Eleventh Day. Sympathy.
"Jesus wept." -- John, xi.35.

It is an affecting thing to see a Great man in tears! "Jesus wept!" It was ever His delight to tread in the footsteps of sorrow -- to heal the broken-hearted -- turning aside from His own path of suffering to "weep with those that weep."

Bethany! That scene, that word, is a condensed volume of consolation for yearning and desolate hearts. What a majesty in those tears! He had just been discoursing on Himself as the Resurrection and the Life -- the next moment He is a Weeping Man by a human grave, melted in anguished sorrow at a bereaved one's side! Think of the funeral at the gate of Nain, reading its lesson to dejected myriads -- "Let thy widows trust in me!" Think of the farewell discourse to His disciples, when, muffling all His own foreseen and anticipated sorrows, He thought only of soothing and mitigating theirs! Think of the affecting pause in that silent procession to Calvary, when He turns round and stills the sobs of those who are tracking His steps with their weeping! Think of that wondrous epitome of human tenderness, just ere His eyes closed in their sleep of agony -- in the mightiest crisis of all time -- when filial love looked down on an anguished mother, and provided her a son and a home!

Ah, was there ever sympathy like this! Son! Brother! Kinsman! Saviour! all in one! The majesty of Godhead almost lost in the tenderness of a Friend. But so it was, and so it is. The heart of the now enthroned King beats responsive to the humblest of His sorrow-stricken people. "I am poor and needy, yet the Lord carries me on His heart!" (margin.)

Let us "go and do likewise." Let us be ready, like our Lord, to follow the beck of misery, -- "to deliver the needy when he crieth, the poor also, and him that hath no helper." Sympathy costs but little. Its recompense and return are great, in the priceless consolation it imparts. Few there are who undervalue it. Look at Paul -- the weary, jaded prisoner, -- chained to a soldier -- recently wrecked, about to stand before Caesar. He reaches Appii Forum and the Three Taverns, dejected and depressed. Brethren come from Rome, a distance of sixty miles, to offer their sympathy. The aged man is cheered! His spirit, like Jacob's, "revived!" "He thanked God, and took courage!"

Reader! let "this mind," this holy, Christ-like habit be in you, which was also in your adorable Master. Delight, when opportunity occurs, to frequent the house of mourning -- to bind up the widow's heart, and to dry the orphan's tears. If you can do nothing else, you can whisper into the ear of disconsolate sorrow those majestic solaces, which, rising first in the graveyard of Bethany, have sent their undying echoes through the world, and stirred the depths of ten thousand hearts. "Exercise your souls," says Butler, "in a loving sympathy with sorrow in every form. Soothe it, minister to it, succor it, revere it. It is the relic of Christ in the world, an image of the Great Sufferer, a shadow of the cross. It is a holy and venerable thing."

Jesus Himself "looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but He found none!" It shows how even He valued sympathy, and that, too, in its commonest form of "pity," though an ungrateful World denied it.


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