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What dictated to the noble Greek, or the noble Roman, the idea of making a vessel wherein to enclose the sacred dew of friendship and of love? Perhaps it was the Great Author of natural affection, whom David knew ; whom the heathen groped after.
What stress of circumstance, or pressure of misfortune, forced from the heart of the son of Jesse, those tears that he would have deposited in the sacred vial of God's remembrance ? They were tears of godly sorrow, we may be sure, not of the sorrow of the world. Nathan, the messenger of God, was more likely to draw them forth, than Cushi, that messenger of men, who told him that Absalom was slain.
Charge him not with selfishness, for every individual man should uncover the fountain of his sorrows, and give vent to tears, when the thought and feeling of his sinfulness drive him to his God in prayer.
It is my wish to urge each one of you, myself, to make the words of the Psalmist a prayer, that we can severally use, and to this end, bear in mind these two things—God's sympathy, and thy sinfulness.
No prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation; and when David, or any other inspired writer, unrolls the prophecy of his experience, if I may speak of it thus, all across the centuries, through multitudes of souls, it finds manifold fulfilment; it wakes up
echo upon echo, until the whole land of Christendom is full of sweet sounds of sacred symphonies. The words of the text, for instance, penitent sinner, seem to be alive,
and, acting like a ministering spirit, carries you across the land of your experience, and pointing here, says“ Your first tears of godly sorrow were shed in this place ;” and pointing there, whispers, “you lost such a one there, and wrung your hands, and wept sadly, but God your Father gave you comfort.” But I will not enlarge. Would that everyone in this little assembly, knew what pleasure there is in pouring out tears unto God!
Man is part of God's family. We are His offspring. How the other members of His family fare, in the other worlds, we know not. We fare well. We are attended to, strangely, graciously. Creation and Redemption compass us about. The wonderful house that He hath built for us—this body, and this world. The meat of our table— bread that perisheth, and bread that perisheth not.
Our ministers in constant attendance-angels sent from heaven. And the ascent by which we go up to the house of the Lord (Jerusalem which is above) prayers, sermons, Holy Scripture, and many other steps. Oh, what a wise, and loving, and glorious Father we have !
Do you say these are tokens of prosperity, and we are children of adversity and sorrow? Well then, listen to the record of His character—" Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. He knoweth our frame, He remembereth that we are but dust.” We chide one another. harsh and uncharitable in our dealings together. One
while with envy, another while with pride, we look here and there. But not so our Heavenly Father, His name is love ; and as His name, so is He.
Do you say—“This may be true as regards others; this may apply to the whole body corporate of His elect people, but I cannot realize the truth to me individually ?" What! not when the blessed Saviour has told the story of grace, in so touching a way, bringing it home to every individual, who sheds tears of true repentance ?" When he” (the prodigal son,
was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion on him, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” Will God our Father in heaven, be outdone by a man, our father on earth ? Impossible. He will embrace you in the arms of His mercy. He will forgive your backsliding, and love you freely.
But I see you are bent on raising objections. “If God be Love, and full of sympathy," you say, “how can He suffer His children to go through such terrible sorrow as they do go through in this world ?" Oh, my brethren, is there not a cause ? If you never suffered, you would never be saved. Sin, that canker of our nature, cannot possibly be removed, without using the knife of discipline. If then you suffer in this world that you might not suffer in the next, you may surely regard suffering as a sign of Love and Grace. Yes! “ Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." Moreover, “We have had fathers of the flesh, which
corrected us, and we gave them reverence, shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of our spirits and live ?"
The worst servants we can possibly have to wait upon us, are Pride, Fulness of bread, and Abundance of idleness. Adversity lays siege to the body, but Prosperity to the soul. The one must come down sooner or later, the other need not. God is a Spirit, and embraceth our spirits with Mercy and Grace.
And have you still another objection, and do you say because He is a Spirit you know not where to find Him; or how to be sure that He careth for you? Once again, let me take you by the hand. God was manifest in the flesh. God was in Christ Jesus is
God.” Son of Man. The Saviour. The Babe at Bethlehem; the Carpenter at Nazareth; the prophet at Jerusalem-your eyes may see ; your hands may handle ;
what more do you want? Look at the widow's son, or go to the tomb of Lazarus. See the multitudes at eventide, with all their sick. Or watch the ripples of the pool of Bethesda. Or stand on the brow of the mount of Olives. to the garden. But, I speak as a fool. The sympathy of Jesus is patent to the whole world. Oh, yes ! In all thy afflictions He is afflicted. He hath been in all points tempted like as we.
He is able to succour them that are tempted. See the sympathy of the Father beaming from the human features of His
very God of
only-begotten Son. Behold the great High-Priest with love for the Urim aud Thummim of His breastplate !
You need not be afraid, in hours of solitary misery, to make known your complaint unto God. You may turn to Him at all times. He is
Father. He careth for you; feeleth for you ; loveth you. Weep not; or, if you needs must weep, turn to Him,
“ Put Thou my tears into Thy bottle !" And as for the fountain of Thy tears, surely it will be great, springing from the rock of thy sinfulness.
The original bent and bias of our nature we cannot help. We had no control over our shaping in iniquity, and our mother conceiving us in sin ; but even these things, beyond the pale of our will, force tears from us on reflection, for God made man upright, and the untoward lucklessness that bid him seek out numerous inventions constrains the race to tears. It had been a sunny place, this world of ours, had not sin come in to cloud our happiness. Original sin, our nature's ugliness, we cannot alter, yet we are forced to weep.
The sins of infirmity; the sins of wilfulness, that, all the way up from childhood until now, have thronged our pathway, these surely must make the fountain of our tears to overflow. Are you not conscious of them ? Is not the remembrance of them grievous unto you, the burden intolerable? Times, places, persons, things, have been soiled by the defilements of thy sins. Bid your memory look back on them. Oh,