"A Word in Season from Christ to the Weary"

"The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary."  Isaiah 50:4

A greater than the prophet Isaiah is here. It is even He who, alluding to his office as the servant of the Father, and the consequent humiliation of that servitude, thus speaks- "The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who plucked off the hair. I hid not my face from shame and spitting." Who, then, is the speaker but Jesus? To no other will this remarkable description apply, and from no other could such precious words proceed. How full of significance and sweetness are they! With what melody will they fall on many an ear, and with what gladness will they thrill through many a heart!

They are addressed to the WEARY. Let us contemplate the character. It comprises a large class. Many there are who come within its description. All may not ascribe their weariness to the same cause, nor may all to the same degree be sensible of their state. Yet all are weary. Man is not naturally in his original and right position. The needle of his soul has been diverted from its center, and, until it regains it, will continue in incessant and tremulous motion- never at rest. To illustrate the thought by another figure. He who leaves his mother earth and launches upon the sea, must submit to all the caprices of the new element on which he has embarked. He becomes the sport of every current, and the plaything of every wave. Life is this sea, ever moving, ever restless, ever flowing on. Upon its bosom, and exposed to its currents and its storms, man is voyaging to eternity. And that, thus exposed to its ever fluctuating, shifting scenes, habits, and passions, he should be weary, can create no surprise in a reflecting mind.

The world is a wearying and a weary world. We will suppose ourselves appealing for the truth of this statement to the world's most admiring and devoted votary. It has lavished upon you the utmost that it can give. You have ransacked its treasures, and have reveled among his sweets. What have you found it to be? You have no scriptural hope of another and a better world- what is the result of your experience of this? Did that green and sunny spot on which you lay afford you repose? Did that pleasant draught which you quaffed, slake your thirst? Have rank and wealth, honor and distinction, pride and beauty, love and friendship, realized the heart's fond hope, and placed you beyond the reach of weariness! Have they left you nothing to wish, nothing to desire, nothing to lament? Is there no heaving of life's sea- no ripple upon its surface- no trembling of its bosom? Is all satisfaction, and quietude, and repose? We will anticipate your honest reply- "Far from it." There are yet a craving and a restlessness which nothing has met. So true is God's word, "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest." And so will it be until the creature man returns to his Creator God.

But not in the world of sense only do you complain of weariness. What rest, we would ask, have you found in the world of faith? Again the reluctant and mournful reply will be- "None." Least of all have you found it here. If the carnal mind and sensual heart found not satiety and repose in their own native world, they cannot be expected to find it in a world with which they have not the slightest sympathy. The world of faith is a foreign climate to the natural man; it is the antithesis of the world of sense. He that would pass from the one to the other must become a "new creature in Christ Jesus." There must be an entire revolution of mind and of feeling. Old things must pass away, and all things must become new. The moral constitution must be acclimated (so to speak) to the new world into which it is introduced. It cannot breathe its atmosphere, nor admire its scenery, nor enjoy its delights, nor participate in its employments, without a corresponding nature. It is impossible that rest can be found in things that are spiritual, by a heart all whose desires and appetites are carnal and only carnal.

Heaven itself would to such a one cease to be heaven. How truly and graphically the prophet describes this state: "And you say, 'What a weariness!' and you sniff at it contemptuously" (Mal. 1:13.) Is there not something peculiarly awful in this description of your state? What a weariness do you find in the religion of Christ! Of prayer you exclaim, "What a weariness!" Of public worship, "What a weariness!" Of hearing sermons, "What a weariness!" Of religious conversation, "What a weariness!" Of the service and work of the Lord, "What a weariness!" "and you sniff at it contemptuously, says the Lord Almighty." O awful condition! O melancholy state! The world heaving like an angry sea beneath your feet- the heavens lowering and threatening above your head! Things temporal and things spiritual alike affording no repose to your agitated and restless mind! How true is God's word: "The wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, says my God, to the wicked." Unconverted reader! this is your present character, and this your present state!

