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verse, our Saviour calls grace' the good treasure of the heart' of a good man, whence that which is good doth proceed. It is a principle constantly and abundantly inciting and stirring up unto, and consequently bringing forth, actions conformable and like unto it, of the same kind and nature with itself; and it is also called a treasure for its abundance. It will never be exhausted, it is not wasted by men's spending on it; yea, the more lavish men are of this stock, the more they draw out of this treasure, the more it grows and abounds; as men do not spend their grace, but increase it by its exercise, no more do they their indwelling sin. The more men exercise their grace in duties of obedience, the more it is strengthened and increased; and the more men exert and put forth the fruits of their lust, the more is that enraged and increased in them; it feeds upon itself, swallows up its own poison, and grows thereby. The more men sin, the more are they inclined unto sin, It is from the deceitfulness of this law of sin, whereof we shall speak afterward at large, that men persuade themselves, that by this or that particular sin, they shall so satisfy their lusts, as that they shall need to sin no more. Every sin increaseth the principle, and fortifieth the habit of sinning. It is an evil treasure that increaseth by doing evil. And where doth this treasure lie? It is in the heart, there it is laid up, there it is kept in safety. All the men in the world, all the angels in heaven, cannot dispossess a man of this treasure, it is so safely stored in the heart.
The heart in the Scripture is variously used : sometimes for the mind and understanding; sometimes for the will; sometimes for the affections; sometimes for the conscience; sometimes for the whole soul. Generally it denotes the whole soul of man, and all the faculties of it, not absolutely, but as they are all one principle of moral operations, as they all concur in our doing good or evil. The mind as it inquireth, discerneth, and judgeth what is to be done, what refused; the will as it chooseth, or refuseth, and avoids; the affections as they like or dislike, cleave to, or have an aversation from, that which is proposed to them; the conscience as it warns, and determines, are altogether called the heart. And in this sense it is that we say the seat and subject of this law of sin is the heart of man. Only we may add, that the
Scripture speaking of the heart, as the principle of men's good or evil actions, doth usually insinuate together with it two things belonging unto the manner of their performance.
1. A suitableness and pleasingness unto the soul in the things that are done. When men take delight, and are pleased in and with what they do, they are said to do it heartily, with their whole hearts. Thus when God himself blesseth his people in love and delight, he says, he doth it with his whole heart, and his whole soul;" Jer. xxxii. 41.
2. Resolution and constancy in such actions. 'And this also is denoted in the metaphorical expression before used of a treasure, from whence men do constantly take out the things which either they stand in need of, or do intend to use.
This is the subject, the seat, the dwelling-place of this law of sin; the heart, as it is the entire principle of moral operations, of doing good or evil, as out of it proceed good or evil. Here dwells our enemy; this is the fort, the citadel of this tyrant, where it maintains a rebellion against God all our days. Sometimes it hath more strength, and consequently more success; sometimes less of the one, and of the other, but is always in rebellion whilst we live.
That we may in our passage take a little view of the strength and power of sin from this seat and subject of it; we may consider one or two properties of the heart, that exceedingly contribute thereunto. It is like an enemy in war, whose strength and power lie not only in his numbers, and force of men or arms, but also in the unconquerable forts that he doth possess.' And such is the heart to this enemy of God and our souls, as will appear from the properties of it, whereof one or two shall be mentioned.
1. It is unsearchable. Jer. xvii. 9, 10. Who can know the heart? I the Lord search it. The heart of man is pervious to God only; hence he takes the honour of searching the heart, to be as peculiar to himself, and as fully declaring him to be God, as any other glorious attribute of his nature. We know not the hearts of one another, we know not our own hearts as we ought. Many there are that know not their hearts as to their general bent and disposition, whether it be good or bad, sincere and sound, or corrupt and naught; but no one knows all the secret intrigues, the windings and
turnings, the actings and aversations of his own heart. Hath any one the perfect measure of his own light and darkness ? Can any one know what actings of choosing, or aversation his will will bring forth, upon the proposal of that endless variety of objects that it is to be exercised with? Can any one traverse the various mutability of his affections ? Do the secret springs of acting and refusing in the soul, lie before the eyes of any man? Doth any one know what will be the motions of the mind or will, in such and such conjunctions of things? Such a suiting of objects, such a pretension of reasonings, such an appearance of things desirable ? All in heaven and earth, but the infinite all-seeing God, are utterly ignorant of these things. In this unsearchable heart dwells the law of sin; and much of its security, and consequently of its strength, lies in this, that it is past our finding out. We fight with an enemy whose secret strength we cannot discover, whom we cannot follow into its retirements. Hence oftentimes, when we are ready to think sin quite ruined, after awhile we find it was but out of sight. It hath coverts and retreats in an unsearchable heart, whither we cannot pursue it. The soul may persuade itself all is well, when sin may be safe in the hidden darkness of the mind, which it is impossible that he should look into ; for whatever makes manifest is light. It may suppose the will of sinning is utterly taken away, when yet there is an unsearchable reserve for a more suitable object, a more vigorous temptation, than at present it is tried withal. Hath a man had a contest with any lust, and a blessed vietory over it by the Holy Ghost, as to that present trial; when he thinks it is utterly expelled, he ere long finds that it was but retired out of sight. It can lie so close in the mind's darkness, in the will's indisposition, in the disorder and carnality of the affections, that no eye can discover it. The best of our wisdom is but to watch its first appearances, to catch its first under-earth heavings and workings, and to set ourselves in opposition to them; for to follow it into the secret corners of the heart, that we cannot do. It is true, there is yet a relief in this case, namely, that he to whom the work of destroying the law of sin, and body of death in us is principally committed, namely, the Holy Ghost, comes with his axe to the very root, neither is there any thing in an unsearchable heart that is not open and naked
unto him, Heb. iv. 12. But we in a way of duty may hence see what an enemy we have to deal withal.
