William Bradford Institute
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Early Settlement of America

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Soul Trouble & Sorrow for Sin


by Samuel Rutherford

"Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from
this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify
thy name." John 12:27-28.

Suppose it were revealed to a godly man that he were to suffer an
extreme, violent, and painful death, and, withal, some fearful soul
desertion, as an image of the second death. It should much affright
him to remember this, and he might pray that the Lord would either
save him from that sad hour, or then give him grace with faith and
courage in the Lord to endure it. So here, Christ, God and man,
knowing that he was to bear the terrors of the first and second
death, doth act over aforehand (the time being near) the sorrow and
anguish of heart that he was to suffer in his extreme sufferings.

As it were, ere the cross come, to act it in our mind, and take an
essay and a lift of Christ's cross ere we bear it, to try how
handsomely we would set back and shoulders under the Lord's cross,
we are to lay the supposition, what if it so fall out (as Christ
being persuaded his suffering was to come, acted sorrow, trouble of
soul and prayer beforehand), and to resolve the saddest, and
antedate the cross, and say with our own hearts, Let the worst come.
Or to suffer our fear to prophecy, as Job did (Job 3:25): Yet
suppose the hardest befall me, I know what to do; as the unjust
steward resolveth on a way, beforehand, how to swim through his
necessities, Luke 16:4. Grace is a well-advised and resolute thing,
and has the eyes of providence to say in possible events, What if my
scarlet embrace the dunghill, and providence turn the tables. It is
like wisdom (grace is wise to see afar off) to foreact faith, and
resolve to lie under God's feet, and intend humble yielding to God,
as II Samuel 15:25-26.

What they shall pray in the time of their extremity, who now spit at
all praying and religion! They shall be religious in their kind,
when they shall cry (Revelation 6:16), Mountains and rocks fall on
us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and
from the wrath of the Lamb. You cannot believe that a Lamb shall
chase the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich man,
and every bondman, and every free man, into the dens and rocks of
the mountains, to hide themselves. But the Lord acteth wrath and
judgment before your eyes. Men will not suppose the real story of
hell. Say but with thyself, Oh! shall I weep, and gnaw my tongue for
pain, in a sea of fire and brimstone? Do but forefancy, I pray you,
how you shall look on it, what thoughts you will have, what you
shall do, when you shall be punished with everlasting destruction,
from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, II
Thessalonians 1:9.

In the complaint, we have the Lord's troubled soul. This holy soul
thus troubled was like the earth before the fall, out of which grew
roses without thorns, or thistles, before it was cursed. Christ's
anger, his sorrow, were flowers that smelled of heaven, and not of
sin. All his affections of fear, sorrow, sadness, hope, joy, love,
desire, were like the fountain of a liquid and melted silver, of
which the banks, the head spring, are all as clear from dross as
pure crystal. Such a fountain can cast out no clay, no mud, no dirt.
When his affections did rise and swell in their acts, every drop of
the fountain was sinless, perfumed and adorned with grace; so as the
more you stir or trouble a well of rose water, or some precious
liquor, the more sweet a smell it casts out; or, as when a summer
soft wind bloweth on a field of sweet roses, it difuseth precious
and delicious smells through the air.

There is such mud and dregs in the bottom and banks of our
affections, that when our anger, sorrow, sadness, fear, does arise
in their acts, our fountain casteth out sin. We cannot love, but we
lust; nor fear, but we despair; nor rejoice, but we are wanton and
vain and gaudy; nor believe, but we presume. We reft up, we breath
out sin, we cast out a smell of hell, when the wind bloweth on our
field of weeds and thistles. Our soul is all but a plat of wild
corn, the imaginations of our heart being only evil from our youth.
Oh that Christ would plant some of his flowers in our soul, and
bless the soil, that they might grow kindly there, being warmed and
nourished with his grace! If grace be within, in sad pressures it
comes out. A saint is a saint in affliction, as a hypocrite is an
hypocrite; and every man is himself, and casts a smell like himself,
when he is in the furnace. Troubled Christ prays. Tempted Job
believes, Job 19:25. The scourged apostles rejoice, Acts 5:41.
Drowned Jonah looks to the holy temple, Jonah 2:4.

Christ's affections were rational; reason startled at fear, but
reason and affection did not outrun one another. Grace did so
accompany nature that he could not fear more than the object
required. Neither were his affections above banks. He saw the
blackest and darkest hour that ever any saw. Suppose all the
sufferings of the damned, for eternity, were before them in one
sight, or came on them at once, it should annihilate all that are
now, or shall be in hell. Christ now saw, or foresaw, as great
sufferings as these, and yet 1. believed, 2. prayed, 3. hoped, 4.
was encouraged under it, 5. suffered them to the bottom with all
patience, 6. rejoiced in hope, Psalm 16:9. Now our affections rise
and swell before reason. 1. They are often imaginary, and are on
horseback and in arms at the stirring of a straw. 2. They want that
clearness and serenity of grace that Christ had, through habitual
grace following nature from the womb. 3. We can raise our
affections, but cannot allay them, as some can make war, and cannot
create peace. It is a calumny of Papists that say that Calvin did
teach there was despair, or any distemper of reason, in Christ, when
as Calvin saith, He still believed with full assurance.

Christ had now and always the grace of peace, as peace is opposed to
culpable raging of conscience. First, he never could want faith,
which is a serenity, quietness, and silence of the soul and
assurance of the love of God. Secondly, he could have no doubting,
or sinful disturbance of mind, because he could have no conscience
of guilt, which could overcloud the love and tenderest favor of his
Father to him. Christ never needed pardon; he needed never the grace
of forgiveness, nor grace to be spared. God spared him not. God
could exact no less blood of him than he shed; but he received an
acquittance of justification, never a pardon of grace. But
concerning the peace which is opposed to pain, and sense of wrath
and punishment for the guilt of our sins, so he wanted peace, and
was now under penal disturbance and disquietness of soul.

