Sermon 1099. The Man Of Sorrows
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, MARCH 2, 1873,
BY REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"A Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." Isaiah 53:3.
POSSIBLY a murmur will pass round the congregation, "This is a dreary subject and a mournful theme." But, O Beloved, it isnot so, for great as were the woes of our Redeemer, they are all over now and are to be looked back upon with sacred triumph!However severe the struggle, the victory has been won! The laboring vessel was severely tossed by the waves, but she has nowentered into the desired haven. Our Savior is no longer in Gethsemane agonizing, or upon the Cross dying-the crown of thornshas been replaced by many crowns of sovereignty! The nails and the spear have given way to the scepter!
Nor is this all, for though the suffering is ended, the blessed results never end. We may remember the travail, for the ManChild is born into the world. The sowing in tears is followed by a reaping in joy. The bruising of the heel of the woman'sSeed is well recompensed by the breaking of the serpent's head. It is pleasant to hear of battles fought when a decisive victoryhas ended war and established peace. So that the double refection that all the work of suffering is finished by the Redeemerand that, from now on He beholds the success of all His labors, we shall rejoice even while we enter into fellowship withHis sufferings! Let it never be forgotten that the subject of the sorrows of the Savior has proven to be more efficaciousfor comfort to mourners than any other theme in the compass of Revelation, or out of it.
Even the glories of Christ afford no such consolation to afflicted spirits as the sufferings of Christ. Christ is in all attitudesthe consolation of Israel, but He is most so as the Man of Sorrows. Troubled spirits turn not so much to Bethlehem as to Calvary-theyprefer Gethsemane to Nazareth. The afflicted do not so much look for comfort in Christ as He will come a second time in splendorof state, as to Christ as He came the first time, a weary Man and full of woes. The passion flower yields us the best perfume.The tree of the Cross bleeds the most healing balm. Like in this case cures like, for there is no remedy for sorrow beneaththe sun like the sorrows of Immanuel.
As Aaron's rod swallowed up all the other rods, so the griefs of Jesus make our griefs disappear. Thus you see that in theblack soil of our subject, light is sown for the righteous-light which springs up for those who sit in darkness and in theregion of the shadow of death. Let us go, then, without reluctance to the house of mourning and commune with "The Chief Mourner,"who above all others could say, "I am the Man that has seen affliction." We will not stray from our text this morning, butkeep to it so closely as even to dwell upon each one of its words. The words shall give us our divisions-"A Man." "A Man ofsorrows." "Acquainted with grief."
I. "A Man." There is no novelty to anyone here present in the doctrine of the real and actual Manhood of the Lord Jesus Christ.But, although there is nothing novel in it, there is everything important in it. Therefore, let us hear it again. This isone of those Gospel Church bells which must be rung every Sunday-this is one of those provisions of the Lord's household,which, like bread and salt, should be put upon the table at every spiritual meal. This is the manna which must fall everyday round about the camp.
We can never meditate too much upon Christ's blessed Person as God and as Man. Let us reflect that He who is here called aMan was certainly "very God of very God." "A Man," and, "a Man of sorrows," and yet at the same time, "God over all, blessedforever." He who was "despised and rejected of men" was beloved and adored by angels! And He, from whom men hid their facesin contempt, was worshipped by cherubim and seraphim! This is the great mystery of godliness. God was "manifest in the flesh."He who was God and was in the beginning with God, was made flesh and dwelt among us.
The Highest stooped to become the Lowest. The Greatest took His place among the least. Strange, and needing all our faithto grasp it, yet it is true that He who sat upon the well of Sychar and said, "Give Me to drink," was none other
than He who dug the channels of the ocean and poured into them the floods! Son of Mary, You are also Son of Jehovah! Man ofthe substance of Your mother, You are also essential Deity! We worship You this day in spirit and in truth! Remembering thatJesus Christ is God, it now behooves us to remember that His Manhood was none the less real and substantial. It differed fromour own humanity in the absence of sin, but it differed in no other respect.
