I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws…
This is not a day for difficult doctrines, but for the simplest and humblest feelings. The great work of this day is quite beyond, the reach of our understanding. The appeal is not made to our understanding, nor even directly to our conscience. With the cords of a man we are drawn. The human affections which all men share, the feelings which even the poorest, the meanest, the most ignorant partake in, the pity, the tenderness, the love that can only be called forth by love, these are now the cords by which our Father draws us, the cords of a man. To the heart that loves like a child, to the sinner deeply laden with his burden of unhappiness, to the broken spirit that secretly longs to escape from fetters which it is powerless to break, to the soul that is ready to despair, this Gospel speaks, and tells of hope, and love, and eagerness to forgive, and embracing arms, and falling on the neck, and tears of joy, and the welcome of the prodigal son. We cannot study here. We can but surrender our hearts to the love which is too much for them to contain. We are sometimes cold and dead. There are times when our feelings towards God seem to lose their warmth. We can obey and do, but we feel like servants, not like children, and we are unhappy because we cannot rouse any warmer feelings in ourselves. And when this is so, where can we go but to the Cross of Christ? Perhaps under a decent exterior we hide some sinful habit which has long been eating into our souls. It is possible that we may be discharging every duty as far as human eyes behold us. Yet time after time the temptation has proved too strong, or we have been found too weak. Our besetting sin has clung to us, and we cannot get rid of it. Then let us once more turn to God, and gaze upon the Cross of Christ. Or perhaps we have never striven to serve God at all. We have lived as best suited the society in which we were, as most conduced to our own pleasures. Whenever the thought of God or conscience comes across us, we find that but a dull subject to think on, and we turn to pleasanter and more exciting themes. What then shall warm our hearts but this plain story of sadness? If we have human feelings still left us, and sympathy can yet touch our souls, it will be impossible to read of the Cross of Christ without emotion.
Parallel VersesKJV: I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.