Healing for the Wounded
"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."—Psalm 147:3
The next verse finely declares the power of God. "He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them by their names." Perhaps there is nothing which gives us a nobler view of the greatness of God than a contemplation of the starry heavens. When by night we lift up our eyes and behold him who hath created all these things; when we remember that he bringeth out their host by number, calleth them all by their names, and that by the greatness of his power not one falleth, then indeed we adore a mighty God, and our soul naturally falls prostrate in reverential awe before the throne of him who leads the host of heaven, and marshals the stars in their armies. But the Psalmist has here placed another fact side by side with this wondrous act of God; he declares that the same God who leadeth the stars, who telleth the number of them, and calleth them by their names, healeth the broken in heart and bindeth up their wounds. The next time you rise to some idea of God, by viewing the starry floor of his magnificent temple above, strive to compel your contemplation to this thought, that the same mighty hand which rolls the stars along, puts liniments around the wounded heart; that the same being who spoke worlds into existence, and now impels those ponderous globes through their orbits, does in his mercy cheer the wounded, and heal the broken in heart.
We will not delay you by a preface, but will come at once to the two thoughts: first, here is a great ill—a broken heart; and secondly, a great mercy—"he healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."
Man is a double being: he is composed of body and soul, and each of the portions of man may receive injury and hurt. The wounds of the body are extremely painful, and if they amount to a breaking of the frame the torture is singularly exquisite. Yet God has in his mercy provided means whereby wounds may be healed and injuries repaired. The soldier who retires from the battle-field, knows that he shall find a hand to extricate the shot, and certain ointments and liniments to heal his wounds. We very speedily care for bodily diseases; they are too painful to let us slumber in silence: and they soon urge us to seek a physician or a surgeon for our healing. Oh, if we were as much alive to the more serious wounds of our inner man; if we were as deeply sensible of spiritual injuries, how earnestly should we cry to "the Beloved Physician," and how soon should we prove his power to save. Stabbed in the most vital part by the hand of our original parent, and from head to foot disabled by our own sin, we yet remain insensible as steel, careless and unmoved, because, though our wounds are known they are not felt. We should count that soldier foolish, who would be more anxious to repair a broken helmet than an injured limb. Are not we even more to be condemned, when we give precedence to the perishing fabric of the body, and neglect the immortal soul? You, however, who have broken hearts, can no longer be insensible; you have felt too acutely to slumber in indifference. Your bleeding spirit cries for consolation: may my glorious Master give me a word in season for you. We intend to address you upon the important subject of broken hearts, and the great healing provided for them.
I. Let us commence with THE GREAT ILL—a broken heart. What is it? We reply, there are several forms of a broken heart. Some are what we shall call naturally broken, and some are spiritually so. We will occupy a moment by mentioning certain forms of this evil, naturally considered; and verily our task would be a dreary one, if we were called upon to witness one tithe of the misery endured by those who suffer from a broken heart.
There have been hearts broken by desertion. A wife has been neglected by her husband who was once the subject of her attachment, and whom even now she tenderly loves. Scorned and despised by the man who once lavished upon her every token of his affection, she has known what a broken heart means. A friend is forsaken by one upon whom he leaned, to whose very soul he was knit, so that their two hearts had grown into one; and he feels that his heart is broken, for the other half of himself is severed from him. When Ahithophel forsakes David, when the kind friend unto whom we have always told our sorrows betrays our confidence, the consequence may possibly be a broken heart. The desertion of a man by his fellows, the ingratitude of children to their parents, the unkindness of parents to their children, the betrayal of secrets by a comrade, the changeableness and fickleness of friends, with other modes of desertion which happen in this world, have brought about broken hearts. We know not a more fruitful source of broken hearts than disappointment in the objects of our affections—to find that we have been deceived where we have placed our confidence. It is not simply that we leaned upon a broken reed, and the reed has snapped—that were bad enough—but in the fall we fell upon a thorn which pierced our hearts to its center. Many have there been who have gone to their graves, not smitten by disease, not slain by the sword, but with a far direr wound that the sword could ever give, a more desperate death than poison could ever cause. May you never know such agony.