But these are not the "weary" to whom this passage especially addresses itself. They are the Lord's weary ones- souls quickened, aroused, made sensible of their condition, and led to seek and to find their rest in Jesus. "Him who is weary." The character may be regarded as descriptive of GRACE IN ITS EARLIEST AND WEAKEST UNFOLDINGS. When the Holy Spirit first enlightens and convinces, he produces a restlessness in the soul, which all created good refuses to meet. Previously to this, sin was not felt to be a burden, guilt produced no anxiety, eternity no fearfulness, and evil habits were not felt to be a galling and oppressive chain bound around the soul. The world's insufficiency was indeed acknowledged, and the soul's restlessness was felt; but still sin was loved, and the world was followed, and there was no brokenness of heart, nor contrition of spirit, nor going to Jesus for rest.

With others it was, perhaps, somewhat different. There was just awakening enough to produce alarm and anxiety of soul; sufficient light to reveal the pollution and the darkness; and knowledge enough to teach the necessity of a righteousness in which to stand before God. To work out that righteousness, and so find rest, was the object upon which the whole soul was bent. Circuitous was its march, toilsome its work, and wearisome its way. "Do this and live," was all the sound it heard, the only gospel it knew. "What shall I do?" was its mournful and despairing reply. But the Spirit of God takes the work into his own hands. And what a revolution of thought and of feeling transpires! Sin is now felt to be a heavy burden, hateful and hated. Past iniquities rise before the eye like Alp piled upon Alp, or roll over the soul, like wave succeeding wave. The spirituality of the law is seen, its curse is felt, its condemnation is dreaded. In a word, the whole soul is laid prostrate at the feet of Jesus, weary and heavily laden. But oh! we may pronounce it, blessed weariness! sweet brokenness and contrition!

Show me the spot on which JEHOVAH's eyes rest with delight, and over which angels hover and rejoice, and you take me to one whose heart God has made soft, whose spirit is contrite, who mourns for sin, repenting in dust and in ashes. This is weariness indeed! Reader, have you felt your sins, and not your sins only, but your own righteousness to be a burdensome and a wearisome thing, too heavy for you to bear? Then, you are included in the number of the Lord's weary ones, and may come and take your place with them at his feet, and hear the words he would speak to you.

The Lord's weary ones, too, include all those WHO FEEL THE BURDEN OF THE BODY OF SIN, AND ARE CAST DOWN AND WEARY, BY REASON OF THE DIFFICULTIES AND THE HARDNESS OF THE WAY. The Lord's people are emphatically a weary people. It is a "weary land" through which they are passing- it is no marvel that they should be faint, even though pursuing. Here is the cause of the greatest weariness. Not more truly does the "whole creation groan and travail in pain," than does he who "bears about with him the body of sin and of death, day by day." It is indeed to him a continual and unrelievable pressure. "Who will deliver me from the body of sin and of death?" is his constant and mournful cry. It is the union of the opposites in him that creates his burden. Life and death- holiness and sin- grace and nature- are in perpetual, and often fierce combat. In this lies the inward conflict. This is the fight of faith. Until life was breathed, and holiness was created, and grace was given, there were no oppressions, and no warfare, and no weariness. Think of this, you burdened and oppressed saints of God! Let this thought fall like a sunbeam upon your gloomy and saddened spirit. Let it cheer you in your cloudy and dark day. Were you dead, or were you still in unrenewed nature, you would be an utter stranger to this weariness; and could never understand the meaning of the apostle, "I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."

THE ASSAULTS OF THE ADVERSARY contribute not a little to the sense of weariness which often prostrates a child of God. To be set up as a mark for Satan: the enemy smiting where sensibility is the keenest, assailing where weakness is the greatest, taking advantage of every new position and circumstance- especially of a season of trial, of a weak, nervous temperament, or of a time of sickness- distorting God's character, diverting the eye from Christ, and turning it in upon self- are among Satan's devices for casting down the soul of a dear believer.

