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A Wounded Spirit.

BY ALBERT BARNES. Prov. xviii. 14. A wounded spirit who can bear ? A wounded spirit: — we inquire naturally what it is; what causes produce it ; what makes it difficult to bear it ; and what, ~ if any, are the remedies for it. To these four points your atten- tion will now be directed.
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  A WOUDED SPIRIT. BY ALBERT BARES. Prov. xviii. 14. A wounded spirit who can bear ? A wounded spirit: — we inquire naturally what it is; what causes produce it ; what makes it difficult to bear it ; and what, ~ if any, are the remedies for it. To these four points your atten- tion will now be directed. I. What is meant by a wounded spirit f A few words only will be necessary to explain this to those who have not ex- perienced it, if there are any such ; to those who have, no expla- nation is necessary. We are so made that we are capable of experiencing two kinds of pain — that of the body, and that of the mind, the soul, the heart. With the former we are more conversant, not perhaps because there are more sufferers, but because the symptoms are more apparent; the sufferer is more willing that the disease should be known ; the remedy is more easily applied. These sufferings lay the foundation for the skill of the physician, who professes to have little to dp with the mind, and who in fact refers to this much less frequently than the perfection of his own art would require. The pains of the body and the soul are distinct in their srcin and their nature ; they differ in their symptoms, and they differ as much in their remedies. It is true, such is the intimate connexion between the body and the soul, that the one often travels over into the de- partment of the other, and that the sorrows of the mind prostrate the powers of the body, or that a diseased nervous system makes a war of desolation on the healthful operations of the soul ; but still these diseases and remedies pertain to different departments of our nature, and are designed to be distinct expressions of the Divine displeasure against the crime of the apostacy. I am concerned now, as Christian ministers mainly are, with the latter — the diseases of the mind. I have no concern with the former-T-the diseases of the body — except to suggest con- siderations which will teach submission when they come upon  us; to show why they are sent upon men; and except so far as the influence of the gospel may keep from the vices that engender disease, and which lead to pain and death. Digitized by VjOOQlC 164 THE WAY OF SALVATIO. When we speak of a wounded spirit, and especially as con- trasted, as it is in our text, with infirmity, — the spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, hut a wounded spirit who can hear? — we refer to the sickness of- the heart; the disease of the soul; the anguish which mind can he made to suffer; the mental derangements, the sorrows resulting from disappoint- ments, and losses, and chagrin, and remorse, and the numerous kindred woes to which the soul is subject. Between these sufferings and those of the body, we may re- mark the following points of difference as more clearly illus- trating their nature. (1.) Much of the suffering of u wounded spirit is almost unavoidably concealed. . It lies deep in the soul, while a disease of the body may be so apparent in a prostrate frame, in a sunken eye, in pallid features, or in the flush of fever, that it cannot be hidden. God has given to the soul no such certain indications of the existence of its diseases as he has to the body. The body may be healthful, and everything may indicate the appearance of a man sound in body and in soul, even when the mind is in anguish. (2.) Much of the pain and anguish of the soul is concealed of design. We would not have all the world know what we suffer in the soul, or all the pain that the heart feels. What we feel from disappointed affection or ambition ; from abortive plans and frustrated hopes ; from chagrin, neglect, and slander ; and especially what we feel from recollected guilt, we would not have the world at large know, and there is much of that which we suffer in regard to which we do not choose to invite the sympathy of a friend. We should  have a strong reluctance, it may be, to let our most intimate friends know how much we suffer by being slandered, and what is the actual pain we experience when a rival has been more successful than we have. We feel that our own self-respect is involved in not appearing even to our friends to suffer, and in bearing up under such trials as though they produced no effect on us. It is not so with the pain of the body. We feel that there is no disgrace in the headache, in the pain of pleurisy, or in the hectic on the cheek, or in a raging fever ; but that such sufferings rather have a claim to sympathy, and we are willing that they should be known. (3.) A third remark is, that the sufferings of the soul often force themselves upon the body, and prostrate its powers, and reveal themselves when we have sought to conceal them. The eye not sufficiently disciplined in guilt will betray him who has done wrong. Or the bloom of beauty leaves the cheek, and the youth pines away apparently without disease, and dies as the result of a wounded spirit. Or the Digitized by VjOOQlC A WOUDED SPIRIT. 165 anguish of disappointment, and chagrin, and guilt, become too great to bear ; and the sanguinary deed of a moment shows that the fires had long raged within, and that the wounded spirit could no longer be endured, and the sufferer rushes to evil that he knows not of. These remarks are, I trust, all that is needful to explain what is meant by a wounded spirit, in order to prepare the way for what I have yet to say. The amount of what I have said is, that the sorrows of a wounded spirit are such as result from disappointment, ingratitude, losses, slander, chagrin, and remorse ; from things which go to make the mind sad and prostrate, or to overwhelm it with the. recollections of guilt. II. I proceed, in the second place, to state more particularly the causes of this — the things which operate to produce a wounded spirit.  Probably the idea of wrong done to us, or of our having done wrong to others, is always connected with the sorrow of a wounded spirit; or the essential cause of it is wrong that has been in some way per- petrated, and that is leaving its bitter results on the soul. But this idea operates most subtilly, and we often allow ourselves to be in- fluenced as if wrong had been done when none such existed, or was intended. A rival outstrips us, and we feel as if he had done us wrong; or as if the community had, by bestowing honours on him which we sought for ourselves. We are disap- pointed in business ; we fail in our plans and expectations ; our fields are blasted, or our vessel sinks in the deep, and we allow ourselves almost to feel as if the floods and streams and waves had conspired against us to do us wrong, and with a wounded spirit we sink into sadness and complaining. With this general explanatory remark we may observe, that the causes of a wounded spirit are such as the following : — (1.) Long cherished, but ungratified desire ; or deep, but dis- appointed affection. We seek honour, but it is withheld ; we desire the reciprocal affections of friendship or love, but they are not bestowed ; we fix our hopes of happiness on the attain- ment of some, to us, endeared object, and we cannot grasp it; there is some one whose friendship we deem to be essential to our welfare, but it is a prize which we cannot make our own. The smile that we sought gladdens the hearts of others, but not ours; the presence of the object diffuses happiness on all else - except on our desolate souls. To all others there are warm beams of sunshine in the presence of the object; to us there is the coldness and darkness of an eclipse. Unrequited and unreciprocated affection makes the heart sad. Conceal- ment, like a worm in the bud) feeds on the damask cheek. Digitized by VjOOQIC 166 THB WAY OF SALVATIO
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