We have also seen hearts broken by bereavement. We have known tender wives who have laid their husbands in the tomb, and who have stood by the grave-side until their very heart did break for solitary anguish. We have seen parents bereaved of their beloved offspring one after another; and when they have been called to hear the solemn words,"Earth to earth, dust to dust, ashes to ashes," over the last of their children, they have turned away from the grave, bidding adieu to joy, longing for death, and abhorring life. To such the world becomes a prison, cheerless, cold, unutterably miserable. The owl and bittern seem alone to sympathize with them, an aught of joy in the wide world appears to be but intended as a mockery to their misery. Divine grace, however, can sustain them even here.
How frequently might this be supposed to occur to our brave countrymen engaged in the present war. Do not they feel, and feel acutely, the loss of their comrades? You will perhaps imagine that the slaughter and death around them prevent the tender feelings of nature. You are enough mistaken, if so you dream. The soldier's heart may never know fear, but it has not forgotten sympathy. The fearful struggle around renders it impossible to pay the usual court and homage at the gates of sorrow, but there is more of real grief ofttimes in the hurried midnight funeral than in the flaunting pageantry of your pompous processions. Were it in our power to walk among the tents, we should find abundant need to use the words of our
Oh, ye mourners! seek ye a balm for your wounds—let me proclaim it unto you. Ye are not ignorant of it, I trust, but let me apply that in which you already place your confidence. The God of heaven knows your sorrows, repair you to his throne, and tell your simple tale of woe. Then cast your burden on him, he will bear it—open your heart before him, he will heal it. Think not that you are beyond hope. You would be if there were no God of love and pity; but while Jehovah lives, the mourner need not despair.
Penury has also contributed its share to the number of the army of misery. Pinching want, a noble desire to walk erect, without the crutch of charity, and inability to obtain employment, have at times driven men to desperate measures. Many a goodly cedar hath withered for lack of moisture, and so hath many a man pined away beneath the deprivations of extreme poverty. Those who are blessed with sufficiency can scarcely guess the pain endured by the sons of want, especially if they have once been rich. Yet, oh! child of suffering, be thou patient, God has not passed thee over in his providence. Feeder of sparrows, he will also furnish you with what you need. Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever. Take up arms against a sea of troubles, and your opposition shall yet end your distresses. There is One who careth for you. One eye is fixed on you, even in the home of your destitution, one heart beats with pity for your woes, and a hand omnipotent shall yet stretch you out the needed help. The darkest cloud shall yet scatter itself in its season, the blackest gloom shall have its morning. He, if thou art one of his family, with bands of grace will bind up thy wounds, and heal thy broken heart.
Multiplied also are the cares where disappointment and defeat have crushed the spirits. The soldier fighting for his country may see the ranks broken, but he will not be broken in heart, so long as there remains a single hope for victory. His comrade reels behind him, and he himself is wounded, but with a shout he cries, "On! on!" and scales the ramparts. Sword in hand, still he goes, carrying terror among the foe, himself sustained by the prospect of victory. But let him once hear the shout of defeat where he hoped for triumph; let him know that the banner is stained in the earth, that the eagle has been snatched from the standard; let him once hear it said, "They fly, they fly!" let him see the officers and soldiers flying in confusion; let him be well assured that the most heroic courage and the most desperate valor are of no avail, then his heart bursteth under a sense of dishonor, and he is almost content to die because the honor of his country has been tarnished, and her glory has been stained in the dust. Of this, the soldiers of Britain know but little—may they speedily carve out a peace for us with their victorious swords! Truly, in the great conflict of life we can bear any thing but defeat. Toils on toils would we endure to climb a summit, but if we must die ere we reach it, that were a brokenness of heart indeed. To accomplish the object on which we have set our minds, we would spend our very heart's blood; but once let us see that our life's purpose is not to be accomplished; let us, when we hope to grasp the crown, see that it is withdrawn, or other hands have seized it, then cometh brokenness of heart. But let us remember, whether we have been broken in heart by penury or by defeat, that there is a hand which "bindeth up the broken in heart, and healeth all their wounds;" that even these natural breakings are regarded by Jehovah, who, in the plenitude of his mercy, giveth a balm for every wound to every one of his people. We need not ask, "Is there no balm in Gilead? is there no physician there?" There is a balm, there is a physician who can heal all these natural wounds, who can give joy to the troubled countenance, take the furrow from the brow, wipe the tear from the eye, remove the agitation from the bosom, and calm the heart now swelling with grief; for he "healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."