And then, there are THE NARROWNESS OF THE NARROW WAY, and the INTRICACIES of the intricate way, and the PERILS of the perilous way, tending to jade and dispirit the soul. To walk in a path so narrow and yet so dangerous, that the white garment must needs be closely wrapped around; to occupy a post of duty so conspicuous, responsible, and difficult, as to fix every eye, some gazing with undue admiration, and others with keen and cold suspicion, ready to detect and to censure any slight irregularity- these add not a little to the toilsomeness of the way.

Add to this, THE NUMEROUS AND VARIED TRIALS AND AFFLICTIONS which pave his pathway to heaven; his tenderest mercies often his acutest trials, and his trials often weighing him to the earth- and you have the outline of a melancholy picture, of which he whose eye scans this page may be the original. Does it surprise us, then, that from the lips of such a one the exclamation often rises, "Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest."

It is to such the Lord Jesus now addresses himself in words most appropriate and animating, "The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary." His preeminent fitness for this peculiar and difficult office, is the first point with which he would arrest the attention. "An instructed tongue." The Lord's qualifications will appear in two or three particulars. His identity with their very nature describes him as well calculated to address himself to their case. Of the nature thus oppressed and weary, he in part partook. But for this, so infinitely removed had he been from their condition, he had been incapable of meeting its peculiar necessity. Absolute Deity could not, through the medium of sympathy, have conveyed a word of comfort to the weary. There had been lacking, not the power to relieve, but the mode of relieving the oppressed and sorrowful heart. There had been needed the connecting and transmitting chain- the heavenly highway of thought, of feeling, and of sympathy- between these extremes of being, the loving heart of God and the desolate heart of man. Unacquainted with grief, untouched by sorrow, unbeclouded by care, unaffected by weariness, an absolute God could not possibly offer the support and the condolence which sympathetic feeling alone could give, and which a jaded spirit and a sorrow-touched, care-oppressed, and sin-beclouded soul demanded.

Nor could angels afford the help required. The only burden which they know is the burden of love; and the only weariness they feel is the weariness of ever-burning devotion and zeal. It is this which gives strength to their wings, and swiftness to their flight. They are represented as "hearkening to the voice of the Lord," ready to speed their way on some embassy of mercy and love. In fulfilling this their ministry, their eye never slumbers, their pinions never droop. But we needed a nature so constituted as to enter into, and, as it were, become a part of the very weariness it sought to relieve.

Look at Jesus! "Behold the Man!" With weariness in every form he was intimate. He knew what bodily weakness was. Do you not love to linger in pensive thoughtfulness over that touching incident of his life which describes him as sitting fatigued upon Jacob's well? "And being weary, he sat thus upon the well." Picture him to your eye! See the dust upon his sandals- for he Jesus had walked forty miles that day-  the sweat upon his brow, the air of languor upon his countenance, and the jaded expression in his eye! Do we deify his humanity? No! It was real humanity- humanity like our own. It is our joy, our boast, our glory, our salvation, that he was really man, as he was truly God.

Consider, too, what he endured for man, from man. This was no small part of the weariness of our nature into which he entered. How soon did he come to the end of the creature! Alas! the creature has an end, and sooner or later God brings us to it, and in the exercise, too, of the tenderest love of his heart. When most he needed its sheltering protection, he found the creature a withered gourd, and he bore his sorrow alone. And when he repaired to it for the refreshing of sympathy, he found it a broken cistern- and he panted in vain. Where were his disciples now? He was in trouble, but there was no one to help; he was in the storm, but no one would know him; refuge failed him, no man cared for his soul! He was in sorrow, but no bosom offered its pillow; he was accused, but no tongue was heard in its defense; he was scourged, but no arm was lifted to repel; he was condemned, but no one vindicated his innocence, nor sought to arrest his progress to the cross! Oh, how fully did Jesus realize the creature's nothingness, and so enter into his people's condition of weariness.

