Lamentations 1:12
Is this nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see! Is there any sorrow like mine, which was inflicted on me, which the LORD made me suffer on the day of His fierce anger?
No Sorrow Like Messiah's SorrowJohn Newton Lamentations 1:12
The Observation of SufferingD. Young Lamentations 1:12
Unparalleled WoeJ.R. Thomson Lamentations 1:12
A JeremiadLamentations 1:12-22
Everyone Disposed to Think His Afflictions Peculiarly SevereN. Emmons, D. D.Lamentations 1:12-22
Good FridayE. Blencowe, M. A.Lamentations 1:12-22
Instructive SorrowsJ. Udall.Lamentations 1:12-22
Is it Nothing to You?Newman Hall, D. D.Lamentations 1:12-22
On the Passion of Our SaviourH. Scougal, M. A.Lamentations 1:12-22
Our Sorrows Rightly EstimatedJ. Trapp.Lamentations 1:12-22
Searchings of HeartR. Thomas.Lamentations 1:12-22
Sorrow Seen in its True LightHartley Aspen.Lamentations 1:12-22
The Appeal of the Saviour's SorrowsA. R. Thomas.Lamentations 1:12-22
The Sufferings of Christ Demand the Attention of AllS. Palmer.Lamentations 1:12-22
Zion's AppealW. F. Adeney, M. A.Lamentations 1:12-22

The prophecy here rises into poetry. The captured and afflicted city is personified. Like a woman bereaved and desolate and lonely, bewailing her misfortunes, and pouring out the anguish of her heart, Jerusalem sits in her solitary desolation and contempt, and calls upon bystanders to remark her sad condition, and to offer their sympathy to unequalled anguish..

I. THE CONSCIOUSNESS SORROW, DESOLATION, AND SHAME. How extreme is the distress and humiliation here depicted is apparent from the fact that this language has been attributed to our Divine Saviour when hanging upon the cross of Calvary. If a city never endured sorrow like that of Jerusalem, certainly no human being ever experienced agonies so piercing as those which the Captain of our salvation willingly bore for our sake when he gave his life a ransom for many.

"All ye that pass by, To the Saviour draw nigh; To you is it nothing that Jesus should die? For sins not his own He died to atone; Was pain or was sorrow like his ever known?"

II. THE ADMISSION THAT AFFLICTION IS OF DIVINE APPOINTMENT, THAT IT IS CHASTISEMENT. When Jerusalem came to herself she could not fail to recognize a Divine hand in the miseries which befell her. The scourge was the army of the Chaldeans, but the hand was the righteous and retributive hand of the Eternal. It is too common for those who are in trouble to murmur against Providence, to exclaim against the injustice of providential appointments. Yet true wisdom points out that the path of submission and resignation is the right path. When once the mind is brought to acknowledge, "It is the Lord!" there is a prospect of spiritual improvement.

III. THE CRY FOR SYMPATHY. By a striking figure of speech, Jerusalem is presented as calling upon surrounding nations for interest and compassion. "Is it nothing to you? ... Behold, and see!" Human sympathy is welcome in seasons of sorrow, Yet true help and deliverance must be from God, and from God alone, It is better to call upon the Lord than to call upon man; for he is both ready to sympathize and mighty to save. - T.

Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?
1. The whole passage evidently expresses a deep yearning for sympathy. Mere strangers, roving Bedouin, any people who may chance to be passing by Jerusalem, are implored to behold her incomparable woes. The wounded animal creeps into a corner to suffer and die in secret, perhaps on account of the habit of herds, in tormenting a suffering mate. But among mankind the instinct of a sufferer is to crave sympathy, from a friend, if possible; but if such be not available, then even from a stranger. This sympathy, if it is real, would help if it could; and under all circumstances it is the reality of the sympathy that is most prized, not its issues. It should be remembered, further, that the first condition of active aid is a genuine sense of compassion, which can only be awakened by means of knowledge and the impressions which a contemplation of suffering produce. Evil is wrought not only from want of thought, but also from lack of knowledge; and good-doing is withheld for the same reason. Therefore the first requisite is to arrest attention. We are responsible for our ignorance and its consequences wherever the opportunity of knowledge is within our reach.

2. The appeal to all who pass by is most familiar to us in its later association with our Lord's sufferings on the Cross. But this is not in any sense a Messianic passage; it is confined in its purpose to the miseries of Jerusalem. Of course there can be no objection to illustrating the grief and pain of the Man of Sorrows by using the classic language of an ancient lament if we note that this is only an illustration.

