Sinners Directed to Hear & Fear, and do no more so Wickedly. Being an Impartial Account of the Inhumane and Barbarous Murder, Committed by Jeremiah Meacham, On his Wife and her Sister, at Newport on Rhode-Island, March 22d. 1715. With some Account of his Life, Tryal, Carriage be|fore and after Condemnation; his Con|fession, Prayers, and Last Dying Words at the Place of Execution, which was April the 12th. 1715.
Also a SERMON Preached in his Hearing: On Psalm LI. 17.
By Mr. Nathaniel Clap, Minister of the Gospel in Newport, Rhode-Island.
Boston, Printed by J. Allen, for N. Boone, at the Sign of the Bible in Cornhill, 1715.
A Narrative OF Jeremiah Meacham.
THE Man that occasioned the Preach|ing of the Ensuing Sermon, was Born at, or near Salem, and Lived there, and in several other places of Boston Province near half his Dayes, before he came into Rhode-Island Colo|ny, where he Married and continued, until he was more than Forty Years Old.
Furnished with a good Natural Understan|ding, and a strong Memory: Such a Religi|ous Education was bestowed upon him in his younger time, and such powerful influ|ences of the Spirit of God accompanied the Means of Grace enjoyed by him; that he appeared, in the Opinion of some, remarka|ble for his Religious Conversation, before he began to cast off Religion.
But when he had abandoned the Society Page ii of those that were visibly Godly, and be|came associated with some that were openly wicked (in Providence:) He quickly grew wofully indifferent about the things of God|liness, and more and more inclinable unto the ways of wickedness; neglecting the Publick Worship of God, Prophaning the Lords-Day, speaking worse than he should have done about some of the Duties of Christianity.
Yet when he came to be Master of a Family, (in Newport) he attended Family-Prayer (as he said) above a year; but afterward that was omitted, (as he told) by reason of some difference in his Fami|ly. Whatever he did about Closet Prayer.
Having for some time neglected the Re|ligious Observation of the Christian Sabbath, he pretended some concernment about the Seventh Day, but never appeared conscientious in observ|ing that day; nor could he own, that he had renounced his Infant Baptism; nor had he worn off all the good impressions, made on his Soul, by the Means of Grace afforded to him in his Child|hood. And all this while, he was generally esteemed exemplarily exact in his Dealings, and punctual to his Promises, about his Worldly Affairs; He could boast among his Neighbours about this part of Moral Honesty: Tho' they could charge him too truly with speaking too largely sometimes in his Romantick Discourses.
But he seldom or never seemed altoge|ther free from some terrible reflections up|on his Conscience, for his Apostasy from Page iii God. And it hath been thought that his Convictions about some Concerns of his Soul, mixed with some vexations about his Affairs in the World, brought him into a grievous hurry, which by degrees boil'd up into a sort of a raging fury: And keeping out of the way of suitable directions for his Soul, his troubles of mind grew so intolerable, that he told some, that he was weary of his Life.
And the Enemies of Souls doubtless were not wanting in their endeavours with him, to carry all things the wrong way. For he said, he was advis'd, To drink away his troubles; To kill his troubles of mind by drinking of Strong Drink to exeess: And he owned, That he had tried several times, what this way would do; but he found by sad experience, that this was not the right way to get ease, for the troubles of his mind returned as the Spirits of the Drink removed.
Things grew so uncomfortable with him, that he loved not Home; he thought that all his Neighbours looked strangely upon him; he pretended that he feared some body designed mischief against him, and that he should be slain. Every day seemed unto him as it if would be the last day of his life: And he asked of others, if they knew of no contrivance against him.
The Day before he committed his Mur|ders, he appeared mightily distressed, walk|ing about in a very great agony, a great part of that day, chusing to be at the Neigh|bours. But on the said day of his Murders, (22 d. 1 m) he got and sat upon his House, Page iv with a Penknife in his hand, for several hours, if discoursing sometimes with those that came near him, seeming afraid some or other would hurt him; Others feared more that he would hurt himself; none seemed much to fear that he intended any hurt to any body else. And he declar'd, that he would hurt neither Man, Woman nor Child, if they would let him alone.
After he came down from his House top into his Chamber, he kept there most part of the Afternoon of that day, until after Sun set; and then his Wife, and her Sister, upon his invitation, going up to him, urging of him to go down with them, or striving with him to keep him from hurting of himself; it seems that then he struck his Wife in her throat with his Pen-knife; and then struck her and her Sister down with an Ax (that he had carried up, and he had also Charged his Gun; but made no use of that, in his Murders) how many blows he gave them, is not known: But the dreadful marks of several remained on their miserably man|gled Bodies.
When he had murdered them, he stood watchfully upon his Guard, with his Ax in hand, threatning all that offered to come up Stairs; knock'd one man down with his bloody Ax. Others endeavouring to appre|hend him, by breaking up the Chamber Floor under him, & the Roof over him; he laboured to defend himself, as if against the worst Enemies. And when they carried some Fire, flaming to light their way before them, Page v he snatch'd away the Fire, and laid it among some combustible matter, and got ready more, and quickly kindled a great Fire in the midst of the Chamber, as if he chose ra|ther to Burn himself alive, and the deal Bo|dies with him than to be taken: but find|ing the Chamber quickly growing too hot for him, and he being very hot with con|stant motion; he sprung out headlong at the Window among the People, that were now surrounding of his House.
At some time or other, in these hurries it seems, he had cut his own throat; but fear|ing that death would not come soon enough that way, and finding that he could not bear burning to death; it was thought, he was willing to try, if he could dash himself to pieces, by throwing himself out at the Win|dow; by which he also hurt his head, if no other part of his Body; but his Wounds were near healed, before he came to Dye.
After his Apprehension, he seemed for some time too stupid and softish, and willing to palliate his Murders, pretending fear that others intended to Murder him; and that he did what, he did in an hurry.
And when he was carried next day to see the Murdered Bodies, he acknowledged that it was a sad sight; but none seemed more unconcern'd at the sadness of the sight than he, that had most reason of all to be sadly concern'd at such an amazing Spectacle.
In the time of his Imprisonment, he re|mained too long wonderfully insensible a|bout the miserable condition of his Soul, Page vi yet mighty ready to resent provocations; whereof it must be confessed, that he had enough. Too many persons coming to him, and some of them none of the best, nor up|on the best designs, very much hindered the well improvement of his flying time, to the best advantage: Notwithstanding he seemed under continual expectation that he must dye for his Murders; and was desirous of the Prayers and Counsels, that he tho't might be for his benefit, and willing to Read and Hear good Books to direct and assist, and ex|cite his Preparation for Death; but seemed most of all to prize the Holy Bible; and by degrees came to a better sense of his la|mentable Circumstances, and frequently de|clared that he valued not this World, if he might be well prepared for a better; and was observed several times in Prison to warn others that came near him to Shun those wayes of Sins, that he had found pernicious to himself; and was mightily concern'd for the Welfare of his poor Children, that they might be bro't up in the fear of God, and brought under the wings and the bonds of the Covenant of Grace. The still more hopeful tokens of a real work of Saving Grace upon his own heart would have been very desirable; tho' he was not without repeated intreaties of Prayer, that he might be made thorowly sensible of his Wickedness, and prepared for Pardon thro' the Blood of Christ.
At his Tryal, (•D. 2 M 1715.) he could not deny the Murders, but pleaded, that he Page vii was not himself, and so knew not what he did, when he committed them. Though he could remember the circumstances of the Murders. And his Neighbours generally thought that he knew what he was doing, notwithstanding his being in such an hurry; none seemed at any lost about his being brought in Guilty.
After his Condemnation (9 D. 2 M.) he seemed more pensive and penitent than ever before, in all the time of his Imprisonment. Expressing his desires to submit to the Will of God, praying, that God would prepare him for his Will; desiring the prayers, and the helps of others, for such Preparation; bewailing and lamenting his own miserable Condition, as well as the distresses occasi|oned by him, unto his Relations; and par|ticularly unto his Aged Parents, and his lit|tle Children; for whom he desired not only the Compassions of Heaven, but also the en|deavours of his Friends upon Earth, for the good of their Souls.
In the last night that he lived, he seemed most of all concerned about his Condition, mourning as if his heart were indeed ready to break; pouring out his sighs and groans be|fore God; willing to hear his attendants read in good Books, and especially in the Bible. Asking their Prayers for and with him, that he might be prepar'd for his approaching End.
As the time of his Execution drew near, he manifested no reluctancy to attend it; only he complained, that the time between Page viii the Sentence and his Death was very short; ben he was told, that it was much longer than what he allowed unto those whom he had murdered, and that he had lived longer by near three weeks, than he would have suffered himself to have lived, had he been left unto his own will.
He desired that God would furnish him with Courage to Glorify his Name, and En|counter the Terrors of Death.
As he drew near to the Place of his Exe|cution, he seemed mightily amazed; but so recovered, as to utter several things, that were by some accounted considerable; some of them are preserved.
But in all the Expressions that he uttered, when he came to Dy, he pretended unto no more hopes concerning the good State of his Soul, than what might be implied in his de|sires of an absolute Resignation to the Will of God; with entire dependance on the free Grace, the Infinite Sovereign Mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But now he is gone from among the Liv|ing; it becomes all the Living to hope the best they can concerning him, and to leave Secret Things with the Lord, to whom they belong; and to mind the revealed Will of God about their own Duty, for the good of their own Souls, and the Souls of others, whom they are yet capable of benefiting; and to make the best improvement they can of all such Tragical Examples, for their own advantage; and to learn by the harms of o|thers, to keep clear from the like harms, and Page ix make sure about their own seasonable Pre|paration for the end of all the Living; and constantly remember the repeated and me|morable Admonition of our Blessed Redee|mer, in Luke 13.3, 5. Suppose ye, that these who have sufferd so sad things, are therefore greater Sinners than others. I tell you, no; but except you Repent, you shall all likewise pe|rish. And,
This poor man acknowledged in the time of his Imprisonment, that he had forsaken God, and God had forsaken him, and then every thing seemed against him, and he wish'd, 'Oh! that I had thought of any faith|ful Friend, to whom I could have been willing to have gone for advice, in the time of my Dis|tress. But he could own, that he lived so, that he was afraid or asham'd of coming into the presence of any such Friend. He bitterly bewailed his leaving the Means of Grace that he had enjoyed in his Youth.
This poor man left this awful Warning with his Neighbours, and told them several times, that he could well remember, that when he began to cast off the Fear of God, and leave the practices of Godliness, indul|ging himself in Evil Courses, he as little thought as any of them all, that he should so soon come to such a miserable End. Let them then, that think they stand, take heed lest the fall: And therefore Commit the keeping of their Souls to God, in Well-doing, as unto a Faithful Creator.
Page [unnumbered] PEople of all Perswasions here, had manifested their Charitable Compassions to|ward him. The Episcopal Mini|ster hath frequently Visited him in Prison, with his Counsels and Prayers. One of the Ancientest Men among the Antipaedo Baptists Accompanied him, and Prayed with him near his Last Moments. From the Quakers he had a Letter of Advice, to Evidence Unfeigned Repentance, and to Consider, There is Mercy with the Lord, that He may be Feared.
