Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 25.
( ...continued from File 24)
Sermon 25. Christ's memorable Address to the Daughters of Jerusalem, 
in his Way to the Place of his Execution. 
Luke 23:27,28,&c. 
And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, 
which also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning unto them 
said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for 
yourselves, and for your children. 
The sentence of death once given against Christ, the execution 
quickly follows. Away they lead him from Gabbatha to Golgotha, 
longing as much to be nailing him to the cross, and feeding their 
eyes with his torments, as the eagle does to be tearing the flesh, 
and drinking the blood of that lamb she has seized in her talons, 
and is carrying away to the top of some rock to devour. 
    The Evangelist here observes a memorable passage that fell out 
in their way to the place of execution; and that is, the laments 
lions and wailing of some that followed him out of the city, who 
expressed their pity and sorrow for him most tenderly and 
compassionately: all hearts were not hard, all eyes were not dry. 
"There followed him a great company of people, and of women, which 
also bewailed and lamented him," &c. 
    In this paragraph we have two parts, viz. the lamentation of 
the daughters of Jerusalem for Christ, and Christ's reply to them. 
    1. The lamentation of the daughters of Jerusalem for Christ. 
Concerning them, we briefly enquire who they were, and why they 
    (1.) Who they were? The text calls them "daughters", i.e. 
inhabitants of Jerusalem"; for it is a Hebraism; as "daughters of 
Zion, daughters of Israel". And it is like the greatest part of them 
were women; and there were many of them, a troop of mourners, that 
followed Christ out of the city towards the place of his execution, 
with lamentations and wailings. 
    (2.) What the principle, or ground of these their lamentations 
was, is not agreed by those that have pondered the story. Some are 
of opinion their tears and lamentations were but the effects and 
fruits of their more tender and ingenuous natures, which were moved 
and melted with so tragical and sad a spectacle as was now before 
them. It is well observed by a judicious author, "That the tragical 
story of some great and noble personage, full of he royal virtue and 
ingenuity (yet inhumanely and ungratefully used) will thus work upon 
ingenuous spirits who read or hear of it, - which when it reaches no 
higher, is so far from being faith, that it is but a carnal and 
fleshly devotion, springing from fancy, which is pleased with such a 
story and the principles of ingenuity stirred towards one, who is of 
a noble spirit, and yet abused. Such stories use to stir up a 
principle of humanity in men unto a compassionate love; which Christ 
himself at his suffering found fault with, as being not spiritual, 
nor raised enough in those women that went weeping to see the 
Messiah so handled. Weep not for me, (saith he) i.e. weep not so 
much for this, to see me so unworthily handled by those for whom I 
die." This is the principle from which some conceive those tears to 
    But Calvin attributes it to their faith, "looking upon these 
mourners as a remnant reserved by the Lord in that miserable 
dispersion; and though their faith was but weak, yet he judges it 
credible that there was a secret seed of godliness in them, which 
afterwards grew to a maturity, and brought forth fruit". And to the 
same sense others give their opinion also. 
    2. Let us consider Christ's reply to them; "weep not for me, ye 
daughters of Jerusalem," &c. Strange, that Christ should forbid them 
to weep for him, yea for him under such unparalleled sufferings and 
miseries. If ever there was a heart melting object in the world, it 
was here. O who could hold, whose heart was not petrified, and more 
obdurate than the senseless rocks? This reply of Christ undergoes a 
double sense and interpretation, suitable to the different 
construction of their sorrows. Those that look upon their sorrows as 
merely natural, take Christ's reply in a negative sense, prohibiting 
such tears as those. They that expound their sorrows as the fruit of 
faith, tell us, though the form of Christ's expression be negative, 
yet the sense is comparative, as Mat. 9: 13. "I will have mercy, and 
not sacrifice," i.e. mercy rather than sacrifice. So here, weep 
rather upon your own account, than mine; reserve your sorrows for 
the calamities coming upon yourselves and your children. You are 
greatly affected, I see, with the misery that is upon me; but mine 
will be quickly over, yours will be long. In which he shows his 
merciful and compassionate disposition, who was still more mindful 
of the troubles and burdens of others than of his own. 
