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until he received that all-embracing promise: "My grace is suffi cient for thee."
I have not named the burdens of wasting toil, of anxiouscare, of daily perplexity, vexation and disquietude; the burden of poverty, want, obscurity, deprivation, oppression, the name of which is "legion." Man has felt them all, and wept and sighed under them all. And they are all known to the compassionate God, and he shall sustain the burdened one, who, longing for deliverance, takes up his burden and carries it to the Mercy-Sea t, and there lays hold of the strength of Omnipotent grace.
We pass to notice some of our MENTAL burdens. Not the least under this classification is our ignorance. How little do we know! How limited are our capacities. How imperfectly are they developed! How narrow and contracted the field of our vision, and especially the field of our knowledge! There are vast regions of knowledge laid open to man in this world which we have not explored. There are moments when we would yield to the inward thirst for knowledge and sacrifice all earthly enjoyment for it: but the want of time or opportunity, or early advantage, or the power of sustained application, forbids. We are forced to restrain the earnest longings of our nobler nature. We are obliged to pause on the threshold of the temple and deny our minds the sight of the glorious wonders within; to walk on the shore of the universe of truth, gathering only here and there a curious pebble, leaving unexplored the vast ocean which lies upon it.
Who has not felt the burden of ignorance! Who has not longed to possess all knowledge! Who is not pained at his narrow and contracted views of truth! How mean and unworthy are our thoughts of God, of Redemption, of Nature, of Spirit and being, of Immortality, of the end of life, of Providence, of Probation! Who would not look within and read himself!penetrate the depths of infinite space and gaze upon those widespread wonders and mysteries which the telescope has not yet disclosed, and go down into the bowels of the earth and decipher the record of creation, and force the amazing Past to give up its secrets! Above all, who would not better understand the history of Grace-get a deeper insight into the sacred and glorious facts and doctrines of Revelation-behold more of the transcendent attractions of the Saviour-God-have his mind more fully illumined by the Sun of Righteousness, and his whole being penetrated and vitalized, spiritualized and controlled by the moral power of the Cross! Who would not have all the darkness of sin dissipated-all the effulgence of the new creation beam upon his soul-all the aspirations of true manhood and implanted grace realized-all the burdens which corruption and fear and ignorance produce, lifted off!
There is the burden of mystery as well as of ignorance. Not only
is there darkness in our own mind, caused by the absence of knowledge, but there is darkness without. We live under a dispensation of mingled light and darkness. The necessary condition of life and being in this world of sin and trial is one of imperfection, mental as well as moral. We can, while here, see but in part and know only in part. There is a veil over all things. Not only is the eye of man weak and his vision limited, but there is darkness not a little in all that he looks upon. He sees as through a glass, darkly. Nature is full of mysteries. Redemption is full of them. God's Providential government is full of them. Mystery meets us at every step-darkness which no science can dissipate-difficulties which all our philosophy cannot remove-perplexities and trials of mind which God's Revelation even fails to satisfy. This darkness, this mystery hanging over the works and ways of God, and perplexing men's minds, exciting curiosity, and confounding human reason, has burdened the ages past. And there is no help for it. No advancement of science, no new philosophy, no study of Revelation and Providence, can make it otherwise. "Clouds and darkness" are round about the Throne. "His way is in the sea, his path in the great waters, and his footsteps are not known."
This is a great trial. The mysteries of Divine Providence alone often overburden the soul. They perplex and confound reason. They wound and sadden the heart. They put faith, patience and resignation to a severe test. "Why is it ordered thus? Why is God dealing in this way with me? Why must I drink this cup of suffering-why pass through this baptism of darkness? Why are all my brightest hopes blasted-my choicest blessings taken from me-my wisest plans frustrated?" O how many times do such questions arise in the mind and burden the soul! And the only response that comes to our anxious and travailing heart is: "What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter." We cannot reason in regard to these mysteries; all we can do is to have faith. Our only comfort is: "The Lord reigneth." All we can say to a sad heart is: "What time I am afraid I will trust in thee." But we may go to God with the burden, and though he may not remove it he will give grace and strength to bear it meekly and patiently.
So there are burdens connected with knowledge. There is truth in the proverb: "He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." The truth and the philosophy of this it were not difficult to establish. An ignorant man is wise in his own conceit; a truly learned man is pained at the little he knows. He has learned enough to see that he knows comparatively nothingenough to make ignorance very painful enough to give him an appreciation of knowledge and an unsatisfied thirst for it. Education, knowledge mastered and appropriated, refines human nature, elevates it above the mass, imparts more exquisite tastes and
keener sensibilities, and gives importance to mind, to mental worth and culture. How painful to the wise man is the folly of the stupid multitude; how disgusting is ignorance and superstition and childishness! Wisdom scorns the Mammon-worship now so universal; the importance attached to money, to social position, to rank and display of material things. The educated and cultivated mind has a thousand sources of anxiety, perplexity, uneasiness, disgust and pain, which the uneducated know nothing of. And above all is this true of a mind enlightened by the Spirit of God. He knows enough of the evil of sin and of its power as an element of misery and corruption-enough of his own heart and spiritual being-enough of the moral state of unconverted men around him-enough of the degradation, misery and hopelessness of the heathen world--enough of man as man, a sinner under the Gospel, mortal and yet immortal-enough to burden his soul with a great weight of sorrow and sympathy and solicitude.
