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 Third: Necessity That all Our Actions Come From a Broken Heart

            It is necessary in respect of all our actions that they may be right [[1]]that they should come from such a heart as hates sin. For if I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer (Ps. 66:18).  Now [a] man is said to regard wickedness when the parting with it is grievous to him; as it was when Abraham was bidden by Sarah to cast our Ishmael, the matter was very grievous unto him, because he did regard and love him: so it is when we respect and love our sins, we will be loath to part with them and then know that what action soever you do, you cannot please God.  The reason is, because God he judges of a man’s action according to his heart, which if that be unfound, then will all the action be no better.  There is the complaint made by the prophet: “And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain” (Ezekiel 33:31).

            While men deal thus with God and behave themselves no better in his service, they may not unfitly be compared to the water-man [a man operating a small boat on a river] that while he rows one way, he looks another: Wash your hands therefore, ye sinner, and cleanse your heart, ye double minded men (James 4:8).  Wash your hands by reformation (and your hearts by true contrition); otherwise you are but dipyschos, double-minded (Matt. 12:33).

            Therefore, make the tree good and the fruit be good; therefore now if your heart be good, so will your actions be: for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:33); the hand works, the ears harkens and the whole man moves.  Therefore there must be great need of contrition to the end (Is. 5:7 & 15).


[1]  The text, at this point repeats the phrase, “It is necessary”, Ed.