3. In order to impress the magnitude of her miseries on the minds of the strangers whose attention she would arrest, the city, now personified as a sup. pliant, describes her dreadful condition in a series of brief, pointed metaphors. Thus the imagination is excited; and the imagination is one of the roads to the heart. Let us look at the various images under which the distress of Jerusalem is here presented.(1) It is like a fire in the bones (ver. 13). It burns, consumes, pains with intolerable torment; it is no skin-deep trouble, it penetrates to the very marrow.(2) It is like a net (ver. 13). We see a wild creature caught in the bush, or perhaps a fugitive arrested in his flight and flung down by hidden snares at his feet. Here is the shock of surprise, the humiliation of deceit, the vexation of being thwarted. The result is a baffled, bewildered, helpless condition.(3) It is like faintness. The desolate sufferer is ill. It is bad enough to have to bear calamities in the strength of health. Jerusalem is made sick and kept faint "all the day" — with a faintness that is not a momentary collapse, but a continuous condition of failure.(4) It is like a yoke (ver. 14) which is wreathed upon the neck — fixed on, as with twisted withes. The poet is here more definite. The yoke is made out of the transgressions of Jerusalem. As there is nothing so invigorating as the assurance that one is suffering for a righteous cause, so there is nothing so wretchedly depressing as the consciousness of guilt.(5) It is like a winepress (ver. 15). Wine is to be made, but the grapes crushed to produce it are the people who were accustomed to feast and drink of the fruits of God's bounty in the happy days of their prosperity. So the mighty men are set at nought, their prowess counting as nothing against the brutal rush of the enemy; and the young men are crushed, their spirit and vigour failing them in the great destruction.

4. The most terrible trait in these pictures, one that is common to all of them, is the Divine origin of the troubles. Yet there is no complaint of barbarity, no idea that the Judge of all the earth is not doing right. The miserable city does not bring any railing accusation against her Lord; she takes all the blame upon herself. The grief is all the greater because there is no thought of rebellion. The daring doubts that struggle into expression in Job never obtrude themselves here to check the even flow of tears. The melancholy is profound, but comparatively calm, since it does not once give place to anger. It is natural that the succession of images of misery conceived in this spirit should be followed by a burst of tears. Zion weeps because the comforter who should refresh her soul is far away, and she is left utterly desolate (ver. 16).

5. Here the supposed utterance of Jerusalem is broken for the poet to insert a description of the suppliant making her piteous appeal (ver. 17). He shows us Zion spreading out her hands, that is to say, in the well-known attitude of prayer. She is comfortless, oppressed by her neighbours in accordance with the will of her God, and treated as an unclean thing; she who had despised the idolatrous Gentiles in her pride of superior sanctity has now become foul and despicable in their eyes!

6. After the poet's brief interjection describing the suppliant, the personified city continues her plaintive appeal, but with a considerable enlargement of its scope. She makes the most distinct acknowledgment of the two vital elements of the case — God's righteousness and her own rebellion (ver. 18). These carry us beneath the visible scenes of trouble so graphically illustrated earlier, and fix our attention on deep seated principles. Although it cannot be said that all trouble is the direct punishment of sin, and although it is manifestly insincere to make confession of guilt one does not inwardly admit, to be firmly settled in the conviction that God is right in what He does even when it all looks most wrong, that if there is a fault it must be on man's side, is to have reached the centre of truth.

7. Enlarging the area of her appeal, no longer content to snatch at the casual pity of individual travellers on the road, Jerusalem now calls upon all the "peoples" — i.e., all neighbouring tribes — to hear the tale of her woes (ver. 18). The appeal to the nations contains three particulars. It deplores the captivity of the virgins and young men; the treachery of allies — "lovers" who have been called upon for assistance, but in vain; and the awful fact that men of such consequence as the elders and priests, the very aristocracy of Jerusalem, had died of starvation after an ineffectual search for food — a lurid picture of the horrors of the siege (vers. 18, 19).

8. In drawing to a close the appeal goes further, and, rising altogether above man, seeks the attention of God (vers. 20-22). This is an utterance of faith where faith is tried to the uttermost. It is distinctly recognised that the calamities bewailed have been sent by God; and yet the stricken city turns to God for consolation. Not only is there no complaint against the justice of His acts; in spite of them all, He is still regarded as the greatest Friend and Helper of the victims of His wrath. This apparently paradoxical position issues in what might otherwise be a contradiction of thought. The ruin of Jerusalem is attributed to the righteous judgment of God, against which no shadow of complaint is raised; and yet God is asked to pour vengeance on the heads of the human agents of His wrath! The vengeance here sought for cannot be brought into line with Christian principles; but the poet had never heard the Sermon on the Mount. It would not have occurred to him that the spirit of revenge was not right, any more than it occurred to the writers of maledictory Psalms. There is one more point in this final appeal to God which should be noticed, because it is very characteristic of the elegy throughout. Zion bewails her friendless condition, declaring, "there is none to comfort me." This is the fifth reference to the absence of a comforter (see Lamentations 1:2,9,16,17,21). The idea may be merely introduced in order to accentuate the description of utter desolation. And yet when we compare the several allusions to it, the conclusion seems to be forced upon us that the poet has a more specific intention. Our thoughts instinctively turn to the Paraclete of St. John's Gospel.

