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SERMON IV.

EZEK. xi. 19.

I will give them one heart.

ALL that is valuable in christian experience, or that is desirable in this world and the next, is in this precious promise. It is the one thing needful, the good part that shall never be taken away from its happy posDid we fully know its importance, our prayer would be, Lord, give me what thou hast promised!

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I. Let us consider what is implied in this blessing.

1. When God promises to give his people one heart, it supposes that their heart was previously divided among other objects, and neither devoted to himself, nor united to one another. There was a time when they were not a people, though they are now become the people of God; and at that time they had no heart for him, or for any of the exercises or comforts of the religious life; no heart for prayer or praise, for the duties of the closet, or the ordinances of public worship. Ephraim, says the prophet, is a silly dove, without heart; and the same may be said of all unconverted sinners. They have no understanding in spiritual things; no aptitude or fitness for holy duties; no true wisdom or discretion in the management of their concerns; no courage or fortitude to face an enemy, or to bear up under heavy trials and afflictions. The sinner no longer possesses any heart; he has given it to another. Satan dwells in it as his strong hold, reigns in it as his palace, and directs it to

what objects he pleases. He works in the children of disobedience, and leads them captive at his will.

Or if there be any sort of affection for what is good, yet the heart of a sinner is still divided, and so shall it be found faulty. Hos. x. 2. It is divided between God and mammon, sin and holiness; between the trifles and vanities of this world, and the blessedness of the next. `Hence the lives of sinners are full of inconsistencies and contradictions, running into opposite extremes, and becoming every thing by turns. They are halting in their opinions, inconstant in their affections, and unstable in their conduct. Now their convictions gain the ascendency, and then their corruptions. Sinning and repenting, repenting and sinning again, marks their entire character. Sin has disjointed the whole frame of the heart, made it irresolute and unfixed, emptied it of every thing that is good, and filled it with all manner of evil. So that, according to the testimony of God himself, it is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; a cage of every foul spirit, and of every unclean and hateful bird; and all the imaginations of the thoughts of the heart are evil, only evil, and that continually. This is a dark and gloomy picture; but the colours are not too thick or strongly laid; for God himself is the painter. Gen. vi. 5. Psal. xiv 3. Jer. xvii. 9. Matt. xv. 19. Rom. iii. 12-18.

II. Consider the import of the promise itself: "I wil give them one heart.'

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Notwithstanding there is a great diversity amongst the people of God, there is a oneness of affection, interest and design; so that, though they are many, yet are they one body, and members one of another."My dove, my undefiled, is but one," says Christ. The governing principles and prevailing qualities in the saints, under every dispensation, are essentially the same. They are united to the same head, and are animated by

the same spirit; they walk by the same rule, and aim at the same end.-More particularly,

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1. They are of one mind as to the Object of their supreme affections, and the way of acceptance with him. Whatever difference there may be in other respects, they all realise the truth of our Lord's saying, and rejoice in it: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me. It was he that filled up the immeasurable gulph between God and us, and is become the medium of all divine communications; so that our faith and hope, which ultimately centre in God, are through the Mediator. Unto us there is one God, and one Mediator, the man Christ Jesus. Hence, where the same promise is made in Jer. xxxii. 39, "I will give them one heart," it is added, "and one way;" that is, not only one way of thinking and acting in other respects, but especially one way of approach to God, one way of salvation, and a oneness of heart to walk in it. God in Christ Jesus is the centre where all the saints meet; here all hearts are united, and every desire gratified. And as the kingdom of heaven advances, this union will be increased; for when the Lord shall be king over all the earth, in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one.. Zech. xiv. 9.

2. They are of one heart as to their relation and union to one another. All true believers are united to Christ, and are bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh; and in him they are united to each other. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female; for they are all one in Christ Jesus. Their outward circumstances and inward dis-" positions, their mental abilities and spiritual acquirements, may be very different; some rich, and some poor; some weak and ignorant; others wise and intelligent; some babes in Christ, and others young men and fathers; yet they are of one heart and one soul, as to the great objects of the christian faith. They all speak

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the same thing, and with one mouth glorify God. Being rooted and built up in Christ Jesus, and established in the faith, they are not shaken by every wind of doctrine, nor easily drawn aside by the cunning craftiness of those who lie in wait to deceive. They are one in affection, as well as in judgment, according to the language of the prophet: "I will make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand, saith the Lord." Mutual jealousies shall subside, and former animosities be forgotten. They shall have no separate interests, and therefore no divided affections.

3. This oneness is the fruit of Christ's death; for he died that he might gather together in one, the children of God that are scattered abroad. It also arises from his intercession: I pray, says he, that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. It is likewise the proper and distinguishing badge of discipleship: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, says Jesus, if ye love one another. It is a union founded upon truth, and is the fruit of grace: where it is so, it will be abiding, and where it is not so, it will be otherwise. It is not to be expected, however, that good men should all agree in the external forms and minuter parts of religion; but they do agree in this, that minor differences among those who hold the Head, should not diminish their mutual affection.

4. The oneness of heart promised in the text, may farther be distinguished-(1) From a double or divided heart. Some men's affections and desires are scattered amongst a multitude of different objects; but the heart of a christian is in this respect_undivided. All the powers and faculties of his soul go one way, tending towards one object. This one thing I do, says Paul. One thing have I desired, says David, and that will i seek after. Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none on earth that I desire besides thee.

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real saints are united in one hope of their calling; have all one Lord, one faith, and one rule of obedience. Thus is that promise fulfilled: "David, my servant, shall be king over them, and they shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them." Ezek. xxxvii. 24.-(2) This oneness of heart may be opposed to every species of guile and hypocrisy. Ye dissembled in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the Lord your God to pray for you, said Jeremiah to the men of Israel. They professed one thing, and intended another, covering their base designs with plausible pretences. In opposition to this, the heart which God gives his people is upright and sincere, free from deceit and guile. Amaziah did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart; while of Asa it is said, that his heart was perfect with the Lord all his days. Such also is the difference between the false and the true believer.-(3) It is opposed to a doubtful and undecided state of mind, such as was found among the children of Israel, when Elijah said to them, how long do ye halt between two opinions. If the Lord be God, serve him; and if Baal, serve him. Master, I will follow thee, said one to Jesus; but let me first go and bury my father. On the contrary, the oneness of heart here promised is a resolved undivided heart; nor carried away by secular interests or worldly policy, but is under the divine direction and command. My heart is fixed, says David, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise. None of these things move me, says Paul; neither count I my life dear to me, so that I may finish my course with joy.-(4) It stands opposed to a fickle and inconstant heart. A man of a gracious disposition will appear for God, when he himself is neglected and forgotten; and for religion, when it is most derided and opposed. He has lift up his hand to God, and he will not go back. He has made his choice, and he will abide by it; has begun his course, and will not forsake it. Oh, my soul! thou hast said unto the

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