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The following Sermon by William Guthrie is printed from vol. xxxi. of the Wodrow MSS. in 8vo, in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates. It is marked as his by Wodrow, in the Index to that volume, and is now printed as in some degree supplementary to the information conveyed in the Memoir by Dunlop, and the additional matter by Wodrow and Traill.
A SERMON ON SYMPATHIE.
Matth. xv. 23.—" Send her away, for sJie cryeth after us."
'',;' E heard a part of the entertainment this poor woman got in her address to Christ,1—he answered her not JS a word; a small encouragement, and certainly she ;c, might expect the less of all the company since his heart seems to be from her. Our Lord Jesus Christ will sometimes give cold entertainment to the importunate desires of his people, even when he intends to give them a gracious answer at length.
In the words ye have the next part of the entertainment she met with at the hands of the disciples; they seemed to bear some burden with her, but they come not up in their sympathie; all their sympathie is this, Send her away, for she cryeth after us: they entreated him either to give her ane alms or ane answer, and let her he going; they ought to have born burden with her in her affliction, but this is all, Give her something, or let her go, for readily they thought with themselves it would be their prejudice if she should cry on, for Christ resolved to be quiet in this place, and they ran a risk and hazard if she by her crying should discover them. There was also a desire of ease in them; they dought not abide to be troubled or fashed with any thing, and it seems she, by her crying, taiglcd them in 'Referring to some former discourse.
their march, and they did not remember that such errands as she had was the main work they should wait on. Such reasons as these, apprehension of hazard and love of ease, always militate against sympathie, and marr it exceedingly.
1. That they press Christ to send her away—observe, that the people of God are many times but cold and weak sympathizers with others in trouble, when the trouble is not at their own door. Of whom could sympathie have been expected if not from the disciples, who were the best folk in the world? And yet so little burden do they bear with this poor woman, that they bid Christ send her away, as one that troubled them. They were slain indeed with her crying: little remembered they that the devil was troubling her daughter, or regarded her fra1 they were heal of lith and limb themselves. So it was, (Matth. xx. 31,) when two blind men cryed on Christ, the multitude rebuked them, and bade them hold their peace.
In following out this doctrine, first, I shall show what true and kindly sympathie with suffering folks is. 2dly, What be these things that obliges to this dutie of sympathie. 3dly, What be the grounds or reasons why many a time the people of God sympathise so little with others of his people, that are under suffering: for other things more inconsiderable, we may take them in the use.
1 st, What is this we call sympathie?
Sympathie is a fellow-feeling, or burden-bearing with others in their trouble, or as the word signifies, it is a consuffering with them that suffer, and it is a thing best known by the effects hinted at here and there in Scripture, some few whereof we shall shortly point at.
1st, Wherever sympathie is with others in their affliction, there will be a remembering, a keeping in mind, and not a forgeting of their trouble and affliction, a keeping of it in folks' thoughts; if I be a sympathizer, I must be a consufferer: this far the people of Goa under the captivity of Babylon express their sympathie, (Psal. exxxvii. 5,) "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget
1 Provided that.
her cunning;" let me never play a right chop all my dayes; and it's commanded, (Heb. xiii. 3,) "Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them;" have mind of their condition; but it's better exprest then either in the command or practise of the saints, in our Lord Jesus his own practise, (Isa. xlix. 15,) "A woman may forget her sucking child, but I will not forget thee; thou art engraven upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me." That is the kindliest sympathie that is in God's heart.
2dly, True sympathie, as it does not forget the trouble of others of God's people, so the remembrance of it will make void many of our contentments and enjoyments, and proves a moth in them, in so far as they are not extended to the full rate; that is true sympathie which abridges even our lawfull liberties, and forbids the puting of them to the full rate or use that we might take of them at ane other time : So it was with the Lord's people, (Psal. cxxxvii. 5.) They would not play; they dought not play as formerly, there was a sympathie at their heart: and Amos vi. 3-6, it's charged on that people that they lay on beds of ivory, eat the lambs, chanted to the viol, invented instruments of musick, drank their wine in bowls, and were not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. They might eat the fat and drink the sweet, but it was another case now when the Church was in trouble; sympathie forbade them the full rate of libertie in their enjoyments they might have made use of at another time. They are not kindly sympathizers with Zion in affliction, that extend their liberties to a full rate, are as joyfull, ranting and roveing, singing and playing, as if all things were going well. Wo to them that are at ease this way, there is no sympathie there.
3dly, Sympathie hath in it a grieving, a being pained, as if the sorrow of others were our own; and this better answers the word then any other, and the want of this is it which is desiderat, (Amos vi. 6,) "They are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph," and it's that that is commanded, (Heb. xiii. 3,) "Remember them that are in bonds, as being bound with them." If ye were in prisons as they are, if ye had the irons knit to your heels as they have, yc