But all that we have mentioned of woe and sorrow which the natural heart endures, is not sufficient to explain our text. The heart broken, not by distress or disappointment, but on account of sin, is the heart which God peculiarly delights to heal. All other sufferings may find a fearful center in one breast, and yet the subject of them may be unpardoned and unsaved; but if the heart be broken by the Holy Ghost for sin, salvation will be its ultimate issue, and heaven its result. At the time of regeneration, the soul is subject to an inward work, causing at the time considerable suffering. This suffering does not continue after the soul has learned the preciousness of a Saviour's blood; but while it lasts it produces an effect which is never forgotten in after life. Let none suppose that the pains we are about to describe are the constant companions of an heir of heaven during his entire existence. They are like the torture of a great drunkard at the time of his reformation, rendered needful, not by the reformation, but by his old habits. So this broken heart is felt at the time of that change of which the Bible speaks, when it says: "Except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God." The fruit of the Spirit is afterwards joy and peace; but for a season we must, if saved, endure much mental agony.
Are any of you at the present moment disturbed in mind, and vexed in spirit, because you have violated the commands of God? And are you anxious to know whether these feelings are tokens of genuine brokenness and contrition? Hear me, then, while I briefly furnish you with tests whereby you may discern the truth and value of your repentance.
1. We can not conceive it possible that you are broken in heart if the pleasures of the world are your delight. We may consent to call you amiable, estimable, and honorable, even should you mix somewhat in the amusements of life; but it would be a treason to your common sense to tell you that such things are consistent with a broken heart. Will any venture to assert that you gay reveler has a broken heart? Would he not consider it an insult should you suggest it? Does the libidinous song now defiling the ear proceed from the lips of a broken-hearted sinner? Can the fountain, when filled with sorrow, send forth such streams as these? No, my friends; the wanton, the libidinous, the rioting, and the profane, are too wise to lay claim to the title of broken-hearted persons, seeing that their claim would be palpably absurd. They scorn the name, as mean and paltry, unworthy of a man who loves free living, and counts religion cant.
But should there be one of you so entirely deceived by the evil spirit as to think yourself a partaker in the promises, while you are living in the lusts of the flesh, let me solemnly warn you of your error. He who sincerely repents of sin will hate it, and find no pleasure in it; and during the season when his heart is broken, he will loathe, even to detestation, the very approach of evil. The song of mirth will then be as a dirge in his ear. "As he that poureth vinegar upon niter, so is he that singeth songs to a sad heart." If the man who makes merry with sin be broken-hearted, he must be a prince of hypocrites, for he feigns to be worse than he is. We know right well that the wounded spirit requires other cordials than this world can afford. A soul disturbed by guilt must be lulled to a peaceful rest by other music than carnal pleasures can afford it. The tavern, the house of vice, and the society of the profligate, are no more to be endured by a contrite soul than the jostling of a crowd by a wounded man.