Can God, can the soul of God be troubled? It must be, first, because
the loss of heaven is the greatest loss. To ransom a king requireth
more millions, than pence to ransom slaves. When we were cast and
forfeited, more than an hundred and forty-four thousand kings (in
the Lord's decree they were kings) were cast out of heaven. Where
was there gold on earth to buy heaven and so many kings? And yet
Justice must have payment; a God-troubled Savior, and a
soul-troubled God, was little enough. Oh, saith Love to infinite
Justice, What will you give for me? Will you buy me? My dear
children, the heirs of eternal grace? A price below the worth of so
many kings, Justice cannot hear of; equal it must be, or more.
Secondly, Law cannot sleep satisfied with a man's soul trouble. For
as sin troubles an infinite God's soul, so far as our darts can fly
up against the sun, so must the soul trouble of him who is God
expiate sin.

Thirdly, heaven is not only a transcendent jewel, dear in itself,
but our Father would propine rebels with a sonship and a kingdom.
What standeth my crown to God? Why it could not possibly be dearer.
The soul of God was weighed for it: that not only freedom, but the
dearest of prices, might commend and cry up, above all heavens,
Christ's love. Fourth, if my soul, or your souls, O redeemed of the
Lord, could be valued every one of them worth ten thousand millions
of souls, and as many heavens, they could not overweigh the soul of
God. The soul that lodges in a glorious union with God, and the loss
of heaven to the troubled soul of this noble, and high and lofty
one, though but for a time, was more, and infinitely greater, than
my loss of heaven, and the loss of all the elect for eternity.

Now this must be a mystery, for though the essence of God, and more
of God than can be in a creature, were in Christ, and in the most
noble manner of union, which is personal, yet, as our soul doth not
grow, sleep or eat, though united to a vegetive body which doth
grow, sleep, eat, drink, and as fire is mixed or united with an hot
iron, in which is density and weight, and yet there's neither
density nor weight in the fire, so here. Though the Godhead in its
fullness was united, in a most strict union, with a troubled and
perplexed soul, and the suffering nature of man, yet is the Godhead
still free of suffering or any penal infirmities of the soul. The
vigor and color of a fair rose may suffer by the extreme heat of the
sun, when yet the sweet smell doth not suffer, but is rather
enlarged by exhalation. Yet is there great halting in these
comparisons, because there is such alliance and entire society
between the soul and the body that the soul, through concomitance
and sympathy, does suffer, as the indweller is put to the worse if
the house be rainy and dropping. The soul findeth smoke and leakings
of pain, in that it's pinned in a lodging of sick clay, and so put
to wish an hole in the wall, or to escape out at door or window, as
often our spirits are overswayed so with distaste of life, because
of the sour accidents that do convey it, that they think the gain of
life not so sweet as it can quit the cost. But the blessed Godhead
united to the manhood cannot so much as for company's cause be sick,
pained or suffer; nor can the Godhead be weary of an union with a
troubled soul. We conceive, in the grave and death that glorious
fellowship was never dissolved.

Many things may suffer by invasion of contraries, as shoot an arrow
against a wall of brass, some impression may remain in the wall to
witness the violence that has been there. But the blessed Godhead in
Christ is incapable of an arrow, or of repercussion. There is no
action against God. He is here not so much as a coast, a bank or
bulwark, capable of receiving one spitting or drop of a sea wave.
Only the man Christ, the rose of heaven, had in his bosom, at his
root, a fountain, oh how deep and refreshing, that kept the flower
green, under death and the grave! When it was plucked up, it was
fair, vigorous, green before the sun, and thus plucked up and above
earth, blossomed fair! Not only the influence and effects of the
glorious Godhead did water the flower and keep strength in Christ,
but there was the fullness personal of the Godhead that immediately
sustained the man Christ; it was not a delegated comfort, nor sent
help, nor a message of created love, nor a borrowed flowing of a sea
of sweetness of consolation. But God in proper person, infinite
subsistence, the personality of the Son of God bottomed all his
sufferings; the manhood was imped and stocked in the subsistence of
the tree of life.

The cause of this soul trouble was for sinners; this was surety
suffering. The choicest and most stately piece that ever God
created, and dearest to God, being the second to God-man, was the
princely soul of Christ. It was a king's soul. Yet death, by reason
of sin, passeth upon it; and not a common death, but that which is
the marrow of death, the firstborn and the strongest of deaths, the
wrath of God, the innocent pain of hell, void of despair and hatred
of God. If I had any hell on me, I should choose an innocent hell,
like Christ's. Better suffer ill a thousand times than sin;
suffering is rather to be chosen than sin. It was pain, and nothing
but pain. Damned men, and reprobate devils, are not capable of a
godly and innocent hell; they cannot choose to suffer hell, and not
spit on fair and spotless justice. Because Christ's blood was to
wash away sin, he could not both fully pay, and contract debt also.

But if it be so, that death finding so precious a surety as Christ's
princely and sinless soul, did make him obey the law of the land ere
he escaped out of that land, what wonder that we die, who are born
in the land of death? No creature but it travaileth in pain, with
death in its bosom, or an inclination to mother-nothing whence it
came. God only goeth between the mightiest angel in heaven, and
nothing. All things under the moon must be sick of vanity and death,
when the heir of all things, coming in amongst dying creatures, out
of dispensation, by law must die. If the Lord's soul, and the soul
of such a Lord, die and suffer wrath, then let the fair face of the
world, the heavens, look like the face of an old man, full of
trembling, white hairs, and wrinkles, Psalm 102:26. Then let man
make for his long home; let time itself wax old and gray-haired. Why
should I desire to stay here, when Christ could not but pass away?

