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( well for me thou wast: if thou hadst not been both • God and man, I, and millions more, had never been here ---Glory, glory, glory, to Immanuel,
our hiding-place on earth, and our dwelling-place in heaven. "Let all the redeemed of the Lord say « so whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy. Glory, glory; glory, to Immanuel !
“ For ever his dear sacred game
Shall dwell upon our tongue;
The close of every song.'”
I have been thinking what were the first thoughts that occurred to you upon the mention of this text. Some thought one thing, some another, no doubt ; according to your different engagements and yiews.---Shall I hazard a conjecture upon this matter?
-Why, then I believe that some, when the words were read, first thought with themselves; • This is a very suitable text for the occasion : pro
per for a New-year's Day, proper for a Preparation Sermon, and peculiarly suitable to those young
persons who are to give up themselves to the • Lord this day*: I shall be glad to hear how the * minister will handle it :'-never considering all the while, that God immediately spoke to them in the text; and that it was their hearts that were called for; or, in short, that they had any' thing to do, but to sit still, and be entertained for half an hour with a sermon.
This sermon, só far as to the end of the third general, was preached on Friday, January 1, 1768, when four persons were ad. mitted into the church: the remainder was preached on the following Sabbath.
Others, perhaps, when they heard God say, “My son, give me thine heart,” thought with themselves : No, I cannot: my heart is engaged already. I • cannot be religious; not I., What! give up all 'my merry companions, and be always reading, • and hearing, and praying? I do not know what • I may do when I grow old, and feeble, and have • lost my relish for present pleasures ; but sure I am,
I cannot let God have my heart now.'-.-If there were any such, I hope they will be so shocked to hear their own thoughts put into words, as to retract them and renounce them; and that they will be added to the number of those, whom I shall next mention : who, when the text was read, sighed, and thought with themselves, Oh, I wish God had my heart ! I have been a long while uneasy at the situation in which I am: Satan leads me captive at his will: but I long to burst his bonds asunder. Oh
wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me? "I wish the Lord would come and open the prison(doors for me. I had rather, a thousand times, • God should have my heart than any one and yet, somehow or other, I cannot give it him as "I
should !---The Lord inake you willing in the day of his power!
But then, if I am not greatly mistaken, there are some who could hardly wait to hear the text repeated: My heart, Lord!" (cried they, with admiration and rapture :) my heart! wilt thou vouch
safe to accept of my heart? Here it is: take it. - If I had a thousand hearts, thou shouldst have "them all. Who or what am I, O Lord, that, when so many are daily perishing in sin, I should be * made willing to give my heart, and that thou
shouldst be willing to accept it. From this day I • shall call it thine: and if the world or sin, or any • of my former tempters, should come as usual so liciting for my heart, I will tell them,-"I have none to give: on such a New-year's Day I gave it • to God: and I would not take it out of his hands again for the world."'!
What say ye now? Am I right in my guesses at the disposition of your minds at this instant? The Lord enable me rightly to divide this word; of truth, that every one may receive his portion in due season. The method I propose is, to show,
1. What is implied in giving the heart to God. !!!
0 Thou who hast the hearts of all men in thine hand, and canst turn them as the rivers of water are turned; be pleased so to influence the hearts of this: people, that whatever thou demandest they may be disposed to give: that after this day, there may pot, in all this assembly, be one heart but what has “ holiness to the Lord" engraven on it; not one heart but what is an habitation of God through the Spirit.
1. What is implied in giving the heart to God?
The heart is a principal part of the body, upon which animal life and motion intimately depend; and at the same time, it lies' most remote from view: hence it is used in Scripture to express the "inner man," comprehending the judgment, will, and affections: so that where the heart goes, all the rest follow. But, more particularly,
11. To give the heart to God, is to be sincere in > our professions of love and duty.
Religion without sincerity, is like a body without a soul; 'not merely useless, but offensive. God des sireth truth in the inward parts; and being a spirit, expects to be worshipped in spirit and in-truth, and that we lift up our hearts with our hands unto Him in the heavens. 'Hypocrisy is in all cases dishonourable : it is mean in the eyes of the world, where it is suspected ; and our own hearts cannot but upbraid us whenever we are guilty of it.
In common matters, where we have only to do with men, who can judge only by words and appearances, disguises and dissimulation may pass, may prosper: but in religion it is the greatest folly imaginable: for not only the external actions, but the secret springs and principles of them, are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do. At this instant-now, that we are met together, with a professed design to worship him he knows whether our hearts are upright before him: whether we act from a conscientious regard to his glory: or whether we are influenced by carnal motives, such as love of the praise of men, a desire of being thought religious, in order to cover and carry on our worldly and wicked purposes: whether we are, indeed, so weary of sin, and so resolved to follow Christ, as we pretend to be. The most plausible pretences are easily seen through; and if we are not what we appear to be, x .- Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on the wedding garment?” with all the disgraceful and diréful consequences of such a discovery, will sooner or later be the portion of our cup
“ Cursed be the deceiver, which hath in