It is idle to speculate upon a heavenly Manhood, as some have done, who have, by their very attempt at accuracy, been bornedown by whirlpools of error. It is enough for us to know that the Lord was born of a woman, wrapped in swaddling bands, laidin a manger and needed to be nursed by His mother as any other little child. He grew in stature like any other human beingand as a Man we know that He ate and drank, that He hungered and thirsted, rejoiced and sorrowed. His body could be touchedand handled, wounded and made to bleed. He was no phantom, but a Man of flesh and blood even as ourselves. He was a Man needingsleep, requiring food, and subject to pain-and a Man who, in the end-yielded up His life to death.
There may have been some distinction between His body and ours, for inasmuch as it was never defiled by sin, it was not capableof corruption. Otherwise in body and in soul, the Lord Jesus was perfect Man after the order of our manhood, "made in thelikeness of sinful flesh," and we must think of Him under that aspect. Our temptation is to regard the Lord's humanity assomething quite different from our own. We are apt to spiritualize it away and not to think of Him as really bone of our boneand flesh of our flesh. All this is akin to grievous error-we may fancy that we are honoring Christ by such conceptions-butChrist is never honored by that which is not true. He was a Man, a real Man, a Man of our race, the Son of Man.
Indeed, He was a representative Man, the second Adam-"As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself tookpart of the same." "He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a Servant, and was made in the likenessof Man." Now this condescending participation in our Nature brings the Lord Jesus very near to us in relationship. Inasmuchas He was Man, though also God, He was, according to Hebrew Law, our goel-our kinsman, next of kin. Now it was according tothe Law that if an inheritance had been lost, it was the right of the next of kin to redeem it. Our Lord Jesus exercised Hislegal right-seeing us sold into bondage and our inheritance taken from us-He came forward to redeem both us and all our lostestate.
A blessed thing it was for us that we had such a Kinsman! When Ruth went to glean in the fields of Boaz, it was the most graciouscircumstance in her life that Boaz turned out to be her next of kin. And we who have gleaned in the fields of Mercy praisethe Lord that His Only-Begotten Son is the next of kin to us. He is our Brother, born for adversity. It would not have beenconsistent with Divine Justice for any other substitution to have been accepted for us, except that of a Man. Man sinned,and man must make reparation for the injury done to the Divine Honor. The breach of the Law was caused by man and by man mustit be repaired-man had transgressed-man must be punished.
It was not in the power of an angel to have said, "I will suffer for man"-for angelic sufferings would have made no amendsfor human sins. But the Man, the matchless Man, being the representative Man and of right by kinship allowed to redeem, steppedin, suffered what was due, made amends to injured Justice and thereby set us free! Glory be unto His blessed name! And now,Beloved, since the Lord thus saw in Christ's Manhood a suitableness to become our Redeemer, I trust that many here who havebeen under bondage to Satan will see in that same human Nature an attraction leading them to approach Him.
Sinner, you have not to come to an absolute God. You are not bid to draw near to the consuming fire. You might well trembleto approach Him whom you have so grievously offended. But, there is a Man ordained to mediate between you and God, and ifyou would come to God, you must come through Him-the Man Christ Jesus. God out of Christ is terrible out of His holy places.He will by no means spare the guilty-but look at yonder Son of Man!-
"His hand no thunder bears,
No terror clothes His brow;
No bolts to drive your guilty souls
To fiercer flames below."
He is a Man with hands full of blessing, eyes wet with tears of pity, lips overflowing with love and a heart melting withtenderness! See you not the gash in His side? Through that wound there is a highway to His heart and he who needs His compassionmay soon excite it.
O Sinners! The way to the Savior's heart is open and penitent seekers shall never be denied! Why should the most despairingbe afraid to approach the Savior? He has deigned to assume the Character of the Lamb of God-I have never known even a littlechild that was afraid of a lamb! The most timorous will approach a lamb and Jesus used this argument when He said to everylaboring and heavy-laden one, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart." I know you feelyourselves sad and trembling, but need you tremble in His Presence? If you are weak, your weakness will touch His sympathy,and your mournful inability will be an argument with His boundless mercy!
