"Come unto Me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

"Blessed are those who mourn--for they shall be comforted." Matt. 5:4

This is a comprehensive Evangel in itself--good news for the weary, a true Hospice for every heavy-laden pilgrim. The one word "mourn" takes in the twofold burden of sin and sorrow--the double load common to the children of humanity.

The beatitude is spoken by Him whose specially foretold mission was to "comfort all that mourn" (Isa. 61:2). No wonder, therefore, it has an early place in His teaching; that it is one of the first Hospices whose gate He flings open with a "Come unto Me, and I will give you rest."

Is it sin--that burden which an old pilgrim says is "too heavy for me"--the consciousness of shortcoming--sins of omission, sins of commission; the treason of the will, the truant affections, the memories of a blurred and blotted past? Cast this burden on your Savior-God. His precious blood besprinkles the lintels and door-posts of the Hospice. That covenant-token gives Him the right to bid you welcome. The forgiveness of God in Christ is surely the most soothing of divine gospel opiates. Owen tells us that when he was brought back from the gates of death, the first text he preached from was this--"But there is forgiveness with You that You may be feared."

Is it sorrow--the burden of affliction? Is the word spoken to those enduring in its thousand shapes poverty, sickness, bereavement? None so needing shelter and rest as these. But God's comforts, like the stars of heaven, are brightest in a dark sky. As the sun requires to set before the stellar glories of the skies are visible, so with the soul. How many can testify, I never saw the surpassing comfort of the divine promises until death, in the removal of brother, or sister, or child, left my world without a sun!

"O joy that do you seek me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be."

It is doubtless this latter class--the afflicted--of whom the words of our verse today are mainly spoken. And how often in strange ways, in the case of such, do we find this beatitude of Christ realized and exemplified--blessedness surrounding the weary and heavy-laden pilgrim, and making him calm, restful, happy! It is one of the great compensations in the Christian life, that the mourner and sufferer are most conscious of the sweet drops that mingle in the bitter cup which their Father has prepared. Call to remembrance, in the circle of your acquaintance, some child of affliction--say of sickness and pain. Were not these the lips most lavish in acknowledgment of God's goodness and love? You would naturally expect otherwise--that the man who is seated luxuriously at life's banquet, and has nothing apparently to break the trance of outward happiness--material enjoyment--would be most profuse in his gratitude. How often is it the reverse! How often he takes the gifts with thankless, it may be peevish unconcern!

While, on the other hand, it is frequently they who gather the scattered crumbs, and must be content with the cup of cold water, who enjoy God's commonest mercies--a glimpse from their secluded couch of the blue of summer sky, and breath of summer fragrance and gush of summer song--these accepted as pledges and parables of diviner realities.

Thus does the gracious Rest-Giver fulfill the old promises spoken of Himself by the evangelical prophet--"I will restore comforts to him and to his mourners" (Isa. 57:18). "The Lord has anointed Me to bind up the brokenhearted…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" (Isa. 61:1, 3). The valleys of Baca and the tents of Kedar are thus often made musical with the songs of Paradise; the bed of languishing becomes as the house of God and as the gate of heaven. One of Samuel Rutherford's sayings, rendered into metre, beautiful alike for its imagery and simplicity, is on many such lips–

"With mercy and with judgment
My web of time He wove,
And aye the depths of sorrow
Were lustered with his love."
"Blessed are those who mourn!"

Then remember, He who utters this balm-word is Himself the King of sorrows, the Mourner of mourners. He knows, by the experience of His own suffering humanity, every pang that rends the heart. He was announced in the same great prophecy, hundreds of years before his incarnation, as "the Burden-Bearer." It sounds more like a gospel statement than a long antecedent prediction--"Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." Seeing that "He has suffered being tempted," there is an elevating speciality surely for our sorrowing seasons in the words emanating from His lips--"Come unto Me, and be comforted."

Lord Jesus, impart to me a true mourning for sin, a true submission in trial. The storm-clouds may be gathering--they may have gathered, as I am holding on my darksome way; but with this Hospice in sight, I shall listen to Your own gracious invitation--"Come, my people, enter into your chambers, and shut your doors about you--hide yourself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast" (Isa. 26:20).

"Come unto Me, and rest,
You weary heart, distrest
With wasting toil, and strivings vain and endless;
Mourning from day to day
For blessings passed away;
Come unto Me; I will not leave you friendless.

"I watched your cisterns fail,
I saw you spent and pale,
With parched lips, and heart with anguish bursting,
When from the desert sod,
Your cry went up to God.
Come unto Me; I will not leave you thirsting."
-S. Doudney

"The days of your mourning shall be ended."

"This is the resting place, let the weary rest. This is the place of repose." Isaiah 28:12

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