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SERMON LXXXVIII.

Let my heart be sound in thy statutes, that I be not ashamed.—Ver. 80.

IN this verse we have—(1.) a petition, let my heart be sound in thy statutes; (2.} An argument from the fruit and effect of granting it, that I be not ashamed; that is, then I shall not, otherwise I certainly, 340shall, be ashamed. He would avoid that inconveniency that was so grievous to him in the eyes of wicked men.

First, In the petition I shall take notice—

1. Of the person praying, David.

2. His qualification, intimated in the word my heart.

3. The person prayed unto, intimated in the word thy.

Secondly, Here is the benefit asked, a sound heart; in which you have—

1. The nature of it.

2. The value of it.

Doct. That sincerity and soundness in a holy course is a great blessing, and earnestly to be sought of God in prayer.

First, This will appear if we consider the benefit asked, the nature and value of it.

First, The nature of it, what is a sound heart? It noteth reality and solidity in grace. The Septuagint hath it, Let my heart be without spot and blemish; what is here, Let my heart be sound. It implieth the reality of grace, opposed to the bare form of godliness, or the fair shows of hypocrites, and the sudden and vanishing motions of temporaries.

1. I shall briefly show what it is not, by way of opposition.

[1.] It is opposed to the form of godliness: 2 Tim. iii. 4, ‘Having a form of godliness, but denying tire power thereof.’ Their religion is only in show and outside, as apples, that may be fair to see to in the skin, but rotten at the core; so their hearts are not sound within. When we are sound within as well as beautiful without, this is the sound heart; when not only in show and appearance we are for God, but in deed and truth. Solinus telleth us that the apples of Sodom are to sight very beautiful and fair, but the compass of the rind doth only contain a sooty matter, which flitters into dust as soon as touched. This is a fit emblem of a hypocrite, or a heart not sound with God. Or, as the priests under the law, they were to look whether the sacrifices were sound at heart, otherwise they were to be rejected, Lev. xxii. 22, 23. So David here begs a sound heart in God’s statutes, lest it should be rejected of God. The world thinketh, if there be a little external conformity to the law of God, it is enough. Oh, no! There must be a sound heart; no other principle of obedience pleaseth God.

[2.] This sound heart is opposed to the sudden pangs and hasty motions of temporaries. The graces of temporaries are for matter true, but slightly rooted, and therefore are not sound. There wanteth two things in the graces of temporaries—(1.) A deep and firm radication; (2.) A habitual predominancy over all lusts.

(1.) A deep and firm indication. Temporaries are really affected with the word of God, and the offers of Christ, and life by him; but the tincture is but slight, and soon worn off; they have the streams of grace, but not the fountain; a draught, but not the spring: John iv. 14, ‘The water that I shall give him shall be a well of water springing up to everlasting life.’ A dash of rain or a pond may be dried up, but a fountain ever keepeth flowing. They have something to do with Christ; he giveth them a visit, but not that constant communion; he doth not ‘dwell in their hearts by faith,’ Eph. iii. 17, nor take up 341his abode there; it is but a slight tincture, not a deep and permanent dye of holiness, or a constant habitual inclination to that which is holy, just, and good. There is not the remaining seed, 1 John iii. 9. There is a great deal of difference between sudden motions stirred up m us by the Spirit, and the remaining seed; that is, a constant disposition of heart to please God.

(2.) A habitual predominancy over all lusts. Temporaries still, with those kind graces which they have, retain their interest in the world, and their inclinations to the pleasures, honours, and profits thereof, unbroken and unsubdued; as Simon Magus cherisheth the same corruptions under his new faith that he did under his old sorceries, Acts viii.; still he did desire to be thought some great one among the people. You must not think that he altogether dissembled, but he had some sense upon him, for he believed, and beheld the miracles, and wondered; but the same inclinations remained with him. Evermore some temporal interest or worldly advantage is laid closer to the heart, and hath a deeper rooting therein than the word of promise; and this m time prevaileth over the interest of God. And therefore, whatever good affections we have, till we get a command over our base and carnal delights, our hearts can never be sound with God.

2. Positively. What the sound heart is not, or to what it is op posed, we have seen. You may from hence easily gather what it is; it is such a receiving of the word into the heart that it is rooted there, and diffuseth its influence for the seasoning of every affection, and beareth a universal sovereignty over us. Sometimes it is described by its radication, and sometimes by its sovereign prevailing efficacy.