    And indeed, the days of calamity coming upon them and their 
children were doleful days. What direful and unprecedented miseries 
befell them at the breaking up and devastation of the city, who has 
not read or heard? And who can refrain from tears that hears or 
reads it? 
    Now if we take the words in the first sense, as a prohibition 
of their merely natural and carnal affections, expressed in tears 
and lamentations for him, no otherwise than they would have been 
upon any other like tragical story; then the observation from it 
will be this, 
    Doct. 1. That melting affections and sorrows, even from the 
    sense and consideration of the sufferings of Christ, are no 
    infallible signs of grace. 
    If you take it in the latter sense, as the fruit of their 
faith, as tears flowing from a gracious principle; then the 
observation will be this, 
    Doct. 2. That the believing meditation of what Christ suffered 
    for us, is of great force and efficacy to melt and break the 
    I shall rather choose to prosecute both these branches, than to 
decide the controversy; especially since the notes gathered from 
either may be useful to us. And therefore I shall begin with the 
first, viz. 
    Doct. 1. That melting affections and sorrows, even from the 
    sense of Christ's sufferings, are no infallible marks of grace. 
    In this point I have two things to do, to prepare it for use. 
    First, To show, what the melting of the affections by way of 
grief and sorrow is. 
    Secondly, That they may be so melted, even upon the account of 
Christ, and yet the heart remain unrenewed. 
    First, What the melting of the affections, by way of grief and 
sorrow, is. 
    Tears are nothing else but the juice of a mind oppressed, and 
squeezed with grief. Grief compresses the heart; the heart so 
compressed and squeezed, vents itself sometimes into tears, sighs, 
groans, &c. and this is two-fold: gracious, and wholly supernatural; 
or common, and altogether natural. The gracious melting or sorrow of 
the soul, is likewise two-fold; habitual or actual. Habitual bodily 
sorrow is that gracious disposition, inclination, or tendency of the 
renewed heart to mourn and melt, when any just occasion is presented 
to the soul that calls for such sorrow. It is expressed, Ezek. 36: 
26. "By taking away the heart of stone, and giving a heart of 
flesh;" i.e. a heart impressive, and yielding to such arguments and 
considerations as move it to mourning. 
    Actual sorrow is the expression and manifestation of that its 
inclination upon just occasions; and it is expressed two ways, 
either by the internal effects of it, which are the heaviness, 
shame, loathing, resolution, and holy revenge begotten in the soul 
upon the account of sin: or also by more external and visible 
effects, as sighs, groans, tears, &c. The former is essential to 
godly sorrow, the latter contingent and accidental, much depending 
upon the natural temperature and constitution of the body. 
    Natural and common meltings are nothing else but the effects of 
a better temper, and the fruit of a more ingenuous spirit, and 
easier constitution, which shows itself on any other, as well as 
upon spiritual occasions: as Austin said, he could weep plentifully 
when he read the story of Dido. The history of Christ is a very 
tragical and pathetical history, and may melt an ingenuous nature, 
where are is no renewed principles at all. So that, 
    Secondly, Our affections may be melted, even upon the score and 
account of Christ; and yet that is no infallible evidence of a 
gracious heart. And the reasons for it are, 
    1. Because we find all sorts of affections discovered by such 
as have been no better than temporary believers. The stony ground 
hearers in Mat. 13: 20. "received the word with joy," and so did 
John s hearers also, who for "a season rejoiced in his light," John 
3: 35. Now, if the affections of joy under the word may be 
exercised, why not of sorrow also? If the comfortable things 
revealed in the gospel may stir up the one, by a parity of reason, 
the sad things it reveals may answerably work upon the other. Even 
those Israelites whom Moses told they should fall by the sword, and 
not prosper, for the Lord would not be with them, because they were 
turned away from him; yet when Moses rehearsed the message of the 
Lord in their ears, they mourned greatly, Numb. 14: 39. I know the 
Lord pardoned many of them their iniquities, though he took 
vengeance on their inventions; and yet it is as true, that with many 
of them God was not well pleased, 1 Cor. 10: 5. Many instances of 
their weeping and mourning before the Lord we find in this sacred 
history; and yet their hearts were not steadfast with God. 
