That sympathizing, merciful, feeling,
tender, and compassionate heart
Compassionate High Priest" 1847)
"For we do not have a High Priest who is unable
to sympathize with our infirmities." Hebrews 4:15
The child of God, spiritually taught and convinced,
is deeply sensible of his infirmities. Yes, that he is
encompassed with infirmities, that he is nothing else
but infirmities. And therefore the great High Priest
to whom he comes as a burdened sinner, to whom
he has recourse in the depth of his extremity, and
at whose feet he falls overwhelmed with a sense
of his helplessness, sin, misery, and guilt; is so
suitable to him as one able to sympathize with
We would, if left to our own conceptions, naturally
imagine that Jesus is too holy to look down in
compassion on a filthy, guilty wretch like ourselves.
Surely, surely, He will spurn us from His feet. Surely,
surely, His holy eyes cannot look upon us in our . . .
Surely, surely, He cannot bestow . . .
one heart's thought,
one moment's sympathy,
or feel one spark of love
towards those who are so unlike Him.
Nature, sense, and reason would thus argue,
"I must be holy, perfectly holy, for Jesus to love;
I must be pure, perfectly pure, spotless and
sinless, for Jesus to think of. But . . .
that I, a sinful, guilty, defiled wretch;
that I, encompassed with infirmities;
that I, whose heart is a cage of unclean birds;
that I, stained and polluted with a thousand iniquities;
that I can have any inheritance in Him, or that He can
have any love or compassion towards me; nature, sense,
reason, and human religion in all its shapes and forms,
revolts from the idea."
It is as though Jesus specially address Himself to the
poor, burdened child of God who feels his infirmities,
who cannot boast of his own wisdom, strength,
righteousness, and consistency; but is all weakness
and helplessness. It seems as if He would address
Himself to the case of such a helpless wretch, and
pour a sweet cordial into his bleeding conscience.
We, the children of God; we, who each knows his own
plague and his own sore; we, who carry about with us
day by day a body of sin and death, that makes us
lament, sigh, and groan; we who know painfully what
it is to be encompassed with infirmities; we, who come
to His feet as being nothing and having nothing but sin
and woe; "we do not have a High Priest who is unable
to sympathize with our infirmities," but One who carries
in His bosom that . . .