C. E Kennaway.

Consolatio, or, Comfort for the afflicted online

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unto His brethren, that He might be " not only an
High Priest, but "an High Priest merciful and
faithful 1 " Here we see the care and tenderness
of God. Whom do we so readily trust as one
whom we know to be able to enter into our condi-
tion ? Who is best fitted to comfort mourners ?
He who has mourned himself. Who can best tell
the dangers of prosperity? He who has pros-
pered himself. Who can tell us what sickness is ?
He whose head has often throbbed with pain. It
is so throughout ; and we never can tell exactly
what human sufferings and human sorrows are,
until we have ourselves suffered and wept. It is
on this account that different classes of men do
not exactly understand and trust each other. The
poor man thinks that the rich man cannot quite
tell what the pinch of poverty is ; and the rich
man, that his poor neighbour does not know the
thorns that are in his downy pillow, or the bitters
that are in his golden cup. To meet this human
want, Jesus became our brother ; He took on Him
our nature, and with it all its feelings and all its
' Hcb. ii. 17.


frailties ; and thus it is that now, every one, of
whatever class and condition, can look to Him
with confidence. The poor can look to Him, for
He was emphatically a poor man ; the rich, for
He wore the nature which the rich man wears.
The young can look to Him, for He was once
young : He lay in a mother's bosom, He trod a
nursery-floor, He was subject to a father's autho-
rity. The full-grown man can look to Him, for
He felt the sorrows which the full-grown man
must sooner or later feel. With the dying He
can sympathize, for He bowed His own sacred
head, in the hour of darkness, before the power
of death.

He is thus " a merciful," or (as it may be trans-
lated) a " pitiful High Priest." He feels for those
for whom He intercedes. When we come to Him
in weakness and weariness, our bodies oppressed
by disease, our minds weighed down by care, we
come to One who has Himself felt oppression of
body and weariness of mind, and we know that He
pities us for He cannot forget man may forget,
and it often happens that he who has been in
a low estate will lose the memory of the trials he
then experienced ; and should he be advanced
higher will trample unfeelingly upon those who
were once his equals. It is not so with Jesus !
He is " faithful and true," as well as " merciful
and pitiful." He remembers what human weak-


ness is ; He recalls it when the mourner is before
Him : He looks upon his beating heart, upon his
tearful eye, upon his pale cheek, upon his anxious
t>row, and He seems to say, " I once wept, I once
was pale, I once was sorrowful; 0, my Father,
have compassion on this poor suppliant, as Thou
once in the days of my flesh hadst compassion on
me ! " Verily, He is a merciful, a pitiful High
Priest ! Verily, " He knoweth our frame " by
personal experience ; " He remembereth that we
are dust ' ! "

But, again, He is said to be " faithful." His
faithfulness consists in His earnest and constant
intercession for His brethren ; He pleads as for
His own flesh and blood ; He does not forget that
He was Himself a man. Perhaps we may thus illus-
trate this part of His character. If a man make a
promise while he is in a certain situation, as long
as he remains in that situation he will be likely to
remember it ; many things will call it to his mind :
but if his situation be changed, if he go to other
places, form other connexions, or enter into other
pursuits, he is too apt to forget the past, and its
feelings and its promises. Now Jesus is ever the
same. His heart is unchanged unchangeable :
He is passed into the heavens, but He is still the
God-man, the God incarnate, and still feels in
perfect sympathy and brotherhood with man.
1 Pa. ciii. 14.


What solid comfort does this consideration afford
us. The atoning sacrifice was made eighteen hun-
dred years ago, but the Victim is still fresh before
the throne ; the Lamb lies bleeding on the altar ;
the blood still seems to flow ; the High Priest still
and for ever offers the Eternal Sacrifice ; He is
pitiful and faithful ! in glory, but not forgetful of
His shame ; in heaven, but not unmindful of earth;
in company with God His Father, but bearing
upon the palms of His hands, upon His jewelled
breastplate, and upon His swelling heart, the
names and the memories of His own ransomed
brethren. KENNAWAY.