(W. F. Adeney, M. A.)

I. AN EARNEST EXPOSTULATION. If there is anything in all the world that ought to interest a man, it is the death of Christ. Yet do I find men, learned men, spending year after year in sorting out butter. flies, beetles, and gnats, or in making out the various orders of shells, or in digging into the earth and seeking to discover what strange creatures once floundered through the boundless mire, or swam in the vast seas. I find men occupied with things of no sort of practical moment, yet the story of God Himself is thought to be too small a trifle for intelligent minds to dwell upon it. O reason! where art thou gone? O judgment! whither art thou fled? It is strange that even the sufferings of Christ should not attract the attention of men, for generally, if we hear any sad story of the misfortunes of our fellow creatures, we are interested. How is it earth does not stretch out her hands and say, "Come and tell us of the God that loved us, and came down to our low estate, and suffered for us men and for our salvation"? It ought to interest us, if nothing more. Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? And should it not be more than interesting? Should it not excite our admiration? You cannot read of a man sacrificing himself for the good of his fellow creatures without feeling at once that you wish you had known that fine fellow, and you feel instinctively that you would do anything in the world to serve him if he still lives, or to help relatives left behind if he has died in a brave attempt. Is it nothing to you that Jesus should die for men? If I had no share in His blood, I think I should love Him. The life of Christ enchants me; the death of Christ binds me to His Cross. Even were I never washed in His blood, and were myself cast away into hell, if that were possible, I still feel I must admire Him for His love to others. Yea, and I must adore Him, too, for His Godlike character, His superhuman love in suffering for the sons of men. But why, why is it that such a Christ, so lovely and so admirable, is forgotten by the most of mankind, and it is nothing to them?

II. A SOLEMN QUESTION. The Lord Jesus Christ may be represented here as bidding men see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow, which is done unto Him.

1. Truly the sufferings of Jesus were altogether unique; they stand alone. History or poetry can find no parallel. King of kings and Lord of lords was He, and the government was upon His shoulders, and His name was called Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. All the hallelujahs of eternity rolled up at HIS august feet. But He was despised and rejected of men, a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised and we esteemed Him not. Never one so falsely accused. Oh! was ever grief like His! exonerated yet condemned! adjudged to be without fault, yet delivered up to His direst foes! treated as a felon, put to death as a traitor; immolated on a gibbet which bore triple testimony to His innocence by its inscription. With none to pity, no one to administer comfort, forsaken utterly, our Saviour died, with accessories of sorrow that were to be found in no other decease than that which was accomplished at Jerusalem. Still, the singularity of His death lies in another respect.

2. There was never sorrow like unto the sorrow which was done unto Christ, because all His sorrow was borne for others. His Godhead gave Him an infinite capacity, and infused a boundless degree of compensation into all the pangs He bore. You have no more idea of what Christ suffered in His soul than you have, when you take up in a shell a drop of sea-water, power to guess from that the area of the entire boundless, bottomless ocean. What Christ suffered is utterly inconceivable. Was ever grief like Thine? Needless question; needless question; all but shameful question; for were all griefs that ever were felt condensed into one, they were no more worthy to be compared therewith than the glowworm's tiny lamp with the ever-blazing sun. If Christ be thus alone in suffering, what then?

3. Why, let Him stand alone in our love. High, high, set up Christ high in your heart. Love Him; you cannot match His love to you; seek at least to let your little stream run side by side of the mighty river. If Christ be thus alone in suffering, let us seek to make Him, if we can, alone in our service. I wish we had more Marys who would break the alabaster box of precious ointment upon His dear head. Oh! for a little extravagance of love, a little fanaticism of affection for Him, for He deserves ten thousand times more than the most enthusiastic devotees ever dream of rendering.

