Galatians 6:2
Carry one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ.
Sermons
Bearing One Another's BurdensB. Beddome, M. A.Galatians 6:2
Bearing One Another's BurdensA. Raleigh, D. D., Bp. Chris. Wordsworth., Starke.Galatians 6:2
Bearing One Another's BurdensW. H. Lewis, D. D.Galatians 6:2
Burden-BearingA. W. Williamson, M. A.Galatians 6:2
Burden-BearingAmerican Homiletic Review., M. C. OsbornGalatians 6:2
Burden-BearingC. H. Spurgeon.Galatians 6:2
Charity OrganizationCanon Miller.Galatians 6:2
Christian GenerosityTheological Sketch-bookGalatians 6:2
Christian SocialismR. Burgess, B. D.Galatians 6:2
Christian SympathyBishop Mitchinson.Galatians 6:2
Fellowship in SufferingH. Melvill, B. D.Galatians 6:2
Fulfill the Law of Christ -- not Fulfill But CompleteGalatians 6:2
HelpfulnessJohn Brown, D. D.Galatians 6:2
Helping Men to Bear Their Own BurdensH. W. Beecher.Galatians 6:2
Individuality and BrotherhoodS. Pearson, M. A.Galatians 6:2
Lightening Others' BurdensT. L. Cuyler, D. D.Galatians 6:2
Loving MinistrationsBishop H. C. Potter.Galatians 6:2
Mutual BurdensW. M. Statham.Galatians 6:2
Mutual Help in Burden-BearingE. A. Washburn, D. D.Galatians 6:2
Open Hearts and Ready HandsGalatians 6:2
Our Individual Burden Often not the HeaviestW. K. Marshall.Galatians 6:2
Real Burden-BearingFoster.Galatians 6:2
Secret BurdensC. H. Spurgeon.Galatians 6:2
Sympathy Aided by SightH. W. Beecher.Galatians 6:2
Sympathy CurativeH. W. Beecher.Galatians 6:2
Sympathy for OthersT. Guthrie, D. D.Galatians 6:2
Sympathy not SeparationH. W. Beecher.Galatians 6:2
The Bearing of BurdensM. Braithwaite.Galatians 6:2
The Best Burden and the Highest LawBishop Lightfoot.Galatians 6:2
The Blessedness of Burden BearingF. Hastings.Galatians 6:2
The Blessedness of Sympathy and the Vice of SelfishnessA. Sedgwick.Galatians 6:2
The Church a Reliever, of BurdensL. R. Phelps.Galatians 6:2
The Difficulty of Helpfulness Arising from the SuspicionT. L. Cuyler, D. D.Galatians 6:2
The Law of ChristW. Stacey, D. D.Galatians 6:2
The Law of ChristW.F. Adeney Galatians 6:2
The Power of a Kind WordMary B. Sleight.Galatians 6:2
The Spirit that Restores a Fallen Brother Should Pervade Ordinary Christian RelationsJohn Eadie, D. D.Galatians 6:2
The Value of SympathyChristian AgeGalatians 6:2
What is Included in the Term BurdenH. W. Beecher.Galatians 6:2
The Restoration of the ErringR.M. Edgar Galatians 6:1-5
Treatment of a Fallen BrotherR. Finlayson Galatians 6:1-5
The Galatians have been hankering after the Law of Judaism, as though some counsels of perfection could be found therein for adding higher virtue to the graces of Christianity. "If you want a law," says St. Paul, "take this rule of mutual sympathy - bear ye one another's burdens." Christ has his law, then, after all. It is not a ceremonial observance, but it is high enough for the ambition of the noblest self-sacrifice.

I. CHRIST EXPECTS US TO TAKE DEEP INTEREST IN ONE ANOTHER. Christianity is unselfish. To think that all we have to do is to save our own souls is to misunderstand the religion of Christ completely. He who would thus save his soul will lose it. The gospel is a gospel to us just because it calls us out of ourselves and leads us to deny ourselves and practise active charity.

II. OUR SPECIAL INTEREST SHOULD BE DRAWN TOWARDS THE TROUBLES OF OTHERS. The burdens are to be our concern. How large a share of life they cover!

1. Burdens of sin. These seem to be uppermost in the mind of St. Paul (ver. 1). As Christ bore our sin, we are to bear our neighbour's; i.e. make it our trouble and anxiety, and a thing we labour at removing.

2. Burdens of sorrow. The trouble of our brother will be ours if we are members one of another.

3. Burdens of care. Fear and anxiety are magnified inloneliness. We can see the forlorn suffer from being quite desolate.

4. Burdens of doubt. Do not brand the doubter as a heretic. Enter into his difficulties. Discuss them frankly as with your brother.

III. IT IS OUR DUTY TO BEAR THESE BURDENS. The scribes bound heavy burdens grievous to be borne on the shoulders of their victims, and would not so much as touch them with their little fingers. The example of these men has been too often followed by the teachers of the Church. Yet God knows the burdens of life are heavy enough without our adding to them. Our part is to lighten them. This is a serious, practical work, and not a matter of humanitarian sentiment. We must take the burdens on ourselves till we feel the weight of them.

1. By sympathy. Real sympathy, and not mocking pity, makes another's trouble one's own. It takes the heaviest weight from the load - the dull, crushing sense of loneliness. The burden is lightened by being shared.

2. By active relief. When once we feel the burden we shall wish to remove it. Bearing it, we shall do all in our power to bear it away. Thus Christian sympathy produces active philanthropy.

IV. TO BEAR ONE ANOTHER'S BURDENS IS TO FULFIL THE LAW OF CHRIST. It is required by Christ. We are disobedient to him if we neglect the duty. And to fulfil it is to satisfy Christ. In face of this plain duty there is an unreality amounting almost to hypocrisy in the effort to live a holy life by practising artificial, ascetic self-denial, as if enough could not be found in the common walks of life and in ways of plain usefulness. How absurd to wear a hair shirt and lash one's self with scourges instead of taking the self-denial in the less romantic but more Christ-like way of helping the sick and ignorant and fallen!

"The trivial round, the common task,
Will furnish all we ought to ask -
Room to deny ourselves, a road
To bring us daily nearer God?" W.F.A.







Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
These two principles are: —

I. The brotherhood of souls — "Bear ye one another's burdens."

II. The responsibility of the individual soul — "Every man shall bear his own burden." Now these two principles are not really opposed to each other, and neither are the precepts of the text. For if you think of it, you will find it is impossible to obey one part of this law without obeying the other; that it is impossible to bear one, your own burden, without at the same time bearing the burden of others; that it is impossible to realize the awful responsibilities of your being without at the same time realizing the claims of your brothers; impossible to find your own true life without giving up your individual will, without "merging your personal interests in those of the human brotherhood, and those of the human brotherhood in the light of the life of God." Take one side of the idea first. "Every man shall bear his own burden." There is certainly a very real sense in which this is true, and perhaps no truth has impressed itself more deeply upon the mind of man. Strangest of all things in this wondrous universe is the loneliness of man. Lonely in his birth, lonely in all the great movements of his life, lonely in his death, he comes, he passes, he disappears. Enthroned on the citadel of being, each soul is like a star, and dwells apart. There, in the solitary circuit of its own being, it must patiently revolve, for no star can move in the orbit of another star; it cannot pass the silent deep that lies between; it is alone, and shines in solitary beauty. How then, you ask, is it possible to obey the command of the apostle: "Bear ye one another's burdens"? My only answer is that which is implied in the words of the text, that it is only by bearing one another's burdens that we can really bear our own. Does that seem to be a paradox? If you consider deeply you will not think so, you will see that it is really the law of Christ — the highest phase of that law which rules the rhythmic harmony of the universe — that the true life of man is something higher than a life of individual isolation or of personal interest, and that to attain this you must give up your individual will, you must rise into a life which is your own, and yet not your own, and of which the highest expression must always be, "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."

1. Take first the illustration which Christ Himself gave in the simplest phase of growing life, the living unity of the tree: "I am the Vine, ye are the branches." In the economy of a tree you know there is a function which every member must perform, and without which the vigour of life cannot be maintained. If any part should, so to speak, refuse to exercise its function and to bear the burden of the others, itself must pass away. Give it a separate existence, give it the individuality to which it aspires, and what is the result? When it formed a part of the tree joyfully bearing its own burden, and so also bearing the burden of the others, it shared the glory and the freshness of its life, and all its bloom and beauty.

