When the Lord leads the Examination… Of the Evils in Your Own Heart

Taken and adapted from, “The Works of Robert Leighton, D.D.” (1611 – 1684)
Excerpt edited for thought and sense.

Failed Test

MANY and great are the evils that lodge within the heart of man…

…and they come forth abundantly both by the tongue and by the hand, yet the heart is not emptied of them; yea, the more it vent them outwardly, the more they increase within. Well might he that knew the heart so well, call it an evil treasure –We find the prophet Ezekiel in his 8th chap, led by the Lord in vision to Jerusalem, to view the sins of the Jews that remained in time of the Captivity; when he had shewed him one abomination, he caused him to dig through the wall, to enter and discover more, and so directed him several times, from one place to another, and still said, I will show thee yet greater abominations.

Thus is it with those whom the Lord leads into an examination of their own hearts (for men are usually strangers to themselves); by the light of his word and Spirit going before them, he lets them see heaps of abominations in every room, and the vilest in the most retired and darkest corners; and truly, should he leave them there, they would despair of remedy. No, he makes this discovery on purpose that they should flee to him for help.

Do so, then, as many as have taken any notice of the evils of your own hearts: tell the Lord they are his own works. He formed the heart of man within him, and they are his own choice too: My son, give me thy heart. Entreat him to redress all those abuses wherewith Satan and sin have filled it, and then, to take possession of it himself, for therein consists its happiness.

This is, or should be, a main reason for our going to his house and service.

Wrong not yourselves so far as to turn these serious exercises of religion into an idle diversion. What a happiness it is if every time you come to his solemn worship, some of your strongest sins did receive a new wound, and some of your weakest graces a new strength!

Peace in the Storm

Taken and adapted from “The Whole Works of Robert Leighton: Sermon XXII”
Written by, Robert Leighton
Adapted from, The Dead Puritan Society. Hosted by Paul D.
Edited for thought and sense. Published in Edinburgh:  1832

Rembrandt_Christ_in_the_Storm_on_the_Lake_of_Galilee-960x360

.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,because he trusts in you.”  
–Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)

This is the way to have peace and assurance, which many look for first…

”You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you,”  Isaiah 26: 3.  So, here, the heart is fixed by trusting.  Seek then clearer apprehensions of the faithfulness and goodness of God, hearts more enlarged in the notion of free grace, and the absolute trust due to it; thus shall they be more established and fixed in all the rollings and changes of the world.

Heart fixed or prepared, ready, pressed and in arms for all services; resolved not to give back, able to meet all adventures, and stand its ground.  God is unchangeable; and, therefore, faith is invincible, that sets the heart on him; fastens it there on the rock of eternity; then let winds blow and storm arise, it cares not.  The firm and close cleaving unto God hath in it of the affection, which is inseparable from his trust — love with faith; and so a hatred of all ways and thoughts that alienate and estrange from God, that remove and unsettle the heart. The holiest, wariest heart, is surely the most believing and fixed heart: if a believer will adventure on any one way of sin, he shall find that will unfix him, and shake his confidence, more than ten thousand hazards and assaults from without.  These are so far from mov ing, that they settle and fix the heart commonly more, cause it to cleave closer and nearer unto God; but sinful liberty breeds inquiet, and disturbs all.  Where sin is, there will be a storm; the wind within the bowels of the earth makes the earth quake.

Would you be quiet and have peace within in troublous times, keep near unto God…

…be ware of anything that may interpose betwixt you and your confidence.  It is good for me (says the Psalmist) to be near God; not only to draw near, but to keep near, to cleave to him, and dwell in him: so the word.  Oh, the sweet calm of such a soul amidst all storms; thus once trusting and fixed, then no more fear, not afraid of evil tidings, nor of any ill-hearing!  Whatsoever sound is terrible in the ears of men, the noise of war, news of death, even the sound of the trumpet in the last judgment, he hears all this calmly.

Nothing is unexpected, being once fixed on God; then the heart may put cases to itself, and suppose all things imaginable, the most terrible, and look for them; not troubled before trouble with dark and dismal apprehensions, but satisfied in a quiet, unmoved expectation of the hardest things.  What soever it is, though particularly not thought on before, yet the heart is not afraid of the news of it, because fixed, trusting on the Lord; nothing can shake that foundation, nor dissolve that union, therefore no fear.

The Art of Casting our Cares…On the Lord!

Written by, Robert Leighton (1611-1684).

burdens“Humble yourselves, therefore,
under the mighty hand of God
so that at the proper time
he may exalt you,
casting all your anxieties on him,
because he cares for you.” 

–1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV)

Cast thy burden upon the Lord. Hand it over, heave it upon him…

…and he shall sustain you, shall bear both, if you trust him with both; both you and your burden.  He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.  The children of God have the only sweet life; the world thinks not so, rather looks on them as poor, discontented, lowering creatures but they see not what an uncaring, truly secure life they are called to.

While others are in turmoil and wrestling each with his projects and burdens for himself, and at length crushed and sinking under them, (for that is the end of all that do for themselves) the child of God goes free from the pressure of all that concerns him; for it is laid over on his God.  If he use his advantage, he is not racked with musings, Oh! what will become of this and that but goes on in the strength of God as he may; offers up poor, but sincere endeavors to God, and is sure of one thing, all shall be well.

He lays his affairs and himself on God, and so has no pressing care; no care but the care of love how to please, how to honor, his Lord; and in this he depends on him both for skill and strength and, touching the success of things, leaves that as none of his, to be burdened with; casts it on God, and he cares for it.  They need not both care, his care alone is sufficient; hence peace, inconceivable peace.  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds, through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:6).

20100115-worried-woman-290x218Truly, the Godly are much in the wrong to themselves, by not improving this their privilege.  They too often forget this their sweet way, and fret themselves to no purpose; wrestle with their burdens themselves, and do not entirely and freely roll them over on God.  They are surcharged with them, and he calls for them, and yet they will not give them to him. They think to spare him, but indeed in this they disobey, and dishonor, and so grieve him; and they find the grief return on them, and yet cannot learn to be wise.  Why deal we thus with our God, and with our souls, grieving both at once?  Let it never be, that for any outward thing you perplex yourself, and entangle thy thoughts, as in thickets, with the cares of this life.  Oh! how unsuitable are these to a child of God and your peace, that gives God, for whom a life so far more excellent is provided!  Hath he prepared a kingdom for you, and will he not bestow your charges in the way to it?

—————————————————

Taken and adapted from, The Whole Works of Robert Leighton (Commentary on 1 Peter), D. D. Archbishop of Glasgow. To which is Prefixed, A Life of the Author, by James Aikman, Esq. A New Edition, Complete in One Volume. Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson and Peter Brown. 1832, pp. 292-294.