And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.…
It is not to be thought, however, that this Christly pity embraced only the conscious suffering of men. It is an undiscerning sympathy that reaches only to ills that are felt and confessed. We every day meet men with laughter on their lips, and unclouded brows, who are very nearly the greatest claimants of pity. Pity him who laughs but never thinks. Pity the men or women who fritter away the days in busy idleness, calling it society, when they might read a book. Pity those, who, without evil intent, are making great mistakes, who live as though life had no purpose or end, who gratify a present desire unmindful of future pain. Pity parents who have not learned how to rear and train their children: pity the children so reared as they go forth unto life with undermined health and weakened nerves, prematurely wearied of Society, lawless in their dispositions, rude and inconsiderate in their manners, stamped with the impress of chance associations and unregulated pleasures. "No! it is not pain that is to be pitied so much as mistake, not conscious suffering, but courses that breed future suffering." Who then calls for it more than those who have settled to so low and dull a view of life as not to feel the loss of its higher forms, content with squalor and ignorance and low achievement or mere sustenance? It is now quite common to say at the suggestion of some very earnest philanthropists that the poor and degraded do not suffer as they seem: that they get to be en rapport with their surroundings, and so unmindful of their apparent misery. This may be so, but even if the wind is thus tempered to these shorn lambs of adversity, it is no occasion for withholding pity. Nay! the pity should be all the deeper. The real misery here is, that these poor beings do not look upon their wretched condition with horror and disgust, that they are without that sense and standard of life which would lead them to cry, "This is intolerable; I must escape from it." Hence, the discerning Christ-like eye will look through all such low contentedness to the abject spirit behind it, and there extend its pity. Not those who suffer most, but oftener those who suffer least, are the most pitiable.
(T. T. Munger.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.