2. The same principle which is thus exemplified in the tree is seen also in the phenomena of sentient life. It is true that the same law holds throughout the realm of our inorganic life, and even in the subtler relations of organisms as collections of modified cells, with unity of origin and coordination of function, it is clearly shown that life cannot be sustained without that mutual burden-bearing which is part of the very law of God. While each individual member has its part to play, its burden to bear, there is a life of the organism to which it must contribute. The members are not independent of each other, but linked together and mutually helpful. "The eye cannot say to the hand I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have need of you." Each member must bear its own burden, and in so doing it will bear the burdens of the others.

3. You have seen the principle illustrated in the life of the body. In the structure as it rises from base to summit each stone bears its own burden, and from foundation to cope stone there is none which is useless, all alike sustaining and sustained, rising in gradual ascent according to the plan in the mind of the architect, and growing up into that ideal of beauty and of serviceableness after which he strove, exemplifying in the simplest as well as in the most elaborate form the same principle, and showing that the law which gives its nameless grace to the tiny arch gives also its imposing grandeur to the great cathedral, rising as it does, in ever ascending glory, from its pillars of over-vaulted gloom, with architraves and arches of majestic beauty, "like a primeval forest," till all the building fitly framed together grows into a holy temple, meet for the worship of God.

4. And if we pass from these suggestive illustrations we shall also find in the life of man and in the arrangement of society equally forcible illustrations of the same principle; a principle which is indeed the very law of society, and without which society could not cohere. Take, for instance, the very common principle of the division of labour, a principle which was slowly adopted, but which is now one of the axioms of economic science. It is not only of direct utility in increasing the power of labour, justifying the saying of the preacher, "Two are better than one," because they have a good reward for their labours. But there is also a higher principle involved. For it is thus by their lower necessities that men are led to see that they have need of each other, and that each and all have their place. I might go on to speak of the basis that has been laid for the law of mutual burden-bearing in the natural constitution of man, in the power of sympathy and natural affection, in the love that binds parent to child, and friend to friend in the sweet charities of human life. There is a similar illustration which may be given in what is called the body politic. What is a State? The true idea of a State is not that of an unconnected collection of individuals, but rather that of an organism, with an organic life and an economy of members, each of which has its own part to play, its own burden to bear, and if it honestly bears that burden, it is also bearing the burdens of the others. For you cannot say that in making the demand Christ makes a demand which is contrary to the nature of things. He merely demands that you should submit yourself to a law which is the expression of God's will, and which is the very law of life. He shows that which is the very glory of the Christian faith, that it does not stand in antagonism with any true principle of our nature. We are, as it were, a great army under marching orders. Day by day we are marching onwards. Each of us has his own burden to bear. Each of us must carry his own knapsack, and shoulder his own musket. And as our comrades fall beside us shall we not pause, and carry them to the rear? Would you call that man a true soldier who could see his fellow soldier fall and not seek to relieve him, who would quail before the shot of the enemy and run to save himself when his wounded brother fell? To this it is, my brethren, that the law of Christ calls you. You must renounce your own will, and bow to the will of God. You must give up your own freedom, and find it in a greater and nobler freedom. You must bear the burdens of others or you cannot bear your own.

(A. W. Williamson, M. A.)

I. ENUMERATE SOME OF THE BURDENS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.

1. The greatest of all burdens which the Christian feels is sin. It is this which makes the whole creation groan, and causes an apostle to cry out, "Oh wretched man that I am; who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24). David also complains and says, "Mine iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me" (Psalm 38:4).

2. Bodily infirmities and diseases are in themselves a burden, however providence may intend them for our good, and finally overrule them for our spiritual advantage.

3. Worldly losses, trials and difficulties, are the burden which some are called to bear, and of these there is a heavy load. The unkindness and ingratitude, the malice and opposition of enemies, press heavily on some: the undutifulness of children, and the breaches made by death, on others: and an endless train of disappointed hopes and expectations attend on all.

4. A state of distance from God, and the hidings of His face, are a great grief and burden to the believing soul. "Thou hidest Thy face," says David, "and I am troubled."

II. OUR OBLIGATIONS TO SYMPATHISE WITH ONE ANOTHER, UNDER THE VARIOUS ILLS AND EVILS OF THE PRESENT LIFE. We cannot so "bear each other's burdens" as to transfer them to ourselves, or suffer in another's stead. In this sense Christ bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows, and at length bore our sins in His own body on the tree; and He alone was able to do it.

1. Let us bear one another's burdens by tenderly sympathising with those who are afflicted. Let us make their griefs, as well as their joys, our own.

2. We are to bear one another's burdens by endeavouring to alleviate the afflicted, and comforting them under all their sorrows.

3. The motive by which this duty is enforced is, that in so doing we "fulfil the law of Christ." It is according to the new commandment which He has given us, that we should love one another; and according to the old commandment that we should love God, and our neighbour as ourselves.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

I. WE MUST TAKE THIS TEXT INTO THE SPHERE OF REALISM. Trouble is not to be treated sentimentally, curiously, inquisitively, but practically Reach out a heart of love and a hand of help to your brother man, not only touching his burden, but bearing it, so that it becomes a matter of prayerful thought, tender remembrance, and gracious kindness.

II. THIS IS TO BE DONE WITH GREAT TACT AND DELICACY OF FEELING. Seek never to lower a brother's honour, while helping his need.

III. WE MUST DO THIS AS THE LAW OF LIFE. There is nothing "occasional" in the Christen spirit. Separate actions do not make good men.

IV. WE MUST LOOK AT THIS GREAT TEACHING ALONG THE LINE OF TRUE SOCIAL ECONOMY. Help those who are trying to help themselves.

V. CULTIVATE A TENDER SENSE OF BROTHERHOOD. In sympathising with, and bearing one another's burdens, we realize the great fact that we shall have burdens to bear ourselves. So we shall. Those who have most, often say least about them. But God intends these trials to prepare us for Christian service. Every experience brings with it the power of bearing a burden.

(W. M. Statham.)

Theological Sketch-book.
So deceitful is the heart, it must be constantly watched, lest under the semblance of piety and religious zeal, we should be led to indulge rancorous and unholy passions. This the apostle seems to have felt; hence the caution (Galatians 5:13-16), the exposure of the fruits both of the flesh and the spirit (vers. 19-23), and the exhortation which concludes with the text.

I. THE DUTY ENJOINED. The term "burden" denotes something which, by uneasy pressure, exhausts the strength and spirits of the person oppressed by it. It may apply to —

1. A weight of labour or bodily toil. This is the effect of the original transgression (Genesis 3:19). We may lighten it by manual assistance, by procuring the requisite help, or pecuniary, which would render the excess of labour unnecessary.

2. A weight of personal affliction (Job 7:20). The pressure of this may be relieved by medical aid, kind attendance, the soothing, sympathising language of friendship, or the considerations which religion affords.

3. Domestic affliction and cares.

4. Providential losses, poverty, embarrassment, oppression, etc.

5. Guilt and corruption. In this case especially, is Christian sympathy demanded.

6. Temptation (Ecclesiastes 4:9; Romans 15:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:14).

7. Infirmities, whether of body or mind. Pity rather than upbraid a weak brother. Help his infirmities, instead of exposing them to others.

II. THE ENFORCING MOTIVE.

1. This is worthy of the character of Christ, inasmuch as it is

(1)a law of equity,

(2)a law of benevolence,

(3)a law of general utility, by which society is benefited, the sum of evil being lessened, and that of happiness increased.

2. It is congenial with the Spirit of Christ (Philippians 2:5; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Colossians 3:12, 13.)

3. It is agreeable with the example of Christ (John 13:13; Philippians 2:6-9; Hebrews 2:14-16).

4. It is deducible from the precepts of Christ (John 13:33, 34; John 15:12, 17).

5. It has, and shall have, the approbation of Christ (Matthew 5:7; Matthew 25:34-40). Concluding inferences:(1) Seeing that the text expresses the peculiar genius of the religion by which we hope for salvation, the subject should awaken inquiry (1 John 4:19-21).(2) If examination should happen to lead us to humiliating views of past shortcomings, etc., it should also lead us to unreserved and constant obedience; which may be supported by a consideration of what we owe to

(a)ourselves;

(b)our brethren;

(c)our Saviour, who regards what is done to His followers as done to Himself;

(d)our God, who expects such return for His love (1 John 4:9-11).

(Theological Sketch-book.)

This world is full of burden-bearers. We cannot pass through it without taking a load. Nor can we help fulfilling the injunction of the text in some sense. We do, naturally and inevitably, bear one another's burdens. Life is such that every man must take some share of the life of those around. To be in relationships means this; to be in a family as head or member, to be in business, to be one of a social and civilized community, implies it. The text is needed, then, to make that Christian which is simply natural, to change hard necessity into holy duty. Christianity speaks to men who are all struggling and suffering together, and says not, "Throw off the burden, deny the mutual claim, restrain the hand of help," but, "What you must do, do willingly; what you might leave undone, do more willingly still."