At the Execution of Jeremiah Meacham, (at Newport on Rhode-Island) A|pril the 12th. 1715.
HE declared, that being dissatisfyed in his mind, some time in the beginning of the last year, concerning something about Religion, he could not obtain the satisfaction that he desired, from those whom he applied himself unto: Then some uneasiness in his Fa|mily was occasioned or encreased, part|ly thro' his own discontentment: Af|ter this, he tho't his Neighbours look'd strangely upon him; & he feared some body or other designed to do some mis|chief unto him. And every day seem|ed unto him, as if it were the last day that he should live, until the 22d day of March last; when, (after abundance of hurry in his mind, for several days,) he got upon his House, and sat there some time, with a Penknife in his hand, as afraid of his life; then came into his House; and for the most part of the Afternoon of that day, he kept in his Chamber, until near darkish; then Page xiv he desired his Wife to come up to him, (if she desired her Sister to come up) and while he threatned all others that offered to come up to him, with an Ax in his hand, (bidding them to stand off,) and his Wife and Sister endeavoured to perswade him to go down, or else endeavoured to hinder him from hurting of himself; then he struck the dreadful, cruel, mortal blows upon those his dear Relations, without any malice or hatred (as he said) or fore-thought of mischief to either of them; (although several E|vidences at his Tryal before the Court, had positively declared, that he had u|sed very uncomfortable Carriage and Language toward his Wife, long before that time:) Then he read some things that he had got written, for the Warn|ing of all People; saying, that he as little thought as any of them all, that ever he should come into such lamen|table Circumstances; and therefore would have them to take heed to them|selves, that they might, none of them, come to such an Untimely End. In the Paper that he read, were contained such as these things following.
Page xvAS a poor Miserable Sinner, going into the Eternal World, not knowing as yet, what will become of my Precious Immortal Soul; but desi|ring, entirely to rely on the rich and free Grace of God in the Lord Jesus Christ for all Salvation.
I earnestly wish, that all People may take Warning by me, to shun all wayes of Sinning against God.
I wish, that they may beware of be|ginning to forsake the Lord; That they may be careful in attending all the Du|ties of Religion, Secret, Private, and Publick; That they they may take heed to their Wayes, that they Sin not with their Tongues, but be in the Fear of the Lord all the day long.
I wish that Young People may Re|member their Creator in the Dayes of their Youth; and avoid all Sinful Disobedience to their Superiors; and early comply with the offers of the Gos|pel, and the Motions of the Spirit of God, that they may not provoke the Lord, as I have done.
Page xviI wish, that Married People may keep clear from all Contention in their Families, and from all Discontentment with the Condition wherein God hath placed them, and may help one another forward in the way toward Heaven.
I desire to justifie the Glorious God, in all that he orders for me, submitting to his Will; and to acknowledge the Ju|stice of the Honourable Government, in the Sentence of Death passed upon me: For I must own, that I deserve to Die for my horrible Wickedness.
I desire to forgive all that have any way injured me; and that God may forgive them all, as heartily, (so far as I know mine own heart) as I desire that God may forgive me; and that they may forgive me, whom I have grievous|ly injured. Oh! Let all Christians pray for me.
Jeremiah Meacham.12th D. 2d M. 1715
Having read the preceeding things, de|siring leave to present his Petitions to Heaven, he made the following prayer, (as it was taken in short hand.)
O Most Great and Glorious Lord God, who diddest Create Heaven and Earth; Lord, I acknowledge that thou hast the disposing of all things; Lord, I desire that thou wouldest make me such an one, as thou wouldest have me to be. And Lord, I pray that thou wouldest blot out all my sins, that they may be blotted out of thy book, that they may never rise up in Judgment against me; Lord, I acknow|ledge, that thou mightest a long time ago, have sent me into Eternity, which I am now going into. And therefore Lord, I pray thee that thou wouldest now blot out all my transgressions, for thy names sake and forgive all the Iniquity that is in me. And Lord, I Pray thee, be with all that are here, and bless them. And be with me, that am just going out of this World into the Eternal Ocean: Receive me, O Lord, into thy Heavenly Kingdom, to be at thy right Hand, where is pleasure for-evermore: And Lord, be with my Children, that have niether Father nor Mother to Page xviii look after them; be as Father and Mother unto them: Lord, have Mercy on them and on me, for the sake of thy Son the Lord Jesus Christ. The God of Peace, that brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every good work through Jesus Christ; The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with me now and for-evermore.
After he had been recommended by the Prayers of others, unto the Mer|cies of Heaven; He Prayed again for himself, thus,
O O Most Great and Glorious Lord God, who art a God that dost hear, Prayers; Lord, pardon my Sin, now or never; now for ever; Now I am going out of this World into Eternity; Lord Jesus, thou wast made Sin, who knowest no Sin, that Sinners might be made Righteous thro' thee: Thou art the Way, the Truth and the Life; There is no way to be Saved, but only in and thro' thee; Lord, when my Breath is gone, I pray thee to re|ceive my Soul: And be pleased that I may have a right to a Mansion in Heaven among thy Saints. Lord, be pleased to pardon every one of my sins; not only this great Sin, but every Sin: And if there be any one Sin, that is not remembred, and so is not▪ Repented of: Lord, be pleased this very moment, to forgive that Sin, that it may never rise up in Judgment against me: And, Lord, be pleased to enable me to go thro' what I must endure, and that I, may▪ arrive at the Shore of Eternal Page xix Felicity; Blot out all my Iniquity, that I may be prepared for the Blessed and Glorious Inheritance in Heaven, reserv'd for them, who are kept by the mighty power of God; through Faith unto Sal|vation.
After his Eyes had been covered, he desi|red, that he might once more see the Sun: Then Expressed himself to this purpose; Lord, as thou hast made the Sun, that glorious Body to shine in the Firmament; I pray thee, let the Sun of Righteousness graciously shine upon my Distressed Soul.
And after declaring his desire to Commit his Soul into the Merciful Hands of the Glo|rious Redeemer; and saying, Lord Jesus, re|ceive my Spirit! He was turn'd off; leaving 'tis thought, several thousands of Spectators to learn Righteousness by the Tremendous and Astonishing Dispensations of God.
BY the Request of the Reve|rend Nathaniel Clap, who was Present at the aforesaid Execution, with my Self; I have Perused the Fore-going Dying Words of the Criminal; and pre|sume they are as near the Truth, as could be taken at that time.
Samuel Cranston, Govr.
Newport on Rhode-Island, April 15th. 1715.
A Broken Heart, Acceptable with GOD through Christ.
The Sacrifices of God are a broken Spirit; a broken and a contrite Heart, O GOD, thou wilt not Despise.
TO understand the intention of any Text of Sacred Scrip|ture, it is frequently advan|tageous to consider the Oc|casion of the Text, & com|pare it with other Texts, and with the whole current of the Scripture.
The Occasion of this Text, we may learn Page 2 from the Title of the Psalm wherein we find it, compared with the eleventh and twelfth Chapters of the second Book of Samuel. There we find, that David, a man after God's own Heart, was left unto very infandous, horrendous Crimes: Not only execrable A|dultery, but also horrid Murder, and very ungodly endeavours to conceal those Wick|ednesses; were among his Crimes. The best of Saints may fall into the worst of Sins, if God leave them to themselves. [Then what great Sins may graceless Sinners fall into, while under the power, and in the possession of Satan!] Yea, the best of Saints may con|tinue a long time under the guilt of their Sins, that they fall into: How long! David continued a long time under the guilt of his Crimes; it doth not appear that there was any evidence of any Repentance for his Wickedness, for a long space after his crimes were committed. But after a long time, the Lord sent his Minister, Nathan, to David, to convince him of his Wickedness, and to bring him to Repentance. It is very sure, that Sinners will never think of repentance of Sin, or turning to God, if the Lord should not call, or look after them; Our first Father Adam thought not of repenting of Sin, before the Lord call'd after him; and the Apostle Peter thought not of repenting of his Sin, be|fore the Lord looked upon him. The God of all Grace in our Lord Jesus Christ, with infinite Compassion to miserable Sinners, calls after them, to repent and turn to him, from all their transgressions, with hopes of Pardon Page 3 for the sake of Christ. Thus it is with all that live under the Gospel: And God will certainly recover from their falls those that are Saints indeed, He will not suffer them to perish for ever in their Sins, how great and sad soever have been their falls. They shall be recovered before they dye; So was David. When the Minister of God had brought him to a sight and a sense of his Wickedness, them David acknowledges that he had sinned. He acknowledged his Wickedness with a repent|ing Soul; God helping him to repent with brokenness of Heart; with an heart broken for Sin, and from Sin.
A Promise of Pardon is immediately pro|posed unto the repenting Sinner: The Lord hath put away thy Sin, thou shalt not dye. God is ready to bring home pardon to the truly Penitent. Sinners can't be more forward in repenting of their Sins, than God in pardon|ing of their Souls, and making them sensible of his pardoning mercy upon their expressing of their unfeigned Repentance. Thou, Lord art Good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon thee, that call upon thee in truth.
But after the Minister of God had finished his Message from the Lord unto David, then David composed this Psalm, for the use of the Church of God in all After-Ages. When sinful persons become repenting Sinners, they will be concerned for the Glory of God, and for the good of others They will be desi|rous that God might be Glorified by them|selves, and they will be willing to do all they Page 4 can for the Glory of God, and they will be willing to excite others to Glorify God; and therefore to excite them to Repentance, that they may Glorify God. And they will be desirous that their own Repentance may be as much known as ever their Wickedness hath been known. The Sin of David, was by the wonderful Providence of God brought into open view, before the World; so that the Enemies of the Lord thereupon took occasion to blaspheme the Holy Name of God. There|fore David was willing that his Repentance might be openly and publickly known, that God might be thereby Glorified; that his dis|honour might as much as possible, be pre|vented; that if the People of God should be reproached, and so the Name of God be dishonoured by any wicked People, twitting of Godly People, and telling of them. Ay, see what your David hath done, what detestable Impie|ties he hath been guilty of, and how abominably wicked he hath been, yet he is one of your great Saints: The People of God might be able truly to reply, 'Tis true, we cannot but own it with shame and with grief, that David was guilty of great Sins against God. But we are also sure, that he did truly repent of his great Sins: God gave him grace to repent, and to evidence his re|pentance before the World, we have an excellent Psalm of his own composing upon that very occasion, that shews that he was truly penitent. The fifty first Psalm is an everlasting testimony to all Generations, that David was concerned to Glorify God, by evidencing of his Repentance.
This will be the disposition of all true Pe|nitents: Page 5 They will be desirous, that all their godly Neighbours may be furnished with suf|ficient evidences of their unfeigned Repen|tance for all their Wickedness, that they may be able to do something to stop the mouths of the blaspheming enemies of the Lord, that are glad of any occasions to reproach his Ho|ly Name.
