HELP HEAVENWARD by Octavius Winslow

The Burdened Gently Led by Christ

“He shall gently lead those that are with young”—Isaiah 40:11.

“Those that are with young”—those that are burdened; for such
are they whom Jesus gently leads. This is a large portion of the
“little flock” of which Christ is the Chief Shepherd, Leader, and
Exemplar. In nothing scarcely is the assimilation stronger—in no
particular more appropriate. It is proper and befitting that the sheep
of the Burden-bearer should themselves be a burdened flock. But
little would they know of Him as such—in the glory of His
Godhead, in the compassion of His manhood, in the strength of
His shoulder, and in the tenderness of His heart—but for their
wearisome, toilsome travail. They must be “with young” to know
what the “gentleness of Christ” is. A general view of our humanity
will present to the eye the spectacle of the “whole creation (ratio-nal
and irrational) groaning and travailing together in pain until
now.” Our humanity is a burdened humanity, and we, who believe,
share that burden in addition to those of which the unregenerate
feel nothing. Spiritual life renders the soul sensible to many a crush-ing
weight, of which the soul spiritually dead is unconscious, just
as the corpse feels no pressure. We would not anticipate other por-tions
of this chapter, yet we cannot forbear the remark, at this
stage, that, if you discover in your soul that spiritual sensibility,
that sense of pain, suffering, and depression produced by a holy
consciousness of indwelling evil, of a nature totally depraved, or
those diversified spiritual exercises of the soul through which the
flock of the Lord’s pasture more or less pass, then have you one of
the most indubitable evidences of spiritual life. We repeat the re-mark—
it is only a living man who is conscious of the pressure; a
corpse cannot feel. Spiritual sensibility is a sign of spiritual life.
The Lord’s people, then, find them where you may, in high
circles or low, rich or poor, are a burdened people. Each one has his
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cross, each his load, each his pressure. Oh, how ought this truth to
unite the people of God in holy affection, forbearance, and sympa-thy
towards one another! The precept which recognizes the bur-dens
of the Lord’s people, in the same words binds them upon our
hearts: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of
Christ.” But let us specify some of the burdens of the Lord’s
people,—those of whom it is said, “He shall gently lead those that
are with young,”—and this will prepare us to consider the gentle-ness
of Christ towards them.
All the Lord’s people are sensible of the burden of conscious
guilt. In this particular it may with truth be said that “He fashioneth
their hearts alike.” In this school—painful yet needed—all are ex-perimentally
taught; and it may be added, that from it they never
entirely graduate until called home to glory. The lesson of our origi-nal
and deep sinfulness, the weakness, impurity, and vileness of
the flesh,—that there dwelleth in it no good thing,—is the daily,
hourly lesson of the Christian’s life. If we ever extract any honey
from that precious declaration, “By grace are ye saved,” it is under
the pressure of our personal and inexpressible vileness and noth-ingness.
Into this bitter cup the Lord distills the sweetness and
savour of His most free and rich grace. But oh, how few of our
species are conscious of this burden—the burden of the curse! And
yet it confronts them at every step, meets them in every object,
starts up before them at each turn. We cannot gaze upon the out-spread
landscape, nor walk into the beautiful garden, nor sail upon
the lovely lake,—we cannot pluck the flowers, nor breathe the air,
nor quaff the spring, but the sad, sad truth confronts us,—the curse
of God has blighted and blasted all! Is man spiritually sensible of
this? Ah, no! He sighs, but knows not why. He is fettered, but feels
no chain; sickens, and knows not the cause. He marvels to find a
sepulchre in his garden—disease, decay, and death in such close
proximity to his choicest, sweetest, dearest delights. He wonders
that his flower fades, that his spring dries, that his sheltering gourd
withers in a night. He knows not that the curse is there—that the
overshadowing vine breeds its own worm. Thus he treads life’s
short journey, from the cradle to the grave, crushed beneath this
tremendous weight, nor sees, as he passes, the uplifted cross where
He was impaled who died to deliver us from its weight, yea, “who
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was made a curse for us.” Here and there we see one of this long
and gloomy procession awakened to the conviction of the truth,
and exclaiming, “What shall I do to be saved?” Here and there we
descry a pilgrim, with the load upon his back, climb the sacred hill,
and reach the cross—look—and leave his burden, and pursue his
way, rejoicing in Christ, and exclaiming, “There is now no condem-nation!”