If such a single sincere spirit be in you, it comes
of God ; it is a sign of the seal of the Holy One
setting you apart to eternal life ; it is a proof of
the operation of the grace of Christ in your heart ;
of your being a child of God, as led by His Spirit.
If, then, rooted and grounded in Christ by godly
repentance and self-abasement for your sins, and
earnest reliance of belief on His sacrifice for your
reconciliation with God ; if in this spirit of faith
and of love you are patiently walking with Him
in singleness and sincerity of heart, be comforted
with the assurance that you are of that number
whom He is pleased to call pure in heart, and in
whom, as in a temple, He promises to dwell.

And then, what shall be your recompense of


reward hereafter ? Hear the word of the Lord of
all grace : " Blessed are the pure in heart, for they
shall see God '." The revelation of God in glory,
Father, Son, and Spirit ; and the admission per-
petual into the unclouded presence of His love,
joy, and praise, are the exceeding high reward held
out to all those who are purified in heart ; a proof
how transcendently excellent the most blessed
God must be, since even to behold Him is the
consummation of the happiness of His beloved
people. The revelation of God is the most sublime
enjoyment that the soul of man, intelligent and
immortal as it is, refined and sanctified as by grace
it may be, is yet capable of. The least and faintest
glimpses which here we taste of Him are the most
sweet, the most sacred, the most elevated delight
we know ; in Him is the fountain of life ; but
hereafter the pure in heart shall behold Him face
to face ; they shall be abundantly satisfied with
the fatness of His house, and made to drink of the
rivers of His heavenly pleasures.

And shall they indeed see God ? Shall mortal
man stand upright before his Maker ? Then shall
they see Him who no longer opposes the blank of
His offended justice and His terrible holiness before
their unrighteousness, and ascends in the majesty
of a judge ; but they shall see Him as a father, a
reconciled father, who embraces them in the arms
of His mercy, who abhors not to call them, and
1 Matt. v. 8.


comfort them as sons, who has gathered them
beneath the wings of His parental love, through
the intercession of His divine Son, and who freely
sacrificed that Son to the vengeance of the cross,
in order to exalt them into the presence of His
glory !

Shall they see God? Then shall they behold,
that Saviour who is God, even as the Father is
God, but who emptied Himself of all His glory,
and became man, for their redemption. Then
shall they see that loving and lowly Shepherd, who
laboured, wrought, wept, agonized, for their sakes ;
who bared the breast of His compassion to the full
fury of the storm of Almighty wrath, wrath and
anguish unutterable ; compounded of the judg-
ment of heaven, the ingratitude of earth, and the
fiercest malice of hell ; Wrath that terminated in
the extinction of His life, and the shedding of His
blood on the accursed cross. Moreover, that lov-
ing Saviour, who ceased not His compassions with
His mortal life, but who lives again and for ever-
more, specially to appear and advocate their cause
in the presence of the Father ; specially also to
hear and answer their supplications, to receive
and dispense His spirit of grace, to exercise the
government of heaven and earth for their preser-
vation, and to prepare for them mansions of divine
rest. This Saviour whom, here below, without
seeing, they loved and rejoiced in with joy un-


speakable and full of glory, the pure in heart
shall behold on His heavenly throne, encompassed
with His armies of angels, and shining above the
sun in brightness.

And shall they see God? Neither then shall
they be without the sight of that Blessed Com-
forter and Counsellor, even the Holy Ghost, who
led, and taught, and guided them ; who bore with
all their rebellion and perverseness ; who dwelt
within their souls, shedding abroad His light and
life, His peace and holiness, to their sanctification ;
and whose mighty power has raised their mortal
bodies to incorruption and immortality.

Shall they, I ask once more, see God? Oh,
then ! they shall be like Him too. The beloved
disciple instructs us concerning this : " We shall
be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is ' :" and
the Psalmist : " I shall be satisfied, when I awake
with thy likeness V Then shall be brought to
pass that most gracious desire of our Lord, that
His own should be altogether united, and should
be one with Him even as He is with the Father ;
and when His will that those whom the Father
has given Him may be with Him where He is, to
behold His glory, shall be fulfilled, to His eternal

In that day God, in all the glory of His Person,
Father, Son, and Spirit ; God in all the glory of

1 John iii. 2. * Ps. xvii. 15.


His perfections, wisdom, righteousness, faithful-
ness, loving-kindness ; God, in His unclouded glory
of love, light, and life ; shall be revealed to the
admiring, adoring eyes of His chosen and beloved
ones. Shall we see God ? O, brethren ! do we
desire to see Him ? Well, then, may we inquire :
Lord, who shall dwell in thy holy hill? who
shall ascend to the throne of thy majesty? The
Scripture answers, " The pure in heart shall see
God." Then let us seek the mighty influence of
the Holy Spirit, so to cleanse and purify our hearts
by faith as to entitle us to that most blessed sight,
and that high and holy habitation ; and to make
us one with God, even as He is one with Christ.