Contemplate, too, the pressure that was often, we might say always, upon his sensitive spirit. See him bearing our sicknesses and our sorrows; more than this, carrying our iniquities and our sins. Think not that your path is a lone one. The incarnate God has trodden it before you, and he can give you the clear eye of faith to envision his foot-print in every step. Jesus can say, and he does say to you, "I know your sorrow; I know what that cross is, for I have carried it. You have not a burden that I did not bear, nor a sorrow that I did not feel, nor a pain that I did not endure, nor a path that I did not tread, nor a tear that did not bedew my eye, nor a cloud that did not shade my spirit, before you, and for you. Is it bodily weakness? I once walked forty miles, to carry the living water to a poor sinner at Samaria. Is it the sorrow of bereavement? I wept at the grave of my friend, although I knew that I was about to recall the loved one back again to life. Is it the frailty and the fickleness of human friendship? I stood by and heard my person denied by lips that once spoke kindly to me; lips now renouncing me with an oath, that once vowed affection unto death. Is it straitness of circumstance, the galling sense of dependence? I was no stranger to poverty, and was often nourished and sustained by the charity of others. Is it that you are houseless and friendless? So was I. The foxes had their shelter, and the birds winged themselves to their nests, but I, though Lord of all, had nowhere to lay my head; and often day after day passed away, and no soothing accents of friendship fell upon my ear. Is it the burden of sin? Even that I bore in its accumulated and tremendous weight when I hung accursed upon the tree."  Yes, Christian reader, you have not a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of your infirmities, but was, in all points, tempted like as you are, though he was without sin. O how pre-eminently fitted is Christ to speak a word to the weary!

But in addition to this, Jesus possessed a derived fitness- a fitness communicated to him by his Father. This his words clearly imply. "The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned." All the grace and the gifts with which, as man, he was furnished, were the bestowment of the Spirit of God, and were given in order to qualify him to speak to the weary. In a distinguished sense, he possessed the tongue of the learned; or, as the passage might be rendered, "The Lord Jehovah has given me an eloquent tongue, (literally, one skilled, practiced, instructed,) that I might know how to console the weary, or, that I may sustain the weary with a word."

Never was there a tongue like Christ's- so learned, so eloquent, and so skilled. "Never a man spoke like this man." Greece and Rome, in their "High and palmy state," never exhibited such philosophy as he taught, nor such erudition as he displayed, nor such eloquence as he breathed. Had he so chosen it, he could have placed himself at the head of a school of his own, and, with a beck, might have allured to his feet all the poets and philosophers of his day, proud to own him as their Master. But no! The wisdom and the eloquence of this world possessed no charm for him. He drew the learning and the melting power with which he spoke from a higher, even a heavenly source. His was divine philosophy; his was the eloquence of God! "The Lord Jehovah has given me the tongue of the eloquent."

And TO WHOM did he consecrate this learning, this wisdom, and this eloquence? To the very objects whom the proud philosophers and the doctors of his day despised and neglected- even the weary. What a field was here for the exercise of his skill and for the play of his benevolence! How fully would he demonstrate that he truly possessed the "tongue of the learned!" If, to interest the feelings of the exhausted; if, to enchain the attention of the weary; if, to concentrate upon one subject the powers of a mind, jaded and burdened; if, to awaken music from a heart whose chords were broken and unstrung, mark the loftiest reach of eloquence, then, his was eloquence unsurpassed- for all this he did. The beings whom he sought out and drew around him, were the burdened, the bowed down, the disconsolate, the poor, the friendless, the helpless, the ignorant, the weary. He loved to lavish upon such the fulness of his benevolent heart, and to exert upon such the skill of his wonder-working power. Earth's weary sons repaired to his out-stretched arms for shelter, and the world's ignorant and despised clustered around his feet, to be taught and blessed. Sinners of every character, and the disconsolate of every grade, attracted by his renown, pressed upon him from every side. "This man receives sinners," was the name and the character by which he was known. It was new and strange. Uttered by the lip of the proud and disdainful Pharisee, it was an epithet of reproach and an expression of ridicule. But upon the ear of the poor and wretched outcast, the sons and daughters of sorrow, ignorance, and woe, it fell sweeter than the music of the spheres. It passed from lip to lip; it echoed from shore to shore- "this man receives sinners!" It found its way into the abodes of misery and need; it penetrated the dungeon of the prisoner, and the cell of the maniac; and it kindled an unearthly light in the solitary dwelling of the widow and the orphan, the unpitied and the friendless.

