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that after his death, as justice was satisfied by his blood-shedding, the fountain was now opened for sin and uncleanness; the blood that cancels the sinner's debt, shall cancel also the upbraidings of conscience.
THE EXPERIENCE OF THE RENEWED HEART.
And I will give them an heart to know me, that I
am the Lord : and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.-JEREMIAH xxiv. 7.
The Church of God was at this time in a state of captivity, and the Lord here condescends to command his prophet, to tell them he would restore them to their own land, to a land flowing with milk and honey: but more than this, that he would give them a heart to know him: “ For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land : and I will build them, and not pull them down : and I will plant them and not pluck them up. And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord : and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” 1
Jeremiah xxiv. 6, 7.
This spiritual blessing of a new heart is common to all the heirs of salvation ; it is absolutely necessary that we should be brought to know the Lord here : it is essential to usher us into the glories of eternity. By the heart, is here meant the intellect, as well as the affections: the intellect is illumined, the affections renewed ; it is sometimes in scripture called the heart of flesh, as opposed to the old nature, the heart of stone. The method I would adopt, this morning, of considering this subject, is, to shew you the attributes of this new heart; that is, in other words, to point out to you the experience of one who knows God.
I. In the first place, then, to THE HEART which is THUS RENEWED, God the Holy Ghost has given a sensibility, whereby a man perceives his own character, and peruses with accuracy the state of his own heart: he perceives that it was once full of atheism and rebellion. Some believers mourn over this discovery of their own corrupt nature; but, my brethren, be not thus discouraged; it is not the sins you discover and mourn over, but those which are concealed and unknown, which are likely to condemn you. Man is naturally full of atheism; we need only peruse our own characters and former state to be convinced of this. “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God,"—that is, no such God, as God in his holy word describes himself to be. There are, it is true, many who have some imperfect knowledge of the existence of a being superior to themselves, who superintends the world he has created, but immediately that the God of the gospel is presented to them, they deny him. Hear what is said of the wicked-those who are not born of the Holy Ghost, however amiable and respectable they may be considered by the world, “ God is not in all their thoughts :” this is a humiliating consideration to man,- but it is fit we should know it. Oh, think of the years, the months, the weeks, the days of our past life, we have spent as though God were not in being. The Apostle draws a faithful picture of what we once were—“Wherefore remember, that ye, being, in time past, Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision, by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh, made by hands: that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” 2 Do not think your being born in a Christian land, and
a partaker of Christian privileges will make any real difference in your situation. It is true, those privileges make an external difference, in many respects, between you and the ignorant heathen of the present day; but still there is no internal, no real difference of heart; it is alike unconverted in you and them; it is alone the new heart that discovers the truth of St. Paul's description, and mourns over it.
. II. When God the Holy Spirit, by RENEWING THE HEART, gives the knowledge of himself, the sinner perceives that he once exclusively trusted in created good, and rejected all uncreated good. Hear what God says, “ Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land, and not inhabited.” 1 In our difficulties we fled to ourselves, and to others. We resorted to human aid for support and comfort, but never to God. How different the refuge of the renewed heart. “ For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion : in the secret of his
i Jeremiah xvii. 5, 6.