2. Again, we will not for one moment allow that a self-righteous man can have a broken heart. Ask him to pray, and he thanks God that he is every way correct. What need has he to weep because of the iniquity of his life? for he firmly believes himself to be well-deserving, and far enough removed from guilt. He has attended his religious duties; he is exceedingly strict in the form of his devotions; or if he cares not for such things, he is, at any rate, quite as good as those who do. He was never in bondage to any man, but can look to heaven without a tear for his sin. Do not conceive that I am painting an imaginary case, for there are unfortunately too many of these proud, self-exalting men. Will they be angry with me when I tell them that they are no nearer heaven than those whom we reproved a few moments ago? or will they not be equally moved to wrath if I were so much as to hint that they need to be broken in heart for their sin? Nevertheless, such is the case; and Pharisees shall one day learn with terror, that self -righteousness is hateful to God.
But what is a broken heart? I say, first, that a broken heart implies a very deep and poignant sorrow on account of sin. A heart broken—conceive of that. If you could look within and see every thing going on in this great mystery called man, you would marvel at the wonders thereof; but how much more astonished would you be to see its heart not merely divided in twain, but split into atoms. You would exclaim, "What misery must have done this! What a heavy blow must have fallen here!" By nature the heart is of one solid piece, hard as a nether millstone; but when God smites it, it is broken to pieces in deep suffering. Some will understand me when I describe the state of the man who is feeling a sorrow for sin. In the morning he bends his knee in prayer, but he feels afraid to pray. He thinks it is blasphemy for him to venture near God's throne; and when he does pray at all, he rises with the thought: "God can not hear me, for he heareth not sinners." He goes about his business, and is, perhaps, a little diverted; but at every interval the same black thoughts roll upon him: "Thou art condemned already." Mark his person and appearance. A melancholy has rested upon him. At night he goes home, but there is little enjoyment for him in the household. He may smile, but his smile ill conceals the grief which lurks underneath. When again he bends the knee, he fears the shadows of the night; he dreads to be on his bed, lest it should be his tomb; and if he lies awake, he thinks of death, the second death, damnation, and destruction; or if he dreams, he dreams of demons, and flames of hell. He wakes again, and almost feels the torture of which he dreamed. He wishes in the morning it were evening, and at evening it were light. "I loathe my daily food," says he: "I care for nothing; for I have not Christ. I have not mercy, I have not peace." He has set off running on the road to heaven, and he puts his fingers in his ears, and will hear of nothing else. Tell him of a ball or concert!—it is nothing to him. He can enjoy nothing. You might put him in a heaven, and it would be a hell to him. Not the chants of the redeemed, not the hallelujahs of the glorified, not the hymns of flaming cherubs, would charm woe out of this man, so long as he is the subject of a broken heart. Now, I do not say that all must have the same amount of suffering before they arrive at heaven. I am speaking of some who have this especial misery of heart on account of sin. They are utterly miserable. As Bunyan has said: "They are considerably tumbled up and down in their souls." And conceive, that "as the Lord their God liveth, there is but a step between themselves and eternal death." Oh, blessings on the Lord forever! if any of you are in that condition, here is the mercy! Though this wound be not provided for in earthly pharmacy, though there be found no physician who can heal it, yet "he healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." It is a blessing to have a broken heart at all.
Again, when a man has a broken heart, he not only feels sorrow for sin, but he feel himself utterly unable to get rid of it. He who believes himself able to save himself has never known the meaning of a broken heart. Those who imagine that reformation can atone for the past, or secure righteousness for the future, are not yet savingly brought to know themselves. No, my friends, we must be humbled in the dust, and made to look for all in Christ, or else we shall be deceived after all. But are you driven out of yourself; are you like the wounded soldier crying for some one else to carry you to the hospital of mercy, and longing for the aid of a mightier than yourself? then be of good cheer, there shall be found a great deliverance for you. So long as you trust in ceremonies, prayers, or good works, you shall not fine eternal grace; but when stripped of all strength and power, you shall gain a glorious salvation in the Lord Jesus. If morality can join the pieces of a broken heart, the cement shall soon cease to bind, and the man shall again be as vile as ever. We must have a new heart and a right spirit, or vain will be all our hopes.