    2. Because though the object about which our affections and 
passions are moved, may be spiritual; yet the motives and principles 
that set them on work, may be but carnal and natural ones. When I 
see a person affected in the hearing of the word, or prayer, even 
unto tears, I cannot presently conclude, surely this is the effect 
of grace; for it is possible, the pathetical quality of subject 
matter, the rhetoric of the speaker, the very affecting tone, and 
modulation of the voice, may draw tears as well as faith working 
upon the spirituality, and deep concernment the soul hath in those 
    Whilst Austin was a Manichee, he sometimes heard Ambrose; and, 
saith he, "I was greatly affected in hearing him, even, unto tears 
many times:" howbeit, it was not the heavenly nature of the subject, 
but the abilities and rare parts of the speaker that so affected 
him. And this was the case of Ezekiel's hearers, chap. 33: 32. 
    Again, 3. These motions of the affections may rather be a fit 
and mood, than the very frame and temper of the soul. Now there is a 
vast difference betwixt these; there are times and seasons, when the 
roughest and most obdurate hearts may be pensive and tender: but 
that is not its temper and frame, but only a fit, a pang, a 
transient passion. So the Lord complains of them, Hos. 6: 4. "O 
Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto 
thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud and as the early dew, 
it goeth away. And so he complains, Psal. 78: 34, 35, 36. When he 
slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired 
early after God. And the remembered that God was their rock, and the 
most high God their redeemer; nevertheless they did flatter him with 
their lips, and lied unto him with their tongues." For had this 
remembrance of God been the gracious temper of their souls, it would 
have continued with them; they would not have been thus wavering 
thus hot and cold with God, as they were. Therefore we conclude, 
that we cannot infer a work of grace upon the heart, simply and mere 
from the meltings and thaws that are sometimes upon it. And hence, 
for your use, I shall infer, that, 
    Inference 1. If such as sometimes feel their hearts thawed and 
melted with the consideration of the sufferings of Christ, may yet 
be deceived; What cause have they to fear and tremble, whose hearts 
are as unrelenting as rocks, yielding to nothing that is proposed, 
or urged upon them? How many such are there, of whom we may say, as 
Christ speaks of the inflexible Jews, "We have piped unto you, but 
ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, but you have not 
lamented" Mat. 11: l7. They must inevitably come short of heaven, 
who come so short of those that do come short of heaven. If those 
perish that have rejoiced under the promises, and mourned under the 
threats of the word; what shall become of them that are as 
unconcerned, and unteached by what they hear, as the seats they sit 
on, or the dead that lie under their feet? Who are given up to such 
hardness of heart, that nothing can touch or affect them? One would 
think, the consideration of the sixth chapter to the Hebrew should 
startle such men and women, and make them cry out, Lord, what will 
become of such a senseless, stupid, dead creature as I am? If they 
that shave been enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, 
and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good 
word of God, and the powers of the world to come, may, 
notwithstanding such high raised affections as these, so fall away, 
that it shall be impossible to renew them again by repentance, what 
shall we then say, or think of his estate, to whom the most 
penetrating and awakening truths are no more than a tale that is 
told? The fire and hammer of the gospel can neither melt nor break 
them; they are iron and brass, Jer. 6: 28, 29. 
    Inference 2. If such as these may eternally miscarry; then let 
us look carefully to their foundation, and see that they do not 
bless themselves in a thing of nought. It is manifest from 1 Cor. 
10: 12. that many souls stand exceeding dangerously, who are yet 
strongly conceited of their own safety. And if you please to consult 
those scriptures in the margin, you shall find vain confidence to be 
ruling folly over the greatest part of men; and that which is the 
utter overthrow, and undoing of multitudes of professors. 
