“A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him.” - Isaiah 53:3
here are two aspects in which we may consider the Redeemer of the world. We may think of him as the Christ, or we may think of him as the Son of man. When we think of him as the Christ, he stands before us as God claiming our adoration. When we think of him in that character in which he so loved to describe himself, as the Son of man, he stands before us as a type or specimen of the whole human race.
There is something exceedingly emphatic in that expression, Son of man; it is a most wide and extensive appellation. Our Master is not called the Son of Mary; but, as if the blood of the whole human race were in his veins, he calls himself the Son of man. There is a universality in the character of Christ which you find in the character of no other man. If you take, for example, the life of Abraham, you have a man with all the peculiarities of that particular age belonging to him. You have a man molded into a particular character with particular habits, particular prejudices. Abraham is by no means one to whom the whole human race can lay claim, and say he is our countryman. He was the son of Terah, the offspring of a Syrian stock, the child of that generation. Abraham is full of rigid individual peculiarities. You have a distinct portrait that represents that one man, and no man else. Take, again, the character of David. It is a life of eminent saintliness, but you cannot mistake the Jew. There is Jewish exclusiveness, a Jewish way of looking at the world, Jewish faults, Jewish narrowness. He is not the son of man, but the child of Israel. Take, once more, the character of Paul, a man, if ever there was one, emancipated from exclusive feelings; generous, universal, catholic in his character. And yet it is not possible to take the portrait of the Apostle Paul and mistake for one moment to what age and nation he belonged. You could not for an instant say the man was born a Grecian; you could not take his character and say it is a character of the nineteenth century. You have unmistakably the disciple of Gamaliel, the man of peculiar education, the man of peculiar temperament; not the son of man, but the son of a certain father and a certain mother, the disciple of a certain school, with the peculiarities and the phraseology of that school. But when you take the character of Christ, all this is gone. Translate the words of Christ into what country’s language you will, he might have been the offspring of that country. Date them by what century of the world you will, they belong to that century as much as to any other. There is nothing of nationality about Christ. There is nothing of that personal peculiarity which we call idiosyncrasy. There is nothing peculiar to any particular age of the world. He was not the Asiatic. He was not the European. He was not the Jew. He was not the type of that century, stamped with its peculiarities. He was not the mechanic. He was not the aristocrat. But he was the man. He was the child of every age and every nation. His was a life worldwide. His was a heart pulsating with the blood of the human race. He reckoned for his ancestry the collective myriads of mankind. Emphatically, he was the Son of man.
The task which the master painters of the Middle Ages for centuries proposed to themselves as the highest aim of art was to realize on canvas the conception of the Anointed One of God. It was their grand work to paint a Christ. And what they made their business was not to turn off a portrait, but to embody the highest idea which genius could conceive of glorious humanity. If the Italian painter or if the Spanish painter produced a form which bore the peculiar national lineaments worn by the human ity in his own climate, so far he had failed. He might have idealized the grandeur of the Italian form or the grandeur of the Spanish form, but he had not given to men’s eyes that grandeur of the human species which belonged to a conception of the Son of man. He had got a portrait to which a nobly-formed individual of one nation might have sat, but an individual of no other. He had got the perfection of the Italian or of the Spanish type, but not the perfection of manhood. Now, that which the painter aimed at in the outward form, that Christ was an inward character. He was the type of the whole human race. He was the essence, the sublimation, of humanity. It was a noble endeavor of the Apostle Paul to be all things to all men. To the Gentile he became as a Gentile, that he might gain the Gentiles; to the Jew as a Jew. But in all this he was acting a single part for a time. He made it his business while the Jew was with him to try to realize the feelings and enter into the difficulties of a Jew. He laid it upon himself as a Christian duty while he was reasoning with a Gentile to throw himself into the Gentile’s position, to try to look at things from his point of view, and even to fancy himself perplexed with his prejudices. But directly he had done with the man he wished to win, he threw himself out of his constrained position, he laid aside his part. He was neither Jew nor Gentile; but he was Paul again, with all Paul’s personality and all Paul’s peculiarities. That which Paul was for a time, Christ is forever. That which Paul was by effort and constraint, Christ is by the very law of his nature. He is all things to all men. He is the countryman of the world. He is the mediator, not between God and a nation, but between God and man. He was the Jew and the Gentile, and the Greek and the Roman, all in one. He can sympathize with every man because he has, as it were, been every man. There is not a natural throb which ever agitated the bosom of humanity which Christ has not felt. The aspirations of loftiest genius and the failure of humblest mediocrity, the bitterness of disappointment and the triumph of success, the privations of the poor man and the feebleness of corporeal agony, Christ knew them all. He came into this world the Son and the heir to the whole race of man. It is for this reason that the passage before us is selected for our peculiar purpose today. It is our business to dwell today upon some of the sufferings common to the human species. And, therefore, we take up words belonging especially to him who was the type of the human species. They were peculiarly true of him. But they are in their measure true of everyone whom the world can class as a son of man: “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”* [* All quotations from the Bible have been made to conform to the King James Version.]
