« PreviousContinue »
Strange that we often make our burdens a reason for keeping away from Jesus, when He is so tender and compassionate, and ready to relieve us from them, or to give us grace to help us bear them. With a burden on the shoulders, or a bend in the back, we find it difficult, if not impossible to look up. With a sense of oppression on the spirit; with a heavy burden of care; with a growing load of sin, there is no power to look up, and we are being crushed down more hopelessly day by day. With what sweetness then do the words fall on the weary heart, “ Roll thy burden on the Lord, casting all your care upon Him; commit thy way unto the Lord.” Wait on the Lord, then; be of good courage, and He
; shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord. If the Lord have taught the lesson of our lost condition by nature, He will go on to teach the soul to get so close to Jesus as to be able to hear Him say, “ Thou art loosed from thine infirmity; I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee; go, and sin no more.” For He saith, “I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time : behold, now is the day of salvation."
Sometimes after the work of grace has been begun in a soul, it still goes heavily ; by reason of the frailty of the mortal nature, it cannot always stand upright. The sense of sin may be acute, and the apostle's cry be often heard, “Who shall deliver me?" Or, because of unwatchfulness, old habits may re-assert their power, or the cares of the world creep in; or some of the various hindrances which beset the path of the traveller on the heavenly way may be allowed to accumulate, till they grow into a heavy burden, bowing down the spirit, and crushing out the life and joy that should mark the new creature in Christ Jesus. This is only another form of the oppression of the devil which Jesus came to break; and there is only one cure for it - contact with Jesus. “Why go I mourning because of the
I oppression of the enemy?” “When the enemy cometh in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” Why does any soul go halting or bowed down, when a word from Je. ;—the simplest exercise of His loving power-will lift the load ?
The disciples went and told Jesus all that had happened to them, and in His sympathy they found themselves strengthened and refreshed. Why, then, should not we go and tell Jesus all our sins, all our temptations, all our difficulties, all our doubts, all our fears; rolling our burden upon Him; casting all our care upon Him; and find the power to walk uprightly given in the strength drawn from contact with Jesus ?
“Why should we do ourselves this wrong,
Or others—that we are not always strong,
I recollect, when quite a'child, being 'much touched by often seeing a poor milkwoman bowed together and unable to walk erect. In my pity and childlike thought, I likened her to the poor woman in the gospel story, and wondered whether she had asked Jesus to make her straight. Do we use our privilege of getting close to Jesus, knowing that He is not one that “cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin ?”
The Psalmist who cried out, “I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day," went on to say, “Be not far from me; make haste to help me, O Lord God of my salvation !" Hannah, who calls herself
a woman of a sorrowful spirit,” said, “I have poured out my soul before God;" and as she looked up, in spite of her burden she could say afterwards, " The Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him." Does the crushing weight of some great life-sorrow bow down some weary
spirit? Say, “ This is my infirmity; but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High,” Who says of each one of His people, "I know their sorrows,” and calls in tender accents, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Listen, then, for His voice. Undo the heavy burdens, let the oppressed go free, break every yoke, and say, Are you yet oppressed? And if so, see how it is, and think why it need be, when there is such a tender and mighty Deliverer ready to say to each worn and struggling weary one, “Thou art loosed from thine infirmity." And if His word has gone forth for you, and you can say, “ Thou hast loosed my bonds,” and you know the word is true, sin shall not have dominion over you.
Do you yet grow somewhat weary at times? Refresh yourself, then, with thinking what will be the joy of heart in the day when the cry is heard, “ The year of His redeemed is come, and we shall nevermore have to say, “O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me;" but for ever loosed from “the vanities of the groaning body," from the infirmity of a sinful nature, shall be among those blessed servants who “ serve Him day and night in His Temple," without the possibility of a sin, or a temptation, or a care.
We read of a man in the Pilgrim's Progress who was always looking down, and so naught was heard from him but sighs and groans. He is a fit picture of many now who persistently look down, it may be, fascinated by the garish flowers sometimes growing by the side of the path, attracting the feet to wander and the hand to gather. It may be fixed on the rough path and the pitfalls and difficulties which hedge it in. If we will do this, we cannot expect to see our way out of the difficulties. The Psalmist had another
way, for he says, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help: unto Thee lift I up mine eyes, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens."
“Why is it, then, that having cast them down,
We still are burdened, still is heard the moan ?-
The reality of the miracle in the case of this poor woman was plainly felt by herself, and seen by those around, in the power to lift up herself and walk erect. “ And she glorified God.” Let it be so with us. Has Jesus lifted off our load, and given us the power to walk uprightly? Then let us show forth His praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to His service, and walking before Him in holiness and righteousness all our days. Let all men see, in the holy consistency of our every-day life, a proof that the cure has been effected; that the spirit of infirmity is gone by the power of the Lord ; that we are running “ the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus,” because He having laid His hand on us, and made us straight, has enabled us to look up, and taught us to fix our hearts on high, where true joys are to be found.”
“What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits towards me?” “I will run the
way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart.”
“ Mine eyes are ever turned towards the Lord;” “Uphold me with Thy free Spirit.” “Set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth.” “Lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh." "Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous : and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart."
M. S. P.
'Neath its burden groaning, crying, Who for me can pardon win?
Who can save my soul from dying?
Came a gentle voice replying“Sinner, know there is but one By whom pardon can be won
Jesus only." What the price that I must pay
Peace and pardon for obtaining ? All my sins I'll cast away,
O'er my passions victory gaining.
“ Cease," the voice replied, “refraining From all merit of thine own; Pardon comes from Christ alone
Jesus only." Is there nothing I can do,
Whereby heaven I may inherit ? Tears and groans my nights pursue,
Nor day calms my troubled spirit.
Have my sighs and prayers no merit? “ All is vain,” was the reply ; “Peace and pardon cometh by
Jesus only. “ In Him only can be found
Merit such as thou art needing; Or atonement, in the wound
Of His riven side and bleeding.
Only by His interceding
Jesus only. “ All thy new life from Him flows,
Ever free and from Him flowing ; All thy hopes must round Him close,
Ever stronger, holier growing ;
All thy ransomed powers outgoing, All thy thoughts and all thy ways, The end, the labour of thy days, Must be to honour and to praise
E, S. H.