Dane Ortland: Able to Sympathise

Here is a passage from the fourth Chapter of Dane Ortland’s book, Gentle and Lowly.

We do not have a high priest who is unable
to sympathise with our weaknesses.

Hebrews 4:15

The way the Puritans would write books is to take a single Bible verse, wring it dry for all the heart-affecting theology they could find, and, two or three hundred pages later, send their findings to a publisher. Thomas Goodwin’s The Heart of Christ is no different. And the verse being wrung dry is Hebrews 4:15:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Goodwin’s burden is to convince disheartened believers that even though Christ is now in heaven, he is just as open and tender in his embrace of sinners and sufferers as ever he was on earth. The original title page of the book from its 1651 publication reflects this; note especially the prominent juxtaposition between “Christ in heaven” and “sinners on earth”:

the
H E A R T
of
CHRIST in Heaven
Towards
Sinners on Earth.
or,
A T R E A T I S E
demonstrating
The gracious Disposition and tender
Affection of Christ in his Humane Nature now in
Glory, unto his Members under all sorts of
Infirmities, either of Sin or Misery

The closing lines clarify that by Christ’s heart, he means Christ’s “gracious disposition and tender affection.” Goodwin wants to surprise readers with the biblical evidence that the risen Lord alive and well in heaven today is not somehow less approachable and less compassionate than he was when he walked the earth.
After an introductory section, Goodwin explains why he has picked Hebrews 4:15 to explore this point:

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