The scope of repenting David in this Psalm, is to desire of God that his Sins might be all pardoned, and his Adultry and his Murder, and that he might be cleansed from Original Pollution, and might be made sensible of the pardon of all his Sins, and prepared to praise God for the forgiveness of his Wickedness; and he promises unto the Lord, that upon his comfortable apprehension of the pardon of his sin, by the restoring of the joy of the Holy Spirit unto him, he would endeavour to promote the Glory of God, by furthering the Conversion of other Sinners. And he shews an earnest desire for the Prosperity of the People of God: He knew that he had exceedingly grieved them by his Miscarriages, and he was concerned that they might share with him in his Con|solations upon his Reconciliation with God▪ Penitent Sinners that have grieved others by their Sins, will be desirous that others may have occa|sion to rejoyce in their Repentance.
In our Context, we find the penitent Sin|ner declaring what would not satisfy God for his offences. None of the Sacrifices ap|pointed by God in the Ceremonial Law, to be offered by his People, in their External Page 6 Worship, could satisfy for the wrongs that were done by Sin to the Majesty of Hea|ven: The Wrath of God could not be pa|cified by them, nor could they remove the guilt of sin from the Soul of the Sinner. The blood of Bulls and of Goats could never take away Sins. This David fully understood, and he plainly declares to the World his firm belief, that none of the Levitical Sacrifices could make full satisfaction to Divine Just|ice for the sins of any person but they had a respect unto some other thing. Then he declares what Sacrifices would be accepta|ble with God. The Sacrifices of God are a broken Spirit. May not this principally re|fer unto our Lord Jesus Christ, who being made a Sacrifice unto the Divine Justice, had his Spirit grievously broken by the wrath of God, while he was offering up himself a Sacrifice for the Sins of his People? He could say before he came to dye, My Soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; and when he came to dye, he poured out his Soul unto death. His very Soul within him was dreadfully broken by the Anger of GOD, which he endured for the sake of his Peo|ple, that they might be delivered from the Wrath to come. And altho' he were the e|ternally beloved Son of God, yet appearing as the Surety for Sinners, the Wrath of God broke his very Spirit within him. And because he was the Eternally Beloved Son of God, therefore he was the Sacrifice of God; a Sacrifice accepted with God, as well as appointed by God; Yea; he was Page 7 himself God, truly and really God. The ve|ry Person that was offered a Sacrifice for Sin, was God Tho' he suffered only as Man, the Divine Nature being uncapable of suf|fering, yet the Person that suffered was truly God over all blessed for ever: And so the Sacri|fice of such an One, was of infinite value & virtue, and for that reason might be styled, The Sacrifices of God. For, besure the Lord Jesus Christ was of more value infinitely than all the other Sacrifices that were ap|pointed by God to be offered; He was the Antytipe of them all, and as good as ten hundred thousand millions of such Sacrifices. Yea, infinitely better than all other Sacrifices. Thus being as good as all, better than all, he might be called Sacrifices. And he was a Sa|crifice of such value as to satisfy for the sins of all that will accept of him for their Sa|crifice, let them be never so many Souls; & he is a Sacrifice of such value, as to satisfy for all their Sins, if they believe on him, let their Sins be never so many; so may the Son of God be styled, the Sacrifices of God. He is the Propitiation for the sins of the whole World, both Jews and Gentiles, that believe in him as their Saviour; He is a Sacrifice for them all, for all their sins. Yea, such is the sufficiency of the Merit of the Sacrifice of the Lord Je|sus Christ, that if all the Sinners in the world would believe on him, there is merit enough in his Blood to satisfy for all their sins: Of such value is his Blood, and therefore might he be called the Sacrifices of God. His Spirit having been broken, he is the Sacrifices of Page 8 God. Thro' him other things may be accept|ed with God. For it follows in our Text, A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise· If the heart of a Sinner be bro|ken for Sin, and from Sin, God will not de|spise that heart, but he will for the sake of the Sacrifices of God, shew favour to one that hath such an heart. For there is more in|tended than is expressed in the words. God will not despise a broken heart, that is; He will greatly delight in such an heart, such an heart will be acceptable with him. Tho' Sinners do not deserve the favour of God by their broken|ness of heart, yet their brokenness of heart doth prepare Sinners for the favour of God; and he will certainly shew his favour to them, who have their hearts rightly broken with Evangelical Contrition.
This then must be our present Doctrine.
The Broken Heart of a Repenting Sinner, is ac|ceptable with the Glorious God through Jesus Christ. The Glorious God will shew favour for the sake of Christ unto a Penitent Sinner that hath a Broken Heart.
If a Sinner would be received into the fa|vour of God, for the sake of Christ, then let his Repentance of Sin, be sure to go so far, as to break his heart for, and from Sin.
We have two Enquiries to consider under this Doctrine.
What is implied in that Brokenness of Heart, which will be acceptable with the Glorious God through Jesus Christ, and what will attend such a Brokenness of Heart?
To this we may answer; Six things must be attended, and a seventh must not be o|mitted by the Penitent Sinner, that would have a broken Heart acceptable with the Glorious God thro' Jesus Christ. Let all peo|ple consider the things now to be offered; and certainly the poor Condemned Prisoner, under a Sentence of Death, not likely to en|joy another Sabbath, before his passage into the Eternal World, will reckon himself under peculiar Obligations to consider these things, to direct him to that brokenness of heart, that will be acceptable with God thro' Christ: Poor man, Hearing for your last, hear for your Life, your Life; The Life of your precious im|mortal Soul is concerned in what you are now hearing. And let all hear so, that their Souls may live; Hear so that you may find what you hear.
1. There must be some ILLUMINATION of the Mind, where there is that brokenness of Heart that will be acceptable with God through Christ. The Understanding must be enlightened if the heart be rightly broken. If the heart be never so much distressed, oppressed, Brui|sed and broken by dreadful terrours▪ by fearful horrours, by amazing affrightments, Page 10 by astonishing expectations of the Wrath of GOD, just ready to be poured down upon the Soul; yet if there be no light in the mind, the heart is not rightly broken; If the mind be full of darkness, there may be some sort of brokenness of heart, but not that which will be acceptable with God. There|fore must there be some illumination of the Understanding, to see something about those Truths of God, that will shew why the heart of a Sinner should be broken. The broken hearted Sinner will have some understanding and consideration about the righteousness and the holiness of God, about the odiousness and heinousness of sin, about the justice and the strictness of the Law of God, that is broken by sin; about the certainty of the threatnings of the Law of God against sin, about the dreadfulness of the punishment threatned for sin, by the Law, and about the unavoidable|ness of the punishment threatned, without full satisfaction to the Law, which cannot be without a perfect righteousness every way an|swering the Law; but no such righteousness can he had besides the Righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ; nor can this Righteousness be had without faith in Christ; and where there is true saving faith in Christ, there must and will be unfeigned repentance that breaks the heart for, and from sin Such as these things must have some consideration in the Penitent Sinner, that will have his heart so broken, as to be accepted with God: There|fore must there be not only some acquain|tance with the Law of God, but also some Page 11 consideration what that Law requires, and what that Law forbids: Thence might the Penitent say, as in Rom. 7.7. I had not known sin, but by the law; by the law is the knowledge of sin. Sinners must have their minds enlight|ned in the Law of God, that they may come to see their sins, before they will have their hearts broken so as to be acceptable with God. The eyes of Sinners must be opened so as to see something of their miserable condi|tion, before their hearts will be rightly bro|ken. Light must break into their Souls, that they may see how things are in their Souls, before their hearts will be rightly broken. The Law must be considered, and the Au|thor of the Law, that Sin against the Law may appear unto Sinners to be exceeding sin|ful, before their hearts will be duly broken for, and from sin. If the heart of the Sinner be duly broken, then will the Repenting Sin|ner be able truly to say, Now I see something of the Righteousness of the Holy God, and I must acknowledge the holiness of his righteous Law; his Law is holy, just and good, therefore Sin which breaks that Law, must be an evil and a bitter thing.
Examine then upon this Article as we pass along, and consider, every Soul. Is your Un|derstanding so enlightned as to see the righ|teousness and the holiness of God; to see the odiousness and the heinousness of Sin; to see the justice and the strictness of the Law of God; to see the certainty of the threatnings of the Law, to see the dreadfulness of the pu|nishment threatned by the Law upon the breakers of the Law; to see the inevitable|ness Page 12 of the threatned punishment, without a full satisfaction to the Law, which cannot be without a perfect Righteousness, every way answering the Law; and that there is no such Righteousness to be had, besides the Righteousness of Christ, and this cannot be had without faith in him; and this faith must be attended with unfeigned Repentance, to which belongs brokenness of heart for, and from Sin? Do you see something about the reality of these things? If you see nothing about them, it is not likely that your hearts will be rightly broken: But if your minds are enlightned so as to see, and consider and realize these and such things, there is room to hope that something is doing toward breaking of your hearts with a Gospel Contrition.
II. There must be some CONVICTION upon the Conscience, where there is that brokenness of heart that will be acceptable with God through Christ. This Conviction doth consist in a perso|nal & particular application of guilt & wrath unto the Sinners own Soul, so as to bring the Sinner to an acknowledgment like this; If the Word of God be true, then my Soul is in a miserable Condition. For as long as notions a|bide in the head as airy, empty speculations, without coming down into the heart, with a powerful impression upon the Soul, Sin|ners never have their hearts duly broken; let their notions be never so good and right. The Righteousness of God, and his Holiness, Page 13 the justice and strictness of his Law may be acknowledged, sin may be considered as an evil and hateful thing; but the Sinner will not be affected with the evilness and the hatefulness of sin, without some Con|viction upon the Conscience, whereby a sense of the evil of sin is brought nigh unto the Soul, and the weight of sin is laid upon the Soul. For as the heaviest weights while at a distance, will not bruise nor break, but when they are laid upon us, then they may bruise and break us: Thus while Sinners consider of the evil in sin at a distance, with|out any application of the guilt of Sin to their own Souls, in their considerations, they will not have their sinful heart rightly bro|ken. Therefore is there a necessity of that thing, in John 16.8. The Spirit convincing of sin. There must be a work of the Holy Spirit of God, bringing home conviction upon the Soul of the Sinner, so as to lay something of the weight of guilt upon the Soul, in order to a right brokenness of heart. The Sinner must come to acknowledge, I know Sin to be in it self an evil thing, because it is a transgression of the just law of a Good God, and I feel my self guilty of such evil before the Lord; I have transgressed the Law of God, the guilt of Sin lies upon my Soul; and I am sensible of something of the burthen of sin. So it must be with the Sinner, that his heart may be rightly broken. David might be produced as an instance of this. He might hear abundance of Sermons Preached about Repentance, while he was under the guilt Page 14 of sin, but none of them seemed to break his heart, until the Holy Spirit of God, by a particular application of the Truth of God in the Ministry of the Prophet Nathan said, You David are the man that is guilty of all the Wickedness that you have condemned; for you have done so and so, and have broken the Laws of God, and have deserved the Wrath and Curse of God, the guilt of Sin lies upon your Soul. This particular application, by the Holy Spirit of God, in the Ministry of the Pro|phet began to make some tendency toward the breaking of the heart of sinful David. And so, when the Spirit of God will please to set home Conviction upon the Conscience of the guilty Sinner, and bring him to see and own that he hath been guilty of those things for which the Wrath of God is de|nounced in the Law of God, against the Children of Disobedience, who break that Law; then may there be some room to hope that the heart will be rightly broken.
