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XVI

THE TRULY SENSATIONAL LIFE

“They were all amazed and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.”—Mark ii. 12.

WHAT made them talk in this way? What had happened? A paralysed man had found his freedom. He was carrying his bed, the bed on which he had been carried to the Lord. He who was burdensome has become the burden-bearer. There he was, erect, strong and contagiously glad, striding down the street! How can you get over that? Who could miss the force of that happening? It stares upon the crowd like a placard in the street. A miracle of that kind is more than a word, it is a word made flesh. Anybody can see it. It is an incarnate wonder. It is walking about, and every step is a word in the convincing witness. And the crowds were amazed, as well they might be, and they glorified God. If the wonder had ended in 66wonder it might have ended with the day. It would have been as transient as a photographic film which has been brought into the light of the sun. The film which has received the impression requires fixing, and then it becomes secure. And how is a transient wonder to be fixed except in praise? Praise is the soul’s fixing solution, and it gives permanency to ephemeral impressions. These people were amazed, and they glorified God, and thousands of them retained their holy wonder through their life.

Well, now, in some way or other we have to arrest the world’s attention to-day. How can we stir the outside world to wonder and praise? We must first of all arouse their attention. Men’s minds must be compelled to turn their eyes, and look, and think. And how is it to be done? They must be made to see something very extraordinary in the commonplace street. The great constraint must be a thing of life. Out of the Church of Christ must go forth vigorous, healthy men and women, who went in paralysed. There must be the consummate sensation of a transformed and transfigured life. Things must be done in the Church which are 67done nowhere else. The world must be compelled to offer the witness, “we never saw it on this fashion.” Broken things, which nobody could mend, must be seen to be whole again. What can Christ do with broken things? The streets must carry the witness. Lives which were broken and defiled by passion must walk along the streets sweet and whole again. Broken wills must be restored, and men must be seen who were like bending reeds, who are now like iron pillars. Aye, and broken hearts must witness to the wonderful healing power of the Saviour’s love and grace. The world must be compelled to ask, “How did it happen? The man has been broken for years, and look at him now!” That is the kind of sensation which startles and wins, the sensational spectacle of men and women who were once paralysed marching along the streets as to the beat of drums.

We must pray for the multiplication of these living witnesses. Let every Church pray that there may be in its midst a well-known Lazarus, whom Christ has raised from the dead, and it may be that the crowd will go to “see Lazarus also whom He raised 68from the dead.” Let the Church of the living God, through the power of His mighty grace, multiply its miracles of healing. Let us send out epistles which can be read by anybody and everybody, epistles which wayfaring men, though fools, will be able to understand. These are the real sensations, and they are the only sensations we need to seek.

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