The Acceptable Sacrifice, by John Bunyan.

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Published at : 17 Dec 2020
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The Acceptable Sacrifice; Or, The Excellency of a Broken Heart: Showing the Nature, Signs, and Proper Effects of a Contrite Spirit, by John Bunyan. 1692.

Being the Last Works of that Eminent Preacher and Faithful Minister of Jesus Christ, Mr. John Bunyan, of Bedford. With a Preface Prefixed Thereunto by an Eminent Minister of the Gospel In London.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
~ Psalm 51:17

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.
~ Isaiah 61:1, Isaiah 66:2, Isaiah 57:15, Psalm 34:18, Psalm 147:3, Psalm 102:17, Psalm 22:24, 2 Kings 22:19

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
~ Romans 12:1, Mark 12:33

And who can be thankful for a mercy that is not sensible that they want it, have it, and have it of mercy? Now, this the broken-hearted, this the man that is of a contrite spirit, is sensible of; and that with reference to mercies of the best sort, and therefore must needs be a thankful man, and so have a heart of esteem with God, because it is a thankful heart.

Fifth. A broken heart is of great esteem with, or an excellent thing in, the sight of God, because it is a heart that desires now to become a receptacle or habitation for the spirit and graces of the Spirit of God. It was the devil's hold before, and was contented so to be. But now it is for entertaining of, for being possessed with, the Holy Spirit of God. 'Create in me a clean heart, ' said David, 'and renew a right spirit within me. Take not thy Holy Spirit from me, uphold me with thy free Spirit' (Psa 51:10-12). Now he was for a clean heart and a right spirit; now he was for the sanctifying of the blessed spirit of grace; a thing which the uncircumcised in heart resist, and do despite unto (Acts 7:51; Heb 10:29).

A broken heart, therefore, suiteth with the heart of God; a contrite spirit is one spirit with him. God, as I told you before, covets to dwell with the broken in heart, and the broken in heart desire communion with him. Now here is an agreement, a oneness of mind; now the same mind is in thee which was also in Christ Jesus. This must needs be an excellent spirit; this must needs be better with God, and in his sight, than thousands of rams, or ten thousand rivers of oil. But does the carnal world covet this, this spirit, and the blessed graces of it? No, they despise it, as I said before; they mock at it, they prefer and countenance any sorry, dirty lust rather; and the reason is, because they want a broken heart, that heart so highly in esteem with God, and remain for want thereof in their enmity to God.

The broken-hearted know, that the sanctifying of the Spirit is a good means to keep from that relapse, out of which a man cannot come unless his heart be wounded a second time. Doubtless David had a broken heart at first conversion, and if that brokenness had remained, that is, had he not given way to hardness of heart again, he had never fallen into that sin out of which he could not be recovered, but by the breaking of his bones a second time. Therefore, I say, a broken heart is of great esteem with God; for it, and I will add, so long as it retains its tenderness, covets none but God, and the things of his Holy Spirit; sin is an abomination to it.

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