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On Keeping the Heart

John Flavel

This volume is an abridgment extensively circulated in the USA by the American Tract Society. It is without doubt a classic without peer on the subject o the boo!" and has gone through myriads o printings. #eep thy heart with all diligence$ or out o it are the issues o li e.%&roverbs '( )*. The heart o man is his worst part be ore it is regenerated" and the best a terward$ it is the seat o principles" and the ountain o actions. The eye o +od is" and the eye o the ,hristian ought to be principally ixed upon it. The greatest di iculty in conversion" is to win the heart to +od$ and the greatest di iculty a ter conversion" is to !eep the heart with +od. -ere lies the very orce and stress o religion$ here is that which ma!es the way to li e a narrow way" and the gate o heaven a strait gate. .irection and help in this great wor! are the scope o the text( wherein we have" I. An exhortation" /#eep thy heart with all diligence./ II. The reason or motive en orcing it" /For out o it are the issues o li e./ In the exhortation I shall consider" First" The matter o the duty. Secondly" The manner o per orming it. 0. The matter o the duty( #eep thy heart. -eart is not here ta!en properly or the noble part o the body" which philosophers call /the irst that lives and the last that dies$/ but by heart" in a metaphor" the Scripture sometimes represents some particular noble aculty o the soul. In 1om. 0( )0" it is put or the understanding$ their oolish heart" that is" their oolish understanding was dar!ened. &salm 002( 00" it is put or the memory$ / Thy word have I hid in my heart(/ and 0 John *( 03" it is put or the conscience" which includes both 0

the light o the understanding and the recognitions o the memory$ i our heart condemn us" that is" i our conscience" whose proper o ice it is to condemn. 4ut in the text we are to ta!e it more generally" or the whole soul" or inner man. 5hat the heart is to the body" that the soul is to the man$ and what health is to the heart" that holiness is to the soul. The state o the whole body depends upon the soundness and vigour o the heart" and the everlasting state o the whole man upon the good or ill condition o the soul. 4y !eeping the heart" understand the diligent and constant6 use o all holy means to preserve the soul rom sin" and maintain its sweet and ree communion with +od. 6 I say constant" or the reason added in the text extends the duty to all the states and conditions o a ,hristian7s li e" and ma!es it binding always. I the heart must be !ept" because out o it are the issues o li e" then as long as these issues o li e do low out o it" we are obliged to !eep it. 8avater on the text will have the word ta!en rom a besieged garrison" beset by many enemies without" and in danger o being betrayed by treacherous citi9ens within" in which danger the soldiers" upon pain o death" are commanded to watch$ and though the expression" #eep thy heart" seems to put it upon us as our wor!" yet it does not imply a su iciency in us to do it. 5e are as able to stop the sun in its course" or to ma!e the rivers run bac!ward" as by our own will and power to rule and order our hearts. 5e may as well be our own saviours as our own !eepers$ and yet Solomon spea!s properly enough when he says" #eep thy heart" because the duty is ours" though the power is o +od$ what power we have depends upon the exciting and assisting strength o ,hrist. +race within us is beholden to grace without us. /5ithout me ye can do nothing./ So much or the matter o the duty. ). The manner o per orming it is with all diligence. The -ebrew is very emphatic$ !eep with all !eeping" or" !eep" !eep" set double guards. This vehemence o expression with which the duty is urged" plainly implies how di icult it is to !eep our hearts" how dangerous to neglect them: The motive to this duty is very orcible and weighty( /For out o the heart are the issues o li e./ That is" the heart is the source o all vital operations$ it is the spring and original o both good and evil" as the spring in a watch )

that sets all the wheels in motion. The heart is the treasury" the hand and tongue but the shops$ what is in these" comes rom that$ the hand and tongue always begin where the heart ends. The heart contrives" and the members execute( /a good man" out o the good treasure o his heart" bringeth orth that which is good$ and an evil man" out o the evil treasure o his heart" bringeth orth that which is evil( or o the abundance o the heart his mouth spea!eth./ So then" i the heart err in its wor!" these must miscarry in theirs$ or heart errors are li!e the errors o the irst concoction" which cannot be recti ied a terward$ or li!e the misplacing and inverting o the stamps and letters in the press" which must cause so many errata in all the copies that are printed. ; then how important a duty is that which is contained in the ollowings &roposition.%The !eeping and right managing o the heart in every condition" is one great business o a ,hristian7s li e. 5hat the philosopher says o waters" is as properly applicable to hearts$ it is hard to !eep them within any bounds. +od has set limits to them" yet how re<uently do they transgress not only the bounds o grace and religion" but even o reason and common honesty= This is that which a ords the ,hristian matter o labor and watch ulness" to his dying day. It is not the cleaning o the hand that ma!es the ,hristian" or many a hypocrite can show as air a hand as he$ but the puri ying watching" and right ordering o the heart$ this is the thing that provo!es so many sad complaints and costs so many deep groans and tears. It was the pride o -e9e!iah7s heart that made him lie in the dust" mourning be ore the 8ord. It was the ear o hypocrisy7s invading the heart that made .avid cry" / 8et my heart be sound in thy statutes" that I be not ashamed./ It was the sad experience he had o the divisions and distractions o his own heart in the service o +od" that made him pour out the prayer" /Unite my heart to ear thy name./ The method in which I propose to improve the proposition it this( First" I shall in<uire what the !eeping o the heart supposes and imports. Secondly" Assign divers reasons why ,hristians must ma!e this a leading business o their lives. Thirdly" &oint out those seasons which especially call or this diligence in !eeping the heart. *

Fourthly" Apply the whole. First" I am to consider what the !eeping o the heart supposes and imports. To !eep the heart" necessarily supposes a previous wor! o regeneration" which has set the heart right" by giving it a new spiritual inclination" or as long as the heart it not set right by grace as to in habitual rame" no means can !eep it right with +od. Sel is the poise o the unrenewed heart" which biases and moves it in all its designs and actions$ and as long as it is so" it is impossible that any external means should !eep it with +od. >an" originally" was o one constant" uni orm rame o spirit" held one straight and even course$ not one thought or aculty was disordered( his mind had a per ect !nowledge o the re<uirements o +od" his will a per ect compliance therewith$ all his appetites and powers stood in a most obedient subordination. >an" by the apostasy" is become a most disordered and rebellious creature" opposing his >a!er" as the First ,ause" by sel ?dependence$ as the ,hie +ood" by sel ?love$ as the -ighest 8ord" by sel ?will$ and as the 8ast @nd" by sel ?see!ing. Thus he is <uite disordered" and all his actions are irregular. 4ut by regeneration the disordered soul is set right$ this great change being" as the Scripture expresses it" the renovation o the soul a ter the image o +od" in which sel ?dependence is removed by aith$ sel ?love" by the love o +od$ sel ?will" by subjection and obedience to the will o +od$ and sel ?see!ing by sel ?denial. The dar!ened understanding is illuminated" the re ractory will sweetly subdued" the rebellious appetite gradually con<uered. Thus the soul which sin had universally depraved" is by grace restored. This being pre?supposed" it will not be di icult to apprehend what it is to !eep the heart" which is nothing but the constant care and diligence o such a renewed man to preserve his soul in that holy rame to which grace has raised it. For though grace has" in a great measure" recti ied the soul" and given it an habitual heavenly temper$ yet sin o ten actually discomposes it again$ so that even a gracious heart is li!e a musical instrument" which though it be exactly tuned" a small matter brings it out o tune again$ yea" hang it aside but a little" and it will need setting again be ore another lesson can be played upon it. I gracious hearts are in a desirable rame in one duty" yet how dull" dead" '

and disordered when they come to another: There ore every duty needs a particular preparation o the heart. / I thou prepare thine heart and stretch out thine hands toward him"/ Ac. To !eep the heart then" is care ully to preserve it rom sin" which disorders it$ and maintain that spiritual rame which its it or a li e o communion with +od. This includes in it six particulars( 0. Fre<uent observation o the rame o the heart. ,arnal and ormal persons ta!e no heed to this$ they cannot be brought to con er with their own hearts( there are some people who have lived orty or i ty years in the world" and have had scarcely one hour7s discourse with their own hearts. It is a hard thing to bring a man and himsel together on such business$ but saints !now those solilo<uies to be very salutary. The heathen could say" /the soul is made wise by sitting still in <uietness./ Though ban!rupts care not to loo! into their accounts" yet upright hearts will !now whether they go bac!ward or orward. /I commune with mine own heart"/ says .avid. The heart can never be !ept until its case be examined and understood. ). It includes deep humiliation or heart evils and disorders$ thus -e9e!iah humbled himsel or the pride o his heart. Thus the people were ordered to spread orth their hands to +od in prayer" realising the plague o their own hearts. Upon this account many an upright heart has been laid low be ore +od$ 7; what an heart have I.7 Saints have in their con ession pointed at the heart" the pained place( 7 8ord" here is the woundB. It is with the heart well !ept as it is with the eye$ i a small dust get into the eye it will never cease twin!ling and watering till it has wept it out( so the upright heart cannot be at rest till it has wept out its troubles and poured out its complaints be ore the 8ord. *. It includes earnest supplication and instant prayer or puri ying and recti ying grace when sin has de iled and disordered the heart. / ,leanse thou me rom secret aults/ / Unite my heart to ear thy name./ Saints have always many such petitions be ore the throne o +od7s grace$ this is the thing which is most pleaded by them with +od. 5hen they are praying or outward mercies" C

perhaps their spirits may be more remiss$ but when it comes to the heart7s case" they extend their spirits to the utmost" ill their mouths with arguments weep and ma!e supplication( 7; or a better heart: ; or a heart to love +od more$ to hate sin more$ to wal! more evenly with +od. 8ord: deny not to me such a heart$ whatever thou deny me( give me a heart to ear thee" to love and delight in thee" i I beg my bread in desolate places.7 It is observed o an eminent saint" that when he was con essing sin" he would never give over con essing until he had elt some bro!enness o heart or that sin$ and when praying or any spiritual mercy" would never give over that suit till he had obtained some relish o that mercy. '. It includes the imposing o strong engagement upon ourselves to wal! more care ully with +od" and avoid the occasions whereby the heart may be induced to sin. 5ell advised and deliberate vows are" in some cases" very use ul to guard the heart against some special sin. / I have made a covenant with mine eyes"/ says Job. 4y this means holy men have overawed their souls" and preserved themselves rom de ilement. C. It includes a constant and holy jealousy over our onto hearts. Duic!?sighted sel ?jealousy is an excellent preservative rom sin. -e that will !eep his heart" must have the eyes o the soul awa!e and open upon all the disorderly anal tumultuous stirrings o his a ections$ i the a ections brea! loose" and the passions be stirred" the soul must discover it" and suppress them be ore they get to a height. 7 ; my soul" dost thou well in this= >y tumultuous thoughts and passions" where is your commission=7 -appy is the man that thus eareth always. 4y this ear o the 8ord it is that men depart rom evil" sha!e o sloth and preserve themselves rom ini<uity. -e that will !eep his heart must eat and drin! with ear" rejoice with ear" and pass the whole time o his sojourning here in ear. All this is little enough to !eep the heart rom sin. E. It includes the realising o +od7s presence with us" and setting the 8ord always be ore us. This the people have ound a power ul means o !eeping their hearts upright" and awing them rom sin. 5hen the eye o our aith is ixed upon the eye o +odBs omniscience" we dare not let out our thoughts and a ections to E

vanity. -oly Job durst not su er his heart to yield to an impure" vain thought" and what was it that moved him to so great circumspection= -e tells us" /.oth not -e see my ways" and count all my steps=/ In such particulars as these do gracious souls express the care they have o their hearts. They are care ul to prevent the brea!ing loose o the corruptions in time o temptation$ care ul to preserve the sweetness and com ort they have got rom +od in any duty. This is the wor!" and o all wor!s in religion it is the most di icult" constant" and important wor!. 0. It is the hardest wor!. -eart?wor! is hard wor! indeed. To shu le over religious duties with a loose anal heedless spirit" will cost no great pains$ but to set thysel be ore the 8ord" and tie up thy loose and vain thoughts to a constant and serious attendance upon him$ this will cost thee something. To attain a acility and dexterity o language in prayer" and put thy meaning into apt and decent expressions" is easy$ but to get thy heart bro!en or sin" while thou art con essing it$ melted with ree grace while thou art blessing +od or it$ to be really ashamed and humbled though the apprehensions o +odBs in inite holiness" and to !eep thy heart in this rame" not only in" but a ter duty" will surely cost thee some groans and pains o soul. To repress the outward acts o sin" and compose the external part o thy li e in a laudable manner" is no great matter$ even carnal persons" by the orce o common principles" can do this( but to !ill the root o corruption within" to set and !eep up an holy government over thy thought" to have all things lie straight and orderly in the heart" this is not easy. ). It is a constant wor!. The !eeping o the heart is a wor! that is never done till li e is ended. There is no time or condition in the li e o a ,hristian which will su er an intermission o this wor!. It is in !eeping watch over our hearts" as it was in !eeping up >oses7 hands while Israel and Amale! were ighting. Fo sooner do the hands o >oses grow heavy and sin! down" than Amale! prevails. Intermitting the watch over their own hearts or but a ew minutes" cost .avid and &eter many a sad day and night. G

*. It is the most important business o a ,hristian7s li e. 5ithout this we are but ormalists in religion( all our pro essions" gi ts and duties signi y nothing. / >y son" give me thine heart"/ is +odBs re<uest. +od is pleased to call that a gi t which is indeed a debt$ he will put this honor upon the creature" to receive it rom him in the way o a gi t$ but i this be not given him" he regards not whatever else you bring to him. There is only so much o worth in what we do" as there is o heart in it. ,oncerning the hears" +od seems to say" as Joseph o 4enjamin" /I you bring not 4enjamin with you" you shall not see my ace./ Among the -eathen" when the beast was cut up or sacri ice" the irst thing the priest loo!ed upon was the heart$ and i that was unsound and worthless the sacri ice was rejected. +od rejects all duties Hhow glorious soever in other respectsI which are o ered him without the heart. -e that per orms duty without the heart" that is" heedlessly" is no more accepted with +od than he that per orms it with a double heart" that is" hypocritically. Thus I have brie ly considered what the !eeping o the heart supposes and imports. I proceed" Secondly" To assign some reasons why ,hristians must ma!e this the great business o their lives. The importance and necessity o ma!ing this our great business will mani estly appear rom several considerations( 0. The glory o +od is much concerned. -eart?evils are very provo!ing evils to the 8ord. The Schools correctly observe" that outward sins are / sins o great in amy(/ but that the heart?sins are / sins o deeper guilt./ -ow severely has the great +od declared his wrath rom heaven against heart?wic!edness: The crime or which the old world stands indicted is heart?wic!edness: / +od saw that every imagination o their hearts was only evil" and that continually$/ or which he sent the most dread ul judgments that were ever in licted since time began. 5e ind not their murders" adulteries" blasphemies" Hthough they were de iled with theseI particularly alleged against them$ but the evils o their hearts. That by which +od was so provo!ed as to give up his peculiar inheritance J

into the enemy7s hand" was the evil o their hearts. / ; Jerusalem" wash thine heart rom wic!edness" that thou mayest be saved$ how long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee=/ ; the wic!edness and vanity o their thoughts +od too! particular notice$ and because o this the ,haldeans must come upon them" / as a lion rom his thic!et" and tear them to pieces./ For the sin o thoughts it was that +od threw down the allen angels rom heaven" and still !eeps them in /everlasting chains / to the judgment o the great day$ by which expression is not obscurely intimated some extraordinary judgment to which they are reserved$ as prisoners that have most irons laid upon them may be supposed to be the greatest male actors. And what was their sin= Spiritual wic!edness. >erely heart?evils are so provo!ing to +od" that or them he rejects with indignation all the duties that some men per orm. / -e that !illeth an ox is as i he slew a man$ he that sacri ices a lamb" as i he cut o a dog7s nec!$ he that o ereth an oblation" as i he o ered swine7s blood$ he that burneth incense" as i he blessed an idol./ In what words could the abhorrence o a creature7s actions be more ully expressed by the holy +od= >urder and idolatry are not more vile in his account" than their sacri ices" though materially such as himsel appointed. And what made their sacri ices so vile= The ollowing words in orm us( /Their soul delighteth in their abominations./ Such is the vileness o mere heart?sins" that the Scriptures sometimes intimate the di iculty o pardon or them. The heart o Simon >agus was not right" he had base thoughts o +od" and o the things o +od( the apostle bade him / repent and pray" i perhaps the thoughts o his heart might be orgiven him./ ; then never slight heart evils: For by these +od is highly wronged and provo!ed. For this reason let every ,hristian !eep his heart with all diligence. ). The sincerity o our pro ession much depends upon the care we exercise in !eeping our hearts. >ost certainly" that man who is careless o the rame o his heart" is but a hypocrite in his pro ession" however eminent he be in the externals o religion. 5e have a stri!ing instance o this in the history o Jehu. / 4ut Jehu too! no heed to wal! in the ways o the 8ord +od o Israel with his heart./ The context gives an account o the great service per ormed by Jehu 2

against the house o Ahab and 4aal" and also o the great temporal reward given him by +od or that service" even that his children" to the ourth generation" should sit upon the throne o Israel. Ket in these words Jehu is censured as a hypocrite( though +od approved and rewarded the wor!" yet he abhorred and rejected the person that did it" as hypocritical. 5herein lay the hypocrisy o Jehu= In this$ he too! no heed to wal! in the ways o the 8ord with his heart$ that is" he did all insincerely and or sel ish ends( and though the wor! he did was materially good" yet he" not purging his heart rom those unworthy sel ish designs in doing it" was a hypocrite. And though Simon >agus appeared such a person that the apostle could not regularly reject him" yet his hypocrisy was <uic!ly discovered. Though he pro essed piety and associated himsel with the saints" he was a stranger to the morti ication o heart?sins. / Thy heart is not right with +od./ It is true" there is great di erence between ,hristians themselves in their diligence and dexterity about heart wor!$ some are more conversant with" and more success ul in it than others( but he that ta!es no heed to his heart" that is not care ul to order it aright be ore +od" is but a hypocrite. / And they come unto thee as the people cometh" and they sit be ore thee as my people" and they hear thy words" but they will not do them( or with their mouth they show much love" but their heart goeth a ter their covetous./ -ere was a company o ormal hypocrites" as is evident rom that expression" as my people$ li!e them" but not o them. And what made them so= Their outside was air$ here were reverent postures" high pro essions" much seeming delight in ordinances$ / thou art to them as a lovely song(/ yea$ but or all that they !ept not their hearts with +od in those duties$ their hearts were commanded by their lusts" they went a ter their covetousness. -ad they !ept their hearts with +od" all had been well( but not regarding which way their hearts went in duty" there lay the essence o their hypocrisy. I any upright soul should hence in er" 7 I am a hypocrite too" or many times my heart departs rom +od in duty$ do what I can" yet I cannot hold it close with +od(7 I answer" the very objection carries in it its own solution. Thou sayest" 7.o what I can" yet I cannot !eep my heart with +od.7 Soul" i thou doest what thou canst" thou hast the blessing o an upright" though +od sees good to exercise thee under the a liction o a discomposed heart. 03