And if this spotless soul that never sinned was troubled, what
wonder, then, many troubles be to the sinner? Our Savior, who
promiseth soul rest to others, cannot have soul rest himself: his
soul is now on a wheel sore tossed, and all the creatures are upon a
wheel, and in motion. There is not a creature since Adam sinned,
sleepeth sound. Weariness and motion is laid on moon and sun, and
all creatures on this side of the moon. Seas ebb and flow, and
that's trouble; winds blow, rivers move, heavens and stars these
five thousand years, except one time, have not had six minutes rest.
Living creatures walk apace toward death. Kingdoms, cities, are on
the wheel of changes, up and down. Mankind run, and the disease of
body trouble, and soul trouble on them, they are motion sick, going
on their feet, and kings cannot have beds to rest in. The six-days
creation hath been travailing and shouting for pain, and the child
is not born yet, Romans 8:22. This poor woman hath been groaning
under the bondage of vanity, and shall not be brought to bed, while
Jesus come the second time to be midwife to the birth. The great all
of heaven and earth, since God laid the first stone of this wide
Hall, hath been groaning and weeping for the liberty of the sons of
God, Romans 8:21. The figure of the passing-away world, I
Corinthians 7:31, is like an old man's face, full of wrinkles, and
foul with weeping: we are waiting, when Jesus shall be revealed from
heaven, and shall come and wipe the old man's face. Every creature
here is on its feet, none of them can sit or lie.

Christ's soul now is above trouble, and rests sweetly in the bosom
of God. Troubled souls, Rejoice in hope. Soft and childish saints
take it not well that they are not every day feasted with Christ's
love, that they lie not all the night between the Redeemer's
breasts, and are not dandled on his knee. But when the daintiest
piece of the man Jesus, his precious soul, was thus sick of soul
trouble, and the noble and celebrious head heir of all, the first of
his kingly house, was put to deep groans that pierced skies and
heaven, and rent the rocks, why but sinners should be submissive
when Christ is pleased to set children down to walk on foot, and
hide himself from them? But they forget the difference between the
inns of clay and the home of glory. Our fields here are sown with
tears, grief grows in every furrow of this lowland. You shall lay
soul and head down in the bosom, and between the breasts of Jesus
Christ; that bed must be soft and delicious, its perfumed with
uncreated glory. The thoughts of all your now soul troubles shall be
as shadows that passed away ten thousand years ago, when Christ
shall circle his glorious arm about your head, and you rest in an
infinite compass of surpassing glory, when glory or ripened grace
shall be with you, and without you, above and below, when the feet
of clay shall walk upon pure surpassing glory. The street of the
city was pure gold: There is no gold there, but glory only; gold is
but a shadow to all that is there.

It were possibly no less edifying to speak a little of what love and
tender mercy it was in Christ, to be so troubled in soul for us.
Self is precious, when free of sin, and withal self-happy. Christ
was both free of sin, and self-happy. What then could have made him
stir his foot out of heaven, so excellent a land, and come under the
pain of a troubled soul, except free, strong and vehement love, that
was a bottomless river impatient of banks? Infinite goodness maketh
love to swell without itself, John 15:13. Goodness is much moved
with righteousness and innocence; but we had a bad cause, because
sinners. We were neither righteous nor good; yet Christ, though
neither righteousness was in us, nor goodness, would dare to die for
us, Romans 5:7-8. Goodness and grace (which is goodness for no
deserving) is bold, daring, and venturous. Love, which could not
flow within its own channel, but that Christ's love might be out of
measure love, and out of measure loving, would outrun wickedness in
man.

Had Christ seen, when he was to engage his soul in the pains of the
second death, that the expense in giving out should be great, and
the income small, and no more than he had before, we might value his
love more. Christ had leisure from eternity, and wisdom enough, to
cast up his counts, and knew what he was to give out, and what to
receive in. So he might have repented and given up the bargain. He
knew that his blood, and his one noble soul, that dwelt in a
personal union with God, was a greater sum incomparably than all his
redeemed ones. He should have in little, he should but gain lost
sinners; he should empty out (in a manner) a fair Godhead, and kill
the Lord of glory, and get in a black bride. But there's no lack in
love; the love of Christ was not private, nor mercenary. Christ the
buyer commended the wares ere he bargained, Song of Solomon 4:7:
Thou art all fair, my love, here's not a spot in thee. Christ judged
he had gotten a noble prize, and made an heaven's market, when he
got in his arms his wife that he served for, Isaiah 53:11: He saw
the travail of his soul, and was satisfied. He was filled with
delight, as a full banqueter. If that ransom he gave had been
little, he would have given more.

It is much that nothing outside Christ moved him to this engagement.
There was a sad and bloody war between divine Justice and sinners.
Love, Love pressed Christ to the war, to come and serve the great
King, and the state of lost mankind, and to do it freely. This
maketh it two favors. It is a conquering notion to think that the
sinner's heaven was bred first in Christ's heart from eternity, and
that Love, freest Love was the blossom, and the seed, and the only
contriver of our eternal glory, that free grace drove on from the
beginning of the age of God, from everlasting, the saving plot and
sweet design of redemption of souls. This innocent and
soul-rejoicing policy of Christ's taking on him the seed of Abraham,
not of angels, and to come down in the shape of a servant to the
land of his enemies, without a pass in regard of his sufferings,
speaketh and crieth the deep wisdom of infinite Love. Was not this
the wit of free grace to find out such a mysterious and profound
dispensation, as that God and man personally should both do and
suffer, so as Justice should want nothing, mercy be satisfied, peace
should kiss righteousness, and war go on in justice against a
sinless Redeemer? Angels bowing and stooping down to behold the
bottom of this depth, I Peter 1:12, cannot read the perfect sense of
the infinite turnings and foldings of this mysterious love.

O Love of heaven, and fairest of beloveds, the flower of angels, why
camest thou so low down, as to bespot and underrate the spotless
love of all loves, with coming nigh to black sinners? Who could have
believed that lumps of hell and sin could be capable of the warmings
and sparks of so high and princely a love? Or that there could be
place in the breast of the high and lofty One, for forlorn and
guilty clay? But we may know in whose breast this bred; sure none
but only the eternal Love and Delight of the Father could have outed
so much love; had another done it, the wonder had been more. But of
this, more elsewhere.

