Mourning for sin and the grace of God collide in the life of Robert Bruce


The following autobiographical account of the conversion of 17th century Scottish preacher Robert Bruce lets us see what happens when a great mourning for sin collides with the grace of God in Christ. In this short account, Bruce demonstrates practically all of the signs of Thomas Watson’s marks of true gospel mourning for sin and none of the hindrances:

At last it pleased God, in the year 1581in the month of August, in the last night thereof, being in the Place of Airth, lying in a chamber called the New Loft Chamber, in the very while I lay, to cite me inwardly, judicially in my conscience, and to present all my sins before me in such sort that He omitted not a circumstance, but made my conscience to see time, place, persons as vividly as in the hour I did them. He made the devil to accuse me so audibly that I heard his voice as vividly as ever I heard anything, not being asleep but awake. And so far as he spake true, my conscience bare him record, and testified against me very clearly. But when he came to be a false accuser, and laid things to my charge which I had never done, then my conscience failed him and would not testify with him. And in these things that were true my conscience condemned me, and the accuser himself tormented me, and made me feel the wroth of God pressing me down as it were to the lower hell. Yea, I was so fearfully and extremely tormented that I would have been content to have been cast into a cauldron of hot melted lead, to have had my soul relieved of that insupportable weight. Always, so far as he spoke true, I confessed, restored God to His glory, and craved God’s mercy for the merits of Christ: yea, appealed sore to His mercy, purchased to me by the blood, death, and passion of Christ. This court of justice holden upon my soul, turned of the bottomless mercy of God into a Court of Mercy to me: for that same night, ere the day dawned or ever the sun rose, He restrained these furies, and these outcries of my justly accusing conscience, and enabled me to rise in the morning.

[Robert Bruce: Minister in the Kirk Edenburg (2nd printing, Banner of Truth, 1961)]

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