[Indent] Need I give any other description of the character I desire to comfort. I trust you are discovered. Oh! my poor brother, I grieve to see thee in distress, but there is pardon through Jesus—there is forgiveness even for thee. What though your sins lie like a millstone on your shoulder, they shall not sink you down to hell. Arise! He, my gracious Lord, calleth thee. Throw thyself at his feet, and lose thy griefs in his loving and cheering words. Thou art saved if thou canst say,
"A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,
On Christ's kind arms I fall;
He is my strength and righteousness,
My Jesus, and my all."
II. We have spoken a long time on the great ill of a broken heart; our second thought will be the GREAT MERCY—"He healeth the broken in heart."
First, he only does it. Men may alleviate suffering, they may console the afflicted and cheer the distressed; but they can not heal the broken in heart, nor bind up their wounds. It is not human eloquence, or mortal wisdom; it is not the oration of an Apollos, nor the wondrous words of a prince of preachers; it is the "still small voice " of God which alone confers the "peace which passeth all understanding." The binding of the heart is a thing done immediately by God, ofttimes without any instrumentality whatever; and when instrumentality is used, it is always in such a way that the man does not extol the instrument, but renders grateful homage to God. In breaking hearts, God uses man continually; repeated fiery sermons, and terrible denunciations do break men's hearts; but you will bear me witness when your hearts were healed God only did it. You value the minister that broke you heart; but it is not often that we ascribe the healing to any instrumentality whatever. The act of justification is generally apart from all means: God only does it. I know not the man who uttered the words that were the means of relieving my heart: "Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." I do not recollect what he said in the sermon, and I am sure I do not care to know. I found Jesus there and then, and that was enough for me. When you get your wounds healed, even under a minister, it seems as if it were not the minister who spoke; you never heard him speak like it in all you life before. You say, "I have often heard him with pleasure, but he has outdone himself; before, he spoke to my ear, but now, to my heart. We are some of us rejoicing in the liberty of Christ, and walking in all the joy of the Spirit; but it is to God we owe our deliverance, and we are grateful neither to man nor book, so much as to the great Physician who has taken pity on us. O that Jesus would walk through this Bethesda now. O, poor, sick dying man! does guilt weigh heavy on thy soul, turn not to any helper, save to him that sitteth on the throne.
Then he only can do it. I defy any of my brethren to bind up a broken heart. I have often labored to do it, but could never effect it. I have said a word to console the mourner, but I have felt that I have done but little, or have perhaps put the wrong mixture in the cup. He only can do it. Some of you seek mercy through baptism, or the Lord's Supper, or regular attendance at the house of prayer. Some of you, again, have certain forms and observances to which you attach saving value. As the Lord liveth, none of these things bind up the broken in heart apart from the Holy Spirit; they are empty wind and air; you may have them and be lost. You can have no peace and comfort unless you have immediate dealings with God, who alone, as the great Physician, healeth the broken in heart. Ah! there are some of you who go to your ministers with broken hearts, and say, "What shall I do?" I have heard of a preacher who told his anxious hearer, "You are getting melancholy; you had better go to such and such a place of amusement; you are getting too dreary and melancholy by half." O, to think of a nurse in a hospital administering poison, when she ought to be giving the true medicine! If he deserves to be hung who mixes poison with his drugs, how much more guilty is that man who tells a soul to seek for happiness where there is none, who sends it to a carnal world for joy, when there is none to be found except in God.
Then again, God only may do it. Suppose we could heal your broken heart, it would be good for nothing. I do beseech the Lord that I may never get a broken heart healed, except it is by God. A truly-convinced sinner will always rather keep his heart broken than have it healed wrongly. I ask you, who are suffering, whether you would not rather keep your broken heart as it is, than allow a bad physician to cure it for you, and so deceive you, and send you to hell at last? I know your cry is, "Lord, let me know the worst of my case; use the lancet; do not be afraid of hurting me; let me feel it all; cut the proud-flesh away rather than let it remain." But there are not a few who get their wounds glossed over by some pretended good works or duties. O, my hearer, let no man deceive you! Be not content with a name to live while you are really dead. Bad money may pass on earth, but genuine gold alone will be received in heaven. Can you abide the fire?
