Imatges de pÓgina

for it is "as ointment poured forth," Song i. 3. How sweet is the name of a Redeemer to a captive, and to a humbled sinner, one who may lay his hands on both!

6. It is a heart taking the Lord only for their God. They professed they would have no more to do with idols, though it was not long ere their hearts turned to their old bias: Exod. xxxii. 8, "They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them, they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." But such a heart renounces all other lovers, gives Christ's rivals their leave, and halts no more betwixt two opinions. If thou wouldst be perfect, sell all, that is, part with all but Christ. When a man gets such a heart, there is an extraordinary uproar made in the soul; when it enters the man's breast, Satan cries as these, "They that turn the world up-side down, are come hither also." There is a strange overturning of thrones there. As when Christ and the gospel came into the world, the world, which before was wholly given to idolatry, then made great reformation; oracles were struck dumb, idols were cast to the moles and to the bats; so when the man gets such a heart, down goes the clay-god, the world, and Christ mounts the throne; neither back nor belly must be gods longer to the man, king self loses his crown, which is put upon the head of Christ, and free grace. The heart, which was divided among many lusts before, enters now on Jesus, the beauty of the Upper house.

7. It is a heart for the Lord's work, ver. 27. It is a heart which inclines the man who has taken Christ's enlisting money to fight his battles; which willingly stoops to the yoke of Christ's commandments, and is set to walk in the way of obedience. It is a heart reconciled to the law of God; the soul being married to Christ, may not be barren, but must bring forth fruit unto God. When the Lord charges the heart, the bullock is tamed, and accustomed to the yoke. To be more particular here, we observe,

(1.) That it is a heart for universal obedience, ver. 27. It wishes to neglect none of God's commands, but to have respect to them all, Psalm cxix. 6. When the heart is straight, it makes the conversation uniform. The Lord's stamp on every duty recommends it to the care of such a heart. The heart naturally is like some servants who promise to do all at the bargain-making, but fail in the accomplishment, like the sluggard who will not plow because of the cold. But such a heart puts a blank in the Lord's hand, and makes no exceptions. Some sins lie nearer the heart than others, some a right eye, some but a left toe. The right eye must be plucked out;

thou must put to thine own hand to this hard work, it must be with thine own consent. Amen, says such a heart; let bosom-lusts yield to Christ.

(2.) It is a heart for coustant obedience. They limit no time. Compare the text with John viii. 31, "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." We have a sad account of Rehoboam, 2 Chron. xii. 1, "When he was established in the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him." He was like many men, who make use of religion like a net, who, when they have catched their prey, fold up and lay by their net. But see the fountain of his apostacy, ver. 14, “And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord;" prepared or fixed, or established not his heart. But such an heart is for following the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, in foul and fair weather, and will abide with Christ in a storm when the summer vermin is not to be seen: Psalm xix. 9, "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever." Trees planted in God's vineyard, watered by his grace, having such a heart, are not like common trees, green only one while of the year, but those are ever green, and are yielding their fruit in their season, Psalm vii. 3. Such an heart takes with the stock, and so lives by its sap.

(3.) It is a heart resolute in obedience. We will do it, say they, stand in the way what will. See the portraiture of such a heart, Micah iv. 5, "For all people will walk every one in the name of his God, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever." Such a heart had Caleb and Joshua, they followed the Lord fully. It made them row against the stream. It gives the man courage for the arduous enterprise. Heaven is sweet in the eyes of all; why then do so many go to hell? why, they have not such a heart. There are difficulties in the way to heaven, they have no courage to grapple with these. They see heaven afar, but there is a great gulph betwixt them and it, and they have not such a resolute heart as to venture on it, and heaven will not drop into their mouths.

(4.) It is a heart that is content to know what is duty and what is sin: 66 Speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee, and we will hear it and do it." And indeed that is a very rare heart; for most people are glad to lodge lust; as some lodged intercommuned people, they are willing they should get house-room, but are desirous that they themselves should not see them, so as to know that they are there. But such a heart loves to know the whole counsel of God: John iii. 20, "But he that doth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that

they are wrought in God." It is a nonsuch heart, which is content to have all anatomized and searched out; which in every case is ready to say, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth;" which is content to sit down at Christ's feet and learn all; while others lodge their lusts under disguise, and loathe the discovery of them, rebel against the light, and shut their eyes, till God judicially blind them, so as that they at last come to believe lies.

(5.) It is a heart to which God's bare will is a sufficient reason both for faith and practice. Such a heart receives the speaker for the word's sake, and not the word for his, but for God's sake. Such a heart receives the kingdom as a little child, who has authority enough if father or mother say it. Such a heart had Abraham; he gets a strange commandment, for which he could see no reason but the will of God, Gen. xxii. Father and son must part, not to see other more in this world, though the son of the promise. The Father himself must do the deed. Here were many deaths both to the father and to the son; but God's will was revealed, and they were about fully to obey; then says the Lord, ver. 12, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him, for now I know that thou fearest God;" that thou hast such a heart. We go on to observe,