13. Real heartfelt submission to the will of God,
in pain, sickness, crosses, every thing, never was
the work of a man's own spirit ; and when it comes
from above, in answer to prayer, is full amends for
all we can suffer. T. ADAM.


" I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me,
Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord
from henceforth. Even so, saith the Spirit; for
they rest from their labours ' ." Not as the heretics


of old vainly and coldly dreamed, as if they slept
without thought, or stir of consciousness, from
the hour of death to the morning of the resurrec-
tion. Their rest is not the rest of a stone, cold
and lifeless, but of wearied humanity. They rest
from their labours j^fthey have no more persecu-
tion, nor stoning, nor scourging, nor crucifying ;
no more martyrdoms by fire, or the wheel, or
barbed shafts ; they have no more false witnesses,
nor cutting tongues ; no more bitterness of heart,
nor iron entering into the soul ; no more burdens
of wrong, nor amazement, nor perplexity.^ Never
again shall they weep for unkindness, and disap-
pointment, and withered hopes, and desolation of
heart. All is over now ; they have passed under
the share. " The ploughers ploughed upon their
back ; and made long furrows V' but it is all over,
never to begin again. They rest, too, from the
weight of " the body of our humiliation," from
its sufferings and pains. Their last sickness is
over ; they shall never again bear the tokens of
coming dissolution ; no more the hollow eye, and
the sharp lines of distress, and the hue of a fading
loveliness. Now is their weariness changed into
refreshment ; their weakness into excellence of
strength ; their wasting into a spirit ever new ;
their broken words into the perfection of praise ;
their weeping into a chant of bliss. And not only
1 Ps. cxxir. 3.


so, but they rest also from their warfare against
sin, against all its strength, and subtilties, and
snares. Satan can tempt no more ; the world can-
not lure ; self cannot betray ; they have wrestled
out the strife with the unseen powers of the wicked
one, and they have won the mastery. There is
no more inward struggle, no sliding back again,
no swerving aside, no danger of falling ; they have
gained the shore of eternal peace. Above all,
they rest from the sufferings of evil in themselves.
It is not persecution, nor oppression, nor the rage
of Satan, nor the thronging assaults of tempta-
tion, that so afflicts a holy man, as the conscious-
ness that evil dwells in his own inmost soul. It
is the clinging power of spiritual evil that sullies
his whole being ; it seems to run through him in
every part ; it cleaves to every movement of his
life ; his living powers are hindered and biassed
by its grasp. Evil tempers in sudden Hashes ;
unholy thoughts shooting across the soul, kindling
fires in the imagination ; thoughts of self in holiest
seasons ; consciousness of self in holiest acts ; in-
devoutuess of spirit ; earthliness of heart ; dull
musing heaviness in the life of God: all these
burden the highest saint with a most oppressive
weight. He feels always the stretch and tension
of his spiritual frame, as a man that is weary and
breathless, grappling with a foe, whom, if he would
live, he must hold powerless to the earth. But
N 2


from all this, too, they rest. The sin that dwelt
in them died when through death they began to
live. The unimpeded soul puts forth its new-
born life, as a tree in a kindly soil invited by a
gentle sky ; all that checked it has passed away ;
all that draws it into ripeness bathes it with fos-
tering power. Then at last shall the bride hear
the bridegroom's voice, " Rise up, my love, my fair
one, and come away ; for lo ! the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone '." The Refiner shall
perfect his work upon them, cleansing them seven-
fold, even as gold is sometimes tried, and all the
taints and bias of their spiritual being shall be
detached and corrected ; till, by direct and intense
vision, not as now in a glass darkly, but then
face to face, shall they become pure even as He
is pure. Hidden as is the condition of their sleep,
may we not believe that they remember us ? How
much of all that they were must they forfeit, if
they lose both memory and love ! Shall we think
that we can remember Bethel, and Gibeon, and
the Valley of Ajalon, and Jerusalem, and the
Mount of Olives ; but that Jacob, and Joshua,
and David, and the beloved disciple, remember
them not? Or shall the lifeless dust that their
feet stood upon be remembered, and the living
spirits above, that dwelt with them, be clean for-
gotten ? May we not think that they who' live