But the great mass pass on insensible and dead. Not so the
Lord’s people. Emancipated, indeed, we are from the curse and
condemnation of sin, for Christ our Surety was “delivered for our
offences, and was raised again for our justification:” nevertheless,
the more healthy our spiritual life, the more frequently and closely
the conscience deals with atoning blood, the more alive and sensi-tive
will be our spiritual sensibility to the conviction and pressure
of that curse, which, though removed as a condemnation, yet re-mains
as a fact. The tenderness which the blood imparts, the con-viction
of indebtedness which Divine grace gives, deepens the sen-sibility
of sin; and, although standing beneath the shadow of the
cross, and reading our pardon there, the conviction of its exceed-ing
sinfulness is not the less, but all the more, acute. The curse,
though removed, has left its lingering shadow upon the soul, and
this, to a saint of God, is no little burden. And when to this is aided
the faltering of the Christian walk, the flaw of service, the imper-fection
of worship, the dead insect tainting the perfume of the
sacred anointing, the dust upon the sandal, the trailed robe, the
concealed, but not less real and sinful, appetency of the heart—its
foolishness and inconstancy—oh, is there no painfully-felt burden
in all this to a mind whose moral perceptions are quick, and whose
spirituality covets the close and holy walk with God?
How keenly sensible, too, are many of God’s people of the
burden of bodily infirmity. The apostle numbers himself among
them, when, so feelingly and vividly describing this infirmity of
the flock, he says, “We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being
burdened.” While all believers are conscious of this, many are more
painfully so than others. Some know not a single day’s perfect
health, yea, many not an hour’s freedom from wearying pain. Days
of languor and nights unsoothed by sleep are appointed to them.
Others, while, perhaps, exempt from positive disease, are afflicted
with an acutely nervous, sensitive temperament, subjecting them
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to a species of sorrow which compels them to nurse their burden
in lonely isolation. It is with them incessant suffering. The trem-bling
of the aspen leaf startles them, their own shadow alarms them,
the flutter of an angel’s wing, as he sweeps past on his mission of
love, would discompose them. This is their burden, and the last,
because the least known of all, that receives the soothing of human
kindness, consideration, and sympathy. Christians thus afflicted
require a mode of treatment peculiarly patient and gentle. Those
who are not conversant with the delicate sensibility of the nervous
system can but imperfectly estimate the acute suffering of such. Is
it trespassing too curiously into the awful mystery of Christ’s un-known
agony, to venture the surmise that, in the terrible conflict
which so fearfully agitated His whole frame in the garden, as to
clothe it with a vesture of blood, there entered deeply this ele-ment
of suffering—the exquisite sympathy of the nervous system?
If this be true, and we see no reason to question it, then how ap-propriate,
precious, and soothing His compassion and sympathy
with all His members similarly afflicted! What, beloved, if your
case distances the sympathy, or baffles the cure, or even awakens
the reproach, of your fellows, let it suffice that every nerve quiver-ing
with agony, that every pulse fluttering with excitement, awak-ens
a response of tenderness and sympathy in the Sufferer of
Gethsemane. And oh, if this be so, you can well afford to part with
a creature’s compassion and help, since it but makes room for Christ.
Ah! one five minutes’ experience of His love in the heart, is of
more worth than an eternity of the creature’s. And little think we
often, as we feel the human arm droop, and see the human eye
withdrawn, and are conscious of the chill that has crept over the
warm bosom upon which we fondly leaned, that Jesus is but pre-paring
us for a more full and entire enthronement of Himself in
our soul.
