Sermon 1687. The Law Written in the Heart
DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, OCTOBER 29, 1882,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE NEWINGTON.
After those days, says the Lord, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts."
LAST Lord's-Day morning [GOD'S NON-REMEMBRANCE OF SIN-NO. 1685] we spoke of the first great blessing of the Covenant of Grace,namely, the full forgiveness of sins. Then we dilated with delight upon that wonderful promise, "Their sins and their iniquitieswill I remember no more," I hope our consciences were pacified and our hearts filled with wonder as we thought of God's castingbehind His back all the sins of His people, so that we could sing with David, "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that iswithin me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities."
This great blessing of pardoned sin is always connected with the renewal of the heart. It is not given because of the changeof heart, but it is always given with the change of heart. If God takes away the guilt of sin, He is sure, at the same time,to remove the power of sin. If He puts away our offenses against His Law, He also makes us desire, in the future, to obeythe Law of God. In our text we observe the excellence and dignity of the Law of God. The Gospel has not come into the worldto set aside the Law. Salvation by Grace does not erase a single precept of the Law, nor lower the standard of justice inthe smallest degree-on the contrary, as Paul says-we do not make void the Law through faith, but we establish the Law.
The Law is never honored by fallen man till he comes from under its condemning rule, walks by faith and lives under the Covenantof Grace. When we were under the Covenant of Works, we dishonored the Law, but now we venerate it as a perfect display ofmoral rectitude. Our Lord Jesus has shown to an assembled universe that the Law is not to be trifled with and that every transgressionand disobedience must receive a just recompense of reward, since the sin which He bore on our account brought upon Him, asour innocent Substitute, the doom of suffering and death. Our Lord Jesus has testified, by His death, that even if sin ispardoned, yet it is not put away without an expiatory Sacrifice. The death of Christ rendered more honor to the Law than allthe obedience of all who were ever under it could have rendered! And it was a more forcible vindication of eternal justicethan if all the redeemed had been cast into Hell.
When the Holy One smites His own Son, His wrath against sin is evident to all. But this is not enough. The Law is, in theGospel, not only vindicated by the Sacrifice of Christ, but it is honored by the work of the Spirit of God upon the heartsof men. Whereas under the Old Covenant, the commands of the Law excited our evil natures to rebellion-under the Covenant ofGrace we consent unto the Law, that it is good, and our prayer is, "Teach me to do Your will, O Lord." What the Law couldnot do because of the weakness of the flesh, the Gospel has done through the Spirit of God! Thus the Law is held in honoramong Believers and though they are no more under it as a Covenant of Works, they are, in a measure, conformed to it as theysee it in the life of Christ Jesus, and they delight in it after the inward man.
Things required by the Law are bestowed by the Gospel. God demands obedience under the Law-God works obedience under the Gospel.Holiness is asked of us by the Law-holiness is worked in us by the Gospel so that the difference between the economics ofLaw and Gospel is not to be found in any diminution of the demands of the Law, but in the actual giving unto the redeemedthat which the Law exacted of them-and in the working in them that which the Law required. Notice, beloved Friends, that underthe Old Covenant, the Law of God was given in a most awe-inspiring manner and yet it did not secure loyal obedience. God cameto Sinai and the mountain was altogether on a smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire-and the smoke ascended as thesmoke of a furnace-the whole mountain quaked greatly!
So terrible was the sight of God manifesting Himself on Sinai that even Moses said, "I exceedingly fear and quake." Out ofthe thick darkness which covered the sublime summit, there came forth the sound of a trumpet, waxing exceed-
ingly loud and long, and a Voice proclaimed, one by one, the 10 great statutes and ordinances of the moral Law. I think Isee the people at a distance, with bounds set about the mountain, crouching with abject fear and, at last, entreating thatthese words might not be spoken to them any more! So terrible was the sound of Jehovah's voice, even when He was not declaringvengeance, but simply expounding righteousness, that the people could not endure it any longer-and yet no permanent impressionwas left upon their minds-no obedience was shown in their lives!