    Now there is nothing more apt to beget and breed this vain soul- 
undoing confidence, than the stirrings and meltings of our 
affections about spiritual things, whilst the heart remains 
unrenewed all the while. For (as a grave divine has well observed) 
such a man seems to have all that is required of a Christian, and 
herein to have attained the very end of all knowledge; which is 
operation and influence upon the heart and affections. 
    Indeed (thinks such a poor deluded soul) if I did hear, read, 
or pray, without any inward affections, with a dead, cold, and 
unconcerned heart, or if I did make a show of zeal and affection in 
duties, and had it not, well might I suspect myself to be a 
self-cozening hypocrite; but it is not so with me, I feel my heart 
really melted many times, when I read the sufferings of Christ; I 
feel my heart raised and ravished with strange joys and comforts, 
when I hear the glory of heaven opened in the gospel: Indeed if it 
were not so with me, I might doubt the root of the matter is 
wanting; but if to my knowledge, affections be added; a melting 
heart joined with a knowing head, then I may be confident all is 
well. I have often heard ministers cautioning and warning their 
people not to rest satisfied with idle and unpractical notions in 
their understandings, but to labour for impressions upon their 
hearts; this I have attained, and therefore what danger of me? I 
have often heard it given as a mark of a hypocrite, that he has 
light in his head, but it sheds not down its influence upon the 
heart: whereas in those that are sincere, it works on their heart 
and affections: So I find it with me, therefore I am in a most safe 
estate. O soul! of all the false signs of grace, none more dangerous 
than those that most resemble true ones; and never does the devil 
more surely and incurably destroy, than when transformed into an 
angel of light. What if these meltings of thy heart be but a flower 
of nature? What if thou art more beholden to a good temper of body, 
than a gracious change of spirit for these things? Well, so it may 
be. Therefore be not secure, but fear, and watch. Possibly, if thou 
wouldest but search thine own heart in this matter, thou mayest 
find, that any other pathetical, moving story, will have the like 
effects upon thee. Possibly too, thou mayest find, that, 
notwithstanding all thy raptures and joys at the hearing of heaven, 
and its glory, yet after that pang is over, thy heart is habitually 
earthly, and thy conversation is not there. For all thou canst mourn 
at the relations of Christ's sufferings, thou art not so affected 
with sin, that was the meritorious cause of the sufferings of 
Christ, as to crucify one corruption, or deny the next temptation, 
or part with any way of sin that is gainful, or pleasurable to thee 
for his sake. 
    Why now, reader, if it be so with thee, what art thou the 
better for the influence of thy affections? Dost thou think in 
earnest, that Christ has the better thoughts of thee, because thou 
canst shed tears for him, when notwithstanding thou every day 
fiercest and woundest him? O! be not deceived. Nay, for ought know, 
thou mayest find, upon a narrow search, that thou puttest thy tears 
in the room of Christ's blood, and divest the confidence and 
dependence of thy soul to them; and if so, they shall never do thee 
any good. 
    O therefore search thy heart, reader be not too confident: take 
not up too easily upon such poor weak grounds as these, a 
soul-undoing confidence. Always remember the wheat and tares 
resemble each other in their first springing up; that an egg is not 
liker to an egg, than hypocrisy, in some shapes and forms into which 
it can cast itself, is like a genuine work of grace. O remember that 
among the ten virgins, that is, the reformed professors of religion 
that have cast off and separated themselves from the worship and 
defilements of Antichrist, five of them were foolish. 
    There be first, that shall be last; and last, that shall be 
first, Mat. 19: 30. Great is the deceitfulness of our hearts, Jer. 
17: 9. And many are the subtleties and devices of Satan, 2 Cor. 11: 
3. Many also are the astonishing examples of self-deceiving souls 
recorded in the word. Remember what you lately read of Judas. Great 
also will be the exactness of the last judgement. And how confident 
soever you be, that you shall speed well in that day, yet still 
remember that trial is not yet past. Your final sentence is not yet 
come from the mouth of your Judge. This I speak not to affright and 
trouble, but excite and warn you. The loss of a soul is no small 
loss, and, upon such grounds as these, they are every day cast away. 
