You're here: oChristian.com » Articles Home » John Bunyan » The Acceptable Sacrifice » Chapter 4 - The Necessity There is that the Heart Must be Broken

The Acceptable Sacrifice: Chapter 4 - The Necessity There is that the Heart Must be Broken

By John Bunyan


      I come, in the next place, to speak to this question.

      But what necessity is there that the heart must be broken? Cannot a man be saved unless his heart be broken? I answer, Avoiding secret things, which only belong to God, there is a necessity of breaking the heart, in order to salvation; because a man will not sincerely comply with the means conducing thereunto until his heart is broken. For,

      First. Man, take him as he comes into the world, as to spirituals, as to evangelical things, in which mainly lies man's eternal felicity, and there he is as one dead, and so stupefied, and wholly in himself, as unconcerned with it. Nor can any call or admonition, that has not a heart- breaking power attending of it, bring him to a due consideration of his present state, and so unto an effectual desire to be saved.

      Many ways God has manifested this. He has threatened men with temporal judgments; yea, sent such judgments upon them, once and again, over and over, but they will not do. What! says he, 'I have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities; I have withholden the rain from you; I have smitten you with blasting and mildew; I have sent among you the pestilence; I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord' (Amos 4:6-11). See here! Here is judgment upon judgment, stroke after stroke, punishment after punishment, but all will not do, unless the heart is broken. Yea, another prophet seems to say that such things, instead of converting the soul, sets it further off. If heart- breaking work attend such strokes, 'Why should ye be stricken any more?' says he, 'ye will revolt more and more' (Isa 1:5).

      Man's heart is fenced, it is grown gross; there is a skin that, like a coat of mail, has wrapped it up, and inclosed it in on every side. This skin, this coat of mail, unless it be cut off and taken away, the heart remains untouched, whole; and so as unconcerned, whatever judgments or afflictions light upon the body (Matt 13:15; Acts 28:27). This which I call the coat of mail, the fence of the heart, has two great names in Scripture. It is called, 'the foreskin of the heart, ' and the armour in which the devil trusteth (Deut 10:16; Luke 11:22).

      Because these shield and fence the heart from all gospel doctrine, and from all legal punishments, nothing can come at it till these are removed. Therefore, in order unto conversion, the heart is said to be circumcised; that is, this foreskin is taken away, and this coat of mail is spoiled. 'I will circumcise thy heart, ' saith he, 'to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart', and then the devil's goods are spoiled, 'that thou mayst live' (Deut 30:6; Luke 11:22).

      And now the heart lies open, now the Word will prick, cut, and pierce it; and it being cut, pricked, and pierced, it bleeds, it faints, it falls, and dies at the foot of God, unless it is supported by the grace and love of God in Jesus Christ. Conversion, you know, begins at the heart; but if the heart be so secured by sin and Satan, as I have said, all judgments are, while that is so, in vain. Hence Moses, after he had made a long relation of mercy and judgment unto the children of Israel, suggests that yet the great thing was wanting to them, and that thing was, an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear unto that day (Deut 29:2, 3). Their hearts were as yet not touched to the quick, were not awakened, and wounded by the holy Word of God, and made tremble at its truth and terror.

      But I say, before the heart be touched, pricked, made smart, &c., how can it be thought, be the danger never so great, that it should repent, cry, bow, and break at the foot of God, and supplicate there for mercy! and yet thus it must do; for thus God has ordained, and thus God has appointed it; nor can men be saved without it. But, I say, can a man spiritually dead, a stupid man, whose heart is past feeling, do this; before he has his dead and stupid heart awakened, to see and feel its state and misery without it? But,

      Second. Man, take him as he comes into the world, and how wise soever he is in worldly and temporal things, he is yet a fool as to that which is spiritual and heavenly. Hence Paul says, 'the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him, ' because he is indeed a fool to them; 'neither, ' says the text, 'can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned' (1 Cor 2:14). But how now must this fool be made wise? Why, wisdom must be put into his heart (Job 38:36). Now, none can put it there but God; and how doth he put it there, but by making room there for it, by taking away the thing which hinders, which is that folly and madness which naturally dwelleth there? But how doth he take that away but by a severe chastising of his soul for it, until he has made him weary of it? The whip and stripes are provided for the natural fool, and so it is for him that is spiritually so (Prov 19:29).

