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has been spoken of,—the church distressed, but not in despair ; cast down, but not destroyed; on fire, but not consumed ; and remember that the security of the church includes in it the security of every saint. You may be persecuted, my dear friends, but you shall not be forsaken. God may chasten you, but he will not destroy you. You may be tossed to and fro by the winds of temptation and storms of affliction, but you shall arrive at the haven of eternal happiness at last. Through fire and through water the Divine wisdom, power, and goodness, will conduct you safely to heaven—that happy place. “ These," says the angel to the apostle John, “are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light upon them, nor any heat; for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

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heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;" that is, with the greatest sincerity and ardour, without abatement; not with a divided, but with the whole heart. Every exertion of the inward, and every action of the outward man, should be the fruit, and under the influence of divine love. Keep thine heart with all diligence;" keep it as a king does his crown, or a miser his gold; keep it from sin; keep it for God; keep it in the way of duty, and by giving it to God to keep for thee again. “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart." No other laws bind the heart but God's, and in these the loyalty and obedience of the heart are principally provided for.

2. All true obedience begins at the heart; that is the fountain or spring either of good or evil. The heart is the seat of all christian graces, and christian graces are the source of evangelical duties; it is the seat of holiness, and without holiness there can be no practical religion. It is out of the good treasure of the heart that the good man produceth good things. It is the heart that first wanders from God, and sinful inclinations are previous to sinful actions. Thus we read of an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God; and it is the heart that first returns to God. Thus David prays that God would “incline his heart to his testimonies;" and the apostle blesses God for the Romans, that they had “obeyed from the heart;" that is, from light in the understanding, compliance in the will, and holiness in the disposition. Where there is no vital principle in the heart, but on the contrary, a bias towards that which is evil, the religion of such a man is but the shadow of religion, which will turn to no account, or rather, a very bad one another day. It is not natural, but maintained by force; and he that has it is obliged to use a thousand arts to keep it alive; but they will all failthe root being corrupt, the fruit will soon wither. The pleasure of duty, and our perseverance in duty, both depend upon a gracious change wrought in the heart: therefore SERMON LXIII.

ON THE OBEDIENCE OF THE HEART.

PROVERBS III. 1.

Let thine heart keep my commandments.

If we consider the nature of the Divine commands, that they are holy, just, and good, suited to the eternal reason of God, and the sanctified reason of men, and to be regarded rather as blessings than burdens; not rigorous and severe, but light and easy; calculated to promote both our present and eternal welfare, and of perpetual authority and everlasting obligation ; surely they call for the greatest respect. How this respect is to be manifested we are informed in my text. We must not only peruse them, endeavour to understand them, and have them so deeply impressed upon our minds as not to forget them, but keep them; and it is not every kind of keeping that will be pleasing to God, or profitable to ourselves; but our hearts must keep them: Let thine heart keep my commandments." Here I shall set before you some reasons why the heart should particularly and principally be engaged in keeping God's commands, and then point out some things which must necessarily take place in order to its being so.

1. Why should the heart be so engaged in keeping the commands of God?

1. Because some of these commands chiefly respect the art: “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy

heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;" that is, with the greatest sincerity and ardour, without abatement; not with a divided, but with the whole heart. Every exertion of the inward, and every action of the outward man, should be the fruit, and under the influence of divine love. Keep thine heart with all diligence;" keep it as a king does his crown, or a miser his gold; keep it from sin; keep it for God; keep it in the way of duty, and by giving it to God to keep for thee again. • Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart." No other laws bind the heart but God's, and in these the loyalty and obedience of the heart are principally provided for.

2. All true obedience begins at the heart; that is the fountain or spring either of good or evil. The heart is the seat of all christian graces, and christian graces are the source of evangelical duties; it is the seat of holiness, and without holiness there can be no practical religion. It is out of the good treasure of the heart that the good man produceth good things. It is the heart that first wanders from God, and sinful inclinations are previous to sinful actions. Thus we read of an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God; and it is the heart that first returns to God. Thus David prays that God would “incline his heart to his testimonies;" and the apostle blesses God for the Romans, that they had “obeyed from the heart;" that is, from light in the understanding, compliance in the will, and holiness in the disposition. Where there is no vital principle in the heart, but on the contrary, a bias towards that which is evil, the religion of such a man is but the shadow of religion, which will turn to no account, or rather, a very bad one another day. It is not natural, but maintained by force; and he that has it is obliged to use a thousand arts to keep it alive; but they will all failthe root being corrupt, the fruit will soon wither. The pleasure of duty, and our perseverance in duty, both depend upon a gracious change wrought in the heart: therefore

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