4. If He be thus so far beyond all others in His sorrow, let Him also be first and foremost in our praise. If ye have poetic minds, weave no garlands except for His dear brow. If ye be men of eloquence, speak no glowing periods except to His honour. If ye be men of wit and scholarship, oh seek to lay your classic attainments at the foot of His Cross! Come hither with all your talents, and yield them to Him who bought you with His blood.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

The crucified Christ is still amongst us. We may even now by faith behold the Lamb of God in the very act of sacrificing Himself for the sin of the world. There are many who do not pass by the Cross on which He hangs. Come joy or sorrow, come honour or disgrace, whether others join you or whether you should be alone, in life and in death, you are resolved in penitential love and joyful obedience to dwell beneath the shadow of the Cross of Christ. But there are others who "pass by." There are scorners and scoffers now, as in the times of old. All who live profligate and wicked lives; all who deliberately indulge in fleshly lusts; the licentious, the intemperate, the covetous, the proud, the revengeful; all who cherish some secret sin and will not give it up; all such "pass by"; for the sight of the great Example of self-sacrifice so condemns those who are resolved on a life of self-indulgence, and the sufferings He endured to save from sin so reproach those who determine to commit sin, that they cannot find any pleasure in their wickedness except as they banish Him from their thoughts; and so they "pass by." It is possible that none of you may be fairly classed either with scorners or profligates. But nevertheless you may pass by Christ. Here are some in holiday attire, tripping and dancing along. Listening to the syren voice of pleasure, they wander off, some in one direction, some in another, in quest of new delights and fresh excitements. They often come within reach of the Cross, but they do not even see it, or they look at it so listlessly that it produces no effect. Others rush past, eager to grasp the phantom. forms which beckon them onward and still fly before them. Here comes one bending beneath a heavy load which eagerly he increases, as ever and anon he picks up some shining bit of earth and adds it to his store. Stooping down and gazing intently on the ground, he does not see the Cross. Miserable man! Eager to multiply riches which increase your cares and which you must soon lose, you neglect the only true, the imperishable treasure, and pass by! Now approach a sorrowful company, in dark attire, their cheeks bedewed with tears, their heads bowed down with grief. Oh, why do you not look up to that great Example of suffering, that Brother in adversity? You are passing by Him who is able to remove at once the heaviest portion of your burden, and by His sympathy to wipe your tears and heal your wounds! Others approach who have often been here before. They stopped at first, and admired, and went on; but now the Cross is too familiar to attract their notice. Here come others apparently determined to remain. They are much interested in the Cross. One sits down to sketch it. Another examines the wood of which it is made. A third measures its height and thickness. It is possible to be profound theologians and eloquent preachers, and yet pass by Christ. Others approach who are too intent in contemplating themselves to consider the crucified One. Not confessing themselves to be sinners, they pass by the Saviour, as having no need of Him. At length others come who resolve not to pass by. They are arrested by the sight of that patient sufferer; they wonder, they admire, they regret their former ignorance and folly, they will amend their lives, they will abandon their sins, they will remain beside the Cross; but it shall be — tomorrow! And so they also pass by! In order to pass by Christ it is not necessary to insult. Ye who have never yet really mourned for sin and forsaken it; who are not earnestly seeking Christ and relying on Him as your only Saviour; who do not imitate His example and obey His commands; ye who are not, for His sake, crucifying the flesh, dying with Christ to sin, that you may live with Christ in holiness; whatever your external behaviour, in heart you are amongst those to whom Jesus appeals, "Is it nothing to you all ye that pass by?" Do not say it is nothing to you because you are not included in the favoured few for whom Christ died. He is the "propitiation for the sins of the whole world," and therefore for yours! You helped to fasten Christ to the Cross. Every sin was a blow of the hammer to drive in the nails. Is this nothing to you? On the Cross God proclaims that He is ready to pardon you and receive you home as His child; and that for this He gave Jesus to die for you. Is this nothing to you? Will you refuse to give heed to the earnest appeal of Him who beseeches you to be saved? What is anything to you if not Christ? If you heard a cry of "Fire," you might selfishly say, "It is nothing to me." But suppose it was your own house in flames? Sinner! it is your own soul which is in jeopardy, and it is for you that Jesus dies.

(Newman Hall, D. D.)

There is a most striking and close parallel between the sufferings of Jerusalem here impersonated as crying, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" and those endured by our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

1. The city that was in ruins, was, of all earth's cities, the one most intimately associated with God. The suffering Saviour was "the only begotten Son of God"; He alone, of all living beings, could say, "I and the Father are one."

2. The misery of Jerusalem consisted largely in the wrongs and insults of foes. "Is this the city that men call the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth?" And as His enemies passed by the suffering Saviour on Calvary, they wagged their heads, and said, "He saved others, etc.

3. The misfortunes of Jerusalem were greatly aggravated, because her friends dealt treacherously with her, and became her enemies. The suffering Saviour was betrayed by one disciple, denied by another, and at last "they all forsook Him and fled."

4. In her sorrows, Jerusalem cried unto God "who had left her, and delivered her into the hand of her enemies," The suffering Saviour too appealed to God in the profoundly awful cry, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"

5. Jerusalem was enduring the greatest misfortunes that history records of any city in any war. The suffering Saviour bore agony that no other being could endure. Every man has to "bear his own burden," but "the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all."