      Solomon intimates, that it is a hard thing to make a fool become wise. 'Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him' (Prov 27:22). By this it appears that it is a hard thing to make a fool a wise man. To bray one in a mortar is a dreadful thing, to bray one there with a pestle; and yet it seems a whip, a mortar, and a pestle is the way. And if this is the way to make one wise in this world, and if all this will hardly do, how must the fool that is so in spirituals be whipped and beaten, and stripped before he is made wise therein? Yea, his heart must be put into God's mortar, and must be beaten; yea, brayed there with the pestle of the law, before it loves to hearken unto heavenly things. It is a great word in Jeremiah, 'Through deceit, ' that is, folly, 'they refuse to know me, saith the Lord.' And what follows? Why, 'Therefore, thus saith the Lord of hosts, behold I will melt them, and try them, ' that is, with fire, 'for how shall I do for the daughter of my people' (Jer 9:6, 7). I will melt them: I will put them into my furnace, and there I will try them; and there will I make them know me, saith the Lord. When David was under spiritual chastisement for his sin, and had his heart under the breaking hand of God, then he said, God should make him know wisdom (Psa 51:6). Now he was in the mortar, now he was in the furnace, now he was bruised and melted; yea, now his bones, his heart, was breaking, and now his folly was departing. Now, says he, thou shalt make me to know wisdom. If I know anything of the way of God with us fools, there is nothing else will make us wise men; yea, a thousand breakings will not make us so wise as we should be.

      We say, Wisdom is not good till it is bought; and he that buys it, according to the intention of that proverb, usually smarts for it. The fool is wise in his own conceit; wherefore there is a double difficulty attends him before he can be wise indeed. Not only his folly, but his wisdom, must be removed from him; and how shall that be, but by ripping up of his heart by some sore conviction, that may show him plainly that his wisdom is his folly, and that which will undo him. A fool loves his folly; that is, as treasure, so much is he in love with it. Now then, it must be a great thing that must make a fool forsake his folly. The foolish will not weigh, nor consider, nor compare wisdom with their folly. 'Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom.' 'As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly' (Prov 15:21, 26:11). So loth are they when driven from it to let it go, to let it depart from them. Wherefore there must go a great deal to the making of a man a Christian; for as to that, every man is a fool, yea, the greatest fool, the most unconcerned fool, the most self- willed fool of all fools; yea, one that will not be turned from his folly but by the breaking of his heart. David was one of these fools; Manasseh was one of these fools; Saul, otherwise called Paul, was one of these fools; and so was I, and that the biggest of all.[11]

      Third. Man, take him as he comes into the world, and he is not only a dead man, and a fool, but a proud man also. Pride is one of those sins that first showeth itself to children, yea, and it grows up with them, and mixeth itself with all they do: but it lies most hid, most deep in man as to his soul-concerns. For the nature of sin, as sin, is not only to be vile, but to hide its vileness from the soul. Hence many think they do well when they sin. Jonah thought he did well to be angry with God (Jonah 4:9). The Pharisees thought they did well when they said, Christ had a devil (John 8:48). And Paul thought verily, that he ought to do many things against, or contrary to, the name of Jesus; which he also did with great madness (Acts 26:9, 10). And thus sin puffs up men with pride, and a conceit of themselves, that they are a thousand times better than they are. Hence they think they are the children of God, when they are the children of the devil; and that they are something as to Christianity, when they neither are such, nor know what it is that they must have to make them such (John 8:41-44; Gal 6:3).

      Now, whence flows this but from pride, and a self-conceit of themselves, and that their state is good for another world, when they are yet in their sins, and under the curse of God? Yea, and this pride is so strong and high, and yet so hid in them, that all the ministers in the world cannot persuade them that this is pride, not grace, in which they are so confident. Hence they slight all reproofs, rebukes, threatenings, or admonitions that are pressed upon them, to prevail with them to take heed, that they be not herein deceived. 'Hear ye, ' saith the prophet, 'and give ear: be not proud, for the Lord hath spoken.' 'But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride' (Jer 13:15-17). And what was the conclusion? Why, all the proud men stood out still, and maintained their resistance of God and his holy prophet (Jer 43:2).

