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directs itself to the heart, affects that (pernicious affection), and the malignity of ill men is also directed upon the greatest and the best; and not only greatness but goodness loses the vigour of being an antidote or cordial against it. And as the noblest and most generous cordials that nature or art afford, or can prepare, if they be often taken and made familiar, become no cordials, nor have any extraordinary operation, so the greatest cordial of the heart, patience, if it be much exercised, exalts the venom and the malignity of the enemy, and the more we suffer the more we are insulted upon. When God had made this earth of nothing, it was but a little help that he had, to make other things of this earth: nothing can be nearer nothing than this earth; and yet how little of this earth is the greatest man I He thinks he treads upon the earth, that all is under his feet, and the brain that thinks so is but earth; his highest region, the flesh that covers that, is but earth, and even the top of that, that wherein so many Absaloms take so much pride, is but a bush growing upon that turf of earth. How little of the world is the earth! And yet that is all that man hath or is. How little of a man is the heart, and yet it is all by which he is; and this continually subject not only to foreign poisons conveyed by others, but to intestine poisons bred in ourselves by pestilential sicknesses. O who, if before he had a being he could have sense of this misery, would buy a being here upon these conditions?
MY God, my God, all that thou askest of me is my heart, My Son, give me thy heart1. Am I thy Son as long as I have but my heart? Wilt thou give me an inheritance, a filiation, any thing for my
1 Prov. xxiii. 26.
heart? O thou, who saidst to Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him upon the earth', shall my fear, shall my zeal, shall my jealousy, have leave to say to thee, Hast thou considered my heart, that there is not so perverse a heart upon earth; and wouldst thou have that, and shall I be thy son, thy eternal Son's coheir, for giving that? The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it3? He that asks that question makes the answer, I the Lord search the heart. When didst thou search mine? Dost thou think to find it, as thou madest it, in Adam? Thou hast searched since, and found all these gradations in the ill of our hearts, that every imagination of the thoughts of our hearts is only evil continually4. Dost thou remember this, and wouldst thou have my heart? O God of all light, I know thou knowest all, and it is thou5 that declares unto man what is his heart. Without thee, O sovereign Goodness, I could not know how ill my heart were. Thou hast declared unto me, in thy word, that for all this deluge of evil, that hath surrounded all hearts, yet thou soughtest and foundest a man after thine own heart6; that thou couldst and wouldst give thy people pastors according to thine own heart7; and I can gather out of thy word so good testimony of the hearts of men as to find single hearts, docile and apprehensive hearts; hearts that can, hearts that have learned; wise hearts in one place, and in another, in a great degree, wise, perfect hearts; straight hearts, no perverseness without; and clean hearts, no foulness within: such hearts I can find in thy word; and if my heart were such a heart, I would give thee my heart. But I find stony hearts too8, and I have made mine such: I have found hearts that are snares9; and I have conversed with such; hearts that burn like ovens10; and the fuel of lust, and envy, and ambition, hath inflamed mine; hearts in which their masters trust, and he that trusteth in his own heart is a fool"; his confidence in his own moral constancy and civil fortitude will betray him, when thou shalt cast a spiritual damp, a heaviness, and dejection of spirit upon him. I have found these hearts, and a worse than these, a heart into the which the devil himself is entered, Judas's heart12. The first kind of heart, alas, my God, I have not; the last are not hearts to be given to thee. What shall I do? Without that present I cannot be thy son, and I have it not. To those of the first kind thou givest joyfulness of heart", and I have not that; to those of the other kind thou givest faintness of heart14: and blessed be thou, O God, for that forbearance, I have not that yet. There is then a middle kind of hearts, not so perfect as to be given, but that the very giving mends them; not