Here are two distinct facts which require consideration:
I. The lot of humanity in this world. This is the portrait of the species-“a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”
II. The treatment which depressed humanity commonly experiences-“we hid as it were our faces from Him.”
I. The lot of humanity in this world was the position which Jesus occupied on earth. For the most part, that lot is one of suffering. But suffering is of two kinds: pain which we endure in our own persons - Christ was “a man of sorrows”; and pain which we know by familiarity with others’ sufferings-Christ was “acquainted with grief.”
1. First of all, then, we are to consider the personal trials of a son of man upon this earth - “a man of sorrows.”
He that doubts whether we live in a ruined world or not has to account for this fact, that man’s universal heritage is woe. Men of poverty we are not all, men of weak ability we are not all; but the man not of sorrows is yet unborn. It is the result of a universal survey of human life-“man is born to trouble.” Therefore trial fell to the lot of Christ, and simply for this reason, that he was man-a man, there “a man of sorrows.” In this time-world those two things shall not be severed. Bodily and mentally, the constitution of a son of man is such that escape is impossible. Look at that surface of the human frame which is exposed to outward injury. There runs beneath it, crossed and recrossed in windings inconceivable, a network of nerves, every fiber of which may become the home of pain. There is not interstice large enough to admit between them, in a space that does not feel, the finest needle’s point. Beneath all that there is a marvelous machinery. Man anatomized is like an instrument of music. The combined action of ten hundred thousand strings, each moving in its movement and in its place, is the melody and the harmony of health; but if one chord vibrate out of tune, you have then the discord of the harp, the derangement of disease. Our bodies are strung to suffering. That we suffer is no marvel, that we want the repair of the physician is no wonder; the marvel is this-that a harp of so many strings should keep in tune so long.
Look next at the mental machinery of a son of man. These incomprehensible hearts of ours, my Christian brethren, have their liability to a derangement infinitely more terrible than bodily disorganization. The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear? The inner mind, wrapped up, as it seems, by impenetrable defenses, is yet more exposed to shocks and wounds than the outward skin tissue; and the sensitive network which encompasses that mind is a thousandfold more alive to agony than the nerves that quiver when they are cut. There is such a thing as disappointment in this world. There is such a thing as affection thrown back upon itself. There are such things as slight and injury and insult. There is such a thing as an industrious man finding all his efforts to procure an honest livelihood in vain, and looking upon his pale children with a heart crushed, to feel that there is nothing for them but the poorhouse. There is such a thing as a man going down the hill that leads into the sepulcher, and acknowledging, as the shadows darken around him, that life has been a failure. All this is sorrow; and just because of the constitution with which he is born. In some form or other, this is the portion of the son of man.
And, brethren, we remark this-the susceptibility of suffering is the lot of the highest manhood. Just in proportion as man is exquisitely man, he is alive to endurance. There is a languid, relaxed frame of body in which pain is not keenly felt. The more complete the organization, the severer the endurance. Strong and able manhood suffers more the division of the nerve than softened and debilitated frames. So it is with the spirit. The more emphatically you are the son of man with human nature in its perfection in you, the more exquisitely can your feelings bleed. That which a base and a craven spirit smiles at is torture to the noblest and the best. It was for this reason that Christ was in a peculiar sense the “man of sorrows.” Things which rough and scornful men would have shaken from them without feeling went home sharp and deep into his gentle and loving heart. The perfection of his humanity insured for him the perfection of endurance-“Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow.”