      Nor is there any thing that will prevail with these to the saving of their souls, until their hearts are broken. David, after he had defiled Bathsheba, and slain her husband, yet boasted himself in his justice and holiness, and would by all means have the man put to death that had but taken the poor man's lamb, when, alas! poor soul, himself was the great transgressor. But would he believe it? No, no; he stood upon the vindicating of himself to be a just doer; nor would he be made to fall until Nathan, by authority from God, did tell him that he was the man whom himself had condemned; 'Thou art the man, ' said he: at which word his conscience was awakened, his heart wounded, and so his soul made to fall under the burden of his guilt, at the feet of the God of heaven for mercy (2 Sam 12:1-13).

      Ah! pride, pride! thou art that which holds many a man in the chains of his sins; thou art it, thou cursed self-conceit, and keepest them from believing that their state is damnable. 'The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God' (Psa 10:4). And if there is so much in the pride of his countenance, what is there, think you, in the pride of his heart? Therefore Job says it is to hide pride from man, and so to save his soul from hell, that God chasteneth him with pain upon his bed, until the multitude of his bones stick out, and until his life draws nigh to the destroyer (Job 33:17-22).

      It is a hard thing to take a man off his pride, and make him, instead of trusting in, and boasting of his goodness, wisdom, honesty, and the like, to see himself a sinner, a fool, yea, a man that is cruel, as to his own immortal soul. Pride of heart has a power in it, and is therefore compared to an iron sinew, and an iron chain, by which they are made stout, and with which they are held in that stoutness, to oppose the Lord, and drive his Word from their hearts (Lev 26:19; Psa 73:6).

      This was the sin of devils, and it is the sin of man, and the sin, I say, from which no man can be delivered until his heart is broken; and then his pride is spoiled, then he will be glad to yield. If a man be proud of his strength or manhood, a broken leg will maul him; and if a man be proud of his goodness, a broken heart will maul him; because, as has been said, a broken heart comes by the discovery and charge of sin, by the power of God upon the conscience.

      Fourth. Man, take him as he comes into the world, and he is not only a dead man, a fool, and proud, but also self- willed and headstrong (2 Peter 2:10). A stubborn ungain creature is man before his heart is broken. Hence they are so often called rebels, rebellious, and disobedient: they will only do what they list. 'All day long, ' says God, 'have I stretched out my hand to a disobedient and gainsaying people.' And hence, again, they are compared to a self- willed or headstrong horse, that will, in spite of his rider, rush into the battle. 'Every one, ' says God, 'turneth to his course, as the horse rusheth into battle' (Jer 8:6). They say, 'With our tongue will we prevail, our lips are our own; who is lord over us' (Psa 12:4).

      Hence they are said to stop their ears, to pull away their shoulder, to shut their eyes, and harden their hearts, 'against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the Most High' (Psa 107:11; Zech 7:10, 12). They are fitly compared to the rebellious son who would not be ruled by his parents, or to the prodigal, who would have all in his own hand, and remove himself far away from father and father's house (Deut 21:20; Luke 15:13). Now for such creatures, nothing will do but violence. The stubborn son must be stoned till he dies; and the prodigal must be famished out of all; nothing else, I say, will do. Their self- willed stubborn heart will not comply with the will of God before it is broken (Deut 21:21; Luke 15:14-17). These are they that are called the stout-hearted; these are said to be far from righteousness, and so will remain until their hearts are broken; for so they must be made to know themselves (Isa 9:9-11).

      Fifth. Man, as he comes into the world, is not only a dead man, a fool, proud, and self-willed, but also a fearless creature. 'There is, ' saith the text, 'no fear of God before their eyes' (Rom 3:18). No fear of God! There is fear of man, fear of losing his favour, his love, his good-will, his help, his friendship; this is seen everywhere. How do the poor fear the rich, the weak fear the strong, and those that are threatened, them that threaten! But come now to God; why, none fear him; that is, by nature, none reverence him; they neither fear his frowns, nor seek his favour, nor inquire how they may escape his revenging hand that is lifted up against their sins and their souls because of sin. Little things they fear the losing of them; but the soul they are not afraid to lose. 'They fear not me, saith the Lord' (Mal 3:5).