There still remains some wildness in the thoughts and ancies o the best to humble them$ but i you ind a care be ore to prevent them" and opposition against them when they come" and grie and sorrow a terward" you ind enough to clear you rom the charge o reigning hypocrisy. This precaution is seen partly in laying up the word in thy heart to prevent them. / Thy word have I hid in mine heart" that I might not sin against thee./ &artly in your endeavors to engage your heart to +od$ and partly in begging preventing grace rom +od in your commencement o duty. It is a good sign to exercise such precaution. And it is an evidence o uprightness" to oppose these sins in their irst rise. /I hate vain thoughts./ / The spirit lusteth against the lesh./ Thy grie also discovers the uprightness o thy heart. I with -e9e!iah thou art humbled or the evils o thy heart" thou hast no reason" rom those disorders" to <uestion the integrity o it$ but to su er sin to lodge <uietly in the heart" to let thy heart habitually and without control wander rom +od" is a sad" a dangerous symptom indeed. *. The beauty o our conversation arises rom the heavenly rame o our spirits. There is a spiritual lustre and beauty in the conversation o saints. /The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor$/ saints shine as the lights o the world$ but whatever lustre and beauty is in their lives" comes rom the excellency o their spirits$ as the candle within puts lustre upon the lantern in which it shines. It is impossible that a disordered and neglected heart should ever produce well ordered conversation$ and since Has the text observesI the issues or streams o li e low out o the heart as their ountain" it must ollow" that such as the heart is" the li e will be. -ence 0 &eter" )( 0)" /Abstain rom leshly lusts%having your conversation honest"/ or beauti ul" as the +ree! word imports. So Isaiah" CC( G. / 8et the wic!ed orsa!e his way" and the unrighteous man his thoughts./ -is way" denotes the course o his li e$ his thoughts" the rame o his heart( and there ore since the course o his li e lows rom his thoughts" or the rame o his heart both" or neither will be orsa!en. The heart is the source o all actions$ these actions are virtually and radically contained in our thoughts$ these thoughts being once made up into a ections" are <uic!ly made out into suitable actions. I the heart lie wic!ed" then" as ,hrist says" / ;ut o the heart proceed evil thoughts" murders"/ Ac. 00

>ar! the order( irst" wanton or revenge ul thoughts$ then unclean" or murderous practices. And i the heart be holy" then it is as with .avid( / >y heart is inditing a good matter%I spea! o the things which I have made touching the !ing$ my tongue is as the pen o a ready writer./ -ere is a li e richly beauti ied with good wor!s" some ready made% I will spea! o the things which I have made$ others ma!ing%my heart is inditing$ both proceed rom the heavenly rame o his heart. &ut the heart in rame and the li e will <uic!ly discover that it is so. It is not very di icult to discern" by the per ormances and converse o ,hristians" what rames their spirits are in. Ta!e a ,hristian in a good rame" and how serious" heavenly and pro itable will his conversation and religious exercises be: 5hat a lovely companion is he during the continuance o it: It would do any one7s heart good to be with him at such a time. / The mouth o the righteous spea!eth wisdom" and his tongue tal!eth o judgment$ he law o his +od is in his heart./ 5hen the heart is up with +od" and ull o +od" how dextrously will he insinuate spiritual discourse" improving every occasion and advantage to some heavenly purpose: Few words then run to waste. And what can be the reason that the discourses and duties o many ,hristians are become so rothy and unpro itable" their communion both with +od and with one another becomes as a dry stal!" but this" their heard are neglected= Surely this must be the reason o it" and it is an evil greatly to be bewailed. Thus the attracting beauty that was wont to shine" rom the conversation o the saints" upon the aces and consciences o the world" Hwhich" i it did not allure and bring them in love with the ways o +od" at least le t a testimony in their consciences o the excellency o those men and o their ways"I is in a great measure lost" to the unspea!able detriment o religion. Time was" when ,hristians conducted in such a manner that the world stood ga9ing at them. Their li e and language were o a di erent strain rom those o others" their tongues discovered them to be +alileans wherever they came. 4ut now" since vain speculations and ruitless controversies have so much obtained" and heart?wor!" practical godliness is so much neglected among pro essors" the case is sadly altered( their discourse is become li!e other men7s$ i they come among you now" they may /hear every man spea! in his own language./ And I have little hope to see this evil redressed" and the credit o religion repaired" till ,hristians do their irst wor!s" till 0)

they apply again to heart?wor!( when the salt o heavenly?mindedness is cast into the spring" the streams will run more clear and more sweet. '. The com ort o our souls much depends upon the !eeping o our hearts$ or he that is negligent in attending to his own heart" is" ordinarily" a great stranger to assurance" and the com orts ollowing rom it. Indeed i the Antinomian doctrine were true" which teaches you to reject all mar!s and signs or the trial o your condition" telling you that it is the Spirit that immediately assures you" by witnessing your adoption directly" without them$ then you might be careless o your hearts" yea" strangers to them" and yet no strangers to com ort( but since both Scripture and experience con ute this" I hope you will never loo! or com ort in this unscriptural way. I deny not that it is the wor! and o ice o the Spirit to assure you$ yet I con idently a irm" that i ever you attain assurance in the ordinary way wherein +od dispenses it" you must ta!e pains with your own hearts. Kou may expect your com orts upon easier terms" but I am mista!en i ever you enjoy them upon any other( give all diligence$ prove yourselves$ this is the scriptural method. A distinguished writer" in his treatise on the covenant" tells us that he !new a ,hristian who" in the in ancy o his ,hristianity" so vehemently panted a ter the in allible assurance o +od7s love" that or a long time together he earnestly desired some voice rom heaven$ yea" sometimes wal!ing in the solitary ields" earnestly desired some miraculous voice rom the trees and stones there( this" a ter many desires and longings was denied$ but in time a better was a orded in the ordinary way o searching the word and his own heart. An instance o the li!e nature another learned person gives us o one that was driven by temptation upon the very borders o despair$ at last" being sweetly settled and assured" one as!ed him how he attained it" he answered" /Fot by any extraordinary revelation" but by subjecting my understanding to the Scriptures" and comparing my heart with them./ The Spirit" indeed" assures by witnessing our adoption$ and he witnesses in two ways. ;ne way is" objectively" that is" by producing those graces in our souls which are the conditions o the promise$ and so the Spirit" and his graces in us" are all one( the Spirit o +od dwelling in us" is a mar! o our adoption. Fow the Spirit can be discerned" not in his essence" but in his operations$ and to discern these" is to discern the Spirit$ and how these can be 0*

discerned without serious searching and diligent watching o the heart I cannot imagine. The other way o the Spirit7s witnessing is e ectively" that is" by irradiating the soul with a grace discovering light" shining upon his own wor!$ and this" in order o nature" ollows the ormer wor!( he irst in uses the grace" and then opens the eye o the soul to see it. Fow" since the heart is the subject o that in used grace" even this way o the Spirit7s witnessing includes the necessity o care ully !eeping our own hearts. For" 0. A neglected heart is so con used and dar!" that the little grace which is in it is not ordinarily discernible( the most accurate and laborious ,hristians sometimes ind it di icult to discover the pure and genuine wor!ings o the Spirit in their hearts. -ow then shall the ,hristian who is comparatively negligent about heart?wor!" be ever able to discover grace= Sincerity: which is the thing sought" lies in the heart li!e a small piece o gold on the bottom o a river$ he that would ind it must stay till the water is clear" and then he will see it spar!ling at the bottom. That the heart may be clear and settled" how much pains and watching" care and diligence" are re<uisite: ). +od does not usually indulge negligent souls with the com orts o assurance$ he will not so much as seem to patronise sloth and carelessness. -e will give assurance" but it shall be in his own way$ his command has united our care and com ort together. Those are mista!en who thin! that assurance may be obtained without labor. Ah: -ow many solitary hours have the people o +od spent in heart?examination: -ow many times have they loo!ed into the word" and then into their hearts: Sometimes they thought they discovered sincerity" and were even ready to draw orth the triumphant conclusion o assurance$ then comes a doubt they cannot resolve" and destroys it all( many hopes" and ears" doubtings and reasonings" they have had in their own breasts be ore they arrived at a com ortable settlement. 4ut suppose it possible or a careless ,hristian to attain assurance" yet it is impossible or him long to retain it$ or it is a thousand to one i those whose hearts are illed with the joys o assurance" long retain those joys" unless extraordinary care be used. A little pride" vanity" or carelessness will dash to pieces all that or which they have been a long time laboring in many a weary duty. Since then the joy o our li e" the com ort o our souls" rises and alls with our diligence in this wor!" !eep your 0'

heart with all diligence. C. The improvement o our graces depends on the !eeping o our hearts. I never !new grace to thrive in a careless soul. The habits and roots o grace are planted in the heart$ and the deeper they are rooted there" the more lourishing grace is. In @ph. *( 0G" we read o being /rooted / in grace$ grace in the heart is the root o every gracious word in the mouth" and o every holy wor! in the hand. It is true" ,hrist is the root o a ,hristian" 4ut ,hrist is the originating root" and grace a root originated" planted" and in luenced by ,hrist$ accordingly" as this thrives under divine in luences" the acts o grace are more or less ruit ul or vigorous. Fow" in a heart not !ept with care and diligence" these ructi ying in luences are stopped and cut o %multitudes o vanities brea! in upon it" and devour its strength$ the heart is" as it were" the enclosure" in which multitudes o thoughts are ed every day$ a gracious heart" diligently !ept" eeds many precious thoughts o +od in a day. / -ow precious are thy thoughts unto me" ; +od: -ow great is the sum o them: I I should count them" they are more in number than the sand( when I awa!e" I am still with thee./ And as the gracious heart nourishes them" so they re resh and east the heart. />y soul is illed as with marrow and atness while I thin! upon thee"/ Ac. 4ut in the disregarded heart" multitudes o vain and oolish thoughts are perpetually wor!ing" and drive out those spiritual thoughts o +od by which the soul should be re reshed. 4esides" the careless heart pro its nothing by any duty or ordinance it per orms or attends upon" and yet these are the conduits o heaven" whence grace is watered and made ruit ul. A man may go with a heedless spirit rom ordinance to ordinance" abide all his days under the choicest teaching" and yet never he improved by them$ or heart?neglect is a lea! in the bottom%no heavenly in luences" however rich" abide in that soul. 5hen the seed alls upon the heart that lies open and common" li!e the highway" ree or all passengers" the owls come and devour it. Alas: It is not enough to hear" unless we ta!e heed how we hear$ a man may pray" and never be the better" unless he watch unto prayer. In a word" all means are blessed to the improvement o grace" according to the care and strictness we use in !eeping our hearts in them. E. The stability o our souls in the hour o temptation depends upon the care we 0C

exercise in !eeping our hearts. The careless heart is an easy prey to Satan in the hover o temptation$ his principal batteries are raised against the heart$ i he wins that he wins all" or it commands the whole man( and alas: how easy a con<uest is a neglected heart: It is not more di icult to surprise such a heart" than or an enemy to enter that city whose gates are open and unguarded. It is the watch ul heart that discovers and suppresses the temptation be ore it comes to its strength. .ivines observe this to be the method in which temptations are ripened and brought to their ull strength. There is the irritation o the object" or that power it has to provo!e our corrupt nature$ which is either done by the real presence o the object" or by speculation when the object Hthough absentI is held out by the imagination be ore the soul. Then ollows the motion o the appetite" which is provo!ed by the ancy representing it as a sensual good. Then there is a consultation in the mind about the best means o accomplishing it. Fext ollows the election" or choice o the will. And lastly" the desire" or ull engagement o the will to it. All this may be done in a ew minutes" or the debates o the soul are <uic! and soon ended( when it comes thus ar" the heart is won" Satan has entered victoriously and displayed his colours upon the walls o that royal ort$ but" had the heart been well guarded at irst" it had never come to this%the temptation had been stopped in the irst or second act. And indeed there it is stopped easily$ or it is in the motion o a soul tempted to sin" as in the motion o a stone alling rom the brow o a hill%it is easily stopped at irst" but when once it is set in motion /it ac<uires strength by descending./ There ore it is the greatest wisdom to observe the irst motions o the heart" to chec! and stop sin there. The motions o sin are wea!est at irst$ a little care and watch ulness may prevent much mischie now$ the careless heart not heeding this" is brought within the power o temptation" as the Syrians were brought blind old into the midst o Samaria" be ore they !new where they were. I hope that these considerations satis y my readers that it is important to !eep the heart with all diligence. I proceed" Thirdly" To point out those special seasons in the li e o a ,hristian which re<uire our utmost diligence in !eeping the heart. Though Has was observed be oreI the duty is always binding" and there is no time or condition o li e in 0E

which we may be excused rom this wor!$ yet there are some signal seasons" critical hours re<uiring more than common vigilance over the heart. 0. The irst season is the time o prosperity" when &rovidence smiles upon us. Fow" ,hristian" !eep thy heart with all diligence$ or it will be very apt to grow secure" proud and earthly. /To see a man humble in prosperity"/Hsays 4ernard" I / is one o the greatest rarities in the world./ @ven a good -e9e!iah could not hide a vain?glorious temper in his temptation$ hence that caution to Israel( /And it shall be" when the 8ord thy +od shall have brought thee into the land which he sware to thy athers" to Abraham" to Isaac" and to Jacob" to give thee great and goodly cities which thou buildest not" and houses ull o all good things which thou illedst not"/ Ac. /then beware lest thou orget the 8ord./ So indeed it happened( or /Jeshurun waxed at and !ic!ed./ -ow then may a ,hristian !eep his heart rom pride and carnal security under the smiles o &rovidence and the con luence o creature com orts= There are several helps to secure the heart rom the dangerous snares o prosperity. 0. ,onsider the dangerous ensnaring temptations attending a pleasant and prosperous condition. Few" very ew o those that live in the pleasures o this world" escape everlasting perdition. / It in easier / Hsays ,hristI / or a camel to pass through the eye o a needle" than or a rich man to enter into the !ingdom o heaven./ / Fot many mighty" not many noble are called./ 5e have great reason to tremble" when the Scripture tells us in general that ew shall be saved$ much more when it tells us" that o that ran! o which we are" but ew shall be saved. 5hen Joshua called all the tribes o Israel to cast lots or the discovery o Achan" doubtless Achan eared$ when the tribe o Judah was ta!en" his ear increased$ but when the amily o the Larhites was ta!en" it was time to tremble. So when the Scriptures come so near as to tell us that o such a class o men very ew shall escape" it is time to be alarmed. / I should wonder / Hsays ,hrysostomI / i any o the rulers be saved./ ; how many have been wheeled to hell in the chariots o earthly pleasures" while others have been whipped to heaven by the rod o a liction: -ow ew" li!e the daughter o Tyre" come to ,hrist with a gi t: -ow ew among the rich entreat his avor: ). It may !eep one more humble and watch ul in prosperity" to consider that 0G

among ,hristians many have been much the worse or it. -ow good had it been or some o them" i they had never !nown prosperity: 5hen they were in a low condition" how humble" spiritual and heavenly they were but when advanced" what an apparent alteration has been upon their spirits: It was so with Israel$ when they were in a low condition in the wilderness" then Israel was /holiness to the 8ord(/ but when they came into ,anaan and were richly ed" their language was" / 5e are lords" we will come no more unto thee/. ;utward gains are ordinarily attended with inward losses$ as in a low condition their civil employments were wont to have a savour o their religious duties" so in an exalted condition their duties commonly have a savour o the world. -e" indeed" is rich in grace whose graces are not hindered by his riches. There are but ew Jehosaphats in the world" o whom it is said" / -e had silver and gold in abundance" and his heart was li ted up in the way o +od7s commands./ 5ill not this !eep thy heart humble in prosperity" to thin! how dearly many godly men have paid or their riches$ that through them they have lost that which all the world cannot purchase= *. #eep down thy vain heart by this consideration$ +od values no man the more or these things. +od values no man by outward excellencies" but by inward graces$ they are the internal ornaments o the Spirit" which are o great price in +od7s sight. +od despises all worldly glory" and accepts no man7s person$ /but in every nation" he that eareth +od and wor!eth righteousness is accepted o him./ Indeed" i the judgment o +od went by the same rule that man7s does" we might value ourselves by these things" and stand upon them( but so much every man is" as he is in the judgment o +od. .oes thy heart yet swell" and will neither o the ormer considerations !eep it humble= '. ,onsider how bitterly many dying persons have bewailed their olly in setting their hearts upon these things" and have wished that they had never !nown them. -ow dread ul was the situation o &ius Duintus" who died crying out despairingly" / 5hen I was in a low condition I had some hopes o salvation" when I was advanced to be a cardinal" I greatly doubted$ but since I came to the popedom I have no hope at all./ An author also tells us a real" but sad story o a rich oppressor" who had scraped up a great estate or his only son( when he came to die he called his son to him" and said" /Son" do you indeed love me=/ 0J

The son answered that / Fature" besides his paternal indulgence" obliged him to that./ / Then Hsaid the atherI express it by this( hold thy inger in the candle as long as I am saying a prayer./ The son attempted" but could not endure it. Upon that the ather bro!e out into these expressions( /Thou canst not su er the burning o thy inger or me$ but to get this wealth I have ha9arded my soul or thee and must burn" body and soul" in hell" or thy sa!e$ thy pains would have been but or a moment" but mine will be un<uenchable ire./ C. The heart may be !ept humble by considering o what a clogging nature earthly things are to a soul heartily engaged in the way to heaven. They shut out much o heaven rom us at present" though they may not shut us out o heaven at last. I thou consider thysel as a stranger in this world" travelling or heaven" thou hast then as much reason to be delighted with these things as a weary horse has to be pleased with a heavy burden. There was a serious truth in the atheistic sco o Julian( when ta!ing away the ,hristians7 estates" he told them /it was to ma!e them more it or the !ingdom o heaven./ E. Is thy spirit still vain and lo ty= Then urge upon it the consideration o that aw ul day o rec!oning" wherein" according to our receipts o mercies shall be our account or them. >ethin!s this should awe and humble the vainest heart that ever was in the breast o a saint. #now or a certainty that the 8ord records all the mercies that ever he gave thee" rom the beginning to the end o thy li e. 71emember" ; my people" rom Shittim unto +ilgal"B Ac. Kes" they are exactly numbered and recorded in order to an account$ and thy account will be suitable( /To whomsoever much is given" o him shall much be re<uired./ Kou are but a steward" and your 8ord will come and ta!e an account o you$ and what a great account have you to ma!e" who have much o this world in your hands: 5hat swi t witnesses will your mercies be against you" i this be the best ruit o them: G. It is a very humbling re lection" that the mercies o +od should wor! otherwise upon my spirit than they used to do upon the spirits o others to whom they come as sancti ied mercies rom the love o +od. Ah" 8ord: 5hat a sad consideration is this: @nough to lay me in the dust" when I consider( H0.I That their mercies have greatly humbled them" the higher +od has raised them" the lower they have laid themselves be ore him. Thus did Jacob when +od 02

had given him much substance. /And Jacob said" I am not worthy o the least o all thy mercies" and all the truth which thou hast showed thy servant$ or with my sta I passed over this Jordan" and am now become two bands./ Thus also it was with holy .avid$ when +od had con irmed the promise to him" to build him a house" and not reject him as he did Saul" he goes in be ore the 8ord and says" /5ho am I" and what is my ather7s house" that thou hast brought me hitherto=/ So indeed +od re<uired. 5hen Israel brought to him the irst ruits o ,anaan" they were to say" /A Syrian ready to perish was my ather"/ Ac. .o others raise +od the higher or his raising them= And the more +od raises me" the more shall I abuse him and exalt mysel = ; how wic!ed is such conduct as this: H).I ;thers have reely ascribed the glory o all their enjoyments to +od" and magni ied not themselves" but him" or their mercies. Thus says .avid" /8et thy name be magni ied and the house o thy servant be established./ -e does not ly upon the mercy and suc! out its sweetness" loo!ing no urther than his own com ort( no" he cares or no mercy except +od be magni ied in it. So when +od had delivered him rom all his enemies" he says" / The 8ord is my strength and my roc!" he is become my salvation./ Saints o old did not put the crown upon their own heads as I do by my vanity. H*.I The mercies o +od have been melting mercies unto others" melting their souls in love to the +od o their mercies. 5hen -annah received the mercy o a son" she said" />y soul rejoiceth in the 8ord$/ not in the mercy" but in the +od o the mercy. So also >ary( />y soul doth magni y the 8ord$ my spirit rejoiceth in +od my Savior./ The word signi ies to ma!e more room or +od$ their hearts were not contracted" but the more enlarged to +od. H'.I The mercies o +od have been great restraints to !eep others rom sin. /Seeing thou" our +od" hast given us such a deliverance as this" should we again brea! thy commandments=/ Ingenuous souls have elt the orce o the obligations o love and mercy upon them. HC.I The mercies o +od to others have been as oil to the wheels o their obedience" and made them more it or service. Fow i mercies wor! contrarily upon mar heart" what cause have I to be a raid that they come not to me in love: It is enough to damp the spirits o any saint" to see what sweet e ects mercies have had upon others" and what bitter e ects upon him. )3

