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of the comfortable sense of both in his own conscience. The passage now proposed to consideration, is among the expressions wherein he prays for sanctification. He had not been an utter stranger to this blessing till now; but eminent falls introduce such a general and surprising disorder into the soul, that a man has in a sort his work in religion to begin anew.

Therefore Peter’s recovery, after his scandalous denial of his Master, is spoken of as if it were a second conversion : “ When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren,” Luke xxii. 32. So the heinous sin of David had poisoned his soul afresh with impure thoughts and irregular inclinations in such a manner, that he saw occasion to apply again for God's creating power, to recover him to a clean heart, as if he had never had one.

In considering this part of a good spirit, I would, first, shew what is included in purity or cleanness of heart, as it stands opposed to fleshly lusts and sensual practices. Sec

ondly, point at some of the obligations we are under, to seek · after and cultivate such a temper of soul.

I, I would inquire into the meaning of a clean heart, or the proper ingredients and expressions of such a temper of soul.

And you cannot but discern, that something more is intended by it than a bare abstinence from the outward and gross acts of criminal sensuality. Would to God that none of these shewed their face in a Christian land! That there was no reason to lament many open instances of impurity and lewdness which hardly shun the light! If the visible reformation of manners were advanced, much dishonor and provocation to the blessed God, and grief to the hearts of good men, would be prevented, and the contagion of vice would not spread as it does. But though the works of the flesh are undeniable evidences of an impure heart, yet other restraints may prevent outward enormities, where the heart is not truly purified. Men may be “like whited sepulchres, which appear beautįful outward, but within are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness,” Matt. xxiii. 27.

That which the psalmist had in his desire, and which every Christian should have in his, is, that the matter may be carried much farther into the temper of the soul ; that there may

be not only clean hands but a pure heart also, which are both united in the character of a citizen of Zion, Psal. xxiv. 4. And such a purified heart will import' such things as these.

1. A fixed habitual abhorrence of all forbidden indulgences of the flesh. Since human nature is corrupted, and bodily appetite has lost the bridle of reason and religion, the affections are become impetuous towards sensual gratifications; the hearts of sinners, or their love and liking, are on that side. Or, if the remains of natural conscience are so strong, and the bias of fear and of shame, in reference to other people, so far prevail as to restrain from open pollutions ; yet they content themselves with this, though all the while a rooted aversion to all fleshly lusts, upon the principles of religion and duty, is wanting. Here is the turning discriminating point in God's account, between a clean and an impure heart. A man, whose heart is purified, looks upon sensualities as hateful to God, as “warring against his soul;” and, therefore, has a fixed detestation of them, as enemies to God and to his own best interests. His “fear of God," and his “ love to him,' leads him thus to hate evil, Prov. viii. 13. Psal. xcvii. 10. This fixed bent of heart against impurity, is that which principally constitutes a clean heart; and from this all the other fruits and expressions of such a temper will proceed.

2. All past impurities, either of heart or life, will be reflected on with shame and sorrow, where there is a clean heart. It is true, that which hath been done cannot be recalled, so as that it should cease to be fact; but when any sin is recalled to remembrance with unfeigned repentance, the heart is, in a gospel-sense, purified from the stain of that sin.

There are too many “who glory in their shame,” Phil. iii. 19. They not only give a loose to their vicious inclinations, but think of them with pleasure afterwards; pride themselves in them, and speak of them with a relish. They are ashamed, when they have committed abominations ; neither can they blush.” Jer. vi. 15. You may too often meet with such old offenders, as when they are unable, by reason of the decays of age any longer to practise the excesses of their youthful days; yet

, instead of penitential tears, and deep humiliation for their former crimes, call them to remembrance

6 not

with an impudent pleasure, boast of them as mighty achievements, and seem sorry for nothing so much as that they can practise them no longer : a spectacle that strikes every serious mind with horror! God alludes to them in his charge against Israel, Ezek. xxiii. 19. “She multiplies her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt. God is there censuring the people of Israel for their spiritual whoredom or idolatry; that they provoked God afresh, by looking back with delight upon the idolatries practised by their ancestors in the early days of their state : but this expressed by an allusion to persons acting over again their youthful sins with pleasure upon the stage of their imagination, and so renewing their offence in God's account. Others think of their former offences with a cold indifference ; or, if there be any remorse, it is rather for the prejudice which they may have done to their health, or estate, or reputation, than from a sense of their sin against God. The sin of such people remains, both in the book of God to their condemnation, and in the dominion of it in their own souls.