Thus received its accomplishment the prophecy that predicted him as the "Plant of renown," whom Jehovah would raise up. Thousands came, faint, and weary, and sad, and sat down beneath his shadow; and thousands more since then have pressed to their wounded hearts the balsam that flowed from his bleeding body, and have been healed.

Let us turn our attention for a moment, to the subject-matter of our Lord's address to the weary. WHAT DOES HE SPEAK TO THEM? Some would reply, the law. No; the law of God never spoke a word of comfort to the weary. It was not designed for such. Its very nature for bids it. It can anathematize, alarm, and wound; but not a solitary word of consolation and soothing can it address to a soul weary and heavily laden with sorrow and with guilt. But it is the glorious gospel of the blessed God that the Lord Jesus speaks to his weary ones. It was designed and framed especially for them. Its very nature fits it for such. Every word is an echo of the love of God's heart. Every sentence is permeated with grace, mercy, and truth. The word which Jesus speaks, is just the word the weary need. It unfolds a free pardon, complete acceptance, perfect reconciliation with God, and all-sufficient grace to perfect this work in holiness. It bids me, as a sinner, approach just as I am; my poverty, my vileness, my guilt, my utter destitution, forming no just hindrances to my salvation, because his atoning work has made it a righteous thing in God to justify the guilty, and a gracious act in Jesus to save the lost. Yes, he condescends to assure me in that word of a free grace gospel, which he speaks with a tongue so eloquent, that I honor him in accepting his offered boon, and that I glorify him by trusting my soul into his Almighty hands.

There is yet an essential and most important truth here to which we would direct the reader's particular attention. We allude to the REST IN CHRIST to which his word to the weary especially invites. Our blessed Lord is not one that mocks the circumstances of the weary. When he speaks, it is with all the love of his heart, and when he invites, it is with all the sincerity of his soul. Listen, then, to his gracious words, "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." With what brightness does the truth appear written with beams of heavenly light- JESUS, THE REST OF THE WEARY! "Come unto me." The Father has made his Son the resting place of his church. He Himself has vested His whole glory in Christ. He knew what Christ was capable of sustaining. He knew that as His Fellow -one equal with Himself, He could with safety entrust the honor of His government in the hands of His Son. He confided therein Himself! His government, and His church-  all in Christ. To this "tried stone," He would now bring His people. He found it strong enough for Himself, and He knows it to be strong enough for them, and with confidence He invites the weary to come and repose upon it. Jesus but echoes the heart of the Father when he says, "Come unto me, I will give you rest." Never did the tongue of Jesus utter words more learned- more eloquent- more persuasive. Just the word we need.

By nature we foolishly seek rest everywhere, and in everything, but in Jesus. We seek it in the sensual world, we seek it in the moral world, we seek it in the religious world- we find it not. We seek it in conviction, we seek it in ordinances, we seek it in doing the works of the law, and still it evades us. We go from place to place, from mean to mean, from minister to minister, and still the burden presses, and the guilt remains, and we find no rest. No; and never will we find it, until it is sought and found solely, wholly, exclusively, and entirely in Jesus. Rest for the sin-weary soul is only to be met with in him who bore the curse for man's transgresion. Here God rests, and here the sinner must rest. Here the Father rests, and here the child may rest. Jesus is the great burden-bearer for God and for man. Listen again to the melody of his words: "Come unto me- I will give you rest." See, how he invites you, without one solitary condition. He makes no exception to your guilt and unworthiness. The word is, "Come unto me:" in other words, believe in me. To "come," is simply and only to believe.

