The heart knoweth his own bitterness
Or "the bitterness of his soul" F12, the distress of his conscience, the anguish of his mind; the heart of man only knows the whole of it; something of it may be known to others by his looks, his words, and gestures, but not all of it; see ( 1 Corinthians 2:10 ) ( Job 23:2 ) ; bitterness of soul often arises from outward troubles, pains, and diseases of body, losses, crosses, and disappointments, ( 1 Samuel 1:10 1 Samuel 1:15 ) ( Job 3:20 ) ( 7:11 ) ( 10:1 ) ( Isaiah 38:15 Isaiah 38:17 ) . Sometimes it is upon spiritual accounts; but this is not the case of every heart; men may be in the gall of bitterness, and have no bitterness of soul on account of it; the sensualist and voluptuous worldling feels nothing of it, nor the hardened and hardhearted sinner; only such who are awakened and convinced by the Spirit of God; to these, as sin is a bitter thing in itself, it is so to their taste; it makes hitter work for repentance in them; it brings trembling and astonishment on them; fills them with shame and confusion of face, causes self-loathing and abhorrence, and severe reflections upon themselves; seeing sin in its own colours, they are cut to the heart and killed with it; they are pressed down with the guilt of sin, and the load of it; and, having no views of pardon, are in that distress and bitterness of soul which no tongue can express nor heart conceive but what has felt the same; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy;
or "mingle himself with it" F13; he does not share in it or partake of it; this is more especially true of spiritual joy, which, as it is unspeakable to the man that possesses it, it passes the understanding of a natural man; he can form no true idea of it: spiritual joy is what a sensible sinner partakes of upon the Gospel, the joyful sound of salvation, reaching his ears and his heart, at the revelation of Christ in him and to him, as a Saviour; when an application of pardoning grace is made to his soul, and he has a view of the complete righteousness of Christ, and his interest in it, and can see all his sins expiated and stoned for by his sacrifice; when he is favoured with a sight of the fulness of grace in Christ, and of the spiritual and eternal salvation he has wrought out for him; and likewise when he is indulged with a visit from him, and enjoys communion with him; and when he has a glimpse of eternal glory, and a well grounded hope of right unto it, and meetness for it: now a stranger, one that is a stranger to God and godliness, to Christ and the way of salvation by him, to the Spirit and his work of grace upon the heart, to the Gospel and the doctrines of it, to his own heart and the plague of it, to the saints and communion with them; knows nothing at all of the above joy, nor can he interrupt it, nor take it away.
F12 (wvpn trm) "amaritudine animae suae", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis.
F13 (brety al) "non immiscet se", Michaelis, so Tigurine version; "non miscebit sese", Baynus; "non intermiscet se", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.