• 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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  • October 2022
    M T W T F S S
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The Hypocrite

The hypocrite is all show in the effort to hide his wickedness. Yet, we still find him sinful in deed. Pilate might have thought he could convince the world that he had a tender heart. Still, he may wash his hands as much as he wills, but he has no true claim to innocence. God sees it all. Thomas Watson (1620-1686) provides more insight into the nature of hypocrites below:

And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13 ESV)

I shall give you two distinguishing characters whereby you may know a hypocrite. He is one that is partial in his goodness; zealous in lesser things, and remiss in greater: as Luther complained of some in his time, and our Savior in his time, which ‘strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.’ He is one that sweats only in some part, but is cool in all the rest, which is a sign his zeal is distempered. He is zealous against a ceremony, a relic or painted glass (not that I plead for these), but in the mean time lives in known sin, lying, cozening, extortion, &c. Just as the High Priests, ‘It is not lawful, say they, to put the money into the treasury, because it is the price of blood,’ Matt. 27.6. They speak like conscientious men. Oh do not defile the treasury! But let me ask the question, why did they shed that blood? It was innocent blood. They will not take the price of blood into the treasury, but they never scruple to take the guilt of blood into their souls. They were zealous for the temple, but in the mean time murderers of the Son of God. And we have a parallel scripture to this, Rom. 2.22. ‘Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?’ Who at the first blush would not have taken these for very holy, devout men that were zealous against idolatry? But see a root of hypocrisy! They were partially good, they hated one sin, but not another; idolatry, but not sacrilege. Though it was an abominable sin, and there was an express law of God against it; yet these seeming zealots make no conscience of robbing God of his tithes.

And here as in a scripture looking-glass, we may see our own faces; have we not many now-a-days seemingly zealous against popery? If they see a cross, (though it be in a coat of arms), they are much offended, and are in a kind of convulsion: but in the mean time make no conscience of sacrilege, starving out the ministry, they put out the fire on God’s altar, shut the doors of his temple; is not this visible hypocrisy? There are some, it may be, will not be heard to swear, it will not stand with their saintship; (this were to call the devil father aloud,) but they will defraud and defame, which is a sin they can never satisfy for; take away a man’s name, what mends can you make him? It is no better than murder; and if these be saints, there are as good saints in hell.

The second character of a hypocrite is that he makes religion a mask to cover his sin. Herod pretended to worship Christ, but his zeal was no other than malice, for it was to have destroyed him. Thus oft bad purposes lie hid under good pretenses. Jezebel, that she may dissemble her murderous intentions, proclaims a fast. Absalom, to color over his treason, pretends a religious vow. How cunning is the heart to go to hell; sometimes covetousness pretends conscience; Judas fisheth for money under a pretence of religion, ‘This ointment might have been sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor,’ John 12.5. How charitable Judas was! But his charity began at home, for he carried the bag. Many make religion a cloak for their ambition, ‘Come, see my zeal, saith Jehu, for the Lord.’ 1 Kings 10.16. No, Jehu, thy zeal was for the kingdom. It was not zeal, but state-policy. Jehu made religion hold the stirrup till he got possession of the crown; here was double-dyed hypocrisy. (“God’s Anatomy Upon Man’s Heart”)

God’s Window Into The Heart

Thomas Watson

What one may call the “secret sins of the heart” are really no secret at all. God is always aware and easily sees into the heart of a man. Thomas Watson (1620 – 1686) explains below:

“But all Things are naked and open unto the Eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13)

‘What manner of persons ought we to be,’ 2 Peter 3.11. Hath God a window that opens into our hearts? Doth he make a critical descant upon our actions? Oh what holiness, what sincerity, what exemplary piety becomes us, being in such a presence! Were we to come before some great monarch, what solemn preparations would we make? Shall the eye of a king do so much, and not the eye of God? The king can only see the outside; there may be a treason within for ought he knows: but God hath a key for the heart, Jer. 17.10. ‘I the Lord search the heart;’ and will not this command reverence? In these days of solemn humiliation, God’s eye is principally upon the heart. God looks there most, where we look least; some have no heart at all; sin hath stolen away their heart; others have an heart too much, ‘An heart and an heart,’ Psalm 12.2. Others have hearts good for nothing, earthly hearts, like ‘Saul that was hid among the stuff,’ 1 Sam. 10.22. Some have angels’ tongues, but, as Nebuchadnezzar he had the heart of a beast given to him. Brethren, did our hearts stand where our faces do, this would be a day of blushing, we should be ashamed to look one upon another; remember, God hath a key for the heart.

When we come to these solemn duties, God asks that question, as Jehu did Jehonadab, 2 Kings 10.15. He saluted him, and said to him, ‘Is thy heart right, as my heart is with thy heart?’ and he said, ‘It is. If it be, give me thy hand: and he took him up into the chariot.’

This is God’s question. You come this day to humble yourselves and make atonement, ‘Is your heart right with me?’ If we can answer as he did, Lord, thou knowest it is; though I have much weakness, yet my heart is right, I have no false bias upon it; though I am not perfect, I hope I am sincere; then will God say, Give me your prayers, give me your tears, now ‘come up with me into the chariot.’ A tear from a bleeding heart is a precious perfume in heaven. Oh did we consider this all-seeing eye, we durst not bring so much strange fire into the Divine presence. We read of Ezekiel’s wheels, they had a wheel within a wheel. Thus God hath a thought within a thought: he comes between us and our thoughts.

The goddess Minerva, as the Poets feign, was drawn in such lively colors, that which way so ever one turned, still Minerva’s eye was upon him. Thus, turn which way you will, fall in love with any sin, still God looks upon you: he hath an eye in your heart. What manner of persons ought we to be?

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