And oh! how can we fully set forth THE REST to be found in Jesus? Let those testify who took their guilt to his blood, their vileness to his righteousness, their sins to his grace, their burdens to his arm, their sorrows to his heart. Let them tell how, in a moment, their sense of weariness fled, and rest, sweet, soothing rest to their soul, succeeded. Are you, my reader, a sin-weary soul? Then, to you is this invitation addressed: "Come unto ME- to me, the Savior, whose willingness is equal to my ability. To me; who never rejected a single soul that sought salvation and heaven at my hands. Come unto me -I will give you rest."

In the case of A TRIED BELIEVER, the rest that Jesus gives does not always imply the removal of the burden from where this sense of weariness proceeds. The burden is permitted to remain, and yet rest is experienced. Yes, it would appear from his procedure, that the very existence of the burden was essential to the experience of the rest. He does not withdraw the trouble from us, nor us from the trouble; and still the repose we sighed for is given. Wonderful indeed! But how is it explained? That burden takes us to Jesus! It is but the cause of our simply going to him. But for that sorrow, or that calamity, or that sickness, or that bereavement, we would have stayed away. The pressure compelled us to go. And how does he meet us? Does he open a way of escape from our difficulty, or does he immediately unbind our burden and set us free? No; better than this, he pours strength into our souls, and life into our spirits, and love into our hearts, and so we find rest. Thus are fulfilled in our experience the precious promises, "As your days, so shall your strength be." "My grace is sufficient for you."

But there is still a deeply interesting truth to be considered. It is THE TIMING OF THE LORD'S ADDRESS TO THE WEARY. It is always a "word in season." It is spoken just at the moment that it is needed. Herein is no small unfolding of the love of our Lord. Nor less an evidence of his complex person as God-man. How could he so time his word to the weary as to meet their emergency at its very crisis, did not his Deity make him cognizant of the critical junctures in which they were placed! And let it be mentioned, that this operation is going on in every place and at every moment! And how could he meet that crisis, and speak a word in season to the weary, but as his humanity was touched with the feeling of the infirmity? It is by this process of experience that we are brought into close views of the glory of our incarnate God.

Yes, it is a "word in season." When Jesus speaks to the penitent weeping at his feet, "Your sins are forgiven," who can describe the joy which now fills the heart, and the radiance of hope which now lights up the soul? It was, perhaps, at the moment of dark despair; all other refuge failed; all was given up for lost; and just as the last billow came rolling on, threatening to engulf the soul in woe, Jesus spoke a "word in season," and all was peace.

And when he speaks through the ministry of the word, or by the word itself, to the believer, wearied with conflict and with trial, it has been just at the moment that its sustaining and consoling power was needed. The eye that slumbers not, nor sleeps was upon you. He knew in what furnace you were placed, and was there to temper the flame when it seemed the severest. He saw your frail vessel struggling through the tempest, and he came to your rescue at the height of the storm. How has he proved this in seasons of difficulty and doubt! How often, at a crisis the most critical of your history, the Lord has appeared for you! Your lack has been supplied, your doubt has been solved, and your perplexity has been guided; he has delivered your soul from death, your eyes from tears, and your feet from falling.

A word by Jesus, spoken in due season, how good is it! In what an exalted and endearing light does this truth place Christ's sleepless vigilance of his people! Imagine yourself threading your way along a most difficult and perilous path, every step of which is attended with pain and jeopardy, and is taken with hesitancy and doubt. Unknown to you and unseen, there is One hovering each moment around you, checking each false step, and guiding each doubtful one; soothing each sorrow, and supplying each need. All is calm and silent. Not a sound is heard, not a movement is seen; and yet, to your amazement, just at the critical moment, the needed support comes- you know not from where, you know not from whom. This is no picture of imagination. Are you a child of God retracing your steps back to paradise by an intricate and a perilous way? Jesus is near to you at each moment, unseen and often unknown. You have at times stood speechless with awe at the strange interposition on your behalf, of providence and of grace. No visible sign betokened the source of your help. There was no echo of footfall at your side, no flitting of shadow athwart your path. No law of nature was altered nor suspended, the sun stood not still, nor did the heavens open; and yet deliverance, strange and effectual deliverance, came at a moment most unexpected, yet most needed. It was Jesus your Redeemer, your Brother, your Shepherd, and your Guide. He it was who, hovering around you, unknown and unobserved, kept you as the apple of his eye, and sheltered you in the hollow of his hand. It was he who armed you with bravery for the fight, who poured strength into your spirit, and grace into your heart, when the full weight of calamity pressed upon them. Thus has he always been to his children.