Then, there are others whose burden is a constant tendency
to mental despondency and gloom. Whether this is constitutional,
is produced by sorrow, or is the result of disease, the effect is the
same—a life perpetually cloud-vailed and depressed, scarcely re-lieved
by a transient gleam of sunshine. No little burden is this. “A
mind diseased” involves more real suffering, and demands more
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Divine grace, than a body diseased. And yet, how large a class is
this! What numbers are there of the Lord’s people whose spiritual
hope is obscured by mental disease, and whose mental disease is,
in its turn, produced by some physical irritant—so close is the rela-tion
and so sympathetic the emotions of the body and mind. What
a mystery is our being! There is One—and but One—who under-stands
it. “He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.”
Your Saviour, beloved, experienced mental gloom and spiritual
depression as you never can. It was not always sunshine and joy
with your Lord. His path often wound along the lonely vale, and
across the dreary desert, and through the deep gloom of the path-less
forest—and He knows the way that you take. The spiritual
despondency of your soul, the cloud-vailings of your mind, the
absence of vigorous faith, of heaven-springing joy, and of undimmed
hope, affect not your union with Christ, touch not your interest in
the love of God, and render not doubtful or insecure your place in
the many-mansioned house of your Father in heaven. Will not this
truth be a little help heavenward? Will not this assurance, founded
as it is on the Word of God, distil some joy into your heart, and
throw some gleam of sunshine upon your path, and strengthen you
as a child of the light to walk through darkness, until you reach
that world of glory of which it is said, “And there is no night there!”
“Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of
his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him
trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God,” (Isa. 50:10.)
“Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in
heart.” Take heart and go forward; “light and gladness” shall spring
up in your path just where and when the God who loves you, and
the Shepherd who leads you, sees best. They are “sown by God’s
hand, and they shall spring forth beneath His smile. A love un-changing
and a covenant-keeping God is bringing you home to Him-self.
There is often, too, in the experience of many, the burden of
some heavy daily cross. A personal grief, or a domestic trial, or a
relative calamity, is the weight they bear, perhaps with not a day’s
cessation. Is it no burden to have a wounded spirit? Is it no burden
to nurse a sorrow which interdicts all human sympathy, which ad-
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mits not, from its profound depth and sacredness, another to share
it? Is it no burden to stand up alone for Jesus and His truth in the
domestic circle, allied in the closest bonds of nature to those con-cerning
whom we must exclaim, “I am become a stranger unto my
brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children”—in whom your
spiritual joy awakens no response, and your spiritual sorrow no
sympathy? But, oh, what a privilege and honour to endure reproach,
and separation, alienated affection, studied neglect, and relentless
persecution, for Christ’s sake! “And on him they laid the cross, that
he might bear it after Jesus.” Tried, persecuted disciple, “to you it is
given, in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe in His name, but
also to suffer for His sake.” Upon you Jesus has laid the burden,
the sweet, the precious burden, of His cross, that you might hear it
after Him. Did ever burden confer such honour, bring such repose,
secure a crown so bright, or lead to such glory and blessedness?
“Whoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also
confess before the angels of God.” Lord! make Thyself more pre-cious
to my heart—then will Thy burden be lighter, Thy yoke easier,
shame for Thee will be sweeter, and Thy cross, rude and heavy
though it be, will become increasingly my joy, my glory, and my
boast! Let us now turn our thoughts to the gentleness with which
the Divine Shepherd leads these His burdened ones “He shall
GENTLY lead those that are with young.”
The Leader is Jesus—the Shepherd. He claims this as one part
of His pastoral office. “The sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his
own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” “He leadeth them out”—
leadeth them out of their unregenerate nature, out of their state of
condemnation, out of the world, and out of their families. And
whither does He lead them? He leads them to His cross, to Him-self;
and, thus accepting and resting in Him as their righteousness,
and their salvation, and their portion, He then leads them out to
the green pastures He has provided for the flock, where He causeth
them to lie down in safe and quiet resting-places. Oh, what a mo-mentous
step is this, the first that His people take! To be led out of
our own righteousness and unrighteousness, out of our wrecked
and polluted selves, out of the false confidences, the spurious hopes,
the ritual worship, and pharisaical religion to which we had been
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so long and so fondly wedded, and led to embrace the Lord Jesus
as our one, our sole, our sure hope for eternity, oh, it is heaven’s
first, heaven’s last and latest step; this step taken, heaven is sure!
