CHAPTER VI.

A NEW HEART IN THE COVENANT.

GOD hath put into the covenant ALL THE MEANS OF SALVATION-all things necessary’ to our obtaining the everlasting kingdom.

All the outward means of salvation. Ordinances—the word, sacraments, and prayer; officers—prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Ephes. 4:11, 12; 1Corinthians 3:22. •

All the inward means of salvation. Every grace, every duty; our obtaining the one, and performing the other; these are all comprehended in the second part of that great promise, "THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE." Two things are hereby signified:

The first is, I will account you and reckon you for mine. You shall have the privilege and ‘the blessings of my people. I will set you ap’art, and separate you to myself, out of all the tribes and kindreds of the earth; and will avouch you for my portion and peculiar possession. I will set you as the apple of mine eye, as a seal upon my heart, and upon mine arm. I will mark you out for the people of my love; of you will I take care, ‘for you will I provide, with you are my delights, over you will I rejoice, with you will I dwell, and you shall dwell with me for ever.

The other is, I will not only reckon you for my people, but I will undertake for you, that you shall consent to me, accept of me, own me, follow me, and cleave to me as my people. I will not only separate you to myself, but I will fashion you for myself; I will sanctify you, and guide you, and teach you, and help you. I will fulfil in you all the good pleasure of my will; I will work all your works in you; I will avouch you for my people, and you shall avouch me for your God. You shall love me, fear me, obey nie; I will keep_ you from falling, and preserve you to my heavenly kingdom.

Particularly, the Lord lath promised to give them, 1. A new heart; 2. A heart to know the Lord; 3. One heart; 4. A heart of flesh; 5. A heart to love the Lord; 6. A heart to fear the Lord; 7. A heart to obey the Lord; 8. A heart to endure to the end.

A NEW HEART.

"A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." Ezekiel 36:26. This new heart is the genus comprising all the graces noticed in the chapters which follow; and therefore the less shall suffice to be spoken of it here. A new heart, that is, not physically new in regard to substance, but morally only in regard to qualities.

This new heart signifies both another heart, and a more excellent heart. It is said of Caleb, Numbers 14:24, that he had another heart. And this other heart is declared to be a more excellent heart than was in the rest of the people. While they either followed not the Lord, or did so but haltingly, he followed the Lord fully. "A man of understanding is of an excellent spirit." Proverbs 17:27.

There is another heart that is not a new heart. Nebuchadnezzar had another, but no new heart—the heart of a beast for the heart of a- man: an evil heart grown worse is not a new heart, but the old heart grown older. We read that when Saul was anointed king, God gave him another heart,1Samuel 10:9; this was a more excellent heart than he had before, and yet not the heart here promised. He gave to him another heart, that is the spirit of government; the heart of a king instead of the heart of a private person; a more public, enlarged, heroic heart; the heart of a king, fitted to. the station and office of a king.

The excellences of this new heart are not natural, but spiritual excellences, as will appear more in the handling of the particular graces promised; and are such as fit Christians for their new state, work, and reward.

For their new state. Christians are made the children of God, vessels of honor, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; and God gives them a heart answering to the dignity of their high calling.

For their new work. A Christian path better work to do than other men: while their business lies all here below, in this earth, in their fields and vineyards, etc., Christians’ work lies above, with their God and their Jesus, and within, about their nobler and immortal part; their work is spiritual, and such is the heart that is given to them.

For their new reward. God intends better things for them; a better portion, -a better hope, better comforts, joys, and delights here, and a better inheritance hereafter; and he prepares them better hearts to receive these better things; he will not put his new wine into old bottles.

The excellences of this new heart may be reduced to these three:
  1. A new light, discovering the dignity of their state, the spirituality of their work, the glory of their reward.
  2. A new law, or frame, or bent of spirit, inclining, disposing, and fitting them to all that which they are made for. And this is the meaning of God’s writing his law in the heart. The law written in the heart signifies not only the law made known in the heart, but the heart made suitable to the law, and adapted to the obedience of it. There is a kind of unnaturalness between the new heart and all that the law requires.
  3. A new power, strengthening them for their new work. We have all these mentioned in one scripture: " God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2Timothy 1:7. A sound mind, there is the new light; a spirit of love, there is the new law, or frame, and with these a spirit of power.
In sum, this new heart is the divine nature, the image of God renewed, the life of God begotten, Christ formed in them. A heart after God’s own heart, containing in it all those graces of the Spirit, wherein stand their likeness to God and their capacity of serving and enjoying him. This is the heart the Lord will give: " A new heart will I give unto you."

