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there is no broken heart, as in Esan, and there may be a broken and tender heart where tears are not. Try, therefore, the tenderness of your hearts by the following marks. :
Are your hearts kindly affected with providences? Thou meetest with a mercy, and it is a wonder to thee that the Lord should be so kind to such an unworthy wretch. Thou sayest as Jacob, “ I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou has shewed unto thy servant," Gen. xxxii. 10. It melts thy heart into an earnest desire of boliness, knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. Again, thou meetest with rebuke of providence, shewing thee that thou art out of the way, and thou darest not venture farther that way. This is a good sign ; Prov. xvii. 10," A reproof enters more into a wise man, than a hundred stripes into a fool.” Again, do the threatenings of the Lord's word awe thy heart, not only in respect of gross outbreakings, but in the course of thy daily walk? Isa. lxii. 2, “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” Art thou afraid of the Lord's displeasure more than of anything else, and must thou stand at a distance from these things which the world makes light of on that account? This is a sign of a tender heart. This reflection was comfortable to Job, chap. xxxi. 23, " For destruction from God was a terror unto me; and by reason of his highness I could not endure.” Now this had a tendency to keep him free from all sin.-Finally, have the Lord's commandments an awful authority on thy conscience, so that thou art tender of offending him, and trampling on them? A hard heart can easily digest an offence against God, but a tender heart respects all his commandments, Psalm cxix. 6. A burnt child dreads the fire ; and the singer whose heart has been broken for sin dreads sin as the greatest evil. There are some who will be very tender at their prayers, it may be that they weep and pray; but then foarful untenderness appears in their ordinary walk. But shew me the person who is in the fear of the Lord all the day long, who is afraid to say or do an ill thing; I say, this is the tender person, though his prayers should be filled from beginning to end with complaints of hardness of heart; not the other; 1 John v. 3, " For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.”—A broken heart is,
5. A rent heart: Joel ii. 13," And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God.” The plough of humiliation and repentance is drawn through the heart, which tears up the fallow-ground, and pierces to the very soul. Many a man's heart is rent with remorse, or rather mangled, which is never thoroughly rent; and so their wound goes together again after some time, and they are as before. Bat the truly broken heart is rent to no purpose, till the plough reach to the root of sin.
Here there may be proposed this question, What is the difference of these rendings? To this I answer, an unrenewed man's heart may be rent for sin, but it is not rent from it. The heart truly broken is not only rent for, but from sin; not only affrighted at, but framed into a hatred of it, Ezek. xxxvi. 31, " Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities, and for your abominations." The heart is so broken that the reigning love of sin runs out of it, as water out of a cracked vessel, or as filthy matter out of a wound which is laid open. He digs deep, as the wise builder; the other, like Balaam, who professed a regard to the authority of God, but still loved the wages of iniquity. Again, the rent of the former either closes too soon, as those who quickly fall secure again, getting ease by bribing their consciences; or it never was closed at all, falling under absolute despair, like Judas. But the other is at length healed, yet not till the great Physician takes the cure in hand. The wound is kept open, and the soul refuseth healing, till the Lord looks down and beholds from heaven, as in Lam. iii. 50. The wound is too deep to be cured, but by his blood and Spirit, yet not so deep, but that some ray of hope is always left ; there is a “ who knows but the Lord will yet return ?”—The broken heart is,
6. A pliable heart. The hard heart is a heart of stone, unpliable. When the spirit breaks the heart for sin, he makes it a heart of flesh, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. Hearts which the grace of God has not touched, are like young horses not used to the saddle, young bullocks upaccustomed to the yoke; they are unpliable and unmanageable, because they are not yet broken, Jer. xxxi. 18. But if ever any good may be made of that heart of thine, the spirit of God will break it; however wild and untractable it be, the Spirit will make it pliable. He will make it pliable to the will of his commandments, saying, “ Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do ? and what shall we do ?” Acts ii. 37. They had often heard before what they should do, but they would not comply, but now, since their hard heart is broken, they are very pliable. Many a time the sinner's heart gets such a piercing thrust in his sinful course, that one would think, surely he will comply now. Yes, but the heart is not broken yet, therefore the man will not comply, according as Solomon represents it in the case of the drunkard, Prov. xxii. 29, 32, and 34, “ They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick ; they bave beaten me, and I felt it not; when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.” But if God have any thoughts of love to him, the Spirit of God will take the case in his own hand; and were he as stiff as the devil and his hard heart can make him, he will break him to that rate, that he shall ply as wax ere he have done with him. Witness Saul the persecutor, who was so softened, that he cried, Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do ? Acts ix. 6. The heart becomes pliable also to the will of his providence : Psalm li. 4. “That thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be cleared when thou judgest.” An unrenewed heart is a murmuring one under the hand of God, and will readily choose to sin rather than suffer. But the broken heart will say, give me thy favour, and take from me what thou wilt: Luke xiv. 26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Sometimes one meets with an affliction, and they cry out they are broken, they are not able to bear it. God sends them a heavier one, they are stricken till they leave off woeping, and withal opens the heart-vein to bleed for sin, and so in some sort they are made to forget their affliction. And it is their great concern to get their soul's disease healed, let God do with thom otherwise as he will.-A broken heart is,