There is another reason why a son of man is “a man of sorrows”-because labor is his heritage. Our Master came into this world to do a work. In sore toil, in weariness, in an unresting perseverance, which wore life away and made him seem fifty years of age when he was but thirty, that work had to be accomplished. It was forever pressing upon our Redeemer’s spirit that he was here to labor. At an age when the boy has scarcely awakened to the reality of life, when the world is still a playground, at twelve years old, this was Christ’s feeling when they found him at work, “Wist ye not that I must be about my father’s business?” Later on in life we have him putting out the same perpetual conviction in words more pressing as his life was waning to a close - “I must work the works of him that sent me.” Lastly, his career was closed with this profession, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” In all this there is one idea-work-unresting work; and for the Son of man no repose until the grave. He submitted himself to the universal law in all its rigor, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” His was the agony of bloody sweat which all men have agreed to call divine-sweat of brow, sweat of brain, and sweat of heart, through life-that was the Redeemer’s sorrow of labor.
Now, in this, my Christian brethren, Christ was a type of humanity. Labor is the destiny which binds us with the iron chain of a law. There are just a few - a luxurious, pampered few-who have emancipated themselves from this law, and given up life to idleness; and so, in escaping real distresses, they have found themselves, to their astonishment, the victims of distresses no less miserable-the fanciful, imaginary, nervous wretchedness of too abundant blessings. But when we have put out of sight these few exceptions, the mass of mankind are forced to drink their cup. Let us not overstate this-there is a blessing in labor, gladly we acknowledge that. There is no health either for mind or body without it. Nothing good was ever done without toil. No book worth the reading was ever written without it. No work that was meant to last but cost the happy man who did it toil. But it is true for all, that labor is sorrow. Labor is enjoyment when you have just so much of it as is needful for exercise, and no more. Labor is well when you are not forced beyond your strength, and can get relaxation when the strength of frame gives way.
But it is seldom that labor of that kind falls to the lot of the son of man. It is all well for those of us who are in easy life to speak of the blessing of having something to do; but, my beloved brethren, it is a very different tale when we have something, as the laboring man has, that we must do. To him labor is sorrow all through. It is labor like his Master’s from very childhood. The grim, earnest work of life-labor begins in the cottage at an age when the rich man’s child has not thrown aside his toys. It is sorrow to be looking for employment; it is sorrow, often and often it is sorrow, to be doing it, sick or well, languid or vigorously fresh; when the head is aching and the heart is sick, still the laboring man must be up and doing. There will be famished lips and tearful eyes next week round an empty grate if he allows himself the luxury of rest. It is all this which make the son of man, because born to labor, therefore “a man of sorrows.”
There is one more ingredient in the cup which Christ drank which made him “a man of sorrows.” He was born poor. He knew what it was to want those solaces of life which alleviate pain. “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” And now, brethren, it is part of our special business today to recollect what sorrow and sickness are when they come into the cottage of the poor. There are, it may be, in this congregation several who have scarcely had it forced upon their contemplation. Living in sufficiency themselves, they have not suspected how other of the family of man struggle on. Brethren, let us contrast these things. When illness makes its appearance in the dwellings of the upper classes, there is a rich abundance of resources to mitigate the suffering. There is all the repose which can be secured by subdued light, and curtained windows, and muffled knockers, and noiseless steps. There is a smoothed pillow, there is a warm room, there are contrivances to suit and stimulate the sickly palate; the invalid reigns a kind of monarch in his chamber, every arrangement of house giving way to the arrangements and the hours of his sickroom. Pass on from the comfortable mansion to knock at the low door in the next street. Sickness there exhibits itself in very different attire. Have we ever looked at the poor man’s cottage, and pictured to ourselves how that almost den, small and comfortless as it is, can become the sick room of the invalid? There is no securing repose, for all the domestic work of the family must be done within a few feet of the bed. The noise of footsteps entering and retiring goes on all day long, scarcely divided by a thin partition from the sick man’s ear. We guard our delicate consumptive ones fearfully and affectionately so that not a breath of heaven’s air shall play too roughly on the frame. Look at consumption in the cottage. Through the perpetually opening door, and through the broken window, and through the unguarded chimney the death-drafts pour down hour by hour upon the sufferer, till the fell and painful malady has done its work, and the rough, wretched coffin lies prematurely on the bed. The damp strikes through the brick or the mud floor, till rheumatism has stiffened the joints into contracted uselessness for life. Water from the pond is often all they have to wet the lips of the dying. There is not always one free from work to perpetually wet those hot lips. There is no fire in the bedchamber. Fuel costs too much; therefore to produce an artificial heat in the depth of winter, every aperture must be closed and pasted up, and so in the stifling, unwholesome warmth of an overheated cell, which takes away the very breath on entering, human life is gasped away. It is in all this that the poor man lives. It is in all this that the invalid must be nursed. Let but the sentimentalist go to the sickbed of poverty, where there is scarcely bread in the closet for a meal, and no surplus money in the drawer to pay the physician’s fees, and he will know what awful significance may be crowded into that one sentence-“a man of sorrows.”