Test your religion, beloved, by this. Has Jesus so taught you? Has
His sovereign grace been exhibited in leading you out of your worldly
circle? His converting grace in leading you out of your self-righ-teousness?
His pardoning, justifying grace in leading you to peace,
holiness, and hope?—then, if this be so, you are Christ’s, and Christ
is yours. Thus does the Lord lead His people. He leads them through
the wilderness, up the steep ascent, and down into the low valley,
through water and fire, cloud and storm, thorn-brake and desert,
watching them with an eye that never slumbers, keeping them by
a hand that never wearies, and encircling them with a love that
never chills. Thus, step by step He leads them on, from grace to
glory, from earth to heaven, from the wilderness below to the para-dise
above. Not one of that flock, thus led, thus guarded, thus
loved, shall be missing when the Shepherd folds them on high. His
“rod and His staff ” will be found to have restored them, guided
them, comforted them, and at last to have brought them home—
little faith, and fickle love, and weak grace, and limited experi-ence,
and defective knowledge, and faltering steps, finding their
way, through trial and temptation and suffering, home to God—
not one “vessel of mercy” missing. Oh, who but Christ could ac-complish
this? Who but the Divine Shepherd could thus have kept,
and thus have gathered, and thus have folded the sheep scattered
up and down in the cloudy and dark day? What an evidence of the
Godhead of Christ! Oh, crown His deity! crown it with your faith,
crown it with your love, crown it with your praise, ye who have
“now received the atonement;” for nothing short of this could place
you within the realms of glory. And this, when there, will be your
crown and joy for ever.
The “gentleness of Christ” is a theme on which the Holy Ghost
frequently dwells. It is an essential perfection of His nature. The
nature of Christ is gentle. It is not an accident of His being, an
engrafted virtue, a cultivated grace—it is essential to His very ex-istence.
Recollect that the two natures of our Lord were perfect. If
we look at His superior nature—the divine—the wondrous truth
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meets the eye as if emblazoned in letters of living light, “God is
love.” Now, Christ was an embodiment of the essential love of
God; consequently, gentleness was a perfection of His being. If we
view His inferior nature—the human—not less manifest was His
gentleness, since His humanity, though identified with the curse,
and laden with sin, and encompassed with infirmity, and shaded
with sorrow, yet was sinless humanity, free from all and the slight-est
moral taint; and so gentleness, in its most exquisite form, was
one of its most distinguished attributes. If, too, we connect with
this truth the fulness of the Spirit in our Lord’s human nature, the
evidence of its essential and perfect gentleness is complete. And
was not the gentleness of Christ visible in His every act? There was
nothing censorious in His disposition, nothing harsh in His man-ner,
nothing bitter or caustic in His speech. If, with withering re-buke,
He denounced the hypocrisy of the scribes, or the self-righ-teousness
of the Pharisees, or the extortion of the lawyers, or His
rejection by the nation He had come to save, while no voice could
speak in words more fearful, yet none in tones more tremulous
with the deepest, tenderest emotion. But oh, how much oftener
the blessing breathed from His lip than the woe! Judgment was
His strange work; mercy His delight. Truly in all His works, in all
His ways, in all His discourses, the beautiful prophecy that fore-told
the gentleness of His grace was fulfilled: “He shall come down
like rain on the mown grass, as showers that water the earth.” “The
bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not
quench.” But let us consider this specific illustration of Christ’s
gentleness—His dealings with the burdened. “He gently leadeth
those that are with young.”
