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supremely, to obey God universally. Christ loved God and therefore delighted to do his will. It is a pleasure to those, whose hearts are enlarged towards Christ, to obey all his commands. And it is a pleasure to all, whose hearts are enlarged towards the whole world, to perform every duty which the gospel requires them to perform towards even the enemies of all righteousness. The spirit of the gospel prepares all, who embrace it, to obey it.
Finally, let all inquire whether they have ever embraced the gospel. This subject proposes an infallible test. Has it enlarged your hearts towards God, towards Christ, towards the friends of Christ, towards the cause of Christ and towards the enemies of Christ ? What have you done more than others ? What have you desired more than others ? what are you willing to do more than others, who do not pretend to embrace the gospel ? Have you been more obedient ? or have you been more benevolent?
PRAYER OF SAINTS FOR THE CONSTANT EXERCISE
OF HOLY AFFECTIONS.
Psalm, LXXXVI. 11.–Unite my heart to fear thy name.
The name of God in this, as in many other places of scripture, is expressive of the whole of the divine character and perfections. The fear of his name denotes that fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom and which comprises all that love, esteem, veneration, homage and obedience, which are due from man to his creator. David's petition, therefore, appears to be a request, that God would prepare his heart to worship and serve him in a sincere and acceptable manner. But if this were his meaning, it may seem strange, that he should conceive his prayer in such uncommon and unintelligible terms. For where is the propriety of praying for an united heart ? Is not the heart always united ? Is it not something simple, undivided and incapable of being disunited and consequently of being united ? If he had prayed, that God would give him a good heart, a pure heart, a clean heart, or a wise and understanding heart, his expressions would have been easy and familiar and his meaning plain and obvious ; but when he prays that God would unite his heart to fear his name, it is not so easy to apprehend the propriety of the phrase, or the meaning of
the petition. To set this good man's prayer in a plain and profitable light, I shall endeavor to show,
1. That a good man has but one heart;
IV. That it is proper to pray, that it may be united.
I. I am to show that a good man has not two hearts.
Though none may have said in so many words, that a good man has two hearts ; yet many have said what implies it. They have often asserted, that a saint has an old heart and a new heart ; that he has an old sinful principle and a new gracious principle ; that he has an old selfish disposition and a new benevolent disposition; and that he has an old bad taste and a new good taste.
All these expressions convey the same idea and imply that every one, who has been born again, or has experienced a saving change, has both a holy and unholy heart, or both a holy and unholy principle, or both a holy and unholy disposition, or both a holy and unholy taste ; which amounts to his having both a good and bad heart, at the same time. That this is their real meaning appears from their denying, that a new heart takes away any part of an old heart; or that a new principle takes away any part of an old principle, or that a new disposition takes away any part of an old disposition, or that a new taste takes away any part of an old taste. They suppose, that the old heart, or the old principle, or the old disposition, or the old taste, remains entirely the same after, as before regeneration. This supposition plainly and necessarily implies, that every real christian, or suhject of grace, has two hearts. But David was not of this opinion. He did not suppose, that he had two hearts. He does not pray, that God would unite his old and new heart, or his old and new principle, or his old and new disposition, or his old and new taste ; bul his one, only heart. Nor do we find a single instance in the bible, of any good man's asserting, pretending, or saying any thing, which implied, that he had two hearts. It is no less absurd to say my hearts, than to say my understandings, or my consciences ; but there would be no absurdity in this mode of expression, if the old heart remains the same, after a new heart is given in regeneration. The truth is, the new heart destroys the old heart; so that a person after regeneration, as well as before, has but one heart. Accordingly, God says to his sinful people in Babylon, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you ; and I will take away the stony heart out
I of your flesh, and I will give an heart of flesh.” Here the giving of a new heart is represented as the same thing as the taking away of the old heart. And the apostle tells christians, that by putting on the new man, they had put off the old man : and that by walking in the spirit, they did not walk in the flesh. word, the whole current of scripture represents a good heart, as excluding a bad heart : so that a good heart and a bad heart never exist in the same mind, at the same time. It is, therefore, as contrary to scripture, as to reason and common sense, that a good man ever has two hearts. I now proceed to show,
II. What his one heart is.
As the eye, by which we discover external objects, seldom discovers itself; so the soul, by which we dis
cover other things, seldom turns its attention inward, to survey its own powers or faculties. And this is one reason why we find it more difficult to distinguish and describe the properties of the soul, than the properties of the body. We know, however, that the soul has neither length, nor breadth, nor figure, nor visibility, nor any other property of matter; and consequently, we know, that it is not a material, but a spiritual substance. As the soul is all spirit, so it is all activity. We can form no idea of a dormant, inactive spirit. Separate activity from the soul, and its existence is no longer conceivable. But though the soul be all spirit and activity, yet we are conscious of its distinct powers or properties. We are conscious of having perception, reason, conscience, memory, and volition. These are the essential properties of the soul; and in these properties the essence of the soul consists. We can form no conception of the soul as distinct from these properties, or as the foundation of them. The essential properties of the soul constitute its essence, as much as the essential properties of matter constitute the essence of matter. This is true and is acknowledged to be true, by a late celebrated author. Now, if perception be distinct from reason, and reason be distinct from conscience, and conscience be distinct from memory, and memory be distinct from volition; then the heart must consist in volition, or free voluntary, moral exercise, and in nothing previous to it, or the foundation of it.
We never attach praise or blame to the exercise of perception, or reason, or conscience, or memory ; but we do attach praise or blame to the free, voluntary exercise of loving or hating, of choosing or refusing.