8. It is a heart that has high and honourable thoughts of God, ver. 24, "Behold the Lord our God hath shewed us his glory, and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire; we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth." His greatness; "O that there were such a heart in them!" They professed this. High and honourable thoughts of the husband is necessary to the comfort of the married state, and to the performance of duties. The queen stands upon the right hand, Psalm xlv. 9. Mean thoughts of God are the neck-break of right obedience to him. They think him such an one as themselves, Psalm 1. 31. Hence mean, pitiful services are thought sufficient. They forget that he "will be sanctified in them that come nigh him, and before all the people will he be glorified, Lev. x. 3. Such a heart is let into the view of his greatness in some measure, so that its conclusions will be, Psalm xcv. 3, "The Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods." So that the soul's familiarity with God will yet be managed with a due regard to the awful greatness and infinite distance betwixt God and the creature. And this may serve as a help to distinguish true communion with God from delusions, Hebrews xii. 28, 29. John xx. 28.

It is a heart which the voice of God has reached, ver. 24, (quoted above.) O that this voice had had as much access to their hearts as

to their ears! Paul spoke, and God spoke, and Lydia's heart was opened. "My sheep," said Jesus, "hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me," John x. 27. To honest covenanters there is something more in preaching than a bare sound, something more in sacraments than bread and wine: these are but the vehicles of the Lord's voice to the soul, and the ordinances are empty things when there is no divine fire infolded in them. There is a voice of the Lord in our mother's house; in the public ordinances there is a good report of Christ. Sinners are invited, obtested, commanded to hear and believe. But Christ comes into the inner chamber of the elect's hearts, and there he gives his voice, which is a majestic voice, a heart-melting sound; Jer. xxiii. 29, "Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" It thaws the frozen affections. A quickening voice that puts activity in the soul; it puts the spirit in motion, so as that it rests not till it has taken up its rest in God; John vi. 63, "It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak anto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

10. It is a heart which takes up with the Lord for its God, even when he appears in the glorious robes of his perfect holiness. This they professed; but "O that there were such a heart in them!" The truth is, the carnal mind is enmity against God; and none but saints indeed can give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness, Psalm xxx. 4. God is glorious in his holiness indeed; but none will love him for that glory, but such as are partakers of his divine nature. Those who love him for this, love him for himself. And indeed such a heart, being a holy heart, will cleave to the fountain of holiness, to the end that they may be transformed into the same image. To take God in the robes of mercy, is not strange; but God's holiness chaseth unholy hearts away from him.


11. It is a heart sensible of that vast distance which sin has made betwixt God and the soul, which has got such a sight of his own sinfulness, and God's holiness, that it sees there is no transacting with God but by a Mediator, ver. 27. Such a heart will say as Luther, I will have nothing to do with an absolute God." Such will not offer to come into the presence of God but as introduced by the King's Son, nor will desire to look on God but as vailed with flesh, knowing that a sight of unvailed majesty is enough to confound a sinner. And truly, till the Lord touch the heart, it will not be such a heart, but, like a fearless beast, will touch the fiery mountain. Such a heart will highly prize Christ, and come to the Lord under the vail of Christ's flesh, and will have no boldness of access but what flows from the blood of Christ, Heb. x. 19, 20.

12. It is a heart reconciled to the whole law of God, ver. 27. It is not every heart which is such. They only have it, "who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit," Rom. viii. 1. Hypocrites' hearts are never reconciled to the whole law of God. They cannot say they are not ashamed in having respect to all God's commandments, Psalm cxix. 6. There are always some parts of the Bible, which hypocrites would spend their blood on to blot them out, if that would do. Here, there is a raging lust says, yea; there, there is a holy law says, nay; the heart cannot be reconciled to both at once. Both may be in the experience both of the sincere Christian and the hypocrite. What is the difference? why, the hypocrite would fain have the law bow to his lusts, the sincere soul would have his lusts bow to the law. For he "delights in the law of the Lord after the inward man," Rom. vii. 22. And his heart will approve the law, when it forbids, accuses, and condemns his corruptions, ver. 16, "If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the law, that it is good."

13. It is a heart which is for taking the law only out of Christ's hand as Mediator, ver 27. The Mediator first makes the peace between God and the sinner, then bids the man work. But the law of itself first bids sinners work, and tells them they shall have their peace according to their work; which would be dreadful news to such a heart. Under the law to Christ, 1 Cor. ix. 21. The law, cast into a gospel-mould, is the only law such a heart desires to meddle with, that, " being married to Christ, they may bring forth fruit to God," Rom. vii. 4.; that being by Christ made partakers of the adoption, they may serve as sons, not as hired servants or slaves.

Lastly, It is a heart ready for obedience, ver. 27. The soul then stands at Mount Zion, and says, "Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth." They have had Christ's banner in the banqueting-house, as being ready to rise up and fight his battles, under the conduct and influence of their glorious leader. Such a heart has eaten the passover with its loins girt, and with a staff in its hand, ready for the journey. The heart that is for obedience, but not yet, is not such a heart; it is but a shifting heart, which will end in a refusal. It is but a civil way of putting off for altogether; Psalm exix. 5, "O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!"

We now proceed,

II. To shew that such a heart is a most valuable thing.-It must be so; For,

1. Such a heart is God's delight; "O that there were such an heart in them!" This would give content to the heart of Christ.

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