Tags

, , , , , , ,

The Difference Between Shame and a Broken Heart: The Sight of God

            They differ in their objects, a man whose heart is truly sensible of that disgrace that lies upon him from God; this is that makes him ashamed.  Miriam, when she was smitten with leprosy and Moses prayed unto the Lord that he would heal her, the Lord answered Moses, saying, if her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed (Nu. 22:14)? So I say, that when God pours contempt on a man unto whom he has been gracious and favorable, so as he casts out his petition, and will not hear nor answer them.  He casts him into darkness and sets his sin in order before him and suffers him to lie in the deep (Is. 6:5); as Jonah among the weeds:  this makes a gracious man greatly ashamed:

            But now the shame that a wicked man has, it is most of all in respect of men (Job 22:13).  They think they shall escape the reproach from God well enough, were it so they could but escape those disgraces and disparagements that do fall on them from men and say that heave is so high that God cannot hear: can he judge through the dark clouds?  Thence it was Saul desired to be honored among the people, though otherwise he would have gloried in his shame (1 Sam. 13:30).

            In one word, where the shame of men does bridle us from sin more than the fear of God, it is clear to me, that we prefer our credit above our conscience.  I read of Paphnutius, a learned and pious bishop at the Council of Nice, that being allured by a harlot to incontinency; she brings him into a very dark room.  He, looking sadly about him, said, I am afraid that somebody sees, never doubt, says he, none but only God sees us here; but (says she) if God does see us, how dare we do that in the sight of God that we dare not doe in the sight of men?