Examine then upon this Article, and consi|der, every Soul; Have you not only had your Un|derstanding Illuminated about the truth of God, re|ferring unto the Evil of Sin, so as to see, that Sin in it self is an evil thing and a bitter; but have you also had such a Conviction upon your Consci|ence, that you do feel the burden of Sin? Do you feel the dreadful weight of the guilt of sin upon your Soul? Is your Soul burthened with the guilt of sin? If there be no such Conviction upon the Conscience, it is no wonder if there be no brokenness of heart. But if there be such Conviction upon the Conscience, then is there Page 15 something done toward breaking of the heart. But there must be still something more done, before the heart will be rightly broken, so as to be acceptable with God. For,
III. There must be a distressing AFFLICTION of Soul, attending of this Conviction upon the Con|science, where there is the brokenness of heart, that will be acceptable with God through Jesus Christ. The Soul must be made so sensible of the burden of Sin, as to be affected, and grie|vously afflicted with that dreadful burden, be|fore the heart is duly broken. Persons may acknowledge that Sin is Evil, and they may be sensible, that sin hath done much evil to them, and that it deserves the Wrath and Curse of God for ever; and they may be convinced, that they are guilty of sin, that a|bundance of guilt lies upon their Souls; and yet they may not be very much afflicted in their Souls, because of their sins: their sins may seem somewhat burthensome, yet they are but light burdens to them, or tolerable; they can still bear the burden of their sins; the burden of sin is not altogether insuppor|table, at least they think that they are able to endure it a little longer. The hearts of these Sinners be not duly broken. For if the heart be rightly broken for sin, the Soul must be distressed and afflicted, because of the bur|den of sin, so as to be able to say like him, in Psal. 40.12. Innumerable evils have compassed me about, mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head, therefore my heart Page 16 faileth me: Or like him, in Psal. 38.4. Mine iniquities are gone over my head as an heavy bur|den, too heavy for me to bear. When Sinners come to this, then is there some room to hope that their sinful hearts will be rightly bro|ken; but as long as they can bear the bur|den of their sins besure they have not that brokenness of heart that will be acceptable with God; for a wounded Spirit who can bear? If the heart be rightly broken, it cannot easi|ly bear up under the burden of sin: The burden of sin will sink the broken heart so as to make it long for deliverance from that burden. Sinners may know and own, that Drunkenness, Uncleanness, Lying, Stealing, prophane Swearing and Cursing, and Blas|pheming the Name of God, Sabbath-break|ing, Disobedience to Superiours, and Malice, Envy, Discontent, as well as Murder and o|ther heinous Crimes, are great sins before God; but as long as they do not acknow|ledge themselves guilty of any of these Crimes, their hearts will not be broken, how guilty soever they are of these Crimes. Yea, Sinners may know and own themselves to be guilty of these and those crimes; Conscience may tell one person, You are a Drunkard; ano|ther person, You walk in some way of Uncleanness? another person, You are guilty of Lying or Stea|ling, or prophane Swearing, Cursing; another person, You are a Sabbath-breaker, disobedient to Superiours, guilty of Malice, Envy, Dsicontent, or some other Wickedness. But if Sinners can bear these and such intimations of Consci|ence unto them, without feeling any such Page 17 heavy burden, but what they can bear up their Spirits under it, their hearts be not rightly broken. Sinners may be convinced, without being converted. This is plain. The Hearers of the Apostle Peter, when they were told of their Wickedness in Crucifying the Lord Jesus Christ, They were pricked to their hearts; their hearts began to be rightly broken. But the Hearers of the Martyr Stephen, while they were told of their wick|edness in resisting the Holy Spirit, they were cut to the heart. Their hearts were after a manner bruised, and pierced, and vexed, but not rightly broken. They went on still in Wickedness. Thence it appears that Sinners may have some sense of sin, without having their hearts rightly broken for, and from sin. There may be some knowledge, and acknow|ledgment of the evil that is in sin, as well as of the evil that comes by sin, without any right brokenness of heart: But where there is a right brokenness of heart, there will be affliction of Soul, because of the burden of sin: Conscience must not only be convin|ced, but must also be quickned and excited to do its duty toward the convinced Sinner; to make the Sinner consider with trembling, I have provoked the righteous and holy God, and ex|posed my self unto his terrible displeasure: What shall I do to escape the Wrath of God? Consci|ence reveals the Wrath of God unto the Sinner, when the heart is rightly broken, so as to make the Soul of the Sinner full of dis|tress and anguish, and to have secret wishes like these: Oh, that I had never been! Oh, that Page 18 I had never Sinned as I have done! Oh, that I might cease to be; or my Sin taken away, so as to lie no longer upon my Soul! Oh, that I might es|cape the Vengeance of Eternal Fire, that is due to me for Sin! How can I dwell with Devouring Fire! How shall I dwell with Everlasting Burn|ings? What shall I do to be Saved? Such O|perations of the Spirit of God working by Conscience, are in the Souls of the Sinners that have their sinful hearts rightly broken for sin. There must be some work of the Law upon the Soul, to bring the Sinner into distress by reason of sin. The Law of God, or the Spirit of God by the Law, must rouse up the Sinner, to smite him and lash him for sin, before there will be that brokenness of heart, that will be acceptable to God.
Indeed, there will not be the like degrees of distress in the Souls of all Sinners, that have their hearts duly broken for Sin.
Some Sinners may have greater terrours, and of longer continuance than others.
God may work more gradually with some than with others; for the holy Spirit of God is an arbitrary Agent: He may act how he pleases, and where and when he pleases. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and so the Spirit of God may work as he pleaseth. And so some secure Sinners may be awakened out of their sinful Security, as with a strong Wind, or a loud Voice, or as with dreadful Thun|ders, that may seem at once to break their sinful Hearts all to shivers. They may like the Apostle Paul in his conviction, be struck down by the mighty power of God, or like Page 19 the convinced Jaylor, be struck with dreadful Fear, what will become of their Souls for ever. And some of these may be speedily raised up and revived and comforted and strengthned, and have their Eyes opened quickly, and their Souls refreshed and filled with abundance of sweet Consolations from God. Others may lye longer under bitter distress of Soul. The terrours of God may abide upon them and seem to drink up their Spirits. They may go mourning under the burden of their Sins a long time, and may walk in heaviness of Soul, until they cry out, Will the Lord cast off for ever, will he be favourable no more? God may for holy Reasons, keep them long under trouble of Soul. Sometimes to make them own that his Grace is free, or to make them cry the more fervently for his Grace, or to make them prize comfort the more, and to be the more thankful for it, when it is bestowed, or to prepare them for the greater Consolations. Other secure Sin|ners may be awakened out of their sinful Se|curity, as with a small Wind, or a still Voice, or as with pleasant Whispers, that seem to delight their Souls: The Lord may secretly open their Hearts to receive his Grace, and as when Samuel was to be set about the work of God, the Lord call'd him in such a man|ner, that there seemed no greater concernment or amazement than what had been usual up|on his Spirit: So may some Sinners be brought home to God with less pressure from the burden of their Sins than some other Sin|ners. And of these there may be some that Page 20 have comfort quickly bestowed upon them, in the light of Gods countenance lifted up over their Souls. They may lye but a short time under their distress of Soul by reason of the burden of their Sins. Others may have their distresses abiding longer upon them. They may continue a great while under the work of the Spirit, as a Spirit of bondage, be|fore they find him working as a Spirit of A|doption upon their Souls. But still we must besure that all Sinners that have their Hearts broken so as to be accepted with God, feel Sin to be a grievous burthen to their Souls. They are made willing to get rid of that burden. They cann't bear to think of ly|ing under the burden of Sin. The burden of Sin is of all burdens the most intollerable. And if they understand that they must wait upon God in the use of the means of Grace for the influences of his holy Spirit, to draw them to the Lord Jesus Christ for Salvati|on; They will pray in secret and with others, and desire others to pray for them, and if they can, with them; They will, (if they can) read the Word of God, and hear his Word, and beg of God, to set home his truths upon their Souls, that their Souls may be still more burthened with Sin, that they may still be more sensible of their burthen, so as to be made really willing to part with Sin. They will pray that God would for the sake of Christ by his holy Spirit, apply the pardoning, softning, healing Blood of Christ unto their Souls, and unite their Souls to Christ by a living Faith, and make an Page 21 everlasting separation between their Souls and their Sins, that their Souls might enjoy de|liverance from all their Sins, for ever. Thus it will be with them, whose Hearts be rightly broken for Sin.
