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want of tears, or a melting, weeping disposition ; and never at all
l for the want of such tears, where the will is tractable and obedient. I pray you examine yourself then according to this rule, God offereth his love in Christ, and Christ with all his benefits, to you. Are you willing to accept them? He commandeth you to worship him, and use his ordinances, and love his people, and others, and to forsake your known iniquities, so far that they may not have dominion over you. Are you willing to this ? He commandeth you to take him for your God, and Christ for your Redeemer, and stick to him for better and worse, and never forsake him. Are you willing to do this? If you have a stiff, rebellious heart, and will not accept of Christ and grace, and will rather let go Christ than the world, and will not be persuaded from your known iniquities, but are loath to leave them, and love not to be reformed, and will not set upon those duties as you are able, which God requireth, and you are fully convinced of, then are you hardhearted in the Scripture sense. But if you are glad to have Christ with all your heart, upon the terms that he is offered to you in the Gospel, and you do walk daily in the way of duty as you can, and are willing to pray, and willing to hear and wait on God in his ordinances, and willing to have all God's graces formed within you, and willing to let go your most profitable and sweetest sins, and it is your daily desires, O that I could seek God, and do his will more faithfully, zealously, and pleasingly than I do! O that I were rid of this body of sin ; these carnal, corrupt, and worldly
2 inclinations! And that I were as holy as the best of God's saints on earth! And if when it comes to practice, whether you should obey or no, though some unwillingness to duty, and willingness to sin be in you, you are offended at it, and the greater bent of your will is for God, and it is but the lesser which is towards sin, and therefore the world and flesh do not lead you captive, and you live not wilfully in avoidable sins, por at all in gross sin ! I say, if it be thus with you, then you have the blessing of a soft heart, a heart of flesh, a new heart; for it is a willing, obedient, tractable heart, opposed to obstinacy in sin, which Scripture calleth a soft heart. And then for the passionate part, which consisteth in lively feelings of sin, misery, mercy, &c. and in weeping for sin I shall say but Vol. I.
this : 1. Many an unsanctified person hath very much of it, which yet are desperately hardhearted sinners. It dependeth far more on the temper of the body, than of the grace in the soul. Women usually can weep easily (and yet not all,) and children, and old men. Some complexions incline to it, and others not. Many can weep at a passion-sermon, or any moving duty, and yet will not be persuaded to obedience; these are hardhearted sinners for all their tears. 2. Many a tender, godly person cannot weep for sin, partly through the temper of their minds, which are more judicious and solid, and less passionate ; but mostly from the temper of their bodies, which dispose them not that way. 3. Deepest sorrows seldom cause tears, but deep thoughts of heart; as greatest joys seldom cause laughter, but inward pleasure. I will tell you how you shall know whose heart is truly sorrowful for sin, and tender; he that would be at the greatest cost or pains to be rid of sin, or that he had not sinned. You cannot weep for sin, but you would give all that you have to be rid of sin ; you could wish when you dishonored God by sin, that you had spent that time in suffering rather; and if it were to do again on the same terms and inducements, you would not do it; nay, you would live a beggar contentedly, so you might fully please God, and never sin against him; and are content to pinch your flesh, and deny your worldly
h interest for the time to come, rather than wilfully disobey. This is a truly tender heart. On the other side, another can weep to think of his sin; and yet if you should ask him, What wouldst thou give, or what wouldst thou suffer, so thou hadst not sinned, or that thou mightest sin no more? Alas, very little. For the next time that he is put to it, he will rather venture on the sin, than venture on a little loss, or danger, or disgrace in the world, or deny his craving flesh its pleasures. This is a hardhearted sinner. The more you would part with to be rid of sin, or the greatest cost you would be at for that end, the more repentance have you, and true tenderness of heart. Alas, if men should go to heaven according to their weeping, what abundance of children and women would be there for one man! I will speak truly my own case. This doubt lay heavy many a year on my own soul, when yet I would have given all that I had to be rid of sin, but I could not weep a
tear for it. Nor could I weep for the death of my dearest friends, when yet I would have bought their lives, had it been God's will, at a dearer rate than many that could weep for them ten times as much. And now since my nature is decayed, and my body languished in consuming weakness, and my head more moistened, and my veins filled with phlegmatic, watery blood, now I can weep; and I find never the more tenderheartedness in myself than before. And yet to this day so much remains of my old disposition, that I could wring all the money out of my purse, easier than one tear out of my eyes, to save a friend, or rescue them from evil : when I see divers that can weep for a dead friend, that would have been at no great cost to save their lives. 5. Besides, as Dr. Sibbs saith, 66 There is ost sorrow for sin in us, when it doth not appear ; it wanteth but some quickening word to set it a foot.” It is the nature of grief to break out into tears most, when sorrow hath some vent, either when we use some expostulating, aggravating terms with ourselves, or when we are opening our hearts and case to a friend; then sorrow will often shew itself that did not before. 