    This may suffice to be spoken to the first observation, built 
on this supposition, that it was but a pang of mere natural 
affection in them. But if it were the effect of a better principle, 
the fruit of their faith, as some judge; then I told your the 
observation from it would be this, 
    Doct. 2. That the believing meditation of what Christ suffered 
    for us, is of great force and efficacy to melt and break the 
    It is promised, Zech. 12: 10. that "they shall look upon him 
whom they have pierced, and mourn for him, as one mourneth for his 
only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in 
bitterness for his first-born." Ponder seriously here, the spring 
and motive, They shall look upon me; it is the eye of faith that 
melts and breaks the heart. The effect of such a sight of Christ; 
they shall look and mourn; be in bitterness and sorrow. True 
repentance is a drop out of the eye of faith; and the measure or 
degree of that sorrow caused by a believing view of Christ. To 
express which, two of the fullest instances of grief we read of, are 
borrowed; that of a tender father, mourning over a dear and only 
son; that of the people of Israel, mourning over Josiah, that 
peerless prince, in the valley of Megiddo. 
    Now to show you how the believing meditation of Christ, and his 
sufferings, come kindly and savingly to break and melt down the 
gracious heart, I shall propound these four considerations of the 
heart-breaking efficacy of faith, eyeing a crucified Jesus. 
    First, The very realising of Christ and his sufferings by 
faith, is a most affecting and melting thing. Faith is a true glass 
that represents all those his sufferings and agonies to the life. It 
presents them not as a fiction, or idle tale, but as a true and 
faithful narrative. This (saith faith) is a true and faithful 
saying, that Christ was not only clothed in our flesh; even he that 
is over all, God blessed for ever, the only Lord, the Prince of the 
kings of the earth, became a man; but it is also most certain, that 
in this body of his flesh, he grappled with the infinite wrath of 
God, which filled his soul with horror and amazement; that the Lord 
of life did hang dead upon the tree; that he went as a lamb to the 
slaughter, and was as a sheep dumb before the shearer; that he 
endured all this, and more than any finite understanding can 
comprehend, in my room and stead; for my sake he there groaned and 
bled; for my pride, earthliness, lust, unbelief, hardness of heart, 
he endured all this. I say, to realise the sufferings of Christ 
thus, is of great power to affect the coldest, dullest heart. You 
cannot imagine the difference there is in presenting things as 
realities, with convincing and satisfying evidences, and our looking 
on them as a fiction or uncertainty. 
    Secondly, But faith can apply as well as realise; and if it do 
so, it must needs overcome the heart. 
    Ah! Christian, canst thou look upon Jesus as standing in thy 
room, to bear the wrath of a Deity for thee? Canst thou think on it, 
and not melt? That when thou, like Isaac, wast bound to the altar, 
to be offered up to justice, Christ, like the ram, was caught in the 
thicket, and offered in thy room. When thy sins had raised a fearful 
tempest, that threatened every moment to entomb thee in a sea of 
wrath, Jesus Christ was thrown over to appease that storm! Say, 
reader, can thy heart dwell one hour upon such a subject as this? 
Canst thou with faith, present Christ to thyself, as he was taken 
down from the cross, drenched in his own blood, and say, These were 
the wounds that he received for me; this is he that loved me, and 
gave himself for me: out of these wounds comes that balm that heals 
my soul; out of these stripes my peace: When he hanged upon the 
cross, he bore my name upon his breast, like the high priest. It was 
love, pure love, strong love to my poor soul; to the soul of an 
enemy that drew him down from heaven, and all the glory he had 
there, to endure these sorrows in soul and body for me. 
    O you cannot hold up your hearts long to the piercing thoughts 
of this, but your bowels will be pained, and, like Joseph, you will 
seek a place to vent your hearts in. 