II. The second season in the li e o a ,hristian" re<uiring more than common diligence to !eep his heart" is the time o adversity. 5hen &rovidence rowns upon you" and blasts your outward com orts" then loo! to your heart$ !eep it with all diligence rom repining against +od or ainting under his hand$ or troubles" though sancti ied" are troubles still. Jonah was a good man" and yet how ret ul was his heart under a liction: Job was the mirror o patience" yet how was his heart discomposed by trouble: Kou will ind it hard to get a composed spirit under great a lictions. ; the hurries and tumults which they occasion even in the best hearts:%8et me show you" then" how a ,hristian under great a lictions may !eep his heart rom repining or desponding" under the hand o +od. I will here o er several helps to !eep the heart in this condition. 0. 4y these cross providences +od is aith ully pursuing the great design o electing love upon the souls o his people" and orders all these a lictions as means sancti ied to that end. A lictions come not by casualty" but by counsel. 4y this counsel o +od they are ordained as means o much spiritual good to saints. /4y this shall the ini<uity o Jacob be purged"/ Ac. /4ut he or our pro it"/ Ac. /All things wor! together or good"/ Ac. They are +od7s wor!men upon our hearts" to pull down the pride and carnal security o them$ and being so" their nature is changed$ they are turned into blessings and bene its. /It is good or me that I have been a licted"/ says .avid. Surely then thou hast no reason to <uarrel with +od" but rather to wonder that he should concern himsel so much in thy good as to use any means or accomplishing it. &aul could bless +od i by any means he might attain the resurrection o the dead. />y brethren"/ says James" /count it all joy when you all into divers temptations./ M>y Father is about a design o lore upon my soul" and do I well to be angry with him= All that he does is in pursuance o " and in re erence to some eternal" glorious ends upon my soul. It is my ignorance o +od7s design that ma!es me <uarrel with him.7 -e says to thee in this case" as he did to &eter" /5hat I do" thou !nowest not now" but thou shalt !now herea ter./ ). Though +od has reserved to himsel a liberty o a licting his people" yet he has tied up his own hands by promise never to ta!e away his loving !indness rom them. ,an I contemplate this scripture with a repining" discontented spirit( /I )0

will be his Father" and he shall be my son( i he commit ini<uity" I will chasten him with the rod o man" and with the stripes o the children o men( nevertheless my mercy shall not depart away rom him./ ; my heart" my haughty heart: .ost thou well to be discontent" when +od has given thee the whole tree" with all the clusters o com ort growing on it" because he su ers the wind to blow down a ew leaves= ,hristians have two !inds o goods" the goods o the throne and the goods o the ootstool$ immovables and moveables. I +od has secured those" never let my heart be troubled at the loss o these( indeed" i he had cut o his love" or discovenanted my soul I had reason to be cast down$ but this he has not done" nor can he do it. *. It is o great e icacy to !eep the heart rom sin!ing under a lictions" to call to mind that thine own Father has the ordering o them. Fot a creature moves hand or tongue against thee but by his permission. Suppose the cup be bitter" yet it is the cup which thy Father hath given thee$ and canst thou suspect poison to be in it= Foolish man" put home the case to thine own heart$ canst thou give thy child that which would ruin him= Fo: Thou wouldst as soon hurt thysel as him. /I thou then" being evil" !nowest how to give good gi ts to thy children"/ how much more does +od: The very consideration o his nature as a +od o love" pity" and tender mercies$ or o his relation to thee as a ather" husband" riend" may be security enough" i he had not spo!en a word to <uiet thee in this case$ and yet you have his word too" by the prophet Jeremiah( /I will do you no hurt./ Kou lie too near his heart or him to hurt you$ nothing grieves him more than your groundless and unworthy suspicions o his designs. 5ould it not grieve a aith ul" tender?hearted physician" when he had studied the case o his patient" and prepared the most excellent medicines to save his li e" to hear him cry out" 7; he has undone me: he has poisoned me:7 because it pains him in the operation= ; when will you be ingenuous= '. +od respects you as much in a low as in a high condition$ and there ore it need not so much trouble you to be made low$ nay" he mani ests more o his love" grace and tenderness in the time o a liction than in the time o prosperity. As +od did not at irst choose you because you were high" he will not now orsa!e you because you are low. >en may loo! shy upon you" and alter their respects as your condition is altered$ when &rovidence has blasted your estate" ))

your summer? riends may grow strange" earing you may be troublesome to them$ but will +od do so= Fo" no( /I will never leave thee nor orsa!e thee/ says he. I adversity and poverty could bar you rom access to +od" it were indeed a deplorable condition( but" so ar rom this" you may go to him as reely as ever. />y +od will hear me"/ says the church. &oor .avid" when stripped o all earthly com orts" could encourage himsel in the 8ord his +od$ and why cannot you= Suppose your husband or son had lost all at sea" and should come to you in rags$ could you deny the relation" or re use to entertain him= I you would not" much less will +od. 5hy then are you so troubled= Though your condition be changed" your Father7s love is not changed. C. 5hat i by the loss o outward com orts +od preserves your soul rom the ruining power o temptation= Surely then you have little cause to sin! your heart by such sad thoughts. .o not earthly enjoyments ma!e men shrilly and warp in times o trial= For the love o these many have orsa!en ,hrist in such an hour. The young ruler /went away sorrow ul" or he had great possessions./ I this is +od7s design" how ungrate ul to murmur against him or it: 5e see mariners in a storm can throw over?board the most valuable goods to preserve their lives. 5e !now it is usual or soldiers in a besieged city to destroy the inest buildings without the walls in which the enemy may tale shelter$ and no one doubts that it is wisely done. Those who have morti ied limbs willingly stretch them out to be cut o " and not only than!" but pay the surgeon. >ust +od be murmured against or casting over that which would sin! you in a storm$ or pulling down that which would assist your enemy in the siege o temptation$ or cutting o what would endanger your everlasting li e= ;" inconsiderate" ungrate ul man" are not these things or which thou grievest" the very things that have ruined thousands o souls= E. It would much support thy heart under adversity" to consider that +od by such humbling providences may be accomplishing that or which you have long prayed and waited. And should you be troubled at that= Say" ,hristian" hast thou not many prayers depending be ore +od upon such accounts as these$ that he would !eep thee rom sin$ discover to thee the emptiness o the creature$ that he would morti y and !ill thy lusts$ that thy heart may never ind rest in any enjoyment but ,hrist= 4y such humbling and impoverishing stro!es +od may be )*

ul illing thy desire. 5ouldst thou be !ept rom sin= 8o" he hath hedged up thy way with thorns. 5ouldst thou see the creature7s vanity= Thy a liction is a air glass to discover it$ or the vanity o the creature is never so e ectually and sensibly discovered" as in our own experience. 5ouldst thou have thy corruptions morti ied= This is the way( to have the ood and uel removed that maintained them$ or as prosperity begat and ed them" so adversity" when sancti ied" is a means to !ill them. 5ouldst thou have thy heart rest nowhere but in the bosom o +od= 5hat better method could &rovidence ta!e to accomplish thy desire than pulling rom under thy head that so t pillow o creature lights on which you rested be ore= And yet you ret at this( peevish child" how dost thou try thy Father7s patience: I he delay to answer thy prayers" thou art ready to say" he regards thee not$ i he does that which really answers the end o them" though not in the way which you expect" you murmur against him or that$ as i " instead o answering" he were crossing all thy hopes and aims. Is this ingenuous= Is it not enough that +od is so gracious as to do what thou desirest( must thou be so impudent as to expect him to do it in the way which thou prescribest= G. It may support thy heart" to consider that in these troubles +od is per orming that wor! in which thy soul would rejoice" i thou didst see the design o it. 5e are clouded with much ignorance" and are not able to discern how particular providences tend to the ul ilment o +od7s designs$ and there ore" li!e Israel in the wilderness" are o ten murmuring" because &rovidence leads us about in a howling desert" where we are exposed to di iculties$ though then he led them" and is now leading us" by the right way to a city o habitations. I you could but see how +od in his secret counsel has exactly laid the whole plan o your salvation" even to the smallest means and circumstances$ could you but discern the admirable harmony o divine dispensations" their mutual relations" together with the general respect they all have to the last end$ had you liberty to ma!e your own choice" you would" o all conditions in the world" choose that in which you now are. &rovidence is li!e a curious piece o tapestry made o a thousand shreds" which" single" appear useless" but put together" they represent a beauti ul history to the eye. As +od does all things according to the counsel o his own will" o course this )'

is ordained at the best method to e ect your salvation. Such a one has a proud heart" so many humbling providences appoint or him$ such a one has an earthly heart" so m7any impoverishing providences or him. .id you but see this" I need say no more to support the most dejected heart. J. It would much conduce to the settlement o your heart" to consider that by retting and discontent you do yoursel more injury than all your a lictions could do. Kour own discontent is that which arms your troubles with a sting$ you ma!e your burden heavy by struggling under it. .id you but lie <uietly under the hand o +od" your condition would be much more easy than it is. /Impatience in the sic! occasions severity in the physician./ This ma!es +od a lict the more" as a ather a stubborn child that receives not correction. 4eside" it un its the soul to pray over its troubles" or receive the sense o that good which +od intends by them. A liction is a pill" which" being wrapped up in patience and <uiet submission" may be easily shallowed$ but discontent chews the pill" and so embitters the soul. +od throws away some com ort which he saw would hurt you" and you will throw away your peace a ter it$ he shoots an arrow which stic!s in your clothes" and was never intended to hurt" but only to drive you rom sin" and you will thrust it deeper" to the piercing o your very heart" by despondency and discontent. 2. I thy heart Hli!e that o 1achelI still re uses to be com orted" then do one thing more( compare the condition thou art now in" and with which thou art so much dissatis ied" with the condition in which others are" and in which thou deservest to be. M;thers are roaring in lames" howling under the scourge o vengeance$ and among them I deserve to be. ; my soul" is this hell= Is my condition as bad as that o the damned= 5hat would thousands now in hell give to exchange conditions with me:7 I have read Hsays an authorI that when the .u!e o ,onde had voluntarily subjected himsel to the inconveniences o poverty" he was one day observed and pitied by a lord o Italy" who rom tenderness wished him to be more care ul o his person. The good du!e answered" /Sir" be not troubled" and thin! not that I su er rom want$ or I send a harbinger be ore me" who ma!es ready my lodgings and ta!es care that I be royally entertained./ The lord as!ed him who was his harbinger= -e answered" /The !nowledge o mysel " and the consideration o what I deserve or my sins" which is eternal torment$ when with )C

this !nowledge I arrive at my lodging" however unprovided I ind it" methin!s it is much better than I deserve. 5hy doth the living man complain=/ Thus the heart may be !ept rom desponding or repining under adversity. III. The third season calling or more than ordinary diligence to !eep the heart is the time o Lion7s troubles. 5hen the ,hurch" li!e the ship in which ,hrist and his disciples were" is oppressed and ready to perish in the waves o persecution" then good souls are ready to be shipwrec!ed too" upon the billows o their own ears. It is true" most men need the spur rather then the reins in this case$ yet some men sit down discouraged under a sense o the ,hurchBs troubles. The loss o the ar! cost @li his li e$ the sad posture in which Jerusalem lay made good Fehemiah7s countenance change in the midst o all the pleasures and accommodations o the court. 4ut though +od allows" yea" commands the most awa!ened apprehensions o these calamities" and in /such a day calls to mourning" weeping" and girding with sac!cloth"/ and severely threatens the insensible$ yet it will not please him to see you sit li!e pensive @lijah under the juniper tree. /Ah" 8ord +od: It is enough" ta!e away my li e also./ Fo( a mourner in Lion you may and ought to be" but a sel ?tormentor you must not be$ complain to +od you may" but complain o +od Hthough but by the language o your actionsI you must not. Fow let us in<uire how tender hearts may be relieved and supported" when they are even overwhelmed with the burdensome sense o Lion7s troubles= I grant it is hard or him who pre erreth Lion to his chie joy" to !eep his heart that it sin! not below the due sense o its troubles$ yet this ought to" and may be done" by the use o such heart?establishing directions as these( 0. Settle this great truth in your heart" that no trouble be alls Lion but by the permission o Lion7s +od$ and he permits nothing out o which he will not ultimately bring much good to his people. ,om ort may be derived rom re lections on the permitting as well as on the commanding will o +od. /8et him alone" it may be +od hath bidden him./ /Thou couldst have no power against me" except it were given thee rom above./ It should much calm our Spirits" that it is the will o +od to su er it$ and that" had he not su ered it" it could never have been as it is. This very consideration <uieted Job" @li" .avid" and -e9e!iah. That the 8ord did it was enough to them( and why should it not be so )E

to us= I the 8ord will have Lion ploughed as a ield" and her goodly stones lie in the dust$ i it be his pleasure that Anti?,hrist shall rage yet longer and wear out the saints o the >ost -igh$ i it be his will that a day o trouble" and o treading down" and o perplexity by the 8ord +od o -osts" shall be upon the valley o vision" that the wic!ed shall devour the man that is more righteous than he$ what are we that we should contend with +od= It is it that we should be resigned to that will whence we proceeded" and that -e that made us should dispose o us as he pleases( he may do what seemeth him good without our consent. .oes poor man stand upon e<ual ground" that he may capitulate with his ,reator$ or that +od should render him an account o any o his matters= That we be content" however +od may dispose o us" is as reasonable as that we be obedient" whatever he may re<uire o us. 4ut i we pursue this argument arther" and consider that +od7s permissions all meet at last in the real good o his people" this will much more <uiet our spirits. .o the enemies carry away the best among the people into captivity= This loo!s li!e a distressing providence$ but +od sends them thither or their good. .oes +od ta!e the Assyrian as a stay in his hand to beat his people with= The end o his so doing is" /that he may accomplish his whole wor! upon >ount Lion./ I +od can bring much good out o the greatest evil o sin" much more out o temporal a lictions$ and that he will" is as evident as that he can do so. For it is inconsistent with the wisdom o a common agent to permit any thing Hwhich he might prevent i he pleasedI to cross his great design$ and can it be imagined that the most wise +od should do so= As" then" 8uther said to >elanchthon" so say I to you( /8et in inite wisdom" power and love alone(/ or by these all creatures are swayed" and all actions guided" in re erence to the church. It is not our wor! to rule the world" but to submit to -im that does. The motions o &rovidence are all judicious" the wheels are ull o eyes( it is enough that the a airs o Lion are in a good hand. ). &onder this heart?supporting truth( how many troubles soever are upon Lion" yet her #ing is in her. 5hat: -as the 8ord orsa!en his churches= -as he sold them into the enemy7s hands= .oes he not regard what evil be alls them" that our hearts sin! thus= Is it not shame ully undervaluing the great +od" and too much magni ying poor impotent man" to ear and tremble at creatures while +od is in the midst o us= The church7s enemies are many and mighty( let that be granted" )G

yet that argument with which ,aleb and Joshua strove to raise their own hearts" is o as much orce now as it was then( /The 8ord is with us" ear them not./ A historian tells us" that when Antigonus overheard his soldiers rec!oning how many their enemies were" and so discouraging one another" he suddenly stepped in among them with this <uestion" /And how many do you rec!on me or=/ .iscouraged souls" how many do you rec!on the 8ord or= Is he not an overmatch or all his enemies= Is not one Almighty more than many mighties= /I +od be or us" who can be against use/ 5hat thin! you was the reason o that great examination +ideon made= -e <uestions" he desires a sign" and a ter that" another( and what was the end o all this" but that he might be sure the 8ord was with him" and that he might but write this motto upon his ensign( The sword o the 8ord and o +ideon. So i you can be well assured the 8ord is with his people" you will thereby rise above all your discouragements( and that he is so" you need not re<uire a sign rom heaven$ lo" you have a sign be ore you" even their marvellous preservation amidst all their enemies. I +od be not with his people" how is it that they are not swallowed up <uic!ly= .o their enemies want malice" power" or opportunity= Fo" but there is an invisible hand upon them. 8et then his presence give us rest$ and though the mountains be hurled into the sea" though heaven and earth mingle together" ear not$ +od is in the midst o Lion" she shall not be moved. *. ,onsider the great advantages attending the people o +od in an a licted condition. I a low and an a licted state in the world be really best or the church" then your dejection is not only irrational" but ungrate ul. Indeed i you estimate the happiness o the church by its worldly ease" splendour and prosperity" then such times o a liction will appear to be un avourable$ but i you rec!on its glory to consist in its humility" aith" and heavenly?mindedness" no condition so much abounds with advantages or these as an a licted condition. It was not persecutions and prisons" but worldliness and wantonness that poisoned the church( neither was it the earthly glory o its pro essors" but the blood o its martyrs that was the seed o the church. The power o godliness did never thrive better than in a liction" and was never less thriving than in times o greatest prosperity( when /we are le t a poor and an a licted people" then we learn to trust in the name o the 8ord./ It is indeed or the saints7 advantage to be weaned rom love o " and delight in ensnaring )J

earthly vanities$ to be <uic!ened and urged orward with more haste to heaven$ to have clearer discoveries o their own hearts$ to be taught to pray more ervently" re<uently" spiritually$ to loo! and long or the rest to come more ardently. I these be or their advantage" experience teaches us that no condition is ordinarily blessed with such ruits as these li!e an a licted condition. Is it well then to repine and droop" because your Father consults the advantage o your soul rather than the grati ication o your humours= 4ecause he will bring you to heaven by a nearer way than you are willing to go= Is this a due re<uital o his love" who is pleased so much to concern himsel in your wel are%who does more or you than he will do or thousands in the world" upon whom he will not lay a rod" dispense an a liction to them or their good= 4ut alas: 5e judge by sense" and rec!on things good or evil" according to our present taste. '. Ta!e heed that you overloo! not the many precious mercies which the people o +od enjoy amidst all their trouble. It is a pity that our tears on account o our troubles should so blind our eyes that we should not see our mercies I will not insist upon the mercy o having your li e given you or a prey$ nor upon the many outward com orts which you enjoy" even above what were enjoyed by ,hrist and his precious servants" o whom the world was not worthy. 4ut what say you to pardon o sin$ interest in ,hrist$ the covenant o promise$ and an eternity o happiness in the presence o +od" a ter a ew days are over= ; that a people entitled to such mercies as these should droop under any temporal a liction" or be so much concerned or the rowns o men and the loss o tri les. Kou have not the smiles o great men" but you have the avor o the great +od$ you are perhaps diminished in temporal" but you are thereby increased in spiritual and eternal goods. Kou cannot live so plenti ully as be ore$ but you may live as heavenly as ever. 5ill you grieve so much or these circumstances as to orget your substance= Shall light troubles ma!e you orget weighty mercies= 1emember the true riches o the church are laid out o the reach o all enemies. 5hat though +od do not in his outward dispensations distinguish between his own and others= Kea" what though his judgments single out the best" and spare the worst= 5hat though an Abel be !illed in love" and a ,ain survive in hatred$ a bloody .ionysius die in his bed" and a good Josiah all in battle= 5hat though the )2

