It is seldom seen that silent grief speeds well; for either a man must have strong hands of resolution to strangle it in his bosom, or else it drives him to some secret mischief; whereas sorrow revealed is half remedied, and even abates in the uttering. Your grief was wisely disclosed and shall be strenuously answered. I am glad of your sorrow, and would weep for you if you did not thus mourn. Your sorrow is, that you cannot grieve for sins. Let me tell you that the angels themselves sing at this lamentation; neither does this earth afford such sweet music in the ear of God. This heaviness is the way to joy. Worldly sorrow is worthy of pity, because it leads to death, but this deserves nothing but envy and congratulation. If those tears were common, hell would not so enlarge itself. Never sin, repented of, was punished; and never any thus mourned and repented not. Lo, you have done that, which you grieve for not doing. That good God, whose act is His will, accounts our will as our deed. If He required sorrow equal to the heinousness of our sins, there were no end of our mourning! Now this mercy regards not so much the measure, as the truth of it; and accounts us to have that, which we complain to want.
I never knew any truly penitent sinner, who, in the depth of remorse, was afraid of sorrowing too much; nor any unrepentant, who wished to sorrow more. Yea, let me tell you, that this sorrow is better, and more than that deep heaviness for sin which you desire. Many have been vexed with an extreme remorse for some sin, from the grips of a galled conscience, which never came where true repentance grew; in whom the conscience plays at once the accuser, witness, judge, tormentor; but an earnest grief for want of grief, was never found in any but a gracious heart. You are happy, and complain. Tell me, I beseech you, this sorrow you mourn to want? is it a grace of the Spirit of God, or not? If not; why do you sorrow to want it? Oh! how happy is it to grieve for want of grace! The God of all truth and blessedness has said, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness;” and with the same breath, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” You say you mourn;
Christ saith, “You shall be comforted.” Confess your own happiness, and with patience expect His promised consolation. What do you fear?
You see others stand strong like rocks, unshaken, unmoved. You are but a reed, a feeble plant tossed and bowed with every wind, and with much agitation bruised. Lo, you are in tender and favourable hands, that never brake any whom their sins bruised, never bruised any whom temptations have bowed. You are but flax, and your best is not a flame, but an obscure smoke of grace. Here His Spirit is as a soft wind, not as cold water; He will kindle, but never quench you. The sorrow you want is His gift. Take heed, lest while
you vex yourself with dislike of the measure, you grudge the giver. Beggars may not choose. This portion He has vouchsafed to give you;
if you have any, it is more than He was bound to bestow. Yet you say, what no more? as if you took it unkindly that He is not more liberal. It is good to be covetous of grace, and to have our desires herein enlarged with our receipts. Weep still, and still desire to weep Â— but let your tears be as the rain in the sunshine Â— comfortable and hopeful; and let not your longing savour of murmur or distrust. These tears are reserved Â— this hunger shall be satisfied Â— this sorrow shall be comforted! There is nothing betwixt God and you, but time. Prescribe not to His wisdom Â— His grace is enough for you and His glory more than enough.
Gospel Magazine 1857.