Use. We may hence chide our soft nature. The Lord Jesus' soul was
troubled in our business; we are startled at a troubled body, at a
scratch in a penny-broad of our hide. First, there is in nature a
silent impatience, if we be not carried in a chariot of love, in
Christ's bosom, to heaven. And if we walk not upon scarlet, and
purple under our feet, we flinch and murmur. Secondly, we would
either have a silken, a soft, a perfumed cross, sugared and honeyed
with the consolations of Christ, or we faint. And providence must
either brew a cup of gall and wormwood mastered in the mixing with
joy and songs, else we cannot be disciples. But Christ's cross did
not smile on him, his cross was a cross, and his ship sailed in
blood, and his blessed soul was seasick, and heavy even to death.
Thirdly, we love to sail in fresh waters, within a step to shore; we
consider not that our Lord, though he afflict not, and crush not,
from his heart, Lamentations 3:33, yet he afflicteth not in sport.
Punishing of sin is in God a serious, grave, and real work. No
reason the cross should be a play; neither Stoics nor Christians can
laugh it over; the cross cast a sad gloom upon Christ.

Fourth, we forget that bloody and sad mercies are good for us. The
peace that the Lord bringeth out of the womb of war is better than
the rotten peace that we had in the superstitious days of Prelates.
What a sweet life, what a heaven, what a salvation is it, we have in
Christ! And we know the death, the grave, the soul trouble of the
Lord Jesus, travailed in pain to bring forth these to us. Heaven is
the more heaven, that to Christ it was a purchase of blood. The
cross to all the saints must have a bloody bit, and lion's teeth; it
was like itself to Christ, gall and sour, and it must be so to us.
We cannot have a paper cross, except we would take on us to make a
golden providence, and put the creation in a new frame, and take the
world and make it a great leaden vessel, melt it in the fire, and
cast a new mold of it.

Fifth, we can wrestle with the Almighty, as if we could discipline
and govern ourselves better than God can do. Murmuring fleeth up
against a dispensation of an infinite wisdom, because it's God's
dispensation, not our own; as if God had done the fault, but the
murmuring man only can make amends, and right the slips of infinite
wisdom. Sixth, we judge God with sense, not with reason; the oar
that God rolleth his vessel withal is broken (say we), because the
end of the oar is in the water. Providence halteth (say we), but
what if sense says, a straight line is a circle? The world judged
God in person a Samaritan, one that had a devil; if we misjudge his
person, we may misjudge his providence and ways. Suspend your sense
of God's ways while you see his ends that are underground. And
instead of judging, wonder and adore, or then believe implicitly
that the way of God is equal, or do both, and submit, and be silent.
Heart dialogues and heart speeches against God, that arises as smoke
in the chimney, are challengings and summons against our highest
landlord, for his own house and land.

If Christ gave a soul for us, he had no choicer thing. The Father
had no nobler and dearer gift, than his only begotten Son. The Son
had no thing dearer than himself. The man Christ had nothing of
value comparable to his soul, and that must run a hazard for man. In
this giving and taking world, we are hence obliged to give the best
and choicest thing we have for Christ. Should we make a table of
Christ's acts of love, and free grace to us, and of our sins and
acts of unthankfulness to him, this would be more evident. Thus (1)
there was before time in the breast of Christ an eternal coal of
burning love to the sinner. Christ began with love to us, we begin
with hatred to him. (2) Christ gave his soul to trouble, and to the
horror of the second death for you. Consult with your heart, if you
have quit one lust for him. Christ laid aside his heaven for you,
his whole heaven, his whole glory, for you, and his Father's house.
Are you willing to part with an acre of earth, or house, and
inheritance for him?

In calling us out of the state of sin, to grace and glory, oh I must
make this sad reckoning with Jesus Christ. Oh, Christ turneth his
smiling face to me, in calling, inviting, obtesting, praying, that I
would be reconciled to God. I turn my back to him. He openeth his
breast and heart to us, and saith, Friends, doves, come in and dwell
in the holes of this rock, and we lift our heel against him. Oh what
guilt is here to scratch Christ's breast! When he willeth you to
come and lay head and heart on his breast, this unkindness to
Christ's troubled soul is more than sin; sin is but a transgression
of the law. I grant it is an infinite but. But it's a transgression
of both law and love, to spurn against the warm bowels of love, to
spit on grace, on tenderness of infinite love. The white and ruddy,
the fairest of heaven, offereth to kiss black Moors on earth; they
will not come near to him. It's a heart of flint and adamant that
spitteth at evangelic love. Law-love is love; evangelic love is more
than love: it's the gold, the flour of Christ's
wheat, and of his finest love.

Song of Solomon 5:6: I rose up to open to my beloved, but my beloved
had withdrawn himself, and was gone, my soul passed away when he
spake. There be two words here considerable, to prove how wounding
are sins against the love of Christ. 1. My beloved hath withdrawn
himself; the text is, and my beloved had turned about. Christ being
unwilling to remove, and wholly go away, he only turned aside. This
intimateth so much as Christ taketh not a direct journey to go away
and leave his own children, only he goeth a little aside from the
door of the soul, to testify he would gladly, with his soul, come
in. Now what ingratitude is it to shut him violently away? 2. My
soul was gone; the old version is, My soul melted, at his speaking,
my soul passed over, or went away; to remember his ravishing words,
it broke my life and made me die, that I remembered a world of love
in him when he knocked, saying Open to me my sister, my love, my
dove. To sin against so great a bond as grace must be the sin of
sins, and amongst highest sins, as is clear in these that sin
against the Holy Ghost. Then it must be impossible to give grace
anything, we but pay our debts to grace; we cannot give the debt of
grace to grace in the whole sum.

Sorrow for Sin

"Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from
this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify
thy name." John 12:27-28.

It cannot then be a sin, intrinsically and of itself, to be troubled
in soul, if Christ was under soul trouble, for sins imputed to him.
Hence let me stay a little on these two: First, what a troubled
conscience is, and secondly, what course the troubled in soul are to
take in imitation of Christ. A soul troubled for sin must either be
a soul feared and perplexed for the penal displeasure, wrath and
indignation of God, or for the eternal punishment of sin; or, for
sin as it faileth against the love of God, or for both. In any of
these three respects it is no sin to be soul-troubled for sin, upon
these conditions: (1.) That the soul be free of faithless doubting
of God's love. Now Christ was free of this. He could not but have a
fixed, entire, and never-broken confidence of his Father's eternal
love. If we have any sin in our soul trouble for sin, it's from
unbelief, not from soul trouble; if there be mud and clay in the
streams, it is from the banks, not from the fountain.