belly o the wic!ed be illed with hidden treasures" and the teeth o the saints with gravel?stones= Still there is much matter o praise$ or electing love has distinguished" though common providence has not( and while prosperity and impunity slay the wic!ed" even slaying and adversity shall bene it and save the righteous. E. 4elieve that how low soever the church be plunged under the waters o adversity" she shall assuredly rise again. Fear not$ or as surely as ,hrist arose the third day" notwithstanding the seal and watch upon him$ so surely Lion shall arise out o all her troubles" and li t up her victorious head over all her enemies. There is no reason to ear the ruin o that people who thrive by their losses and multiply by being diminished. 4e not too hasty to bury the church be ore she is dead$ stay till ,hrist has tried his s!ill" be ore you give her up or lost. The bush may be all in a lame" but shall never be consumed$ and that because o the good will o -im that dwelleth in it. E. 1emember the instances o +od7s care and tenderness over his people in ormer di iculties. For above eighteen hundred years the ,hristian church has been in a liction" and yet it is not consumed$ many a wave o persecution has gone over it" yet it is not drowned$ many devices have been ormed against it" hitherto none o them has prospered. This is not the irst time that -amans and Ahithophels have plotted its ruin$ that a -erod has stretched out his hand to vex it$ still it has been preserved rom" supported under" or delivered out o all its troubles. Is it not as dear to +od as ever= Is he not as able to save it now as ormerly= Though we !now not whence deliverance should arise" / yet the 8ord !noweth how to deliver the godly out o temptations./ G. I you can derive no com ort rown any o these considerations" try to draw some out o your very trouble. Surely this trouble o yours is a good evidence o your integrity. Union is the ground o sympathy( i you had not some rich adventure in that ship" you would not tremble as you do when it is in danger. 4eside this rame o spirit may a ord you this consolation" that i you are so sensible o Lion7s trouble" Jesus ,hrist is much more sensible o and solicitous about it than you can be" and he will have an eye o avor upon them that mourn or it. IN. The ourth season" re<uiring our utmost diligence to !eep our hearts" is the *3

time o danger and public distraction. In such times the best hearts are too apt to be surprised by slavish ear. I Syria be con ederate with @phraim" how do the hearts o the house o .avid sha!e" even as the trees o the wood which are sha!en with the wind. 5hen there are ominous signs in the heavens" or the distress o nations with perplexity" the sea and the waves roaring$ then the hearts o men ail or ear" and or loo!ing a ter those things which are coming on the earth. @ven a &aul may sometimes complain o / ightings within" when there are ears without./ 4ut" my brethren" these things ought not so to be$ saints should be o a more elevated spirit$ so was .avid when his heart was !ept in a good rame( /The 8ord is my light and my salvation" whom shall I ear= The 8ord is the strength o my li e" o whom shall I be a raid=/ 8et none but the servants o sin be the slaves o ear$ let them that have delighted in evil ear evil. 8et not that which +od has threatened as a judgment upon the wic!ed" ever sei9e upon the hearts o the righteous. / I will send aintness into their hearts in the land o their enemies" and the sound o a sha!ing lea shall chase them./ 5hat poor spirited men are those" to ly at a sha!ing lea : A lea ma!es a pleasant" not a terrible noise$ it ma!es indeed a !ind o natural music( but to a guilty conscience even the whistling leaves are drums and trumpets: /4ut +od has not given us the spirit o ear" but o love and o a sound mind./ A sound mind" as it stands there in opposition to ear" is an unwounded conscience not wea!ened by guilt( and this should ma!e a man as bold as a lion. I !now it cannot be said o a saint" as +od said o leviathan" that he is made without ear$ there is a natural ear in every man" and it is as impossible to remove it wholly" as to remove the body itsel . Fear is perturbation o the mind" arising rom the apprehension o approaching danger$ and as long as dangers can approach us" we shall ind some perturbations within us. It is not my purpose to commend to you a stoical apathy" nor yet to dissuade you rom such a degree o cautionary preventive ear as may it you or trouble and be serviceable to your soul. There is a provident ear that opens our eyes to oresee danger" and <uic!ens us to a prudent and law ul use o means to prevent it( such was JacobBs ear" and such his prudence when expecting to meet his angry brother @sau. 4ut it is the ear o di idence" rom which I would persuade you to !eep your heart$ that *0

tyrannical passion which invades the heart in times o danger" distracts" wea!ens and un its it or duty" drives men upon unlaw ul means" and brings a snare with it. Fow let us in<uire how a ,hristian may !eep his heart rom distracting and tormenting ears in times o great and threatening dangers. There are several excellent rules or !eeping the heart rom sin ul ear when imminent dangers threaten us( 0. 8oo! upon all creatures as in the hand o +od" who manages them in all their motions" limiting" restraining and determining them at his pleasure. +et this great truth well settled by aith in your heart" and it will guard you against slavish ears. The irst chapter o @9e!iel contains an admirable draught o &rovidence( there you see the living creatures who move the wheels Hthat is" the great revolutions o things here belowI coming unto ,hrist" who sits upon the throne" to receive new instructions rom him. In 1evelations" Eth chapter" you read o white" blac!" and red horses" which are but the instruments +od employs in executing judgments in the world" as wars" pestilence" and death. 5hen these horses are prancing and trampling up and down in the world" here is a consideration that may <uiet our hearts$ +od has the reins in his hand. 5ic!ed men are sometimes li!e mad horses" they would stamp the people o +od under their eet" but that the bridle o &rovidence is in their mouths. A lion at liberty is terrible to meet" but who is a raid o a lion in the !eeper7s hand= ). 1emember that this +od in whose hand are all creatures" is your Father" and is much more tender o you than you are" or can be" o yoursel . /-e that toucheth you" toucheth the apple o mine eye./ 8et me as! the most timorous woman whether there be not a great di erence between the sight o a drawn sword in the hand o a bloody ru ian" and o the same sword in the hand o her own tender husband= As great a di erence there is between loo!ing upon creatures by an eye o sense" and loo!ing on them" as in the hand o your +od" by an eye o aith. Isaiah" C'( C" is here very appropriate( /Thy >a!er is thine husband" the 8ord o hosts is his name$/ he is 8ord o all the hosts o creatures. 5ho would be a raid to pass through an army" though all the soldiers should turn their swords and guns toward him" i the commander o that army were his riend or ather= A religious young man being at sea with many other passengers in a great *)

storm" and they being hal dead with ear" he only was observed to be very cheer ul" as i he were but little concerned in that danger( one o them demanding the reason o his cheer ulness" /;"/ said he" / it is because the pilot o the ship is my Father:/ ,onsider ,hrist irst as the #ing and supreme 8ord over the providential !ingdom" and then as your head" husband and riend" and you will <uic!ly say" /1eturn unto thy rest" ; my soul./ This truth will malice you cease trembling" and cause you to sing in the midst o danger" /The 8ord is #ing o all the earth" sing ye praise with understanding./ That is" 78et every one that has understanding o this heart?reviving and establishing doctrine o the dominion o our Father over all creatures" sing praise.7 *. Urge upon your heart the express prohibitions o ,hrist in this case" and let your heart stand in awe o the violation o them. -e has charged you not to ear( /5hen we shall hear o wars and commotions" see that ye be not terri ied./ /In nothing be terri ied by your adversaries./ In >atthew" 03th" and within the compass o six verses" our Savior commands us thrice /not to ear men./ .oes the voice o a man ma!e thee to tremble" and shall not the voice o +od= I thou art o such a timorous spirit" how is it that thou earest not to disobey the commands o Jesus ,hrist= >ethin!s the command o ,hrist should have as much power to calm" as the voice o a poor worm to terri y thy heart. /I" even I" am he that com orteth you( who art thou" that thou shouldst be a raid o a man that shall die" and o the son o man that stroll be made as the grass" and orgettest the 8ord thy >a!er=/ 5e cannot ear creatures sin ully till we have orgotten +od( did we remember what he is" and what he has said" we should not be o such eeble spirits. 4ring thysel then to this re lection in times o danger( 7I I let into my heart the slavish ear o man" I must let out the reverential awe and ear o +od$ and dare I cast o the ear o the Almighty or the rowns o a man= Shall I li t up proud dust above the great +od= Shall I run upon a certain sin" to shun a probable danger=7%; !eep thy heart by this consideration: '. 1emember how much needless trouble your vain ears have brought upon you ormerly( /And hast eared continually because o the oppressor" as i he were ready to devour$ and where is the ury o the oppressor=/ -e seemed ready to devour" yet you are not devoured. I have not brought upon you the thing that you **

eared$ you have wasted your spirit" disordered your soul" and wea!ened your hands to no purpose( you might have all this while enjoyed your peace" and possessed your soul in patience. And here I cannot but observe a very deep policy o Satan in managing a design against the soul by these vain ears. I call them vain" with re erence to the rustration o them by &rovidence$ but certainly they are not in vain as the end at which Satan aims in raising them$ or herein he acts as soldiers do in the siege o a garrison" who to wear out the besieged by constant watchings" and thereby un it them to ma!e resistance when they storm it in earnest" every night rouse them with alse alarms" which though they come to nothing yet remar!ably answer the ultimate design o the enemy.%; when will you beware o Satan7s devices= C. ,onsider solemnly" that though the things you ear should really happen" yet there is more evil in your own ear than in the things eared( and that" not only as the least evil o sin is worse than the greatest evil o su ering$ but as this sin ul ear has really more trouble in it than there is in that condition o which you are so much a raid. Fear is both a multiplying and a tormenting passion$ it represents troubles as much greater than they are" and so tortures the soul much more than the su ering itsel . So it was with Israel at the 1ed Sea$ they cried out and were a raid" till they stepped into the water" and then a passage was opened through those waters which they thought would have drowned there. Thus it is with us$ we" loo!ing through the glass o carnal ear upon the waters o trouble" the swellings o Jordan" cry out" 7; they are un ordable$ me must perish in them:7 4ut when we come into the midst o those loods indeed" we ind the promise made good( /+od will ma!e a way to escape./ Thus it was with a blessed martyr$ when he would ma!e a trial by putting his inger to the candle" and ound himsel not able to endure that" he cried out" /5hat: ,annot I bear the burning o a inger= -ow then shall I be able to bear the burning o my whole body to?morrow=/ 4ut when that morrow came he could go cheer ully into the lames with this scripture in his mouth( /Fear not" or I have redeemed thee$ I have called thee by thy name" thou art mine$ when thou passest through the waters I will be with you$ when thou wal!est through the ire thou shalt not be burnt./ E. ,onsult the many precious promises which are written or your support and *'

com ort in all dangers. These are your re uges to which you may ly and be sa e when the arrows o danger ly by night" and destruction wasteth at noon?day. There are particular promises suited to particular cases and exigencies$ there are also general promises reaching all cases and conditions. Such as these( /All things shall wor! together or good"/ Ac. /Though a sinner do evil an hundred times and his days be prolonged" yet it shall be well with them that ear the 8ord"/ Ac. ,ould you but believe the promises your heart should be established. ,ould you but plead them with +od as Jacob did" H/Thou saidst" I will surely do thee good"/ Ac.I they would relieve you in every distress. G. Duiet your trembling heart by recording and consulting your past experiences o the care and aith ulness o +od in ormer distresses. These experiences are ood or your aith in a wilderness. 4y this .avid !ept his heart in time o danger" and &aul his. It was answered by a saint" when one told him that his enemies waylaid him to ta!e his li e( /I +od ta!e no care o me" how is it that I have escaped hitherto=/ Kou may plead with +od old experiences or new ones( or it is in pleading with +od or new deliverances" as it is in pleading or new pardons. >ar! how >oses pleads o that account with +od. /&ardon" I beseech thee" the ini<uity o this people" as thou hast orgiven them rom @gypt until now./ -e does not say as men do" 78ord" this is the irst ault" thou hast not been troubled be ore to sign their pardon(7 but" 78ord" because thou hast pardoned them so o ten" I beseech thee pardon them once again.7 So in new di iculties let the saint say" 78ord" thou hast o ten heard" helped and saved" in ormer years$ there ore now help again" or with thee there is plenteous redemption" and thine arm is not shortened.7 J. 4e well satis ied that you are in the way o your duty" and that will beget holy courage in times o danger. /5ho will harm you i you be a ollower o that which is goods/ ;r i any dare attempt to harm you /you may boldly commit yoursel to +od in well?doing./ It was this consideration that raised 8uther7s spirit above all ear( /In the cause o +od Hsaid heI I ever am" and ever shall be stout( herein I assume this title" MI yield to noneB./ A good cause will bear up a man7s spirit. -ear the saying o a heathen" to the shame o cowardly ,hristians( when the emperor Nespasian had commanded Fluidus &riseus not to come to the senate" or i he did come" to spea! nothing but what he would have him$ *C

the senator returned this noble answer" /that he was a senator" it was it he should be at the senate$ and i being there" he were re<uired to give his advice" he would reely spea! that which his conscience commanded him./ The emperor threatening that then he should die$ he answered" /.id I ever tell you that I was immortal= .o what you will" and I will do what I ought. It is in your power to put me to death unjustly" and in my power to die with constancy./ 1ighteousness is a breastplate( let them tremble whom danger inds out o the way o duty. 2. +et your conscience sprin!led with the blood o ,hrist rom all guilt" and that will set your heart above all ear. It is guilt upon the conscience that so tens and ma!es cowards o our spirits( 7Othe righteous are bold as a lion./ It was guilt in ,ain7s conscience that made him cry" /every one that indeth me will slay me./ A guilty conscience is more terri ied by imagined dangers" than a pure conscience is by real ones A guilty sinner carries a witness against himsel in his own bosom. It was guilty -erod cried out" /John 4aptist is risen rom the dead./ Such a conscience is the devil7s anvil" on which he abricates all those swords and spears with which the guilty sinner pierces himsel . +uilt is to dangers what ire is to gun?powder( a man need not ear to wal! among many barrels o powder" i he have no ire about him. 03. @xercise holy trust in times o great distress. >a!e it your business to trust +od with your li e and com orts" and then your heart will be at rest about them. So did .avid" /At what time I am a raid I will trust in thee(/ that is" 78ord" i at any time a storm arise" I will shelter rom it under the covert o thy wings.7 +o to +od by acts o aith and trust" and never doubt that he will secure you. / Thou wilt !eep him in per ect peace whose mind is stayed on thee" because he trusteth in thee"/ says Isaiah. +od is pleased when you come to him thus( 7Father" my li e" my liberty and my estate are exposed" and I cannot secure them$ ; let me leave them in thy hand.B The poor leaveth himsel with thee$ and does his +od ail him= Fo" thou art the helper o the atherless( that is" thou art the helper o the destitute one" that has none to go to but +od. This is a com orting passage" /-e shall not be a raid o evil tidings$ his heart is ixed" trusting in the 8ord./ -e does not say" his ear shall be preserved rom the report o evil things" he may hear as sad tidings as other men" but his *E

heart shall be !ept rom the terror o those tidings$ his heart is ixed. 00. ,onsult the honor o religion more" and your personal sa ety less. Is it or the honor o religion Hthin! youI that ,hristians should be as timorous as hares to start at every sound= 5ill not this tempt the world to thin!" that whatever you tal!" yet your principles are no better than other men7s= 5hat mischie may the discovery o your ears be ore them do: It was nobly said by Fehemiah" / Should such a man as I lee= and who" being as I am" would lee=/ 5ere it not better you should die than that the world should be prejudiced against ,hrist by your example= For alas: how apt is the world Hwho judge more by what they see in your practices than by what they understand o your principlesI to conclude rom your timidity" that how much soever you commend aith and tal! o assurance" yet you dare trust to those things no more than they" when it comes to the trial. ; let not your ears lay such a stumbling?bloc! be ore the blind world. 0). -e that would secure his heart rom ear" must irst secure the eternal interest o his soul in the hands o Jesus ,hrist. 5hen this is done" you may say" 7Fow" world" do thy worst:7 Kou will not be very solicitous about a vile body" when you are once assured it shall be well to all eternity with your precious soul. / Fear not them Hsays ,hristI that can !ill the body" and a ter that have no more that they can do./ The assured ,hristian may smile with contempt upon all his enemies" and say" 7Is this the worst that you can do=7 5hat say you" ,hristian= Are you assured that your soul is sa e$ that within a ew moments o your dissolution it shall be received by ,hrist into an everlasting habitation= I you be sure o that" never trouble yoursel about the instrument and means o your death. 0*. 8earn to <uench all slavish creature? ears in the reverential ear o +od. This is a cure by diversion. It is an exercise o ,hristian wisdom to turn those passions o the soul which most predominate" into spiritual channels$ to turn natural anger into spiritual 9eal" natural mirth into holy cheer ulness" and natural ear into a holy dread and awe o +od. This method o cure ,hrist prescribes in the 03th o >atthew$ similar to which is Isaiah" J(0)"0*" /Fear not their ear./ 74ut how shall we help it=7 /Sancti y the 8ord o hosts himsel $ and let him be your ear" and let him be your dread./ Fatural ear may be allayed or the present by natural reason" or the removal o the occasion$ *G

but then it is li!e a candle blown out by a pu o breath" which is easily blown in again( but i the ear o +od extinguish it" then it is li!e a candle <uenched in water" which cannot easily be re!indled. 0'. &our out to +od in prayer those ears which the devil and your own unbelie pour in upon you in times o danger. &rayer is the best outlet to ear( where is the ,hristian that cannot set his seal to this direction= I will give you the greatest example to encourage you to compliance" even the example o Jesus ,hrist. 5hen the hour o his danger and death drew nigh" he went into the garden" separated rom his disciples" and there wrestled mightily with +od in prayer" even unto agony$ in re erence to which the apostle says" / who in the days o his lesh" when he had o ered up prayers and supplications" with strong cries and tears" to him that was able to save rom death" and was heard in that he eared./ -e was heard as to strength and support to carry him through it$ though not as to deliverance" or exemption rom it. ; that these things may abide with you" and be reduced to practice in these evil days" and that many trembling may be established by them. N. The i th season" re<uiring diligence in !eeping the heart" is the time o outward wants. Although at such times we should complain to +od" not o +od" Hthe throne o grace being erected or a /time o need"/I yet when the waters o relie run low" and want begins to press" how prone are the best hearts to distrust the ountain: 5hen the meal in the barrel and the oil in the cruse are almost spent" our aith and patience too are almost spent. It is now di icult to !eep the proud and unbelieving heart in a holy <uietude and sweet submission at the oot o +od. It is an easy thing to tal! o trusting +od or daily bread" while we have a ull barn or purse$ but to say as the prophet" / Though the ig?tree should not blossom" neither ruit be in the vine" Ac. yet will I rejoice in the 8ord(/ surely this is not easy. 5ould you !now then how a ,hristian may !eep his heart rom distrusting +od" or repining against him" when outward wants are either elt or eared=%The case deserves to be seriously considered" especially now" since it seems to be the design o &rovidence to empty the people o +od o their creature ullness" and ac<uaint them with those di iculties to which hitherto they have been altogether strangers. To secure the heart rom the dangers attending this *J