In vain your presumption when God shall come to examine you; you will not pass muster unless you have had a real healing from his hand. It is easy enough to get religious notions and fancy yourself safe, but a real saving work is the work of God, and God alone. Seek not to the priest; he may console, but it is by deluding you. Seek not to your own self; for you may soothe yourself into the sleep of perdition. See that thine heart be washed in the blood of Jesus; be careful that the Holy Spirit has his temple in it; and may God, of his great and sovereign grace, look to thee that thou deceivest not thyself.
But next, God will do it. That is a sweet thought. "He healeth the broken in heart;" he WILL do it. Nobody else can; nobody else may; but he WILL. Is thy heart broken? He WILL heal it; he is sure to heal it; for it is written—and it can never be altered, for what was true three thousand years ago, is true now—"he healeth the broken in heart." Did Saul of Tarsus rejoice after three days of blindness? Yes, and you shall be delivered also. O, it is a theme for eternal gratitude, that the same God who in his loftiness and omnipotence stooped down in olden times to soothe, cherish, relieve, and bless the mourner, is even now taking his journeys of mercy among the penitent sons of men. O, I beseech him to come where thou art sitting, and put his hand inside thy soul, and if he finds there a broken heart to bind it up. Poor sinner, breathe thy wish to him; let thy sigh come before him, for "he healeth the broken in heart." There thou liest wounded on the plain. "Is there no physician?" thou criest; "is there none?" Around thee lie thy fellow-sufferers, but they are helpless as thyself. Thy mournful cry cometh back without an answer, and space alone hears thy groan. Ah! the battle-field of sin has one kind visitor; it is not abandoned to the vultures of remorse and despair. I hear footsteps approaching; they are the gentle footsteps of Jehovah. In his hands there are no thunders, in his eyes no anger, on his lips no threatening. See how he bows himself over the mangled heart! Hear how he speaks! "Come, now, and let us reason together," saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." And if the patient dreads to look in the face of the mighty being who addresses him, the same loving mouth whispers, "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, for my names sake." See how he washes every wound with sacred water from the side of Jesus; mark how he spreads the ointment of forgiving grace, and binds around each wound the fair white linen, which is the righteousness of saints. Doth the mourner faint under the operation? he puts a cordial to his lips, exclaiming, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love." Yes, it is true—most true—neither dream nor fiction, "HE HEALETH THE BROKEN IN HEART, AND BINDETH UP THEIR WOUNDS."
How condescending is the Lord of heaven, thus to visit poor forlorn man. The queen has kindly visited the hospitals of our soldiers to cheer, by her royal words, her loyal defenders, by this she has done herself honor, and her soldiers love her for it. But when the God of the whole earth, the infinite Creator, stoops to become a servant to his own creatures, can you conceive the majestic condescension which bows itself in mercy over the miserable heart, and with loving finger closes the gaping wounds of the spirit. Oh, sin-sick sinner! the King of heaven will not despise thee, but thou too shalt find him thy Comforter, who healeth all thy diseases. Mark, moreover, how tenderly he does it. You remember that passage in the Psalms: "Loving kindness and tendermercies." God's mercies are "tender mercies;" when he undertakes to bind up the broken in heart, he always uses the softest liniment. He is not like your army surgeon, who hurries along and says "A leg off here, an arm off there;" but he comes gently and sympathizingly. He does not use roughness with us; but with downy fingers he putteth the wound together, and layeth the plaster on; yea, he doth it in such a soft and winning way, that we are full of wonder to think he could be so kind to such unworthy ones.
