A Holy Revenge
Lastly, that there should be a holy revenge. I suppose that vow of the Nazarites: that he should abstain from wines and from the husks of grapes, was chiefly ordained as holy revenge upon the occasion of the abuse of the good creature of God. Now whatsoever God command us, that is necessary; but you see th God has commanded us to labor for a contrite and bleeding heart. Therefore it is necessary as the servant of Naaman the Syrian said unto him, If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it, how much more then, when he saith to thee, wash and be clean (2 Kings 5:13).
A Willingness to Sorrow
So say I, if God should command you some great thing, for the mortification of your sin and the salvation of your souls [you would do it]. Suppose it were to go barefoot to Jerusalem or to bestow all your good on the poor, or give the first born of your body for the sin of your soul; would you not do it, how much rather then, when he says only this, that a broken heart and a contrite heart shall stand instead of all these (Ps. 51:17).
Second: Necessity of the Means
There is necessitas medii [necessity of means] . It is a special means that this body of sin may be subdued (2 Cor. 7:11). For it was with water, when it overflows the ground, it drives out moles and worms and other such creatures as do insert and annoy the ground and eat up the roots of plants fit to become food for man: so it is with true contrition, it does so overflow the heart with godly sorrow, as that it drives out these troublesome inhabitants that do annoy our spirits and would spoil those good beginnings of grace in us. Therefore put we ourselves on the means and stand not like the hand that is set up to guide us the way, and yet moves not itself. But if we know these things blessed are we if we doe the.
If you say that to do thus is troublesome to flesh and blood; I answer, it may be so, but as we say that, sometimes the things that are not the most toothsome [delicious, desirable] are very wholesome and good. So howsoever they may be some trouble, yet so long as this trouble does free us from a greater trouble, all is well. It is better to mourn here where we have comfort, than to mourn and burn in hell, where we can neither have ease nor remedy. Again, our comfort will recompense our trouble; for every hour of grief shall be recompensed with thousands of years of joy and consolation.
When a man has been ten thousand years in heaven and then shall look back and consider what a short time of sorrow it was that he endured, and withal [yet, nevertheless] how many millions of years are behind which can ever expire. I conceive it will not repent him [cause him to repent], nor grieve him, that he has mourned (1 Cor. 9).
In one word, this necessity is confirmed by the practice of such, as are gone to heave already; as Saint Paul that did struggle with his corruption best down his body; and Saint Peter and David and the rest. And it is prophesied of the people of God, that they should go weeping to seek the Lord and should ask the way to Sion [Zion] with their faces thitherward saying, come let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten. Comfort yourselves therefor in the use of good means for your passage through the Valley of Baca, the Valley of Mourning, is to meet the Lord (Ps. 84:6-7).