Or, (2.) If the soul fear the ill of punishment as the greatest ill,
and as a greater than the ill of sin, there is more passion than
sound light in the fear. This could not be in Christ. The aversion
of the Lord's heart from the party in whom there is sin, either by
real inherence, or by free imputation, and the withdrawing of rays
and irradiations, and of outflowings of divine love, is a high evil
in a soul that hath anything of the nature of a son in him. Now
there was as much of a son in Christ as a man's nature could be
capable of. And the more of God that was in Christ, as the fullness,
the boundless infinite sea of the Godhead overflowed Christ over all
the banks, then for Christ to be under a cloud in regard of the
outbreathings of eternal love, was in a sort most violent to Christ,
as if he had been torn from himself, and therefore it behooved to be
an extreme soul trouble, Christ being deprived, in a manner, of
himself, and of his soul's only substantial delight and paradise.
And this could not be a sin, but an act of gracious soul sorrow,
that sin and hell intervened between the moon and the sun, the soul
of Christ and his Lord.

The more of heaven in the soul, and the more of God, the want of God
and of heaven is the greater hell. Suppose we that the whole light
of the body of the sun were utterly extinct, and that the sun were
turned in a body as dark as the outside of a caldron, that should be
a greater loss, than if an half penny candle were deprived of light.
Christ had more to lose than a world of millions of angels. Imagine
a creature of as much angelic capacity as ten thousand times ten
thousand thousand of angels, all contemperated in one. If this
glorious angel were filled, according to his capacity, with the
highest and most pure and refined glory of heaven, and again were
immediately stripped naked of all this glory, and then plunged into
the depth and heart of hell, and of a lake of more than hell's
ordinary temper, of fire and brimstone, or suppose God should add
millions of degrees of more pure and unmixed wrath and curses, this
angel's soul must be more troubled than we can easily apprehend. Yet
this is but a comparison below the thing. But the Lord Jesus, in
whose person heaven in the highest degree was carried about with
him, being thrown down from the top of so high a glory, to a sad and
fearful condition, an agony and sweating of blood (God knows the
cause), that shouting and tears of this low condition drew out that
saddest complaint, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?", his
loss must be incomparably more than all we can say in these shadows.

This showeth the cause why there is not among troubles any so
grievous as the want of the presence of God, to a soul fattened and
feasted with the continual marrow and fatness of the Lord's house.
No such complaints read you, so bitter, so pathetic, and coming from
deeper sense, than the want of the sense of Christ's love. It's
broken bones and a dried-up body to David; it's bitter weeping and
crying, like the chattering of a crane, to Hezekiah; it's more than
strangling, and brings Job to pray he had been buried in the womb of
his mother, or that he had never been born, or his mother had been
always great with him. It is swooning, and the soul's departure out
of the body, sickness and death, to the spouse, Song of Solomon 5:6
and 8; it's hell and distraction to Heman, Psalm 88:15. It is to
Jeremiah the cursing of the messenger that brought tidings to his
father that a man child was born, and a wishing that he never had
being, nor life. It's death to part the lover from the beloved, and
the stronger love be, the death is the more death.

But in all that we yet have said, Christ's greatest soul trouble as
a Son (for that he was essentially) was in that his holy soul was
saddened and made heavy even to death, for sin, as sin, and as
contrary to his Father's love. The elect sinned against the Lord,
not looking to him as either Lord or Father; but Christ paid full
dear for sin, eyeing God as Lord, as Father. We look neither to
Lord, to law, nor to love, when we sin; Christ looked to all three,
when he satisfied for sin. Christ did more than pay our debts; it
was a sum above price that he gave for us. It is a great question,
yea out of all question, if all mankind redeemed came near to the
worth, to the goodly price given for us.

So according to the sense of any happiness, so must the soul trouble
for the loss of that happiness be, in due proportion. First, as we
love, so is sorrow for the loss of what we love. Jacob would not
have mourned so for the loss of a servant as for his son Joseph.
According to the fulness of the presence of the Godhead, so heavy
was Christ's loss under desertion. Now no man enjoying God could
have a more lively and vigorous sense of the enjoyed Godhead, as
Christ; so his apprehension and vision of God must have been strong.
The union with the Godhead, and communion of fullness of grace from
the womb, must add to his natural faculties a great edge of sense;
his soul and the faculties thereof were never blunted with sin. The
larger the vessel be, the fullness must be the greater: When
Solomon's heart was larger than the sand in the sea shore, and he
was but a shadow of such a soul as was to dwell personally with the
fullness of the Godhead bodily, Oh how capacious and wide must the
heart of the true Solomon be? It being to contain many seas, and
rivers of wisdom, love, joy, goodness, mercy, above millions of
sands in millions of sea shores. What bowels of compassion and love,
of meekness, gentleness, of free grace must be in him, since all
thousands of elected souls sat in these bowels, and were in his
heart, to die and live with him, and since in his heart was the love
of God in the highest degree. God's love must make a strong
impression in the heart of Christ, and the stronger, purer and more
vigorous that Christ's intellectuals are, the deeper his holy
thoughts and pure apprehensions were, and more steeled with fullness
of grace, therefore his fruition, sense, joy, and love of God must
be the more elevated above what angels and men are capable of.

Hence it must follow that Christ was plunged in an uncouth and new
world of extreme sorrow, even to the death, when this strong love
was eclipsed. Imagine that for one spring and summer season all the
light, heat, motion, vigor, influence of life, should retire into
the body of the sun and remain there, what darkness, deadness,
withering, should be upon flowers, herbs, trees, mountains, valleys,
beasts, birds, and all things living and moving on the earth? Then
what wonder that Christ's soul was extremely troubled, his blessed
sun was now down, his spring and summer gone? His Father a forsaking
God was a new world to him, and I shall not believe that his
complaint came from any error of judgment, or mistakes, or
ungrounded jealousies of the love of God. As his Father could not at
any time hate him, so neither could he at this time let out the
sweet fruits of his love; the cause of the former is the nature of
God, as the ground of the latter is a dispensation above the
capacity of the reason of men or angels. We may then conclude that
Jesus Christ's soul trouble, as it was rational and extremely penal,
so also it was sinless and innocent. Seldom have we seen soul
trouble sinless, but it is by accident of the way. For our passions
can hardly rise in their extremity (except when God is their only
object), but they go overscore. Yet soul trouble intrinsically is
not a sin.

