• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Holiness of Heart

Jonathan EdwardsA man may be vigilant in the external observance of holiness, keep the Sabbath, attend the house of God, and pray consistently; yet if there is no holiness in his heart, he is not likely to see God. Your way of life may be changed for the better, but you must have a new heart and right spirit. Jonathan Edwards writes:

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

[W]e learn that a life of holiness is the pleasantest life in this world, because in such a life we have the imperfect beginnings of a blessed and endless sight of God. And so they have somewhat of true happiness while here, they have the seeds of blessedness sown in their souls, and they begin to shoot forth.

As for all others, those who do not live a holy life, they have nothing at all of true happiness, because they have nothing of the knowledge of God.

[T]o be pure in heart, is the certain and only way to attain to this blessedness. . . .

Purity of heart is here to be understood in distinction from a mere external purity, or a purity of the outward actions and behavior in those things that appear to men in an external morality, and an outward attendance on ordinances, and a profession of the true religion and pure doctrines, and making an outward show and appearance of godliness.

Christ had very probably in our text an eye to the formality and hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees, and other great saints, as they accounted themselves, and were accounted among the Jews. … They were very careful to keep themselves from all ceremonial uncleanness, and they even added to the law in this particular. They were for being stricter and purer than the law required, and therefore made conscience of washing their hands before every meal. … They looked upon themselves only as pure, because they were the children of Abraham, and because they were circumcised and attended the ceremonial law, because they made clean the outside of the cup and the platter, and because of the external purity, they looked upon themselves as the peculiar favorites of heaven, and expected to be admitted to see God, when all the uncircumcised, and those that were not the children of Abraham, should be excluded.

But Christ corrects this their mistake, and teaches that such an external purity will never give a man a title to this blessedness, for it is purity of heart that is requisite in order to attain to it. “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20) (The Pure in Heart Blessed)

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