condition" these considerations may" through the blessing o the Spirit" prove e ectual( 0. I +od reduces you to necessities" he therein deals no otherwise with you than he has done with some o the holiest men that ever lived. Kour condition is not singular$ though you have hitherto been a stranger to want" other saints have been amiliarly ac<uainted with it. -ear what &aul says" not o himsel only" but in the name o other saints reduced to li!e exigencies( /@ven to the present hour" we both hunger and thirsts and are na!ed" and are bu eted" and have no certain dwelling?place./ To see such a man as &aul going up and down the world na!ed" and hungry" and homeless$ one that was so ar above thee in grace and holiness$ one that did more service or +od in a day than perhaps thou hast done in all thy days may well put an end to your repining. -ave you orgotten how much even a .avid has su ered= -ow great were his di iculties= / +ive" I pray thee/" says he to Fabal" / whatsoever cometh to thy hand" to thy servants" and to thy son .avid./ 4ut why spea! I o these= 4ehold a greater than any o them" even the Son o +od" who is the heir o all things" and by whom the worlds were made" sometimes would have been glad o any thing" having nothing to eat. /And on the morrow" when they were come rom 4ethany" he was hungry$ and seeing a ig?tree a ar o " leaving leaves" he came" i haply he might ind any thing thereon./ -ereby then +od has set no mar! o hatred upon you" neither can you in er want o love rom want o bread. 5hen thy repining heart puts the <uestion" 7 5as there ever sorrow li!e unto mine=7 as! these worthies" and they will tell thee that though they did not complain as thou dost" yet their condition was as necessitous as thine is. ). I +od leave you not in this condition without a promise" you have no reason to repine or despond under it. That is a sad condition indeed to which no promise belongs. ,alvin in his comment on Isaiah" 2( 0" explains in what sense the dar!ness o the captivity was not so great as that o the lesser incursions made by Tiglath &ileser. In the captivity" the city was destroyed and the temple burnt with ire( there was no comparison in the a liction" yet the dar!ness was not so great" because" says he" / there was a certain promise made in this case" but none in the other./ It is better to be as low as hell with a promise" than *2

to be in paradise without one. @ven the dar!ness o hell itsel would be no dar!ness comparatively at all" were there but a promise to enlighten it. Fow" +od has le t many sweet promises or the aith o his poor people to live upon in this condition$ such as these( / ; ear the 8ord" ye his saints" or there is no want to them that ear him$ the lions do lac! and su er hunger" but they that ear the 8ord shall not want any good thing./ /The eye o the 8ord is upon the righteous to !eep them alive in amine./ / Fo good thing will he withhold rom them that wal! uprightly./ / -e that spared not his own Son" but delivered him up or us all" how shall he not with him also reely give us all things=/ / 5hen the poor and the needy see! water" and there is none" and their tongue aileth or thirst" I the 8ord will hear them" I the +od o Israel will not orsa!e them./ -ere you see their extreme wants" water being put or their necessaries o li e$ and their certain relie " / I the 8ord will hear them(/ in which it is supposed that they cry unto hits in their distress" and he hears their cry. -aving there ore these promises" why should not your distrust ul heart conclude li!e .avid7s" / The 8ord is my shepherd" I shall not want=/ 74ut these promises imply conditions( i they were absolute" they would a ord more satis action.7 5hat are those tacit conditions o which you spea! but these" that he will either supply or sancti y your wants$ that you shall have so much as +od sees it or you= And does this trouble you= 5ould you have the mercy" whether sancti ied or not= whether +od sees it it or you or not= The appetites o saints a ter earthly things should not be so ravenous as to sei9e greedily upon any enjoyment without regarding circumstances. 7 4ut when wants press" and I see not whence supplies should come" my aith in the promise sha!es" and I" li!e murmuring Israel" cry" /-e gave bread" can he give water also=/ ; unbelieving heart: when did his promises ail= whoever trusted them and was ashamed= >ay not +od upbraid thee with thine unreasonable in idelity" as in Jer. )( *0" / -ave I been a wilderness unto you=/ or as ,hrist said to his disciples" /Since I was with you" lac!ed ye any thing=/ Kea" may you not upbraid yoursel $ may you not say with good old &olycarp" /These many years I have served ,hrist" and ound him a good >aster=/ Indeed he may deny what your wantonness" but not what your want calls or. -e will not regard the cry o your lusts" nor yet despise the cry o your aith( '3

though he will not indulge your wanton appetites" yet he will not violate his own aith ul promises. These promises are your best security or eternal li e$ and it is strange they should not satis y you or daily bread. 1emember the words o the 8ord" and solace your heart with them amidst all your wants. It is said o @picurus" that in dread ul paroxysms o the colic he o ten re reshed himsel by calling to mind his inventions in philosophy$ and o &ossodonius the philosopher" that in an acute disorder he solaced himsel with discourses on moral virtue$ and when distressed" he would say" /; pain" thou dost nothing$ though thou art a little troublesome" I will never con ess thee to be evil./ I upon such grounds as these they could support themselves under such rac!ing pains" and even deluded their diseases by them$ now much rather should the promises o +od" and the sweet experiences which have gone along step by step with them" ma!e you orget all your wants" and com ort you in every di iculty= *. I it be bad now" it might have been worse. -as +od denied thee the com orts o this li e= -e might have denied thee ,hrist" peace" and pardon also$ and then thy case had been woe ul indeed. Kou !now +od has done so to millions. -ow many such wretched objects may your eyes behold every day" that have no com ort in hand" nor yet in hope$ that are miserable here" and will be so to eternity$ that have a bitter cup" and nothing to sweeten it%no" not so much as any hope that it will be better. 4ut it is not so with you( though you be poor in this world" yet you are /rich in aith" and an heir o the !ingdom which +od has promised./ 8earn to set spiritual riches over against temporal poverty. 4alance all your present troubles with your spiritual privileges. Indeed i +od has denied your soul the robe o righteousness to clothe it" the hidden manna to eed it" the heavenly mansion to receive it" you might well be pensive$ but the consideration that he has not may administer com ort under any outward distress. 5hen 8uther began to be pressed by want" he said" /8et us be contented with our hard are$ or do not we east upon ,hrist" the bread o li e=/ /4lessed be +od Hsaid &aulI who hath abounded to us in all spiritual blessings./ '. Though this a liction be great" +od has ar greater" with which he chastises the dearly beloved o his soul in this world. Should he remove this and in lict those" you would account your present state a very com ortable one" and bless '0

+od to be as you now are. Should +od remove your present troubles" supply all your outward wants" give you the desire o your heart in creature?com orts" but hide his ace rom you" shoot his arrows into your soul" and cause the venom o them to drin! up your spirit( should he leave you but a ew days to the bu etings o Satan( should he hold your eyes but a ew nights wa!ing with horrors o conscience" tossing to and ro till the dawning o the day(%should he lead you through the chambers o death" show you the visions o dar!ness" and ma!e his terrors set themselves in array against you( then tell me i you would not thin! it a great mercy to be bac! again in your ormer necessitous condition" with peace o conscience$ and account bread and water" with +od7s avor" a happy state= ; then ta!e heed o repining. Say not that +od deals hardly with you" lest you provo!e him to convince you by your own sense that he has worse rods than these or unsubmissive and roward children. C. I it be had now" it will be better shortly. #eep thy heart by this consideration" 7the meal in the barrel is almost spent$ well" be it so" why should that trouble me" i I am almost beyond the need and use o these things=7 The traveller has spent almost all his money$ 7well"7 says he" 7though my money be almost spent" my journey is almost inished too( I am near home" and shall soon be ully supplied.7 I there be no candles in the house" it is a com ort to thin! that it is almost day" and then there will be no need o them. I am a raid" ,hristian" you misrec!on when you thin! your provision is almost spent" and you have a great way to travel" many years to live and nothing to live upon$ it may be not hal so many as you suppose. In this be con ident" i your provision be spent" either resh supplies are coining" though you see not whence" or you are nearer your journey7s end than you rec!on yoursel to be. .esponding soul" does it become a man travelling upon the road to that heavenly city" and almost arrived there" within a ew days7 journey o his Father7s house" where all his wants shall be supplied" to be so anxious about a little meat" or drin!" or clothes" which he ears he shall want by the way= It was nobly said by the orty martyrs when turned out na!ed in a rosty night to be starved to death" /The winter indeed is sharp and cold" but heaven is warm and com ortable$ here we shiver or cold" but Abraham7s bosom will ma!e amends or all./ ')

7 4ut"7 says the desponding soul" 7I may die or want.7 5ho ever did so= 5hen were the righteous orsa!en= I indeed it be so" your journey is ended" and you ully supplied. 74ut I am not sure o that$ were I sure o heaven" it would be another matter.7 Are you not sure o that= Then you have other matters to trouble yoursel about than these$ methin!s these should be the least o all your cares. I do not ield that souls perplexed about the want o ,hrist" pardon o sin" Ac." are usually very solicitous about these things. -e that seriously puts such <uestions as these" 7 5hat shall I do to be saved= how shall I !now my sin is pardoned=7 does not trouble himsel with" /5hat shall I eat" what shall I drin!" or wherewithal shall I be clothed=/ E. .oes it become the children o such a Father to distrust his all?su iciency" or repine at any o his dispensations= .o you well to <uestion his care and love upon every new exigency= Say" have you not ormerly been ashamed o this= -as not your Father7s seasonable provision or you in ormer di iculties put you to the blush" and made you resolve never more to <uestion his love and care= And yet will you again renew your unworthy suspicions o him= .isingenuous child: 1eason thus with yoursel ( /I I perish or want o what is good and need ul or me" it must be either because my Father !nows not my wants" or has not wherewith to supply them" or regards not what becomes o me. 5hich o these shall I charge upon him= Fot the irst( or my Father !nows what I have need o . Fot the second( or the earth is the 8ords arid the atness thereo " his name is +od All?su icient. Fot the last( or as a Father pitieth his children" so the 8ord pitieth them that ear him$ the 8ord is exceeding piti ul and o tender mercy$ he hears the young ravens when they cry(%and will he not hear me= ,onsider" says ,hrist" the owls o the air$ not the owls at the door" that are ed every day by band" but the owls o the air that have none to provide or them. .oes he eed and clothe his enemies" and will he orget his children= he heard even the cry o Ishmael in distress. ; my unbelieving heart" dost thou yet doubt=/ G. Kour poverty is not your sin" but your a liction. I you have not by sin ul means brought it upon yoursel " and i it be but an a liction" it may the more easily be borne. It is hard indeed to bear an a liction coming upon us as the ruit and punishment o sin. 5hen men are under trouble upon that account$ they '*

say" 7; i it were but a single a liction" coming rom the hand o +od by way o trial" I could bear it$ but I have brought it upon mysel by sin" it comes as the punishment o sin$ the mar!s o +od7s displeasure are upon it( it is the guilt within that troubles and galls more than the want without.7 4ut it is not so here$ there ore you have no reason to be cast down under it. 74ut though there be no sting o guilt" yet this condition wants not other stings$ as" or instance" the discredit o religion. I cannot comply with my engagements in the world" and thereby religion is li!ely to su er.7 It is well you have a heart to discharge every duty$ yet i +od disable you by providence" it is no discredit to your pro ession that you do not that which you cannot do" so long as it is your desire and endeavor to do what you can and ought to do$ and in this case +od7s will is" that lenity and orbearance be exercised toward you. 74ut it grieves me to behold the necessities o others" whom I was wont to relieve and re resh" but now cannot.7 I you cannot" it ceases to be your duty" and +od accepts the drawing out o your soul to the hungry in compassion and desire to help them" though you cannot draw orth a ull purse to relieve and supply them. 74ut I ind such a condition ull o temptations" a great hindrance in the way to heaven.7 @very condition in the world has its hindrances and attending temptations$ and were you in a prosperous condition" you night there meet with more temptations and ewer advantages than you now have$ or though I con ess poverty as well as prosperity has its temptations" yet I am con ident prosperity has not those advantages that poverty has. -ere you have an opportunity to discover the sincerity o your love to +od" when you can live upon him" ind enough in him" and constantly ollow him" even when all external inducements and motives ail. Thus I have shown you how to !eep your heart rom the temptations and dangers attending a low condition in the world. 5hen want oppresses and the heart begins to sin!" then improve" and bless +od or these helps to !eep it. NI. The sixth season re<uiring this diligence in !eeping the heart" is the season o duty. ;ur hearts must be closely watched and !ept when we draw nigh to +od in public" private" or secret duties$ or the vanity o the heart seldom ''

discovers itsel more than at such times. -ow o ten does the poor soul cry out" 7 ; 8ord" how gladly would I serve thee" but vain thoughts will not let me( I come to open my heart to thee" to delight my soul in communion with thee" but my corruptions oppose me( 8ord" call o these vain thoughts" and su er them not to estrange the soul that is espoused to thee.7 The <uestion then is this( -ow may the heart be !ept rom distractions by vain thoughts in time o duty= There is a two old distraction" or wandering o the heart in duty( First" voluntary and habitual" /They set not their hearts aright" and their spirit was not stead ast with +od./ This is the case o ormalists" and it proceeds rom the want o a holy inclination o the heart to +od$ their hearts are under the power o their lusts" and there ore it is no wonder that they go a ter their lusts" even when they are about holy things. Secondly" involuntary and lamented distractions( /I ind then a law" that when I would do good" evil is present with me$ ; wretched man that I am"/ Ac. This proceeds not rom the want o a holy inclination or aim" but rom the wea!ness o grace and the want o vigilance in opposing in?dwelling sin. 4ut it is not my business to show you how these distractions come into the heart" but rather how to get them out" and prevent their uture admission( 0. Se<uester yoursel rom all earthly employments" and set apart some time or solemn time to meet +od in duty. Kou cannot come directly rom the world into +od7s presence without inding a saver o the world in your duties. It is with the heart Ha ew minutes since plunged in the world" now in the presence o +odI as it is with the sea a ter a storm" which still continues wor!ing" muddy and dis<uiet" though the wind be laid and the storm be over. Kour heart must have some time to settle. Few musicians can ta!e an instrument and play upon it without some time and labor to tune it$ ew ,hristians can say with .avid" />y heart is ixed" ; +od" it is ixed./ 5hen you go to +od in any duty" ta!e your heart aside and say" 7; my soul" I am now engaged in the greatest wor! that a creature was ever employed about$ I am going into the aw ul presence o +od upon business o everlasting moment. ; my soul" leave tri ling now$ be composed" be watch ul" be serious$ this is no common wor!" it is soul?wor!$ it is wor! or eternity$ it is wor! which will bring orth ruit to li e or death in the world to come.7 &ause awhile and consider your sins" your wants" your troubles$ !eep 'C

your thoughts awhile on these be ore you address yoursel to duty. .avid irst mused" and then spo!e with his tongue. ). -aving composed your heart by previous meditation" immediately set a guard upon your senses. -ow o ten are ,hristians in danger o losing the eyes o their mind by those o their body: Against this .avid prayed" /Turn away mine eyes rom beholding vanity" and <uic!en thou me in thy way./ This may serve to expound the Arabian proverb( /Shut the windows that the house may be light./ It were well i you could say in the commencement" as a holy man once said when he came rom the per ormance o duty( /4e shut" ; my eyes" be shut$ or it is impossible that you should ever discern such beauty and glory in any creature as I have now seen in +od./ Kou must avoid all occasions o distraction rom without" and imbibe that intenseness o spirit in the wor! o +od which loc!s up the eye and ear against vanity. *. 4eg o +od a morti ied ancy. A wor!ing ancy" Hsaith one"I how much soever it be extolled among men" is a great snare to the soul" except it wor! in ellowship with right reason and a sancti ied heart. The ancy is a power o the soul" placed between the senses and the understanding$ it is that which irst stirs itsel in the soul" and by its motions the other powers o the soul are brought into exercise$ it is that in which thoughts are irst ormed" and as that is" so are they. I imaginations be not irst cast down" it is impossible that every thought o the heart should be brought into obedience to ,hrist. The ancy is naturally the wildest and most untameable power o the soul. Some ,hristians have much to do with it$ and the more spiritual the heart is" the more does a wild and vain ancy disturb and perplex it. It is a sad thing that one7s imagination should call o the soul ront attending on +od" when it is engaged in communion with him. &ray earnestly and perseveringly that your ancy may be chastened and sancti ied" and when this is accomplished your thoughts will be regular and ixed. '. I you would !eep your heart rom vain excursions when engaged in duties" realise to yoursel " lay aith" the holy told aw ul presence o +od. I the presence o a grave man would compose you to seriousness how much more should the presence o a holy +od= .o you thin! that you would dare to be gay and light i you realised the presence and inspection o the .ivine 4eing= 1emember where 'E

you are when engaged in religious duty" and act as i you believed in the omniscience o +od. /All things are na!ed and open to the eyes o -im with whom we have to do./ 1ealise his in inite holiness" his purity" his spirituality. Strive to obtain such apprehensions o the greatness o +od as shall suitably a ect your heart" and remember his jealousy over his worship. /This is that the 8ord spa!e" saying" I will be sancti ied in them that come nigh me" and be ore all the people I will be glori ied./ /A man that is praying Hsays 4ernardI should behave himsel as i he were entering into the court o heaven" where he sees the 8ord upon his throne" surrounded with ten thousand o his angels and saints ministering unto him./%5hen you come rom an exercise in which your heart has been wandering and listless" what can you say= Suppose all the vanities and impertinences which have passed through your mind during a devotional exercise were written down and interlined with your petitions. ,ould you have the ace to present them to +od= Should your tongue utter all the thoughts o your heart when attending the worship o +od" would not men abhor you= Ket your thoughts are per ectly !nown to +od. ; thin! upon this scripture( /+od is greatly to be eared in the assemblies o his saints" and to be had in reverence o all them that are round about him./ 5hy did the 8ord descend in thunderings and lightnings and dar! clouds upon Sinai= why did the mountains smo!e under him" the people <ua!e and tremble round about him" >oses himsel not excepted= but to teach the people this great truth. /8et us have grace" whereby we may serve -im acceptably" with reverence and godly ear$ or our +od is a consuming ire./ Such apprehensions o the character and presence o +od will <uic!ly reduce a heart inclined to vanity to a more serious rame. C. >aintain a prayer ul rame o heart in the intervals o duty. 5hat reason can be assigned why our hearts are so dull" so careless" so wandering" when we hear or pray" but that there have been long intermissions in our communion with +od= I that divine unction" that spiritual ervour" and those holy impressions" which we obtain rom +od while engaged in the per ormance o one duty" were preserved to enliven and engage us in the per ormance o another" they would be o incalculable service to !eep our hearts serious and devout. For this purpose" re<uent ejaculations between stated and solemn duties are o most excellent use( they not only preserve the mind in a composed and pious rame" but they 'G

connect one stated duty" as it were" with another" and !eep the attention o the soul alive to all its interests and obligations. E. I you would have the distraction o your thoughts prevented" endeavor to raise your a ections to +od" and to engage them warmly in your duty. 5hen the soul is intent upon any wor!" it gathers in its strength and bends all its thoughts to that wor!$ and when it is deeply a ected" it will pursue its object with intenseness" the a ections will gain an ascendancy over the thoughts and guide them. 4ut deadness causes distraction" and distraction increases deadness. ,ould you but regard your duties as the medium in which you might wal! in communion with +od in which your soul might be illed with those ravishing and matchless delights which his presence a ords" you might have no inclination to neglect them. 4ut i you would prevent the recurrence o distracting thoughts" i you would ind your happiness in the per ormance o duty" you must not only be care ul that you engage in what is your duty" but labor with patient and persevering exertion to interest your eelings in it. 5hy is your heart so inconstant" especially in secret duties$ why are you ready to be gone" almost as soon as you are come into the presence o +od" but because your a ections are not engaged= G. 5hen you are disturbed by vain thoughts" humble yoursel be ore +od" and call in assistance rom -eaven. 5hen the messenger o Satan bu eted St. &aul by wic!ed suggestions" Has is supposedI he mourned be ore +od on account o it. Fever slight wandering thoughts in duty as small matters$ ollow every such thought with a deep regret. Turn to +od with such words as these( 78ord" I came hither to commune with thee" and here a busy adversary and a vain heart" conspiring together" leave opposed me. ; my +od: 5hat a heart have It shall I never wait upon thee without distraction= 5hen shall I enjoy an hour o ree communion with thee= +rant me thy assistance at this thee$ discover thy glory to me" and my heart will <uic!ly be recovered. I came hither to enjoy thee" and shall I go away without thee= 4ehold my distress" and help me:7%,ould you but su iciently bewail your distractions" and repair to +od or deliverance rom them" you would gain relie . J. 8oo! upon the success and the com ort o your duties" as depending very much upon the !eeping o your bears close with +od in them. There two things" she 'J