Then to be troubled for sin, though the person be fully persuaded of
pardon, is neither sin, nor inconsistent with the state of a
justified person. Nor is it any act of unbelief, as Antinomians
falsely suppose. For (1.) to be in soul trouble for sin which
cannot, to the perfect knowledge of the person troubled, eternally
condemn, was in Jesus Christ, in whom there was no spot of sin. But
Antinomians say, Sin remaining sin essentially, must have a
condemnatory power. (2.) To abstain from sin as it offendeth against
the love of God showing mercy, rather than the law of God inflicting
wrath, is spiritual obedience. So also to be troubled in soul for
sin committed by a justified person against so many sweet bonds of
free love and grace is a sanctified and gracious sorrow and trouble
of soul. (3.) To be troubled for sin, as offensive to our heavenly
Father and against the sweetness of free grace and tender love,
includeth no act of unbelief, nor that the justified and pardoned
sinner thus troubled is not pardoned, or that he feareth eternal
wrath (as Antinomians imagine), no more than a son's grief of mind
for offending a tender-hearted father can infer that this grief doth
conclude this son under a condition of doubting of his state of
sonship, or a fearing he be disinherited. (4.) Sanctified soul
trouble is a filial commotion and agony of spirit, for trampling
under feet tender love, spurning and kicking against the lovely
warmness of the flowings of the blood of atonement. Such soul
trouble is found in checks and love terrors or love fevers that
Christ's princely head was wet with the night rain while he was kept
out of his own house, and suffered to lodge in the streets, and fear
that the Beloved withdraw himself, and go seek his lodging
elsewhere, as Song of Solomon 5:4-5, Psalm 5:9-10, and that the Lord
cover himself with a cloud and return to his place, and the
influence of the rays and beams of love be suspended. This soul
trouble represents sweet expressions of filial bowels, and
tenderness of love to Christ.

Libertines imagine that if the hazard and fear of hell be removed,
there is no more place for fear, soul trouble, or confession.
Therefore they teach that there is no assurance true and right,
unless it be without fear and trembling; that to call in question
whether God be my dear Father after, or upon, the commission of some
heinous sins (as murder, incest, etc.) doth prove a man to be under
the covenant of works; that a man must be so far from being troubled
for sin that he must take no notice of his sin, nor of his
repentance. Yea, Dr. Crisp saith, "There was no cause why Paul"
(Romans 7) "should fear sin or a body of death, because in that
place Paul doth" (saith he) "personate a scrupulous spirit, and doth
not speak out of his own present case, but speaks in the person of
another, yet a believer. And my reason is, Paul, in respect of his
own person, what became of his sin was already resolved (Romans
8:1): There is now no condemnation, etc. He knew his sins were
pardoned, and that they could not hurt him."

Observe that Arminius, as also, of old, Pelagius, interpreted Romans
7 of a half renewed man, in whom sense, which inclines to venial
sin, fights with reason, that so the full and perfectly renewed man
might seem to be able to keep the law and be free of all mortal sin.
So then there is no battle between the flesh and the Spirit in the
justified man, by the Antinomian way to heaven. As the old
Libertines in Calvin's time said, The flesh does the sin, not the
man, for the man is under no law, and so cannot sin. But that Paul,
Romans 7, speaks in the person of a scrupulous and troubled
conscience, not as it's the common case of all the regenerate in
whom sin dwells, is a foul and fleshly untruth. (1.) To be carnal in
part, as (verse 14), to do that which we allow not, to do what we
would not, and to do what we hate, is the common case, not peculiar
to a troubled conscience only, but to all the saints, Galatians
5:17. (2.) Paul speaketh not of believing, as he must do if he speak
only of a scrupulous and doubting conscience. But he speaketh of
working (verse 15), doing (17-18), willing (15, 19). (3.) A
scrupulous and troubled conscience will never grant, while he is in
that doubting condition, that he does any good or that he belongs to
God, as is clear, Psalm 88, 38, 77:1-4, etc. But Paul in this case
granteth that he does good, hates evil, delights in the law of the
Lord in the inner man, hath a desire to do good, hath a law in his
mind that resisteth the motions of the flesh.

(4.) Yea, the apostle would have had no cause to fear the body of
sin, or to judge himself wretched. This would be his unbelief, and
there would be no ground of his fear, because he was pardoned. It
would then be Paul's sin, and the sinful scrupulosity of unbelief,
to say, being once justified, "Sin dwells in me," and "There is a
law in my members, rebelling against the law of my mind, and
bringing me into captivity unto the law of sin," and "I am carnal,
and sold under sin," and "I do evil, even that which I hate." For
all these would be lies, and speeches of unbelief: the justified man
sinneth not, his heart is clean, he doth nothing against a law. But
I will remember that our divines, and particularly Chemnitius,
Calvin, Beza, prove against Papists that concupiscence is sin after
baptism, even in the regenerate, and it is called eleven or twelve
times with the name of sin, Romans 6-8. So we may use all these
arguments against Libertines to prove we are, even being justified,
such as can sin, and do transgress the law. Therefore we ought to
confess these sins, be troubled in conscience for them, complain and
sigh in our fetters, though we know that we are justified and freed
from the guilt of sin and the obligation to eternal wrath.

Sin is one thing, and the obligation to eternal wrath is another
thing: Antinomians confound them and so mistake grossly the nature
of sin, and of the law, and of justification. Some imprudently go so
far on that they teach that believers are to be troubled in heart
for nothing that befalls them, either in sin or in affliction. If
their meaning were that they should not doubtingly, and from the
principle of unbelief, call in question their once sealed
justification, we should not oppose such a tenet. But their reasons
do conclude that we should no more be shaken in mind with sin than
with afflictions and the punishments of sin, and that,
notwithstanding of the highest provocation we are guilty of, we are
always to rejoice and to feast on the consolations of Christ. Their
reasons are, (1.) "Because trouble for sin ariseth from ignorance or
unbelief, when believers understand not the work of God for them,
the Father's everlasting decree about them, the Son's union with
them and headship to them, his merits and intercession, and the Holy
Spirit's inhabitation in them and his office toward them, to work
all their works for them, till he make them meet for glory." (2.)
"Because such trouble is troublesome to God's heart, as a friend's
trouble is to his friends. But especially, because the Spirit of
bondage never returns again to the justified," Romans 8:15.

But I crave to clear our doctrine touching soul trouble for sin in
the justified person. Assertion 1. No doubting, no perplexity of
unbelief, de jure, ought to perplex the soul once justified and
pardoned. (1.) Because the patent and writs of an unchangeable
purpose to save the elect, and the subscribed and resolved-upon act
of atonement and free redemption in Christ, standeth uncanceled and
firm, being once received by faith; the justified soul ought not so
to be troubled for sin as to misjudge the Lord's past work of saving
grace. (2.) Because the believer, once justified, is to believe
remission of sins, and a paid ransom. If now he should believe the
writs, once signed, were canceled again, he were obliged to believe
things contradictory. (3.) To believe that the Lord is changed, and
off and on, in his free love and eternal purposes, is a great
slandering of the Almighty. (4.) The church acknowledgeth such
misjudging of God to be the soul's infirmity, Psalm 77:10.

Assertion 2. (1.) Yet, de facto, David, a man according to God's
heart, fell in an old fever, a fit of the disease of the Spirit of
bondage, Psalm 32:3-4: When I kept silence, my bones waxed old
through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was
heavy upon me, my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. So
the church in Asaph's words, Psalm 77:2, 7: My sore ran in the
night, and ceased not. Will the Lord cast off for ever? Will he be
merciful no more? Then faith and doubting both may as well be in a
soul possessing the life of God, as health and sickness in one body,
at sundry times. And it is no argument at all of no spiritual
assurance, and of a soul under the law or covenant of works, to
doubt; as sickness argueth life, no dead corpse is capable of
sickness or blindness. These are infirmities that neighbor with
life; thus doubting with sorrow, because the poor soul cannot, in
that exigency, believe, is of kin to the life of God. The life of
Jesus in the soul hath infirmities kindly to it, as some diseases
are hereditary to such a family. (2.) The habit or state of unbelief
is one thing, and doubtings and love jealousies is another thing.
Our love to Christ is sickly, crazy, and full of jealousies and
suspicions. Temptations make false reports of Christ, and we easily
believe them. But jealousies argue love, and the strongest of loves,
even marriage love. (3.) The morning dawning of light, is light; the
first springing of the child in the belly, is a motion of life; the
least warmings of Christ's breathings, is the heart of life. When
the pulse of Christ new-framed in the soul moveth most weakly, the
new birth is not dead; the very swoonings of the love of Christ
cannot be incident to a buried man.

(4.) The disciples' prayer, Lord increase our faith, Christ's
praying that the faith of the saints, when they are winnowed, may
not fail, and the exhortation to be strong in the Lord and in the
power of his might, prove the saint's faith may be at a stand, and
may stagger and slide. (5) The various condition of the saints, now
it's full moon, again no moonlight at all, but a dark eclipse,
evidenceth this truth. The believer hath flowings of strong acts of
faith, joy, and love, supernatural passions of grace arising to an
high springtide, above the banks and ordinary coasts, and again a
low-ground ebb. The condition in ebbings and flowings, in full
manifestations and divine raptures of another world, when the wind
bloweth right from heaven, and the breath of Jesus Christ's mouth,
and of sad absence, runneth through the Song of Solomon, the book of
the Psalms, the book of Job, as threads through a web of silk, and
veins that are the strings and spouts carrying blood through all the
body, less or more.

Assertion 3. The justified soul, once pardoned, receiveth never the
spirit of bondage, to fear again eternal wrath. That is, this spirit
in the intention of the habit such as was at the first conversion,
when there was not a grain of faith, doth never return, nor is it
consistent with the Spirit of adoption. Yet happily it may be a
question, if a convert brought in with much sweetness and quietness
of spirit, if he fall in some heinous sin like the adultery and
murder by David, have not greater vexation of spirit than at his
first conversion, but more supernatural.

But yet this must stand as a condemned error, which Libertines do
hold, "that frequency or length of holy duties, or trouble of
conscience for neglect thereof, are all signs of one under a
covenant of works." This is but a turning of faith into wantonness,
whereas faith, of all graces, moveth with lowest sails. For faith is
not a lofty and crying, but a soft-moving and humble, grace. For
then David's being moved, and his heart smiting him, at the rending
of King Saul's garment, should be under a covenant of works, and so
not a man according to God's own heart, for a smitten heart is a
troubled soul. And then David ought not to have been troubled in
soul for sin, for his sins were then pardoned; nor could the Spirit
of the Lord so highly commend Josiah's heart-melting trouble at the
reading and hearing of the law, nor Christ own the tears and soul
trouble of the woman, as coming from no other spring but much love
to Christ, because many sins were pardoned.

Nor can it be said that we are to be less troubled for sin than the
saints of old were, because our justification is more perfect, and
the blood of Christ had less power to purge the conscience and to
satisfy the demands of the law before it was shed, than now. Indeed,
the law was a severer pedagogue to awe the saints, then in regard of
the outward dispensation of ceremonies and legal strictness, keeping
men as malefactors in close prison till Christ should come. But
imputation of Christ's righteousness, and blessedness in the pardon
of sin, and so freedom from soul trouble for eternal wrath, and the
law's demanding the conscience to pay what debts none were able to
pay but the surety only, was one and the same to them and to us. Who
dare say that the believing Jews died under the curse of the law,
Deuteronomy 27:26? For so they must perish eternally, Galatians
3:10. Then there must be none redeemed under the Old Testament, nor
any justified, contrary to express Scriptures. As they were blessed,
in that their transgression was forgiven, and their sin covered, and
that the Lord imputed no iniquity to them, our blessedness is the
same, and Christ as he was made a curse for them, so for us. David,
Abraham, and all the fathers under the law, were justified by the
imputed righteousness of Christ, apprehended by faith, as we are,
Romans 4:23. Then the law could crave them no harder than us, and
they were no more justified by works than we are. The law did urge
the Jews harder than us (1.) in regard of the Mosaical burden of
ceremonies and bloody sacrifices, that pointed out their guiltiness,
except they should flee to Christ, (2.) in regard of God's
dispensation of the severer punishing of law transgression, and that
with temporary punishments, and rewarding obedience with external
prosperity, and (3.) in urging this doctrine more hardly upon the
people to cause them not rest on the letter of the law, but seek to
the promised Messiah, in whom only was their righteousness: as young
heirs and minors are kept under tutors while their nonage expire.
But who dare say that the saints under the Old Testament were to
trust to the merit of their own works, or seek righteousness in
themselves, more than we? Yea, they believing in the Messiah to
come, were no more under the law and the dominion of sin, than we
are, but under grace, and pardoned, and saved by faith, as we are.

Josiah's tenderness of heart, David's smiting of heart, the woman's
weeping, even to the washing of Christ's feet with tears, Peter's
weeping bitterly for the denying of his Lord: these woundings were
gospel affections, and commotions of love issuing from the Spirit of
adoption, of love, grace, and nothing but the turtle dove's love
sorrow. These soul commotions were not, as Antinomians imagine, from
"demands of law to pay what justice may demand of the self-condemned
sinner"; such an obligation to eternal wrath is no chain which can
tie the sons of adoption, who are washed, justified, pardoned. And
yet if the justified and pardoned say they have no sin, and so no
reason to complain under their fetters, and to sigh as captives in
prison, as Paul doth, Romans 7:24, nor cause to mourn for indwelling
of sin, they are liars and strangers to their own heart, and do
sleep in deep security, as if sin were so fully removed both in
guilt and blot, as if tears for sin as sin should argue the mourning
party to be in the condition of those who weep in hell, or that they
were no more obliged to weep, but only to exercise joy, comfort, and
perpetuated acts of solace and rejoicing, as if Christ had, in the
threshold of glory, already with his own hand wiped all tears from
their eyes.

Saltmarsh saith in a dangerous medicine for wounded souls, "Where
there is no law," (as there is none in or over the justified soul)
"there is no transgression, and where there is no transgression,
there is no trouble for sin, all trouble arising from the obligement
of the law, which demandeth a satisfaction of the soul for the
breach of it, and such satisfaction as the soul knows it cannot
give, and thereby remains unquiet, like a debtor that hath nothing
to pay, and the law, too, being naturally in the soul, as the
apostle saith, the conscience accusing or else excusing. It is no
marvel that such souls should be troubled for sin and unpacified,
the law having such a party and engagement already within them,
which must needs work strongly upon the spirits of such as are but
faintly and weakly enlightened, and not furnished with gospel enough
to answer the indictments, the convictions, the terrors, the curses
which the law brings."

I can see no reason why any should affirm that "the law is naturally
as a party in the soul," either of the regenerate and justified, or
of those who are out of Christ. (1.) For the law's engaging, by
accusing and condemning, is not naturally in any son of Adam,
because there is a sleeping conscience, both dumb and silent,
naturally in the soul. And if there be any challenging and accusing
in the Gentile conscience, Romans 2, as stirring is opposed to a
silent and dumb conscience that speaketh nothing, so the
law-accusing is not naturally in the soul. A spirit above nature (I
do not mean the Spirit of regeneration) must work with the law, else
both the law and sin lie dead in the soul. The very law of nature
lieth as a dead letter, and stirreth not, except some wind blow more
or less on the soul, Romans 7:8-9. (2.) That the law wakeneth any
sinner, and maketh the drunken and mad sinner see himself in the
sea, and sailing down the river to the chambers of death, that he
may but be occasioned to cast an eye on shore, on Jesus Christ, and
wish a landing on Christ, is a mercy that no man can father on
nature, or on himself. (3.) All sense of a sinful condition, to any
purpose, is a work above nature, though it be not ever a fruit of
regeneration. (4.) It's true, "Christ teacheth a man's soul, through
the shining of gospel light, to answer all the indictments of the
law, in regard that Christ the Ransomer stops the law's mouth with
blood," else the sinner can make but a poor and faint advocation for
himself. Yet this cannot be made in the conscience without some soul
trouble for sin.

Another Antinomian saith, "God's people need more joys after sins
than after afflictions, because they are more cast down by them. And
therefore God useth sins as means by which he leads in his joys, in
this world; and also in the world to come, their sins shall yield
them great joys. Indeed, in some respects they shall joy most at the
last day who have sinned least; but in other respects, they have
most joy who have sinned most." It's strange that God's people "need
more joy after sin than after affliction," and that in "some respect
they have most joy who have sinned most." Sure, this is accidental
to sin: this joy is not for sin, but it's a joy of loving much
because much is forgiven. Forgiveness is an act of free grace; sin
is no work of grace. Sin grieves the heart of God, "as a friend's
trouble is trouble to a friend." The believer is made the friend of
God, John 15:15, and it must be cursed joy that lay in the womb of
that which is most against the heart of Christ, such as all sin is.
Yea, to be more troubled in soul for sins than for afflictions
smelleth of a heart that keeps correspondence with the heart and
bowels of Christ, who wept more for Jerusalem's sins than for his
own afflictions and cross. There is no rational way to raise and
heighten the price and worth of the soul-Redeemer of sinners, and
the weight of infinite love, so much as to make the sinner know how
deep a hell he was plunged in, when the bone acheth exceedingly. For
that the gospel tongue of the Physician Christ should lick the
rotten blood of the soul's wound, speaketh more than imaginable free
love. Nor do we say that gospel mourning is wrought by the law's
threatenings; then it were servile sorrow. But it's wrought by the
doctrine of the law discovering the foulness and sinfulness of sin,
and by the doctrine of the gospel, the spirit of the gospel shining
in both; otherwise, sounds, breathings, letters of either law or
gospel, except the breathings of heaven shine on them and animate
them, can do no good.


 

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