Examine then upon this Article and consi|der, every Soul; Are you so burthened with Sin, so Afflicted for Sin, that you are willing to be se|parated eternally from all Sin? Would it rejoyce your Souls, if you might now be delivered from so bitter an evil as the being of Sin in your Soul, and might have no more Sin for ever? If there be nothing of this, nothing like this, there is no right brokenness of Heart. But if there be a willingness to be separated from all Sin for ever; and a gladness that God will use any means to separate from Sin, then is there some room to hope that the Heart begins to be broken. Affliction of Soul by reason of the burden of Sin, will drive the repenting Sinner to Supplication before the Lord for deliverance from Sin with hopes of Pardon for the sake of Christ, if the Heart ever be so broken as to be accepted with the Lord: But these things must be accompany'd with another thing: For
(IV.) HUMILIATION before the Lord, will be where there is that brokenness of Heart that will be acceptable with God thro' Christ. Indeed herein doth chiefly consist the essence of that brokenness of heart, that God will not despise: when the Heart comes to be so humble as to submit and subject it self entirely unto the divine will, to say, Let the Lord do to me as Page 22 seemeth good unto him. Then the Heart begins to be rightly broken, when the will of the Sinner is resigned unto, and resolved and as it were dissolved into the will of the Creator. An humble Heart is a broken Heart. The broken hearted Sinner may acknowledge ac|cording to that, in Lam. 3.19. Remembring my Affliction and my Misery, the Wormwood and the Gall, my Soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. Then a broken Heart must be an humbled Heart. And there must shame and grief, as well as resignation to the will of God, and confession of Sin to God and others, in that humiliation that will at|tend a broken Heart. The broken hearted Sinner must be ashamed that ever he should so grievously offend so gracious and merciful a God, as the Lord hath been unto him. Shame and blushing should cover his Soul, when he looks unto the Lord against whom he hath Sinn'd and he should be able truly to say, Lord, I am ashamed to look up to thee, because of my Sinfulness. And he must be grieved for that he hath dishonoured God, the Father, wounded God the Son, griev'd the holy spirit of God, and wronged his own Soul, and occasioned mischief to others by sinning against God; And he should be able truly to say, I am exceeding sorry, for that I ever sinned against God. Oh, that I had not so sinned, Oh, that I might no more sin as I have done! Then there must follow such a sub|mission to God, as to be willing that what methods God sees best, may be taken for de|liverance and preservation from Sin. The Page 23 broken Heart must be willing to yield to God in every thing, and to say upon the hardest and saddest things, The will of the Lord be done The Heart is not sufficiently broken, as long as there is any continued reluctancy or op|position to the will of God: See the Lan|guage of the broken-hearted sinner, in Jer. 31 19. Thou has chastised me and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the Yoak; Turn thou me, and I shall be turned, for thou art the Lord my God: Surely after I was turned, I repented, and after I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh; I was asham'd yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my Youth. And there must be confession of Sin to God Psal. 32.5. Jam. 5.16. Such an humble Heart must that broken Heart be that is accepted with the glorious God. Thence when Penitent Sin|ners come to have their hearts truly broken, they are so humble, that they can bear any wrongs, mischiefs, injuries, indignities from any of their Fellow-Creatures, because of their sins against God: Thence all the trou-of this Life are accounted but small troubles unto Penitent Sinners; because they are humbled so, as to see that they deserve great|er and sorer than ever they have endured. They will own, It is of the Lord's mercy that we are not consum'd. And they will be thank|ful for the least mercies, considering that they deserve no mercy, but are less than the least of all the mercies of God; and will say, As long as I am out of Hell, I have cause to be thankful to God for his mercy to my Soul: What|ever God pleases to do with me, he is just in all. Page 24 The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his Works. These things will be in the Humiliation of the Repenting Sinner, whose Broken Heart will be accepted with God thro' Christ. Then,
Examine upon this, and Consider, every Soul, Are you so humbled before the Lord, that you can sincerely submit to the Will of GOD? Are you willing that God should do what he will with you, so that he will preserve you from dis|honouring his Holy Name, and save you from Hell; and improve you to Glorify him here, and in Heaven for ever? If there be nothing of this Humiliation before the Lord, there is not that brokenness of heart that will be accepted with God. But if there be such Humiliation before the Lord, then the heart begins to be well broken; but if it be so broken, there will another thing be accom|panying these things. For,
V. INDIGNATION toward Sin will be, where there is that brokenness of heart that the Glorious God will accept. For if Sin hath broke the heart, and if the heart be broken for, and from Sin, there must be an hatred of Sin; Sin will be abhorr'd by a broken heart: The broken-hearted Sinner thinks about Sin, Oh, It is a vile thing! And this hatred unto sin must be an universal hatred against all sins; for small, secret, spiritual sins must be hated as well as great, open, more sensible and visible sins; yea, if the heart be rightly bro|ken, some one particular stream of sin will carry the Soul unto the consideration of the Page 25 spring of Sin, the fountain of Original Cor|ruption; so that the Sinner will be able to say, with shame and sorrow, and bitterness of Soul, as David, Psal. 51.5. In Iniquity was I shapen, and conceived in Sin. He must own, Sin dwelleth in me; my heart is full of sin, and therefore is there just reason for it to be broken; I abhor my self, and repent in dust and ashes. He must be able to say, I hate e|very false way, I hate vain thoughts. I allow the Law to be spiritual, and to reach to my Soul, and to all the aims and frames of my Soul; and therefore should I be dis|pleased at spiritual sins, and mourn for the sinful inclinations and dispositions of my Soul; and hate sin so, as to abstain from all appearance of evil. Yea, the broken-hearted Sinner will bewail and lament his condition in those terms, in Rom. 7.24. O wretched one that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death! He will not be satisfy'd as long as he hath any remainders of In-dwelling Corruption: All sin hath bitterness in it, and therefore doth he hate all sin with a bitter, and a vehement, im|placable, irreconcileable hatred. For this hatred unto sin, must be a continual hatred, as well as universal. Sin must never be lo|ved, allowed, tolerated in a broken heart, which God will accept. Then,
Examine upon this, and consider, Every Soul; Do you hate, and abhor, and abominate every Sin: Can't you endure to be defiled with any Sin? Would it be the rejoycing of your Soul, if you might presently be delivered from the very Page 26 being of sin? If there be nothing of this in|dignation toward sin, there is no brokenness of heart that will be accepted with God. But if there be such indignation against all sin, then doth the heart begin to be broken; then will follow another desirable thing, whereby a right brokenness of heart will be evidenc'd. For,
VI. RESOLUTION against all Sin, and for Holiness by the Grace of God in Christ, belongs to a broken heart, that God will accept. The Pe|nitent Sinner, whose heart is rightly broken, is able to say, as in Psal. 119.100. I have sworn, and will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous Judgments: And is willing to say, What have I any more to do with Idols? I have done iniquity, but let me do it no more. So it must be with Penitent Sinners, that have their hearts broken for, and from sin: There must be in their broken, hearts, a purpose against their sins, and a purpose for serving God; and the resolutions of broken-hearted Sinners against Sin, and for Holiness must pass into executions: They must purpose what is good, and perform what they purpose, if their hearts be so broken as they should be, in order for the Divine Acceptance. Then,
Examine upon this Article, and Consider, Every Soul; Do you sincerely resolve against all sin, and for God and Holiness? And is it the de|sire and purpose of your Souls to forsake all Ungod|liness, and to walk in the ways of Religion? By the Grace of God in Christ, can you truly say, the constant, settled intention of my Soul is, that a|bandoning Page 27 the ways of wickedness, I will entertain the things of Godliness? Do you sincerely and con|stantly intend to depart from all evil, and to do good? Is it the main design of your Soul, to be cleansing from all filthiness of flesh and of spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God? If there be no such resolution against sin, and for ho|liness, there is no right brokenness of heart▪ but if there be such a resolution against sin. and for holiness, then is there some tendency toward that brokenness that God will accept for the sake of Christ.
There are six things to be remembred and practis'd about the brokenness of heart, that will be acceptable with God. But the se|venth Article which must not be neglected nor forgotten, is this,
VII. Where there is that brokenness of heart▪ that will be acceptable with God, there must be an APPREHENSION of the pardoning mercy of God in the Lord Jesus Christ With a con|sideration of that, in Psal. 130.4. There is for|giveness with the Lord, that he may be feared. For whatever illumination upon the Under|standing, whatever Conviction upon the Con|science, whatever distressing affliction upon the Soul, whatever Humiliation before God, and whatever indignation toward Sin, or what resolution soever against sin, and for holi|ness, there may be in seemingly penitent Sin|ners; yet if there be no thoughts of Christ, no consideration about the Son of God made with his broken spirit, the Sacrifices of God; if no apprehension of the mercy of God in Page 28 Jesus Christ, there can be no brokenness of heart; for God out of Christ, will be a con|suming fire to Sinners; their sinful hearts may indeed be broken by that fire, but not so, as to be accepted with God, and received into his favour; but if the heart be rightly broken, there must be that thing, in Zech. 12.10. A looking upon him that was pierced, because of Sin. Such a look must cause bit|terness of Soul, and brokenness of heart in Penitent Sinners. To think, we have pierced the heart of the dearly beloved Son of God, by our sins, this must break our sinful hearts, if they are ever duly broken. We have had some intimations that our Lord Jesus Christ hath been the Sacrifices of God, and that his heart was broken, because of our sins. Our sins have broken the heart of Christ. But we must consider him, that our hearts may be broken: Consider him who was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, and upon him was the chastisement of our peace, and by whose stripes we may be healed. Consider the heart-breaking distress that our Lord Je|sus Christ underwent for the sake of misera|ble sinners; Whole the Lord laid upon Him the Iniquity of us all. Consider what he endured when his heart was broken within him, and melted like wax, and he was poured like wa|ter, and his Soul was sore amazed, even unto death; and he prayed, O my Father, if it be possible, let this Cup pass from me: And after that cried out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? The holy heart of the Son of God was broken so, that he offered prayers Page 29 and supplications, and strong crying with tears, before God. Yea, his heart was so broken, that he sweat great drops of blood in his agony before his Crucifixion; but after this, his side was pierced with a spear, so that blood came from his heart. But why was all this? Wherefore was the heart of the Son of God so broken? It was that Sin|ners might have their sinful hearts broken so as to be prepared for the pardoning mercy of God. And it was that the Justice of God might be satisfied, and their Souls delivered from the guilt and filth of sin. The heart of Christ was broken, that his Blood might be applied to believing Sinners, for the remission of their sins, and the salvation of their Souls, These things must be considered by Sinners; and they must have, a realizing apprehension about the readiness and willingness of the Glorious God to receive broken-hearted Sin|ners into his favour for the sake of Christ. If God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things. If God hath broken the heart of his Son for us, will he not heal our hearts, upon our seeking to him? Thus we must consider that our hearts may be rightly bro|ken. Our eyes must be unto the Lord Jesus Christ, for all the blessings and benefits of broken hearts; if we will be accepted with God. We must look unto Christ for all the good that is bestowed in, and with a broken heart. By the merit of his heart blood, must our hearts be broken for, and from our sins, and healed when so broken; and the accep|tance Page 30 of our brokenness of heart with God, must be ascribed unto him, whose heart was fore broken: For we may not expect to be accepted with God, meerly because our sin|ful herrts are broken, so as to be willing to he delivered and separated from sin: For if we have no interest in the Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot by any means be admitted into the favour of God, nor accepted in his right, tho' our hearts were never so much broken; for we must constantly remember that, in 1 Pet 2.5. Spiritual Sacrifice acceptable to God, by Jesus Christ. When we try to offer broken hearts for sacrifices unto God, we must look for acceptance of them thro' Jesus Christ. And when ever we desire the mercy of a broken heart, or the mercies promised with such an heart, we must behold our Lord Jesus Christ purchasing all for us; and be|lieve that God the Father is willing, for the sake of his Son, by his Holy Spirit, to bestow upon us all the good things belong|ing to a broken heart, if we are but wil|ling to receive those good things; and if we are made thus willing, we are obliged unto a broken-hearted Redeemer for that willingness. He hath purchased and pro|cured that willingness for us, and bestowed it on us. Thus must there be an appre|hension of the pardoning mercy of God in Christ, where there is the brokenness of heart that God will accept.
Hereupon Examine then every Soul, and consider, Have you a due regard unto the Lord Jesus Christ, in all your sorrow for Sin? Do you look Page 31 for acceptance of your serious endeavours about re|pentance on the account of the Lord Jesus Christ! Or do you think to deserve or obtain the Mercies of God, by your brokenness of Heart? Or do you think to prepare your selves for Union with Christ, by getting your Hearts more broken by your endeavours in your own strength? Certainly if you have had no regard unto Jesus Christ in your essays to get your Hearts broken, or if you have not eyed him, as the author and finisher of this benefit, you have yet no right brokenness of Heart. If the blood of Christ hath not been applyed unto your Souls, by the holy Spirit of God bringing home the sense of Gods love in Jesus Christ to your Souls, and helping you to believe in Christ, you cannot be sure that your Hearts have been rightly broken. But if our understandings have been so illuminated as to see the justice and strictness of the holy law of the righteous God, and the odiousnest and the heinousness of all sin against that Law, and the dreadfulness, and the certainty of the punishment threatned by that Law, against all the breakers of that Law, without a full sa|tisfaction to that law by a perfect Righteous|ness; and if we have such conviction upon our Consciences, that the burden of Sin lies heavily upon our Souls, and our Souls are so distressed and afflicted with that burden, that we are so humbled, grieved and ashamed, that we have sinned, and willing to submit unto any terms, that God shall prescribe, that we may be delivered from Sin; and if we abhor all Sin, resolve and purpose against it with all our Hearts, relying on Christ Page 32 for strength to avoid and conquer all Sin; and if we have a continual apprehension of the pardoning mercy of God, in the Lord Je|sus Christ, with faith in his Blood, and are continually concerned for assurance of an Interest in that Mercy, on the account of Christ; and our Souls do more and more long for more full assurance of our Union and Communion with Christ, and our Souls are more and more swallowed up in love unto the Lord Jesus Christ, and in Admiration of his Love to our Souls; and we ascribe unto him the Glory of all the good that ever we enjoyed, or desire to enjoy; and are continually stu|dying and contriving to shew our thankful|ness unto God for giving Christ unto us; and our thankfulness unto Christ, for what he hath been willing to do and bear for our good, and if we long for Heaven, because there we shall be employed in glorifying of the Lord Jesus Christ for ever; Then we have some|thing of the brokenness of Heart, that will appear acceptable with the glorious God thro' Jesus Christ.