The incident of the disciples in the storm presents a striking instance of this. Behold him standing upon the shore, eyeing with riveted gaze the little boat as it struggled amid the sea. They were often invisible to human eye, but not a moment were they lost to his. Not even when in the mount alone in prayer, were they forgotten nor unobserved. He beheld from thence their peril; he knew their fears, and he hastened to their support. Stepping from the shore he approached them. O how majestic did his form now appear- walking like a man, and upon the water, like a God! They knew not that it was Jesus, and were afraid. But their knowledge of him was not necessary to their safety. It was enough that he knew them. And just as the storm was at its height, and their fears rose with their peril, he drew near and said in his own gentle soothing tone, unto them, "It is I, do not be afraid." It was a "word spoken in season."

It is one of the most blessed truths of the covenant of grace, that the God of the covenant is a "very present help in every time of trouble." Loving His people as He does, dwelling in them by His Spirit, their persons and circumstances continually before Him in the person and the intercession of His dear Son, how can He possibly lose sight of them for a single moment? They may, and they often do, lose sight of Him. They do not, alas! set the Lord always before their face. They do not train and discipline themselves to see Him in every event, circumstance, and incident of life. They are not clear-sighted to recognize, nor prompt to acknowledge Him in every providence that darkens or lightens upon their way. Were they but right-minded, they would exclaim of every good and of every evil as it came, "The Lord is in this!" But they are never for an instant out of his heart, out of his thoughts, out of his hands, or out of his eye.

How near to them, too, is THE HOLY SPIRIT! Dwelling in, and overshadowing them, he is at their side to guide, to uphold, and to cheer; bringing to their memory a precious promise, or writing upon their heart an animating truth, or opening before their eye some endearing glimpse of Jesus, just the moment it was needed. What a happy, what a favored people are the Lord's! "Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God. Happy is that people that is in such a case."

But let us trace some of THE PRACTICAL CONCLUSIONS to which this interesting subject brings us. The Lord Jesus speaks at the present time to the weary. We need constantly to bear in mind the immutability of our Lord; that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever." That all that he ever has been- and oh! what has he not been? he is at this moment. What countless numbers are now bathing their souls in the bliss of heaven, whose tears were once dried, whose fears were once quelled, whose burden was once removed by those precious words spoken in season- "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!" O could they, bending now from their thrones, but speak to us, they would testify what substance, what reality, what sweetness, what power, and what charm they once found in them! And they would bid every weary spirit, every weeping penitent, every tried saint believe, and press the promise to their heart.

But a dearer, a lovelier, and a better than they, bids you receive it. Jesus himself speaks to you, "Come unto ME- and I will give you rest." All that he was in their happy experience, he will be in yours. The grace that made them what they once were, and what they now are, is sufficient for you. Go, and lay your weariness on Christ. Ask not, "Will he bear my burden?" He bears every burden brought to him. Not one poor, weary, heavy laden sinner does he turn away. You are, perhaps, a mourning penitent- he will receive you. You are, perhaps, a vile outcast- he will welcome you. He says he will, and he cannot deny himself. It is impossible that he should lie.

The Lord Jesus gives HIS PEOPLE THE TONGUE OF THE LEARNED, that they may sometimes speak a word in season to his weary ones. Have you not a word for Christ? May you not go to that tried believer in sickness, in poverty, in adversity, or in prison, and tell of the balm that has often healed your spirit, and of the cordial that has often cheered your heart? "A word duly spoken, how good is it!" A text quoted, a sentiment repeated, an observation made, a hint dropped, a kind caution suggested, a gentle rebuke given, a tender admonition left- oh! the blessing that has flowed from it! It was a word spoken in season! Say not with Moses, "I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue;" or, with Jeremiah, "Ah, Lord God! behold I cannot speak, for I am a child." Hear the answer of the Lord, "Who has made man's mouth? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall say."