2. As it is unsearchable, so it is deceitful, as in the place above-mentioned; it is deceitful above all things,' incomparably so. There is great deceit in the dealings of men in the world, great in their counsels and contrivances in reference to their affairs, private and public; great deceit in their words and actings: the world is full of deceit and fraud. But all this is nothing to the deceit that is in man's heart towards himself; for that is the meaning of the expression in this place, and not towards others. Now incomparable deceitfulness, added to unsearchableness, gives a great addition and increase of strength to the law of sin, upon the account of its seat and subject. I speak not yet of the deceitfulness of sin itself, but the deceitfulness of the heart where it is seated. Prov. xxvi. 25. • There are seven abominations in the heart;' that is, not only many, but an absolute complete number, as seven denotes. And they are such abominations as consist in deceitfulness; so the caution foregoing insinuates,'trust him not;' for it is only deceit that should make us not to trust in that degree and measure which the object is capable of.
Now this deceitfulness of the heart, whereby it is exceedingly advantaged in its harbouring of sin, lies chiefly in these two things:
(1.) That it abounds in contradictions, so that it is not to be found and dealt withal, according to any constant rule and way of procedure. There are some men that have much of this from their natural constitution, or from other causes in their conversation. They seem to be made up of contradictions; sometimes to be very wise in their affairs, sometimes very foolish ; very open, and very reserved; very facile, and very obstinate; very easy to be entreated, and very revengeful, all in a remarkable height. This is generally accounted a bad character, and is seldom found but when it proceeds from some notable predominant lust. But, in general, in respect of moral good or evil, duty or sin, it is so with the heart of every man; flaming hot, and key cold; weak, and yet stubborn; obstinate, and facile, The frame of the heart is ready to contradict itself every moment. Now you would think you had it all for such a frame, such a way; anon it
is quite otherwise: so that none know what to expect from it. The rise of this is the disorder that is brought upon all its faculties by sin. God created them all in a perfect harmony and union. The mind and reason were in perfect subjection and subordination to God and his will; the will answered in its choice of good, the discovery made of it by the mind; the affections constantly and evenly followed the understanding and will. The mind's subjection to God was the spring of the orderly and harmonious motion of the soul, and all the wheels in it. That being disturbed by sin, the rest of the faculties move cross and contrary one to another; the will chooseth not the good which the mind discovers; the affections delight not in that which the will chooseth, but all jar and interfere, cross and rebel against each other. This we have got by our falling from God. Hence sometimes the will leads, the judgment follows. Yea, commonly the affections that should attend upon all, get the sovereignty, and draw the whole soul captive after them. And hence it is, as I said, that the heart is made up of so many contradic tions in its actings. Sometimes the mind retains its sovereignty, and the affections are in subjection, and the will ready for its duty. This puts a good face upon things. Immediately the rebellion of the affections, or the obstinacy of the will take place and prevail, and the whole scene is changed. This, I say, makes the heart deceitful above all things; it agrees not at all in itself, is not constant to itself, hath no order that it is constant unto, is under no certain conduct that is stable, but if I may so say, hath a rotation in itself, where ofttimes the feet lead and guide the whole.
(2.) Its deceit lies in its full promisings upon the first appearance of things. And this also proceeds from the same principle with the former. Sometimes the affections are touched and wrought upon, the whole heart appears in a fair frame, all promiseth to be well. Within awhile the whole frame is changed; the mind was not at all affected or turned; the affections a little acted their parts and are gone off, and all the fair promises of the heart are departed with them. Now add this deceitfulness to the unsearchableness before-mentioned, and we shall find, that at least the difficulty of dealing effectually with sin in its seat and throne, will be exceedingly increased. A deceiving and a deceived heart, who can deal with it? especially considering that the