We have an apposite illustration of this in the considerate ten-derness
of Jacob: “And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the
children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with
me; and if men should over-drive them one day, all the flock will
die. Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will
lead on softly,” (Gen. 33:13,14.) If such the tenderness, such the
considerateness of man, what must be that of Christ! Who can
portray the gentleness with which He leads His people? His gentle-ness,
as displayed in conversion, how great! drawing them with cords
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of love, and with the bands of a man—gradually unvailing their
vileness, and thus step by step leading them into assured peace.
His teaching, how gentle! “I have many things to say unto you, but
ye cannot bear them now.” Here a little and there a little, He, by
the Spirit, softly leads us to truth—doctrine explaining doctrine,
precept leading to precept, promise following promise, and so, by
a gradual unfolding of the gospel, by a process of instruction the
most gentle, we are fed, first with the milk, and then with the
strong meat of the Word, and so grow up into Christ, the Truth.
Submit yourself, then, beloved, to His teaching. Burdened with a
sense of your ignorance, wearied with the teaching of men, per-plexed
and discouraged by the conflicting of human judgment, come
and learn of Christ. You will advance more in Divine instruction in
one day at the feet of Jesus than in a lifetime at the feet of Gamaliel.
The very gentleness of His teaching instructs. His patience, for-bearance,
and painstaking, His words of heart-cheer and commen-dation,
untinged by an unkind look, and untinctured by a harsh
word, will advance your experimental knowledge of Himself, and
so advance your soul heavenward.
Not less gentle is His guidance. Is the path our heavenly Fa-ther
has chosen for us paved with flint and sown with briar? Is it
narrow and serpentine, difficult and perilous, often lone and dreary?
How gently the Shepherd leads us along! How he goes before,
straitening the crooked, and smoothing the rough places, and roll-ing
the stone from before us! What unexpected mercies and inter-positions
and aids He causes to spring forth in our way; how He
mitigates expected suffering, allays foreboding fears, and disap-points
all our unbelieving and mournful anticipations, preventing
us with His goodness! And when we have reached that event in our
life which we the most dreaded, the spot which looked the darkest
in our history, lo! we have stood amazed at the marvellous loving-kindness
of our God—that very event has proved our greatest bless-ing,
and that very spot the sunniest and the brightest in the wilder-ness—
so gently has Jesus led us!
In affliction and sorrow, how gentle His dealings! Perhaps, it is
then that we learn more of this perfection of our dear Lord than at
any other time. The time of trial is a time that tests the reality of
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things. It brings to the proof the friendship of the world, the real
help of the creature, the actual sufficiency of all earthly things.
Times of affliction are verily times of trial. But the greatest and
grandest discovery of all is the sufficiency, the preciousness, and
the gentleness of Christ. Oh, how little is known of the “Man of
sorrows” but in the hour of sorrow! There are soundings in the
depths of His infinite love, tenderness, and sympathy only made in
the many and deep waters of adversity. How gently does He deal
with our burdened hearts then! There is not a being in the universe
that knows how to deal with sorrow, how to heal a wounded spirit,
how to bind up a broken heart, as Jesus. Lord, teach us this truth!
Lead us into the depths of Thy love. Unvail the springs of Thy
sympathy. Shew us that in the languor of sickness, in the tortures
of pain, in the agony of bereavement, in the woundings of trial, in
the losses of adversity, Thou still art gentle, and that Thy gentleness
maketh us great.
We need as much the gentleness of Christ in the smooth as in
the rough path. Smooth paths are slippery paths. Times of prosper-ity
are perilous times to the Christian. Never is the man of God,
the man of Christian principle, more exposed to the corruption of
his own nature, the assaults of Satan, and the seductions of the
world, as when the world prospers with, and the creature smiles
upon him. Then is he walking upon enchanted ground,—then he
needs to pray, “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.” “Let integrity
and uprightness preserve me.” Oh to be kept from this sinful, un-godly,
treacherous world! If riches increase, to give the more to
Christ; if honours accumulate, to walk the humbler with God; if
influence and position and power augment, to write upon it all,
“HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD.” But what can thus preserve,
thus sanctify, but the gentleness of Christ, who will not “suffer the
moon to smite us by night, nor the sun by day”—who, in the night-season
of adversity and in the daytime of prosperity hides us in the
cleft of the rock, and thus gently leads us heavenward?