      How many times are some men put in mind of death by sickness upon themselves, by graves, by the death of others? How many times are they put in mind of hell by reading the Word, by lashes of conscience, and by some that go roaring in despair out of this world? How many times are they put in mind of the day of judgment. As, 1. By God's binding the fallen angels over to judgment. 2. By the drowning of the old world (2 Peter 2:4, 5; Jude 6, 7). 3. By the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven (2 Peter 2:6; Jude 7). 4. By appointing a day (Acts 17:29-31). 5. By appointing a judge (Acts 10:40-42). 6 By reserving their crimes in records (Isa 30:8; Rev 20:12). 7. By appointing and preparing of witnesses (Rom 2:15). 8. And by promising, yea, threatening, yea, resolving, to call the whole world to his bar, there to be judged for all which they have done and said, and for every secret thing (Matt 25:31-33, 12:36; Eccl 11:9, 12:14).

      And yet they fear not God: alas! they believe not these things. These things, to carnal men, are like Lot's preaching to his sons and daughters that were in Sodom. When he told them that God would destroy that place, he seemed unto them as one that mocked; and his words to them were as idle tales (Gen 19:14). Fearless men are not won by words; blows, wounds, and killings, are the things that must bring them under fear. How many struggling fits had Israel with God in the wilderness? How many times did they declare that there they feared him not? And observe, they were seldom, if ever, brought to fear and dread his glorious name, unless he beset them round with death and the grave. Nothing, nothing but a severe hand, will make the fearless fear. Hence, to speak after the manner of man, God is put upon it to go this way with sinners when he would save their souls; even bring them, and lay them at the mouth, and within sight of hell and everlasting damnation: and there also charge them with sin and guilt, to the breaking of their hearts, before they will fear his name.

      Sixth. Man, as he comes into the world, is not only a dead man, a fool, proud, self-willed, and fearless, but he is a false believer concerning God. Let God report of himself never so plainly, man by nature will not believe this report of him. No, they are become vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart is darkened; wherefore they turn the glory of God, which is his truth, into a lie (Rom 1:21-25). God says, He sees; they say, He seeth not; God saith, He knows; they say, He doth not know: God saith, None is like himself; yet they say, He is altogether like to them: God saith, None shall keep his door for naught; they say, It is in vain, and to no profit to serve him: he saith, He will do good; they say, He will neither do good nor evil (Job 22:13, 14; Psa 50:21; Job 21:14, 15; Mal 3:14; Zeph 1:12). Thus they falsely believe concerning God; yea, as to the word of his grace, and the revelation of his mercy in Christ, they stick not to say by their practice, for a wicked man speaketh with his feet (Prov 6:13), that that is a stark lie, and not to be trusted to (1 John 5:10).

      Now, what shall God do to save these men? If he hides himself and conceals his glory, they perish. If he sends to them by his messengers, and forbears to come to them himself, they perish. If he comes to them and forbears to work upon them by his word, they perish: if he worketh on them, but not effectually, they perish. If he works effectually he must break their hearts, and make them, as men wounded to death, fall at his feet for mercy, or there can be no good done on them; they will not rightly believe until he fires them out of their misbelief, and makes them to know, by the breaking of their bones for their false faith, that he is, and will be, what he has said of himself in his holy Word.[12] The heart, therefore, must be broken before the man can come to good.

      Seventh. Man, as he comes into the world, is not only a dead man, a fool, proud, self-willed, fearless, and a false believer, but a great lover of sin; he is captivated, ravished, drowned in the delights of it. Hence it [the Word] says, they love sin, delight in lies, do take pleasure in iniquity, and in them that do it; that they sport themselves in their own deceivings, and glory in their shame (John 3:19; Psa 62:4; Rom 1:32; 2 Peter 2:13; Phil 3:19).

      This is the temper of man by nature; for sin is mixed with and has the mastery of all the powers of his soul. Hence they are said to be captives to it, and to be led captive into the pleasures of it, at the will of the devil (2 Tim 2:26). And you know it is not an easy thing to break love, or to take the affections off that object on which they are so deeply set, in which they are so deeply rooted, as man's heart is in his sins. Alas! how many are there that contemn all the allurements of heaven, and that trample upon all the threatenings of God, and that say, 'Tush, ' at all the flames of hell, whenever these are propounded as motives to work them off their sinful delights! so fixed are they, so mad are they, upon these beastly idols. Yea, he that shall take in hand to stop their course in this their way, is as he that shall attempt to prevent the raging waves of the sea from their course, when driven by the mighty winds.