    Thirdly, Faith cannot only realise and apply Christ, and his 
death, but it can reason and conclude such things from his death, as 
will fill the soul with affection to him, and break the heart in 
pieces, in his presence. When it views Christ as dead, it infers, Is 
Christ dead for me? then was I dead in law, sentenced and condemned 
to die eternally; 2 Cor. 5: 14. "If one died for all, then were all 
dead." How woeful was my case when the law had passed sentence on 
me? I could not be sure when I lay down, but that it might be 
executed before I rose; nothing but a puff of breath betwixt my soul 
and hell. 
    Again, Is Christ dead for me? then I shall never die. If he be 
condemned, I am acquitted. "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of 
God's elect? It is God that justifieth, it is Christ that died," 
Rom. 8: 34. My soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the 
fowler; I was condemned, but am now cleared; I was dead, but am sow 
alive; O the unsearchable riches of Christ! O love past finding out! 
    Again, Did God give up Christ to such miseries and sufferings 
for me? How shall he with-hold any thing from me? He that "spared 
not his own Son, will doubtless with him freely give me all things", 
Rom. 8: 32. Now I may rest upon him for pardon, peace, acceptance, 
and glory for my soul. Now I may rely upon him safely for provision, 
protection, and all supplies for my body. Christ is the root of 
these mercies; he is more than all these, he is nearer and dearer to 
God than any other gift. O what a blessed, happy, comfortable state 
has he now brought my soul into! 
    To conclude, Did Christ endure all these things for me? then it 
is past doubt, he will never leave nor forsake me: It cannot be that 
after he has endured all this, he will cast off the souls for whom 
he endured it. Here the soul is evangelically broken, considering 
the mercies that emerge and flow to it out of the sea of Christ's 
    Fourthly, and lastly, Faith can not only realise, apply, and 
infer, but it can also compare the love of Christ in all this, both 
with his dealings with others, and with the soul's dealing with 
Christ, who loved it. To compare Christ's dealings with others, is 
most affecting: he has not dealt with every one, as with me; nay, 
few there are that can speak of such mercies as I have from him. How 
many are there that have no part nor portion in his blood? Who must 
bear that wrath in their own persons, that he bare himself for me! 
He espied me out, and singled me forth to be the object of his love, 
leaving thousands and millions still unreconciled; not that I was 
better than they, for I was the greatest of sinners, far from 
righteousness, as unlikely as any to be the object of such grace and 
love: my companions in sin are left, and I am taken. Now the soul is 
full, the heart grows big, too big to contain itself. 
    Yea, faith helps the soul to compare the love of Christ to it, 
with the returns it has made to him for that love. And what, my 
soul! has thy carriage to Christ been, since this grace that wants a 
name, appeared to thee? Hast thou returned love for love? Love 
suitable to such love? Hast thou prized, valued, and esteemed this 
Christ, according to his own worth in himself, or his kindness to 
thee? Ah no, I have grieved, pierced, wounded his heart a thousand 
times since that, by my ingratitude; I have suffered every trifle to 
jostle him out of my heart? I have neglected him a thousand times, 
and made him say, Is this thy kindness to thy friend? Is this the 
reward I shall have for all that I have done, and suffered for thee? 
Wretch that I am, how have I requited the Lord! This shames, humbles 
and breaks the heart. 
    And when from such sights of faith, and considerations as 
these, the heart is thus affected, it affords a good argument, 
indeed, that thou art gone beyond all the attainments of temporary 
believers? flesh and blood has not revealed this. 
    Inference 1. Have the believing meditations of Christ, and his 
sufferings, such heart melting influences? Then sure there is but 
little faith among men. Our dry eyes and hard hearts are evidences 
against us, that we are strangers to the sights of faith. 
    God be merciful to the hardness of your hearts. How is Christ 
and his love slighted among men! How shallow does his blood run to 
some eyes? O that my head were waters, and mine eyes fountains of 
tears for this! What monsters are carnal hearts? We are as if God 
had made us without affections, as if all ingenuity and tenderness 
were dried up. Our ears are so accustomed to the sounds of Christ, 
and his blood, that now they are become as common things. If a child 
die, we can mourn over our dead: but who mourns for Christ as for an 
only son? We may say of faith, when men and women sit so unaffected 
under the gospel, as Martha said of Christ concerning her brother 
Lazarus, If thou (precious faith) hadst been here, so many hearts 
had not been dead this day, and in this duty. Faith is that 
burning-glass which contracts the beams of the grace, and love, and 
wisdom, and power of Jesus Christ together, reflects these on the 
heart, and makes it burn; but without it, we feel nothing savingly. 