[1.] Sometimes it is described by its radication, and so it is called λόγος ἔμφυτος‘The engrafted word, that is able to save our souls,’ James i. 21. The root of the matter is within; it is not tied on, but engrafted: so m that promise of God, Heb. viii. 10, ‘I will put my law into their minds, and write it upon their hearts.’ There is something written: I will write my law; and there are tables, and they are the hearts and minds of men; that is, the understanding and the will, or the rational appetite; and this with God’s own finger: I will write upon their hearts and minds. There where is the spring and original of all moral operations, of all thoughts, affections, and inward motions, there is the law of God written; in those parts of the soul where the directive counsel and the imperial commanding power of all human actions lieth, there doth God write his laws, and engrave them in lively and legible characters. And what is the effect of this, but that a man becometh a law to himself? He carrieth his rule about with him and as ready and as willing a mind to obey it. So Ps. xxxvii. 31, ‘The law of God is m his heart; none of his steps shall slide.’ The truth is rooted m him, and his heart is suited and inclined to it. He knoweth and loveth what is commanded of God, and hateth what is forbidden of him: thus a man becometh a bible to himself. Indeed this planting and engrafting the law upon our hearts, it sometimes made our work, because we use the means. God doth not write his law upon our hearts by enthusiasm, rapture, and inspiration, as he wrote m the hearts of the apostles and prophets, but maketh use of our reason, reading, hearing, meditation, conference, and prayer. It 342is made our work, because we work under God: Ps. cxix. 11, ‘Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee:’ and Prov. vi. 21, 22, ‘Bind his commandments upon thy heart; tie them upon thy neck.’ When we look for the deep implanting of the word in our hearts, this is the sound heart here described.

[2.] The efficacy of this word so radicated, and the power and do minion it hath over the soul to subdue it to the will of God, and that is when the heart is transformed into the nature of God: Rom. vi. 11, ‘Ye have obeyed from the heart the form of sound doctrine that was delivered unto you.’ When the form of the word is delivered to him, he delivereth up himself to be moulded and assimilated to the nature of it; as that which is cast into the fire is changed into the colour, heat, and properties of fire. Thus where the word is incorporated and rooted in us, the heart is assimilated to the object seen and discerned therein; the image of God is stamped and impressed upon us: 2 Peter i. 4, ‘Having these great and precious promises, that we might be partakers of the divine nature:’ and 2 Cor. iii. 18, ‘We are changed into his image’ (or likeness) ‘from glory to glory, by the Spirit of our God.’ Well, then, you see what the sound heart is.

But yet more distinctly, if you would have me untold what this sound heart is, there is required these four things:—

1. An enlightened understanding; that is the directive part of the soul; and it is sound when it is kept free from the leaven and contagion of error: Prov. xv. 21, ‘A man of understanding walketh uprightly.’ A sound mind is a good help to a sound heart. Light breedeth an awe of God, and mindeth us of our duty upon all occasions: 1 Chron. xxviii. 9, ‘And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy fathers, and serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind.’ First know him, and then serve him. He can never shoot right that taketh his aim contrary. The understanding doth direct all the inferior powers of the soul; if that be infected with error, the affections must necessarily move out of order. A blind horse may be full of mettle, but is ever and anon apt to stumble; and therefore, ‘Without knowledge the heart is not good,’ Prov. xix. 2.

2. There is required an awakened conscience; that warneth us of our duty, and riseth up in dislike of sin upon all occasions: Prov. vi. 22, ‘When thou goest it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest it shall keep thee; when thou walkest it shall talk with thee:’ to have a constant monitor in our bosoms to put us in mind of God; when our reins preach to us in the night season, Ps. xvi. 7. There is a secret spy in our bosoms, that observes all that we do, and think, and speak, a domestical divine that is always preaching to us; his heart is his bible. Such an awakened conscience is a bridle before sin, to keep us from doing things contrary to God; and a whip after sin. If we keep it tender, so it will do. Indeed it is easily offended, but it is not easily pleased; as the eye, the least dust soon offends it, but it is not so easily got out again. Till men have benumbed their consciences, and brought a brawn and deadness upon their hearts, their conscience, according to its light, will warn them of their danger, and mind them of their duty. It is a great mercy to have a speaking, stirring conscience, otherwise it is stupid and senseless.