If I were sick and might have my choice where I would lie, with a view to healing, I would say, place me where the best andkindest physician upon earth can see me! Put me where a man with great skill and equal tenderness will have me always beneathhis eyes-I shall not long groan there in vain-if he can heal me he will. Sinner, place yourself, by an act of faith, beneaththe Cross of Jesus! Look up to Him and say, "Blessed Physician, You whose wounds for me can heal me. Whose death for me canmake me live. Look down upon me! You are Man. You know what man suffers. You are Man, will You let a man sink down to Hellwho cries to You for help? You are a Man and You can save, and will You let a poor unworthy one who longs for mercy be driveninto hopeless misery while he cries to You to let Your merits save
Oh, you guilty ones, have faith that you can reach the heart of Jesus! Sinner, fly to Jesus without fear! He waits to save!It is His office to receive sinners and reconcile them to God. Be thankful that you have not to go to God at the first, andas you are, but you are invited to come to Jesus Christ and through Him to the Father! May the Holy Spirit lead you to devoutmeditation upon the humility of our Lord and so may you find the door of life, the portal of peace, the gate of Heaven!
Then let me add, before I leave this point, that every child of God ought, also, to be comforted by the fact that our Redeemeris one of our own race, seeing that He was made like unto His brethren that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest.And He was tempted in all points, like as we are, that He might be able to succor them that are tempted. The sympathy of Jesusis the next most precious thing to His Sacrifice. I stood by the bedside of a Christian Brother the other day and he remarked,"I feel thankful to God that our Lord took our sicknesses." "Of course," said he, "the grand thing was, that He took our sins,but next to that, I, as a sufferer, feel grateful that He also took our sicknesses."
Personally, I also bear witness that it has been to me, in seasons of great pain, superlatively comfortable to know that inevery pang which racks His people, the Lord Jesus has a fellow feeling. We are not alone, for one like unto the Son of Manwalks the furnace with us! The clouds which float over our sky have aforetime darkened the heavens for Him, also-
"He knows what temptations mean, For He has felt the same."
How completely it takes the bitterness out of grief to know that it once was suffered by Jesus! The Macedonian soldiers, itis said, made long forced marches which seemed to be beyond the power of mortal endurance-but the reason for their untiringenergy lay in Alexander's presence. He was accustomed to walk with them and bear the same fatigue.
If the king himself had been calcified like a Persian monarch in a palanquin in the midst of easy, luxurious state, the soldierswould soon have grown tired. But, when they looked upon the king of men himself, hungering when they hungered, thirsting whenthey thirsted, often putting aside the cup of water offered to him and passing it to a fellow soldier who looked more faintthan himself, they could not dream of repining. Why, every Macedonian felt that he could endure any fatigue if Alexander could!
This day, assuredly, we can bear poverty, slander, contempt, or bodily pain-death itself-because Jesus Christ our Lord hasborne it! By His humiliation it shall become pleasure to be abased for His sake! By the spit that ran down His cheeks it shallbecome a fair thing to be made a mockery for Him! By the buffeting and the blindfolding it shall become an honor to be disgraced,and by the Cross it shall become life, itself, to surrender life for the sake of such a cause and so precious a Master! Maythe Man of Sorrows now appear to us and enable us to bear our sorrows cheerfully! If there is consolation anywhere, surelyit is to be found in the delightful Presence of the Crucified-"A Man shall be a hiding place from the wind, and a covert fromthe tempest."
II. We must pass on to dwell awhile upon the next words, "A MAN OF SORROWS." The expression is intended to be very emphatic.It is not "a sorrowful Man," but, "a Man of sorrows," as if He were made up of sorrows and they were
constituent elements of His Being. Some are men of pleasure, others men of wealth, but He was "a Man of sorrows." He and sorrowmight have changed names. He who saw Him, saw sorrow, and he who would see sorrow, must look on Him. "Behold, and see," Hesays, "if there was ever sorrow like unto My sorrow which was done unto Me." Our Lord is called the Man of Sorrows for peculiarity,for this was His peculiar token and special mark.
