The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
I. A SOUND SPIRIT IS WHAT WILL RELIEVE UNDER OUTWARD INFIRMITIES AND TROUBLES.
1. When may the spirit of a man be said to be sound? When it is renewed and sanctified by the Spirit of God. A holy soul is a healthful one. There is a natural soundness or stoutness of spirit which is not easily discouraged or broken by external trouble or pain. There is a moral soundness of spirit when enlightened conscience hath nothing gross to upbraid a man withal. A sound spirit is one pardoned through the blood of Jesus, and through Him restored to the favour of God. It is in some measure comforted with a sense of God's love, and its own safety for eternity.
2. Show that every man has his infirmities. "Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward." "Through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom." The term "infirmity" denotes what afflictions are, both in their nature and tendency, viz., weakening things. And man has no ability to prevent their coming, nor to free himself from them when they come.
3. How far will a sound spirit sustain under these? The man does not hereby become insensible. But a sound spirit will be a praying one; it will not let go its hope in God of a blessed issue, either in this world or a better; it will keep something of cheerfulness. This sound spirit is not alone; it has the Spirit of God with it. And this Spirit proves a comforter and helper, by leading the afflicted Christian into an aquaintance with what is written in the Word, and what has been wrought within himself.
II. A WOUNDED SPIRIT IS ITSELF A BURDEN, UNDER WHICH THERE IS NO STANDING WITHOUT RELIEF GIVEN FROM HEAVEN.
1. The spirit or soul in man may be wounded. There is such a thing as a grieved soul as well as a pained body. There is a bitterness peculiar to the heart which can only be understood by God and itself. A wounded spirit is one filled with anguish from a sense of sin.
2. When, and in whom, may the spirit be wounded. Either before conversion or after. The soul of the sinner is wounded that Christ may be rendered precious and amiable to it, and bring it to close with Him upon His own terms; that it might be filled with a greater hatred of sin; that, when it is healed, it may be the more enlarged in thankfulness towards its gracious God. The distress of a wounded spirit will for ever be an argument of love to God and Christ, and it will put others upon considering what they are liable to suffer on account of sin in this world, besides the death which is the wages of it in another. The spirit is wounded in such as God is about to recover to Himself, to make and keep them humble all their days. By the distress that goes before recovering grace God will encourage His people's trust in Him in after-trials. What compassion is due to such as know by experience the insupportable burden of a wounded spirit!
Parallel VersesKJV: The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?