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humbled on account of them; to betake ourselves to Jesus for deliverance from these spiritual enemies, remembering how kindly he hath said, “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
If, through inattention, our souls lie open to the nroads of our ever-watchful foe, then the evil thoughts which he stirreth up within us, and which are suffered to lodge in our hearts, become our sin. (* All wanderings and distractions of mind in our religious exercises, arising from want of watchfulness and due keeping of the heart, are sinful.
Those evil thoughts, which are excited by dwelling on forbidden objects; reading immoral books; associating with carnal persons, or partaking in worldly amusements calculated to inflame the
passions, are most awfully chargeable upon us; and will, if not repented of, and atoned for through a believing application to the blood of Jesus, sink our souls into endless perdition. If evil
, ever bubbling up in the heart, so soon issues into the various actions of the life; how needful to every true believer is this exhortation of Solomon: “ keep thy heart with all diligence,
In order that our thoughts may please God, they must be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
The word of Christ must dwell in us richly, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that out of the abundance of the heart, our mouth may speak to his praise and glory.
“Thy word,” saith David, “have. I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
“Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, we must think on these things."
We must carefully watch against the first risings of sin, that through grace, the sprouting evil may be nipped in the bud.
We must be much in the habit of mental prayer, lifting up our heart to God on all occasions in humble, fervent ejaculations : which is what the Apostle recommends when he says: “pray without ceasing.” This spirit of prayer, this holy habit of devotion, these sacred breathings of the soul hinder no business except the evil workings of Satan on the mind. This heavenly frame, this delightful communion with the Father of spirits, forms the purest source of enjoyment to the Christian pilgrim, whilst journeying through a vale of tears.
To prevent the intrusion of evil thoughts, we must always take care to be usefully employed ; since idleness is the soil in which Satan sows his tares with liberal hand.
The best way to keep the heart, is that which St. Jude prescribes : “ Keep yourselves in the love of God.”
We must meditate often on the nature of Almighty God, his majesty and glory, his truth and justice, his holiness and purity, his grace and mercy : then on our own apostacy, vileness, and nothingness.
We must think much on the love of Christ in dying for sinners, on his agony and bloody sweat, his cross and passion : and then ask :-can I indulge a sinful thought, and cherish in my mind those dreadful evils, which nothing but the blood of God incarnate could expiate and wash away? Can I sin against such transcendent love?
We must dwell with delight on the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit, in leading the trembling sinner to Jesus ; in enabling him to believe with the heart unto righteousness; and in causing him to
love that precious Saviour, who is the chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely.
We must be continually looking with an eye of faith to Jesus, as our great example; remembering that “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his." He left us
He left us “an example that we should follow his steps,” and hath declared, “my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” His whole mediatorial character must be the object of our thoughts, till our souls are changed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord.
In order to the keeping of the heart with all diligence, we must labour to set the Lord always before
We must feel ourselves surrounded with his omnipresence, to whom the darkness and the light are both alike ; who weigheth the spirits ; who is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
0! my soul, trifle no longer with thy thoughts. The irregular desire, the impure look, the angry purpose, the curious workings of pride, though unseen by man, are all recorded by the omniscient God; and will be condemned as actual transgressions of his holy law in that day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed.
Hasten then to Jesus for grace to save thee, and to keep thee. For ever renounce all hope of saving thyself by any merit of thy own. If "the thought of foolishness is sin," where is the man that liveth and sinneth not?
Blessed Saviour! in thee alone have I righteousness and strength. Put forth thy mighty power. Deliver me from the assaults of Satan, and the workings of an evil heart.
Enable me to watch and pray, to wrestle and fight, to labour and strive in thy promised strength, till conflict shall end in victory, weariness in rest, and mourning in eternal songs of joy.
With guilt oppress'd, bow'd down with sin,
Beneath its load I groan ;
Remove this heart of stone.
A burden'd sinner, lo! I come,
An heir of death and hell ;
And all my fears dispel.
Nor peace, nor rest, my soul can find,
Till thy dear cross I see ;
My Jesus died for me.
0! give this realizing faith,
This soul supporting view ;
And all within be new.
IX. ON THE BLESSEDNESS OF A NEW HEART.
It is delightful to contemplate the beauties which are contained in one short passage of the Holy Scriptures.
In grace, as in nature, we find much beauty in what appears comparatively minute.
Faith, like the microscope, discovers the hidden charms, and presents to our minds those excellencies, which lie undiscovered to the
of reason. The following short promise is of this description : “ I will give them one heart and one way." Jer. xxxii. 39.
The whole of the Christian character is summed up in these few words.
Thiş precious promise virtually contains every thing which relates to inward and outward godli
ness : faith working by love; and love working by obedience.
“ I will give them one heart and one way.” The two great features of the Christian character are here expressed : SINGLENESS OF HEART, and conSISTENCY OF CONDUCT.
Without a single eye, that is, without an unity of desire, and an unity of design, to promote the glory of God, all profession of faith and love is hypocritical and vain.
True faith is simple in its dependence, and looks only unto Jesus for pardon and peace, and every other spiritual blessing. It draws off the mind from all other objects, and causes the believer with one
heart” to rely upon the atonement made by the Son of God for sin; and to draw only out of his fulness every needful grace. This 56
one heart” is therefore a most comprehensive blessing. The more we examine into it with spiritual discernment, the more of new beauties we shall discover, unfolding themselves to our enlightened minds.
When Adam was in a state of innocence, he had only “one heart.” Since the fall, the heart of man is divided.” Hosea x. 2. The world, sin, and self, each claim their share ; and as the Almighty will have the whole or none, he has, in righteous displeasure, left his rebel creatures to the miseries of a divided, and distracted heart.
But, in the covenant of grace, he promises to repair the breach ; to give us “one heart,” that we may fear his name, seek his glory, become his
portion, and thus enjoy, through the merits of the Saviour, the inestimable blessings of communion with himself, peace of conscience, and assured hope of glory.
heart to fear thy name," was the ardent prayer of David. Through the fall, we