We might well call Him, "a Man of holiness," for there was no fault in Him. Or a Man of labors, for He did His Father's businessearnestly. Or, "a Man of eloquence," for never man spoke like this Man. We might right fittingly call Him in the languageof our hymn, "The Man of Love," for never was there greater love than glowed in His heart. Still, conspicuous as all theseand many other excellencies were, yet had we gazed upon Christ and been asked afterwards what was the most striking peculiarityin Him, we should have said His sorrows.
The various parts of His Character were so singularly harmonious that no one quality predominated so as to become a leadingfeature. In His moral portrait, the eyes are perfect, but so, also, is the mouth. The cheeks are as beds of spices, but thelips, also are as lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh. In Peter you see enthusiasm exaggerated at times into presumption.And in John, love for his Lord would call fire from Heaven on his foes. Deficiencies and exaggerations exist everywhere butin Jesus! He is the perfect Man, a whole Man, the Holy One of Israel. But there was a peculiarity, and it lay in the factthat "His visage was so marked more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men," through the excessive griefs whichcontinually passed over His spirit.
Tears were His insignia and the Cross His escutcheon. He was the warrior in black armor and not as now, the rider upon thewhite horse. He was the Lord of Grief, the Prince of Pain, the Emperor of Anguish, a "Man of Sorrows, and acquainted withgrief."-
"Oh! King of Grief! (A title strange, yet true, To You of all kings only due) Oh! King of Wounds! How shall I grieve for You,Who in all grief prevent me?"
Is not the title, "Man of Sorrows," given to our Lord by way of eminence? He was not only sorrowful, but pre-eminent amongthe sorrowful! All men have a burden to bear, but His was heaviest of all! Who is there of our race that is quite free fromsorrows? Search the whole earth through and everywhere the thorn and thistle will be found-and these have wounded everyoneborn of woman.
High in the lofty places of the earth there is sorrow, for the royal widow weeps her lord. Down in the cottage where we fancythat nothing but content can reign, a thousand bitter tears are shed over dire penury and cruel oppression. In the sunniestclimates the serpent creeps among the flowers. In the most fertile regions poisons flourish as well as wholesome herbs. Everywhere,"men must work and women must weep." There is sorrow on the sea and sadness on the land. But in this common lot, the "First-Bornamong many brethren" has more than a double portion! His cup is more bitter, His Baptism is more deep than the rest of thefamily! Common sufferers must give place, for none can match with Him in woe.
Ordinary mourners may be content to tear their garments, but He, Himself, is torn in His affliction-they sip at Sorrow's bowl,but He drains it dry. He who was the most obedient Son smarted most under the rod when He was stricken of God and afflicted!No other of the smitten ones have sweat great drops of blood, or in the same bitterness of anguish, cried, "My God, My God,why have You forsaken Me?" The reasons for this superior sorrow may be found in the fact that with His sorrow there was nomixture of sin. Sin deserves sorrow, but it also blunts the edge of grief by rendering the soul untender and unsympathetic.We do not start at sin as Jesus did. We do not tremble at the sinner's doom as Jesus would. His was a perfect Nature which,because it knew no sin, was not in its element amid sorrow, but was like a land bird driven out to sea by the gale.
To the robber, jail is his home and the prison fare is the meat to which he is accustomed. But to an innocent man a prisonis misery and everything about it is strange and foreign. Our Lord's pure Nature was peculiarly sensitive of any contact withsin. We, alas, by the Fall, have lost much of that feeling! In proportion as we are sanctified, sin becomes the source ofwretchedness to us. Jesus, being perfect, every sin pained Him much more than it would any of us. I have no doubt there aremany persons in the world who could live merrily in the haunts of vice-could hear blasphemy without
horror, view lust without disgust-and look on robbery or murder without abhorrence. But to many of us, an hour's familiaritywith such abominations would be the severest punishment.