I. SOME OF THE BURDENS WE MAY HELP OTHERS TO BEAR.

1. Poverty. Answers to objections —(1) "Many of the poor are born so, and do not feel their privations as a burden, not knowing any other state." True, but we must think of what they may be raised to The poorest man is a man altogether, and capable of all a man can be in soul and circumstances.(2) "There must be the different classes in society. Christ tells us we shall always have the poor with us." Yes, but Christ merely refers to a fact He does not commend it, or announce it as one of the laws of His Kingdom. The nature of His Kingdom is, in proportion as its principles prevail, to bring all evils to an end, and poverty undoubtedly tends to produce and perpetuate evil; e.g., it prevents the acquisition of knowledge, makes decency very difficult, quenches nobler strivings, makes life a drudgery. When very deep, it is twin-sister to famine, and behind them both are the darker forms of crime (Proverbs 30:8, 9).

2. Infirmity. Weak goodness needs encouragement. Many who fall often are struggling hard all the time. Be willing and ready to hold out a helping hand. Suffer the hasty word to pass in silence, without answering again. Check the ungenerous judgment in your heart. Watch for the best opportunity of suggesting a more excellent way.

3. Trouble. To "weep with them that weep" is a ministration of love far more intense than to "rejoice with them that do rejoice." A friendship of fellowship cemented by sorrow is often both more profitable and more lasting than the fellowship of health, and laughter, and mutual success. Christ's fellowship with men is enduring and valuable because it includes all imaginable sympathy. You must fill your own heart with the trouble you would lessen. This is "Christ in you," and is probably the presage of Christ in your suffering friend, with increase of soul-strength, and abundance of consolation.

II. MOTIVES OR INDUCEMENTS.

1. The frailty of human nature, and the uncertainties of human life.

2. It is the way to fulfil the law of Christ. And to fulfil that law is to fulfil all laws. More than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices, more than all ceremonial and observance, more than all philosophy, more than all morality, more than all religion besides. The keeping of it is the completeness of duty, the substance of goodness, the secret of happiness, and the best preparation for the ineffable glories and joys of heaven.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)Poverty is the load of some, and wealth is the load of others, perhaps the greater load of the two. It may weigh thee down to perdition. Bear the load of thy neighbour's poverty, and let him bear with thee the load of thy wealth. Thou lightenest thy load by lightening his.

(Bp. Chris. Wordsworth.)What is our whole religion but a burden-bearing? We have our own and also others' burdens to bear. We are all on a journey; if one is like to give way, the other must refresh him; if one is likely to fall, the other must help him up.

(Starke.)

The individual conscience, if sufficiently sensitive, and alive to its responsibilities, will daily find for itself manifold occasions of bearing others' burdens. We may show our sympathy, for instance, with sickness and suffering, in our liberal support of hospitals and similar appliances for bringing excellent medical skill within reach of those who most need and can least afford it. Those who have leisure to do so, may show it by visiting the sick and afflicted, and alleviating, by gentle acts and kindly attentions, the suffering they find around them. We may sympathise with poverty, either by actual relief of want and destitution, or by the better method, where it is possible, of procuring for them the means of earning an honest livelihood. And our sympathy with such may be most clearly expressed by the delicacy with which the help is tendered, a matter which many benevolent people are apt to forget, and so mar the good they would otherwise do. We may sympathise with age and its attendant evils, by cheerfully tendering the deference and consideration which the better portion of mankind has always combined to accord to increasing years: we may show it, too, by patience of its tediousness, and querulousness, and by diverting attention from failing faculties and enfeebled powers of mind and body. We may sympathise with infirmities of temper in those with whom we may be thrown in contact, by tact and temper, and forbearance on our part, endeavouring to hit the due medium between an undue complaisance, which is no true kindness to the wayward, and a needless and irritating opposition. We may sympathise with ignorance, by excusing it where it is unavoidable and not culpable, by seeking to remedy it in every way that lies in our power, and by readiness to impart whatever knowledge we possess, at whatever cost of time or trouble. We may sympathise with the penitent sinner, if the providence of God has placed us in such a position as to minister to the wounds of a stricken conscience, by encouraging the confidence of those who would repose it in us, by hearing their griefs and troubles and by leading them to Him who alone can heal the ravages of sin and speak peace to the troubled spirit. We may sympathise with distracting doubts and difficulties, whether as to faith or conduct, by patiently hearing all the doubter's perplexity, by offering in all humility solutions which have satisfied the minds of others, or, if it be so, by showing how we ourselves have groped our way amid such clouds of the mind from darkness to partial light: or at least we may do so by secret prayer, that God in His own good time will lead all who err or waver into the narrow path which struggles upward towards the truth.

(Bishop Mitchinson.)

The application of this law are manifold. Yonder is a poor woman who has more children than she can feed. Take one of them to your own house. Give employment to another of them in your store. That will lift up the load from her, and it will send you to your family altar with a new cause for thanksgiving and praise. Do you not know that in life, sometimes, the breadth of one inch in a railway truck determines whether the cars shall go over the embankment or on the straight track — just the pull of a switch one inch. I know some large-hearted, godly men, who stand by young men when they come to London or New York, and give them the helping hand of sympathy and prayerful support; and that act just pulls the switch one inch, and puts them on the road to success, to happiness, and to God's blessing. We have in America our William E. Dodges who are the Lord's switch-tenders. I am thankful that in London you have your Samuel Morley, and other faithful servants of the Lord, who rejoice to be God's switch-tenders, to turn the needy, and the tempted, and the young into paths of sobriety, prosperity, and blessing. Do you not know that sometimes a very small lift is very timely? A word, an old familiar word — it is like a medicine. A kind word to your neighbour in trouble, an inquiry at the door when crape hangs there, the pressure of the hand: there is not a man in England so high that he is above the reach of the need of sympathy. One of our noblest women, Fidelia Fisk, tells us that when she was in Syria one day, preaching to the native women, she found herself very tired. Here are her own words — "I had worked hard all day, and I had a prayer-meeting yet to attend that night, and I felt very weary. I longed for a little rest. Just then, as I was sitting on the floor, one of the native Christian women took hold of me, and pulled me over against her and said, 'Are you tired? Just lean against me; and if you love me, lean hard — lean hard.' I did lean against her, and I found myself wonderfully rested. I attended the women's prayer-meeting, and I went home that night scarcely tired at all; and oh, how often the words of that woman came to me, 'If you love me, lean hard — lean hard.' And then I thought how the Blessed Saviour says, 'If you love Me, lean hard.'" And mothers, mothers, do you not remember how, when you carried that burden of the dying child, pale, feeble, and the breath almost gone, you felt, "Oh, if it loves me, let it lean hard." You man, remember you not the time when, night after night, you took up your beloved wife and carried her to her couch, sad at the thought that the load was becoming lighter every moment, and you were ready to say to her, "My darling, if you love me, lean hard and close." Oh, blessed Jesus, teach us how to rest our weakness on Thee, and lean hard on the burden-bearer of our sorrows and our weaknesses!

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

In this work of supplying the conditions of human progress, the State has found from time to time its most powerful helper and its most eloquent teacher in the Church of Christ. And in proportion as the State has realized more and more its true idea it has seemed to some to trench upon the work of its best friends. The relief of poverty for instance, the guarantee, that is, of the conditions of life in its lowest form, was long the work of the religious orders. The poor law of Elizabeth was the direct outcome of the suppression of the monasteries. So, too, the education of the people. The Church made manful efforts to supply the defects which the State ignored by its system of parochial schools, and it was not till our own time that the truth came home to men, that national education is a matter of national interest, and can be guaranteed only by the nation itself. So, too, in earlier times the freedom and the sanctity of the individual person were recognized by the Church long before they became embodied in legislation, and in our own time it was the religious instinct of the nation which drove Parliament to sweep away the last trace of slavery. Are we then peevishly to complain of the growth of the responsibility, and activity of the State? Are we to look upon each fresh duty which it undertakes as an invasion of individual rights, or a sort of trespass upon what is the peculiar province of the Church? Shall we not rather see in every successive advance a fresh victory for the Church of Christ? for it shows that the Church has been true to its mission, and has taught its lesson to the world, and has made men feel the truth and the power of the words, "Bear ye one another's burdens", and so fulfil the law of Christ.

(L. R. Phelps.)

