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which you were by nature averse. He forsook you not though you have often forsaken Him. He has much rectified your heart. He has given you much light. That which was crooked is become straight to you; that which was darkness is become light to you; because He hath made your hearts to be more straight and your minds to be more enlightened. The light which He hath
is altogether internal, and is to be felt rather than described. It however consists in communion with Him, and in meditation on his word.
Behold then a clear and wonderful fulfilment of this evangelical prophecy, in all its parts, in your own particular case. You were blind. He hath brought you by a way that you
knew not; He hath led you in paths that you have not known : He hath made darkness light before you, and crooked things straight. These things hath he done unto you, and hath not forsaken you. Open your eyes to see and discern in spite of the suggestions of his enemies, the tempter, the world, and the impatience of your own heart, what spiritual and great blessings have accrued to you by his dealings with you ; how He hath weaned your mind from pernicious delights ; how he hath made it your delight to walk in his ways. I doubt not but that
you acknowledge, It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may keep thysta tutes ; before I was afflicted I went astray; but withal perhaps you add, But now my heart is fixed, my heart is fixed : “ there are certain evils attending my condition. If these were but removed, my heart should not depart from the Lord, but should rather cleave to Him the more." Are
then yet so blind as not to see the meaning of the rod ? Do you or do you not believe spiritual blessings to transcend all other blessings, as much as the immortal soul transcends the perishable body? Have you or have you not derived spiritual blessings from such evils, (whether they be real or imagined,) as these you now complain of? Do these not come from the same hand? Are they not sent with the same intent? Should not then the actual experience of spiritual advantage encourage you to submit to them? If
had derived benefit from a course of medicine would
you not continue it if your physician desired it? You fancy you have no more need of discipline, but the great Physician of your soul knows otherwise. Woe to you if he had not known your heart better than you knew it yourself! Woe to you if he had not loved
loved yourself! Where would you have been if he had left you to .yourself? Only ask your heart what passion of yours would have been restrained, what law of his would have been obeyed, if he had not drawn
you to himself by sending you distastes and disappointments in the world? Where would have been the peace and happiness which you now enjoy? Where would have been all the comfort which you derive from his word ? Where would have been all the hopes which you derive from his promises ? And where would have been the actual joy which you derive from communion with himself. Halt then no longer between two opinions. Submit yourself to all these things for the Lord's sake. Seek first the kingdom of heaven. O tarry thou the Lord's leisure: be strong and he shall comfort thine heart. Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Since thou wast precious in his sight thou hast been honourable, and he hath loved thee. Fear not, for he is with thee. He hath redeemed thee. He hath called thee by thy name ; thou art his. When thou passest through the waters He will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee : when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For he is the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.
Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour, praise, and glory, might, majesty, dominion, and thanksgiving, for ever and ever, Amen.
ON THE GOVERNMENT OF THE HEART
LUKE iv. 45.
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Of all the sins by which we try God's patience and provoke his anger, none are so foolish as those which are practised without adequate temptation or advantage. Such a sin is evil-speaking. It gratifies no sense, it procures no profit or esteem. On the contrary, it brings upon us contempt from without, it nourishes evil passions, and therefore disquietude within, and lays us open to God's wrath for nothing at all. Other sins have some pleasure attending them, but the evil speaker sells himself for nought.
If we wish my brethren to cure ourselves of evil-speaking, there is but one course to pursue, and that is to amend our heart. This is the only way to avoid evil speaking. For it is out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. The clock strikes according to the motion of the weights and wheels within. Speech is the offspring of thought. A man cannot smother his sentiments : but particularly evil ones are so impetuous and so agitate his whole frame that he may as well attempt to conceal the fire which is consuming his house. If we show a want of wisdom in one thing, we shall show it in another. If we have not wisdom enough to regulate our heart we cannot be expected to have wisdom enough to regulate our tongue. He who always thinks evil cannot always speak well. If the spring be polluted, how can the stream be clear? How can we, being evil, speak good things? Fair words indeed may sometimes conceal a foul heart. Fear, cunning, or hypocrisy, may produce fair words. But the restraint is too great. The heart and tongue ought to be in accordance, and this unnatural estrangement between them is too painful to last long.
Besides, there is nothing except conscience which of necessity lays a restraint upon the tongue. Its offences are altogether unprohibited by human laws. No offences are so little controlled by society. None meet with less control or chastisement from without, whatever conscience may say of them within. The guilt of evil-speaking, in the estimation of the world, seems little or none. Evil speakers often in the opinion of others, perhaps in their own opinion, pass for innocent. Many who much restrain and much deny them