1 Song of Sol. ii. 10, 11.


unto God, live in the unfolded sameness of per-
sonal identity, replenished with charity, and filled
with a holy light? They reach backwards in
spirit into their world of warfare, and onward in
blissful expectation to the day of Christ's coming ;
and in that holy waiting they adore, as the bright-
ness of paradise ever waxes unto the perfect day,
when the noontide of God's kingdom " shall be as
the light of seven days," and shall stand for ever
in a meridian splendour. He hath made His rest
to be " glorious ;" and there is He gathering in
His jewels. There is the multitude of saints wait-
ing and worshipping ; Abel is there, and Isaiah,
and Rachel who would not be comforted, and the
sonless widow, and Mary Magdalene, and all
martyrs, and all the holy ones of God. They wore
out with patience the years of this toilsome life,
and they are resting now ; they " sleep in Jesus."
Theirs is a bliss only less perfect than the glory
of His kingdom, when the new creation shall be
accomplished. MANNING.


Let us understand what that cross is of which
all must be partakers ; not the visible material
cross, but that which is more real than the reality
of fleshly crucifixion. It is not so much by suffer-
ings in the body as in the spirit, that we are
likened to Him. The railing thief was more nearly


conformed to His visible passion than all, save one
or two, in all the multitude of saints. Yet, though
conformed to Him in the flesh, he was not likened
to Him in the spirit. St. John and the blessed
Virgin did not suffer indeed in the flesh, yet were
they truly nailed with Him upon His cross. So
in all ages of the Church, kings and princes, no
less than bishops and pastors of His flock, not only
in sackcloth and solitude, but in soft clothing
and in the throng of royal courts, have borne the
marks of the Lord Jesus, and shared the reality
of His passion. Weak women too, moving in
silence, and a veil, unseen of the world, and never
breathed on by its rough oppositions, have both
carried their cross with Him, and on it hung be-
side Him : they have died with Him in will, and
in sacrifice of self; in mortifying the choices and
affections of their earthlier nature ; in a glad for-
saking of bright hopes and fair promises in life,
sitting at His feet without distraction, and bearing
withal a burden of many sorrows, partly the awful
tokens of their Master's love, and partly laid upon
thorn by the wrong and enmity of the world.
Among many samples, let this one suffice. "We
read in the life of one, to whom was meted out
a death-sickness of uncommon anguish, that as
she drew near the end, for a long season she was
uncheered by the divine consolations which were
the wonted stay of her soul. She complained in
sadness to her spiritual guide of this strange and


appalling desolation, until she learned to seek in it
the gift of a higher conformity to Him, who in His
last passion cried aloud, " My God, my God, why
hast Thou forsaken me * ? " In like manner there is
many a sorrow fearfully hidden from the world's
hard gaze, many an overlooked affliction, many a
piercing of hearts by the lesser sharpnesses of our
common griefs, which not the less, when borne
in silence for God, makes the mourning spirit to
partake of His mysterious cross.


14. God's design is to bring us happily to Him-
self in another world, and He will leave no means
unessayed for this purpose. If we have the same
end in view, and look up to Him as carrying it on
steadily for us, we may be happy both here and
hereafter ; if we have not, the consequence must
necessarily be despondency, vexation, and fretful-
ness at the ways of Providence. T. ADAM.


The state of heart in which alone salvation con-
sists, and on which alone the favour and blessing
of God can rest, is a turning from the flesh, and a
returning to God, and a trusting in Him as the
true rest, and life, and direction of our souls. It
i Matt, xxvii. 46.


is the condition of a heart, which, rejecting all
other confidence than God, commits itself unre-
servedly to His hands, that its purpose in its crea-
tion and redemption may be fully accomplished,
and which makes this surrender of itself to Him,
in the full knowledge both of its own sinfulness
and liability to punishment, and of His determina-
tion to punish sin, and to slay the flesh which has
been tainted by sin. Such a confidence, it is evi-
dent, can only have place in a heart, which, believ-
ing that it is the loving desire and purpose of God
to make it blessed by making it holy, enters fully
into that purpose, and gives itself into His hands
for that end, in the expectation of sorrow and
death : as a man afflicted with some dreadful dis-
ease might put himself into the hands of a surgeon
of whose skill he is assured, and who has said to
him, " I will answer for your cure even now, if
you will give yourself up unreservedly to my
treatment." T. ERSKINE.