(2) There was an other feature in the lot of the Son of man on earth, that he was familiar with the griefs of others-“He was acquainted with grief.” Not merely by personally bearing it, but by continually coming in contact with it.
Now this acquaintance of Christ with grief was of two kinds. He knew it by passive and he knew it by active familiarity. When Jesus relieved distress, his acquaintance with it was of the active kind. When distress was simply in his presence, obtruding itself face to face, then his acquaintance with it was only passive. The Son of man knew sadness passively by sympathy; he knew it actively by benevolence. Concerning both which parts of our human life we have a few remarks to make.
Christ’s first acquaintance with sorrow was by sympathy. To sympathize is simply this, to feel with those that suffer. It is the instinct of a kindly heart. It is the obedience to that law of Christian duty which bids us “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” It is the rising, the almost spontaneous rising, of the emotion of pity in the bosom. You do not bid the feeling come. It comes. That is passive knowledge of misery. When we have thrilled over the anguish that we see, there is a sense in which we are acquainted with grief.
And in this knowledge, brethren, our Redeemer’s heart was rich. We will take but two cases which belong to our present purpose - the case of poverty and the case of corporal maladies. It was a most distinguishing feature of the life of Jesus, the compassion which he felt for the degraded, neglected, unbefriended poor. It was not, except by invitation, in the rich man’s house that Christ was found; it was not for his ears that His instructions were framed. It was his passion to teach those who were forgotten by the national instructors. There was a burning, almost passionate, indignation in his language whenever it came in his way to rebuke their oppressors, who shut up knowledge from them, and would have kept them uneducated, who over-reached them (in Bible phraseology, “devouring widow’s houses”), who lived in purple and fine linen, while Lazarus lay forgotten at their very threshold. Political economy has spoken its fine lessons of philanthropic humanity. Demagogues have courted the popular voice by loud harangues against what they call the oppression of the rich. Sentiment has taken poverty under its patronage and adorned the cottage in touching stories with imaginary graces and purities that are never found there. But no man ever stood up the poor man’s champion but Christ, and those who, like Christ, have lived with the poor and for them. Read the ninth chapter of St. Matthew. It is filled with tales of human suffering and human ignorance. At last there comes before the Redeemer a vast crowd of these poor and ignorant ones. When he saw the multitude, “he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” That was not the glow of a demagogue’s indignation against the rich venting itself in cheap words. It was not the sickly sigh of a novel-reader repining that this world is full of woe. It was the loving tenderness of the Son of man, identifying himself with the poor, and in deep emotion becoming acquainted with their sorrows.
Once more, our Lord sympathized with bodily anguish. He was walking almost all his life through the wards of a vast hospital. The hospital was the world; the sick, the dying, and the mad were lying on their beds on both sides of him. At evening “they brought unto him many that were sick”; and, it is written again and again, “he was moved with compassion.”
This, brethren, is an acquaintance with grief which most of us have not. Men are not acquainted with the pain which this world contains because it is not brought to them, and they do not go to look for it. There is a drapery of life which curtains away from us the loathsome parts of existence. You pass down the gay and glittering streets where almost all the forms which present themselves are forms of busy, strong, active humanity. Out of doors in the public thoroughfares you see the holiday of life. There is squalid poverty in the by-lanes and the alleys. There is sickness in the upper chambers. But you do not see that. It is not brought out as it was before Christ, bed after bed lining the pavement as you pass on. You cannot count the houses as you go along, and say this has its one dead and this has its two diseased. But the physician and the minister can. They can tell you what there is behind the scenes. They can say that within a few yards of where you stand there is one smarting under the torture of an amputated limb, and another stricken by the death-call of incipient decline, and farther on another feeding with his heart’s best blood a disease which is eating life away, and for which there is no chance of ease except in the grave. We see it not. It is shut decently out of sight. The sick man does not sadden the street today in which he was walking blithely yesterday. All this is withdrawn from public scrutiny. To become vividly aware of it is to feet the emotion of sympathy. To have it perpetually and familiarly before the mind is to be acquainted with grief, but acquainted only passively.