And now, beloved, what a help heavenward, what strength
and heart-cheer, will you find in a believing reception of this truth—
the gentleness of Christ! Never doubt, never question, never re-ject
it. It is an ingredient in every cup you drink, it is light in every
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cloud you behold, it is an accent in every voice you hear of Christ’s
dealings, leadings, and teachings. He is, He must be, gentle. He is
not only gentle, but He is gentleness. Gentleness is His nature,
because love is His essence. The heart of Christ is such that it
cannot be otherwise than gentle in its every feeling. The physician
is not less kind because he prescribes a nauseous remedy, nor the
surgeon less feeling because he makes a deep incision, nor the par-ent
less loving because he employs the rod. Nor is your Lord less
so, because the way by which He leads, and the discipline by which
He sanctifies, and the method by which He instructs you, may for
a moment vail the reality, light, and comfort of this truth—“He
gently leadeth those that are with young.” Did Jacob lead the flocks
and herds with young gently and softly lest they should die? Oh,
how much more gently and softly does our Jacob, our true Shep-herd,
lead us! “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather
the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall
gently lead those that are with young.” Lest we should be weary, He
will not overdrive us; lest we should faint, He leads us by springs of
water; lest our soul should be discouraged by reason of the way. He
causeth us to lie down beneath the shadow of the Rock that is
higher than we.
If this be so, then yield yourself to the Lord’s leading. Be sat-isfied
that He is leading you by the right way homeward. Do not
distrust His wisdom, nor question His love, nor fret, murmur, and
rebel that the way is not exactly just as you would have chosen. Be
sure of this, it is the right way; and if it is one of self-denial and of
difficulty, one of straitness and of cloud, yet it is the way home,
the ordained way, the only way that will bring you into the beatific
presence of Jesus. And His gentleness will constrain Him to bear
with you, and will suggest just such wise and holy discipline as will
impart robustness to your religion, completeness to your Christian
character, and sanctity to all the relations and doings of life.
O Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me; I am burdened,
gently lead me; I am in darkness, stay my soul upon Thee; I am in
perplexity, skillfully guide me. Let me hear Thy voice saying, “This
is the way, walk ye in it.” Let Thy pillar of cloud by day, and of fire
by night, lead and guide me gently homeward. Make Thy way
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straight before my feet. My foes watch for my halting, my enemies
wait for my stumbling—hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe. Sor-row
swells my heart, tears dim my eyes, the billows swell, the sky
lowers, the cloud darkens, the winds sigh mournfully, and all my
landscape is wintry and cheerless—draw me within thy warm, thy
sheltering love. Thou hast laid me upon this bed of weakness and
of pain—come and make it in my sickness, and pillow this sleep-less,
weary head upon Thy breast. Thou hast nipped my favourite
flower, hast withered my pleasant gourd, hast removed my strong
stay, hast dried up my present resources, and hast left me to tread
the vale of life in loneliness, in want, and in tears—soothe, succour,
and uphold my trembling heart, my weak faith, my desponding
mind. “In the multitude of my thoughts within me, [let] thy comforts
delight my soul.” In my widowhood, in my orphanage, in my
friendlessness, in my desolateness, in my need, I look, I run, I cleave
to Thee. Cast me not off from the bosom to which I fly. Shelter
me from the storm and tempest within Thy wounded side. Let
that eye that never wanders in its glance of love, that voice that
never falters in its accents of tenderness, that hand that never droops
in its outstretched help, that heart that never chills, that faithful-ness
that never veers, restore, soothe, and engirdle me. Lord, no
parent, no brother, no friend, no lover is like Thee; and I am learn-ing
Thy worth, Thy gentleness, and Thy preciousness in Thine own
appointed, wise, and holy way. Only let the result of this Thy present
dealing be my deeper holiness, my richer experience, my maturer
Christianity, my greater usefulness, my more advanced meetness
for heaven, my more simple, single, unreserved consecration to
Thee, and Thy more undivided, undisputed, and supreme enthrone-ment
within my soul.
