“Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion!”

“Heaviness in the heart of a man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh him glad.”—Prov. 12:25

I believe all natural men are the subject of heaviness in the heart, and sadness of heart, at times, to a greater or less degree, produced by disappointment and vexation, blasted hopes and blighted affections; and I believe that all natural men are, at times the subjects of gladness, produced by worldly ad­vantages, prosperous circumstances, and smiling prospects; but the diversity of feel­ing expressed in the above words of the wise man contain something more than nature can produce—more than nature, sense and reason can understand; or in any way enter into. But the manifested elect have it revealed to them by the Holy Spirit, to and in the heart feelingly, and not in the head. I am sure that a view of the holiness and majesty of Jehovah, and a sight of our sinnership, will bring heaviness into the heart.

The feeling of standing before a God of such infinite purity, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, searching the innermost parts of the belly, discovering the hidden things of darkness, and bringing to light the gloomy shadow of death—manifesting sins long forgot, and causing them to fall on the conscience as a huge load—this will produce heaviness of such a nature as no man or angel can in any measure alleviate; God himself must do this deed. This heaviness will have its effects; it will cause the heart to stoop; in this is seen the grace of faith working beneath the burden of sin, causing the individual to abhor himself and his sins most heartily, to sink low in his own feelings, and to cry, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” at the feet of Jesus, feeling himself most unworthy of hope, and in his soul acknowledging the justice of God. But though faith thus works, it is imperceptible to the possessor, consequently he is in heaviness, he does not know that he is a fit subject for mercy, he does not know but he shall be sent to hell, he feels that he cannot pray (though he prays often), he cannot believe Christ will save him, this makes him stoop, indeed, not only in his natural feeling, but before God; he will begin to sit lower and lower with his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope, it is not “will he be saved?” but “can he be saved?” It is not “what creed shall he take up so as to go on comfortably in the world,” but “is there mercy for my soul?” Will God look upon one so vile as me? Will he hear me? Will he bless me? This is praying from necessity; from the heart, and not from a creed in the head: this praying, God will hear, and does hear, and will answer, and does answer in his own time. God suffers his people to con­tinue crying and praying sometimes a long season before he answers them; thus he more effectually empties them, and causes them, and causes their hearts to faint and to sicken, till at length a good word comes which fully recompenses them for waiting. It makes them glad in the Lord while they hear him say, “Eat, oh, friends, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.” The blood of Christ—the wine of the kingdom makes glad the heart, (the oil), the unctuous powers of the ever blessed Spirit maketh his face to shine, and (the gospel bread) the body of Christ, fed on by Faith strengthens his heart—he is melted down to less than no­thing; and, as before he wept for sorrow of heart, so now he weeps for joy of heart. But I know that the non-elect experiences heaviness of heart, and that of a deep nature: they sometimes see the majesty of God, and the holiness of God; and they see themselves and feel themselves sinners; and they believe they shall go to hell, and they may go from outward sin for the time. But does heaviness make the heart stoop? Yes, it does make them stoop very low; so that they fear to be alone. But it does not make them stoop before God, so as to be humbled? No; they hate him more and more; and let them but get rid of hell, and they will show how heartily they love sin, if they can but brand their consciences with “no hell,” they will try to dethrone Jehovah himself with their tongue and pen; not only with the heart.

Reader, to which do you and I belong?

Another thing which will produce heaviness in the heart, is a sight and feeling sense of the filthiness and scum of the heart, so depraved, that it is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: this is called, in Ezekiel 8th, the chambers of imagery, in which dwells every lust and sin that one can read of, hear of, or imagine, and a thousand times more murders, adulteries, blasphemies, and a host beside, (see Mark 7th). These things are there portrayed, and there live and rage; they are not there by the infusion of satan now and then, but that is their residence—the heart of man. Now, when the Christian begins to feel these things raging and boiling up in his heart, it will bring him to a great stand in his feelings, and he will find and feel as Mr. Hart says he did—

“Swarms of ill thoughts their bane diffuse,
Proud, envious, false, unclean;
And ev’ry ransack’d corner shews,
Some unsuspected sin.

His feeble faith gives way to doubt,
His spirit yields to fear;
Struck with the sight, he’ll straight cry out—
“Can ever God dwell here?”

I know it was so with me; I did not know what would become of me; I thought I should be left to fall into open sin, and disgrace his cause: and indeed my feet did almost slip, I went to the edge of the pit, another inch and I must have gone. Hope seemed almost expired, I could see nothing but hell before my eyes, life was a burden, I did not know what to do; I wandered about in great heaviness, as full of all manner of sin as I could hold without running over, satan distressing me sorely, sometimes stirring the utmost filth, sometimes blowing on the coals of pride, most abominably telling me I should shine amongst God’ s saints if I minded and looked very sanctified; and I was fool enough to look in the glass one day to see if I looked sanctified, though, I must confess, I am no judge of sanctification in the face; oh, how dreadful is the human heart? At another time he would say I was a hypocrite and reprobate, therefore I should go to hell, whether mo­ral or not, provoking me to the sins most suiting my carnal taste. But I hated sin, and I groaned to be kept from it, and the Lord kept me outwardly. At other times he sorely pressed me to self-destruction; oh, the mercy of God! how did he shew himself a sovereign in my case—preserving me when the razor was opened, when my feet was at the waters’ edge on the awful business. One place especially, (I shall never forget it,) for in two years after, satan had his ends with two in the same spot. Oh! These are solemn moments to my soul; these brought perverseness in my soul, and they made me stoop before God. They made me sometimes in agony of mind, they made me wrestle before God for internal evidences—a word from his mouth, with power to my heart. Nor did the Lord deny me; but he made me stay his time. I know that the hell of sin felt within, as I felt it, made me hate it a thousand time more than I did before; I felt it, and so it always will; it will make the soul pose the least drop of consolation as a jewel, it will crucify him to the world and the world to him—he will seek for ministers who preach expmentaly tbe whole truth, and when he finds them he will love them, and though their remarks may often wound him, yet there he will go, for he is persuaded that these men are the (only) servants of the Mout High God. But the Lord will not leave his people altogether without a witness, as I said, be heard me, so will he hear others; sometimes by dropping a secret promise into their souls, sometimes in hearing according to his own plan and purpose: these may not last long—they make the soul glad while they do last; and though they often after­ wards fear it was all a delusion—they would not be without these things for all the world when their soul was alive to God, they would rather have five minutes communion with God that a thousand pounds. But the world often hangs upon them, and often spiritual things lose their weight with them, so that they often call in question all that they have felt; they would believe but fears prevail; they see not their signs, and they mourn for the light of God’s face, and are in heaviness; this proves they love him, for if they did not love him they would not mourn his departure, nor lie in heaviness when they see him not.



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