« PrécédentContinuer »
in some measure, keeps it out. 6. A good hope through grace, or a firm expectation of the glory that is to be revealed; “ Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the vail.” The seventh and last thing is the infallible witness of the Holy Spirit;" “He that believeth hath the witness in himself;" and this witness both testifies to the heart, and speaks by the mouth. He bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God; and, because we are sons, he is sent forth into the heart, crying, Abba, Father. A heart thus established with grace, will furnish the mouth with everlasting themes. Not so the impostor, not so the hypocrite; for such often travel contrary ways, even at once. He promises and proclaims liberty, but he communicates nothing but bondage; the mouth glories, but the countenance falls. Such glory in appearance, but not in heart. “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness,” Prov. xiv. 13. Here is laughter in the mouth, sorrow in the heart, mirth in the way, and heaviness in the end. But God makes the heart of the wise honest; and an honest heart is a faithful conscience; a conscience that will magnify its office, by dealing justly, and bearing a true testimony. According to the true state of the heart, and according to the good treasure of it, and according to the frame of it, so the mouth speaks. The sorrow of the heart fills the mouth with complaints. An enlarged heart opens
the mouth, and fills it with joyful acclamations. “O ye Corinthians,” says Paul, “our mouth is opened unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.” Different frames send forth different voices. “Thus saith the Lord, There shall be heard in this place the voice of joy, and the voice of gladness; the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride; the voice of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land,” Jer. xxxiii. 10, 11.
The real door of the heart is the mouth. If the heart be overcharged with grief, the lips are closed.
“ Thou holdest mine eyes waking:
so troubled that I cannot speak.” But when the heart is enlarged, then the mouth is open. “Our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.” The treasure of the heart is brought forth by the mouth; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. And this shows us what our Lord means when he says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” The Lord doth not knock as we do; we knock with the hand, but the Lord knocks with his voice. “ It is the voice of my beloved that knocketh,” says the spouse. The word of Christ is a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces; his reproofs are his knocks. He smites with the rod
of his mouth, and tells us that if we hear his voice, and open the door, that he will come in unto us. To open the door is to open our mouth to him by confession, by inquiry, and by prayer, as Samuel did, when he said, “ Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth;” and as Paul did when the Lord knocked at his door, who said, “Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest. And he said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go
into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” And after this inquiry, and the information that the Lord had given him, Paul fell to praying; and the Lord heard his prayer, and sent Ananias to him, that he might receive his sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And thus Paul opened as soon as Christ knocked; and by the Spirit Christ entered into Paul when Paul sweetly supped upon the sacrifice and satisfaction of his longsuffering Lord; and Christ supped upon the prayers, praises, blessings, and thanksgivings, of Paul, his former enemy, but now affectionate friend. Besides, it is our Lord's meat to do the will of him that sent him, in saving the objects of his Father's choice; for it is not the will of our Father that one of his little ones should perish.
And thus it appears that all the savour, sweetness, life, and power, that attend the word, comes from the heart. “Let your words,” says Paul, “ be seasoned with salt, that they may minister grace to the hearers.”
“ Have salt in yourselves,”
says Christ," and be at peace one with another.”
With all thine offerings,” says God, “ thou shalt offer salt; nor shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy burntofferings.” “It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.” “He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips, the king shall be his friend.” Without the new cruse and salt in the spring-head, all is death. The letter killeth, whether it be taken out of the Old Testament or out of the New; but the Spirit giveth life. - All gifts, without grace, have their seat in the mind, will, and understanding; hence we read of a fleshly mind puffed up; and of voluntary humility and will-worship; and of understanding all mysteries, and yet being nothing. The seat of God in Zion, and the throne of the King of kings, and the eternal residence of the Holy Spirit, are in the conscience, and in the affections of the saints. God dwells in the contrite heart, or in the tender conscience; and he circumcises the heart to love him; and “ He that loveth dwelleth in God, and God in him.” Hence we see that all ministerial gifts, without charity, and without the springing-well of feed them, wither and die; and carnal men gather such branches into their company and they are burnt. Prophesying, light in the understanding, working miracles, gifts of tongues, gifts of speech, like the tongues of men and of angels; reformation, fiery zea),
and sound notions without grace; together with all temporary faith, the joy of natural affections, and dissembled love; are nothing but bodily exercise, a fair show in the flesh, and having a name to live while dead: “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.” It is by an eager embracing of these things that many fail of the grace of God,
, and come short of the promised rest; as may be seen by the knocks and calls of the foolish virgins, and by the plea of those who plead, “ Have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast out devils, and done many wonderful works?" and who, notwithstanding all these gifts and performance, are sent away with, “ Depart from
you not.” But to be plain, honest, and faithful, in these things, incurs the hottest displeasure of empty professors, and exposes one to all the reproach and scandal that Satan can invent, or malice propagate.
Thirdly. But I come now to show where the wise man's heart gets all this wisdom; why God tells us that he will make the seed of his dear Son to endure for ever, and that he will build up
his throne to all generations. Now we know that it is God's work to root up, and to throw down, to build and to plant. There is none under heaven that builds us up in a spiritual sense but God. “ Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” And the principal graces that are employed in carrying up the building of mercy are, first, faith. “But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your