Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary

224 Heart


Is used for the soul, and all the powers thereof; as the understanding , conscience, will, affections, and memory. The heart of man is naturally, constantly, universally, inexpressibly, openly, and evidently depraved, and inclined to evil, Jer. 17:9. It requires a divine power to renovate it, and render it susceptible of right impressions, Jer. 24:7. When thus renovated, the effects will be seen in the temper, conversation, and conduct at large. Hardness of heart is that state in which a sinner is inclined to, and actually goes on in rebellion against God. This state evidences itself by light views of the evil of sin; partial acknowledgment and confession of it; frequent commission of it; pride and conceit: ingratitude; unconcern about the word and ordinances of God; inattention to divine providences; stifling convictions of conscience; shunning reproof; presumption, and general ignorance of divine things. We must distinguish, however, between that hardness of heart which even a good man complains of, and that of a judicial nature. 1. Judicial hardness is very seldom perceived, and never lamented; a broken and contrite heart is the least thing such desire; but it is otherwise with believers, for the hardness they feel is always a matter of grief to them, Rom. 7:24.–2. Judicial hardness is perpetual; or, if ever there be any remorse or relenting, it is only at such times when the sinner is under some outward afflictions, or filled with the dread of the wrath of God; but as this wears off or abates, his stupidity returns as much or more than ever, Exod. 9:27; but true believers, when no adverse dispensations trouble them, are often distressed because their hearts are no more affected in holy duties, or inflamed with love to God, Rom. 7:15.–3. Judicial hardness is attended with a total neglect of duties, especially those that are secret; but that hardness of heart which a believer complains of, though it occasions his going uncomfortably in duty, yet does not keep him from it, Job 23:2,3.—4. when a person is judicially hardened, he makes use of indirect and unwarrantable methods to maintain that false peace which he thinks himself happy in the enjoyment of; but a believer, when complaining of the hardness of his heart, cannot be satisfied with any thing short of Christ, Ps. 101:2.—5. Judicial hardness generally opposes the interest of truth and godliness; but a good man considers this as a cause nearest his heart; and although he have to lament his lukewarmness, yet he constantly desires to promote it, Ps. 72:19. 

Keeping the heart, is a duty enjoined in the sacred Scriptures. It consists, says Mr. Flavel, in the diligent and constant use and improvement of all holy means and duties to preserve the soul from sin, and maintain communion with God; and this, he properly observes, supposed a previous work of sanctification, which hath set the heart right by giving it a new bent and inclination. 1. It includes frequent observation of the frame of the heart, Ps. 77:6.—2. Deep humiliation for heart evils and disorders, 2 Chron. 32:26.–3. Earnest supplication for heart purifying and rectifying grace, Ps. 19:12.–4. A constant holy jealousy over our hearts, Prov. 27:14.–5. It includes the realizing of God’s presence with us, and setting him before us, Ps. 16:8. Gen. 17:1. This is, 1. The hardest work; heart work is hard work, indeed.–2. Constant work, Exod. 17:12.–3. The most important work, Prov. 23:26. This is a duty which should be attended to, if we consider it in connection with, 1. The honour of God, Is. 66:3.—2. The sincerity of our profession, 2 Kings 10:31. Ezek. 33:31,32.–3. The beauty of our conversation, Prov. 12:26. Ps. 14:1.—4. The comfort of our souls, 2 Cor. 13:5.—5. The improvement of our graces, Ps. 63:5,6.—6. The stability of our souls in the hour of temptation, 1 Cor. 16:13.–The seasons in which we should more particularly keep our hearts are, 1. The time of prosperity, Deut. 4:10, 12.–2. Under afflictions, Heb. 7:5, 6.–3. The time of Sion’s troubles, Ps. 46:1,4.—4. In the time of great and threatened dangers, Is. 26:20,21.–5. Under great wants, Phil. 4:6,7.— 6. In the time of duty, Lev. 10:3.—7. Under injuries received, Rom. 12:17, &c.–8. In the critical hour of temptation. Matt. 26:41.–9. Under dark and doubting seasons, Heb. 12:8. Is. 50:10.–10. In time of opposition and suffering, 1 Pet. 4:12,13. –11. The time of sickness and death, Jer. 49:11. The means to be made use of to keep our hearts, are, 1. Watchfulness, Mark 13:37.–2. Examination, Prov. 4:26.– 3. Prayer, Luke 18:1.—4. Reading God’s word, John 5:39.–5. Dependence on divine grace, Ps. 86:11. See Flavel on Keeping the Heart; Jameison’s Sermons on the Heart; Wright on self-possession; Ridgley’s Div. qu. 20. 

Charles Buck (1771-1815) was an English Independent minister, best known for the publication of his “Theological Dictionary”. According to the “Dictionary of National Biography”, a Particular Baptist minister named John C. Ryland (1723-1792) assisted Buck by writing many of the articles for the aforementioned publication. One may conclude, based not only Buck’s admiration for his friend Ryland, but also on the entries in his Theological Dictionary, that he stood head and shoulders with the High-Calvinists of his day.

Charles Buck on the Biblical Covenants (Complete)
Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary