“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17.
If a broken heart and a contrite spirit be of such esteem with God, then this should encourage them that have it to come to God with it. I know the great encouragement for men to come to God is, for that there ‘is a mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (1 Tim 2:5). This, I say, is the great encouragement, and in its place there is none but that; but there are other encouragements subordinate to that, and a broken and a contrite spirit is one of them: this is evident from several places of Scripture.
Wherefore, thou that canst carry a broken heart and a sorrowful spirit with thee, when thou goest to God, tell him thy heart is wounded within thee, that thou hast sorrow in thy heart, and art sorry for thy sins Confess also thy sins unto him, and tell him they are continually before thee. David made an argument of these things, when he went to God by prayer. ‘O Lord, ‘ saith he, ‘rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.’ But why so? O! says he, ‘Thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh, because of thine anger: neither is there any rest in my bones, because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink, and are corrupt, because of my foolishness. I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken; I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light for mine eyes, it also is gone from me. My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore’: and so he goes on (Psa 38:1-4, &c.).
These are the words, sighs, complaints, prayers, and arguments of a broken heart to God for mercy; and so are they, ‘Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me’ (Psa 51:1-3).
God alloweth poor creatures that can, without lying, thus to plead and argue with him. ‘I am poor and sorrowful, ‘ said the good man to him, ‘let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high’ (Psa 69:29). Wherefore thou that hast a broken heart take courage, God bids thee take courage; say therefore to thy soul, ‘Why are thou cast down, O my soul?’ as usually the broken-hearted are. ‘And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God.’ ‘I had fainted, ‘ if I had not been of good courage; therefore ‘be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart’