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  • Writer's pictureDr. Roger D Duke

“. . . Some signs of a broken heart, of a broken and contrite spirit . . .”

“. . . Some signs of a broken heart, of a broken and contrite spirit . . .”

An Excerpt From

The Acceptable Sacrifice[1]


The Excellency of a Broken Heart


John Bunyan

“1. A broken-hearted man, such as is intended in the text, is a sensible man: he is brought to the exercise of all the senses of his soul. All others are dead, senseless, and without true feeling of what the broken-hearted man is sensible of. . . .

2. And that it, he is a very sorrowful man. Thus, as the other natural, it is natural to one that is in pain, and that has his bones broken, to be a grieved and sorrowful man. He is none of the jolly ones of the times, nor can be, for his bones, his heart, his heart is broken. . . .

3. The man with a broken heart is a very humble man: for true humility is a sign of a broken heart. Hence, brokenness of heart, contrition of spirit, and humbleness of mind are put together. “To revive the heart of the humble, and to revive the spirit of the contrite ones,” Isa[iah] lvii. 15. . . .

4. The broken-hearted man is a man that see himself in spirituals to be poor: therefore as humble and contrite, so poor and contrite are put together in the word: “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit,: Isa[iah] lxvi. 1, 2. . . .

5. Another sign of a broken heart is a crying, a crying out. Pain, you know, will make one cry; go to them that have upon them the anguish of broken bones, and see if they do not cry; anguish makes them cry. This is that which quickly follows, if once they heart be broken, and thy spirit indeed made contrite. . . .

6. Another sign of a broken heart, and of a contrite spirit, is, it trembleth at God’s word. “To him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word,” Isa[iah] lxvi. 2.”[2]

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[1]John Bunyan, The Acceptable Sacrifice or The Excellency of a Broken Heart (Swengel, PA: Reiner Publications, 1959). Reprinted by permission from the 1959 edition of Mr. O.G. Pearce. The Retreat, Harpenden, Herts., England. The Title Page states: “By John Bunyan who died, while this, his last Work, was in the Press.” This is Bunyans’s exposition of Psalm 51:17. [2]Ibid, 23-42.

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