A sentence in which the name of Jesus is blasphemed is torture to us of the most exquisite kind. The very mention of the shamefuldeeds of vice seizes us with horror. To live with the wicked would be a sufficient Hell to the righteous. David's prayer isfull of agony where he cries, "Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men." But the perfect Jesus! Whata grief the sight of sin must have caused Him! Our hands grow rough with toiling and our hearts with sinning-but our Lordwas, as it were, like a man whose flesh was all one quivering wound-He was delicately sensitive of every touch of sin.
We go through thorn brakes and briars of sin because we are clothed with indifference, but imagine a naked man, compelledto traverse a forest of briars-such was the Savior as to His moral sensitiveness. He could see sin where we cannot see it-andfeel its heinousness as we cannot feel it. There was, therefore, more to grieve Him and He was more capable of being grieved.Side by side with His painful sensitiveness of the evil of sin was His gracious tenderness towards the sorrows of others.If we could know and enter into all the griefs of this congregation, it is probable that we would be of all men, most miserable.There are heartbreaks in this house this morning, which, could they find a tongue, would fill our heart with agony.
We hear of poverty here, we see disease there, we observe bereavement and we mark distress. We note the fact that men arepassing into the grave and, (ah, far more bitter grief), descending into Hell! But, somehow or other, either these becomesuch common things that they do not stir us, or else we gradually harden to them. The Savior was always moved to sympathywith another's griefs, for His love was ever at flood-tide. All men's sorrows were His sorrows. His heart was so large thatit was inevitable that He should become "a Man of sorrows." We remember that besides this, our Savior had a peculiar relationshipto sin. He was not merely afflicted with the sight of it and saddened by perceiving its effects on others, but sin was actuallylaid upon Him and He was, Himself, numbered with the transgressors.
And therefore He was called to bear the terrible blows of Divine Justice and suffered unknown, immeasurable agonies! His Godheadstrengthened Him to suffer, else mere Manhood had failed. The wrath whose power no man knows spent itself on Him-"It pleasedthe Father to bruise Him, He has put Him to grief." Behold the Man, and marvel how vain it would be to seek His equal sorrow!
The title of "Man of Sorrows," was also given to our Lord to indicate the constancy of His afflictions. He changed His placeof abode, but He always lodged with Sorrow. Sorrow wove His swaddling bands and Sorrow His winding sheet. Born in a stable,Sorrow received Him and only on the Cross at His last breath did Sorrow part with Him. His disciples might forsake Him, butHis sorrows would not leave Him. He was often alone without a man, but never alone without a grief. From the hour of His Baptismin Jordan, to the time of His Baptism in the pains of death, He always wore the sable robe and was "a Man of sorrows."
He was also "a Man of sorrows," for the variety of His woes. He was a Man not of sorrow, only, but of "sorrows." All the sufferingsof the body and of the soul were known to Him. The sorrows of the man who actively struggles to obey. The sorrows of the manwho sits still and passively endures. The sorrows of the lofty He knew, for He was the King of Israel. The sorrows of thepoor He knew, for He "had not where to lay His head." Sorrows relative and sorrows personal. Sorrows mental and sorrows spiritual.Sorrows of all kinds and degrees assailed Him. Affliction emptied his quiver upon Him, making His heart the target for allconceivable woes.
Let us think a minute or two of some of those sufferings. Our Lord was a Man of sorrows as to His poverty. Oh, you who arein need, your need is not so abject as His-He had not where to lay His head, but you have at least some humble roof to shelteryou. No one denies you a cup of water, but He sat upon the well at Samaria, and said, "I thirst." We read more than once thatHe hungered. His toil was so great that He was constantly weary and we read of one occasion where they took Him, "even asHe was," into the boat-too faint was He to reach the boat Himself-but they carried Him as He was and laid Him down near thehelm to sleep. But He had not much time for slumber, for they woke Him, saying, "Master, do You not care that we perish?"
A hard life was His, with nothing of earthly comfort to make that life endurable. Remember, you who lament around the opengrave, or weep in memory of graves newly filled-our Savior knew the heart-rending of bereavement. Jesus wept as He stood atthe tomb of Lazarus. Perhaps the bitterest of His sorrows were those which were connected
with His gracious work. He came as the Messiah sent of God on a mission of love and men rejected His claims. When He wentto His own city where He had been brought up, and announced Himself, they would have cast Him headlong from the brow of thehill! It is a hard thing to come on an errand of disinterested love and then to meet with such ingratitude as that.
Nor did they stay at cold rejection-they then proceeded to derision and to ridicule. There was no name of contempt which theydid not pour upon Him. No, it was not merely contempt, but they preceded to falsehood, slander, and blasphemy. He was a drunk,they said-hear this, you angels, and be astonished! Yes, a wine-bibber did they call the blessed Prince of Life! They saidHe was in league with Beelzebub and had a devil, and was mad-whereas He had come to destroy the works of the devil!! Theycharged Him with every crime which their malice could suggest. There was not a word He spoke but they would wrest it. Nota doctrine but what they would misrepresent it. He could not speak but what they would find in His words some occasion againstHim.
And all the while He was doing nothing but seeking their advantage in all ways. When He was earnest against their vices itwas out of pity for their souls. If He condemned their sins it was because their sins would destroy them. But His zeal againstsin was always tempered with love for the souls of men. Was there ever Man so full of good-will to others who received suchdisgraceful treatment from those He longed to serve? As He proceeded in His life His sorrows multiplied. He preached and whenmen's hearts were hard, and they would not believe what He said, "He was grieved for the hardness of their hearts."
He went about doing good and for His good works they took up stones to stone Him! Alas, they stoned His heart when they couldnot injure His body. He pleaded with them and plaintively declared His love and received, instead thereof, a remorseless andfiendish hatred. Slighted love has griefs of peculiar poignancy-many have died of hearts broken by ingratitude. Such loveas the love of Jesus could not, for the sake of those it loved, bear to be slighted. It pined within itself because men didnot know their own mercies and rejected their own salvation! His sorrow was not that men injured Him, but that they destroyedthemselves! This it was that pulled up the sluices of His Soul and made His eyes overflow with tears-"O Jerusalem! Jerusalem!How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not."
The lament is not for His own humiliation, but for their suicidal rejection of His Divine Grace! These were among the sorrowsthat He bore. But surely He found some solace with the few companions whom He had gathered around Him. He did, but for allthat He must have found as much sorrow as solace in their company. They were dull scholars, they learned slowly. What theydid learn they forgot. What they remembered they did not practice and what they practiced at one time they belied at another.They were miserable comforters for the Man of Sorrows. His was a lonely life, I mean that even when He was with His followersHe was alone.
He said to them once, "Could you not watch with Me one hour," but, indeed, He might have said the same to them all the hoursof their lives, for even if they sympathized with Him to the utmost of their capacity, they could not enter into such griefsas His. A father in a house with many little children about him cannot tell his babes his griefs. If he did they would notcomprehend him. What do they know of his anxious business transactions, or his crushing losses? Poor little things, theirfather does not wish they should be able to sympathize with him-he looks down upon them and rejoices that their toys willcomfort them and that their little prattle will not be broken in upon by his great griefs.
The Savior, from the very dignity of His Nature, must suffer alone. The mountainside with Christ upon it seems to me to bea suggestive symbol of His earthly life. His great soul lived in vast solitudes, sublime and terrible, and there, amid a midnightof trouble, His Spirit communed with the Father, no one being able to accompany Him into the dark glens and gloomy ravinesof His unique experience. Of all His life's warfare He might have said in some senses, "of the people there was none withMe" and at the last it became literally true, for they all forsook Him-one denied Him and another betrayed Him, so that Hetrod the winepress alone.