American Homiletic Review., M. C. Osborn.
I. DIFFERENT KINDS OF BURDENS.

1. Those that are necessary.

2. Those that are superfluous.

3. Those that are imaginary,

II. WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THEM?

1. Reduce their number to the limits of necessity.

2. Some of these we are expected to carry ourselves.

(American Homiletic Review.)

I. BEAR YE ONE ANOTHER'S BURDENS. The late George Moore was accustomed to say that sympathy was the grandest word in the English language. Sympathy overcomes evil and strengthens good, it lies at the root of all religion. The late Mr. Justice Talfourd lamented the lack of it. He said, "If I were asked what is the great lack of human society, I should say that need is sympathy." Selfishness is said to be the very root of original sin, and it is the duty of Christianity to break down this selfishness. We have all burdens to bear, but not all equally, and it is the privilege of those who are less burdened than their fellows to minister to the relief of those by whom they are surrounded. Sometimes, under an apparently rough exterior, there is a gentle spirit and genuine kindness. But in offering to these the ministry of Christian love we should avoid everything that is likely to hurt their sensibilities. An air of condescension and a lofty tone of patronage are out of place in Christian service. Genuine Christlike sympathy must be practical. The shedding of sentimental tears will not suffice. It is a mockery and an insult to go to a man and offer him a tract when he wants a loaf, if you have a loaf to spare. Sympathy must be personal. In this age of societies and committees we are in danger of delegating our duty to other people. Real beneficence is simple prudence — to do good is to get good. Be the almoners of your own bounty. This ministry is to be mutual. Human life is very changeful, the picture is constantly being replaced. A man rejoicing to-day may be smitten down by a fell disease tomorrow. The hand that is now ministering to others may sorely need ministration itself. By observing the principles of the text we fulfil the law of Christ. There is a moral power in the human nature of the Lord Jesus Christ which is second only to His Divinity. It fitted Him for the ministry of solace. But we are to bear one another's burdens in order to fulfil the law of Christ. We fulfil the law of Christ's example, as witnessed in the incident at Nain, and at the grave of Lazarus. There Jesus wept in sympathy with Mary and Martha. We fulfil the law of Christ's teaching, and that of His apostles. "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love another, as I have loved you." We fulfil the law of Christ's administration. It is a law of the kingdom that all His people shall be mutually dependent. Society is bound together by mysterious but mighty ties.

II. EVERY MAN SHALL BEAR HIS OWN BURDEN. The two statements of my text are perfectly consistent. There are burdens which we can help other people to bear. But there are others which neither they nor we can bear for purposes of mutual help. There is the burden of responsibility. Life is a magnificent thing. Life in this world may lead to life eternal in the world to come. Then there is the burden of guilt. This is a personal matter. Again, there is the burden of remorse. We all possess a faculty of conscience. Lastly, we have each a burden to bear in the hour of death.

(M. C. Osborn.)

The apostle here goes even beyond what he has laid down in another very large and comprehensive precept, "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." He requires something more than sympathy — more at least than sympathy as commonly understood, though not perhaps more than sympathy in its strict literal import. One man is generally said to sympathize with another, who is pained, when and because that other is pained; and sympathy, as thus understood, is little more than pity or commiseration. But to suffer with another — which is actually to sympathize — this goes much beyond the weeping with another. It is the making the griefs of that other mine own; so that the blow is on me as well as on him, and the wound is in my heart as well as in his. The members of one family accurately sympathize, or suffer together, when death has come in, and snatched one from their circle. The loss is a common loss, affecting all equally, and the sorrow of each is literally the sorrow of every other. A Christian friend or minister may visit the disconsolate household, animated by the kindliest feelings, and sincerely desirous to afford them a measure of consolation, through the manifest interest which he takes in their grief; and he may succeed; for exhibitions of kindliness have the great faculty of going like balm to the heart. The tears which friendship sheds in our woe, possess the wonderful property of staunching our own. But nevertheless, this comforting visitor may rather feel for than with the afflicted. They have lost a brother or a sister, but he does not necessarily feel as though he had lost a brother or a sister. The blow has made them orphans, but he does not necessarily feel as though it had made him an orphan. And thus, whilst he may literally and thoroughly obey the injunction which requires of him that he "weep with them that weep," he may yet be far off from that actual sympathy — that suffering with them that suffer — which is described in the text; where you are not only enjoined to commiserate with the oppressed, but so to put yourselves into their position as to bear their burdens. And yet it is evident that so far as Christianity succeeds in restoring the brotherhood which sin has infringed, it will substitute sympathy thus strictly understood, for that which in our present broken state has usurped the definition. It is only needful that I come to regard any one of you as a brother; and when he loses a kinsman, I shall lose a kinsman. I shall not merely be sorry for his bereavement, but I shall feel that the bereavement is my own. So far as two families can be made one, the sorrows of either are the sorrows of both; and if there were but one vast family on the face of the earth, whatsoever afflicted the individual would afflict the mass... Who can tell us what Christian philanthropy would be, if the law of membership were felt and obeyed. You ought — this is what St. Paul seems to enjoin and exhort in the text — you ought to remember the imprisoned and burdened, not merely as being your fellow creatures, but rather as being, in a certain sense, yourselves. What a motive to exertion on their behalf! How earnest, how unremitting, would be that exertion, if that motive were indeed in full force. You tell me, for instance, of unfortunate captives who have fallen into the hands of cruel taskmasters. They are shut out from the cheerful light of day; they eat their bread in bitterness of soul, and almost long for death; and you say to me, Remember them, Remember them! Why, you have told me of myself! It is my own captivity which you have described; it is the clanking of my own chains which you have made me hear; and I must struggle for their emancipation, that my limbs may be free, and that I may breathe the fresh air of heaven. O Christians 1 what would be your benevolence, if you felt that they were your own members which you were invited to succour? And it is quite evident from the text, that nothing less is expected of you as professed disciples of Christ. The apostle introduces the principle of membership, just as he might the simplest and most elementary of truths. He is not proposing any rule or standard to which men were unaccustomed, but, on the contrary, one which, as being generally acknowledged, needed only to be indicated by a passing remark. And yet it is possible enough, that the doctrine which we have now endeavoured to lay down, will appear to many of you to have the air of a new and far-fetched speculation. "Give us," you are ready to say, "pictures or descriptions of distress; expatiate upon the miseries by which numbers are oppressed; and move our feelings by a touching tale of human grief; but as to wishing us to make the wretchedness our own — that we should labour for its alleviation, just as though it were pressing upon ourselves — that is altogether beyond nature, and its possibility is but the fiction of an exaggerated theology!" Beyond nature, we confess it; but not beyond grace. The Christian is not to be content until, in relieving the distressed, he can feel that he acts upon the great principle of membership. It must not be enough for him that his heart yearns at the tale of calamity, and that he is ready to employ his money and his time in lightening the pressure of which he has been told; he must see to it that he have part in the bearing, as well as in the relieving of the calamity.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Many persons are caught with the most superficial contradiction. Here St. Paul says, "Bear ye one another's burdens"; and in the fifth verse of this same chapter, be says, "Every man shall bear his own burden." As if both of the statements could not be true! As if a man carrying a burden for which he is especially responsible, might not have it lightened somewhat by one who walked by his side and helped him! As if a little child carrying a heavily-laden basket — which it was his task and business to carry, and which he had to take care of — might not be helped by another child walking by his side and taking hold of the handle! so that it might be said to one of them, "This is your burden, and you must see to it," and to the other, "Help him with his burden." And yet, persons suppose, because here it is said, "Bear ye one another's burdens," and further on, "Every man shall bear his own burden," there is some contradiction. No; there is co-operation. The reponsibility is on each man to carry himself and his trials and troubles through life. All the more, therefore, as far as in us lies, we should help each other. For, to "bear one another's burdens," does not mean to take them off from one another's shoulders, but to help each other to carry them. We are to assist others in bearing their own burdens. We are to contribute to their strength and to their courage. We are to render them as much help as, by sympathy or otherwise, we may. Taken in connection with the preceding verse this precept means: Whatever thing tends to bend a man, to warp him in his habit of thought, in the conduct of his moral feelings, in the administration of his affections, in the whole range of his social life; whatever may be a man's imperfection, or misdemeanour, or fault, or failing, the command is — "Help him."

(H. W. Beecher.)

