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CHAPTER 14

Showing the Great Necessity of Contrition, Which is Fourfold[1]

First: The Necessity of a Broken Heart

            The second thing is the necessity of a broken heart.  In point of mortification, there is necessitas precepti [a necessary precept] of God’s command: he has commanded us to do this duty, he has commanded us to mourn.  They should weep as a Virgin girded with sackcloth, for the husband of her youth, and so turn to the Lord (Joel 1:8): Where there is the greatest love, there should be the greatest sorrow. Now the first love is the greatest love, and therefore the first loss does require the greatest sorrow.

            Sorrow Shows the Grievous Nature of our Sin

            What does show unto us that nothing should be more grievous to us than our sins, seeing God has commanded it as a things necessary to this work, why should we not do it?  Again, we are enjoined shame, thence it was in the Law, that when they had transgressed the commandments of the Lord, they used to put sackcloth on their loins and pour ashes on their heads, being tokens of shame and sorrow (Neh. 9:1; Jer 48:37). Again, we are commanded to be sore [extremely] displeased with our sin.  David’s heart was hot within him (Ps. 39:3).  And the heart of Josiah was melted at the abomination of those times and the great transgression against God’s law.  This is that the Lord does require.    


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