    Inf. 2. Have the believing meditations of Christ, and his 
sufferings, such heart melting influences? Then surely the proper 
order of raising the affections, is to begin at the exercise of 
faith. It grieves me to see how many poor Christians strive with 
their own dead hearts, endeavouring to raise and affect them, but 
cannot: they complain and strive, strive and complain, but can 
discover no love to the Lord, no brokenness of heart; they go to 
this ordinance and that, to one duty and another, hoping that now 
the Lord will affect it, and fill the sails; but come back 
disappointed and ashamed, like the troops of Tema. Poor Christian, 
hear me one word; possibly it may do thy business, and stand thee in 
more stead, than all the methods thou hast yet used. If thou wouldst 
indeed get a heart evangelically melted for sin, and broken with the 
kindly sense of the grace and love of Christ, thy way is not to 
force thy affections, nor to vex thyself, and go about complaining 
of a hard heart, but set thyself to believe, realise, apply, infer, 
and compare by faith as you have been directed; and see what this 
will do: "They shall look on me whom they have pierced, and mourn." 
This is the way and proper method to raise the heart, and break it. 
    Inf. 3. Is this the way to get a truly broken heart? Then let 
those that have attained brokenness of heart this way, bless the 
Lord whilst they live, for so choice a mercy; and that upon a double 
    1. For as much as a heart so affected and melted, is not 
attainable by any natural or unrenewed person; if they would give 
all they have in the world, it cannot purchase one such tear, or 
groan over Christ; mark, what characters of special grace it bears, 
in the description that is made of it, in that aforementioned place, 
Zech. 12: 10. Such a frame as this is not born with us, or to be 
acquired by us; for it is there said to be poured out by the Lord 
upon us, "I will pour upon them," &c. There is no hypocrisy or 
dissimulation in these mournings, they being compared to the 
mourning of a man for his only son: an sure parents hearts are not 
untouched when they behold such sights. 
    Nature is not the principle of it, but faith; for it is there 
said, they shall look on me; i.e. believe and mourn. Self is not the 
end and centre of these sorrows; it is not so much for damning 
ourselves, as for piercing Christ: "They shall look on me whom they 
have pierced, and shall mourn;" so that this is sorrow after God, 
and not a flesh of nature, as discoursed in the former point. 
Therefore you have cause to bless the Lord, whilst you live for such 
a special mercy as this is. And 
    2. As it is the right, so it is the choicest, and most precious 
gift that can be given you; for it is ranked among the prime mercies 
of the new covenant, Ezek. 36: 26. This shall be the covenant; "A 
new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within 
you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I 
will give you an heart of flesh." What wouldest thou have given 
sometimes for such a heart as now thou hast, though it be not yet as 
thou wouldest have it? And however you value and esteem it, God 
himself sets no common value on it: for mark what he saith of it, 
Psal. 51: 17. "The sacrifices of God are a broken heart: a broken 
and a contrite spirit, O God, thou wilt not despise;" i. e. God is 
more delighted with such a heart, than with all the sacrifices in 
the world; one groan, one tear, flowing from faith, and the spirit 
of adoption, are more to him, than the cattle upon a thousand hills. 
And to the same sense he speaks again, Isa. 66: 1, 2. "Thus saith 
the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool, 
Where is the house that ye build to me? And where is the place of my 
rest? - But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and 
of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word;" q. d. All the 
magnificent temples and glorious structures in the world, give me no 
pleasure in comparison of such a broken heart as this. 
    O then, for ever bless the Lord, that has done that for you, 
which none else could do, and which he has done but for few besides 

(continued in file 26...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flafn-25.txt