1. Because by sorrow sympathy is excited. Even those men who are most depraved are quickened to sympathise by any suffering that is placed before them in the peculiar phase they can understand. The best men will be quickened to sympathise with it in whatever form it appears. Christ was. No sort of sorrow was beneath His compassion, nor beyond the limits of HIS sympathy.

2. Because sorrow will generally teach us some lesson. The asking of "Why" this sorrow? How can it be destroyed? will often lead to the discovery of the profoundest and most necessary truths. Parents endure sorrow and suffering that their sons may learn lessons; neighbours, that their neighbours; nations, that surrounding nations may. But if the son will thoughtlessly "pass by" the sorrow of his parent; or the neighbour will "pass by" that of the neighbour; or the nation will "pass by" that of the nation — the son, the neighbour, the nation, must sorrow for themselves.


1. He sorrowed more intensely than all others. He held Himself back from no grief, shrank from no abyss, refused no cross. Others have crowned themselves with royalty. He put the crown of sorrows upon HIS own brow. The solitariness of the Saviour's sufferings, moreover, gives Him preeminence in grief. Others have known the creeping shadows of loneliness; He its midnight.

2. As a sorrower, He taught infinitely more important lessons than all others.(1) The evil of sire If sin could cause that sorrow in a holy Being, what will it cause in us?(2) God's hatred of sin. He loved His Son, and yet He thus gave Him to bruising and to death for us.(3) God's love for man, and way of saving him. Comprehend God's mercy, by comprehending Christ's agony.

(A. R. Thomas.)

I. Let us, first, inquire into THE TRUE MEANING OF THESE WORDS; and, in order to that, examine the connection in which they stand. Jerusalem is here represented as speaking, in the character of a female person, and that of a widow, bitterly lamenting her desolate condition, and calling for compassion. Whether any sorrow was like unto her sorrow at this period, we cannot determine, nor is this material. It was, undoubtedly, very great; and it was not unnatural for them to suppose it peculiar and unexampled. This is a common ease, both with bodies of people and individuals. Persons, when exercised with heavy and complicated afflictions, are very apt to suppose no sufferings equal to their own, and no sorrow like theirs. It is also very common and very natural for persons under heavy afflictions to feel it as a high aggravation that they have none to sympathise with them under their troubles, or to show any disposition to afford them relief.

1. This is a very grievous and pitiable condition for any to be in.

2. To exercise sympathy towards the afflicted is what may most reasonably be expected, and the neglect of it is highly culpable.



1. What think yon of the great number of those who are called by the name of Christ, who never set themselves seriously to contemplate His sufferings: who never, or but seldom, attend the preaching of Christ crucified; or who, though they may sometimes hear the doctrine of the Cross, never bestow a serious thought about the ends and designs of the Saviour's sufferings, or the concern which they themselves have in them?

2. And what shall we say of those persons, who even profess faith in Christ and love to His name, and attend the ordinary worship of His house with apparent decency, who yet neglect to fulfil His dying command to commemorate His sufferings and death in that peculiar ordinance, in which we have a visible representation of them, designed to perpetuate the memory of them in the world, and affect the heart with a sense of His love.

(S. Palmer.)

Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow
The greatest natures are capable of the greatest sorrow. It is utterly inconceivable to man of how much sorrow a nature like that of Jesus is capable. What sorrow would be ours if, for a single day, we were endowed with a power of vision which enabled us to see underneath all the coverings of life, into the heart of things; if all persons were laid bare to us, and we saw the stern reality below the veneer and polish and dress and shows of things! Let us not forget that the sufferings of our Lord historically recorded, are but part of His sufferings. The apostle speaks of "filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." There are sorrows for the Son of Man still, for He has identified Himself with us, and become one with us. Does not His Church cause Him sorrow? Is it not like raw material, so very hard to His hand as to be almost incapable of being moulded into any shape or form of beauty? Does He not sorrow over our ignorance? Our mental dulness? Our pride of knowledge which is often worse than ignorance? Our unloveliness of spirit and unlovableness? Our hard thoughts of others? Do not these things cause Him sorrow? Again, our want of patience in doing His work? Our expecting to reap on the very day we sow? Does not our Lord sorrow over our legalism — that old Jewish spirit of slavishness to mere forms and customs which are of human device — the letter which killeth; the rigidity which knows not how to bend or adapt itself to weakness and feebleness and infirmity? Must He not sorrow over our sectarianisms — our thinking more of mere sectional names than of the real unity which underlies all these? Yea, sometimes, must not our very prayers be a source of sorrow to Him? Yes, truly, our Lord may well say, as He looks into the hearts of the members of His professing Church, "Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow." When, in a court of justice, a man's own witnesses seem to damage his cause, the ease is indeed painful And yet, our Lord's deepest, profoundest, tenderest sorrow does not arise from any inconsistencies, or defects, or blunders, or ignorances, or wilfulnesses which He sees among those who believe in Him, trust Him and look to Him, many of whom do their feeble, blundering best, to serve Him. For, every man who names the name of Christ, and departs from iniquity, honours Christ. His chief sorrow is not over His Church, with all its multiplied inconsistencies, ignorances, and wilfulnesses, but over others; over you young man, to whom He has given a godly father and mother, who daily pray for you, though you hear it not, who love you with a love that, as far as a finite thing can represent an infinite thing, is like the love of God. Over you also, fathers and mothers, men and women bearing the holiest names that this world knows; into whose arms a gift has been placed than which this earth can furnish none so marvellous or wonderful — have you appreciated that gift at its true value? Have you realised that the flesh was only a platform for an immortal spirit to stand upon! Must there not be sorrow in the heart of Christ as He sees fathers and mothers treating children as though they were mere animal forms, or, at the most, mere children of this world, to be trained for this world, everything nurtured in them except that which is highest, that which is distinctive, that which makes them men? When our Lord looks from the height of His infinite knowledge upon the world of fathers and mothers, and sees how, by their example, they are bending their children's souls away from Him, how often must His feeling be like to that expressed in these words, "Is any sorrow like unto My sorrow?" Does not this line of reflection touch every one of us? What sorrow greater than that of being perpetually misunderstood? And who knows this sorrow as the Son of God knows it? Have we not misunderstood Him most egregiously? Have we not thought of Him as the condemner? Yet is He the Saviour. Have we not resisted the Holy Spirit's movements in our souls? Have we not almost forced ourselves into darkness? And all this has been so much of sorrow poured into the lot of the Son of Man. Yet still He broods over us, with a love that many waters cannot quench.

(R. Thomas.)


1. There are many degrees and shades of difference in those evils which may be properly called afflictions. But those who suffer lighter troubles are very apt to let their imagination have its free scope, which can easily magnify light afflictions into great and heavy ones. So that mankind commonly afflict themselves more than God afflicts them.

2. There is another way, by which the afflicted are apt to magnify their afflictions. They compare their present afflictions, not only with their past prosperity, but with the afflictions of others; which leads them to imagine that their afflictions are not only great, but singular, and such as nobody else has suffered; at least, to such a great degree.


1. None that are afflicted ever know that God lays His hand heavier upon them than upon others. Mankind are extremely apt to judge erroneously, concerning the nature and weight of their own afflictions, and the nature and weight of the afflictions which others around them suffer. They have a high estimation of the good which they see others enjoy, but a low estimation of the evil they suffer. And, on the other hand, they cherish a low idea of their own prosperity, and a high idea of their own adversity.

2. The afflicted never have any reason to imagine that God afflicts them too severely, because He never afflicts them more than they know they deserve. Every person has sinned and come short of the glory of God. Every sin deserves punishment; and it belongs to God to inflict any punishment that sin deserves.

3. The afflicted have no reason to think that God afflicts them too severely, because He never afflicts them more than they need to be afflicted. God afflicts some to draw forth the corruption of their hearts, and make them sensible that they are under the entire dominion of a carnal mind, which is opposed to His character, His law, His government, and the Gospel of His grace, and of course exposed not only to His present, but His future and everlasting displeasure. This is suited to alarm their fears, and excite them to flee from the wrath to come. God afflicts others to try their hearts, and draw forth their right affections, and give them sensible evidence of their having the spirit of adoption, and belonging to the number of His family and friends, and thereby removing their past painful doubts and fears. And He afflicts others, to give them an opportunity to display the beauties of holiness, by patience, submission, and cordial obedience in the darkest and most trying seasons.

4. The afflicted have no reason to think that God afflicts them too severely, because He never afflicts them any more than His glory requires Him to afflict them.Improvement —

1. It is very unwise, as well as criminal, for the afflicted to brood over and aggravate the greatness of their affliction.

2. If the afflicted have no reason to think hard of God, or indulge the feeling that He corrects them too severely, then as long as they do indulge such a thought and feeling, they can receive no benefit from the afflictions they suffer.

3. If the afflicted have no reason to think that God afflicts them too severely, then they always have reason to submit to Him under His correcting hand.

4. It appears from what has been said, that men may derive more benefit from great than from light afflictions. They are suited to make deeper and better impressions on the mind.

5. It is as easy to submit to heavy as to light afflictions. As there are greater and stronger reasons to submit to heavy than to lighter evils, so these reasons render it mere easy to submit to heavy than light afflictions.