Men may be cowed by power, but they can only be converted by love. The sword of justice has less power over human hearts thanthe scepter of mercy. Further to preserve that Law, God Himself inscribed it upon two tables of stone and He gave these tabletsinto the hands of Moses. What a treasure! Surely no particles of matter had ever been so honored as these slabs which hadbeen touched by the finger of God and bore on them the legible impression of His mind! But these Laws on stone were not kept-neitherthe stones nor the Laws were reverenced. Moses had not long gone up into the mountain before the once awe-struck people werebowing before the golden calf, forgetful of Sinai and its solemn Voice-and making for themselves the likeness of an ox thateats grass-and bowing before it as the symbol of the Godhead!
When Moses came down from the hill with those priceless tablets in His hands, He saw the people wholly given up to base idolatryand, in his indignation, he dashed the tablets to the ground and broke them in pieces, as well he might when he saw how thepeople had spiritually broken them and violated every Word of the Most High! From all this I gather that the Law is neverreally obeyed as the result of servile fear. You may preach up the anger of God and the terrors of the world to come, butthese do not melt the heart to loyal obedience. It is necessary, for other ends, that man should know of God's resolve topunish sin, but the heart is not, by that fact, won to virtue. Man revolts yet more and more-so stubborn is he that the morehe is commanded, the more he rebels!
The Decalogue upon your Church walls and in your daily service has its ends, but it can never be operative upon men's livesuntil it is also written on their hearts. Tables of stone are hard and men count obedience to God's Law to be a hard thing-theCommands are judged to be stony while the heart is stony-and men harden themselves because the way of the precept is hardto their cold minds. Stones are proverbially cold and the Law seems a cold, chill thing, for which we have no love as longas the appeal is to our fears. Tablets of stone, though apparently durable, can readily enough be broken and so can God'sCommandments-and so they are, indeed, broken every day by us. Those who have the clearest knowledge of the will of God, neverthelessoffend against Him. As long as they have nothing to keep them in check but a servile dread of punishment, or a selfish hopeof reward, they yield no loyal homage to the statutes of the Lord!
At this time I have to show you the way in which God secures to Himself obedience to His Law in quite another fashion-notby thundering it out from Sinai, nor by engraving it upon tablets of stone-but by coming in gentleness and infinite compassioninto the hearts of men and there, upon fleshy tables, inscribing the Commands of His Law in such a manner that they are joyfullyobeyed and men become the willing servants of God! This is the second great privilege of the Covenant-not second in value,but in order-"who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases." It is thus described by Ezekiel-"And I willput My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments, and do them."
In the Epistle to the Hebrews we have it in another form and we read it thus-"Behold, the days come, says the Lord, when Iwill make a new Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the Covenant that I made withtheir fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not inMy Covenant, and I regarded them not, says the Lord. For this is the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel afterthose days, says the Lord; I will put My Laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God,and they shall be to Me a people."
This is so inestimably precious that you who know the Lord are longing for it and it is your great delight that it is to beworked in you by the Sovereign Grace of God! We shall, first of all, look at the tablets- "I will put My Law in their inwardparts, and write it in their hearts." Secondly, at the writing. Thirdly, at the Writer and, fourthly, at the results whichcome of this wondrous writing. O that the Spirit who has promised to lead us into all the Truths of God may now illuminateus!
I. First, I invite your attention to THE TABLETS upon which God writes His Law- "I will put My Law in their inward parts."Just as once He put the two tables into the ark of gopher wood, so He will put His holy Law into our in-
ward nature and enclose it in our thoughts and minds and memories and affections, as a jewel in a case. Then He adds, "AndI will write it in their hearts." Just as the Holy Words were engraved upon stone, so shall they now be written in the heart,in the handwriting of the Lord, Himself. Mark that the Law is written not on the heart, but in the heart, in the very textureand constitution of it, so that into the center and core of the soul, obedience shall be infused as a vital principle!