      When men are somewhat put to it, when reason and conscience shall begin a little to hearken to a preacher, or a judgment that shall begin to hunt for iniquity, how many tricks, evasions, excuses, demurs, delays, and hiding-holes will they make, invent, and find, to hide and preserve their sweet sins with themselves and their souls, in the delights of them, to their own eternal perdition? Hence they endeavour to stifle conscience, to choke convictions, to forget God, to make themselves atheists, to contradict preachers that are plain and honest, and to heap to themselves such of them only as are like themselves, that speak unto them smooth things, and prophesy deceits; yea, they say themselves to such preachers, 'Get you out of the way; turn aside out of the path; cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us' (Isa 30:8-11). If they be followed still, and conscience and guilt shall, like blood- hounds, find them out in their secret places, and roar against them for their wicked lives, then they will flatter, cogg, dissemble, and lie against their soul, promising to mend, to turn, to repent, and grow better shortly; and all to daff[13] off convictions and molestations in their wicked ways, that they may yet pursue their lusts, their pleasures, and sinful delights, in quiet, and without control.

      Yea, further, I have known some that have been made to roar like bears, to yell like dragons, and to howl like dogs, by reason of the weight of guilt, and the lashes of hell upon their conscience for their evil deeds; who have, so soon as their present torments and fears were gone, returned again with the 'dog to his vomit; and as the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire' (Hosea 7:14; 2 Peter 2:20- 22).

      Once again, some have been made taste of the good Word of God, of the joy of heaven, and of the powers of the world to come, and yet could not by any one, nay, by all of these, be made to break their league for ever with their lusts and sins (Heb 6:4, 5; Luke 8:13; John 5:33-35). O Lord! what is man, that thou art mindful of him? Wherein is he to be accounted of? He has sinned against thee; he loves his sins more than thee. He is a lover of pleasures more than he is a lover of God!

      But now, how shall this man be reclaimed from this sin? How shall he be brought, wrought, and made, to be out of love with it? Doubtless it can be by no other means, by what we can see in the Word, but by the wounding, breaking, and disabling of the heart that loves it, and by that means making it a plague and gall unto it. Sin may be made an affliction, and as gall and wormwood to them that love it; but the making of it so bitter a thing to such a man, will not be done but by great and sore means. I remember we had in our town some time since, a little girl that loved to eat the heads of foul tobacco-pipes, and neither rod nor good words could reclaim her, and make her leave them. So her father takes advice of a doctor, to wean her from them, and it was this: Take, saith he, a great many of the foulest tobacco-pipe heads you can get, and boil them in milk, and make a posset of that milk, and make your daughter drink the posset-drink up. He did so, and gave his girl it, and made her drink it up; the which became so irksome and nauseous to her stomach, and made her so sick, that she could never abide to meddle with tobacco-pipe heads any more, and so was cured of that disease. Thou lovest thy sin, and neither rod nor good words will as yet reclaim thee. Well, take heed; if thou wilt not be reclaimed, God will make thee a posset of them, which shall be so bitter to thy soul, so irksome to thy taste, so loathsome to thy mind, and so afflicting to thy heart, that it shall break it with sickness and grief, till it be loathsome to thee. I say, thus he will do if he loves thee; if not, he will suffer thee to take thy course, and will let thee go on with thy tobacco-pipe heads!

      The children of Israel will have flesh, must have flesh; they weep, cry, and murmur, because they have not flesh; the bread of heaven, that is but light and sorry stuff in their esteem (Num 11:1-6). Moses goes and tells God how the people despised his heavenly bread, and how they longed, lusted, and desired to be fed with flesh. Well, says God, they shall have flesh, they shall have their fill of flesh; I will feed them with it; they shall have to the full; and that 'ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; but even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you; because ye have despised the Lord' (Num 11:11-20). He can tell how to make that loathsome to thee on which thou most dost set thine evil heart. And he will do so, if he loves thee; else, as I said, he will not make thee sick by smiting of thee nor punish thee for or when thou committest whoredom, but will let thee alone till the judgment-day, and call thee to a reckoning for all thy sins then. But to pass this.

