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Chapter 13:

Shows the Other Properties of Contrition, viz., Shame, Indignation, and Revenge[1]

Shame as Element of True Contrition

            The next thing in contrition is to be ashamed of our sins and to loath them; for the more the heart is broken for sin, the more it is ashamed for it; as when Job saw himself in his color, then he did abhor himself in dust and ashes (Job 42:6); and the prophet shows that there should come a time when the Lord would smite the hearts of men, that they should remember their own evil way and their doings that were not good and should loath themselves in own sight for their iniquities and for all their abominations (Ezk. 36:31).  And hence is that of the Apostle what profit have you in those things whereof ye are now ashamed (Rom. 6:21).  It is not the having of sin that brings shame, but the sense of it; for when as we shall have it clear unto our understand how bad a companion it is, and how much harm it has done us, and how great [a] danger it has drawn us into, it makes us ashamed.

            The Cause of Shame

            What will make a man ashamed sooner than the apprehension and sight of his own nakedness?  So soon as Adam saw his nakedness he even out of shame went and hid himself in the Garden among the bushes this was not so much because of the nakedness of his body, for so he was before but [except for] his sin; not for the want of apparel; as for the want of righteousness, that him ashamed.

            Again, when a man considers that he is not only naked, but that sin has defiled him and made him a most defiled and most monstrous creature: this make him the more astonished at God’s great patience, that suffers [permits] to live and to abhor himself as one of the most wretched and miserable men under heaven.

                        Sin Makes One Contemptible

            When we consider the contempt that sin brings on us, that is not only a burden to us, but it makes us oftentimes odious to the sight of men and always contemptible[in] the sight of God: Thence it was that the prophet setting out of the vileness of our natural condition, sets it out by such an one as no eye pities, none looked with compassion on him, when he lay polluted [defiled, covered in] his blood, he was then cast out into the open field to the loathing of his person.  So it is with every man by nature, when he comes to see into what contempt and disgrace he has brought himself both with God and man, will he not be ashamed?  Surely if there be any spark of grace, he will abhor himself in dust and ashes and labor to buy of Christ white raiment [clothing], that the shame of his nakedness may not appear (Rev. 3:18).  If any shall say, that men may be ashamed of their sin and yet the heart not broken; to which we answer, that there is a large difference between them.


[1]  This chapter continues the discussion of the second element of “near” mortification: Repentance.