Images de page
PDF
ePub

man in understanding. And sure I am that we need truth and wisdom in the hidden parts of the heart to discourse to the edification of all these.

It is the heart of the wise that teacheth his mouth. The heart, when furnished with the choice experience of God's Holy Spirit and his grace,

is a strange thing; especially when it is brought savingly to know God; for it moves in concert with the light of God's glory shining in the face of Christ; just as the moon does in the face of the sun. The heart rises with joy, and sinks with grief; it enlarges with love, and contracts with fear; it is

courageous in Christ's presence, and fails at his absence; goes forth at the approaches of Christ, and draws back at his departure. It is swoln with grief at the Lord's frowns, but overflows with glee at his smiles; it is smitten and withers like

grass when God appears angry, but teems at his approbation, good-will, and pleasure. It trembles at his judgments, but waxes bold at the outgoings of his mercy and lovingkindness; it admires his clemency, but stands in awe of his terrible majesty. It is deeply concerned for God's honour, and it highly resents every affront and insult offered to him; it embraces, upon the first sight, every sincere friend of his, and is closely barred against every enemy of God; and even moves alternately with love and hatred while a doubtful, dubious, and suspected character appears before it, until judgment and conscience bring in their verdict; then the heart opens or shuts, embraces or rejects, according to the imperfect but honest decision of these feeble judges.

There is an unction and an anointing from the Holy One; and, as he is pleased to instruct us, so we know all things essential to be known. And in his anointing two things are manifest: the one is the motion of the Spirit upon the heart; the other, his illuminating rays upon the understanding. Hence it is said that holy men in old time spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; and such are called seers, because they were enlightened to see into futurity. Love and joy in the heart, and the rays of it shining into the understanding, are what is meant by the unctuous teaching of the Holy Spirit.

Many are the lessons which the heart of the elect receives from God the Father, from God the Son, and from God the Holy Ghost. Blessed, says David, is the man whom God chasteneth, and teacheth him out of his. law. It is by the powerful application, and under the influence of the law, that the human heart is laid open. Its terrors bring the soul into bondage; its rigorous demands set the soul to its legal strivings to balance the enormous account; the fear that it works brings amazement into the soul and the terrors of endless death; and the unlimited demands of the law set the poor sinner to working for life; but all in vain. It is under this application and divine teaching that the plague of the heart is felt; the enmity, the desperation, the inflexibi

lity, the unrelentingness of the heart, its stubborn. ness, and its wild distraction, are stirred up, manifested, and made to boil up and overflow, and discover itself, to the unutterable astonishment of the awakened sinner. But God has made his most gracious promises to them that know the plague of their own heart, acknowledge their disobedience, and call upon his holy name.

There is also the bitterness of the heart, as well as the plague of it. “The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and a stranger intermeddleth not with his joy,” says the wise man. The bitterness of the heart rises up when guilt and wrath, law and conscience, the enmity of the mind, and the displeasure of God, meet together. These make sad work with the poor sinner, and are always attended with the bitterness of death. And the Lord

appearing to cross the sinner in all his intentions, to resist him in all his approaches to him, and in providence to walk contrary to him; these things increase the bitterness of the heart. However, these things teach the sinner this wholesome lesson, that he which trusteth in his own heart is a fool. And sure I am that none are more evangelical, none more pure from confidence in the flesh, none cleave more closely to Christ, nor savour more of him, nor loath themselves more in their own sight, than those who have been disciplined with such sharp exercises.

“ The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth." His heart and his mouth must go together. He

dare not advance what he doth not believe, ndr pretend to those joys which he never felt, as some do, who, as Paul says, glory in appearance, but not in heart. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” If the heart be purified by faith, the precious atonement of the Son of God, the cleansing efficacy of the blood of the covenant, the certainty of forgiveness, and the happy enjoyment of it, will be the leading topic in a wise man's conversation, which is called a good conversation in Christ. “ With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Here the heart and the mouth are in harmony; what the heart embraces, the mouth acknowledges and proclaims. The heart leads the van, and the mouth brings up the

With the heart man believes unto righteousness to the justification of his soul freely and fully from all things, and the mouth confesses that the soul is eternally saved.

Again: it is faith in the heart that furnisheth the mouth. “I believed, therefore have I spoken,”

“ We believe, and therefore speak,” says Paul. And faith regulates the mouth; so that the believer prophesies according to the proportion of faith; for, if he be weak in faith, he will speak doubtfully about his own personal interest in the things of Christ; yet he will not speak doubtfully about the truth of the things which God has revealed. Divine revelation is

yea, yea; but weak faith is yea and nay. To prophesy

rear.

says David.

according to the proportion of faith, is to speak of what we have got, and to speak of that as our own of which we are the most sure. If the heart, like the heart of David, be fixed, trusting in the Lord, we shall speak of the things which concern the Lord Jesus with all confidence. Confidence is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. There is eternal life in true faith; and that is the thing hoped for; while faith, as an evidence of things not seen, assures the conscience of them, and silences. all gain-, sayers; and this brings peace and quietude. “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength,” says the prophet.

“ It is a good thing,” says Paul, “ that the heart be established with grace.” There are seven things which establish the heart. The first is, having the heart sprinkled from an evil conscience. 2. Having the sentence of justification passed in the court of conscience, upon which the sinner passes from death to life. 3. To have the peace of God ruling in the heart; for peace is the effect of pardon, and the fruit of righteousness. 4. A comfortable degree of assurance, sufficient to claim an interest in God; To as many as received Christ, to them

he power to become the sons of God. No less than divine power can work this faith in the heart of an infidel; and it requires the power of assurance to enable such a sensible sinner to claim this his sonship. 5. The love of God shed abroad in the heart, which çasteth out all fear, and

gave

« PrécédentContinuer »