Against all these glorious things promised, it would be objected, " A kingdom promised ! glory and honor and everlasting blessedness granted ! Alas, what is all this to. Me ? To whom • is it promised; or upon . what terms ? When I consider what is required, it is all one to me as if there had been nothing promised. The way to this -b1Jssedness. is too narrow, the gate is too strait for me ever to hope to enter. Whatever the crown be, the strictness and severities of a Christian course, the very foresight of them does amaze and confound me. Live a new life! deny my‘ self, take up my cross, follow Christ, spend my days in fasting and praying and mourning; live by rule, look to every step, to• every word, to every thought. all these things are against me. A new life, a new course: if this be it, I shall never bear it. It is all one to me as if there had been no Christ, no gospel, no kingdom promised, if it cannot be obtained upon other terms than these. I may even as well sit down as I am, and ‘run the venture of what follows, as to feed myself with hopes of that which I see I can never obtain. If ‘I do but move heavenwards, the stream carries me down; if I do but take up a thought, make an essay, set a foot forward towards this new course, I find my old things hang upon my heels. My old customs, my old companions, my old pleasures and ease and liberties quickly pull me back. O what shall I do? I must be undone, I must be a lost and condemned wretch. Fain I would be happy, but I cannot be holy. I dread, I often tremble to think. of losing Christ, and the blessings of his gospel; but this wretched heart is too hard, for me; and will not come. I am ashamed, I am plagued to think what I am likely to lose, and for how little; but I cannot help it; the way is such that this foolish heart will never endure it."

Why, hearken, soul; the Lord who bath called thee to this new course, will give thee a new heart. And there is not any thing required in a holy life so irksome and so contrary to thee, but this new heart is so fitted and suited to it that it will become easy to thee. Its pain will be pleasant, its severity will be liberty, its very drudgery, as thou countest it, will be a great delight. " I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart." Psalm 40:8. And of the renewed soul it is said, "His delight is in the law of the Lord:" in the original, his will, his heart, is in the law.Psalm 1:2. The law is in the heart, and his heart is in the law. God’s will and his are the same. Whatever God bids him do, his heart bids him do, and his hand will never say his heart nay. He that delights in the law because it is a law commanding such things, will never grudge to do What it commands.

Where it is a pleasure to be commanded, it is no pain to obey. Whatever work the law cuts him out, this work he loves. Bid him pray, bid him watch, bid him walk humbly with his God; it is work he loves; it is in his heart to do it. Bid a saint draw nigh to God in any duty; it is as if you bade the hungry to eat, or the thirsty to drink, the naked to be clothed, the beggar to come for alms, or the poor laborer for a day’s work. Bid a Christian deny himself, or crucify his flesh; it is the same as if you bade him deny his enemy, revenge himself on his enemy: such revenge is sweet. But O how pleasant is it to him to be called to a life of praise; to live above in the light, in the love, in the joy of the Lord; to be searching and studying and looking into, and admir-. ing those everlasting treasures of spiritual and heavenly delights laid up in God; to behold his face, to live in his presence, and to dwell in the light of his countenance’. It is true, there is some remaining difficulty and irksomeness in the sweetest works of religion, as far forth as the heart is unrenewed and is yet carnal. "Deny myself; mortify lust; forsake my companions; withdraw from iniquity ! why, what is this but to cut off my hand; to pluck out my eyes; to tear my:„flesh ? Walk with God; seek his face; dwell in his presence ! it is all one as to bid me feed on the air, wander on the mountains, dwell in the wilderness; and as much pleasure can I find in the one as in the other2’ fIt is so indeed, as far as thou remainest carnal; the Lord God and all his ways_area wilderness, a land of darkness to thee; but as much as thou hast of this new heart, so much ease and pleasure thou wilt find herein.

Desponding soul, thou sayest thou art yet ignorant, and hast little knowledge of the way of the Lord; but behold a new light to lead thee. Thou art yet carnal, and thy heart is contrary, and ever contending with God; but the new nature will end the strife. Thou art weak and impotent, the work is too hard for thee, if thou lovedst it ever so well; but how will this be when thou art endued with power from on high ?

O friend, wouldst thou indeed live this new life ? then get this new heart. "But 0, there lies the difficulty; how or where shall I get it?" Why, have recourse to the covenant; there it lies for thee. • "But how shall I get it thence ?" Why, hath not the Lord -promised to give it thee ? take the word from hiS mouth, and put it into thine own; turn the word of promise • into a prayer. Doth he say, "I will give?" let thy soul answer, "Give, Lord, give me this new heart. I am weary, Lord, and thou art weary also of this wicked heart: at once ease thyself and me; take away this, and give me a better heart." Turn the word of promise into a prayer, and then turn the word of prayer into a word of faith. Ho says, "I. will give;" let thy faith say, "Thou wilt. give, I shall have it; since thou_ hast said, thy servant may also boldly say, thou wilt do it. Thou wilt give me a better heart. Farewell, my old sins, lusts, and companions; farewell, my old pleasures and ways; now for heaven in earnest, now welcome the strait gate, the new and living way. Old things are passed away, all things shall become new." Turn the word of promise into a prayer, turn thy prayer into a word of faith, and God will turn the word of faith into a word of command. "Be it according to thy word. Let there be a new light, let there be a new law, let there be a new power, let there no more be a spirit of fear in this heart, but a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind." And as when he said in the creation of the great world, "Let there be light," let there be a firmament, let there be a sun and moon, it was so; so when he shall say, in the new creation of thy little world, Let there be light, let there be love, let there be power-10 us again make man in our image, after our own likeness, it shall be so. The Lord hath said, I will; let thy prayer say, Do it, Lord; let thy faith say, Thou wilt do it; and God will say, Amen. So be it.

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