 And oh, how frequently and effectually does the Lord speak to his weary ones, even THROUGH THE WEARY! All, perhaps, was conflict within, and darkness without; but one word falling from the lips of a man of God, has been the voice of God to the soul. And what an honor conferred, thus to be the channel of conveying consolation from the loving heart of the Father to the disconsolate heart of His child! To go and smooth a ruffled pillow, and lift the pressure from off a burdened spirit, and light up the gloomy chamber of sorrow, of sickness, and of death, as with the first dawnings of the coming glory. Go, Christian reader, and ask the Lord so to clothe your tongue with holy, heavenly eloquence, that you may "know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary."

IN CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH, remember the Lord Jesus can give you the tongue of the learned. Listen to his promise- "I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist." Thus, the most unlearned, and the most weak, may be so deeply taught, and be so skillfully armed in Christ's school, as to be able valiantly to defend, and successfully to preach the truth, putting to "silence the ignorance of foolish men.

It is a matter of much practical importance, that you take heed not to anticipate or to forestall the promised grace. For every possible circumstance in which you may be placed, the fulness of Christ and the supplies of the covenant, are provided. That provision is only meted out as the occasions for whose history it was provided occur. Beware of creating trouble by anticipating it. Seen through the mist, the advancing object may appear gigantic in size, and terrific in appearance. And yet the trouble you so much dread may never come; or, coming, it will assuredly bring with it the "word spoken in season." In the case of every child of God, calamity never comes alone; it invariably brings Jesus with it.

There is a period approaching- the last and great crisis of human life- when we shall more than ever need the "tongue of the learned." It will be of all seasons most trying and solemn, the season that separates the soul from the body. To that each must come. The hand that holds this pen, and the eye that reads the lines which it traces, will relax, and grow dim in death, and the writer and the reader will meet together to read another book in the light of the great white throne- the book of life! Oh blessed indeed to find our names recorded there! But if Jesus is our salvation, why shrink from that hour? He will be there to speak a word in season to your weary soul amid the swellings of Jordan- loving, and faithful to the last.

Do not be surprised at any way which the Lord may take to bring your weary soul to rest in himself. It is not always in the crowd that he speaks comfortingly to the heart. More frequently he leads his people out, and takes them apart by himself alone. It is often in the privacy of separation and retirement, when the soul is curtained within his pavilion, that the greatest and the sweetest nearness to Jesus is experienced. "Behold, I will allure her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably to her." (margin- speak friendly, to her heart.)

Has the Lord been leading you about- severing this tie, and breaking up that repose; disappointing you here, and thwarting you there? Amazed, you have asked, "Lord, why this?" And the only reply has been the comfort which he has spoken to your weary, desolate heart. Thus does he make good in your experience his own exceedingly great and precious promise- "I will satisfy the weary soul, and will replenish every sorrowful soul."

"Is it for this my weary feet
So long the wilderness have trod,
Through winter's cold, and summer's heat,
Thus to be comforted by God?"
"Is it for this he brought the night,
And quenched awhile each tiny ray;
That He himself might be my light,
And turn the darkness into day?"
"Is it for this the waves arose,
And tempests raged, and would not cease,
That Christ himself might interpose,
And shed around a perfect peace?"
"Is it for this he chastened sore,
And let my soul in prison be;
That he might show an open door,
And say in tender love- 'Be free'"
"Is it for this he laid me low,
And filled my heart with strange alarms;
That I might let all others go,
And sweetly rest upon his arms?"
"Oh yes! my feeble faith descries
Bright light between each parting cloud;
And soon my soul, with glad surprise,
Shall mount and sing her song aloud."