Why is such-brokenness of heart acceptable with God? And how it appears to be so?
Answ 1. Sin is pardoned and the Soul sub|dued unto God when the Heart is thus broken. Therefore is this brokenness of Heart accepta|ble with God. We read in Isaiah 1.18. A|bout them that are willing and obedient, so have their Hearts broken, Tho' their Sins be as Scarlet, they shall be white as Snow; tho' they Page 33 be red as Crimson, they shall be as Wool. The meaning is, they shall be all Pardoned, and the Souls of the Sinners purifyed, as well as justifyed. Then the clamour of their Sins, will be Silenced, and they shall not hinder the course of the Mercies of God, unto their Souls. We find in Isa. 59.2. It is declared to some, Your Iniquities have separated between you and your God, your Sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear. But if their Sins are pardoned, then Sinners may have access to God thro' Jesus Christ: And when the wall of separation is made by Sin, between God and our Souls is removed, then will there be a free passage for mercy to our Souls. Then will God manifest unto our Souls, that he doth receive us into his favour and so our broken Hearts will appear not to be despised, but accepted with the Lord.
2. God is appeased unto Sinners, and well pleased with them for the sake of Christ, when their Hearts be so broken. Their wills are brought into Gods will in brokenness of Heart, and there|fore will he not despise their broken Hearts, being reconciled unto their persons. The great contest between God and Sinners, it is this, Who shall have their Will, God or Sinners? But when the Hearts of Sinners are duly broken, then they yield to God. They con|sent that he should have his will. He hath attained his end upon them, and brought them to a submission to his pleasure, and so he is attoned to them; Thence will God have de|light in broken Hearts, and make his abode in them, as in Isa. 57.5. The high and lofty Page 34 one that Inhabiteth Eternity, dwelleth with him that is of a contrite and humble Spirit, and he will revive & comfort them that are so. And he says in Isa. 66. To this man will I look, that is of a contrite Spirit, and that trembleth at my Word. When the Heart of Ephraim was broken so as to bewail and bemoan his miserable condition, then says the Lord in Jer. 31.20. Is Ephraim my dear Son, I do earnestly remember him still, my bowels are troubled for him, I will surely have mercy on him, saith the Lord. God being reconciled unto Sinners, will surely ac|cept their broken Hearts, and be well pleased with them
3 The heart of God appears in a manner broken with compassion toward Miserable Sinners, when their sinful hearts do appear to be duly broken. But if His Heart be broken and opened with compassion toward Sinners, then be sure, he will not despise their brokenness of Heart. We read in Judges 10.16. The People of God had grievously sinned against the Lord, Mise|ries came upon them for their Sins, they pray|ed unto the Lord for deliverance from their miseries, the Lord brought them to such a brokenness of heart that they complyed with his will, Then it follows, The Soul of the Lord was grieved for the Misery of Israel.
By these things we may learn a little what means that brokenness of Heart which God will not despise, and That and Why such bro|kenness of Heart will be acceptable with God thro' Jesus Christ.
USE 1. We might hence Learn, The Page 35 folly of all Sinners that harden their heart a|gainst God, that will not comply with his Will. They shall not, they cannot prosper; for none ever yet prospered in hardening them|selves against God. God evermore, overcomes all those that harden themselves against him. Remember Pharoah! If the Hearts of Sinners be not broken by the means of Grace in the time of his patience, they will certainly be dreadfully broken by the Wrath of God in the day of Vengeance. Would Sinners consent to have their Hearts broken by the means that God hath appointed for the breaking of them, they would find that the Lord would take pleasure in them; He delights in broken Hearts, but as long as poor Sinners do refuse to have their Hearts broken, they find their bands are made stronger and stronger: The distresses of their Soul grow more and more terrible. Was it not so with David, in Psal. 32.3. Where he says While I kept silent (from confessing of Sin to God:) my bones waxed old thro' my roaring all the day. But when his Heart was broken so, as to be willing to con|fess his Sin to God; Then he found relief in, release from his trouble of Soul. There|fore should Sinners be willing to have their Hearts broken so as to be prepared for the sense of the pardoning mercy of God in Christ Jesus. For obstinacy and obduracy in Sin will never be comfortable to Sinners. But,
2. Hence we may learn, what we must do, that we may find acceptance with God thro' Christ. We must must get our understandings illuminated in the truths of God, our Consciences convict|ed Page 36 about the guilt of Sin, our Souls affected & afflicted with the burden of Sin; labour for Humiliation before God, indignation toward Sin, resolution against all Sin and for Holi|ness; but, be sure, in all and with all, yea, above and before all, that we do, we must maintain a due regard unto the Lord Jesus Christ in our Souls. This thing is not men|tioned last, because it should be attended last, for it should be attended with all the other things that are implied in brokenness of Heart; we shall do nothing well about get|ting broken Hearts, that will be acceptable with God, unless we have our eyes to Christ in all. We must not imagine to get our Hearts broken that we may come to Christ, but we must come to Christ for brokenness of Heart: We must look on him whose Heart hath been pierced and broken by our Sins, that our Heart may be broken for our Sins, and from our Sins. But,
3. Let all of us be advised to take right method for such brokenness of Heart as will be acceptable with God thro' Christ: Those methods have been propounded to you all.
And what hath been propounded unto all, must now be very particularly applyed unto one person here, that hath no ground to hope, that he shall ever come any more into this House, after this day.
Poor Man, Be now advised, in the Name and Fear of the glorious and eternal God, to be now earnestly concerned for such a broken Heart as God will not despise,
None of us all have any reason to despise Page 37 despise you, in your present deplorable Cir|cumstances; while we must all own our selves to be miserable Sinners, and the un|controleable Sovereignty of the Most High God, is to be acknowledged, in the diffe|rences that are made in our Circumstances▪ Your Case might have been my Case or the Case of any other person here, if the Sovereign Lord of all had so pleased. But now the Holy Providence of God, hath or|dered me to the heart-breaking work of speaking unto you, in his Name; to pro|mote in you such a broken heart as may by his Grace, be prepared for the Consola|tions of God: Let me with all due Com|passion to you, be faithful to God, and to my own Soul, and to your Soul and to the Souls of all the People, that I am Preach|ing unto, while I am Preaching particular|ly unto you, and to help you in your great work of getting a Broken Heart. Besides all the other things that have been more generally Offered unto all, for their Consi|deration and Improvement; there may two or three things be now Offered unto your more peculiar Consideration; but the sum of them is not unfit to be considered by all the Congregation.
I. Consider the Sins, the great Sins, the hei|nous and many Sins, that you have been guilty of, in the sight of the Glorious and Heart-search|ing God; that your heart may be broken by the consideration of these your Sins. Your sins are, God knows what, and how many; you Page 38 know more than is possible for any of your Neighbours to know, tho' your Neighbours know enough, to affect all their hearts, if they were not exceeding hard, and some of them have seemed to be mightily affected with the consideration of those your sins, which they have known. Then be sure the consideration of your sins, that you know your self to be guilty of in the sight of God, should break your own heart. You ought seriously and solemnly to consider the sins which your heart is privy to; all the sins that your Con|science can justly charge you with, and the sins that you may justly believe in your own heart, have provoked the pure eyes of the Glorious God, to leave you unto the great Sins, for which you are Condemned to Dye before your time; the time, which you might in a course of nature have lived unto; and the time which you might have desired to live unto. You are not to live unto that time, that you might now desire, because you have been wicked over-much. And be sure, you should consider with heart-breaking dis|tresses, those your sins that have been more observable than others unto your Neigh|bours; and you should confess and bewail those your sins before the World as well as before the Lord, with bitter lamentations: Your forsaking of God, neglecting his Worship, and Prophaning the Lords-Day; and all your sins of Speech, that you can call to mind. These are doubtless among the evils, that have in|censed Heaven against you, so as to leave unto your great transgressions. But, Oh, how Page 39 great are these your Transgression! The Sin of Murder, you know, is a Crying Sin. So the Lord told Cain, The voice of thy Brothers Blood cries to me from the Ground It is a Crime, not only against Christian Charity, but also against common Humanity. They seem to lay aside Humane Nature, that are guilty of the Crime. It is against the Law of man, as well as against the Law of God: All Nati|ons that have any thing of Civility among them, do abhor the Crime. It is against the Natural Conscience; thence it brings hor|ror upon the minds of them, that are guilty of it; unless they are amazingly stupify'd. The Heathens thought, A Murderer, Vengeance will not suffer him to live. The Crime defa|ces the Image of God, which Humane Crea|tures bear; and therefore God said unto all the Children of Noah, Gen. 9.6. Whoso shed|deth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed, [The Civil Magistrate should take care, to punish the Murderer with Death] for in the Image of God made he man The Crime de|files the Land, where it is committed; and the Land cannot be cleansed without the death of the Murderer: And therefore is it commanded, in Prov. 28.17. A man that doth violence to the blood of any person, shall flee to the Pit, let no man stay him. There must be all convenient speed in the Executien of the Murderer. Indeed, reasonable time should be allowed for preparation for Death; and mer|ciful persons are willing such time should be allowed; but there can't be allowed very long time, so great is the sin. Yea, by this Page 40 sin▪ Humane Creatures do sink themselves be|neath the very Beasts of the Earth; for the Beasts of the Field will not ordinarily kill one another of their own