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The Nature of True Sorrow

            The nature of true sorrow may be discerned in the qualities and properties of it: as,

            True Sorrow Causes One to Seek for Help

            It is that makes men look about them, it makes them to seek for help as those that were pricked in their hearts, they said, men and brethren what shall we do to be saved; as it was with those lepers that lay at the of Samaria (2 Kings 7:3), when there was famine within and food without, but in the camp of the enemies, these men are now in a sad condition, if they stay there or turn into the city to die of the famine.  If they betake themselves into the camp of the enemy, it may be they may live, it may be not; yet in a case of this nature, there is more wisdom to cast themselves upon a way wherein there is most hopes, and so they saved their lives by it, and are the messengers of good news to all the city.

            It is just thus with a broken heart and a sorrowful spirit sometimes.  If I turn back to my former condition, then I shall but add sin unto sin. If I stay here, and remain in that condition, then shall I certainly perish and therefore though as yet I know not whether God will have mercy to me, and hold out his golden scepter unto such a vile sinner as I am, yet will I go venture myself and if I perish I perish; believe it, if you seek thus you shall find; if you knock thus it shall be opened unto you; for if there be any hope in a merciless enemy, there is more hope in a merciful God: on the other side security is a certain sign of impenitency and of an unmortified nature; men are never nearer danger than when they are most secure; while they cry peace, and are settled on their lees[1], dreading of no danger, then comes it upon them: but now that which makes a man mourn for sin puts him upon use of all good means to destroy this enemy and to favor no sin, though it be never so dear unto us, that we may follow the counsel fell of our Savior; that if our right hand due offend us we must cut it off and cast it from us; yea, and we must spare nothing that we may spare our souls.

[1]  “Lees:  (Heb. shemarim, from a word meaning to keep or preserve. It was applied to “lees” from the custom of allowing wine to stand on the lees that it might thereby be better preserved (Isa. 25:6). “Men settled on their lees” (Zeph. 1:12) are men “hardened or crusted.” The image is derived from the crust formed at the bottom of wines long left undisturbed (Jer. 48:11). The effect of wealthy undisturbed ease on the ungodly is hardening. They become stupidly secure (comp. Ps. 55:19; Amos 6:1). To drink the lees (Ps. 75:8) denotes severe suffering” (M.G. Easton, Easton’s Bible Dictionary (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996, c1897).).