In His Compassion

(Taken from Like Christ by Andrew Murray)

Compassion is the spirit of love which is awakened by the sight of need or wretchedness. What abundant occasion is there every day for the practice of this heavenly virtue, and what a need of it in a world so full of misery and sin! Every Christian ought therefore by prayer and practice to cultivate a compassionate heart, as one of the most precious marks of likeness to the blessed Master. Everlasting love longs to give itself to a perishing world, and to find its satisfaction in saving the lost. It seeks for vessels which it may fill with the love of God, and send out among the dying that they may drink and live for ever. It asks hearts to fill with its own tender compassion at the sight of all the need in which sinners live, hearts that will reckon it their highest blessedness, as the dispensers of God’s compassion, to live entirely to bless and save sinners. O my brother, the everlasting compassion which has had mercy on thee calls thee, as one who has obtained mercy, to come and let it fill thee. It will fit thee, in thy compassion on all around, to be a witness to God’s compassionate love.

The opportunity for showing compassion we have all around us. How much there is of temporal want! There are the poor and the sick, widows and orphans, distressed and despondent souls, who need nothing so much as the refreshment a compassionate heart can bring. They live in the midst ot Christians, and sometimes complain that it is as if there are children of the world who have more sympathy than those who are only concerned about their own salvation. O brothers, pray earnestly for a compassionate heart, always on the look-out for an opportunity of doing some work of love, always ready to be an instrument of the divine compassion. It was the compassionate sympathy of Jesus that attracted so many to Him upon earth; that same compassionate tenderness will still, more than anything, draw souls to you and to your Lord. [*See Note.]

And how much of spiritual misery surrounds us on all sides! Here is a poor rich man. There is a foolish, thoughtless youth. There is again a poor drunkard, or a hopeless unfortunate. Or perhaps none of these, but simply people entirely wrapt up in the follies of the world which surround them. How often are words of unloving indifference, or harsh judgment, or slothful hopelessness, heard concerning all these! The compassionate heart is wanting. Compassion looks upon the deepest misery as the place prepared for her by God, and is attacted by it. Compassion never wearies, never gives up hope. Compassion will not allow itself to be rejected, for it is the self-denying love of Christ which inspires it.

The Christian does not confine his compassion to his own circle: he has a large heart. His Lord has shown him the whole heathen world as his field of labour. He seeks to be acquainted with the circumstances of the heathen: he carries their burden on his heart; he is really moved with compassion, and means to help them. Whether the heathenism is near or far off, whether he witnesses it in all its filth and degradation, or only hears of it, compassionate love lives only to accomplish God’s will in saving the perishing.

He Just Wants a Straight Answer


Isaiah 6: 5-8

The prophet Isaiah had been in a place of favour in the court of the King. This was a situation that he did not wish to change. But the King died and Isaiah’s sense of security and purpose was turned topsy-turvy.

In that same year he was given a vision of the Lord. Certainly this man of God was going to be required to sense the Lord’s presence just as powerfully as the presence of other mortals, if not moreso. The Lord was high and lifted up and His train filled the temple. He was accompanied by the seraphims, strange celestial beings. He caused an awesome smoke to fill the place.

The prophet’s first words were words of self-abasement. ‘Woe is me. I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips!’ The moment was so awesome that he probably suspected that he was going to die. (How clear a contrast there is here with the churches these days who so glibly state that ‘God’s presence was so rich this morning’. They miss His glory. They miss the melting of self before His holiness.)

Obviously God approved of Isaiah’s candour and sense of identification with the people. God had a job for him to do. God would instruct a seraphim to apply to the man’s lips a burning coal from the altar. Cleansing was to be a supernatural work, and the candidate was to know that it was so. A simple heartfelt resolution would not cut it. There was to be total reliance upon the work of the Spirit.

Next came a call to ministry, but not a coercion. God is always a gentleman with His assignments: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

It was not in any way out of self-confidence that the prophet responded, “Here am I; send me.” He hardly knew what he was getting into. But God was with him. Even greater and holier Kings were coming and they needed his help.

How strange that one day this prophet would realize that true deliverance was not coming with monarchy, but rather with a bruised and battered servant of the Lord (Jesus) who would take on the hurts and ills of His people (chapters 52 and 53).


Robin plump and perky

Your song trumps all the others

Briskly from the southland

With all your migrant brothers

Pacing grassy footing

Still brownish in the changing

Checking for a banquet

That comes with spring’s arranging

Busy at the dawning

A groggy world to beckon

Planning out a nesting

For sky-blue eggs I reckon.

What a rich suggestion

You give in simple faring

Cycles and survival

Neath Heaven’s gaze and caring.


(Taken from a letter from Samuel Rutherford to Alexander Gordon of Garloch, 1637)

If Christ were as I am, that time could work upon him to alter him, or that the morrow could bring a new day to him, or bring a new mind to him, as it is to me a new day, I could not keep a house or a covenant with him. But I find Christ to be Christ, and that he is far, far, even infinite heaven’s height above men; and that is all our happiness.

Sinners can do nothing but make wounds, that Christ may heal them; and make debts, that he may pay them; and make falls, that he may raise them; and make deaths, that he may quicken them; and spin out and dig hells for themselves, that he may ransom them.

Now, I will bless the Lord that ever there was such a thing as the free grace of God, and a free ransom given for sold souls: Only, alas! Guiltiness maketh me ashamed to apply to Christ, and to think it pride in me to put out my unclean and withered hand to such a Saviour. But it is neither shame nor pride for a drowning man to swim to a rock, nor for a ship-broken soul to run himself ashore upon Christ.