To bear the burden of a person who has a heavy load of laborious duty, is either to assist him directly in the performance of it, or to act towards him in such a manner as shall make the performance of it more easy; to bear the burden of a person who is oppressed with affliction, is to commiserate him, and do what we can to relieve and comfort him; to bear the burden of one who is encumbered with mistaken views, mental weakness, strong prejudices, and bad temper, is patiently to bear the annoyance which these unavoidably occasion; at the same time employing all proper means for correcting these intellectual and moral obliquities, weaknesses, and faults To bear the mistakes and. faults of our fellow Christians does not by any means imply that we flatter them in their erroneous opinions or improper habits: but it does imply that we, cherishing a deep-felt sense of our own intellectual and moral deficiencies and improprieties, bear patiently the inconveniences which their mistakes and faults occasion to us, and in a truly friendly disposition do everything in our power to remove these mistakes and faults. well says on this point — "He who is quick and irritable, let him bear with the slow and sluggish; and let the slow, in his turn, bear with the impetuosity of his fiery brother; each knowing that the burden is heavier to him who bears it than to him who bears with it." When a Christian brother under his burden stumbles and falls, we are not to let him lie on the ground and recover his feet the best way he may; far less are we to insult him as he lies prostrate, and point him out to the scorn and derision of the world. We are to take him by the hand and raise him up; and as we have all our burdens, we are to journey on, hand in hand, endeavouring to keep one another from falling, and to press in a body forward along the prescribed course, that we may all obtain the prize of our high calling, in that better country, where we shall be relieved from all our burdens at once and for ever.

(John Brown, D. D.)

The "burdens" have been unduly narrowed in the definition of them. They are not weaknesses simply, as in Romans 15:1, but also errors, trials, sorrows, sins, without any distinct specification. And they are not merely to be tolerated; they are to be taken up as burdens (Matthew 20:12; Acts 15:10). Whatever forms a burden to our brethren we are to take upon ourselves, and carry it for them or with them, in the spirit of Him who "bore our sins and carried our sorrows." The emphasis is on "one another's," giving distinctness to the duty as a mutual duty. Mutual interposition in sympathy and for succour in any emergency — fellow-feeling and fellow-helping — is the duty inculcated, as opposed to that selfish isolation which stands aloof, or contents itself with a cheap expression of commiseration, or an offer of assistance so framed as to be worthless in the time or the shape of it (2 Corinthians 11:29).

(John Eadie, D. D.)

"If you must needs impose burdens on yourselves, let them be the burdens of mutual sympathy. If you must needs observe a law, let it be the law of Christ."

(Bishop Lightfoot.)

No other law but the law of Christ ever taught this maxim; the proper discharge of social duties is regulated nowhere but in the law of Christ, which is the law of love, "for love worketh no ill to his neighbour, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." All those social symptoms which rise like the foam out of the agitated elements of the present generation, disappear in rapid succession, because they have no other foundation than the wave which cannot rest; and they are at best but mere spurious imitations of that fraternity which was founded by Jesus Christ. It is some tribute to the origin of our holy religion, that men in their most extravagant aberrations, and amidst the wildest theories for promoting the happiness of the many, should appeal to the Divine founder of Christianity, as having first introduced the system which they are seeking to propagate; but, inasmuch as they know nothing of the law of love, which He taught us the moving spring of every good word and work, they do but wander on the outside of the Christian system .... In the general history of mankind, the maxim of the text, so far from being acted out, has been reversed; instead of men sharing or bearing one another's burdens, they appear to act upon the rule of laying them on each other's shoulders, with the view of getting rid of their portion of the weight. In the times of classical antiquity, which our youth are taught to hold in admiration; in the days of heroism and splendid war, which poets have sung and historians have embellished, there were the degraded classes of the community, made to bear the burdens of the rest. The helots of Sparta, and the slaves of Greece, the gladiators of Rome, and the captives of barbarian invaders, were but the beasts of burden for the more favoured portion of the community. What cared the Roman citizen for the slave that went his round of ceaseless toil? What thought had the feudal lord for the drudge that wore out his brief existence in subterranean damps to do his master's pleasure? Who, even in our Christian land for many generations, heeded the heavy burdens laid upon the slave, or the tender females working in our mines, or the helpless children in our factories? What thought or care among hundreds and thousands now, who refuse to give to the man who has done his six days' labour, the day of rest which is his due, because they will not forego one single particle of their ordinary luxury, nor bear any portion of their brother's burden? St. Paul here appears to take it for granted that every man has a burden; and shortly afterwards he says that "every man shall bear his own burden." There must be no such shifting away of the trial or hardship, which, in the course of providence, he has to bear, as will exempt him from the ordinary lot of humanity. It is not at all a question of getting everything done for us, so that we may have a smooth and easy path at others' expense and toil; but it is just that there may be a mutual succour, which will help every man to "bear his own burden," such, e.g., as the burdens of poverty, affliction, excessive labour, etc.

(R. Burgess, B. D.)

There lay recently, in an infirmary in New York, in a darkened room, helpless and sightless, a man made blind by cataract. He had crossed half a continent in the faint hope of finding a relief or cure. Beside him, when I saw him, sat his daughter, who, as I learned afterwards, had taken up his work — a work involving long and exposed journeys through a wild and thinly settled country on our western frontier, and who left it, now, only to minister to this helpless and suffering parent while he lay shrinking and quivering under the surgeon's knife. It seemed doubtful whether the operation would be successful, and equally doubtful whether all this filial devotion would not be wasted time and worthless endeavour. But, as one looked at that woman's face of heroic sacrifice and utter self-abnegation, one read in it how out of love's Divine unselfishness there comes a sweeter and nobler fruitage than any that could be garnered without it, even though to-morrow all sorrow and pain and helplessness should be swept out of the world for ever.

(Bishop H. C. Potter.)

Consider how you would act if these vices and monstrous passions, instead of being a part of the machinery of rational, intelligent, and responsible agents, were transformed in the actual forms of wild beasts. Is it intemperance? suppose you figure to yourself a lion in ambush springing out upon a man; suppose you saw the man trembling under the lion's paw, how would you feel? But suppose, instead of being a lion, it was Satan in the form of an intemperate appetite, worse a thousand times to the man than any real lion of the desert? You would run to rescue a man from an outside lion: will you not do anything for a man who has one inside? What if it were sickness? What if it were a man swollen with dropsy? What if it were a man crying out for water, with lips parched by merciless fever? Would you not moisten his tongue and his brow, and fan the fever away? But is any fever of the body so pitiable as the fevers which come upon the soul? Would you have compassion upon a man who was attacked by an outward disease, and none for a man whose soul was diseased Are there no bearers of men's inward burdens? Are not these burdens to be borne, even though men may have brought them upon themselves? Are not bad men punished by what they suffer from their transgressions? Is it not enough that such men have to live with themselves, and take the consequences of their own actions? And is not a man, the consequences of whose conduct are going on, working, and laying up wrath against the day of wrath, to be pitied? Is not he to be pitied who for his transgression has to bear the infliction of law, of public sentiment, and of his own nature? In all ways of looking at it, he is most to be pitied who is most variously and most hopelessly wicked.

(H. W. Beecher.)

But it will be objected, "Are we not commanded to abhor that which is evil, and to cleave to that which is good?" Certainly; but are we anywhere commanded to abhor sinners because we abhor sin? What is it to abhor evil? Is it the sudden disgust which arises, which ought to be momentary, and which is designed to put us upon our guard, and to inspire us with self-defensory power, till we have time to lay our course more deliberately? Every man ought at the first impulse of the evil to feel repugnance at it; but that is not the higher kind of abhorrence of evil. It is an inspiration of a lower kind. He hates evil most who hates it so that he will annihilate it. There is animal hatred, and there is Divine hatred. Two men hate malaria. One says, "I will not settle here; I will pack up my things, and clear out." The other says, "I hate it; but I am going to work to morrow morning, with my whole force, to drain that marsh." He goes to work and digs a ditch through it, risking his health, and removes the stagnant water. Who hated the malaria most, the one who ran away from it, or the one who cured it? Is not a cure a witness of dislike more than neglect? A mother hates the disease that is in her child; but does she abandon the child, saying, "I hate morbid conditions of every kind," and let the child die, as a testimony to her dislike of violations of natural law? Is it not a better testimony to her hatred of disease, that night and day she lingers over the little sufferer till she brings it back to good health? Is not that a better way of hating disease than the other would be? That is the true hatred of sin which kills it by kindness.

(H. W. Beecher.)

