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Many of you will be familiar with the name of Leonardo da Vinci. You will remember that he was a painter, sculptor and carver, and that his works still delight thousands. Perhaps you may have seen photographs and prints of some of his famous pictures.
The painter lived in Milan, one of the grand old cities of Italian story; the people there still tell the tale of his life among them. In his time, one corner of the quaint marketplace was occupied by dealers selling cages of beautiful birds, caught in the wide forests of Italy or freshly stolen from the nest. Day by day Leonardo walked down the street to the marketplace, and he might be found in that corner, buying from the dark-eyed lads their frightened, fluttering prisoners.
These ragged, bare-footed boys used to watch for his coming and nudge one another, as the “crazy painter” came in sight, certain of a ready sale for their birds. No matter how many he bought one day, the next he always wanted more.
“What can he want them for?” they asked, and perhaps so do you.
Let us follow him, as he makes his way through the thronged marketplace, with his arms full of cages, and cages slung on his back. The chattering people smile and point after him, as he passes out of sight. On he goes, until he reaches the pleasant field and hedges, and then, oh! so tenderly, so gently, with a beautiful joy shining on his face, he opens every cage and sets the birds free!
The summer air is filled with happy trilling and bird music, as the birds, wild with delight at their freedom, mount upward in the blue sky. Leonardo da Vinci stands watching them with pleasure, and an echo of their joy is in his own heart.
We cannot help admiring the great painter in this lowly work of love to God’s creatures.
We may see in his act a picture of God’s wonderful gospel. God Himself is the Great Artist and Sculptor of the Universe. He sees poor souls caught in the snares of Satan and caged by sin, and He pities them with a great pity. The Lord Jesus Christ, His beloved Son, died to redeem these souls. Now He says, “Ye are bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20), and that price was His own life, laid down for them. And what He loves is to set prisoned souls free.
He came to break the captive’s chains,
To set the prisoners free.
Are you tied and bound with the chain of your sins? Do you long to be free from the power of sin and Satan? The Lord Jesus can set you free! He, and He alone, can open your prison door! Listen!
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
Believe that Jesus has died to purchase you; let Him undo your chains; then let your heart sing out His praises in the sunshine of His love, as the birds caroled in the bright, blue heavens. A saved soul is a happy soul!
Who would not live for Jesus,
Rejoicing, glad and free?
The music of a ransomed life
Is what He asks of thee!
“IF THE SON THEREFORE SHALL MAKE YOU FREE, YE SHALL BE FREE INDEED” (John 8:36).