O what sorrow-bitten souls are the saints for their want of sorrow. “I mourn, Lord, I lament, I weep; but it is because I cannot mourn or lament as I should: if I could mourn as I ought, I could be comforted; if I could weep, I could rejoice; if I could sigh, I could sing; if I could lament, I could live; I die, I die, my heart dies within me, because I cannot cry; I cry, Lord, but not for sin, but for tears for sin; I cry, Lord, my calamities cry, my bones cry, my soul cries, my sins cry, ‘Lord, for a broken heart,’ and behold, yet I am not broken.
You may be a man of a meditative, mystical, spiritual mind. Now if that is the nature of your mind, it will never come to its best out in the world, keeping late hours with the men and women of the world. No, nor even staying at home and reading, late at night, the books and papers of the world. With such a rare mind as yours is, you must be much at home, and much alone; and when you are alone you must be religiously, and spiritually, and devotionally occupied. In no other way will you ever come to the full height of your high calling.
The meditations of Alexander Whyte are from the writings of Thomas Shepard. 1605-1649. Beeke wrote, When I first read Alexander’s Whyte’s book on Thomas Shepard some 30 years ago, I was frequently moved to tears. This narration includes, I Abhor Myself, The More I do the Worse I am, and It is sometimes so with me I would rather die than pray.
Let a soul in such an estate awake and look about him. His enemy is at hand, and he is ready to fall into such a condition as may cost him dear all the days of his life. His present estate is bad enough in itself; but it is an indication of that which is worse that lies at the door. The disciples that were with Christ in the mount had not only a bodily, but a spiritual drowsiness upon them. What says our Savior to them? “Arise; watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” We know how near one of them was to a bitter hour of temptation, and not watching as he ought, he immediately entered into it.
How unreasonable then is it to despair of mercy; while this season, this opportunity of obtaining mercy is afforded; unless you are determined not to improve it. The precious privileges which you enjoy, while this season continues, render despair still more unreasonable. What walls are these which surround you? Are they not the walls of God’s house, a place where he has recorded his name, and respecting which he says, Wherever I record my name, there will I meet with you and bless you?
The one who bows to the solemn and searching teaching of God’s Word, the one who there learns the awful wreckage which sin has wrought in the human constitution, the one who sees the exalted standard of holiness which God has set before us, cannot fail to discover what a vile wretch he is. If he is given to behold how far short he falls of attaining to God’s standard; if, in the light of the divine sanctuary, he discovers how little he resembles the Christ of God; then will he find this language most suited to express his godly sorrow. If God reveals to him the coldness of his love, the pride of his heart, the wanderings of his mind, the evil that defiles his godliest acts, he will cry, “O wretched man that I am.”