in our looks, the love in our voice, the freedom of our service — we have but one answer, "He redeemed me!"