success o duty and the inward com ort arising rom the per ormance o it" are unspea!ably dear to the ,hristian$ but both o these will be lost i the heart be in a listless state. / Surely +od heareth not vanity" nor doth the Almighty regard it./ The promise is made to a heart engaged( /Then shall ye see! or me" and ind me" when ye shall search or me with all your hearts./ 5hen you ind your heart under the power o deadness and distraction" say to yoursel " 7; what do I lose by a careless heart now: >y praying seasons are the most valuable portions o my li e( could I but raise my heart to +od" I might now obtain such mercies as would be matter o praise to all eternity.7 2. 1egard your care ulness or carelessness in this matter as a great evidence o your sincerity" or hypocrisy. Fothing will alarm an upright heart more than this. 75hat: Shall I give way to a customary wandering o the heart rom +od= Shall the spot o the hypocrite appear upon my soul= -ypocrites" indeed" can drudge on in the round o duty" never regarding the rame o their hearts$ but shall I do so= Fever% never let me be satis ied with empty duties. Fever let note ta!e my leave o a duty until my eyes have seen the #ing" the 8ord o -osts.7 03. It will be o special use to !eep your heart with +od in duty" to consider what in luence all your duties will have upon your eternity. Kour religious seasons are your seed times" and in another world you must reap the ruits o what you sow in your duties here. I you sow to the lesh" you will reap corruption$ i you sow to the Spirit" you will reap li e everlasting. Answer seriously these <uestions( Are you willing to reap the ruit o vanity in the world to come= .are you say" when your thoughts are roving to the ends o the earth in duty" when you scarce mind what you say or hear" 7Fow" 8ord" I am sowing to the Spirit$ now I am providing and laying up or eternity$ now I am see!ing or glory" honor and immortality$ now I am striving to enter in at the strait gate$ now I am ta!ing the !ingdom o heaven by holy violence:7 Such re lections are well calculated to dissipate vain thoughts. NII. The seventh season" which re<uires more than commons diligence to !eep the heart" is when we receive injuries and abuses rom men. Such is the depravity and corruption o man" that one is become as a wol or a tiger to another. And as men are naturally cruel and oppressive one to another" so the wic!ed conspire '2

to abuse and wrong the people o +od. /The wic!ed devoureth the man that is more righteous than he./ Fow when we are thus abused and wronged" it is hard to !eep the heart rom revenge ul motions$ to ma!e it mee!ly and <uietly commit the cause to -im that judgeth righteously$ to prevent the exercise o any sin ul a ection. The spirit that is in us lusteth to revenge$ but it must not be so. 5e have choice helps in the +ospel to !eep our hearts rom sin ul motions against our enemies" and to sweeten our embittered spirits. .o you as! how a ,hristian may !eep his heart rom revenge ul motions under the greatest injuries and abuses rom men= I reply( 5hen you ind your heart begin to be in lamed by revenge ul eelings" immediately re lect on the ollowing things( 0. Urge upon your heart the severe prohibitions o revenge contained in the law o +od. -owever grati ying to your corrupt propensities revenge may be" remember that it is orbidden. -ear the word o +od( /Say not" I will recompense evil./ Say not" I will do so to him as he hath done to me. / 1ecompense to no man evil or evil. Avenge not yourselves" but give place unto wrath$ or it is written" Nengeance is mine" I will repay" saith the 8ord./ ;n the contrary. /I thine enemy hunger" eed him$ i he thirst" give him drin!./ It was an argument urged by the ,hristians to prove their religion to be supernatural and pure" that it orbids revenge" which is so agreeable to nature$ and it is to be wished that such an argument might not be laid aside. Awe your heart" then" with the authority o +od in the Scriptures$ and when carnal reason says" 7>y enemy deserves to be hated"7 let conscience reply" 74ut doth +od deserve to be disobeyed=7 MThus and thus hath he done" and so hath he wronged me.7 74ut what hath +od done that I should wrong him= I my enemy dares boldly to brea! the peace" shall I be so wic!ed as to brea! the precept= I he ears not to wrong me" shall not I ear to wrong +od=7 Thus let the ear o +od restrain and calm your eelings. ). Set be ore your eyes the most eminent patterns o mee!ness and orgiveness" that you may eel the orce o their example. This is the way to cut o the common pleas o lesh and blood or revenge( as thus" 7Fo man would bear such an a ront(7 yes" others have borne as bad" and worse ones. 74ut I shall be rec!oned a coward" a ool" i I pass by this( 7no matter" so long as you ollow the examples o the wisest and holiest o men. Fever did any one su er more or C3

greater abuses rom men than Jesus did" nor did any one ever endure insult and reproach and every !ind o abuse in a more peace ul and orgiving manner$ when he was reviled he reviled not again$ when he su ered" he threatened not$ when his murderers cruci ied him he prayed Father" orgive them$ and herein he hath set us an example" that we should ollow his steps. Thus his apostles imitated him( /4eing reviled"/ say they" /we bless$ being persecuted" we su er it$ being de amed" we entreat./ I have o ten heard it reported o the holy >r. .od" that when a man" enraged at his close" convincing doctrine" assaulted him" smote him on the ace and dashed out two o his teeth$ that mee! servant o ,hrist spit out the teeth and blood into his hand" and said" / See here" you have !noc!ed out two o my teeth" and that without any just provocation$ but on condition that I might do your soul good" I would give you leave to !noc! out all the rest./ -ere was exempli ied the excellency o the ,hristian spirit. Strive then or this spirit" which constitutes the true excellence o ,hristians. .o what others cannot do" !eep this spirit in exercise" and you will preserve peace in your own soul and gain the victory over your enemies. ). ,onsider the character o the person who has wronged you. -e is either a good or a wic!ed man. I he is a good man" there is light and tenderness in his conscience" which sooner or later will bring him to a sense o the evil o what he has done. I he is a good man" ,hrist has orgiven him greater injuries than he has done to you$ and why should not you orgive him= 5ill ,hrist not upbraid him or any o his wrongs" but ran!ly orgive them all$ and will you ta!e him by the throat or some petty abuse which he has o ered you= *. 4ut i a wic!ed man has injured or insulted you" truly you have more reason to exercise pity than revenge toward him. -e is in a deluded and miserable state$ a slave to sin and an enemy to righteousness. I he should ever repent" he will be ready to ma!e you reparation$ i he continues impenitent" there is a day coming when he will be punished to the extent o his deserts. Kou need not study revenge" +od will execute vengeance upon him. '. 1emember that by revenge you can only grati y a sin ul passion" which by orgiveness you might con<uer. Suppose that by revenge you might destroy one enemy$ yet" by exercising the ,hristianBs temper you might con<uer three%your own lust" Satan7s temptation" and your enemy7s heart. I by revenge you should C0

overcome your enemy" the victory would be unhappy and inglorious" or in gaining it you would be overcome by your own corruption$ but by exercising a mee! and orgiving temper" you will always come o with honor and success. It must be a very disingenuous nature indeed upon which mee!ness and orgiveness will not operate$ that must be a linty heart which this ire will not melt. Thus .avid gained such a victory over Saul his persecutor" that /Saul li ted up his voice and wept" and he said to .avid" Thou art more righteous than I./ C. Seriously propose this <uestion to your own heart( 7-ave I got any good by means o the wrongs and injuries which I have received=7 I they have done you no good" turn your revenge upon yoursel . Kou have reason to be illed with shame and sorrow that you should have a heart which can deduce no good rom such troubles$ that your temper should be so unli!e that o ,hrist. The patience and mee!ness o other ,hristians have turned all the injuries o ered to them to a good account$ their souls have been animated to praise +od when they have been loaded with reproaches rom the world. /I than! my +od./ said Jerome" / that I am worthy to be hated o the world./ 4ut i you have derived any bene it rom the reproaches and wrongs which you have received" i they have put you upon examining your own heart" i they have made you more care ul how you conduct" i they have convinced you o the value o a sancti ied temper$ will you not orgive them= 5ill you not orgive one who has been instrumental o so much good to you= 5hat though he meant it or evil= I through the .ivine blessing your happiness has been promoted by what he has done" why should you even have a hard thought o him= E. ,onsider by whom all your troubles are ordered. This will be o great use to !eep your heart rom revenge$ this will <uic!ly calm and sweeten your temper. 5hen Shimei railed at .avid and cursed him" the spirit o that good man was not at all poisoned by revenge$ or when Abishai o ered him" i he pleased" the head o Shimei" the !ing said" / 8et him curse" because the 8ord hath said unto him" ,urse .avid( who shall then say" 5here ore hast thou done so=/ It may be that +od uses him as his rod to chastise me" because by my sin I gave the enemies o +od occasion to blaspheme$ and shall I be angry with the instrument= -ow irrational were that: Thus Job was <uieted$ he did not rail and meditate revenge upon the ,haldeans and Sabeans" but regarded +od as the orderer o his C)

troubles" and said" / The 8ord hath ta!en away" blessed be his name./ G. ,onsider how you are daily and hourly wronging +od" and you will not be so easily in lamed with revenge against those who have wronged you. Kou are constantly a ronting +od" yet he does not ta!e vengeance on you" but bears with you and orgives$ and will you rise up and avenge yoursel upon others= 1e lect on this cutting rebu!e( /; thou wic!ed and sloth ul servant: I orgave thee all that debt because thou desiredst me$ shouldst thou not also have compassion on thy ellow?servant" even as I had pity on thee=/ Fone should be so illed with orbearance and mercy to such as wrong them" as those who have experienced the riches o mercy themselves. The mercy o +od to us should melt our hearts into mercy toward others. It is impossible that we should be cruel to others" except we orget how !ind and compassionate +od hath been to us. And i !indness cannot prevail in us" methin!s ear should(%/I ye orgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father orgive your trespasses/. J. 8et the consideration that the day o the 8ord draweth nigh" restrain you rom anticipating it by acts o revenge. 5hy are you so hasty= Is not the 8ord at hand to avenge all his abused servants= /4e patient there ore" brethren" unto the coming o the 8ord. 4ehold the husbandman waiteth" Ac. 4e ye also patient" or the coming o the 8ord draweth nigh. +rudge not one against another" brethren" lest ye be condemned. 4ehold" the Judge standeth at the door./ Nengeance belongeth unto +od" and will you wrong yoursel so much as to assume his wor!= NIII. The next season in which special exertion is necessary to !eep the heart" is when we meet with great trials. In such cases the heart is apt to be suddenly transported with pride" impatience" or other sin ul passions. >any good people are guilty o hasty and very sin ul conduct in such instances$ and all have need to use diligently the ollowing means to !eep their hearts submissive and patient under great trials( 0. +et humble and abasing thoughts o yoursel . The humble is ever the patient man. &ride is the source o irregular and sin ul passions. A lo ty" will be an unyielding and peevish spirit. 5hen we overrate ourselves" we thin! that we are treated unworthily" that our trials are too severe( thus we cavil and repine. ,hristian" you should have such thoughts o yoursel as would put a stop to C*

these murmurings. Kou should have lower and more humiliating views o yoursel than any other one can have o you. +et humility" and you will have peace whatever be your trial. ). ,ultivate a habit o communion with +od. This will prepare you or whatever may ta!e place. This will so sweeten your temper and calm your mind as to secure you against surprises. This will produce that inward peace which will ma!e you superior to your trials. -abitual communion with +od will a ord you enjoyment" which you can never be willing to interrupt by sin ul eeling. 5hen a ,hristian is calm and submissive under his a lictions" probably he derives support and com ort in this way$ but he who is discomposed" impatient" or ret ul" shows that all is not right within%he cannot be supposed to practise communion with +od. *. 8et your mind be deeply impressed with an apprehension o the evil nature and erects o an unsubmissive and restless temper. It grieves the Spirit o +od" and induces his departure. -is gracious presence and in luence are enjoyed only where peace and <uiet submission prevail. The indulgence o such a temper gives the adversary an advantage. Satan is an angry and discontented spirit. -e inds no rest but in restless hearts. -e bestirs himsel when the spirits are in commotion$ sometimes he ills the heart with ungrate ul and rebellious thoughts$ sometimes he in lames the tongue with indecent language. Again" such a temper brings great guilt upon the conscience" un its the soul or any duty" and dishonours the ,hristian name. ; !eep your heart" and let the power and excellence o your religion be chie ly mani ested when you are brought into the greatest straits. '. ,onsider how desirable it is or a ,hristian to overcome his evil propensities. -ow much more present happiness it a ords$ how much better it is in every respect to morti y and subdue unholy eelings" than to give way to them. 5hen upon your deathbed you come calmly to review your li e" how com ortable will it be to re lect on the con<uest which you have made over the depraved eelings o your heart. It was a memorable saying o Nalentinian the emperor" when he was about to die( / Amongst all my con<uests" there is but one that now com orts me./ 4eing as!ed what that eras" he answered" /I have overcome my worst enemy" my own sin ul heart:/ C'

C. Shame yoursel " by contemplating the character o those who have been most eminent or mee!ness and submission. Above all" compare your temper with the Spirit o ,hrist. /8earn o me"/ saith he" / or I am mee! and lowly./ It is said o ,alvin and Ursin" though both o choleric natures" that they had so imbibed and cultivated the mee!ness o ,hrist as not to utter an unbecoming word under the greatest provocations. And even many o the heathens have mani ested great moderation and orbearance under their severest a lictions. Is it not a shame and a reproach that you should be outdone by them= E. Avoid every thing which is calculated to irritate your eelings. It is true spiritual valour to !eep as ar as ive can out o sin7s way. I you can but avoid the excitements to impetuous and rebellious eelings" or chec! them in their irst beginnings" you will have but little to ear. The irst wor!ings o common sins are comparatively wea!" they gain their strength by degrees$ but in times o trial the motions o sin are strongest at irst" the unsubdued temper brea!s out suddenly and violently. 4ut i you resolutely with stand it at irst" it will yield and give you the victory IP. The ninth season wherein the greatest diligence and s!ill are necessary to !eep the heart" is the hour o temptation" when Satan besets the ,hristian7s heart" and ta!es the unwary by surprise. To !eep the heart at such times" is not less a mercy than a duty. Few ,hristians are so s!il ul in detecting the allacies" and repelling the arguments by which the adversary incites them to sin" as to come o sa e and whole in these encounters. >any eminent saints have smarted severely or their want o watch ulness and diligence at such times. -ow then may a ,hristian !eep his heart rom yielding to temptation= There are several principal ways in which the adversary insinuates temptation" and urges compliance( 0. Satan suggests that here is pleasure to be enjoyed$ the temptation is presented with a smiling aspect and an enticing voice( 75hat" are you so dull and phlegmatic as not to eel the power ul charms o pleasure= 5ho can withhold himsel rom such delights=7 1eader" you may be rescued rom the danger o such temptations by repelling the proposal o pleasure. It is urged that the commission o sin will a ord you pleasure. Suppose this were true" will the accusing and condemning rebu!es o conscience and the lannel o hell be CC

pleasant too= Is there pleasure in the scourges o conscience= I so" why died &eter weep so bitterly= 5hy did .avid cry out o bro!en bones= Kou hear what is said o the pleasure o sin" and have you not read what .avid said o the e ects o it= /Thine arrows stic! ast in me" and thy hand presseth me sore$ there is no soundness in my lesh because o thine anger" neither is there any rest in my bones because o my sin"/ Ac. I you yield to temptation" you must eel such inward distress on account o it" or the miseries o hell. 4ut why should the pretended pleasure o sin allure you" when you !now that unspea!ably more real pleasure will arise rom the morti ication than can arise rom the commission o sin. 5ill you pre er the grati ication o some unhallowed passion" with the deadly poison which it will leave behind" to that sacred pleasure which arises rom hearing and obeying +od" complying with the dictates o conscience" and maintaining inward peace= ,an sin a ord any such delight as he eels who" by resisting temptation" has mani ested the sincerity o his heart" and obtained evidence that he ears +od" loves holiness" and hates sin= ). The secrecy with which you may commit sin is made use o to induce compliance with temptation. The tempter insinuates that this indulgence will never disgrace you among men" or no one will !now it. 4ut recollect yoursel . .oes not +od behold you= Is not the divine presence everywhere= 5hat i you might hide your sin rom the eyes o the world" you cannot hide it rom +od. Fo dar!ness nor shadow o death can screen you rom his inspection. 4esides have you no reverence or yoursel = ,an you do that by yoursel which you dare not have others observe= Is not your conscience as a thousand witnesses= @ven a heathen could say" /5hen thou art tempted to commit sin" ear thysel without any other witness./ *. The prospect o worldly advantage o ten en orces temptation. It is suggested" 75hy should you be so nice and scrupulous= +ive yoursel a little liberty" and you may better your condition( now is your time.7 This is a dangerous temptation" and must be promptly resisted. Kielding to such a temptation will do your soul more injury than any temporal ac<uisition can possibly do you good. And what would it pro it you" i you should gain the whole world and lose your own soul= 5hat can be compared with the value o your spiritual interests= ;r what can at all compensate or the smallest injury o them= CE