The Mediatorship of Christ is a precious doc-
trine. The Kingdom is in His hands, and we
are privileged to receive nothing but as it passes
through His hands, and bears His stamp. He is
Himself the Father's unspeakable gift to us ; and
now every thing that comes to us comes to us
through Him ; and in its passage through His


hands it becomes impregnated and saturated with
that very love which first gave Him to us, and
constituted Him a Mediator, and nailed Him to
the cross ; and with all the holiness too. So let us
call nothing common or unclean ; all is holy, for all
comes stamped with the print of the nail, which is
our King's stamp. And thus there is in every
thing a sorrow and also a joy which the world un-
derstandeth not : a sorrow for sin, and a joy that
God's holy love is in action to destroy sin, and
that His cause must triumph, and He will be

The knowledge of the Mediatorial reign of our
Lord seems to me to be, in a very sweet and
special manner, the " secret of the Lord, which is
with them that fear Him '." They will feel it to be
a light thing that a world of sin should be a world
of sorrow, and that a race which had gone away
from God into the far country of unbelief should
find it an evil and a bitter thing to do so : they
will sympathize with God even whilst their own
souls are torn by the bitter wages of sin, and they
will look for a coming glory. T. ERSKINE.


Let us receive into our hearts this blessed truth,
that God has and can have no other object in His

1 Ps. xxv. 14.


dealings towards us, but simply and solely tliat of
making us holy and happy for ever. He who
knows this truly, can have no wish to elude any
of God's commandments, or corrections, or judg-
ments, because he feels that by this he should
only elude his own blessedness. He can have no
other wish than that all God's will should be
accomplished on him and in him.


15. He who sends the storm, steers the vessel.



The sharp sting of present pain, which is God's
testimony, through conscience, against sin, is but
an intimation of the universal law of His govern-
ment ; and all the secret hopes by which we strive
to silence this warning, and whisper to ourselves,
that in our case sin will not bring misery, are met
here. We see that, if we will sin, we must suffer ;
that our sins do not, as we are ready to believe, of
themselves leave us as soon as we have committed
them, but that they stay with us, and become part
of us. AVe have been weaving the web of our life,
and it abides still coloured by the threads that we
have woven into it ; and as far as we can see,


sorrow is even needful, as the means of tearing out
the lines of past permitted evil. Not that we are
to find our atonement in our sorrows ; God forbid !
for if it were so, our case were utterly beyond the
reach of remedy, since all our woe could not atone
for any one transgression; but because, through
God's blessing on it, suffering is made a means of
carrying on His cure within us ; not indeed by any
virtue of its own, for sorrow and pain have no
power to renew the heart of man ; of themselves
they do but irritate and sour his spirit. He needs
a deeper and a more effectual cure ; and it is only
when sorrow brings us to Him who can work this
within us, that it is a blessing. Then, indeed,
under the blessed leading of His grace, it turns
into the choicest mercy ; for to the Christian man
there is this mystery in it, it does bring us to Him
who is the true and only Purifier, by driving us
from the world and from ourselves to Him ; by
bending our separate wills to His will ; by leading
us to wait on Him, to seek His purifying Spirit,
to cling to the cross of His Son, with all its bitter
pains ; by setting before us long past sins, even as
certain changes in the atmosphere bring out again
the faded spots of worn-out stains. So that this
connexion between suffering and transgression
rests not on an arbitrary decree, which may be dis-
pensed with in our case, but on the necessity of
God's holy nature, on the one hand, and on the


very needs of the nature He has given us, on the
other. There can, in this world, be no divorce
between these two yoke-fellows, sin and suffering.
The man who allows himself in any iniquity is
taking burning coals into his bosom ; and how
deeply they may wound him God only knows.
Jacob's life was scarred by them, till they brought
down his grey hairs, after many sorrows, to the

Here, then, is a lesson of solemn warning ; and
close beside it, is that of joyful submission amidst
the afflictions of life.

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Online LibraryC. E KennawayConsolatio, or, Comfort for the afflicted → online text (page 11 of 17)