Verse 18. "For in that he himself hath suffered" - The maxim on which this verse is founded is the following: A state of suffering disposes persons to be compassionate, and those who endure most afflictions are they who feel most for others. The apostle argues that, among other causes, it was necessary that Jesus Christ should partake of human nature, exposed to trials, persecutions, and various sufferings, that he might the better feel for and be led to succour those who are afflicted and sorely tried. This sentiment is well expressed by a Roman poet:-Me quoque per multas similis fortuna laboures Jactatam hac demum voluit consistere terra: Non ignara mali, miseris succurere disco. VIRG. AEn. i., v. 632.
"For I myself like you, have been distress'd, Till heaven afforded me this place of rest; Like you, an alien in a land unknown, I learn to pity woes so like my own." DRYDEN.
"There are three things," says Dr. Owen, "of which tempted believers do stand in need:
1. Strength to withstand their temptations; 2. Consolations to support their spirits under them; 3. Seasonable deliverance from them.
Unto these is the succour afforded by our High Priest suited; and it is variously administered to them:
1. By his word or promises; 2. By his Spirit; (and, that, 1. By communicating to them supplies of grace or spiritual strength; 2. Strong consolation; 3. By rebuking their tempters and temptations;) and 3. By his providence disposing of all things to their good and advantage in the issue." Those who are peculiarly tempted and severely tried, have an especial interest in, and claim upon Christ. They, particularly, may go with boldness to the throne of grace, where they shall assuredly obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Were the rest of the Scripture silent on this subject, this verse might be an ample support for every tempted soul.