so desperate as not to be accepted, but that the very accepting dignifies them. This is a melting heart15, and a troubled heart; and a wounded heart, and a broken heart, and a contrite heart; and by the powerful working of thy piercing Spirit, such a heart I have. Thy Samuel spake unto all the house of thy Israel, and said, If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, prepare your hearts unto the Lord16. If my heart be prepared, it is a returning heart. And if thou see it upon the way, thou wilt carry it home. Nay, the preparation is thine too; this melting, this wounding, this breaking, this contrition, which I have now, is thy way to thy end; and those discomforts are, for all that, the earnest of thy Spirit in my heart"; and where thou givest earnest, thou wilt perform the bargain. Nabal was confident upon his wine, but in the morning his heart died within himm. Thou, O Lord, hast given me wormwood, and I have had some diffidence upon that; and thou hast cleared a morning to me again, and my heart is alive. David's heart smote him when he cut off the skirt from Saul19; and his heart smote him when he had numbered his people20: my heart hath struck me when I come to number my sins ; but that blow is not to death, because those sins are not to death, but my heart lives in thee. But yet as long as I remain in this great hospital, this sick, this diseaseful world, as long as I remain in this leprous house, this flesh of mine, this heart, though thus prepared for thee, prepared by thee, will still be subject to the invasion of malign and pestilent vapours. But I have my cordials in thy promise; when I shall know the plague of my heart, and pray unto thee in thy house", thou wilt preserve that heart from all mortal force of that infection; and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep my heart and mind through Christ Jesus2'2.
» Job, i. 8. 3 Jer. xvii. 9. 4 Gen. vi. 5.
5 Amos, Iv. 14. "1 Sam. xiii. 14. 'Jer. iii. 15. s Ezek. xi. 19.
9 Eccles. vii. 26. 10 Hos. vii. 6. "Prov. xxviii. 26. 1- John, xiii. 2. 13 Ecclns. I. 23. » Lev. xxvi. 36.
13 Josh. ii. 11. ,6 1 Sam. vii. 3.
O ETERNAL and most gracious God, who in thy upper house, the heavens, though there be many mansions, yet art alike and equally in every mansion ; but here in thy lower house, though thou fillest all, yet art otherwise in some rooms thereof than in others; otherwise in thy church than in my chamber, and otherwise in thy sacraments than in my prayers ; so though thou be always present, and always
17 2 Cor. i. 22. 18 1 Sam. xxv. 37.
19 1 Sam. xxiv. 5. * 2 Sam. xxiv. 10.
2i 1 Kings, viii. 38. 22 Phil. iv. 7.
working in every room of this thy house, my body, yet I humbly beseech thee to manifest always a more effectual presence in my heart than in the other offices. Into the house of thine anointed disloyal persons, traitors, will come; into thy house, the church, hypocrites and idolaters will come; into some rooms of this thy house, my body, temptations will come, infections will come; but be my heart thy bedchamber, O my God, and thither let them not enter. Job made a covenant with his eyes, but not his making of that covenant, but thy dwelling in his heart, enabled him to keep that covenant. Thy Son himself had a sadness in his soul to death, and he had a reluctation, a deprecation of death, in the approaches thereof; but he had his cordial too, Yet not my will, but thine be done. And as thou hast not delivered us, thine adopted sons, from these infectious temptations, so neither hast thou delivered us over to them, nor withheld thy cordials from us. I was baptized in thy cordial water, against original sin, and I have drunk of thy cordial blood, for my recovery from actual and habitual sin, in the other sacrament. Thou, O Lord, who hast imprinted all medicinal virtues which are in all creatures, and hast made even the flesh of vipers to assist in cordials, art able to make this present sickness everlasting health, this weakness everlasting strength, and this very dejection and faintness of heart a powerful cordial. When thy blessed Son cried out to thee, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? thou didst reach out thy hand to him; but not to deliver his sad soul, but to receive his holy soul: neither did he longer desire to hold it of thee, but to recommend it to thee. I see thine hand upon me now, O Lord, and I ask not why it comes, what it intends ; whether thou wilt bid it stay still in this body for some time, or bid it meet thee this day in paradise,