One day a teacher said to his class, "Boys, you can all be useful if you will. If you cannot do good by great deeds you can by little ones." These boys said nothing, but the teacher saw by their looks that they thought he was mistaken. They did not believe that they could be of any use. So he continued: "You think it is not so; but suppose you just try it for a week." "How shall we try it?" asked one of them. "Just keep your eyes open and your hands ready to do anything good that comes in your way this week, and tell me next Sabbath if you have not managed to be useful in some way or other," said the teacher. "Agreed," said the lads; and so they parted. The next Sabbath those boys gathered round the teacher with smiling lips and eyes so full of light that they fairly twinkled like the stars. "Ah, lads, I see by your looks that you have something to tell me." "We have, sir; we have!" they said all together. Then each told his story. "I," said one, "thought of going to the well for a pail of water every morning to save mother the trouble and time. She thanked me so much, was so greatly pleased, that I mean to keep on doing it for her." "And I," said another boy, "thought of a poor old woman, whose eyes were too dim to read. I went to her house every day and read a chapter to her from the Bible. It seems to give her a great deal of comfort. I cannot tell how she thanked me." "I was walking with my eyes open and my hands ready, as you told us," said the fourth boy, "when I saw a little fellow crying because he had lost some pennies. I found them, and he dried his tears, and ran off feeling very happy." A fifth boy said: "I saw my mother was very tired one day. The baby was cross, and mother looked sick and sad. I asked mother to put baby into my little waggon. She did so, and I gave him a grand ride round the garden. If you had only heard him crow, and seen him clap his hands, it would have done you good; and oh! how much brighter mother looked when I took the baby indoors again!"

Christian Age.
An eminent clergyman sat in his study, busily engaged in preparing his Sunday sermon, when his little boy toddled into the room, and holding up his pinched finger, said, with an expression of suffering, "Look, pa, how I hurt it!" The father, interrupted in the middle of a sentence, glanced hastily at him, and with just the slightest tone of impatience, said, "I can't help it." The little fellow's eyes grew bigger, and as he turned to go out, he said in a low voice, "Yes, you could; you might have said 'Oh!'" Alas! how many of us "children of a larger growth" have gone away hugging our hurt, with a sadder hurt in our hearts for lack of one little sympathizing word. To most of us, in the great trials of life, sympathy comes freely enough; but for the small aches and hurts, the daily smarts and bruises, how many a heart hungers in vain for the meagrest dole! "It is such a briery world!" said a little girl one day, while making her way through a blackberry thicket. The briers meet us at every turn, and there is nothing like sympathy to ease their pricks and stings.

(Christian Age.)

There are no readier or sweeter sympathizers in the world than little children, and they seem to know intuitively when sympathy is needed. A friend of ours had the misfortune to break a valuable dish not long ago, and naturally enough was inclined to blame herself for her carelessness. A little four-year-old girl looked up from her play as the dish fell to the floor, and touched by the mother's troubled face she stole to her side, and softly stroking her hand, whispered, "Nice mamma." Blessed little comforter! What mother would not cheerfully have given the price of a dozen dishes for the sake of such sweet sympathy? And what mother in the world would have the heart to reprove such a child for a similar mishap? — for to reprove when the little one is already quivering with dismay at the mischief it has wrought, is sheer cruelty. It is a wise mother who at such a time folds the darling in her arms with a gentle, "Never mind."

(Mary B. Sleight.)

He says not "fulfil," but "complete;" i.e., make it up all of you in common by the things wherein ye bear with one another. This man is irascible, thou art dull-tempered; bear therefore with his vehemence, that he in turn may bear with thy sluggishness; and thus neither will he, through thy support, transgress, nor wilt thou offend in the points where thy defects lie, through thy brother's forbearance. So do ye reach forth a hand one to another when about to fall, and one with another fulfil the law in common, each completing what is wanting in his neighbour by his own endurance.

( Chrysostom.)

These passages seem to be contradictory; but the opposition is only apparent, not real. One asserts a Christian obligation, the other states a solemn fact.

I. THERE ARE BURDENS TO BE SHARED. Our relationship to each other, and our possession of advantages and talents, involve us in manifold responsibilities.

1. Burdens of ignorance. It is our duty to diffuse the knowledge of God, and to attempt to remove the evils of darkness and superstition.

2. Burdens of sorrow. Calamities, distress, bereavement, appeal for sympathy and ministry; and we cannot escape the demands upon us for consideration and help.

3. Burdens of infirmity. All are in jeopardy. The strongest are not always strong. Christians are not to rejoice in iniquity, or affect a disdainful sanctity, but to seek with Christlike gentleness and grace the recovery of the erring one (James 5:19, 20). The Christian has two noble attitudes or possibillties — he can look up, and he can lift up. Think of the animating motive, "and so fulfil," etc. Christ taught the law of action by

(a)His precepts,

(b)His life,

(c)His death.

II. THERE ARE BURDENS WHICH CANNOT BE SHARED.

1. The burden of personal duty.

2. The burden of sinful character.

3. The burden of individual responsibility.

4. The burden of death.Conclusion: Do you carry an anxious heart, or a weary soul, or a guilty conscience? Get rid of the heavy burden. Carry the load not a moment longer (Psalm 55:22).

(M. Braithwaite.)

You have often noticed, if you have any special disease or malady, how strangely you begin to learn of others who have the same. There is this sympathetic instinct in our mental and spiritual maladies It is when we have learned in our own personal experience the struggles of mind and heart, the manifold bonds of human life, that we have gained the only power to help our fellow-men. It may be said most truly that it is only the man or woman who has suffered, who has any real feeling of kindred with the heart of man. The child is often cruel to the child, the young are impatient of the sight of sorrow, because they do not know the reality of it. The deepest cause of our uncharitableness is our ignorance. Who of us has ever known the weary burden of doubt, the earnest craving for a truth to rest on amidst the chaos of opinion, who that has at last found it does not know how many there are like himself who only need a word of wise counsel, a ray of kindly light, to lead them into the path? It is that spirit the Christian believer must cherish. And who, again, has felt the hard struggles of his conscience in this daily life, the temptations that have met him, the weakness of his own will, and yet through God's grace has kept his purity, does not know somewhat of the burdens that crush others less happy than himself in the results of the trial? Yes, this is the lesson we all need We cannot change all the inequalities of the world, or heal all its diseases. But we can do much to help it by the spirit in which we strive to understand and reach human need. It is not our wealth or our cold, condescending pity men and women need; it is the Christian fellowship that makes them feel that "we have all of us one human heart," that sees in every class or lot creatures of "like passions" with us, the same infirmities, and the same redeeming graces. It is this gospel which teaches no envy of the rich and no scorn of the poor, but that all these differences of lot, to the believer in Christ, are not barriers to sever, but bonds to bind us in one. And as we have so learned it in our personal experience, we have found happiness in this joy of human sympathy. Our grief is healed as we go out of our own cell of brooding thought to find our fellow-sufferers. It is the only antidote. For then we learn always that there are sadder hearts to be healed, and we feel ashamed of our own trouble in the presence of a greater, and as we minister to them the mercy of our God steals into our own souls, and brings the consolation we never knew before. And so our happiness is enlarged only as it enters into the enlarged heart. If we have brought our sunshine into the life of others, if we have given of our comfort to those whose lot is less fortunate, we can enjoy the wealth with a new sense of His goodness who has made us stewards. I have read of a Christian man, who, to know the reality of poverty, put on the dress of a beggar, and went into the hard lodging-house, where the poor outcasts have a comfortless pallet of straw and a ration of bad food, and after a week of experience gave this evidence, that it was worth to him ten years of study, and the source of the most intense pleasure in his lifetime. Such a voluntary exile is not often sought or found by most of us. But each in his degree, if he have come face to face with human wretchedness, has learned the meaning of this Christian experience. Each has found the recompense of the reward; as we have borne the burden of others, we have borne our own more bravely.

(E. A. Washburn, D. D.)

Galatians apparently fond of the law and its burdens: at least, they appeared to be ready to load themselves with ceremonies, and so fulfil the law of Moses. Paul would have them think of other burdens, by the bearing of which they would fulfil the law of Christ.

I. COMMUNITY. "Bear ye one another's burdens."

1. Negatively. It tacitly forbids certain modes of action. We are not to burden others. We are not to spy out others' burdens, and report thereon. We are not to despise them for having such loads to bear. We are not to go through the world oblivious of the sorrows of others.

2. Positively. We are to share the burdens of others. By compassion bear with their former sins (ver. 1). By patience bear with their infirmities, and even with their conceit (ver. 3). By sympathy bear their sorrows (vers. 2, 3). By assistance bear their wants (vers. 6, 10). By communion, in love and comfort, bear their struggles. By prayer and practical help bear the burden of their labours, and thus lighten it (ver. 6).

