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.
: — We are all sympathetic with physical disaster, but how little sympathy for spiritual woes! There are men in this house who have come to mid-life who have never yet been once personally accosted about their eternal welfare.
I. UNSATISFIED LONGINGS. You feel as you go out day by day in the tug and jostle of life that it is every man for himself. You can endure the pressure of commercial affairs, and would consider it almost impertinent for any one to ask you whether you are making or losing money. But there have been times when you would have drawn your cheque for thousands of dollars if some one would only help your soul out of its perplexities. There are questions about your higher destiny that ache, and distract, and agonize you at times. You sometimes think till your head aches about great religious subjects. You wonder if the Bible is true, how much of it is literal and how much is figurative law, if Christ be God, if there is anything like retribution, if you are immortal, if a resurrection will ever bake place, what the occupation of your departed kindred is, what you will be 10,000 years from now. With a cultured placidity of countenance you are on fire with agitations of soul. Oh, this solitary anxiety of your whole lifetime. You have passed up and down the aisles of churches with men who knew that you had no hope of heaven, and talked about the weather and about your physical health, and about everything but that concerning which you most wanted to hear them speak — viz. your everlasting spirit. Times without number you have felt in your heart, if you have not uttered it with your lips, "No man cares for my soul."
II. MAN'S EXTREMITY. There have been times when you were especially pliable on the great subject of religion. It was so, for instance, after you had lost your property. Everything seems to be against you. The bank against you. Your creditors against you. Your friends suddenly become critical against you. All the past against you. All the future against you. You make reproachful outcry: "No man cares for my scull" There was another occasion when all the doors of your heart swung open for sacred influences. A bright light went out in your household. Within three or four days there were compassed sickness, death obsequies. A few formal, perfunctory words of consolation were uttered on the stairs before you went to the grave; but you wanted some one to come and talk over the whole matter, and recite the alleviations, and decipher the lessons of the dark bereavement. No one came. Many a time you could not sleep until two or three o'clock in the morning, and then your sleep was a troubled dream, in which were re-enacted all the scene of sickness, and parting, and dissolution. Oh, what days and nights they were! No man seemed to care for your soul. There was another occasion when your heart was very susceptible. There was a great awakening. There were hundreds of people who pressed into the Kingdom of God; some of them acquaintances, some business associates, yes, perhaps some members of your own family were baptized by sprinkling or immersion. Christian people thought of you, and they called at your store, but you were out on business. They stopped at your house; you had gone around to spend the evening. They sent a kindly message to you; somehow, by accident, you did not get it. The lifeboat of the Gospel swept through the surf, and everybody seemed to get in but you. Everything seemed to escape you. One touch of personal sympathy would have pushed you into the Kingdom of God.
III. A STARTLING REVELATION. Instead of this total indifference all about you in regard to your soul, I have to tell you that heaven, earth, and hell are after your immortal spirit — earth to cheat it, hell to destroy it, heaven to redeem it. Although you may be a stranger to the Christians in this house, their faces would glow and their hearts would bound if they saw you make one step heavenward. No one cares for your scull Why, in all the ages there have been men whose entire business was soul saving. In this work Munson went down under the knives of the cannibals whom he had come to save, and Robert McCheyne preached himself to death by thirty years of age, and John Bunyan was thrown into a dungeon in Bedfordshire, and Jehudi Ashman endured all the malarias of the African jungle; and there are hundreds and thousands of Christian men and women now who are praying, preaching, living, dying to save souls.
IV. A STUPENDOUS INTERVENTION. No one cares for your scull Have you heard how Christ feels about it? I know it was only five or six miles from Bethlehem to Calvary, the birthplace and the deathplace of Christ; but who can tell how many miles it was from the throne to the manger? 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 scull
V. THE FATHER'S PATIENCE. A young man might as well go off from home and give his father and mother no intimation as to where he has gone, and, crossing the seas, sitting down in some foreign country, cold, sick, and hungry, and lonely, saying: "My father and mother don't care anything about me." Do not care anything about him! Why, that father's hair has turned grey since his son went off. He has written to all the consuls in the foreign ports, asking about that son. Does not the mother care anything about him? He has broken her heart. She has never smiled since he went away. All day long, and almost all night, she keeps asking: "Where is he? Where can he be?" Oh, do not his father and mother care for him? You go away from your heavenly Father, and you think He does not care for you because you will not even read the letters by which He invites you to come back, while all heaven is waiting, and waiting, and waiting for you to return.
(T. De Witt Talmage.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.