Then he does it securely, so that the wound can not open again. If he puts on his plaster, it is heaven's court-plaster, and it never fails. If he heals, he heals effectually. No man who is once saved of God shall ever be lost. If we receive mercy by faith, we shall never lose it. When God heals once, he heals forever. Although some who teach false doctrine do assert that children of God may be lost, they have no warrant in Scripture, nor in experience, for we know that he keepeth the saints. He who is once forgiven, can not be punished. He who is once regenerated, can not perish. He who is once healed, shall never find his soul sick unto death. Blessings on his name, some of us have felt his skill, and known his mighty power; and were our hearts broken now, we would not stop a moment, but go at once to his feet, and we would cry, "O thou that bindest the broken in heart, bind ours; thou that healest wounds, heal ours, we beseech thee."
And now, my hearers and readers, a parting word with you. Are you careless and ungodly? Permit your friend to speak with you. Is it true that after death there is a judgment? Do you believe that when you die, you will be called to stand before the bar of God? Do you know that there is a hell of eternal flame appointed for the wicked? Yes—you know and believe all this—and yet you are going down to hell thoughtless and unconcerned—you are living in constant and fearful jeopardy of your lives—without a friend on the other side the grave. Ah, how changed will your note be soon! You have turned away from rebuke, you have laughed at warning, but laughter will then give place to sighs, and your singing to yells of agony. Bethink thee, oh my brother man, ere thou dost again peril thy life. What wilt thou do if thy soul is required of thee? Canst thou endure the terrors of the Almighty? Canst thou dwell in everlasting burnings? Were thy bones of iron, and thy ribs of brass, the sight of the coming judgment would make thee tremble; forbear then to mock at religion, cease to blaspheme you Maker, for remember, you will soon meet him face to face, and how will you then account for your insults heaped upon his patient person? May the Lord yet humble thee before him.
But I am seeking the distressed one, and I am impatient to be the means of his comfort. It may be my words are now sounding in the ear of my weary wounded fellow-countrymen. You have been long time tossing on the bed of languishing, and the time for thought had been blessed to your soul by God. You are now feeling the guilt of your life, and are lamenting the sins of your conduct. You fear there is no hope of pardon, no prospect of forgiveness, and you tremble lest death should lead your guilty soul unforgiven before its Maker. Hear, then, the word of God. Thy pains for sins are God's work in thy soul. He woundeth thee that thou mayest seek him. He would not have showed thee thy sin if he did not intend to pardon. Thou art now a sinner, and Jesus came to save sinners, therefore he came to save thee; yea, he is saving thee now. These strivings of soul are the work of his mercy; there is love in every blow, and grace in every stripe. Believe, O troubled one, that he is able to save thee unto the uttermost, and thou shalt not believe in vain. Now, in the silence of your agony, look unto him who by his stripes healeth thee. Jesus Christ has suffered the penalty of thy sins, and has endured the wrath of God on thy behalf. See you, yonder crucified Man on Calvary, and mark thee that those drops of blood are falling for thee, those nailed hands are pierced for thee, and that opened side contains a heart within it, full of love to thee.
"None but Jesus! none but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good!"
It is simple reliance on him which saves. The negro said, "Massa, I fall flat on de promise;" so if you fall flat on the promise of Jesus, you shall not find him fail you; he will bind up your heart, and make an end to the days of your mourning. We shall meet in heaven one day, to sing hallelujah to the condescending Lord; till then, may the God of all grace be our helper. Amen.
"The mighty God will not despise
The contrite heart for sacrifice;
The deep-fetched sigh, the secret groan,
Rises accepted to the throne.
He meets, with tokens of his grace,
The trembling lip, the blushing face;
His bowels yearn when sinners pray;
And mercy bears their sins away.
When filled with grief, o'erwhelmed with shame;
He, pitying, heals their broken frame;
He hears their sad complaints, and spies
His image in their weeping eyes."