6. Yet do I not deny, but that our want of tears, and tender affections, and heartmeltings, are our sins. For my part, I see exceeding cause to bewail it greatly in myself, that my soul is not raised to a higher pitch of tender sensibility of all spiritual things than it is. I doubt not but it should be the matter of our daily confession and complaint to God, that our hearts are so dull and little affected with his sacred truths, and our own sins. But this is the scope of all my speech, Why do not you distinguish between matter of sorrow, and matter of doubting ? No question but you should lament your dulness and stupidity, and use all God's means for the quickening of your affections, and to get the most lively frame of soul; but must it cause you to doubt of your sincerity, when you cannot obtain this? Then will you never have a settled peace or assurance for many days together, for aught I know. I would ask you but this, whether you are willing or unwilling of all that hardness, insensibleness, and dulness which you complain of? If you are willing of it, what makes you complain of it? If you are unwilling, it seems your will is so far sound; and it is the will that is the seat of the life of grace, which we must try by. And was not Paul's case the same with yours, when he saith,
* Tbe good which I would do, I do not; and when I would do good, evil is present with me;" Rom. vii. 19. I know Paul speaks not of gross sins, but ordinary infirmities. And I have told you before, that the liveliness and sensibility of the passions or affections, is a thing that the will, though sanctified, cannot fully command or escite at its pleasure. A sanctified man cannot grieve or weep for sin when he will, or so much as he will. He cannot love, joy, be zealous, &c. when he will. He may be truly willing, and not able.
, And is not this your case? And doth not Paul make it the case of all Christians ? “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary one to the other, so that we cannot do the things that we would ;" Gal. v. 17. Take my counsel therefore in this, if you love not self-deceiving and disquietness. Search whether you can say unfeignedly, 'I would with all my heart have Christ and his quickening and sanctifying Spirit, and his softening grace, to bring my hard heart to tenderness, and my dull and blockish soul to a lively frame! O that I I could attain it?' And if you can truly say thus, Bless God that hath given you saving sincerity ; and then let all the rest of your dulness, and deadness, and hardheartedness be matter of daily sorrow to you, and spare not, so it be in moderation, but let it be no matter of doubting. Confess it, complain of it, pray against it, and strive against it; but do not deny God's grace in you for it.
And here let me mind you of one thing, That it is a very ill distemper of spirit, when a man can mourn for nothing, but what causeth him to doubt of his salvation. It is a great corruption, if when your doubts are resolved, and you are persuaded of your salvation, if then you cease all your humiliation and sorrow for your sin ; for you must sorrow that you have in you such a body of death, and that which is so displeasing to God, and are able to please and enjoy him no more, though you were never so certain of the pardon of sin, and of salvation.
7. Lastly, Let me ask you one question more ; What is the reason that you are so troubled for want of tears for your sin ? Take heed lest there lie some corruption in this trouble that you do not discern. If it be only because your deadness and dullness is your sin, and you would fain have your soul in that frame, in which it may be fittest to please God and enjoy him ; then I commend and encourage you in your trouble. But take heed Jest you should have any conceit of meritoriousness in your tears; for that would be a more dangerous sin than your want of tears. And if it be for want of a sign of grace, and because a dry eye is a sign of an unregenerate soul, I have told you, it is not so, except where it only seconds an impenitent heart, and comes from, or accompanieth an unrenewed will, and a prevailing unwillingness to turn to God by Christ. Shew me, if you can, where the Scripture saith, He that cannot weep for sin, shall not be saved, or hath no true grace. Is not your complaint in this, the very same that the most eminent Christians have used in all times? That most blessed, holy man, Mr. Bradford, who sacrificed his life in the flames agaiost Romish abominations, was wont to subscribe his spiritual letters (indited by the breath of the Spirit of God) thus : • The most miserable, hardhearted sinner, John Bradford.'
Doubt 5. “O but I am not willing to good, and therefore I fear that even my will itself is yet unchanged : I have such a backwardness and undisposedness to duty, especially secret prayer, meditation, and self-examination, and reproving and exhorting sinners, that I am fain to force myself to it against my will. It is no delight that I find in these duties that brings me to them, but only I use violence with myself, and am fain to pull myself down on my knees, because I know it is a duty, and I cannot be saved without it; but I am no sooner on my knees, but I have a motion to rise, or be short, and am weary of it, and find no great miss of duty when I do omit it.
Answ. 1. This shews that your soul is sick, when your meat goes so much against your stomach that you are fain to force it down : and sickness may well cause you to complain to God and man. But what is this to deadness! The dead cannot force down their meat, nor digest it at all. It seems by this, that you are sanctified but in a low degree, and your corruption remains in some strength; and let that be your sorrow, and the overcoming of it be your greatest care and business : but should you therefore say that you are unsanctified? It seems that you have still the flesh lusting against