In Christ’s acquaintance there was something infinitely more. His love did not end with a passing sigh. It did not die with a keen emotion. His knowledge of human agony went deeper by the active benevolence of relieving it. When he was troubled by the tears of Martha and of Mary, he felt the sensation of sympathy; but when he went with them to the revolting grave, and gave back the dead man to their embrace, it was another kind of knowledge altogether which he possessed. It was the acquaintance got by active benevolence. This was the reason for which Christ acquainted himself with grief, not to nurse his own emotions, but to relieve it. He was perpetually in the presence of the miserable. Why? For this purpose: “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” And here, brethren, we make a most important practical distinction. There is something dangerous in benevolence which is only emotional; there is something ennobling and something godlike in active kindness. This is the law of our nature, from which there is no escaping: impressions which are made upon us in the way of feeling get weaker and weaker the oftener they are repeated; but the habits of love which you get by being useful and active in doing others good get stronger and stronger the oftener you practice them. We read, it may be, a touching passage in our favorite author. The first time it thrills us. The second time it moves us less. The tenth time all emotion is gone, except that of mere admiration. The first deathbed you see haunts your recollection all night. See a hundred, and the startling power is gone. You reproach yourself. You think your heart is harder than it was. Marvel not! There is no preventing it. That acquaintance with sorrow which is only passive loses its sharpness every time you see it. And if a man wanted to have a thoroughly callous and hardened heart, we can tell him of no way so sure as this: Let him become familiar with the distresses of his fellow men, and do nothing to relieve them; let him read of pauper misery, and content himself with theorizing about the improvidence of the poor; let him listen to appeals from the pulpit which attempt to move his charity, and pass the plate without a sacrifice - we will promise him his sensibilities shall soon be placed beyond the power of wounding; he shall have a heart as cold and dead as if he had been born without human sympathies. Let us put this before us, brethren, in an illustration connected with today’s subject. There are two epochs in the career of medical life. There is a period in the surgeon’s existence when he occupies the position of a student, and belongs to a class of men proverbially reckless. And there is another period in his life when he belongs to a class which all experience forces us to place among the most devoted, the most tender, the most sympathetic of his species. How comes it that the young experimentalist is so marvelously transformed into the benevolent physician? The secret lies in this: In the outset of the profession a man has to look as a bystander on suffering. The recoil and the faintness of human sensitiveness pass off. He becomes familiar with human anguish. He looks upon the contortions of agony with the cold eye of a theorist. The human frame into which the sharp knife is passing is nothing to him but the material for a lecture. Emotion has dulled itself by repetition. This is the passive acquaintance with sorrow. It would be a miracle, indeed, if all this did not blunt sensibility. For if by God’s wise law it did not blunt it, and if the emotion remained as keen as ever, how could the human heart bear perpetual laceration? That is the first stage. But as medical life goes on it becomes a duty not to look on, but to relieve. And then he begins to feel the blessedness of benevolence, and once more his heart expands when he sets about doing good. And year by year the habit deepens: the shudder of inexperience, and the mere emotional, useless sickening of the heart, which comes from witnessing an operation-all that is gone. It was worth nothing, after all; and in its place there has come something nobler, something that can be made use of in this work-day world, something even in its way Christlike - that habit of prompt love which will enable a man to put up with much that is disgusting, and much that would shock the false delicacy of mere feeling, in order to do good.
Brethren, all this is practical. If we would acquaint ourselves with sorrow to any purpose, we must relieve it. Christian love is an active, hardy thing. Let a Christian familiarize himself with the trials of the poor. Let him hear their tales of distress. Let him see them in their malady. But unless he wishes to ruin his own heart, let him do as the Samaritan did, bind up the wounds, and not pass by on the other side.
II. We say but two things respecting the treatment which depressed humanity meets with in this world: “We hid as it were our faces from him.” It is the common lot of the sad to be forgotten by the lighthearted.
