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“ with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;" 1 on the other, unbelief is ascribed to an evil heart—if men “ depart from the living God,” it is owing to

an evil heart of unbelief.” ?

All this is easily explained. The Gospel is designed to humble us : Reason sees at once the fitness of such a design-but the proud heart of course opposes, and therefore will not believe. The Gospel makes known a salvation of God's devising : Reason might at once confess the right he has to do so-but the proud heart again stands in the way. The Gospel, in short, requires man to look on himself as nothing, and upon God as every thing : and what can be more evident than the propriety of this ? but the whole scheme is resisted by “the carnal mind,” which is “enmity against God.” Hence, and hence alone, all those mistakes in religion, into which different persons fall. They are not accidental-not unavoidable ; but the perverse, self-willed, and guilty errors of men, who “ love darkness rather than light,” and therefore will not be taught of God.

How is your heart, then, towards Divine truth ?

Surely it is meet to be said unto God - That which I see not, teach thou me !" 3 Does your heart say * Amen’ to this ? . Are you willing to learn ? willing to be cast down and abased ? willing that God should have the entire saving of you ? content to stand as a beggar at the footstool of mercy ? and, while you desire nothing less than“a crown of glory,"convinced that you are undeserving even of “crumbs from the Master's table?” All these are matters of feeling rather than of opinion; and they are indispensable to a right state of heart. “ Is thine heart right," secondly, 1 Rom. x. 10. 2 Heb. iii. 12. 3 Job xxxiv. 31, 32.

II. IN ITS DEPENDANCE? On what is it actually resting, as the ground of its hopes for Eternity ?

“ Other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”! If you have adopted right views of religious truth, you will at once agree with this declaration; confessing that Christ's merits alone can recommend you to God's favour—and that the Spirit of Christ alone can make you holy, and obedient to God's commandments. All this, however, you may readily acknowledge as the true doctrine, while (such is the deceitfulness of the heart) you may actually be building on the sand” of self-righteousness and self-dependance. The lips are often right, while the heart is wrong. How is your heart ? Has it fledis it daily and hourly fleeing-to Christ, for “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption ?” ? That is the sinner's first step-and he must continually be taking it afresh. As often as the Law condemns, as the conscience upbraids, as the flesh rebels, as Satan tempts, so often must we look, and that again and again, to Christ.

No improvement which we may discover in our own character, must be put in the place of his atoning blood : no effort against sin must be made, but with an express regard to his Spirit, as alone able to make it effectual. What then is your experience in these particulars ? Is your heart rightthat is, not only persuaded that Christ “is able to save to the uttermost,"3 but practically depending on him, for the beginning, the continuance, and the final completing of your salvation ?

“ Is thine heart right,” again,

III. IN ITS CHOICE ? In what does it delight ? what does it esteem to be the chief good ? Many are driven to something like dependance on

1 Cor. iii. 11. 2 1 Cor. i. 30. 3 Heb. vii. 25.

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Christ, by the terrors of God's wrath, and the fear of damnation : but they still feel no love for God and his ways; they would rather, if that were possible, continue to enjoy the world while they live, and then not be sent to hell when they die. Their choice of Christ, such as it is, is no better than a choice between two evils; religion is not so bad as damnation-but they have little love for it on its own account.

But now hear, on the contrary, the language of David - of one whom the Lord calls “ a man after bis own heart:"1 " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”. Can your heart be right, if it has no feelings like these — no deliberate choice of God, as its friend, its portion, its heaven ? Again - hear St. Paul : “ What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ; yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”3 Againhear St. Peter : “ Whom not having seen ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." 4 They who speak such things declare plainly, that their affections are fixed on something very different from worldly profit, honour, or pleasure ; and these were the men whose hearts were right. Are yours right, then ?

“Is thine heart right," fourthly,

IV. IN ITS INTENTIONS AND PURPOSES? Having discovered the Truth-rested on Christ - chosen the Lord for your welcome portion—what is now your object in life?

Christians of old, when they were admitted to that

1 i Sam. xiii. 14. 3 Phil. iii. 7, 8.

Ps. lxxiii. 25, 26. 4 1 Peter i. 8.

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not now,

honourable name, determined to "live henceforth not unto themselves, but to him which died for them and rose again.” They considered themselves as longer their own property, but his who had bought them with his blood; and “whatsoever they did”even in the commonest matters, such as eating and drinking-all was to be done“ to the glory of God.”? Now has

your

heart come to this resolution ? Is God's honour dear to you ? his written word the map by which you intend to guide all your steps? I speak

of the success which you may have attained, but of the design which you ought to have formed. And I ask whether your heart can possibly be right, if you be not seriously taking measures for devoting your whole self—“spirit, soul, and body”3_to the service of Christ

your

Lord ? “Is thine heart right,” once more,

V. IN ITS ACTUAL INFLUENCE ON THY CONDUCT? Many, alas! woefully deceive themselves, by forming excellent resolutions-never to be put in practice. In such a case, let self-flattery pretend what it may, the heart must be wrong.

All conduct is necessarily the effect of inclination; it is therefore the test of inclination--that is, of the state of the heart. Hence when Simon offered the Apostles money, that he might obtain the power of giving the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands, St. Peter justly inferred from this wicked proposal, that Simon's “ heart was not right in the sight of God.”4Do you conceive that your heart is right? How then does it influence your life-your conversation--employments—temper-actions ? Can men perceive in these things, that “God is in

you

of a truth?5 that 12 Cor. v. 15.

2 1 Cor, x. 31. 3 1 Thess. v. 23. Acts viii. 21.

1 Cor. xiv. 25.

4

5

you are

“old things are passed away, and behold, all things are become new ?"that

an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile ?”? 2

To prove this, we do not look for perfection ; but we have a right to expect consistency. Either you are “growing in grace, and in the knowledge of your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ;": or you are mourning over your negligence, remembering from whence you have fallen,” and striving to repent and do the first works.” 4 As for outward gross sin-habitual neglect of the means of gracefamiliarity with the ungodly—these cannot be, where the heart is right. Judge therefore yourselves, brethren, that ye be not judged of the Lord.

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If the heart be not right, nothing else is right. Even the better parts of your conduct, for want of this, will still be offensive in the sight of that God, who “ seeth not as man seeth."

If you be conscious that your heart is not right, then remember that “God is greater than your heart, and knoweth all things.” It may be safe from human scrutiny—but not from his eye. And, moreover, “ God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” 6

If you would have your heart set right, bring it to God in faith and prayer : he will give you a new" one o clean” one-a

perfect” one. Yea, he will himself “ dwell in you, and walk in you :" he will say—“ It is my people !” and you shall say" The Lord is

my

God!”

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1

2 John i. 47.
5 i John iii. 20.

2 Cor. v. 17. 4 Rev. ii. 5.

3 2 Peter iii. 18. 6 Ecc. xii, 14.

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