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3. There is required a rightly disposed will, or a steadfast purpose to walk with God in all conditions, and to do what is good and accept able in his sight: Acts xi. 23, ‘He exhorted them with full purpose of heart to cleave to the Lord.’ Many have light inclinations or wavering resolutions, but their hearts are not fixedly, habitually bent to please God. Therein chiefly lieth this sound heart, that doth inseparably cleave to God in all things: 1 Chron. xxii. 19, ‘Now set your hearts to seek the Lord God of your fathers.’ This is the obediential bent, when the heart is set and fixed. So David speaketh of it: Ps. cxix. 112, ‘I have inclined my heart to perform thy statutes always to the end.’ When the heart is poised this way, not compelled by outward force, but inclined; and this always, not by fits and starts. Many have good motions, and temporise a little, but their righteousness is like the morning dew. Many approve what is good, and condemn themselves for not doing of it, but their hearts are not inclined; nay, further, they can wish it were better with them, but the heart is not swayed and overpowered by grace. Here is the ground of a cheerful, uniform, and constant obedience, when we do not force ourselves now and then to good actions, but the heart hath a habitual tendency that way.

4. There is required that the affections be purged and quickened; these are the vigorous motions of the will, and therefore this must be needfully regarded: purged they must be from that carnality and fleshliness that cleaveth to them. This is called in scripture the circumcision of the heart, Deut. xxx. 6: ‘The Lord thy God shall circumcise thy heart, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, that thou mayest live.’ It was figured in the cutting of the foreskin, or the circumcision of the flesh, which, because it was an action done with pain, sometimes noteth the humbling of the heart and soul-affliction, Lev. xxvi. 41; but because it was done not only with pain, but the foreskin was cut off, so it noteth the purging the heart from that fleshliness and carnality that cleaveth to us: Acts xv. 9, ‘Purifying their hearts by faith.’ Sin is wrought out more and more by the blood of Christ applied to the conscience. And some times this is expressed in scripture by ploughing up the fallow ground, Jer. iv. 4. There are perverse inclinations, like briars and thorns, that grow in us, and the strength of vile affections; now unless these be abated and broken we shall soon be transported by them. It is an allusion to ground broken up for tillage: till the ground be ploughed, and the noisome weeds destroyed, the good seed will not grow. Secondly, the affections must be quickened, acted, and set a work by the love of God: Gal. v. 6, ‘Prepared ready to serve the Lord,’ Eph. ii. 20. Amor meus est pondus meum—love and delight in God’s ways go together.

Thus much of the nature of the sound heart.

Secondly, Let me now come to show you the value and worth of this privilege. It is a great blessing; that will appear by two things:—

1. The respect that God hath to it.

2. The evil it freeth us from, ‘That I be not ashamed.’

1. The respect that God hath to it. This is the thing that God 344delights in and looks after: 1 Chron. xxix. 17, ‘I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness.’ He can discern integrity, and preferreth it before all manner of service and pomp in worship that is yielded to him. Now this delight of God is not only in the thing itself, in the uprightness, but in the persons of the upright, upon account of their uprightness: so Prov. xi. 20, ‘The upright is his delight.’ That person that is upright for the main, though otherwise he hath many failings, is of great esteem with God. But can the holy God delight in any of the sinful sons of Adam? Before the fall God rejoiced in us, as in the work of his hands. But since sin marred us and defiled us, how can God take pleasure in us? The love of good-will may fall upon sinful unworthy creatures, but the love of complacency cannot fall upon these. A fit object the sinner is not, and exactly perfect none can be; there is therefore a middle person, the upright and sincere man; and this delight of God passeth from the person to his actions: ‘The prayer of the upright is his delight,’ Prov. xv. 8. Alas! our prayers are, as our persons, poor slender things at the best; yet a little findeth acceptance with God; it is welcome for the person’s sake, who is accepted in Christ. Now, how will God manifest this delight? In his providence: 2 Chron. xvi. 9, ‘The eyes of the Lord run to and fro, that he may show himself strong in the behalf of those whose hearts are upright with him.’ He looks up and down in the world to find out such persons to do them good, that he may employ all his power and grace for them: so God shows it in his word. God’s work is to assure them of a blessing: Micah ii. 7, ‘Do not my words do good to them that walk uprightly?’ There he comforts, and strengthens, and revives their hearts. He doth not only speak good, but doth good to them that walk uprightly. Nay, that is not all, but by his Spirit and internal grace he doth more encourage them, and renew strength upon them in their way to heaven: Prov. x. 29, ‘The way of the Lord is strength to the upright.’ The more they walk with God, the more easy and sweet they find it so to do. So that if all these promises will encourage us, we had need to look after this sound heart. What honour and esteem soever others purchase with men, these obtain favour with the Lord, and are more regarded in all his dispensations.

