Four characters of truth of heart or sincerity 1/5


My son was on his third brain surgery because his brain cancer came back  third time.  So, life as we know it has been a blurr for me. With the cancer coming back the third time, I can see changes in his behavior toward our Lord. So, please pray that God would open his eyes and soften his heart. Pray for repentance, pray for understanding and pray for salvation. Thanks so much for understanding.

Third.  I will lay down such positive discoveries of sincerity as no hypocrite ever did or can reach to. Having broken the flattering glasses wherein hypo­crites use to look, till they fall in love with their own painted faces, and conceit themselves sincere; as also those which disfigure the sweet countenance and natural beauty of the sincere soul, so as to make it bring the grace of God which shines on it into question; I now proceed to draw a few lineaments, and lay down some undoubted characters of this truth of heart, and godly sincerity, whereby we may have the better advantage of stating to everyone his own condition.

  1. Character.  A sincere heart is a new heart.  Hypo­crisy is called ‘the old leaven;’ ‘purge out there­fore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump,’ I Cor. 5:7.  Dough once soured with leaven, will never lose the taste of it.  Neither will corrupt nature cease to be hypocritical, till it cease to be corrupt nature.  Either the heart must be made new, or it will have its old quality.  There may be some art used to conceal it, and take away its unsavouriness from others, for a while, as flowers and perfumes cast about a rotten carcass may do its scent; yet both the rotten carcass and the corrupt heart remain the same.  They say of the peacock, that roast him as much as you will, yet his flesh, when cold, will be raw again.  Truly, thus let a carnal heart do what it please—force upon itself never such a high strain of seeming piety, so that it appears fire-hot with zeal, yet stay a little, and it will come to its old complexion, and discover itself to be but what it was, naught and false.  ‘One heart,’ and a ‘new heart,’ both are covenant mercies, yea, so promised, that the ‘new’ is promised in order to the making of the heart ‘one:’ ‘And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart,’ &c. Eze. 11:19.  God prom­iseth he will give them one spirit, that is a sincere spirit to God and man; contrary to a divided heart, a heart and a heart, the mark of hypocrisy.  But how will he give it?  He tell them, ‘I will give you a new spirit,’ and how will he do that?  ‘I will take away the heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh;’ upon which words one very well thus glosseth, ‘I will give you one heart; which that I may so do, I will cast it anew; and that I may do this also, I will melt and soften it; as one that having many pieces of old silver, or plate lying by him, which he intends to put into one bowl, first resolves to cast it anew, and to that end throws it into the fire to melt, and so at last shuts up all in one piece.’  Indeed, by nature man’s heart is a very divided and broken thing, scattered and parcel­led out, a piece to this creature, and a piece to that lust.  One while, this vanity hires him, as Leah did Jacob of Rachel; anon, when he hath done some drudgery for that, he lets himself out to another. Thus divided is man and his affections.  Now, the elect —whom God hath decreed to be vessels of honour, consecrated for his holy use and service—he throws into the fire of his word, that, being there softened and melted, he may by his transforming Spirit cast them anew, as it were, into a holy oneness; so that he who was before divided from God, and lost among the creatures and his lusts, that shared him among them, hath now his heart gathered in from them all to God. It looks with a single eye on God and acts for him in all it doth.  If therefore thou wouldst know whether thy heart be sincere, inquire whether it be thus made new.

           Hath God thrown thee into his furnace? did ever his word, like fire, take hold upon thee, so as to soften thy hard heart and melt thy drossy spirit, [so] that thou now seest that desperate hypocrisy. pride, unbelief, and the like, which before lay hid like dross in the metal, before the fire finds it out? and not only seest it [hypocrisy, &c.], but seest it sever and separ­ate from thy soul, [in such a way] that thou who be­fore didst bless thyself as in a good condition, now bewailest thy folly for it, heartily confessing what an unsavoury creature thou wert to God in all thou didst. The things which appeared so gaudy and fair in thy eye—thy civil righteousness, keeping thy church, slub­bering over a few duties in thy family—that for them thou thoughtest heaven was, as it were, in mortgage to thee; dost now lament to think how thou didst mock God with these hypocritical pageants abroad, while thy lusts were entertained within doors in thy bosom, there sucking the heart-blood of thy dearest affections?  In a word, canst thou say that thou art not only melted into sorrow for these, but that thou findest thy heart, which was so divided and distracted betwixt lusts and creatures now united to fear the name of God?  Hast thou but one design—that, above all, thou pursuest, and that, viz. to approve thyself to God, though with the displeasing of all be­side? one love—how thou mayest love Christ, and be beloved of him.  If the streams of thy affections be thus, by the mighty power of God renewing thee, gathered into this one channel, and with a sweet violence running this way, then blessed art thou of the Lord.  Thou art the sincere soul in his account, though much corruption be found in thee still, that is royling thy stream, and endeavouring to stop the free course of thy soul God-wards.  This may put thee to some trouble.  As the mountains and rocks do the river water running to the sea, causing some windings and turnings in its course, which else would go the nearest way, even in a direct line to it; so thy re­maining corruptions may now and then put thee out of thy way of obedience.  But sincerity will, like the water, go on its journey for all this, and never leave till it bring thee, though with some compass, to thy God, whom thou hast so imprinted in thy heart, as that he can never be forgot by thee.  But if thou never hadst the hypocrisy of thy heart thus discovered and made hateful to thee, nor a new principle put into thy bosom, to turn the tide of thy soul contrary to the natural fall of thy affections; only thou, from the good opinion which thou hast of thyself—because of some petty flourishes thou makest in profession—takest it for granted thou art sincere, and thy heart true; I dare pronounce thee an unclean hypocrite.  The world may saint thee, possibly, but thou wilt never, as thou art, be so in God’s account.  When thou has tricked and spruced up thyself never so finely, into the fashion of a Christian, still thou wilt have but a saint’s face, and a hypocrite’s heart.  It is no matter what is the sign, though an angel, that hangs without, if the devil and sin dwell within.  New trimmings on an old garment will not make it new, they only give it a new look.  And truly it is no good husbandry to bestow a great deal of cost in fining up an old suit that will drop in a while to tatters and rags, when a little more might purchase a new one that is lasting.  And is it not better to labour to get a new heart, that all thou doest may be accepted and thou saved, than to loose all the pains thou takest in religion, and thyself also, for want of it?


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