Chapter 89

How no Man is Worthy of God's Comfort

THE DISCIPLE. Lord, I am not worthy of Your comfort, nor of any spiritual consolation. You deal justly with me when You leave me poor and desolate. Could I shed a sea of tears, I should still not deserve Your comfort. I merit nothing butscourging and punishment, for I have gravely and frequently offended You and have done much evil. All things considered, therefore, I do not deserve the smallest consolation. Yet, most gracious and merciful God, You do not will that any of Your creatures should perish. Desiring to show Your generosity and goodness to those who receive Your mercy, (Rom.9:23) You reach down to comfort Your servant above his deserts and in ways above man's knowledge; for Your consolation is not as the empty words of men.

What have I done, that You should grant me any comfort from heaven? I cannot recall any good that I have done, but have been ever prone to sin and slow to amend. This is the truth and I cannot deny it. If I pleaded otherwise, You would confront me and none could defend me. What have I deserved for my sins but hell and everlasting fire? I sincerely confess that I am fit only for scorn and contempt. I am unfit to be counted among Your faithful servants.

Although it pains me to repeat it, yet for truth's sake I will accuse myself, that I may better deserve Your mercy. Guilty and confused, what shall I say? I can but say, `I have sinned, O Lord, (Ps. 51:3) I have sinned be merciful and forgive. Spare me awhile, that I may show my sorrow, before I go down into the darkness and shadow of death. (Job 10:21) Why do You demand of a guilty and wretched sinner that he repent and humble himself for his offences? It is because in true penitence and humbleness of heart is born the hope of pardon; the troubled conscience is reconciled; lost grace restored. Man is spared the anger of God (Matt.3:7) while God and the penitent soul greet each other in a holy embrace. (Rom 16:16) Humble sorrow for sin is an acceptable sacrifice to You, Lord, and is more fragrant in Your sight than clouds of incense. This is the precious ointment which You once allowed to be poured on Your sacred feet; (Luke 7:46) for You have never despised a contrite and humble heart. (Ps. 51:17) Here at Your feet is the place of refuge from the hatred of the Enemy; here is the place of amendment and cleansing from every stain of sin.

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