      Eighth. Man, as he comes into the world, is not only a dead man, a fool, proud, self-willed, fearless, a false believer, and a lover of sin, but a wild man. He is of the wild olive tree, of that which is wild by nature (Rom 11:17, 24). So, in another place, man by nature is compared to the ass, to a wild ass. 'For vain or empty man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt' (Job 11:12). Isaac was a figure of Christ, and of all converted men (Gen 4:28). But Ishmael was a figure of man by nature; and the Holy Ghost, as to that, saith this of him, 'And he will be a wild man' (Gen 16:12). This man, I say, was a figure of all carnal men, in their wildness or estrangedness from God. Hence it is said of the prodigal, at his conversion, that he came to himself then; implying that he was mad, wild, or out of his wits before (Luke 15:17). I know there is a difference sometimes betwixt one's being wild and mad; yet sometimes wildness arriveth to that degree as to give one rightly the denomination of being mad. And it is always true in spirituals; namely, that he that is wild, as to God, is mad, or besides himself, and so not capable, before he is tamed, of minding his own eternal good as he should. There are these several things that are tokens of one wild or mad; and they all meet in a carnal man.

      1. A wild or mad man gives no heed to good counsel; the frenzy of his head shuts all out, and by its force leads him away from men that are wise and sober. And thus it is with carnal men; good counsel is to them as pearls are that are cast afore swine; it is trampled under foot of them, and the man is despised that brings it (Matt 7:6). 'The poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard' (Eccl 9:16).

      2. A wild or mad man, let him alone, and he will greatly busy himself all his life to accomplish that which, when it is completed, amounts to nothing. The work, the toil, the travel of such a one comes to nothing, save to declare that he was out of his wits that did it. David, imitating of such a one, scrabbled upon the gate of the king, as fools do with chalk; and like to this is all the work of all carnal men in the world (1 Sam 21:12, 13). Hence, such a one is said to labour for the wind, or for what will amount to no more than if he filled his belly with the east wind (Eccl 5:16; Job 15:2).

      3. A wild or mad man, if you set him to do anything, and he does it, he will yet do it, not by or according to your bidding, but after the folly of his own wild fancy; even as Jehu executed the commandment of the Lord; he did it in his own madness, taking no heed to the commandment of the Lord (2 Kings 9:20, 10:31). And thus do carnal men do, when they meddle with any of God's matters, as hearing, praying, reading, professing; they do all according to their own wild fancy; they take no heed to do these after the commandment of the Lord.

      4. Wild or mad men, if they deck or array themselves with ought, as many times they do, why, the spirit of their wildness or frenzy appears even in the mode and way in which they do it. Either the things themselves which they make use of for that purpose are very toys and trifles; or if they seem to be better, they are put on after an antic manner, rather to the rendering of them ridiculous, than to bespeak them sober, judicious, or wise; and so do natural men array themselves with what they would be accepted in with God. Would one in his wits think to make himself fine or acceptable to men by arraying himself in menstruous cloths, or by painting his face with dross and dung? And yet this is the finery of carnal men, when they approach for acceptance into the presence of God (Isa 64:6; Phil 3:7, 8).

      O the wildness, the frenzy, the madness, that possesses the heart and mind of carnal men! they walk according to the course of this world, according to or after that spirit which is in truth the spirit of the devil, which worketh in the children of disobedience (Eph 2:1-3). But do they believe that thus it is with them? No, they are, in their own account, as other madmen are, the only ones in the world. Hence they are so taken and tickled with their own frantic notions, and deride all else that dwell in the world. But which is the way to make one that is wild, or a madman, sober? To let him alone will not do it; to give him good words only will not do it; no, he must be tamed; means must be used to tame him. 'He brought down their hearts with labour, ' or by continual molestation; as you have it (Psa 107:10-12). He speaketh there of madmen that are kept up in darkness, and bound in afflictions and irons, because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the Most High.

      This, therefore, is the way to deal with such, and none but God can so deal with them. They must be taken, they must be separated from men; they must be laid in chains, in darkness, afflictions, and irons; they must be blooded, half- starved, whipped, purged, and be dealt with as mad people are dealt with. And thus they must be dealt with till they come to themselves, and cry out in their distresses. And then they cry to the Lord in their troubles, and he saveth them out of their distresses; then he brings them out of darkness, and the shadow of death, and breaks their bands in sunder (Psa 107:13-15). Thus, I say, God tames the wild, and brings mad prodigals to themselves, and so to him for mercy.