Lastly, A humble heart; Isa. lvii. 15, quoted above. The hard heart is a gathered boil; when it is broken, it is discussed. As soon as the heart is broken, under a sense of sid, pride and self-conceit vanish away, and the more broken-hearted that a person is, the less proud. Paul was a proud persecutor, but the Lord laid the pride of his heart, when he broke it, Acts ix. 4, 5. Hezekiah, in his brokenness of heart is very humble : “I shall go softly,” said he, “ all my years in the bitterness of my soul,” Isa. xxxviii. 16. 0! if the proud and empty professors of this day had a taste of this broken heart, it would soon lay their gay feathers, let out the ulcers of pride, self-conceit, which are swollen so big in many a poor soul. It would turn the saying, “ Stand by, for I am holier than thou,” unto “ Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.” It would make them think little of what they have been, of what they are, and of what they have done or suffered ; little of what all their attainments, gifts, yea, and graces also, if they have any, are.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
Isaiah lxi. 1,
Having considered that brokenness of heart which is here meant,what abont sin the heart is broken for,—and described the nature of a broken heart, we go on, as was proposed,
IV. To slow how the Lord Christ binds up and heals the brokenhearted.—The great Physician uses two sorts of bands for a broken heart, he binds them up with inner and with outward bands.
1. With inner bands, which go nearest the sore, the pained broken heart. And these are two.—The first inner band is,
Christ's own Spirit, the Spirit of adoption. The hearts of the disciples were sore broken at the news of Jesus leaving them, and it behoved them to bleed a while. But he tells them, be would send a healing band for their broken hearts; John xiv. 16, " And I will pray the Father," said he," and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” Our Lord breaks bis people's hearts by his Spirit, and yet by the same Spirit binds them up again. In the first work he is the Spirit of bondage, and some may be long under his hand this way. Hence we read of some who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage,” Hob. ii. 15. The Old Testament church had much of this spirit, “ I am afflicted," says the psalmist, Psalm lxxxviii. 15, “and ready to die, from my youth up ; while I suffer thy terrors, I am distracted.”—In the next work, he is the Spirit of adoption ; Rom. viii. 15, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” He comes quickening, sanctifying, reviving, and comforting the soul. Therefore pray with David, Psalm li. 11, 12, " Take not thy Holy Spirit from me; restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit.”—The second inner band is,
Faith in Christ, (the band of the covenant), which he works in the heart by his Spirit. Faith is a healing band, for it knits the soul, Eph. iii. 17, " That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” The woman with the bloody issue, when she got touch of the hem of Christ's garments, was presently made whole. Thus the brokenhearted sinner, when he gets hold of Christ by faith, is bound up with him in one mystical body, virtue comes from him for the soul's healing. The virtue of his blood-takes away guilt; the virtue of bis Spirit breaks the power of sin. The apostle prescribes this healing baud to the broken-hearted jailor; Acts xvi. 31, “ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house;" and the more faith that there is, the band will be the stronger, and the soul the sooner healed. Much unbelief, and little faith, keep the wounds of the soul long open; Psalm xxvii. 13, “I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." A broken-hearted sinner staving off and disputing against his believing, is like a child who has a broken leg, doing what he can to tear off the bands with which it must be bound up; but he must admit them, or his leg will never heal : John xi. 40, “ Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldst believe, thou shouldst see the glory of God ?" Peter walking on the water, was like to break and sink quite, Matth. xiv. 30; the cause was his unbelief, ver. 31, " Jesus said unto him, 0 thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”—There are also,
2. Outward bands for a broken heart. These also are two.
The first outward band is his own word, especially the promises of the gospel. This band Peter held out to the broken-hearted company; Acts ii. 38, 39, “ Repent,” said he," and be baptised every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; for the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” This word has a sovereign virtue for healing ; Psalm cvii. 20, “ He sent his word, and bealed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” Our Lord wraps up a promise, in a soft band of love; and he makes them lay it to with their own hands; and the more closely they tie it about their broken hearts with the hand of faith, they will be the sooner whole. Say not, What can a word do? An encouraging word from men will wonderfully raise a carnally-dejected mind; and if so, certainly the Lord's word will heal a broken heart. A promise will be, in this case, like the opening of a box of perfumes to one ready to faint away; Song i. 3, "Because of the savour of thy good ointment, thy name is like ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee."
The second outward band is his own seals of the covenant; Acts ii. 38, quoted above. These seals are for our ingrafting into, and having coinmunion with Jesus Christ, and so are most fit means to hind up hearts broken under a sense of sin, when they are partakers of these in faith. Hence many have been healed at such occasions ; though indeed the water is not moved at all times, or at least the