6. If men are apt to think that God afflicts them too severely, then their afflictions give them the best opportunity to know their own hearts.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

1. The godly in all their afflictions must look unto the Lord the striker, and not respect the rod wherewith He smiteth.

2. Corrections laid upon others ought not to be neglected, but duly considered of, as the rest of God's works.

(1)God often smiteth some to instruct others thereby.

(2)We being of one mould should take to heart the condition one of another.

3. Man is not to be proud though God do many things by him and for him that seem both strange and commendable.

4. The wicked have no cause to rejoice when they prevail against the godly, though they do so usually.

(1)They are but the Lord's rods, who (without repentance) shall be cast into the fire.

(2)They do not, as they imagine, overthrow the godly and establish themselves, but the clean contrary.

5. The godly endure more trouble in this world, both inwardly and outwardly, than any other.

(1)God loveth us, and would wean us from delighting in this world.

(2)Our nature is so perverse that it will not he framed to any spiritual things without many and grievous corrections.

(3)Satan and the world do hate us, and labour continually for our destruction.

6. It is a usual thing with us, to think our own troubles more heavy and intolerable than. any others suffer.

(1)We feel all the smart of our own, and do only afar off behold that which others bear.

(2)We are more discontented with our own crosses than we should, which maketh us bear them the more impatiently, and think them the more intolerable.

7. The afflictions that God layeth upon His servants are and ought to be grievous unto them for the present time (Hebrews 12:11).

(1)We justly have deserved them through our sins.

(2)We must be led by them to repentance, or we abuse them.

8. Though our sins do always deserve it, and our foes do daily desire, yet can no punishment befall the godly till God see it meet to lay it upon them.

9. The anger of God is hot against sin, even in His dearest servants.

(1)He is most righteous, and cannot bear with any evil.

(2)It tendeth to His great dishonour.

10. God doth not always afflict His servants, but at such special times as He seeth it meetest for them.

(J. Udall.)


1. He endured bodily torture the most severe.

2. Jesus suffered still deeper sorrows of the soul. All that pierces our hearts with sorrow was heaped on Christ. What so grievous as the treachery of a friend? And Judas, His own familiar friend, betrayed Him. What so bitter as to be forsaken? Yet all His disciples forsook Him and fled. Mockery and scorn and reviling are more cruel than the pains of the body; and He suffered them all, though He had done no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. Often man has much to soothe his dying moments; the eye of love watches by his pillow, and the hand of affection tries to lighten his pains. But this was denied to Jesus. When He died, malice and hatred were by, to pour fresh bitterness into His cup of death.

3. But will not God support Him? will not His Heavenly Father's presence and consolation supply the place of all others? No: Christ is in the sinner's stead; He is made sin for us, and His Father's countenance is turned away.

II. HOW ARE WE TO THINK OF WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE AND SUFFERED? Why are we come together on this day, if it concerns us not? This day is our day of redemption. Hope, this day, has risen to a lost and sinful world. The things we hear and read of today are no vain story of years gone by: they are our very life. You who are passing by, as it were, in the carelessness and thoughtlessness of youth, young men and young women! you are called today to think of Jesus Christ. He speaks to you, and says, Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow, which I have borne for you. It is for your redemption. He will count all His sorrows as lightly borne, if you will let Him save your souls alive. Go to Him now in the first and best of your days. Give them to God, and not to sin; and so will He be with you in all your journey through this evil world, so shall you enjoy true peace of conscience. You who are passing by in manhood! to you also Jesus speaks. What are His sorrows to you? Do you find time and leisure to think of Him amidst the business, the labour, the burdens of life? Do you know anything of the power of His Cross? Has it led you to hate sin? Are you become new creatures in Christ Jesus? Do you pray for His Spirit to lead and sanctify you? You who are old, on the brink of the grave and of eternity! have you ever listened to the Saviour's call? Have you believed upon His name? How has your faith been shown? Has it appeared in a life devoted to His service, or have your years been spent in deadness to God? You who are living in the practice and love of any known sin, in profaneness, in the lusts of the flesh, in general carelessness about religion, trample not under your feet the precious blood as on this day shed. Oh, may you seek Him while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near. Christian! is the death of Christ nothing to you? Nay; it is all in all. It is your hope, your life, the source of pardon and of peace. What is the voice that speaks to you from the Cross of Christ? It bids you die wholly unto sin, rise more truly unto righteousness.

(E. Blencowe, M. A.)