      Ninth. Man, as he comes into the world, is not only a dead man, a fool, proud, self-willed, fearless, a false believer, a lover of sin, and a wild man; but a man that disrelishes the things of the kingdom of God. I told you before, that unconverted man is such as did not taste things; but now I add, that he disrelishes things; he calls bitter things sweet, and sweet bitter; he judges quite amiss. These are they that God threateneth with a woe. 'Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter' (Isa 5:20).

      This latter part of this text shows us evidently that the things of God are disrelished by some. They call his sweet things bitter, and the devil's bitter things sweet; and all this is for want of a broken heart. A broken heart relishes otherwise than a whole or unbroken one doth. A man that has no pain, or bodily distress, cannot find or feel virtue or good in the most sovereign plaister, were it applied to arm or leg; no, he rather says, Away with these stinking daubing things. O! but lay the same plaisters where there is need, and the patient will relish, and taste, and savour the goodness of them; yea, will prize and commend them to others.

      Thus it is in spirituals. The world, they know not what the anguish or pain of a broken heart means; they say, 'Who will show us any good, ' that is, better than we find in our sports, pleasures, estates, and preferments. 'There be many, ' says the Psalmist, speak after this sort. But what says the distressed man? Why, 'Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us'; and then adds, 'Thou hast put gladness in my heart'; namely, by the light of thy countenance, for that is the plaister for a broken heart. 'Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increaseth' (Psa 4:1-7). O! a broken heart can savour pardon, can savour the consolations of the Holy Ghost. Yea, as a hungry or thirsty man prizes bread and water in the want thereof, so do the broken in heart prize and set a high esteem on the things of the Lord Jesus. His flesh, his blood, his promise, and the light of his countenance, are the only sweet things both to scent and taste, to those that are of a wounded spirit. The full soul loatheth the honey-comb; the whole despise the gospel, they savour not the things that are of God.

      If twenty men were to hear a pardon read, and but one of those twenty were condemned to die, and the pardon was for none but such; which of these men, think you, would taste the sweetness of that pardon, they who are not, or he that was condemned? The condemned man, doubtless. This is the case in hand. The broken in heart is a condemned man; yea, it is a sense of condemnation, with other things, that has indeed broken his heart; nor is there anything but sense of forgiveness that can bind it up, or heal it. But could that heal it, could he not taste, truly taste, or rightly relish this forgiveness? no; forgiveness would be to him as it is to him that has not sense of want of it.

      But, I say, what is the reason some so prize what others so despise, since they both stand in need of the same grace and mercy of God in Christ? Why, the one sees, and the other sees nothing, of this woeful miserable state. And thus have I showed you the necessity of a broken heart. 1. Man is dead, and must be quickened. 2. Man is a fool, and must be made wise. 3. Man is proud, and must be humbled. 4. Man is self-willed, and must be broken. 5. Man is fearless, and must be made to consider. 6. Man is a false believer, and must be rectified. 7. Man is a lover of sin, and must be weaned from it. 8. Man is wild, and must be tamed. 9. Man disrelishes the things of God, and can take no savour in them, until his heart is broken.

      FOOTNOTES:

      [11] However hard, and even harsh, these terms may appear, they are fully justified; and with all the author's great ability and renown, he has the grace of humility to acknowledge that, by nature and practice, he had been the biggest of fools., Ed.

      [12] Man must be burnt out of the stronghold in which he trusted. 'Saved, yet so as by fire.' 'Baptized with the Holy Ghost, even fire.' 'His word is as a fire.' Reader, the work of regeneration and purification is a trying work; may each inquire, Has this fire burnt up my wood, hay, stubble?, Ed.

      [13] To 'daff' or 'doff'; to do off or throw aside, used by Shakespeare, but now obsolete,

      Where is his son,
      The nimble-footed madcap, Prince of Wales,
      And his comrades, that daft the world aside
      And let it pass?, Ed.

Back to John Bunyan index.

See Also:
   Preface
   Chapter 1 - The Text Opened in the Many Workings of the Heart
   Chapter 2 - Doctrine, Assertion, Demonstration, and Conclusion
   Chapter 3 - What a Broken Heart, and a Contrite Spirit Is
   Chapter 4 - The Necessity There is that the Heart Must be Broken
   Chapter 5 - A Broken Heart is Esteemed by God
   Chapter 6 - Advantages of a Tender Heart
   Chapter 7 - The Use
   Chapter 8 - Objections Answered

Loading

Like This Page?


© 1999-2016, oChristian.com. All rights reserved.