2. Let us come to the evil it freeth us from; in the argument of the text, ‘That I may not be ashamed.’ They whose hearts are not sound with God, one time or other they shall be put to shame; but others shall be kept from this effect, which is so grievous to nature. Let me open this. A man may be ashamed either before God or men, ourselves or others.

[1.] Before God, either in our addresses to him at the throne of grace, or when summoned to appear at the last day before the tribunal of his justice.

(1.) If you understand it of our present approach to him, we cannot come into his presence with confidence if we have not a sound heart: I John iii. 21, ‘If our hearts condemn us not, then have we boldness towards God.’ We lose that holy familiarity and cheerfulness, when we are unbosoming ourselves to our heavenly Father, when our hearts are not sound. An unsound heart, through the consciousness of its 345own guilt, groweth shy of God, and stands aloof from him, and hath no pleasure in his company. But when we sincerely set ourselves to keep a good conscience in all things, we have this liberty towards God; though our failings humble us, yet they do not weaken our confidence of our Father’s mercy. St Paul thought himself a fit object of others’ prayers on this account: Heb. xiii. 18, ‘Pray for us; for we trust we have a good conscience, willing in all things to live honestly.’ That is his argument to prove that he was not altogether unworthy of their prayers, nor incapable of the benefit of their petitions. There are some whom no prayers or intercession can help or profit, some that have no encouragement to pray for themselves, or give others an encouragement to pray for them. But Paul was none of these. Why? Because the reason of his request is modestly expressed. He doth not say, I have, but ‘I trust I have, a good conscience:’ and he doth not justify himself in all things, but appeals to the bent of his will, ‘Willing in all things to live honestly.’ He was willing so to do, that is, to direct his life according to the will of God in all things; his heart was willingly disposed and predominantly bent unto righteousness, and he knew it to be so. Such may, without blushing, come into God’s presence, and have encouragement to pray for themselves, and encourage others to pray for them.

(2.) When we are summoned to appear before the tribunal of his justice. Many now with a bold impudence will obtrude themselves upon the worship of God, because they see him not, and have not a due sense of his majesty; but the time will come when the most impudent and outbraving sinners will be astonished, even then, when ‘the secrets of all hearts shall be laid open and made manifest, and hidden things brought to light,’ 1 Cor. iv. 5. And every one is to receive his judgment from God, according to what he hath done, either good or evil. Conscience now, like a clock when the weights are down, is silent, and makes no noise; but then it shall speak, and tell men their own, and then they will be ashamed; unsound hearts will not be able to stand in the judgment. When God sets any judicial judgment afoot in the world now, it reviveth men’s guilty fears: Isa. xxxiii. 14, ‘The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrite: who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?’ In some terrible judgments that are a foregoing pledge of judgment to come, men of an unsound heart are soon possessed with fears and frights, as the unsound parts of the body are pinched most in searching weather. When God’s wrath is once kindled, none so terrified and amazed as they. Much more at the great day, when there is no allaying of their fear, and they must undergo the final judgment of the most impartial God. Who will be able to hold up the head, and to say, ‘Then shall I not be ashamed’? They that unfeignedly give up themselves to do the whole will of God: Ps. cxix. 6, ‘Then shall I not be ashamed when I have respect to all thy commandments.’ A man that desires to do the whole will of God will not be confounded and amazed with terror before the judge of all the earth. The philosopher defines shame to be a fear of a just reproof. Who more just than the. judge of all the earth? and when is there a greater reproof in the conviction of sinners than at the last judgment?

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[2.] Before men a man may be ashamed; and so before ourselves and others.

