They are afflicted in view of the condition of the Church. With all disposition to be grateful for what amount of piety there is, and also to make all due allowance for the deficiencies that exist, they perceive and cannot help perceiving, that the Church is, to a considerable extent, in bondage. They see very distinctly, that she lives far below her duties and privileges; those duties and privileges to which her God calls her. It is their sympathy with the Divine mind, as well as their sorrow for the Church, which affects them. How can they possibly be without grief, in view of the insulted honor and the disregarded beneficence of the God whom they love? And if this were possible, as it certainly cannot be, how is it possible for them to refrain from weeping, when the Church, for whom their bleeding Savior has purchased garments of light, voluntarily walk in sordid and defiled habiliments?
They have feelings of deep compassion and sorrow for sinners, which others have not. We would not assert, that these feelings are always stronger than those of other persons; but they appear to be more deeply rooted in the mind; more thoroughly based upon principle; more permanent and unchangeable. In view of the situation of sinners, they may even be said to have continual heaviness; not a heaviness which is periodical; which goes and comes with a change of circumstances; but is, at least, in a modified sense of the term, continual. There is this peculiarity, however, that their sorrow, however deep it may be, is always calm. While they think much of sinners, they think more of God. And they know that God will be glorified, though sinners are destroyed. This consideration imparts a tranquility of mind, which may sometimes be supposed to originate in absence of feeling. This calm, deep rooted sorrow, in view of the danger of sinners and of the dishonor which they put upon God, although, in accordance with the laws of the human mind, it has its alternations with other feelings, and is subject to occasional variations, may yet be said, with a high degree of truth, to be always with them. It is in this respect peculiarly, that they may be said to sympathize with the blessed Savior in bearing the burden of the cross; since there can be no doubt, that it was on account of others far more than his own, that he was afflicted in the world, was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."
— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 12.