"As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem."—Isa_66:13
The Bible is, emphatically, the Christian's own book. It is his statute book, in which the laws of his God are recorded It is his directory through the dreary desert,
"To Canaan's fair and happy land,
Where his possessions lie."
It is his only book of true and solid comfort, where all the gracious declarations and all the precious promises of his heavenly Father are revealed. Yes; in the divine volume there is an abundance of consolation for the believing soul.
The text is a happy specimen of what God is to his people, and what he is disposed to do for them. "As one whom his mother comforteth," &c.
Let us consider, I. The Divine Source. II. The Peculiar Manner. And, III. The Appointed Place, of Christian Comfort.
I. The Divine Source of Comfort.
The Lord is the speaker in the passage before us. He alone can comfort Zion. He is "the God of all comfort." 2Co_1:3. "Every good and perfect gift is from the Father of lights," &c. Jam_1:17 And if the Christian's comfort is from God, it will be distinguished,
1. For its superior excellency.
All his works and gifts are perfect. The comfort he imparts is pure, without alloy or mixture. It is solid, and not merely ideal; and is always suitable to the state and circumstances of its subjects. Divine comfort is distinguished,
2. For its sufficiency.
Enough to meet all the need of the soul; to satisfy all the desires of the heart; to banish every cloud, and annihilate every fear. Eph_3:20. Divine comfort is distinguished,
3. For its certainty.
"I will," is God's own declaration; and he cannot alter; he cannot lose ability; he cannot forget. Nothing can frustrate his designs His word is more firm and stable than the everlasting hills; for these shall be moved, but his declaration of comfort abideth forever and ever. Divine comfort is distinguished.
4. For its perpetuity.
He will comfort his children in all places—at all times—and in every changing scene of life. He carries the young and lender lambs in his bosom, and gently leads hose that are with young. He is with his people, to bear them unto old age, and to hoary hairs. He makes all their bed in their afflictions, is with them, to comfort them, when they pass through the valley and shadow of death; receives them to heaven, and wipes away all tears from their eyes; Psa_23:4; Isa_43:2; Rev_7:17.
II. The Peculiar Manner of Divine Comfort.
"As one whom his mother comforteth, to will I comfort you." Strangers have often proved comforters. It is the part of friends to administer comfort. A brother's heart should abound with this. A father's soul is expected richly to possess it. But it is in the bosom of a mother that it reigns triumphant over every feeling. It is here that, like the majestic rolling spring-tide, it overflows all its banks and common boundaries. And therefore, God will comfort his children "as one whom his mother comforteth." It may signify,
1. With all the affection of a mother.
But even a mother's affection is too frail to express the love of God to his people. He says: "I have loved thee with an everlasting love," &c. He asks: "Can a woman forget her sucking child?" &c. She may: there have been some instances of it. "Yet," says he, "I will not forget thee," &c. Isa_49:15.
2. With all the care and attention of a mother.
And what an amount of this presses upon the mother's heart! What wants to supply! what watchings! what assiduous care! what succor! &c., &c. Yet all this falls short of that care which numbers all his people's hairs, and bottles all their tears; and whose eyes are never withdrawn from the objects of his love. Psa_56:8; Mat_10:30.
3. With all the condescension and sacrifices of a mother.
How has he condescended to visit and to magnify his people! What arrangements has he made for their security! What a price for their ransom! "Did not spare his own Son;" Rom_8:32 Delivered him to deepest humiliation, pain, and death, &c., that we might obtain the adoption of sons.
4. With all the forbearance of a mother.
How swift to caress, and sooth, and bless! How slow to punish! how ready to remove the chastening rod, &c.! Jer_31:18; Isa_49:14. Observe,
III. The Specified Place of Comfort.
"And ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem."
Jerusalem was typical of the true church God can comfort in all places, and will do so; but he more specially sheds abroad his consolations on his spiritual Zion. This will appear, if you consider, that in the church there are,
1. The messengers of comfort;
To whom he says: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God," &c. Isa_40:1, &c.
2. Here are the ordinances of comfort.
Reading of the divine word; offering up of prayer; songs of joy; gospel of salvation; the holy Supper, &c.
3. Here are the friends of comfort.
And it is their duty and delight to comfort and edify one another. "As iron sharpeneth iron," &c. "Two are better than one," &c. And then,
4. Here is the Spirit of comfort.
Yes, the Spirit dwells, as a Comforter, only in the church. And it is his holy and delightful work, to fill the hearts of God's children with peace and joy, through believing.
Learn, (1) The true subjects of divine comfort—the children of God. Those who bear his likeness, and possess his Spirit. To the wicked, there is no peace—no solid joy—no real comfort.
(2) True comfort only proceedeth from God. It is not in the creature. It is not in sin; nor in the world. All broken cisterns.
(3) True comfort is in the church. How sweet its fellowship! How numerous and precious its promises!
(4) Let the unhappy sinner come to God through his Son, that he may have established in his heart that kingdom which is "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."