When I do this begin to apprehend,
by John Bunyan
My heart, my soul, and mind, begins to bend
To God-ward, and sincerely for to love
His son, his ways, his people, and to move
With brokenness of spirit after him
Who broken was, and killed for my sin.
Now is mine heart grown holy, now it cleaves
To Jesus Christ my Lord, and now it leaves
Those ways that wicked be; it mourns because
It can conform no more unto the laws
Of God, who loved me when I was vile,
And of sweet Jesus, who did reconcile
Me unto justice by his precious blood,
When no way else was left to do me good.
If you would know how this can operate
Thus on the soul, I shall to you relate
A little farther what my soul hath seen
Since I have with the Lord acquainted been.
The word of grace, when it doth rightly seize
The spirit of a man, and so at ease
Doth set the soul, the Spirit of the Lord
Doth then with might accompany the word;
In which it sets forth Christ as crucified,
And by that means the Father pacified
With such a wretch was thou, and by this sight,
Thy guilt is in the first place put to flight,
For thus the Spirit doth expostulate:
Behold how God doth now communicate
(By changing of the person) grace to thee
A sinner, but to Christ great misery,
Though he the just one was, and so could not
Deserve this punishment; behold, then, what
The love of God is! how 'tis manifest,
And where the reason lies that thou art blest.
This doctrine being spoken to the heart,
Which also is made yield to every part
Thereof, it doth the same with sweetness fill,
And so doth sins and wickednesses kill;
For when the love of God is thus reveal'd,
And thy poor drooping spirit thereby seal'd,
And when thy heart, as dry ground, drinks this in
Unto the roots thereof, which nourish sin,
It smites them, as the worm did Jonah's gourd,
And makes them dwindle of their own accord,
And die away; instead of which there springs
Up life and love, and other holy things.
Besides, the Holy Spirit now is come,
And takes possession of thee as its home;
By which a war maintained always is
Against the old man and the deeds of his.
When God at first upon mount Sinai spake,
He made his very servant Moses quake;
But when he heard the law the second time,
His heart was comforted, his face did shine.
What was the reason of this difference,
Seeing no change was in the ordinance,
Although a change was in the manner, when
The second time he gave it unto men?
At first 'twas given in severity,
In thunder, blackness, darkness, tempest high,
In fiery flames it was delivered.
This struck both Moses and the host as dead;
But Moses, when he went into the mount
The second time, upon the same account
No fear, nor dread, nor shaking of his mind,
Do we in all the holy Scripture find;
But rather in his spirit he had rest,
And look'd upon himself as greatly blest.
He was put in the rock, he heard the name,
Which on the mount the Lord did thus proclaim:
The Lord, merciful, gracious, and more,
Long-suffering, and keeping up in store
Mercy for thousands, pardoning these things,
Iniquity, transgressions, and sins,
And holding guilty none but such as still
Refuse forgiveness, of rebellious will.
This proclamation better pleased him
Than all the thunder and the light'ning.
Which shook the mount, this rid him of his fear,
This made him bend, make haste, and worship there.
Jehoshaphat, when he was sore opprest
By Amnon and by Moab, and the rest
Of them that sought his life, no rest he found,
Until a word of faith became a ground
To stay himself upon; O, then they fell,
His very song became their passing-bell.
Then holiness of heart a consequence
Of faith in Christ is, for it flows from thence;
The love of Christ in truth constraineth us,
Of love sincerely to make judgment thus:
He for us died that for ever we
Might die to sin, and Christ his servants be.
O! nothing's like to the remembrance
Of what it is to have deliverance
From death and hell, which is of due our right,
Nothing, I say, like this to work delight
In holy things; this like live honey runs,
And needs no pressing out of honey-combs.