kind. Yea, more sad; by the Sin of Murder, the Children of men do dreadfully resemble the Devils of Hell; the Fiends of darkness. Murderers may justly be called, the Children of the Devil. In Job. 8.44. He is called a Murderer: and Murderers, by imitation are his Children; Murder is his work. But if Murder be so great a sin, then what may you think of your own sin, that is more than a single or a dou|ble Murder: For you have not only murdered others, but also endeavoured to murder your self; Did I say, that you endeavoured to murder your self? Alas! You have been guilty of self-murder, not only in attempting to murder your self, (cut|ting your own Throat) but also you have ac|tually and barbarously murdered your Wife, that by the Ordinance of God, was one with your self; in Marriage made one flesh with you; and you should have loved her, as your self, as your life; (yea more than you seemed to love your own life) and been willing to venture your own life, thousands of times, had there been occasion, for the preservation of her life. But instead there|of, you have inhumanely put an end to her life, and to the life of her (and your) Sis|ter, with dreadful stroaks, and with cruel stabs; and have thereby given occasion for all their Relations, and all your Relations, to have their hearts filled and broken with bitter sorrows all their days. Don't this break your heart! But besides this, You have Page 41 occasioned Confusion and Consternation throughout the whole Town Yea, filled the whole Land with amazement, with astonishment. You have defiled the Land with Blood, and it cannot be cleansed from its defilement, without your Death. You must be made a Sacrifice unto Justice, or God would be angry at the Land. So great are your Sins. Will not this break your heart? The Law of God, in Numb. 35.16. was, That if a man should smite any person with an instrument of Iron, (so that he Dye) he is a Murderer and the Murderer shall surely be put to Death. But it seems, that you have used two Instruments of Iron (a Pen-knife and an Ax) for the destruction of two persons, whom you should have loved as your life, and been willing to have exposed your own life, to have preserv|ed either of theirs. But you have destroyed them, without giving them any time to make prepara|tion for Eternity, into which you have hurried them after a dreadful manner. If it were true, that you saw not what you did, after the first mortal blows, it would be no wonder. For what Eyes, unless the Eyes of Dragons or Tygers could look on, to see such Cruel|ty! such Barbarity! such Inhumanity! such Devilism! Oh, Consider such things, to break your heart; and mourn for that your heart hath been so hard; no more broken for your sin, than it hath been ever since your Ap|prehension, before your Condemnation, what|ever it hath been since the Sentence of Death was passed upon you. Oh, that you may not appear so without the fear of God, while you are under Condemnation, as to have your heart Page 42 unbroken for your detestable Abominations! But, Oh! Try to set your Sins in Order before your Eyes. Consider them with their mighty aggravations. And forget not Original Sin; be able to say truly with him, in Psal. 51.3. I acknowledge my transgression, my sin is ever be|fore me. This may be one means to break your own heart; and be sure, if your sins are before your face, and you mourn for them with bitterness of Soul, and brokenness of heart, looking unto the Blood of Jesus for the cleansing of them: This will be a desirable to|ken that God will cast them behind his back, and forgive and forget them, and re|member them no more. Will not these things break your heart? Then,
II. Consider the woes, the sad woes, the grievous and many woes, that you are exposed unto, by reason of your Sins, that your Heart may be broken for your Sins, that have deserved these woes. Oh, consider what woes are already come, and what woes you may still plainly see certainly coming! The distress on your Body, tho' you may sometimes have endured grievous pains, for a|while; The disgrace on your name, tho' you have brought grievous reproach thereupon; These are nothing! nothing, to the other woes deserved by sin. You have brought grievous and lasting trouble upon your Re|lations: How must their Hearts be broken with distress, while they live? (The Infinitely, compassionate Lord, shew his tender com|passions to every of them and support their Souls under their heavy Sorrows) How must Page 43 they be distressed while they consider what is come & coming upon you! Will not this break your Heart! To think, your are bring|ing the grey hairs of your aged Father, with bitter Sorrow, to the Grave? To think, that you have brought misery upon your poor Children, so that wicked People may say to them, Your Father Murdered your Mother and your Aunt; don't your Heart break to think, what disgrace you have bro't on your name, and so trouble on the Souls of your Friends from Generation to Generation, after your Soul is gone into the other World?
But Oh, what woes have you brought upon your own Soul! You have surrendered your Soul into the hands of Satan, the destroyer of Souls, after a dreadful manner. Satan hath fill'd your Heart & hardened your Heart, and Oh! How dreadfully maintain'd a pos|session of your Heart! Oh! that your sinful Heart might be broken, that the Devil might no longer find any lodging, any shelter there! That the Lord Jesus Christ by his holy Spirit might take possession of your broken Heart, so as to mend it and heal it, with his precious Blood! But, Oh! Still consider what woes you have brought on your own Soul, in shortning your Time, in greatning your Guilt, and have now procured this woe to your Soul, that it must quickly be hur|ried out of your Body into the Eternal World, to ap|pear before the awful judgment seat of God. And if you dye before your Heart be broken, there will still be more terrible woes, than all these woes: All the Woes and Sorrows and Miseries and Calamities of your whole Life, they will Page 44 be nothing at all, compared with the dread|ful woes, that you must experience immediate|ly upon the separation of your Soul from your Body; your Soul it must fall into the hands of the living God; whose angry Hands it is a fearful thing to fall into; and he will suffer it to fall into the hands, the jaws of the de|stroyers of Souls: The Fiends of darkness will seiz upon it. And it must be shut up in a dark, doleful, fiery, smoaky Prison, till the Great Day of Judgment; then must your Soul be re-united with your Body, to appear before the tremendous Tribunal of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of the whole World of Angels and men. But if you are then found without an heart that hath been bro|ken for, and from Sin, before you dye; if Sin be then found fixed upon your Soul, and your heart then appear to have been fixed and hardened in sin all your life, then you must hear a Sentence passed upon you, that will make the very Angels of Heaven to tremble: The Judge of the whole World will then say, Depart, under the Curse of God into Everlasting Fire, with the Devil and his Angels. Then there will be no room for a, Lord have mercy upon your Soul. But your Soul must, with your Body, go into Eternal Misery. But, Oh, how do you think to bear up under the Wrath of God, for ever and ever! Who knows the power of God's Anger? Men don't know, Angels don't know. The Anger of God over|turns the Mountains, those Pillars of Heaven tremble at his rebukes; How then can you think of dwelling with Devouring Fire, and with E|verlasting Page 45 Burnings without having your heart broken by such thoughts! Does not your very Soul within you, begin to shake, and quake, and to quiver with horrour, upon the fore-thoughts of these terrible things? To lie for ever in Hell, where the Wrath of the Lord of Hosts, like a stream of brimstone, will be for ever kindling the Fire. Oh, dreadful, dreadful! A man, that I have understood was once upon this Island, but dyed in another place for Murder; before he dyed, he cried out to this purpose, I have been▪ said he, before the roaring Canon, among drawn Swords. Bullets fly|ing about my ears, and Death staring me in the face▪ but I never knew what fear meant, before I came to consider the Eternal Wrath of the Al|mighty God, that will be poured out upon my Soul in the other World, if I dy impenitent: But when I come to consider this Wrath, it makes me to shiver with horrour Another man, that dy|ed in this Town, had his Conscience awaken|ed so before he dy'd, that he made the Stan|ders by to tremble, when he cried out in my Hearing, O Torment, Torment, Torment like fire in my Soul! Oh, Consider the Wrath to come! to come, the Wrath which will be for ever coming, and yet never all come upon the mi|serable Soul of the Sinner that hath not his heart broken for, and from Sin, before he dies▪ Ah, Jeremiah, You may lament with the words of your Namesake the Weeping Prophet, in the third Chapter of his Lamen|tations. I am one that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He hath brought me into dark|ness, and not into light; his hand is against me Page 46 all the day. And you have reason to say, My Soul hath cause to be troubled; there is reason for you to be troubled exceedingly; You know not of any other man that ever was in such lamentable Circumstances, as you are now in. You are already very miserable; but Oh what is to follow, will be more dreadful, than all that is come! inexpressibly more dreadful, if your heart be not so bro|ken, as to be prepared for the healing blood of the Lord Jesus Christ before you Dye. Can your heart endure to be banished from the Gracious Presence of God for ever? and pun shed with an everlasting destruction from the Presence of the Lord, and the Glory of his Power; be|cause you refuse to accept of Christ with a broken heart?
But I have one thing more to offer to your Con|sideration, for the breaking of your heart; and if that thing will not break your heart, what will? No Consideration will do it. But your heart will remain eternally under obduration, if the consideration of that thing will do no|thing toward the breaking of it. God will break you sore in the place of Dragons, and cover you with more, than the shadow of Death for ever, if this consideration make no impression on you. The very substance of Death, of Eternal Death, in Everlasting Se|paration from all good; and in your endu|ring of inconceivable vexation within your Soul for ever and ever, must be your portion; if the consideration of what is now to be proposed, will make no impression upon you, to break your heart. But if your heart begin Page 47 to be already broken, the consideration of what is now to be offered, will certainly be for yout advantage; it will promote the great work already begun. Prepare then to consider, what is presently to be menti|oned: Lift up your Soul now to the Lord. Beg of him for the sake of Christ, by his Grace, to help you unto suitable Conside|rations, upon what is now to be considered.
