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for us, whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed shall, doubtless, come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
From the scanty portion of grain, on which the husband-ian depends to bread his dependant family, he takes a selected portion, and having with much labour prepared his field, he commits the precious seed to the bosom of the earth. His fears anticipate draught, blasts, and mildews ; his hope endures, as seeing things that are invisible, and looks forward to the time when heaven shall reward his toils with a joyful harvest, and return him thirty, sixty or an hundred fold. The autumn comes and brings the golden barvest, and plenty calls for songs of gratitude and joy. But to the eye of inexperience how mysterious would this appear. The portion of bread corn is already.scant, and the husband of a numerous family takes part of this and buries it in the earth. It appears as an unreasonable waste. Thus we frequently judge of the ways of divine Providence; and are led to say, if God were good to his creatures, why should such and such things be permitted to wound our tenderest feelings ? Why should such sorrows be sent as the inheritance of the oppressed, the innocent, and the defenceless ? Not being able to see the end from the beginning of events, we are often misguided in judgment, and entertain doubts of the divine goodness towards us.
But could we comprehend the mysterious wisdom of God by which he turns every thing to the good of his creatures, causing light afflictions, which are but for a moment, to work for us an exceeding weight of glory, we should at once conclude, that the measure of evil endured by the creatures of God, is as nothing when compared with the glory that shall to those afflictions, which, during their continuance, were grieveous.
These introductory observations seem to lead the mind into an extensive field, where an infinite variety of objects invite our attention to the contemplation of the wisdom and goodness of God, in causing light to shine out of darkness, order to grow out of what appears to us confusion, peace of mind from sorrow of heart, tranquility out of trouble, prosperity out of adversity, in a word, good from what we call evil, strength from weakness and glory from shame. But keeping in mind that proper limits must bound the labours of a lectüre, the audience is invited to contemplate our subject as manifested in the Saviour of mankind.
Jesus went forth in our world weeping, bearing and bowing precious seed, and he shall doubtless, come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. He sowed in tears, he shall reap in joy ; he shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied.
Our first enquiry will be directed to notice the occasion of our Saviour's tears.
Jesus was possessed of the sensibilities and sym-, pathies of our nature in their purity and perfection, which caused him to feel the afflictions of the afflicted, the sorrows of the sorrowful and the distress of the distressed. Many proofs of this are found in the history of the Saviour. We may notice bim at Bethany where he raised Lazarus from the dead. Notwithstanding he knew what he was about to do, and that Lazarus would, in a few minutes, be a living man, to the astonishment and joy of his weeping sisters, such was the tenderness of his lovely mind and sweet affections, that when he saw the Jews, who had come to comfort the bereaved sisters, weeping; and the two disconsolate sisters weep,
ing, he himself groaned in spirit and wept with them. Let those who mourn remember this, and realize that their sorrows are duly noticed by him who is the resurrection and the life, who hath the keys of hell and death. That power of life and salvation, which gloriously triumphed at the tomb of him, who bad been dead four days, is still the same, and has given assurance, that as'in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
On that most joyful occasion of the enterance of Jesus into Jerusalem riding upon an Ass, when the people in vast multitudes welcomed the King of Zion, and praised God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying, blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord; peace in heaven, and glory in the highest; the blessed Jesus, in room of being elated with these tokens of submission and expressions of joy, in room of participating the exceeding gladness of the people, his mind seemed intent on a very different subject, the account of which is as follows; “And when he came near he beheld the city, and wept over it saying, if thou hadst known, even thou at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side and shall lay thee even with the ground, and ihy children within thee ; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another ; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”
Having a clear view of the sword, the famine, and the pestilence which would surely come on Jerusalem, and knowing that the youth who were then in the days of their innocence, would be the sufferers in this calamity, the Saviour was deeply affected and wept.
Suppose you, who love the town of Boston for a thousand reasons, which we have not time to name, should be certified by a divine communication, that this metropolis should, within forty years, suffer all the dreadful calamities of a long siege, attended with farnine and pestilence, with factions within, which should waste the strength and the blood of the inhabitants, until the place should be given up to an enraged enemy, that should have no mercy on those who should fall into their hands, could your eyes look on the stately, magnificent buildings, knowing they would all be leveled with the ground, could they behold the lovely youth, who now make such a charming appearance in these streets and churches without weeping ? Such was the occasion of those tears which the compasionate Jesus shed over the devoted city of his father David. He looked on that pride and joy of the earth, he beheld the temple of God, that wonder of the world, he knew that the time of their distruction was within that generation ; his gracious eyes beheld the lovely youth whose thousands then adorned the venerable habitations of their ancesters, and knew that they would be the distressed sufferers in the calamities to which that nation and city were appointed.
When he was going to Calvary to suffer death from the wicked hands of the people, who by their persecutions of him and his disciples were filling up the measure of their sins, he was evidently more concerned for the sufferings that people were bringing on themselves and on their children, than for what he himself was about to endure, When he saw the great company of people, and of women, who followed himn lamenting his fate, he turned and said unto them; “ Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are
coming in the which they shall say, blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, fall on us, and to the hills, cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry ?”
If the bearer will indulge a digression in this place, liberty will be taken to remark on two particulars. First, it does not appear, from the Saviour's speech here recited, that his own sufferings were of that kind or degree that bas been represented by christain doctors. They have supposed that the sufferings of Christ were far beyond any possible comparison, even greater than we can conceive, and that this rendered them efficacious with his Father to procure our pardon of sin. Now if his sufferings were so immense, why should he represent to the daughters of Jerusalem that they had more reason to weep for themselves and their children, then for him ?
Secondly, it does not appear that the Saviour thought of the subject, which has been the weighty burden, of those minds, who have consigned the inhabitants of Jerusalem to everlasting misery in the future world, for he spake of nothing but of their sufferings in this life. If it had been known to Jesus, that all the sufferings which that people was appointed to endure in the destructions that he denounced upon them, were nothing in comparison with what they must suffer in another world, why did be, when he wept over Jerusalem, speak of the destruction of that city and its inhabitants by the hand of their enemies, and neglect to say anything on the subject of their future sufferings, which were to be infinitely greater ? The candor of the hearer will do justice to these remarks, while we return to our subject.
The prophet Isaiah represents our Saviour a