Fourth Property of a Broken Heart: Revenge
The last property of a broken and bleeding heart is a holy revenge; now a revenge is a dealing in like manner with sin, as it has dealt with us. For as much as lusts are those enemies which war against our souls, we must be courageous to war against them, and then do we this great work.
By Abstaining From Things Which Lead to Sin
When we do abstain from the use of those things that are in themselves lawful, when we have unlawfully abused them. As suppose we a man that has been an immoderate drinker of wine, whereby he has not only abused the creature of God, but made himself for the time of a reasonable man like unto a reasonable beast. Or suppose we another, that has been given to immoderate gaming, as hunting, hawking [using hawks to hunt], bowling and has made these which were for his recreation to be come, as it were, his vocation. In such a case as this, if it might not tend to the too much loss of his health, or danger of his life, it were good for a man to abstain altogether from them, at least for some time as a revenge of his former abuse of them.
Again, if that these or the like immoderate recreations have kept us from the service of God, either in the public assembly or in our private closets, it should be our care and endeavor ot recompense our slothfulness with double diligence.
A man that would avenge himself of his lusts, he must pursue them, as the avenger of blood did the manslayer, or malefactor, that unless he was gotten into the city of refuge, he was surely slain. So must we do, hunt them out, let them not rest in any corner of our hearts, for if sin may but find any little resting place in our souls, it will not out, and as long as isn rests in us, Christ will not rest. Therefore, you must not cease till you have driven it out of your bounds. It was a good pitty [saying]: behold there is an enemy within you, that does endeavor to slay Christ. Therefore, says he, neither father nor mother nor kinsman should prevail with out to keep in our sins, but we should shake off all and follow Christ – though it be to the loss of all things else, for this kind of cruelty is the height & top of true piety.
The righteous shall rejoice, when he sees the vengeance; and wash his feet in the blood of the wicked,, Psalm 58:10. And how great joy will that be when as a Christian shall see the revenge upon his sins, that they that were his enemies are fallen before him: It is hard unto flesh and blood to be thus cruel, especially against himself, as to turn his mirth into mourning; his hours of recreation into times of devotion: to beat down his body, by fasting; and to afflict his souls with shame and sorrow.
This I say is difficult, but yet, if you would over come nature, you must become in this thing unnatural, that they should leave their calves and do thus; yet they did it because it was God’s work. So I may say, that though they may seem unnatural, and a kind of cruelty, yet we must set upon it because it is God’s work; happy is that man that takes these brats [derogatory term for children] of Babylon & dash their heads against the stones (Ps. 137:9) for in not pitying them, he pities his [own] soul.