"Everybody is so sorry for me except myself!" These are the words of Frances Ridley Havergal, that sweet singing spirit who dragged about through many years a weary, fragile, pain-ridden body. Everybody poured their sympathy upon her, and yet she half resented it. What is the secret of her triumph? She gives it us in one of the letters she wrote to her friends: "I see my pain in the light of Calvary." Everything depends upon the light in which we view things. There are objects in the material world which, seen in certain lights, are visions of glory. Deprived of that revealing light, they are grey and commonplace. The Screes at Wastwater, looked at in dull light, are only vast slopes of common pebble and common clay, but when the sunlight falls upon them they shine resplendent with the varied colours of a pigeon's neck. We must set our things in the right light. Frances Havergal set her pain in the light of Calvary, and so could almost welcome it. I remember another of her phrases, in which she said she never understood the meaning of the apostle's words, "In His own body," until she was in great pain herself, and then it seemed as though a new page of her Master's love had been unfolded to her. Bring your common drudgery, your dull duties, your oommonplace tasks, your heavy, sullen griefs, into the light of the Saviour s sacrifice, and they will glow and burn with new and unexpected glory. "In Thy light shall we see light."

(Hartley Aspen.)

Wilt we see in the water seemeth greater than at is, so is the waters Marah. All our sufferings, saith Luther, are but chips of His Cross, not worthy to ye names in the same day.

(J. Trapp.)



1. We were the occasion of them.

2. Their benefits redound unto us (Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 10:19, 20; Romans 3:15; Hebrews 10:20).

III. THE REGARD AND CONSIDERATION WE SHOULD BESTOW ON THEM. Fix the eyes of your mind, and call up your most serious attention; reach hither the hand of your faith, and thrust it into your Saviour's side; put your fingers into the print of the nails; lay to heart all the passages of His lamentable story; and this cannot but melt your heart, unless it be harder than the rocks, and dealer than the bodies in the graves.

(H. Scougal, M. A.)

Jacob, Jeremiah
Jerusalem, Zion
Afflicted, Anger, Attentively, Behold, Burning, Dealt, Fallen, Fierce, Fierceness, Inflicted, Nothing, Pain, Pass, Passing, Rolling, Severely, Sorrow, Suffering, Wherewith, Wound, Wrath
1. The miseries of Jerusalem and of the Jews lamented
12. The attention of beholders demanded to this unprecedented case
18. The justice of God acknowledged, and his mercy supplicated.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Lamentations 1:12

     5567   suffering, emotional

No Sorrow Like Messiah's Sorrow
Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Behold, and see, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow! A lthough the Scriptures of the Old Testament, the law of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophecies (Luke 24:44) , bear an harmonious testimony to MESSIAH ; it is not necessary to suppose that every single passage has an immediate and direct relation to Him. A method of exposition has frequently obtained [frequently been in vogue], of a fanciful and allegorical cast [contrivance], under the pretext
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

Epistle vi. To Narses, Patrician .
To Narses, Patrician [1305] . Gregory to Narses, &c. In describing loftily the sweetness of contemplation, you have renewed the groans of my fallen state, since I hear what I have lost inwardly while mounting outwardly, though undeserving, to the topmost height of rule. Know then that I am stricken with so great sorrow that I can scarcely speak; for the dark shades of grief block up the eyes of my soul. Whatever is beheld is sad, whatever is thought delightful appears to my heart lamentable. For
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

"Come unto Me, all Ye that Labour, and are Wearied," &C.
Matth. xi. 28.--"Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are wearied," &c. It is the great misery of Christians in this life, that they have such poor, narrow, and limited spirits, that are not fit to receive the truth of the gospel in its full comprehension; from whence manifold misapprehensions in judgment, and stumbling in practice proceed. The beauty and life of things consist in their entire union with one another, and in the conjunction of all their parts. Therefore it would not be a fit way
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Meditations for one that is Like to Die.
If thy sickness be like to increase unto death, then meditate on three things:--First, How graciously God dealeth with thee. Secondly, From what evils death will free thee. Thirdly, What good death will bring unto thee. The first sort of Meditations are, to consider God's favourable dealing with thee. 1. Meditate that God uses this chastisement of thy body but as a medicine to cure thy soul, by drawing thee, who art sick in sin, to come by repentance unto Christ, thy physician, to have thy soul healed
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Concerning the Sacrament of Baptism
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to the riches of His mercy has at least preserved this one sacrament in His Church uninjured and uncontaminated by the devices of men, and has made it free to all nations and to men of every class. He has not suffered it to be overwhelmed with the foul and impious monstrosities of avarice and superstition; doubtless having this purpose, that He would have little children, incapable of avarice and superstition, to be initiated into
Martin Luther—First Principles of the Reformation

The book familiarly known as the Lamentations consists of four elegies[1] (i., ii., iii., iv.) and a prayer (v.). The general theme of the elegies is the sorrow and desolation created by the destruction of Jerusalem[2] in 586 B.C.: the last poem (v.) is a prayer for deliverance from the long continued distress. The elegies are all alphabetic, and like most alphabetic poems (cf. Ps. cxix.) are marked by little continuity of thought. The first poem is a lament over Jerusalem, bereft, by the siege,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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