Page images

success, that he sits down despondingly, as did the captive Jews by the streams of Babylon, when they hung their harps on the willows.

Thus was David discouraged ;

“ for there was “ long war between the house of Saul and the “ house of David ; and though the house of David “ waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of “ Saul waxed weaker and weaker; yet he said, I “ shall now one day perish by the hand of mine “ enemy.” In the war we wage with inbred corruption and evil around us; a war in which there is no discharge; our efforts and resistance are like the labors of the weeping husbandman; we proceed, but our exertions are enervated by fear; our previous toil appears in vain; our enemy triumphs over us; we wishfully look back to Egypt, to Babylon, and almost desire our former bondage; but soon does the consolatory influence of this sweet promise revive our drooping spirits. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; for though I fall I shall rise again : the Lord will be a light to me. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.

“ Now I complain, and groan, and die,

" While sin and Satan reign;
“ Now raise my songs of triumph higlı;

“ For grace prevails again.”

By this I know that thou favorest me, because my enemy hath not triumphed over me.

3. But there are other causes of tears which are alas! of far too frequent recurrence in a religious life -the result of backsliding from God; such tears as Peter shed when he went out and wept bitterly. The grief of heart then endured, is considerably greater than on any former occasion. “The agonies “ of a sinner in the first pangs of his repentance, “ are not to be mentioned in the same day with 6 those of a backslider in heart, when he comes to “ be filled with his own ways.

*** He looks on Him whom he has pierced, and mourns as one mourneth for an only son; he is in bitterness, as one that mourneth for her first-born. The penitential psalms of David, well express this intolerable anguish of spirit" deep calleth unto deep at the “ noise of God's water-spouts; all thy waves and thy billows go over me.”

Then does the enemy exult, when the justly offended Father frowns ; “ as with a sword in my bones, mine enemies re“ proach me, while they say daily unto me, Where “ is thy God?” This is, indeed, the hour and power of darkness; the taste of this wormwood and gall is never forgotten; yet even these sorrows are succeeded by joy. There may be some painful de

* Dóddridge's Rise and Progress, Chap. xxiii. sec. l.

[ocr errors]



lay; but at the appointed hour, the message of mercy from the risen Saviour, shall be sent to the penitent Peter; urged by sorrow for sin, abhorrence of self, and love to the wounded friend of sinners, he hastens to Galilee-there to see Him whose wrath is righteously deserved, and to whom he intends to prefer the only prayer that suits his case—“ Correct me, but not in anger; chasten me, “ but not in thy hot displeasure; if thou hast no “ delight in me—*

the rest is lost in the heavy accents of woe, the loud gushing of tears, the sobs and sighs of overwhelming misery; but I will hear what God the Lord will speak, he will speak peace unto this man, this poor man who cried and the Lord heard him. O the depths of the riches both of the mercy and the wisdom of God! His thoughts are not as our thoughts, nor are his ways as our ways.

As far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us : he casts our sins behind his back; when sought for they are not found; he restores to us the joys of his salvation; he maketh our broken bones to rejoice: where sin abounds grace does more abound.

“ He that sows in tears shall reap “ in joy.” He now returns bringing his ample sheaves with him.

4. Tears of sympathy are likewise shed by the truly pious. Tutored in the school of adversity, they weep with those who weep; the sufferings of their brethren are their own; when one member suffers, all the others suffer with it; the private woes of Job are shared by his personal friends; nor shall these precious seeds be lost, at the fair and approaching harvest He who wept with the bereaved and disconsolate family at Bethany, that house of affliction, shall say,

“ Inasmuch as ye - thus acted to mine, ye did it unto me."

The calamities of the Church universal, call for tears; and why should not our countenances be sad, when the Holy City lieth waste? How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land. "If I forget thee, “ 0. Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cun

ning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue “ cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not “ Jerusalem above my chief joy."* And with these views and feelings, is there not reason to weep? The indifference of many professors; the decayed graces of the upright; the defection of the insincere, and the indisposition of the children to supply the place of their pious fathers --induces many to adopt the words of the weeping Prophet : “ O that my head were waters, and mine eyes a 6 fountain of tears, that I might weep day and “ night for the slain of the daughter of my peoof thy

* Psalm cxxxvii. 5, 6.

“ ple !"* And shall these tears be lost ? No; they are gathered by Jehovah and put into his bottle. Soon shall the waste places of Zion be restored, for thus saith the Lord, O thou af“ ficted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted! “ behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, “ and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I “ will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates " of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant “ stones. And all thy children shall be taught of “ the Lord; and great shall be the peace “ children.”+ And then shall be brought to pass, that which is written; “ for as the rain cometh “ down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth “ not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh • it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to “ the sower, and bread to the eater; so shall my “ word be that goeth forth out of my mouth : it « shall not return unto me void ; but it shall ac“ complish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye

shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace : " the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the “ field shall clap their hands."

Tears of sympathy are also shed for the world

* Jer. ix. 1. + Isaiah, liv. 11, 12, 13. lv. 10, 11, 12.

« PreviousContinue »