1. We hide our faces from the “man of sorrows” when we wish to make this world a paradise of rest; when we neglect the duty of knowing and acquainting ourselves with the burdens which are borne by men, and begin to plan for this world as if it were a place for happiness and repose. There is no rest here: woe to the man who attempts to make it a place of rest. Oh! there is a false view of things which we get when we try to shut out the thought of suffering. Think of the young man and the young woman who make gaiety their home day after day and night after night, and think of Christ with the sick and the maimed around him; think of one who surrounds himself with the entertainment of this world, and think of one whose day is spent in passing from one sick chamber to another. Observe the infinite difference in the views which they respectively form of life: one sees it all bright, the other sees it (not dark only, and not bright only) bright and dark together. Shut out suffering, and you see only one side of this strange and fearful thing, the life of man. Brightness and happiness and rest-that is not life. It is only one side of life. Christ saw both sides. He could be glad, he could rejoice with them that rejoice, he could bid men be merry at the marriage, he could take his part naturally in convivial conversation; and yet he has entered little into the depths of our Master’s character who does not know that the settled tone of his disposition was a peculiar and subdued sadness. Take the two brightest moments of his career. When glory encircled him on the mountain where his form was clothed in the radiance of a supernal cloud, what was his conversation with Moses and Elias? They spake to him of his decease. When a multitude escorted him triumphantly into Jerusalem, in the very midst of all that merriment his tears were flowing for Jerusalem. Not the splendor of a transfiguration, and not the excitement of a procession, could dazzle the view which the Son of man had formed of life. Life was too earnest for deceiving himself; he knew that the Son of man is “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He had been behind the gaudy scenes. He stood in the very midst of a wretched and ruined world; and when death and retribution were so near, what had he to do with a gleam of momentary sunshine? That gave the calm depth to the character of Christ; he had got the true view of life by acquainting himself with grief. Life is not for rest, but for seeking out misery.
And now, brethren, would we counteract the false glare and glitter of life? Would we escape that selfish hardness which the heart gets from not being personally exposed to want? Would we be calm and wise and loving, not depressed by misery, and not over-elated by gladness? Acquaint yourselves with sorrow; know something of the way in which the poor man lives. Association with the poor is a marvelous corrective of the evils of easy circumstances. Real sorrows make us ashamed of imaginary ones; they force us out of ourselves; they make us feel that there is an infinite voice in the suffering of which the world is full, calling out shame upon the way in which the rich man surrounds himself with indulgences. Brethren, but how much know ye, how much reck ye, of the suffering which is around you? In the brightness which this week may have in store, let this question suggest itself: Am I hiding my face from the “man of sorrows”?
2. Again, we hide our faces from the “man of sorrows” when we forget that we are sent into this world to relieve misery. There is an evil which is done in this world by the “want of thought”; that is the sin of those who go through life, not suspecting, and not caring to inquire how much there is of human desolation. And there is an evil which is done in this world by “the want of heart”; that is the sin of those who are familiar with all that you can tell them of misery, and still go on feasting and dressing and amusing themselves, and doling out the driblets of their income with a grudge in the sacred cause of benevolence.
Brethren, there is a cause before us today about whose excellence there is no second opinion. A man may have objections to the system of collecting money for the able-bodied pauper; he may not see the stringency of the obligation to send missionaries to the heathen; he may call it a useless expense to endeavor to convert the Jews; but a hospital is a common ground on which all opinions meet-to heal the sick who cannot heal themselves; to soothe real anguish which is not brought on by fault-that is the universal sacred cause of the human race. Suffer, brethren, a personal testimony to the tenderness with which the Cheltenham Hospital is carried on. It is a minister’s duty from time to time to visit those of his own district who may chance to be removed within those walls as in-patients-and he has opportunities of observing that the poor are treated with a gentleness, a human consideration, an attention as scrupulous as if costly rewards were theirs to give. “Had I been a prince,” said one of these wretched ones to his minister a few days ago, after a confinement there of six weeks, “I could not have had my wishes more quickly obeyed.” Oh, it does the heart good to go straight from the comfortless hovel to the clean, cheerful, sick ward! There is human pain before you in abundance, but it is pain soothed; there is something like a resting-place for the burning temple; there is something like quiet for the racked and swimming brain. You are reminded that you are in a world of sorrow; but you are reminded, too, that you are in a world into which the cross and the love of Christ have brought a remedy, and taught men to minister to wretchedness. Brethren, the appeal is made to you today on behalf of the man of sorrows, and the appeal is this: acquaint yourselves with his grief; hide not thy face away from him.