(1.) Ourselves. It was a saying of Pythagoras, Reverence thyself. Be ashamed of thyself. God hath a spy and deputy within us, and taketh notice of our conformity and inconformity to his will, and after sin committed, lasheth the soul with the sense of its own guilt and folly, as the body is lashed with stripes: Rom. vi. 21, ‘What fruit have ye in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?’ There is an emphasis in the particle now; that is, now after grace received, or now after the commitment of sin. Take either sense. Sin enticeth us before we fall into it, but afterwards it flasheth terror in the face of the sinner, and filleth his soul with horror and shame; or now, after grace received, a Christian cannot look back upon his past life without shame and blushing. Tertullian hath a saying, that a man’s heart reproacheth him when lie doth evil. As soon as our first parents had sinned, they were ashamed of it, and sought fig-leaves to cover it; they seek to hide with the leaves what the fruit had uncovered. Well, then, there is an eye and an ear that seeth and heareth our secret sins, and lasheth the soul for them till we grow into a sturdy impudence. But now the upright man, that sets his heart to serve the Lord and do his will, hath comfort and peace in himself: 2 Cor. i. 12, ‘This is our rejoicing, that, in simplicity and godly sincerity, we have had our conversation in the world.’ He can look his conscience in the face without fear and amazement. He hath sorrow for his failings, but can look upon himself as sound before God for the main.

(2.) Before others; and so our shame may be occasioned by our scandals or our punishment: it is hard to say which is intended here.

(1st.) By scandals. When the heart is not sound with God, disorders break out before men, and many that make a fair show for a while afterwards shipwreck themselves and all their credit; for God will at length uncase the hypocrite, Prov. xxvi. 26; God will pull off his disguise one time or other, and that which is counterfeit cannot long be hidden; there will a time of dissection come, when that which is hidden shall’ be made manifest. The apostle telleth us that ‘that which is lame is soon turned out of the way,’ Heb. xii. 13. Men of an unsound heart have some temptations or other to carry them quite off from God, and then, as old Eli, they fall back, and break the neck of their profession, whereby they dishonour God and shame themselves. As Christ telleth us of the builders, that the house fell, and great was the fall of it; so these, by some shameful and scandalous fall, discover themselves to the world.

(2d.) There is a shame before others by their punishment and disappointment of their hopes. God’s punishment, in the language of scripture, is a putting to shame: Ezek. xxxvi. 7, ‘When the heathens that are about you shall bear their shame.’ So Jer. xiii. 26, ‘I will discover thy skirts that thy shame may appear.’ So when God visits his people for scandalous and enormous offences: Ps. xliv. 9, ‘Thou hast cast us off, and put us to shame.’ The reason of that expression is this: A man in misery is a laughing-stock to others, and exposed 347to contempt and ignominy. Especially is this a shame to God’s people, when they seem to be disappointed in the hope of protection and assistance which they expected from God; then God puts them to shame, makes them to be a despised people. And this is their portion whose hearts are not sound and upright with God; they are rejected of the Lord, and grow despicable. Well, then, the point is made good by what hath already been said; but now the other circumstance.

Secondly, Here is the qualification of the person asking, David.

1. David was a holy, good man, Acts xiii. 22. ‘He goes and begs ‘Let my heart be sound.’ The hearts of the best men are so perverted with natural corruption, which is not fully abolished in any, that they have need to pray for a sound heart: Eph. iv. 22, ‘Put off the old man with his deceitful lusts.’ The old man is not so put off but there will be many warpings and deceitful workings still, and therefore David prays thus. The more upright any man is, the more sensible of his weakness, and the more suspicious of his own heart’s deceitfulness. The best have lodged sin, vanity, and pleasures, and the world in their hearts, which are the closets that should be kept entirely for the Lord. They find their purposes towards that which is good very weak, their resolutions variable, their inclinations to evil very strong: Prov. xx. 9, ‘Who can say, My heart is clean?’ And therefore they go to God, if there be any degree of insincerity, any spared sin, any remainings of lust not striven against and not bewailed, that lie would discover it, and mortify it, that they may be more steadfast, being sensible of their fickleness and turning aside in the several conditions they pass through.