In the last crowning sorrows of His life, there came upon Him the penal inflictions from God-the punishment of our sin whichwas upon Him. He was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane by God's officers before the officers of the Jews had come nearto Him. There on the ground He knelt and wrestled till the bloody sweat poured from every pore, and His soul was "exceedinglysorrowful, even unto death." You have read the story of your Master's woes and know how He was hurried from bar to bar andtreated with mingled scorn and cruelty before each judgment seat. When they
had taken Him to Herod and to Pilate, and almost murdered Him with scourging, they brought Him forth and said, "Ecce Homo"-"Beholdthe Man."
Their malice was not satisfied. They must go further, yet, and nail Him to His Cross and mock Him while fever parched Hismouth and made Him feel as if His body were dissolved to dust. He cries out, "I thirst," and is mocked with vinegar. You knowthe rest, but I would have you best remember that the sharpest scourging and severest griefs were all within-while the handof God bruised Him and the iron rod of Justice broke Him, as it were, upon the wheel. He was fitly named a "Man of sorrows!"
I feel as if I have no utterance, as if my tongue were tied, while trying to speak upon this subject. I cannot find goodlywords worthy of my theme, yet I know that embellishments of language would degrade rather than adorn the agonies of my Lord.There let the Cross stand sublime in its simplicity! It needs no decoration. If I had wreaths of choicest flowers to hangabout it, I would gladly place them there, and if instead of garlands of flowers, each flower could be a priceless gem, Iwould consider that the Cross deserved the whole. But as I have none of these I rejoice that the Cross, alone, in its nakedsimplicity, needs nothing from mortal speech. Turn to your bleeding Savior, O my Hearers. Continue gazing upon Him, and findin the "Man of Sorrows" your Lord and your God!
III. And now the last word is, He was "ACQUAINTED WITH GRIEF." With griefHe had an intimate acquaintance. He did not knowmerely what it was in others, but it came home to Himself. We have read of grief. We have sympathized with grief. We havesometimes felt grief-but the Lord felt it more intensely than other men in His innermost soul-He, beyond us all, was conversantwith this black letter lore. He knew the secret of the heart which refuses to be comforted. He had sat at Griefs table, eatenof Griefs black bread and dipped His morsel in her vinegar.
By the waters of Sarah He dwelt and knew right well the bitter well. He and Grief were bosom friends. It was a continuousacquaintance. He did not call at Griefs house, sometimes, to take a tonic by the way. Neither did He sip, now and then, ofthe wormwood and the gall, but the quassia cup was always in His hand and ashes were always mingled with His bread. Not only40 days in the wilderness did Jesus fast-the world was always a wilderness to Him and His life was one long Lent. I do notsay that He was not, after all, a happy Man, for down deep in His soul, benevolence always supplied a living spring of joyto Him.
There was a joy into which we are one day to enter-the "joy of our Lord"-the "joy set before Him" for which "He endured theCross, despising the shame." But that does not at all take away from the fact that His acquaintance with Grief was continuousand intimate beyond that of any man who ever lived. It was, indeed, a growing acquaintance with Grief, for each step tookHim deeper down into the grim shades of sorrow. As there is a progress in the teaching of Christ and in the life of Christ,so is there, also, in the griefs of Christ. The tempest lowered darker and darker, and darker. His sun rose in a cloud, butit set in congregated horrors of heaped up night, till, in a moment, the clouds were suddenly torn in sunder and, as a loudVoice proclaimed, "It is finished," a glorious morning dawned where all expected an eternal night!
Remember, once more, that this acquaintance of Christ with Grief was a voluntary acquaintance for our sakes. He need neverhave known Grief at all, and at any moment He might have said to Grief, Farewell. He could have returned in an instant tothe royalties of Heaven and to the bliss of the upper world, or even tarrying here He might have lived sublimely indifferentto the woes of mankind. But He would not-He remained to the end, out of love to us-Grief's acquaintance. Now, then, what shallI say in conclusion, but just this-let us admire the superlative love of Jesus. O Love, Love, what have You done! What haveYou not done!