III. We come to the burdens of the HEART-social burdens. And here I am warned that there is a large class of burdens which I cannot speak of-secret burdens, known only to the heart which feels them and to God who reads it. Every heart has its own bitterness which a stranger intermeddleth not with--some private grief, disappointment, sorrow, weakness which has never been whispered in mortal ear; too sacred to be named, but deep felt-wept over in secret places-sighed out when God only is present with out thoughts. These are the heaviest of all burdens; because, whatever be the nature or form of the burden, it has taken deep hold of the feelings of our nature-it has impressed its living form on the heart and there is no effacing it, and no reasoning with it. And it is made tenfold heavier from the fact that we must bear the burden alone-we can share it with no one
we dare not speak of it to our most intimate friend--the mind is left to brood over it, and the feeling oft becomes morbid. But I need not dwell on this point. I seek not to enter the secret chamber of your heart. A stranger may not tread there, none but God. But I know you have such a chamber, and I know you oft seek it out and sit down in it to sigh and to weep. And though I may not share that grief with you, nor see the tears you there weep or catch the sighs you there heave, still I may point you to Him who has said " Cast thy burden upon the Lord and he shall sustain thee." I may whisper in your car, while bowed in the place of secret grief:
"Earth hath no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal."
But I may speak of other social burdens. There are burdens of affection. The social affections are great means of enjoyment -the channel of our purest and brightest joys. But they have their alloy. There are trials and evils, serious indeed, connected
with their possession and exercise. To love, and not be loved in return-oh, what misery is this! And yet what is more common? In what relation of life may we not find numberless instances? Who is not conscious of such an experience? The fear, the suspicion even, of such a state, robs life of its charm. What causes that cloud which now and then darkens the sunny brow of that fair maiden? The thought that after all she has not the true and hearty love of the man to whom she has given and plighted all the love of her young and confiding heart. What sends that wife to her chamber to weep? The suspicion that she is losing her hold on her husband's heart. What gives that father or mother so dejected a look, and is poisoning all life's happiness? Oh! their children requite their love and care with indifference and neglect. What pierces that confiding heart through with many sorrows? Friendship has been betrayed-a bosom companion, with whom he has oft taken sweet counsel, has rent the sacred bond, and desecrated the holiest feelings of our nature. The burdens of affection are often hard to be borne. They touch the heart in its most sensitive part. Not unfrequently they pierce it through with many sorrows. Many a one has sunk under them. Affection unrequited or wounded-oh, how much misery has it caused-how many lives have been robbed of all their sweetness by it?-many a noble soul has it blighted and sent to a premature grave.
There are burdens of disappointment connected with our social affections. Earth's purest loves-oh, how imperfect they are after all-tainted by pride and selfishness and sensuality-and subjected to a thousand conditions and contingencies. How far short of the heart's anticipation is the actual realization of creature good. Choose any walk in life--any relation-any condition-and is the want of our social nature, the desire, the hope of the heart-is it satisfied? Does it ever cry out: It is enough; I want no more; my expectations are realized? Alas! no. You have never experienced that hour yet-never found that condition. Your heart has felt the pang of many a disappointment. You have not realized all that you had expected. On many a field you have reaped only emptiness and vanity. Life has not turned out as you once thought it would. The world has not proved a world of sunshine and flowers. The heart has not found that rest, that happiness, which it early sighed after and resolved to woo. Friends have not been as true and as warm and as disinterested. Fortune has been capricious and treacherous. Wealth, honor, office, station, learning, has not yielded all that it promised. The most sacred relations and loves of life have not done all for you that you could have desired. Your heart has felt the burden of many a disappointment. You might not be willing to confess it, but if I could read your inmost heart, I should find there, written in unmistakable characters, DISAPPOINTED! Instead of riches, poverty.
Instead of rank, position, splendor-obscurity. Instead of brilliant success, signal failure. Instead of case, leisure, refined elegance-wasting toil, corroding cares, blight, sickness, adversity, grief. Instead of husband, children, parents, eternal constancywidowhood, childless, orphanage, desertion. Instead of a "little heaven below," a life of solitariness, a desert of sorrow and weariness.
Oh! these burdens of disappointment-who has not felt them, and wept and trembled under them! How they accumulate as we pass from one stage of life to another until ofttimes they become almost insupportable! They have drove many a strong man to despair, broke many a heart, and constrained many a pilgrim to utter the plaintive song :
"It is a weary way, and I am faint;
I pant for purer air and fresher springs;
Oh, Father! take me home: there is a taint,
This world is but a wilderness to me;
There is no rest, my God! no peace apart from thee."
There are burdens of bereavement. Where will you find an unbroken circle? Who has not lost a friend? Whose heart has not buried a portion of its treasure? What seasons of darkness and grief-what years of loneliness and sorrow, has death caused O what has not humanity endured by reason of the inroads of death! How many, once united and loving hearts, does the deep, dark grave separate to day!
And some of these burdens of bereavement are bitter as death itself. Here a wife is taken from the husband, and there a husband from the wife. Here a mother is removed from her circle of little ones, and there the child is snatched from the parental arms. Here a sister or brother, and there a bosom friend dies. And what desolation the heart feels! What voids are made! How that grief lives in the memory! What scalding_tears are shed over it! What sadness it lays upon life!-But I will not dwell upon this painful point. It requires but a word to open afresh many a wounded heart here to-day. The burden lies heavy on your mind, and you have no rest from it, and need divine solace. and support to bear it.
We have burdens of trial also as well as of bereavement. How many and what fierce temptations assail us! What evil and corrupting influences environ our path! What wicked examples are held up before us continually! How virtue is tried, and piety hard pushed, and integrity put to the test! Who has not felt the heat of the furnace, borne the brunt of many a conflict, and trembled under the weight of the cross! There are trials of nature, trials of faith, trials of duty; and they are sometimes so heavy as to depress the soul, and fill it with fearfulness and trembling. All