“Is there a thing beneath the sun
That strives with Thee my heart to share?
Oh! tear it thence, and reign alone,
The Lord of every motion there!”
I cite you, my Christian reader, as Christ’s witness to this truth.
Has not the Lord dealt gently with you? Gently has He carried you
over the rough place,—gently has He led you through the swelling
tide, —gently has He wounded, and with what gentleness has he
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healed you,—gently has He chastened, and how gently has He dried
your tears. With what gentleness has He dealt with you in sick-ness,
in suffering, and in grief. How gently He has corrected your
backslidings, restored your wanderings, guided your perplexities,
removed your burdens; and thus, with a power that is never ex-hausted,
with a skill that is never baffled, with a patience that never
wearies, with a love that never falters, and with a gentleness that
never overdrives, Christ is leading you step by step heavenward,
where, with a depth of gratitude and an emphasis of meaning unfelt
before, you shall exclaim, “Thy gentleness hath MADE ME GREAT.”
Beloved, burdened with sin, burdened with grief, burdened
with sorrow, listen to the gentle voice which bids thee “cast thy
burden on the Lord, and He will sustain thee.” Thy burden—what-ever
it may be—thy burden of care, thy burden of anxiety, thy
burden of sickness, thy burden of weariness,—cast it upon Jesus
the Burden-bearer, roll it from off thy shoulder upon His, transfer
it from thy heart to His heart, in the simplicity and directness of a
faith that doubts not, hesitates not, demurs not, because His word
has promised that His grace and strength and love shall sustain
you. No burden will Jesus have you feel but the easy burden of His
commands, the gentle burden of His love, the honoured burden of
His cross. In bearing these you shall find rest; for there is real rest
in obedience, in love, in the cross, yea, in whatever binds the heart
to Christ.
Imitate Christ in His gentleness. Be gentle to others as He is
gentle to you. “The servant of the Lord must be gentle.” The great
apostle could say, “We were gentle among you, even as a nurse
cherisheth her children.” “The wisdom that is from above is first
pure, then gentle,” and it teaches us “to speak evil of no man, to be
no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto alt men.” Be
gentle to the lambs of the flock; be gentle to them whose grace is
little, whose faith is weak, whose strength is small, whose infirmi-ties
are many, whose sorrows are keen, whose trials are severe,
whose positions and paths in life are difficult and perilous. Oh, I
beseech you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, that you be
in this particular, Christ-like. Be gentle to them that have fallen by
the power of temptation; those who have travelled in the ways of
38 Help Heavenward
the Lord with so slow and tardy a step that they have been over-taken
by evil. Be gentle to the bruised reed and the smoking flax.
Be gentle, very gentle, to the broken heart and the wounded spirit.
Speak gently to those whom shame and grief and sin have bowed
down to the earth. Speak gently of those who, through weakness
and frailty, have erred in judgment or in practice. Oh, learn of Jesus,
in the gentleness with which He leads the burdened, and consider
yourself as never so closely assimilated to Him as when meekness,
lowliness, and gentleness clothe you as with a garment, and beau-tify
your whole carriage with their lustre.
“Gently, Lord, oh, gently lead us,
Through this gloomy vale of tears,
Though the changes Thou’st decreed us,
Till our last great change appears.
“When temptation’s darts assail us,
When in devious paths we stray,
Let thy goodness never fail us,
Lead us in Thy perfect way.
“In the hour of pain and anguish,
In the hour when death draws near,
Suffer not our hearts to languish,
Suffer not our souls to fear.
“When this mortal life is ended,
Bid us in Thine arms to rest,
Till, by angel bands attended,
We awake among the blest.
“Then, oh, crown us with thy blessing,
Through the triumphs of Thy grace:
Then shall praises never ceasing
Echo through Thy dwelling-place.”