3. Specially: We ought to consider — The erring brother. Referred to in ver. 1 as "overtaken in a fault." We must tenderly restore him. The provoking brother, who thinks himself to be something (see ver. 3). Bear with him: his mistake will bring him many a burden before he has done with it. The brother who is peculiarly trying is to be borne with to seventy times seven, even to the measure of the law of Christ. The greatly tried is to have our greatest sympathy. The minister of Christ should be released from temporal burdens, that he may give himself wholly to the burden of the Lord.

II. IMMUNITY. "For every man shall bear his own burden." We shall not bear all the burdens of others. We are not so bound to each other that we are partakers in wilful transgression, or negligence, or rebellion.

1. Each must bear his own sin if he persists in it.

2. Each must bear his own shame, which results from his sin.

3. Each must bear his own responsibility in his own sphere.

4. Each must bear his own judgment at the last.

III. PERSONALITY. "Every man... his own burden." True godliness is a personal affair, and we cannot cast off our individuality: therefore, let us ask for grace to look well to ourselves in the following matters: —

1. Personal religion. The new birth, repentance, faith, love, holiness, fellowship with God, etc., are all personal.

2. Personal self-examination. We cannot leave the question of our soul's condition to the judgment of others.

3. Personal service. We have to do what no one else can do.

4. Personal responsibility. Obligations cannot be transferred.

5. Personal effort. Nothing can be a substitute for this.

6. Personal sorrow. "The heart knoweth its own bitterness."

7. Personal comfort. We need the Comforter for ourselves, and we must personally look up to the Lord for His operations. All this belongs to the Christian, and we may judge ourselves by it. So bear your own burden as not to forget others. So live as not to come under the guilt of other men's sins. So help others as not to destroy their self-reliance.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

There is a gateway at the entrance of a narrow passage in London, over which is written, "No burdens allowed to pass through." "And yet we do pass constantly with ours," said one friend to another, as they turned up this passage out of a more frequented and broader thoroughfare. They carried no visible burdens, but they were like many who, although they have no outward pack upon their shoulders, often stoop inwardly beneath the pressure of a heavy load upon the heart. The worst burdens are those which never meet the eye.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

When the child was dead, and the prophet came to heal it, he stretched himself out on the child, and put his lips to the child's lips, and his hand on the child's hand, and his heart to the child's heart. Then it was that the breath came back, and the child, sneezing, showed that life was returning to it. And I do not believe that there is anything which cures hearts in this world besides other hearts laid upon them, brooding them, and imparting to them something of their own sympathy and goodness. If a heart cannot be cured by a loving heart, it is incurable.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Whatever makes right living, according to the law of God, difficult to a sincere man — that is a burden. It may be in his mental constitution; it may be in his bodily health; it may be in the habits of his education; it may be in his relation to worldly affairs; it may be in his domestic circumstances; it may be in his peculiar liabilities to temptation and sin. It includes the whole catalogue of conditions, and influences, and causes, that weigh men down, and hinder them, when they are endeavouring sincerely to live lives of rectitude. What is the meaning, then, of Bearing? It is, generally, such a course of conduct towards our fellow-men, as shall enable them more easily to carry and manage their infirmities and troubles. It is a spirit of compassion and hopefulness excited in view of men's failures and moral obliquities, rather than a spirit of fault-finding and criticism.

I. Negatively.(1) This teaching forbids all moral indifference to others. You have no right to be unconcerned, whether men act rightly or wrongly — whether they are good or bad, That spirit which says: "I will take care of my own self, and let other men take care of themselves," is of the devil. The spirit of God is this: "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of another." That spirit which says of a man's conduct: "Oh, it is his own look-out, not mine," is un-Christian. It is his own look-out; but it is yours, too. And no man has a right to call himself a Christian, who, living among men, finds that the only thing he cares for is himself — that the only things that affect his mind are moral considerations of his own purity and his own enjoyment.(2) This Divine command also forbids the spirit of hard judging. It forbids severity and unnecessary blaming. If a man does not believe, when he has done wrong, that he is in the wrong, it is perfectly right for us to apply the rule of judgment to his case, and convince him of his error; but we are not to be stern, nor harsh, nor severe, but gentle, sympathizing, and all-loving and helpful.(3) The text pointedly excludes all manner of pleasure in the wrong-doing of other men.

2. Positively. We are commanded to sympathize with men though sinful; and to have patience with them on account of their sins. We make up our minds to treat babes tenderly, because they are babes. We treat sick people with greater forbearance than we do the sound and healthy. We put ourselves out of the way for the sake of those that are blind and deaf. By as much as men are defrauded of any sense, or weakened in any power, we afford them protection. By as much as men are physically unfortunate, we have learned how to show them consideration and kindness. The same spirit must be enlarged in our treatment of men in respect to their interior state. We must expand this same rule of judgment, and apply it to men's characters.If a man's understanding is darkened, and his conscience is perverted, we are to judge him accordingly.

1. Of course this passage inculcates the largest spirit of sympathy towards all men in trouble. If any trouble befalls those within the circuit of our affections, we need no exhortation on this point. Nature teaches us to bear the burdens of those we love. But this spirit should go out, quickened by the spirit of Christianity, beyond our own household. Every human being brought to our hands in trouble is a messenger of God. His trouble is a letter of introduction, his nature is a declaration of brotherhood, and his destiny links him to us with an irrefragable chain!

2. This sympathy and helpfulness should not be confined to troubles of "bereavement" — to trouble occasioned by "disasters," so-called; but should include all the affairs of life. And the lowest should be helped first, and the most needy should be helped most.

3. But I go further: for these are things more frequently preached, and more obvious to your understanding. I remark, therefore, in the third place, that the spirit of our text requires that, in judging of men, and dealing with them, we should recognize the constitutional differences of mind which exist among them, and should not seek to compel all minds as if they were like our own. When, therefore, you go to a man, as a Christian and a benefactor, to bear his burdens, you must take into consideration what his nature and circumstances have been. If he has sunk low in the scale of being, you must ask, "How came he here? Has he not been subjected to a power of down-pulling, such as I can scarcely form any conception of?" I think the bitterest reprehensions of evil which we hear, would be spared, if men would only reflect upon these things.

4. We need only to vary this thought a little to make it apply to our requisitions in social intercourse. Much domestic unhappiness comes from the fact that people do not know, or do not enough recognize, the peculiarities of each other's natures. They expect impossible things of each other. If a flaming, demonstrative nature, and a cool, undemonstrative nature, come together, neither of them understanding or making allowance for the peculiarities of the other, there can scarcely fail of being unhappiness.

5. We are to have a nice and tender regard to the peculiar circumstances of men — their external conditions. The health of men, and its relation to their disposition, strength, fidelity, and efficiency, is seldom enough pondered. Still less is education taken into account,

6. We must guard against a judgment formed of men from the effect of their mind-action upon us, rather than from a consideration of their real moral character. A man may make you feel happy, and yet be a bad man. A man may leave you unhappy, and yet be a good man. Your sensations of pain or pleasure are not to measure your fellow-men's character. Selfishness may gild you like sunshine. Vanity may court you, and pride may patronize you. But so, too, conscience in a good man may leave you stirred up. Truth may put you to discontent.

7. The spirit of this teaching forbids us to employ our rights of pleasure in such a way as to harm men.

8. The spirit of this passage forbids that we should make the failings of other men a source of amusement to ourselves. To watch to see what is awkward in others; to search out the infirmities of men; to go out like a street-sweeper, or a universal scavenger, to collect the faults and failings of people; to carry these things about as if they were cherries or flowers; to throw them out of your bag or pouch, and make them an evening repast, or a noonday meal, or the amusement of a social hour, enlivened by unfeeling criticism, heartless jests, and cutting sarcasms; to take a man up as you would a chicken, and gnaw his flesh from his very bones, and then lay him down, saying with fiendish exultation, "There is his skeleton," — this is devilish!Concluding remarks:

1. No man can fulfil the spirit of this Divine command, who does not dwell in the spirit of love. A momentary flush, kindled for the occasion, will not do. It must pervade all parts of the heart. It must have long dwelt with you, until your habits of thought, your instinctive judgments, the expression of your face, the outlook of your eyes, and your very tones, gestures, and attitudes, are animated with it — yea, till it is the spontaneous and inevitable outburst of life in you. Then you will be able to look at men in the right way. When you have this abiding spirit of love, so that all your faculties live in it, and have been drilled in it, then, no matter how large a duty seems to be, your performance of it will be just as easy.