But it is the mark of a clean heart to remember any past impurities with godly sorrow, and a deep contrition of soul. He “acknowledgeth his transgression, and his sin is ever before him,!' Psal. li. 3. Every review opens the springs of penitential grief; and while he feels some kindly softenings, yet, like the psalmist in the text, he is solicitous for further cleansing, for a heart still more “purged from his old sins.” Thus the frame of Ephraim is described, Jer. xxxi. 19. “I was ashamed, yea even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.” The hopes of pardoning m will not extinguish, but excite genuine repentance, according to God's design in the discovery of it, Ezek. xvi. 63. “ That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards thee.” Every new benefit conferred by a reconciled God, will heighten the displeasure of a clean heart at past offences, Ezek. xx. 42, 43. “I will bring you into the Jand of Israel,” out of your captivity in Babylon, and there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and you shall lothe yourselves in your own sight, for all your evils which ye have committed.”

This is a happy indication of the temper prayed for in the text.

3. A clean heart imports, that the heart is actually freed, in a good measure from impure thoughts and irregular desires; or, at least, that they are not entertained with pleasure and delight.

The refining and regulating of the fancy and imagination, is a considerable branch of the purification of the heart ; that vicious thoughts come not so often and so easily upon the stage at every turn, as they are apt to do in a mind devoted to sensuality. St Peter speaks of some, 2 Pet. ii. 14. who “ have eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin.' And the old world was so abominably corrupt, particularly in sensualities, as the context shews, that we read of them, that

every imagination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually,” Gen. vi. 5. Many have reason and every sober thought drowned, either in actual fleshly indulgences, or in a succession of vile imaginations, in the intervals between gross acts of sin. Every slight occasion serves to revive impure images ; and if they set themselves to think, it is to “make provision for the flesh, that they may fulfil the lusts thereof." Their heart answers the description of Babylon, in Rev. xviii. 2.; it is “the habitation of devils, the hold of


foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hateful bird.” A clean heart is a heart discharged from such habitual pollutions; wherein better thoughts, such as are holy and heavenly, have place, and are entertained with true delight, as chosen and welcome guests.

I say not, that no impure or irregular thoughts do occasionally come into the minds of such who have attained to an evangelical purity. . Such evil imaginations may be injected and darted by Satan, into the mind of the most virtuous and good person in the world; or such events may occur in the course of things, as can hardly fail to make a sudden impression upon the fancy. But if immediate care be taken to guard against the ill tendency of such impressions, as soon as they are discerned ; if irregular inclinations, which arise from foreign influence, are disallowed, and opposed as soon as born ; God will not be strict to mark iniquity : nor ought persons severely to condemn themselves for these, because they are so far from discovering the dominion of impurity, that they are hardly voluntary. It is not unusual for melancholy people to torment themselves exceedingly with such thoughts ; in like manner as they are afflicted with some blasphemous thoughts, which they find at times started in their minds. Whereas, in both cases, the very horror and detestation with which such thoughts are entertained, might, if they could consider things justly, take off their black apprehensions of themselves because of them. For whether they are from the devil, or the product of bodily distemper, or from whatever source they arise, as long as they are rejected with abhorrence, they are more their affliction than their sin ; or, if they are sinful, will be imputed to the devil rather than to them. It is no more than a temptation, to have them come into their minds : if they resist the temptation, summon up their own endeavours, and call in divine help to master it; if the language of the heart be, “Get thee behind me, Satan, thou art an offence to me;" then, instead of incurring guilt in the sight of God by such vanquished temptations, they will be ranked by him among

those who overcome. But though the bare presence of such thoughts occasionally in the mind, will not argue an impure heart, as long as we are rather passive than active in them; yet, if once we give our consent, as far as we take any pleasure and delight in them, or even if we can bear them with indifference, we immediately become transgressors. Then the thought of foolish. ness is sin,” Prov. xxiv. 9. though it should proceed no farther than the heart. When men set themselves to ruminate upon any impure ideas that are offered to the fancy, till their affections are engaged, and unhallowed flaines are kindled in their breasts ; then they are defiled by them in God's account, whether they ever break out into act, or not. When out of the heart itself, disposed to them, and siding with them, “proceed evil thoughts," suppose of “murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies;” such evil thoughts, when they have gained the heart, and so proceed from itself, “ defile

" Matt. xv. 19, 20. On the contrary, he who is of a clean heart “hates vain thoughts,” Psal. cxix. 113. It is his desire, as much as possible, to guard against their entrance; but if they enter, he will not suffer them quietly to “ lodge within him," Jer.

the man,

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