'. &erhaps the smallness o the sin is urged as a reason why you may commit it$ thus( 7 It is but a little one" a small matter" a tri le$ who would stand upon such niceties=7 4ut is the >ajesty o heaven little too= I you commit this sin you will o end a great +od. Is there any little hell to torment little sinners in= Fo$ the least sinners in hell are ull o misery. There is great wrath treasured up or those whom the world regard as little sinners. 4ut the less the sin" the less the inducement to commit it. 5ill you provo!e +od or a tri le= 5ill you destroy your peace" wound your conscience" and grieve the Spirit" all or nothing= 5hat madness is this: C. An argument to en orce temptation is sometimes drawn rom the mercy o +od and the hope o pardon%+od is merci ul" he will pass by this as an in irmity" he will not be severe to mar! it. 4ut stay( where do you ind a promise o mercy to presumptuous sinners= Involuntary reprisals and lamented in irmities may be pardoned" /but the soul that doth aught presumptuously" the same reproacheth the 8ord" and that soul shall be cut o rom among his people./ I +od is a being o so much mercy" how can you a ront him= -ow can you ma!e so glorious an attribute as the divine mercy an occasion o sin= 5ill you wrong him because he is good= 1ather let his goodness lead you to repentance" and !eep you rom transgression. E. Sometimes Satan encourages to the commission o sin" rom the examples o holy men. Thus and thus they sinned" and were restored$ there ore you may commit this sin" and yet be a saint and be saved. Such suggestions must be instantly repelled. I good men have committed sins similar to that with which you are beset" did any good man ever sin upon such ground and rom such encouragement as is here presented= .id +od cause their examples to be recorded or your imitation" or or your warning= Are they not set up as beacons that you may avoid the roc!s upon which they split= Are you willing to eel what they elt or sin= .are you ollow them in sin" and plunge yoursel into such distress and danger as they incurred=%1eader" in these ways learn to !eep your heart in the hour o temptation. P. The time o doubting and o spiritual dar!ness constitutes another season when it is very di icult to !eep the heart. 5hen the light and com ort o the divine presence is withdrawn$ when the believer" rom the prevalence o CG

indwelling sin in one orm or other" is ready to renounce his hopes" to in er desperate conclusions with respect to himsel " to regard his ormer com orts as vain delusions" and his pro essions as hypocrisy$ at such a time much diligence is necessary to !eep the heart rom despondency. The ,hristian7s distress arises rom his apprehension o his spiritual state" and in general he argues against his possessing true religion" either rom his having relapsed into the same sins rom which he had ormerly been recovered with shame and sorrow$ or rom the sensible declining o his a ections rom +od$ or rom the strength o his a ections toward creature enjoyments$ or rom his enlargement in public" while he is o ten con ined and barren in private duties$ or rom some horrible suggestions o Satan" with which his soul is greatly perplexed$ or" lastly" rom +od7s silence and seeming denial o his long depending prayers. Fow in order to the establishment and support o the heart under these circumstances" it is necessary that you be ac<uainted with some general truths which have a tendency to calm the trembling and doubting soul$ and that you be rightly instructed with regard to the above?mentioned causes o dis<uiet. 8et me direct your attention to the ollowing general truths( 0. @very appearance o hypocrisy does not prove the person who mani ests it to be a hypocrite. Kou should care ully distinguish between the appearance and the predominance o hypocrisy. There are remains o deceit ulness in the best hearts$ this was exempli ied in .avid and &eter" but the prevailing rame o their hearts being upright" they were not denominated hypocrites or their conduct. ). 5e ought to regard what can be said in our avor" as well as what may be said against us. It is the sin o upright persons sometimes" to exercise an unreasonable severity against themselves. They do not impartially consider the state o their souls. To ma!e their state appear better than it really is" indeed is the damning sin o sel ? lattering hypocrites$ and to ma!e their state appear worse than it really is" is the sin and olly o some good persons. 4ut why should you be such an enemy to your own peace= 5hy read over the evidences o +odBs love to your soul" as a man does a boo! which he intends to con ute= 5hy do you study evasions" and turn o those com orts which are due to you= *. @very thing which may be an occasion o grie to the people o +od" is not a CJ

su icient ground or their <uestioning the reality o their religion. >any things may trouble" which ought not to stumble you. I upon every occasion you should call in <uestion all that had ever been wrought upon you" your li e would be made up o doubting and ears" and you could never attain that settled inward peace" and live that li e o praise and than! ulness which the +ospel re<uires. '. The soul is not at all times in a suitable state to pass a right judgment upon itsel . It is peculiarly un<uali ied or this in the labour o desertion or temptation. Such seasons must be improved rather or watching and resisting" than or judging and determining. C. 5hatever be the ground o one7s distress" it should drive him to" not rom +od. Suppose you have sinned thus and so" or that you have been thus long and sadly deserted" yet you have no right to in er that you ought to be discouraged" as i there was no help or you in +od. 5hen you have well digested these truths" i your doubts and distress remain" consider what is now to be o ered( 0. Are you ready to conclude that you have no part in the avor o +od" because you are visited with some extraordinary a liction= I so" do you then rightly conclude that great trials are to!ens o +od7s hatred= .oes the Scripture teach this= And dare you in er the same with respect to all who have been as much or more a licted than yoursel = I the argument is good in your case" it is good in application to theirs" and more conclusive with respect to them" in proportion as their trials were greater than yours. 5oe then to .avid" Job" &aul" and all who have been a licted as they were: 4ut had you passed along in <uietness and prosperity$ had +od withheld those chastisements with which he ordinarily visits his people" would you not have had ar more reason or doubts and distress than you now have= ). .o you rashly in er that the 8ord has no love to you" because he has withdrawn the light o his countenance= .o you imagine your state to be hopeless" because it is dar! and uncom ortable= 4e not hasty in orming this conclusion. I any o the dispensations o +od to his people will bear a avourable as well as a harsh construction" why should they not be construed in the best sense= And may not +od have a design o love rather than o hatred in the dispensation under which you mourn= >ay he not depart or a season" without C2

departing or ever= Kou are not the irst that have mista!en the design o +od in withdrawing himsel . /Lion saith" the 8ord hath orsa!en me" my 8ord hath orgotten me./ 4ut was it so= 5hat saith the answer o +od= /,an a woman orget her suc!ing child=/ Ac. 4ut do you sin! down under the apprehension that the evidences o a total and inal desertion are discoverable in your experience= -ave you then lost your conscientious tenderness with regard to sin= And are you inclined to orsa!e +od= I so" you have reason indeed to be alarmed. 4ut i your conscience is tenderly alive$ i you are resolved to cleave to the 8ord$ i the language o your heart is" I cannot orsa!e +od" I cannot live without his presence$ though he slay me" yet will I trust in him( then you have reason to hope that he will visit you again. It is by these exercises that he still maintains his interest in you. ;nce more. Are sense and eelings suitable to judge o the dispensations o +od by= ,an their testimony be sa ely relied on= Is it sa e to argue thus( 7I +od had any love or my soul" I should eel it now as well as in ormer times$ but I cannot eel it" there ore it is gone=7 >ay you not as well conclude" when the sun is invisible to you" that he has ceased to exist= 1ead Isaiah 0( 03. Fow i there is nothing in the divine dealings with you which is a reasonable ground o your despondency and distress" let us in<uire what there is in your own conduct or which you should be so cast down( 0. -ave you committed sins rom which you were ormerly recovered with shame and sorrow= And do you thence conclude that you sin allowedly and habitually" and that your oppositions to sin were hypocritical= 4ut do not too hastily give up all or lost. Is not your repentance and care renewed as o ten as you commit sin= Is it not the sin itsel which troubles you" and is it not true" that the o tener you sin the more you are distressed= It is not so in customary sinning$ o which 4ernard excellently discourses thus( /5hen a man accustomed to restrain" sins grievously" it seems insupportable to him" yea he seems to descend alive into hell. In process o time it seems not insupportable" but heavy" and between insupportable and heavy there is no small descent. Fext" such sinning becomes light" his conscience smites but aintly" and he regards not her rebu!es. Then he is not only insensible to his guilt" but that which was bitter E3

and displeasing has become in some degree sweet and pleasant. Fow it is made a custom" and not only pleases" but pleases habitually. At length custom becomes nature$ he cannot be dissuaded rom it" but de ends and pleads or it./ This is allowed and customary sinning" this is the way o the wic!ed. 4ut is not your way the contrary o this= ). .o you apprehend a decline o your a ections rom +od and rom spiritual subjects= This may be your case" and yet there may be hope. 4ut possibly you are mista!en with regard to this. There are many things to be learnt in ,hristian experience$ it has relation to a great variety o subjects. Kou may now be learning what it is very necessary or you to !now as a ,hristian. Fow" what i you are not sensible o so lively a ections" o such ravishing views as you had at irst$ may not your piety be growing more solid and consistent" and better adapted to practical purposes= .oes it ollow rom your not always being in the same rame o mind" or rom the act that the same objects do not at all times excite the same eelings" that you have no true religion= &erhaps you deceive yoursel by loo!ing orward to what you would be" rather than contemplating what you are" compared with what you once were. *. I the strength o your love to creature?enjoyments is the ground o desperate conclusions respecting yoursel " perhaps you argue thus( / I ear that I love the creature more than +od$ i so" I have not true love to +od. I sometimes eel stronger a ections toward earthly com orts than I do toward heavenly objects$ there ore my soul is not upright within me./ I " indeed" you love the creature or itsel " i you ma!e it your end" and religion but a means" then you conclude rightly$ or this is incompatible with supreme love to +od. 4ut may not a man love +od more ardently and unchangeably than he does anything" or all things else" and yet" when +od is not the direct object o his thoughts" may he not be sensible o more violent a ection or the creature than he has at that time or +od= As rooted malice indicates a stronger hatred than sudden though more violent passion$ so we must judge o our love" not by a violent motion o it now and then" but by the depth o its root and the constancy o its exercise. &erhaps your di iculty results rom bringing your love to some oreign and improper test. >any persons have eared that when brought to some eminent trial they should renounce ,hrist and cleave to the creature$ but when E0

the trial came" ,hrist was everything" and the world as nothing in their esteem. Such were the ears o some martyrs whose victory was complete. 4ut you may expect divine assistance only at the time o " and in proportion to your necessity. I you would try your love" see whether you are willing to orsa!e ,hrist now. '. Is the want o that enlargement in private which you ind in public exercises an occasion o doubts and ears= ,onsider then whether there are not some circumstances attending public duties which are peculiarly calculated to excite your eelings and elevate your mind" and which cannot a ect you in private. I so" your exercises in secret" i per ormed aith ully and in a suitable manner" may be pro itable" though they have not all the characteristics o those in public. I you imagine that you have spiritual enlargement and enjoyment in public exercises while you neglect private duties" doubtless you deceive yoursel . Indeed i you live in the neglect o secret duties" or are careless about them" you have great reason to ear. 4ut i you regularly and aith ully per orm them" it does not ollow that they are vain and worthless" or that they are not o great value" because they are not attended with so much enlargement as you sometimes ind in public. And what i the Spirit is pleased more highly to avor you with his gracious in luence in one place and at one time than another" should this be a reason or murmuring and unbelie " or or than! ulness= C. The vile or blasphemous suggestions o Satan sometimes occasion great perplexity and distress.% They seem to lay open an abyss o corruption in the heart" and to say there can be no grace here. 4ut there may be grace in the heart where such thoughts are injected" though not in the heart which consents to and cherishes them. .o you then abhor and oppose them= .o you utterly re use to give up yoursel to their in luence" and strive to !eep holy and reverend thoughts o +od" and o all religious objects= I so" such suggestions are involuntary" and no evidence against your piety. E. Is the seeming denial o your prayers an occasion o despondency= Are you disposed to say" /I +od had any regard or my soul he would have heard my petitions be ore now$ but I have no answer rom him" and there ore no interest in him=/ 4ut stay( though +od7s abhorring and inally rejecting prayer is an E)

evidence that he rejects the person who prays" yet" dare you conclude that he has rejected you" because an answer to your prayers is delayed" or because you do not discover it i granted= / >ay not +od bear long with his own elect" that cry unto him day and night=/ ;thers have stumbled upon the same ground with you( / I said in my haste" I am cut o rom be ore thine eyes( nevertheless thou heardst the voice o my supplication./ Fow are there not some things in your experience which indicate that your prayers are not rejected" though answer to them is de erred= Are you not disposed to continue praying though you do not discover an answer= Are you not disposed still to ascribe righteousness to +od" while you consider the cause o his silence as being in yoursel = Thus did .avid( / ; my +od" I cry in the day time" and thou hearest not$ and in the night" and am not silent( but thou art holy"/ Ac. .oes not the delay o an answer to your prayers excite you to examine your own heart and try your ways" that you may ind and remove the di iculty= I so" you may have reason or humiliation" but not or despair. Thus I have shown you how to !eep your heart in dar! and doubting seasons. +od orbid that any alse heart should encourage itsel rom these things. It is lamentable" that when we give saints and sinners their proper portions" each is so prone to ta!e up the other7s part. PI. Another season" wherein the heart must be !ept with all diligence" is when su erings or religion are laid upon us. 4lessed is the man who in such a season is not o ended in ,hrist. Fow" whatever may be the !ind or degree o your su erings" i they are su erings or ,hrist7s sa!e and the +ospel7s" spare no diligence to !eep your heart. I you are tempted to shrin! or waver under them" let what ollows help you to repel and to surmount the instigation( 0. 5hat reproach would you cast upon the 1edeemer and his religion by deserting him at such a time as this: Kou would proclaim to the world" that how much soever you have boasted o the promises. when you are put to the proo you dare ha9ard nothing upon your aith in them$ and this will give the enemies o ,hrist an occasion to blaspheme. And will you thus urnish the triumphs o the uncircumcised= Ah" i you did but value the name o ,hrist as much as many wic!ed men value their names" you could never endure that his should be exposed to contempt. 5ill proud dust and ashes ha9ard death or hell rather than have E*

their names disgraced" and will you endure nothing to maintain the honor o ,hrist= ). .are you violate your conscience out o complaisance to lesh and blood= 5ho will com ort you when your conscience accuses and condemns you= 5hat happiness can there be in li e" liberty or riends when inward peace is ta!en away= ,onsider well what you do. *. Is not the public interest o ,hrist end his cause in initely more important than any interest o your own" and should you not pre er his glory and the wel are o his !ingdom be ore every thing else= Should any temporary su ering" or any sacri ice which you can be called to ma!e" be su ered to come into competition with the honor o his name= '. .id the 1edeemer neglect your interest and thin! lightly o you" when or your sa!e he endured su erings between which and yours there can be no comparison= .id he hesitate and shrin! bac!= Fo( /-e endured the cross" despising the shame./ And did he with unbro!en patience and constancy endure so much or you$ and will you linch rom momentary su ering in his cause= C. ,an you so easily cast o the society and the privileges o the saints and go over to the enemy7s side= Are you willing to withhold your support rom those who are determined to persevere" and throw your in luence in the scale against them= 1ather let your body and soul be rent asunder. /I any man draw bac!" my soul shall have no pleasure in him./ E. -ow can you stand be ore ,hrist in the day o judgment" i you desert him now= /-e that is ashamed o me and o my words in this adulterous and sin ul generation" o him shall the Son o man be ashamed when he cometh in the glory o his Father with the holy angels./ Ket a little while" and the Son o man will come in the clouds o heaven" with power and great glory" to judge the world. -e will sit upon the throne o judgment" while all the nations are brought be ore him. Imagine yoursel now to be witnessing the transactions o that day. 4ehold the wic!ed$ behold the apostates$ and hear the consuming sentence which is pronounced upon them" and see them sin!ing in the gul o in inite and everlasting woe: And will you desert ,hrist now" will you orsa!e his cause to save a little su ering" or to protract an unpro itable li e on earth" and thus expose yoursel to the doom o the apostate= 1emember" that i you can silence E'

the remonstrances o conscience now" you cannot hinder the sentence o the Judge then. 4y these means !eep your heart" that it depart not rom the living +od. PII. The last season which I shall mention" in which the heart must be !ept with all diligence" is when we are warned by sic!ness that our dissolution is at hand. 5hen the child o +od draws nigh to eternity" the adversary ma!es his last e ort$ and as he cannot win the soul rom +od" as he cannot dissolve the bond which unites the soul to ,hrist" his great design is to awa!en ears o death" to ill the mind with aversion and horror at the thoughts o dissolution rom the body. -ence" what shrin!ing rom a separation" what ear to grasp death7s cold hand" and unwillingness to depart" may sometimes be observed in the people o +od. 4ut we ought to die" as well as live" li!e saints. I shall o er several considerations calculated to help the people o +od in time o sic!ness" to !eep their hearts loose rom all earthly objects" and cheer ully willing to die( 0. .eath is harmless to the people o +od$ its sha ts leave no sting in them. 5hy then are you a raid that your sic!ness may be unto death= I you were to die in your sins$ i death were to reign over you as a tyrant" to eed upon you as a lion doth upon his prey$ i death to you were to be the precursor o hell" then you might reasonably startle and shrin! bac! rom it with horror and dismay. 4ut i your sins are blotted out$ i ,hrist has van<uished death in your behal " so that you have nothing to encounter but bodily pain" and possibly not even that$ i death will be to you the harbinger o heaven" why should you be a raid= 5hy not bid it welcome= It cannot hurt you$ it is easy and harmless$ it is li!e putting o your clothes" o ta!ing rest. ). It may !eep your heart rom shrin!ing bac!" to consider that death is necessary to it you or the ull enjoyment o +od. 5hether you are willing to die or not" there certainly is no other way to complete the happiness o your soul. .eath must do you the !ind o ice to remove this veil o lesh" this animal li e which separates you rom +od" be ore you can see and enjoy him ully. /5hilst we are at home in the body" we are absent rom the 8ord./ And who would not be willing to die or the per ect enjoyment o +od= >ethin!s one should loo! and sigh" li!e a prisoner" through the grates o this mortality( /; that I had wings li!e a dove" then would I ly away and be at rest./ Indeed most EC

men need patience to die$ but a saint" who understands what death will introduce him to" rather needs patience to live. ;n his deathbed he should o ten loo! out and listen to his 8ord7s coming$ and when he perceives his dissolution to be near" he should say" /The voice o my beloved$ behold he cometh" leaping over the mountains. s!ipping over the hills./ *. ,onsider that the happiness o heaven commences immediately a ter death. That happiness will not be de erred till the resurrection$ but as soon as death has passed upon you" your soul will be swallowed up in li e. 5hen you have once loosed rom this shore" you shall be <uic!ly wa ted to the shore o a glorious eternity. And can you not say" I desire to be dissolved" and to be with ,hrist= .id the soul and body die together" or did they sleep till the resurrection" as some have ancied" it would have been olly or &aul to desire a dissolution or the enjoyment o ,hrist$ because he would have enjoyed more in the body than he could have enjoyed out o it. The Scripture spea!s o but two ways in which the soul can properly live( vi9. by aith and vision. These two comprehend its present and uture existence. Fow" i when aith ails" sight should not immediately succeed" what would become o the soul= 4ut the truth on this subject is clearly revealed in Scripture. See 8u!e )*( *$ John 0'( *" Ac. 5hat a blessed change then will death ma!e in your condition: 1ouse up" dying saint" and rejoice$ let death do his wor!" that the angels may conduct your soul to the world o light. '. It may increase your willingness to die" to re lect that by death +od o ten removes his people out o the way o great troubles and temptations. 5hen some extraordinary calamity is coming upon the world" +od sometimes removes his saints out o the way o the evil. Thus >ethuselah died the year be ore the lood$ Augustine a little be ore the sac!ing o -ippo$ &areus just be ore the ta!ing o -eidelburg. 8uther observes that all the apostles died be ore the destruction o Jerusalem$ and 8uther himsel died be ore the wars bro!e out in +ermany. -ow it may be that by death you will escape some grievous trial" which you could not and need not endure. 4ut i no extraordinary trouble would come upon you in case your li e were prolonged" yet +od desires by death to relieve you rom innumerable evils and burdens which are inseparable rom the present state. Thus you will be delivered rom indwelling sin" which is the greatest EE

trouble$ rom all temptations rom whatever source$ rom bodily tempers and embarrassments$ and rom all the a lictions and sorrows o this li e. The days o your mourning will be ended" and +od will wipe away all tears rom your eyes. 5hy then should you not hasten to depart= C. I you still linger" li!e 8ot in Sodom" what are your pleas and pretences or a longer li e= 5hy are you unwilling to die= Are you concerned or the wel are o your relations= I so" are you anxious or their temporal support= Then let the word o +od satis y you( /8eave thy atherless children to me" I will !eep them alive" and let thy widows trust in me./ 8uther says" in his last will" /8ord" thou hast given me a wi e and children" I have nothing to leave them" but I commit them unto thee. ; Father o the atherless and Judge o widows" nourish" !eep and teach them./ 4ut are you concerned or the spiritual wel are o your relations= 1emember that you cannot convert them" i you should live$ and +od can ma!e your prayers and counsels e ectual when you are dead. &erhaps you desire to serve +od longer in this world. 4ut i he has nothing urther or you to do here" why not say with .avid" /-ere am I" let him do what seemeth him good./ -e is calling you to high or service in heaven" and can accomplish by other hands what you desire to do urther here.%.o you eel too imper ect to go to heaven= ,onsider that you must be imper ect until you die$ your sancti ication cannot be complete until you get to heaven. M4ut"7 you say" 7I want assurance$ i I had that I could die easily.7 ,onsider" then" that a hearty willingness to leave all the world to be reed rom sin" and to be with +od" is the direct way to that desired assurance$ no carnal person was ever willing to die upon this ground. Thus I have shown how the people o +od" in the most di icult seasons" may !eep their hearts with all diligence. I now proceed to improve and apply the subject( 0 Kou have seen that the !eeping o the heart is the great wor! o a ,hristian" in which the very soul and li e o religion consists" and without which all other duties are o no value in the sight o +od. -ence" to the consternation o hypocrites and ormal pro essors" I in er( 0. That the pains and labours which many persons have undergone in religion are EG

