Albie's Note: Although few have heard of him today, T. DeWitt Talmage [1832-1902] was one of the most famous American preachers of the 19th century. Pastor of the huge Brooklyn Tabernacle [Presbyterian], he was in many ways the "American Spurgeon," and his written sermons are at times a marvelous mixture of eloquence and plain spoken emotion. here, in an excerpt from the 1883 sermon collection "The Masque Torn Off," Talmage gives a remarkably plaintive answer to the anguished cry of Psalm 142:4--
"I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul."
Good readin' ahead:
Good readin' ahead:
No one cares for your soul? Have you heard how Christ feels about it?
I know it was only five or six miles from Bethlehem to Calvary—the birth-place and the death-place of Christ——but who can tell how many miles it was from the throne to the manger? How many miles down, how many miles back again?
The place of his departure was the focus of all splendor and pomp. All the thrones facing His throne. His name the chorus in every song, and the inscription on every banner.
His landing-place a cattle-pen, malodorous with unwashed brutes, and dogs growling in and out of the stable.
Born of a weary mother who had journeyed eighty miles in severe unhealth that she might find the right place for the Lord’s nativity——born, not as other princes, under the flash of a chandelier, but under a lantern swung by a rope to the roof of the barn. In that place Christ started to save you. Your name, your face, your time, your eternity, in Christ’s mind!
Sometimes traveling on mule’s back to escape old Herod’s massacre, sometimes attempting nervous sleep on the chilly hillside, sometimes earning his breakfast by the carpentry of a plough.
In Quarantania, the stones of the field, by their shape and color, looking like the loaves of bread, tantalizing his hunger.
Yet all the time keeping on after you!
With drenched coat treading the surf of Genessaret. Howled after by a blood-thirsty mob. Denounced as a drunkard. Mourning over a doomed city, while others shouted at the site of the shimmering towers.
All the time coming on and coming on to save you!
Indicted as being a traitor against government, perjured witnesses swearing their souls away to ensure his butchery. Flogged, spit on, slapped in the face, and then hoisted on rough lumber, in the sight of earth, and heaven, and hell, to purchase your eternal emancipation. From the first infant step to the last step of manhood on the sharp spike of Calvary, a journey... for you!
Oh, how he cared for your soul! By dolorous arithmetic add up the stable, the wintry tempest, the midnight dampness, the abstinence of forty days from food, the brutal Sanhedrin, the heights of Golgotha, across which all the hatreds of earth, and all the furies of hell, charged with their bayonets, and then dare to say again that no one cares for your soul!