You are Omnipotent in suffering! Few of us can bear pain. Perhaps, fewer still of us can bear misrepresentation, slander andingratitude. These are horrible hornets which sting as with fire-men have been driven to madness by cruel scandals which havedistilled from venomous tongues. Christ, throughout life, bore these and other sufferings! Let us love Him, as we think ofhow much He must have loved us! Will you try, this afternoon, before you come to the Communion Table, to get your souls saturatedwith the love of Christ? Soak them in His love all the afternoon, till, like a sponge, you drink into your own selves thelove of Jesus! And then come up tonight, as it were, to let that love flow out to Him again while you sit at His Table andpartake of the emblems of His death and of His love. Admire the power of His love and then pray that you may have a love somewhatakin to it in power.
We sometimes wonder why the Church of God grows so slowly, but I do not wonder when I remember what scant consecration toChrist there is in the Church of God. Jesus was "a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," but many of His disciples whoprofess to be altogether His are living for themselves. There are rich men who call themselves saints and are thought to beso, whose treasures are hoarded for themselves and families! There are men of ability who believe that they are bought withChrist's blood, yet their ability is all spent on other things and none upon their Lord! And let us come nearer home-hereare we, what are we doing? Teaching in the school, are you? Are you doing it with all your heart for Jesus? Preaching in thestreet? Yes, but do you throw your soul into it for Him?
Maybe you have to confess you are doing nothing-do not let this day conclude till you have begun to do something for yourLord! We are always talking about the Church doing this and that-what is the Church? I believe there is a great deal too muchsaid, both of bad and good, about that abstraction. The fact is, we are individuals. The Church is only the aggregation ofindividuals and if any good is to be done it must be performed by individuals. And if all individuals are idle there is noChurch work done! There may be the semblance of it, but there is no real work done!
Brothers and Sisters, what are you doing for Jesus? I charge you by the nail-prints of His hands, unless you are a liar untoHim, LABOR for Him! I charge you by His wounded feet-run to His help! I charge you by the scar on His side- give Him yourheart! I charge you by that sacred head, once pierced with thorns-yield Him your thoughts! I charge you by the shoulders whichbore the scourges-bend your whole strength to His service! I charge you by Himself, give Him yourself! I charge you by thatleft hand which has been under your head and that right hand which has embraced you, by the roes and by the hinds of the field,by the beds of spices and the banquets of love, render yourself, your heart, your soul and strength to Him!
Live in His service, and die in His service! Lay not down your harness, but work on as long as you shall live. While you livelet this be your motto-"All for Jesus, all for Jesus! All for the Man of Sorrows, all for the Man of Sorrows!" O you thatlove Him and fight for Him, you are summoned to the front! Hasten to the conflict, I pray you, and charge home for the "Manof Sorrows!" Make this your battle cry today! Slink not back like cowards! Flee not to your homes as lovers of ease, but pressto the front for the "Man of Sorrows," like good men and true. By the Cross which bore Him, and by the heavy Cross He bore.By His deadly agony and by the agony of His life, I cry, "Forward, for the Man of Sorrows!"
Write this word, "for the Man of Sorrows," on your own bodies, wherein you bear the marks of the Lord Jesus! Brand, if notin your flesh, yet in your souls, for from now on you are servants of the Man of Sorrows! Write this on your wealth! Bindthis inscription on all your possessions-"This belongs to the Man of Sorrows." Give your children to the "Man of Sorrows,"as men of old consecrated their sons to patriotism and to battle with their country's foes! Give up each hour to the "Manof Sorrows!" Learn, even, to eat and drink and sleep for the "Man of Sorrows," doing all in His name. Live for Him and beready to die for Him and the Lord accept you for the "Man of Sorrows'" sake. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-Isaiah 53.