2. When men are so pervaded, it is not hard, but easy, for them to bear other men's burdens — to be unselfish and unselfishly benevolent. When we speak of things being easy in Christian life, we always imply the presence in the soul of true love. Take an old gambler — or a young one, it makes no difference which; for they are both alike. With him cheating is inevitable. Gambling and cheating are only interchangeable terms. No man gambles that does not cheat. After such a man has gone through years and years and years, practising his various tricks and sleights of dexterity, if you talk in his presence of a man being honest, he will laugh at you. He will not believe that a man can be honest; or, if he does believe it, he will say to himself, "What a power a man must require to enable him to be honest. Why, there was a man who was so situated that he could have possessed himself of a hundred thousand dollars, by just signing his name, and he did not do it I He must have had an almost omnipotent power, or he could not have resisted that temptation." And if you go to the man who did that thing, and ask him if he did not find it hard to refuse the money, he will say, "It would have required omnipotence to make me take it. I could not do such a thing. I could not live with myself after committing a deed like that." Why? Because he has been trained to the very heroism of honesty. It is as inevitable for him to be honest as it was for the other man to be dishonest. It is not hard for a really refined man to be refined. It is the easiest thing he can do. If a man's heart is pervaded by Christian love, it is not hard for him to perform the deeds and works of Christian love. And Christian graces, as set forth in the New Testament, imply this atmosphere of love in the soul. If you read gardening books, they direct you how to raise flowers and plants; but it is not necessary for you to read to find out that certain plants require a certain kind of climate. The nature of each plant implies the particular kind of climate which is adapted to its growth. You do not need to be told that a warm climate is indispensable to the production of pomegranate and olive-trees. Now when God says "Christian graces," he means climate also; and love is that climate. And when a man possesses the spirit of Christian love, it is not hard for him to live the life of a Christian.

3. When we are addicted to this love, we every day become more and more like God.

(H. W. Beecher.)

If a company of travellers were journeying towards the same place, some heavily, and others more lightly laden, they could render the way less tedious and endear themselves to each other by mutual assistance, in bearing their burdens.

1. We are to do this, first with regard to the spiritual trials and difficulties of our brethren.

2. In the second place, the command of our text should be especially heeded in the family relation.

3. It is a rule, also, very applicable to Christian Churches.

(W. H. Lewis, D. D.)

— Consider —

I. THE SOUL'S INDIVIDUALITY (ver. 5).

1. This is one of the first facts of which our opening intelligence informs us.

2. We carry it with us everywhere.

3. It becomes more marked, and the consciousness of it more painful, through the action of sin and suffering.

4. It is taught by our life work.

5. It is brought home most emphatically in the hour of death.

II. INDIVIDUALITY TENDS TO DESPAIR.

1. Life itself becomes bearing a burden when man has to bear it alone.

2. So with the sense of sin.

3. So with our life work.

III. THE SOUL'S WELL-BEING IS SECURED BY MINISTERING TO THE BROTHERHOOD.

(1)Not being ministered unto,

(2)but in ministering; which is

(a)to lighten our own burdens and

(b)to lighten others, so that they may fulfil the law of Christ.

(S. Pearson, M. A.)

I. EVERY MAN HAS A BURDEN OF HIS OWN.

1. All are burdened.

2. But all are not burdened alike.

3. Our estimate of human burdens is often false,

(1)because some are burdens which do not appear to be;

(2)because burdens are borne differently by different individuals.

4. Every man has a burden distinctly his own.

5. His burden is not necessarily a calamity.

II. EACH IS TO BEAR THE OTHER'S BURDEN.

1. This presumes that he is able to do so. Our individual burdens are not so heavy but we have some strength left to give away.

2. The requirement fits in to the general constitution of things, which is based on giving and receiving.

3. It has its reason and authority in our mental constitution, which is formed to pity.

4. Pity to others is kindness to ourselves.

III. TO BEAR ONE ANOTHER'S BURDENS IS TO FULFIL THE LAW OF CHRIST.

1. The law of love.

(1)Not a mere passionate excitement or fluctuating sentiment,

(2)but a living principle and persistent habit divinely begotten and sustained.

2. This law is emphatically the law of Christ — "as I have loved you."

(1)Love of the brotherhood,

(2)neighbours,

(3)enemies.

(W. Stacey, D. D.)

An old fable tells us that Jupiter, finding that each man thought his lot the hardest, caused all men to be brought together for a mutual exchange of burdens. Promptly they came together, hoping that the exchange would lighten the burdens of life. Each man proceeded to display his sorrow. One had a concealed ulcer; another a sightless eye; another a besetting sin; another an intolerable debt; another a fearful recollection; another an awful apprehension; and when all the burdens were exposed to view, and each man bidden to make his own selection, every man preferred his own.

(W. K. Marshall.)

Let us organize against professional beggars and impostors, but let us not organize almsgiving out of the Church as if the whole question were to be solved by the workhouse. Our workhouses, like our hospitals, may be due to Christianity, and standing evidences of that care for the poor which Christianity after the example of its Divine Founder enjoins. But the Christian Church is not to relegate all her poor to the workhouse; nor is the relieving officer the substitute for the Christian pastor and his Christian flock.

(Canon Miller.)

Amid all the profuse waste of the means of happiness which men commit, there is no imprudence more flagrant than that of selfishness. The selfish man misses the sense of elevation and enlargement given by wide interests: he misses the secure and serene satisfaction that attends continually on activities directed towards ends more stable and permanent than one's own happiness can be; he misses the peculiar, rich sweetness, depending upon a sort of complex reverberation of sympathy, which is always found in services rendered to those whom we love, and who are grateful. He is made to feel in a thousand various ways, according to the degree of refinement which his nature has attained, the discord between the slightness of his own life and of that larger life of which his own is but an insignificant fraction.

(A. Sedgwick.)

of others: — Just imagine a weary, footsore traveller tugging along with his pack on a hot summer's day. A waggon comes up, and the kind-hearted owner calls out, "Friend, you look tired. Toss that pack into my waggon; I am going your way." But the wayfarer, eyeing him suspiciously, mutters to himself, "He wants to steal it;" or else obstinately replies, "I am obliged to you, sir, but I can carry my own luggage."

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

How few know the mystery that shadowed Lamb's life! We are told that one day, in a fit of insanity, his sister killed a member of their family. The affair was hushed up, and things went on to outward seeming very much as before. The insane fury recurred but seldom, and was unsuspected by many intimate friends. But all the same it was there, a latent possibility, and it marked out a narrow pathway in which she would have to go softly to the end of her days. Charles, with opportunities of social advancement and domestic happiness possessed by few within easy reach of him if he chose, preferred the "better part," and resolutely shutting out the bright future that might have been his, sacrificed himself to his sister. He never married, but spent his life in an affectionate guardianship of the dear one whose misfortune he made his own. Shall such renunciation go unrewarded? Nay, are they not their own exceeding great reward.

(F. Hastings.)

Though the lower animals have feeling, they have no fellow-feeling. Have not I seen the horse enjoy his feed of corn when his yoke-fellow lay a-dying in the neighbouring stall, and never turn an eye of pity on the sufferer? They have strong passions, but no sympathy. It is said that the wounded deer sheds tears, but it belongs to man only to "weep with them that weep," and by sympathy to divide another's sorrows, and double another's joys. When thunder, following the dazzling flash, has burst among our hills, when the horn of the Switzer has rung in his glorious valleys, when the boatman has shouted from the bosom of a rock-girt loch, wonderful were the echoes I have heard them make; but there is no echo so fine or wonderful as that, which, in the sympathy of human hearts, repeats the cry of another's sorrow, and makes me feel his pain almost as if it were my own. They say, that if a piano is struck in a room where another stands unopened and untouched, who lays his ear to that will hear a string within, as if touched by the hand of a shadowy spirit, sound the same note; but more strange how the strings of one heart vibrate to those of another; how woe wakens woe: how your grief infects me with sadness; how the shadow of a passing funeral and nodding hearse casts a cloud on the mirth of a marriage-party; how sympathy may be so delicate and acute as to become a pain. There is, for example, the well-authenticated case of a lady who could not even hear the description of a severe surgical operation, but she felt all the agonies of the patient, grew paler and paler, and shrieked and fainted under the horrible imagination.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

A poor woman was reduced to extreme poverty by the loss of her cow, her only means of support. A neighbour, who was unable to give aid, personally went round to different friends to solicit money to buy another one. He went from one to another, and told the pitiful tale. Each offered sorrow and regret, but none practical assistance. He became impatient after being answered as usual by a plentiful shower of feeling, and exclaimed, "Oh, yes, I don't doubt your feeling; but you don't feel in the right place." "Oh!" said he, "I feel with all my heart and soul." "Yes, yes," replied the solicitor, "I don't doubt that either; but I want you to feel in your pocket."

(Foster.)

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