2. This was the request of David, who was so much in the knowledge and study of God’s law, and had so often said, ‘Teach me thy statutes,’ now ‘Make me sound in thy statutes.’ Sound knowledge of the statutes of God, and a sound purpose of heart to follow them, must be joined together. Affection without knowledge is not good, much less knowledge without affection and practice. All our knowledge will but increase our punishment, Luke xii. 48, and take away all pretences of excuse. First a heart enlightened, and then a heart bent: David often prays for both in this psalm; so must we pray, that as we have greater knowledge than others, so we may have better affections than others, and our hearts more upright. ‘If ye know these things, happy are you if you do them,’ John xiii. 17. God’s scope in giving the law, was not to make trial of men’s wits, who could most sharply conceive; nor of their memories, who could most faithfully retain; nor of their eloquence, who could most neatly discourse; but of their hearts, who could most obediently submit to his statutes. Stars were not made for sight only, but influence. So man was not created to know only, but to walk according to his knowledge. God’s precepts are best learned when most circumspectly practised.

3. This was the request of David, a man afflicted, opposed, and persecuted. Compare the text with the 78th verse, ‘Let the proud be ashamed; for they have dealt perversely with me.’ ‘Let my heart be sound in thy statutes, that I be not ashamed.’ Above all things we should study to be sincere in our carriage and defence of a good cause. 348An unsound heart will not bear out, but fall off to its own shame: James i. 8, The apostle telleth us, that ‘a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.’ Between God’s supplies and carnal shifts he goeth backward and forward, or this way and that, as occasion requireth. We need truth of grace, that we may be able to endure all weathers; and when we are put to trial we should be the more earnest with God for soundness of heart.

Thirdly, Here is the person of whom it is asked—of God: ‘Make my heart sound in thy statutes.’ Uprightness is the gift of God, and the work of his Spirit: Ps. li. 10, ‘Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me.’ We are like a pewter vessel, battered by the fall; and till we be cast anew we cannot be right with God. God worketh it in us at first, and still keepeth us and guideth us by his Spirit, or else we shall soon turn aside to our old bent and bias again. God beginneth the work of holiness, and maintaineth it against remaining corruption and outward temptations; he still keepeth afoot a constant purpose, and steady endeavour in the heart, to walk so as may please God. Men of themselves have a kind of humour towards good for a fit; but to go on sincerely to the end needeth grace from above.

Use. To press us to look after this firm established spirit. Now to this purpose—

1. Heartily resign yourselves to be directed and guided by God in all things whatsoever: Ezra vii. 10, ‘He prepared his heart to seek the Lord.’ To do it needeth such a fixed purpose.

2. Let us offer ourselves to God’s trial. Ps. cxxxix. 23, 24, ‘Search me, O Lord, and try me, know my heart and know my thoughts, see if there be any way of wickedness in me.’ We must not only rest upon the testimony of our own consciences, but desire our hearts may be searched by God over and over. Besides, there are many ill humours mixed with our best affections, which we see not, and a secret approbation and indulgence we give to them. We are apt ever to deal favourably with ourselves; and therefore desire God to pry into your most retired and reserved thoughts.

3. Let us walk still as in God’s eye: Ps. cxix. 168, ‘I kept thy precepts and thy testimonies, for all my ways are before thee.’ Whatever praise we have with men, we must see that our hearts be right with God, who is witness, approver, and judge, and searcheth the heart, and trieth the reins, and will not be put off with shadows; God’s all-seeing eye is a special means to make a man upright.

4. Observe how often we step awry, Jer. xvii. 9, in those actions we perform. How careless are we of the spiritual part; we regard the outside of the duty, but slightly pass over that affection that should accompany it. In resistance of our corruption, we rather deal with the fruit of it, that it break not out to our disgrace, than the root of it that secretly lurketh in our hearts. There is a great deal of guile of spirit in the best, and therefore we had need to ‘make straight steps to our feet,’ Heb. xii. 13. There is some defect in matter, manner, or aim. We are many times set awork by others, yet expect wages of God.

5. Let us be often and earnestly dealing with God for this sincere heart; it is called ‘godly sincerity,’ 2 Cor. i. 12. Why? Because it 349comes from God, and carries the soul to God again. ‘The new man is created in righteousness and true holiness, after the image of God,’ Eph. iv. 24, and hath a tendency in it to draw us to God again.

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