III. Consider, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Eter|nal Son of God, the Redeemer of Souls hath en|dured very grievous Woes, and Sorrows, and Mi|series, and astonishing Calamities for the sake of Sinners. That such as your Sins might be pardoned, that such Sinners as you might be receiv'd into the favour of God; and have his Blood applied unto their sinful hearts, for the softning of them, and the breaking of them into godly Repentance; and this Blood of the Son of God, that hath been shed, is freely offered unto you in the Glorious Gospel of God, our Saviour, which is now Preached in your hearing: This Blood of Christ is freely Offered unto you, for the re|mission of your sins, if you will but accept the Offer: though you have been guilty of shedding Blood in a dreadful manner. And if this Blood be applied unto your Soul, it will still the dreadful cry of the Blood of your dearest Relations, that hath made, or will certainly make a dreadful cry upon the thorow awakening of your guilty Conscience. But, Oh! Be amazed, be filled with everlast|ing Admirations. Don't the Angels of God Page 48 wonder at this, that the Blood of the Eternal Sa|viour of Souls, may be offered unto an horrible Murderer, that hath dreadfully shed the innocent blood of those, for whom he should have been wil|ling, to have spent the last drop of his own blood, for the preservation of their lives! Oh! remem|ber the advice, in Heb. 12.2. Looking unto Jesus, consider him; Consider what Christ endu|red for Sinners; that such miserable Sinners as you and I, and the rest of us are, even the vilest of us all, might have our sinful hearts broken for, and from Sin, so as to be Saved from Eternal Miseries. He endured the Cross, despising the shame; he endured the contradiction of Sinners, that we Sinners might be delivered from eternal shame, and eternal pain, Oh, Think what the Redeemer of Souls under|went, for to redeem Sinners. He that was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, that never had guile found in his mouth, never did any thing amiss, went about doing good; and when he came to dye, no fault at all could be found in him; yet he appearing in the room of Sinners, it pleased the Lord to bruise him, and to put him to grief▪ and he made his Soul an offering for sin, bearing the rage of men▪ the fury of Devils, and the Anger of his Eternal Father; hanging for several hours, nailed unto the Cross, and his precious blood running from several parts of his Body; and then at last, his heart-blood fetched away from him; that the hard hearts of Sinners might be softened so, as to be broken for their Sins, that they might be healed with that Blood. And con|sider, O miserable Malefactor, consider the Page 49 Son of God was numbred with Transgres|sors, hanged with Malefactors, to shew, that the vilest of Malefactors, might have benefit by his Blood, if they do with unfeignedly repenting, broken, bleeding hearts accept of that Blood. And his Blood was shed for the Remission of the Sins of notorious Ma|lefactors, that they might have granted un|to them Repentance unto Life, Repentance unto Salvation. You know that one of the Malefactors that was Crucifyed with Him, had benefit by his Blood immediately after it was shed; and so may you now, and you will have Eternal Benefit by that Blood, if your heart be duly broken. For behold the pardoning, healing, softning, heart melting Blood of the Son of God is now still offered unto you, and it is your duty now to ac|cept the Offer. And is not the Holy Spi|rit of God, working now upon your Soul, at least inclining you to some desires, that this Blood might be made beneficial to your Soul? Oh, Strike in with the present mo|tions of the Spirit of God! Comply present|ly with the first and the least motions of that Holy Spirit; immediately comply now, after all your sinful delays. Your sinful de|lays to accept of the pardoning Blood of Christ Offered unto you in the Gospel, may be among the Crimes, that have provoked the Holy Spirit of God to leave you unto the Capital Crimes, for which you are Con|demned to Dye, and unto all that hardness of heart, which you have lately too much discovered. Forty years have you grieved Page 50 the Spirit of God: Grieve Him no longer. But, Oh! Be humbled before the Lord, for your having so long delay'd to accept the of|fered Blood of Christ, for the Salvation of your Soul; and be very thankful to the God of Patience, that you may have yet one Offer more of that Blood. The Soul-justifying and Heart-purifying Blood of the Son of God is yet Offered unto your Soul, and you are co|ming apace, near unto the last time, that ever that Blood will be Offered. O reject not the Offer; tremble to continue refusing the Offer any longer. Delay no longer to comply with the Offers of the Gospel of Christ, and the Motions of the Holy Spirit of God. Be|hold, now is the accepted time! Behold, now is the Day of Salvation! your Salvation is yet possi|ble, no contrary Doctrine is here Preached: Therefore Now hear the Voice of God this day, that it may not quickly be for ever too late. Your Crimes are, some of them, Bloo|dy Crimes. And you have now heard much, about the Blood of the Son of God, for the expiation of these Crimes. And this Blood hath been Offered unto you, and you have been urged to accept the Offer of that Blood, and to consent presently & immediately, that the Blood of the Lamb of God may be ap|plied unto your Soul. Now consent with all your heart, and with a broken heart, that the Lord Jesus Christ may have your sinful heart, and wash it from all your Sins with his own Blood: O Con|sent, before you go out of this House, and before you stir from the place, the spot where you are. And mourn before the Lord, that Page 51 you have been so long unwilling to consent. But if you hope you are now at all willing to consent, be thankful to the Lord that hath made you willing. Own his Grace in ma|king you willing, praise him for his Grace. Keep good motions alive in your Soul, if you are come to your self, to a right mind▪ But if you fear, that you are not yet willing to consent, Oh be grieved for that your un|willingness, be impatient while so unwilling; Own the Righteousness of God in leaving you to such hardness of heart; Beg of him, to glorifie his Free Grace wonderfully, in making of you willing to have your Sins pardoned, your Soul cured of its maladies, by the Blood of Christ, for the glory of his Grace for ever. And that I may be faithful to you, as well as earnest with you: Be assured, That if the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, ever does any saving good unto your Soul, your heart will be more broken than ever it hath appeared to have been before this day, since your Imprisonment. God knows what hath been really. But if your heart be really, and appear savingly broken, so as to satisfie all people, that you are truly peni|tent; there must be some other tokens of that brokenness of heart, than have yet ap|peared. Your heart must be so broken, as to pour forth, if not tears, yet sighs and groans of unfeigned Repentance: You will repent of sin, you can't but repent of sin, confessing and bewailing your sins before the Lord, if your heart be broken by the application of the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ unto your Soul. And you must be willing with heart-break|ing Page 52 agonies to warn others to take heed of sinning against the Lord of you havedone. You must be concerned for the Glory of God in your Sal|vation before you Dy, if your heart be right|ly broken by the Blood of Christ. But if your heart be not so broken before you Die▪ then, within a few days, you must be dread|fully broken for ever, between the Milstones of the Indignation of the Almighty God. But if your heart be rightly broken, then will you be prepared for the Consolations of God: And that you may by a right broken|ness of heart be prepared for those Consola|tions; the People of God will be ready to offer their Supplications to the Lord. We must pray to the Glorious God, who hath made your heart, that he would take your heart into his own hands, that he would break it as it should be broken, that it may be changed, clean|sed, framed, formed, new-made, and moulded ac|cording to his own Holy Will. And we must pray, That all of our own sinful hearts, may be suitably affected and broken, as they should be, by our Consideration of your deplorable Circumstances. And therefore I must with a few words, now address the rest of the Congregation, that we may, by the Grace of Christ, be prepared to pour out our Supplications before the Lord for your Soul, and for our own Souls.
O People of God, Consider, what reason there is for all of us to have our sinful Hearts broken this day, before the Lord. Never was there such a terri|ble Spectacle, in your Congregation, before this day, nor in your Colony, if there hath any thing like it, ever been in this Country. Page 53 Should it not break our Hearts to think that ever the righteous and holy God, should be so provoked, as to suffer the Dragons of the bottomless pit, so far to break loose among us, as they have done, to occasion such bloody, fiery desolations,? We ought to consider, what means the heat of this anger of the Lord? And all People should search and try their Souls, and their ways and turn to the Lord; and pray him to turn away from his fierce anger, that hath been burning against us. And let all of us consider and examine our selves, and see how far we have our selves had an hand in pulling down the anger of God that hath been pouring down among us. If any one person here should say, I am sure that I have had no hand in pulling down the anger of God; it might be justly feared that person have been guilty, of some great wick|edness, that can be so insensible, so inconsi|derate, so unconcerned, so hard hearted. We must all remember and realize unto our selves that we are all of us miserable Sinners, born Sinners, with hearts full of Sin, have lived sinfully, fill'd our lives with Sin. Who of us all can say, I have made my Heart clean? I am Pure from my Sin? We are all by Nature Chil|dren of Wrath: As vile as the vilest. They that by the grace of God in Chirst have been kept clearest, and farthest, and most free from outragious wickedness, yet have cause to mourn before that Lord, and to beg that he would cleanse our selves from secret faults, that are before his face; and the sin of our Heart that is in the light of his countenance. And who can say, how far God may remember Page 54 against us our common Sins, that are too un|lamented? How many People think well of themselves and would have others think so of them too, because they are not guilty, as they pretend, of any more than the common Sins of the times, not considering that God may, for the punishment of common Sins, leave Sinners unto uncommon Sins, that they may be hung up in Irons for the warning or succeed|ing Ages, to take heed of common Sins? But if we were never so clear from the com|mon Sins of the times, yet this would not assure us, that we have no hand in pulling down the anger of God. There was an holy minister of God, as faithful in the discharge of his Duty, for ought we know, as ever any Minister had been; but when that Faithful Minister of God beheld the glo|rious Majesty of Heaven, appearing in his Holiness, going to pour out his Wrath upon a snful People, for their great wickedness, he cryed out, Wo is me, for I am a Man of unclean Lips, and I dwell among a People of un|clean Lips. It seems that he feared, he had not always maintained that faihfulness, that should have been maintained, in testifying against the Sins that provoked the Wrath of Heaven against a sinful People. But, besure, all of us may fear, that God is ma|nifesting his displeasure against every one of us, in what he hath lately in his Sover|reignty, permitted, among us. We have no reason to say, it is, because that such a per|son hath been, a greater Sinner than all o|thers of the Neighbours, and therefore hath Page 55 God left such a person to be guilty of Capi|tal Sins. But we should rather say, let all of us repent of our own Sins, that we may not provoke the Lord, to leave us also unto destructive Iniquity. All People should hear & fear that they may no more do any such wickedness. Other Con|gregations in the Town, may have reason to consider how far they are concerned, in minding the dispensations of God. But be sure, now God hath, in his holy Providence, brought this terrible Spectacle into our Con|gregation; certainly it becomes all of us, to consider and examine our selves, and be very humble before God, for our own Sins, and very thankful to God, that we have been so far preserved by the restraints of God, from destroying our selves, or being destroyed by others, and be very careful to take heed about all our ways, that we may not provoke the Lord to leave us unto our own Lusts, or unto the Temptations of Satan. We should fall if we were not up|held. Provoke not the Lord to withdraw his upholding Grace. Make sure of a change of Heart and of a real Union with Christ, and of Pardon for all Sins past; walk hum|bly and closely with God, rely on Christ for Help, to do so. Be in the Fear of the Lord all the day long. Shun all occasions of Sin, all tendencies to Sin. Be much in Suppli|cation to the Lord. And if God hath made us, by his Grace in Christ, ready and willing to pour out our Supplications before him, for the blessings and benefits of broken Hearts, for our selves and others, it is an Page 56 hopeful token, that he hath begun to be|stow, and will go on to bestow those good things upon us: For the Lord hath not for|saken the Souls of them that are seeking of him; He will fulfil the desires of them that Fear him; He hath not said to the Seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain. If God encline our Hearts to ask for good things, there is room for us to hope that he hath prepared his Ear to hear us. If sincere Prayers break out of our Hearts for more brokenness of Heart, then do our Hearts begin to be rightly broken. Then may we consider for our everlasting encouragement, those good and sweet words in Psal. 34.18. The Lord is nigh to them, that are of a broken Heart, and saveth the Contrite of Spirit.
Books Printed for, and Sold by Nicholas Boone, at the Sign of the Bible in Cornhill, Boston.
A New Edition of, The Token for Children: Being an Exact Account of the Conversion, Holy Lives, and Joyful Deaths of several Young Children. By James Jane|way. To which is added, A Token for the Children of New-England. With Additions.
SEven Sermons. I. Of the Unpardona|ble Sin against the Holy Ghost: Or the Sin unto Death. II. The Saints Duty and Exercise, in two Parts: Being an Exhortation to, and Direction for Pray|er. III. The Accepted Time, and Day of Salvation. IV. The End of Time, and Beginning of Eternity. V. Joshua's Resolution to Serve the Lord▪ VI. The Way to Heaven made Plain. VII The Future State of Man: Or, A Treatise of the Resurrection. By Robert Russel.
Page [unnumbered]THE Day of Doom: Or, A Poeti|cal Description of the Great and Last Judgment: With a Short Discourse about Eternity. With several other Po|ems. The Sixth Edition. By Michael Wig|glesworth. To which is Added, A Cha|racter of the Author. By C. M. D. D.
A Man of his Word. A very brief Essay, On Fidelity in keeping of Promises and Engagements. Declaring How and Why, a Good Man will be as Good as his Word. With a Touch upon some Weighty CASES, relating to it. By Cotton Mather, D. D.
A Guide to Christ: Or, The Way of Directing Souls that are under the Work of Conversion. Compiled for the help of Young Ministers; and may be Serviceable to Private Christians, who are Enquiring the Way to Zion. By Solo|mon Stoddard, Pastor of Northampton: With an Epistle Prefixed, By Dr. Increase Mather.