o no value" and will turn to no good account. >any splendid services have been per ormed by men" which +od will utterly reject( they will not stand on record in order to an eternal acceptance" because the per ormers too! no heed to !eep their hearts with +od. This is that atal roc! on which thousands o vain pro essors dash and ruin themselves eternally$ they are exact about the externals o religion" but regardless o their hearts. ; how many hours have some pro essors spent in hearing" praying" reading and con erring: And yet" as to the main end o religion" they might as well have sat still and done nothing" the great wor!" I mean heart?wor!" being all the while neglected. Tell me" vain pro essor" when did you shed a tear or the deadness" hardness" unbelie or earthliness o your heart= And do you thin! your easy religion can save you= I so" you must invert ,hrist7s words" and say" 5ide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to li e" and many there be that go in thereat. -ear me" ye sel ?deluding hypocrite$ you who have put o +od with heartless duties$ you who have acted in religion as i you had been blessing an idol$ you who could not search your heart" and regulate it" and exercise it in your per ormances$ how will you abide the coming o the 8ord= how will you hold up your head be ore him" when he shall say. 7; you dissembling. alse?hearted man: -ow could you pro ess religion= 5ith what ace could you so o ten tell me that you loved me" when you !new in your conscience that your heart was not with me= ; tremble to thin! what a ear ul judgment it is to be given over to a heedless and careless heart" and then to have religions duties instead o a rattle to <uiet and still the conscience: ). I in er or their humiliation" that unless the people o +od spend more time and pains about their hearts than they ordinarily do" they are never li!e to do +od much service" or to possess much com ort in this world. I may say o that ,hristian who is remiss and careless in !eeping his heart" as Jacob said o 1euben" thou shalt not excel. It grieves me to see how many ,hristians there are who live at a poor" low rate" both o service and com ort" and who go up and down dejected and complaining. 4ut how can they expect it should be otherwise" while they live so carelessly= ; how little o their time is spent in the closet" in searching" humbling" and <uic!ening their hearts: ,hristian" you say your heart is dead" and do you wonder that it is" so long as EJ

you !eep it not with the ountain o li e= I your body had been dieted as your soul has" that would have been dead too. And you may never expect that your heart will be in a better state until you ta!e more pains with it. ; ,hristians: I ear your 9eal and strength have run in the wrong chapel$ I ear that most o us may ta!e up the ,hurch7s complaint( /They have made me the !eeper o the vineyards" but mine own vineyard have I not !ept./ Two things have eaten up the time and strength o the pro essors o this generation" and sadly diverted them rom heart?wor!. First(%Fruitless controversies" started by Satan" I doubt not or the very purpose o ta!ing us o rom practical godliness" to ma!e us pu99le our heads when we should be inspecting our hearts. -ow little have we regarded the observation( /It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace" and not with meats"/ Hthat is" with disputes and controversies about meats"I /which have not pro ited them that have been occupied therein./ -ow much better it is to see men live exactly" than to hear them dispute with subtlety: These un ruit ul <uestions" how have they rent the churches" wasted time and spirits" and ta!en ,hristians o rom their main business: 5hat thin! you" would it not have been better i the <uestions agitated among the people o +od o late had been such as these(%/-ow shall a man distinguish the special rom the common operations o the Spirit= -ow may a soul discern its irst bac!slidings rom +od= -ow may a bac!sliding ,hristian recover his irst love= -ow may the heart be preserved rom unseasonable thoughts in duty= -ow may a bosom?sin be discovered and morti ied=/ Ac. 5ould not this course have tended more to the honor o religion and the com ort o souls= I am ashamed that the pro essors o this generation are yet insensible o their olly. ; that +od would turn their disputes and contentions into practical godliness: Second(%5orldly cares and encumbrances have greatly increased the neglect o our hearts. The heads and hearts o multitudes have been illed with such a crowd and noise o worldly business that they have lamentably declined in their 9eal" their love" their delight in +od" and their heavenly" serious" and pro itable way o conversing with men. -ow miserably have we entangled ourselves in this wilderness o tri les: ;ur discourses" our con erences" nay" our very prayers are tinged with it. 5e have had so much to do without" that we have been able to E2

do but little within. And how many precious opportunities have we thus lost= -ow many admonitions o the Spirit have passed over un ruit ully= -ow o ten has the 8ord called to us" when our worldly thoughts have prevented us rom hearing= 4ut there certainly is a way to enjoy +od even in our worldly employments. I we lose our views o him when engaged in our temporal a airs" the ault is our owns Alas: that ,hristians should stand at the door o eternity" having more wor! upon their hands than their time is su icient or" and yet be illing their heads and hearts with tri les: *. I in er" lastly" or the awa!ening o all" that i the !eeping o the heart be the great wor! o a ,hristian" then there are but ew real ,hristians in the world. I every one who has learned the dialect o ,hristianity" and who can tal! li!e a saint$ i every one who has gi ts and parts" and who can ma!e shi t to preach" pray" or discourse li!e a ,hristian( in a word" i all such as associate with the people o +od and parta!e o ordinances may pass or ,hristians" then indeed the number is great. 4ut alas: how ew can he ound" i you judge them by this rule"%how ew are there who conscientiously !eep their hearts" watch their thoughts and loo! scrupulously to their motives: Indeed there are ew closet?men among pro essors. It is easier or men to be reconciled to any other duties in religion than to these. The pro ane part o the world will not so much as meddle with the outside o any religious duties" and least o all with these$ and as to the hypocrite" though he may be very particular in externals" you can never persuade him to underta!e this inward" this di icult wor!$ this wor!" to which there is no inducement rom human applause$ this wor!" which would <uic!ly discover what the hypocrite cares not to !now( so that by general consent this heart?wor! is le t to the hands o a ew retired ones" and I tremble to thin! in how ew hands it is. II. I the !eeping o the heart be so important a business$ i such great advantages result rom it$ i so many valuable interests be wrapped up in it" then let me call upon the people o +od everywhere to engage heartily in this wor!. ; study your hearts" watch your hearts" !eep your hearts: Away with ruitless controversies and all idle <uestions$ away with empty names and vain shows$ away with unpro itable discourse and bold censures o others" and turn in upon yourselves. ; that this day" this hour" you would resolve upon doing so: G3

1eader" methin!s I shall prevail with you. All that I beg or is this" that you would step aside o tener to tal! with +od and your own heart$ that you would not su er every tri le to divert you$ that you would !eep a more true and aith ul account o your thoughts and a ections$ that you would seriously demand o your own heart at least every evening" 7; my heart" where hast thou been to?day" and what has engaged thy thoughts=7 I all that has been said by way o inducement be not enough" I have yet some motives to o er you( 0. The studying" observing" and diligently !eeping your own heart" will surprisingly help you to understand the deep mysteries o religion. An honest" well experienced heart is an excellent help to the head. Such a heart will serve or a commentary on a great part o the Scriptures. 4y means o such a heart you will have a better understanding o divine things than the most learned HgracelessI man ever had" or can have$ you will not only have a clearer" but a more interesting and pro itable apprehension o them. A man may discourse orthodoxly and pro oundly o the nature and e ects o aith" the troubles and com orts o conscience" and the sweetness o communion with +od" who never elt the e icacy and sweet impression o these things upon his own soul. 4ut how dar! and dry are his notions compared with those o an experienced ,hristian: ). The study and observation o your own heart will power ully secure you against the dangerous and in ecting errors o the times in which you live. For what thin! you is the reason why so many pro essors have departed rom the aith" giving heed to ables= 5hy have so many been led away by the error o the wic!ed= 5hy have those who have sown corrupt doctrines had such plenti ul harvests among us" but because they have met with a race o pro essors who never !new what belongs to practical godliness and the study and !eeping o their hearts= *. Kour care and diligence in !eeping your heart will prove one o the best evidences o your sincerity. I !now no external act o religion which truly distinguishes the sound rom the unsound pro essor. It is marvellous how ar hypocrites go in all external duties$ how plausibly they can order the outward man" hiding all their indecencies rom the observation o the world. 4ut they ta!e no heed to their hearts. They are not in secret what they appear to be in G0

public. And be ore this test no hypocrite can stand. They may" indeed" in a it o terror" or on a death?bed" cry out o the wic!edness o their hearts$ but such extorted complaints are wholly o no regard. Fo credit" in law" is to be given to the testimony o one upon the rac!" because it may be supposed that the extremity o his torture will ma!e him say anything to get relied. 4ut i sel ?jealousy" care and watch ulness be the daily wor!ings and rames o your heart" you have some evidence o your sincerity. '. -ow com ortable and how pro itable would all ordinances and duties be to you" i your heart was aith ully !ept. 5hat lively communion might you have with +od every time you approach him" i your heart was in a right rame: Kou might then say with .avid" />y meditation o -im shall be sweet./ It is the indisposition o the heart which renders ordinances" and secret duties so com ortless to some. They strive to raise their hearts to +od" now pressing this argument upon them" then that" to <uic!en and a ect them$ yet they o ten get nearly through the exercise be ore their hearts begin to be interested in it$ and some times they go away no better than they came. 4ut the ,hristian whose heart is prepared by being constantly !ept" enters immediately end heartily into his duties$ he outstrips his sluggish neighbor" gets the irst sight o ,hrist in a sermon" the irst seal rown ,hrist in a sacrament" the irst communication o grace and love in secret prayer. Fow i there be anything valuable and com ortable in ordinances and private duties" loo! to your heart and !eep it" I beseech you. C. An ac<uaintance with your own heart will urnish you a ountain o matter in prayer. The man who is diligent in heart?wor!" will lie richly supplied with matter in his addresses to +od. -e will not be con used or want o thoughts$ his tongue will not alter or want o expressions. E. The most desirable thing in the world" vi9. the revival o religion among a people" may be e ected by means o what I am urging upon you. ; that I might see the time when pro essors shall not wal! in a vain show$ when they shall please themselves no more with a name to live" while they are spiritually dead$ when they shall be no more a company o rothy" vain persons$ but when holiness shall shine in their conversation" and awe the world" and command reverence rom all that are around them$ when they shall warm the heart o those who come near them" and cause it to be said" +od is in these men o a G)

truth. And may such a time be expected= Until heart?wor! becomes the business o pro essors" I have no hope o seeing a thing so blessed: .oes it not grieve you to see how religion is contemned and trampled under oot" and the pro essors o it ridiculed and scorned in the world= &ro essors" would you recover your credit= 5ould you obtain an honourable testimony in the consciences o your very enemies= Then !eep your hearts. G. 4y diligence in !eeping our hearts we should prevent the occasions o atal scandals and stumbling?bloc!s to the world. 5oe to the world because o o ences: #eep your heart aith ully" and you will be prepared or any situation or service to which you may be called. This" and this only call properly it you or use ulness in any station$ but with this you can endure prosperity or adversity$ you can deny yoursel " and turn your hand to any world. Thus &aul turned every circumstance to good account" and made himsel so eminently use ul. 5hen he preached to others" he provided against being cast away himsel ( he !ept his heart$ and everything in which he excelled seems to have had a close connection with his diligence in !eeping his heart. 2. I the people o +od would diligently !eep their hearts" their commission with each other would be unspea!ably more inviting and pro itable. Then /how goodly would be thy tents" ; Jacob" and thy tabernacles" ; Israel:/ It is the ellowship which the people o +od have with the Father and with the Son that !indles the desires o others to have communion with them. I tell you" that i saints would be persuaded to spend more time and ta!e more pains about their hearts" there would soon be such a divine excellence in their conversation that others would account it no small privilege to be with or near them. It is the pride" passion and earthliness o our hearts" that has spoiled ,hristian ellowship. 5hy is it that when ,hristians meet they are o ten jarring and contending" but because their passions are unmorti ied= 5hence come their uncharitable censures o their brethren" but rom their ignorance o themselves= 5hy are they so rigid and un eeling toward those who have allen" but because they do not eel their own wea!ness and liability to temptation= 5hy is their discourse so light and unpro itable when they meet" but because their hearts are earthly and vain= 4ut now" i ,hristians would study their hearts more and !eep G*

them better" the beauty and glory o communion would be restored. They would divide no more" contend no more" censure rashly no more. They will eel right one toward another" when each is daily humbled under a sense o the evil o his own heart. 03. 8astly(%#eep your heart" and then the com orts o the Spirit and the in luence o all ordinances will be more ixed and lasting than they now are. 7And do the consolations o +od seem small to you=B Ah" you have reason to be ashamed that the ordinances o +od" as to their <uic!ening and com orting ejects" should ma!e so light and transient an impression on your heart. Fow" reader" consider well these special bene its o !eeping the heart which I have mentioned. @xamine their importance. Are they small matters= Is it a small matter to have your understanding assisted= your endangered soul revered sa e= your sincerity proved= your communion with +od sweetened= your heart illed with matter or prayer= Is it a small thing to have the power o godliness= All atal scandals removed= an instrumental itness to serve ,hrist obtained= the communion o saints restored to its primitive glory= and the in luence o ordinances abiding in the souls o saints= I these are no common blessings" no ordinary bene its" then surely it is a great and indispensable duty to !eep the heart with all diligence. And now are you inclined to underta!e the business o !eeping your heart= Are you resolved upon it= I charge you" then" to engage in it earnestly. Away with every cowardly eeling" and ma!e up your mind to encounter di iculties. .raw your armour rom the word o +od. 8et the word o ,hrist dwell in you richly" in its commands" its promises" its threatenings$ let it be ixed in your understanding" your memory" your conscience" your a ections. Kou must learn to wield the sword o the Spirit Hwhich is the word o +odI amiliarly" i you would de end your heart and con<uer your enemies. Kou must call yoursel re<uently to an account$ examine yoursel as in the presence o the all seeing +od$ bring your conscience" as it were" to the bar o judgment. 4eware how you plunge yoursel into a multiplicity o worldly business$ how you practise upon the maxims o the world$ and how you venture at all to indulge your depraved propensities. Kou must exercise the utmost vigilance to discover and chec! the irst symptoms o departure rom +od" the least decline o spirituality" or the G'

least indisposition to meditation by yoursel " and holy conversation and ellowship with others. These things you must underta!e" in the strength o ,hrist" with invincible resolution in the outset. And i you thus engage in this great wor!" be assured you shall not spend your strength or naught$ com orts which you never elt or thought o will low in upon you rom every side. The diligent prosecution o this wor! will constantly a ord you the most power ul excitements to vigilance and ardour in the li e o aith" while it increases our strength and wears out your enemies. And when you have !ept your heart with all diligence a little while" when you have ought the battles o this spiritual war are" gained the ascendancy over the corruptions within" and van<uished the enemies without" then +od will open the gate o heaven to you" anti give you the portion which is promised to them that overcome. Awa!e then" this moment$ get the world under your elt" pant not or the things which a man may have" and eternally lose his sour$ but bless +od that you may have his service here" and the glory herea ter which he appoints to his chosen. /Fow the +od o peace" that brought again rom the dead our 8ord Jesus" that great shepherd o the sheep" through the blood o the everlasting covenant" ma!e you per ect in every good wor! to do his will" wor!ing in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight" through Jesus ,hrist$ to whom be glory or ever and ever. Amen. John Flavel .uring the &lague o 8ondon" in 0EEC" a ew ,hristian riends were gathered or prayer in a private house in ,onvent +arden$ but" as it was an unlaw ul assembly" the soldiers bro!e in with drawn swords and arrested the worshippers. They were committed to Fewgate prison" where the pestilence was raging$ and an old minister rom the country" >r. 1ichard Flavel" and his wi e" caught the in ection" and were released only to die. Their eldest son was also at this time a minister. Although he did not become a musician or a poet" as his mother had hoped" this nobler vocation was his destiny. As a minister and author" he transmitted the joy ul sound o the gospel through the dar! reigns o ,harles and James the Second$ and o all who sang songs in that night" ew ound listeners so eager and grate ul as John Flavel. In 0ECE" when he was about twenty?six years o age" the people o .artmouth" in GC

.evon" chose him as their minister. +oing amongst them on their own invitation" and in all the reshness o his a ections" he and the inhabitants became ardently attached to one another. 5ith his und o stri!ing incidents" with his aculty o happy illustration" with a temperament in which cheer ulness and solemnity were remar!ably blended" and with a style o address in which riendly encouragement alternated with grave remonstrance and melting pathos" except among the worst reprobates" his ministry was boundlessly popular. And when he went rom home" his plain and arresting discourses were so o ten the means o awa!ening or converting careless hearers" that he was induced to extend his labours ar beyond the bounds o his own large parish. The period" however" was brie during which he was allowed to ply such a ree and un ettered ministry. @jected by the Act o Uni ormity" or some time he endeavoured to !eep together and instruct the members o his loc!$ but spies and penal laws made their meetings di icult and dangerous. At last the ;x ord Act was promulgated" and according to its terms" >r. Flavel could no longer reside in .artmouth. ;n the day o his departure" the inhabitants accompanied him as ar as the churchyard o Townstall" where" amidst prayers and tears" they parted. Fevertheless" his heart was still with his beloved people. -e too! up his abode as near them as the letter o the law allowed$ and" sometimes in .artmouth itsel " sometimes in a <uiet apartment in a neighbouring village" and sometimes in a wood or other sheltered spot in the open air" he contrived to meet a detachment o them almost every Sabbath day. At last #ing James7s Indulgence permitted the open resumption o his ministry. A commodious meeting?house was built" and there" or the remaining years o his li e" he continued to warn" exhort" and com ort all who came" with a ervour o which the tradition has not yet died out in .evon. -is prayers were wonder ul. >uch o his retirement was spent in devotional exercises$ and in the great congregation he was sometimes sei9ed with such agonies o earnestness" or carried away in such a rapture o praise and than!sgiving" that it seemed as i the tabernacle o clay must perish amidst the excessive emotion. At last" towards the end o June" 0E20" he presided at a meeting o the Foncon ormist ministers o .evonshire. The object was to bring about a union o &resbyterians and Independents. The preliminary resolutions passed unanimously" and />r. GE

Flavel closed the wor! o the day with prayer and praise" in which his spirit was carried out with wonder ul enlargement and a ection./ ;n the )Eth" he wrote to a 8ondon minister an account o this auspicious meeting" and appeared remar!ably cheer ul and happy. 4ut that evening" he was ta!en with the palsy" and soon died. Fo period o @nglish history has been so ruit ul in religious literature as the hal ?century between the commencement o the &arliamentary 5ar and the glorious 1evolution$ or we might say" the period included in the publishing career o 1ichard 4axter. 4ut amidst that enormous authorship there are ew boo!s which retain so much attraction or modern readers as some o Flavel7s practical treatises" such as ;n #eeping the -eart. For their enduring popularity" they are" no doubt" in some degree indebted to their !ind" a able" and earnest tone$ but still more" we presume" is due to the s!ill and elicity with which matters o the greatest moment are expounded. 5ith a view to be use ul" the writer7s great anxiety was to be understood" and he sought out the words and the modes o representation which might suit the sailors o .artmouth and &lymouth" and the armers o .evon and .orset. -is boo!s abound in anecdote" and they are rich in those homely metaphors and ingenious comparisons which are an e ective ingredient in popular oratory. Above all" they command the reader7s attention" by the importance o the themes which they handle$ they secure his con idence" by their una ected seriousness and deep sincerity$ and they win his heart" by the evangelical warmth and personal !indness with which they are all aglow. @nd.

This document is rom the ,hristian ,lassics @thereal 8ibrary at ,alvin ,ollege. 8ast updated on >ay )G" 0222. ,ontacting the ,,@8.