Thus, you see, the Lord has selected for His tablets that which is the seat of life. It is in the heart that life is to befound, a wound, there, is fatal. Where the seat of life is, there the seat of obedience shall be. In the heart, life has itspermanent palace and perpetual abode-and God says that, instead of writing His Holy Law on stones which may be left at a distance-Hewill write it on the heart, which must always be within us. Instead of placing the Law upon phylacteries which can be boundbetween the eyes but may easily be taken off, He will write it in the heart, where it must always remain. He has bid His peoplewrite His Laws upon the posts of their doors and upon their gates, but in those conspicuous places they might become so familiaras to be unnoticed. The Lord, Himself, now writes them where they must always be noted and always produce effect.
If men have the precepts written in the abode of their life, they live with the Law and cannot live without it. It is a wonderfulthing that God should do this. It displays infinitely greater wisdom than if the Law had been inscribed on slabs of graniteor engraved on plates of gold. What wisdom is this, which operates upon the original spring of life, so that all that flowsforth from man shall come from a sanctified fountainhead! Observe next, that not only is the heart the seat of life, but itis the governing power. It is from the heart, as from a royal metropolis, that the imperial commands of the man are issuedby which hand and foot, eye and tongue and all the members are ordered. If the heart is right, then the other powers mustyield submission to its sway and become right, too.
If God writes His Law upon the heart, then the eyes will purify their glances, the tongue will speak according to rule, thehands will move and the feet will travel as God ordains. When the heart is fully influenced by God's Spirit, then the willand the intellect, the memory and the imagination and everything else which makes up the inward man, comes under cheerfulallegiance to the King of Kings! God Himself says, "Give me your heart," for the heart is the key of the entire position.Hence the supreme wisdom of the Lord in setting up His Law where it becomes operative upon the entire man. But before Godcan write upon a man's heart, it must be prepared. It is most unfit to be a writing tablet for the Lord until it is renewed.The heart must, first of all, undergo erasures.
What is written on the heart, already, some of us know to our deep regret. Original sin has cut deep lines, Satan has scoredhis horrible handwriting in black letters and our evil habits have left their impressions. How can the Lord write there? Noone would expect the Holy God to inscribe His Holy Law upon an unholy mind! The former things must be taken away, that theremay be clear space upon which new and better things may be engraved. But who can erase these lines? "Can the Ethiopian changehis skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may you, also, do good, that are accustomed to do evil." The God who can take awaythe spots from the leopard and the blackness from the Ethiopian, can also remove the evil lines which now deface the heart!
As the heart must undergo erasure, it must also experience a thorough cleansing, not of the surface only, but of its entirefabric. Truly, Brothers and Sisters, it was far easier for Hercules to purge the Augean stables than for our hearts to bepurged, for the sin that lies within us is not an accumulation of external defilement, but an inward, all-pervading corruption!The taint of secret and spiritual evil is in man's natural life. Every pulse of his soul is disordered by it. The eggs ofall crimes are within our being-the accursed virus, from whose deadly venom every foul design will come-is present in thesoul. Not only tendency to sin, but sin, itself, has taken possession of the soul and blackened and polluted it through andthrough till there is not a fiber of the heart unstained with iniquity! God cannot write His Law in our inward parts till,with water and with blood, He has purged us.
Tablets on which the Lord shall write must be clean, therefore the heart on which God is to engrave His Law must be a cleansedheart. It is a great joy to perceive that from the Person of our Lord, heart-cleansing blood and water flowed so that theprovision is equal to the necessity! Blessed be the name of our gracious God! He knows how to erase the evil and to cleansethe soul through His Holy Spirit's applying the work of Jesus to us! In addition to this, the heart needs to be softened,for the heart is naturally hard and, in some men, it has become harder than an adamant stone! They have re-
sisted God's love till they are impervious to it-they have stood out obstinately against God's will till they have becomedesperately set on mischief and nothing can affect them.
God must melt the heart, must transform it from granite into flesh-and He has the power to do it! Blessed be His name, accordingto the Covenant of Grace, He has promised to work this wonder and He will! Nor would the softening be enough, for there aresome who have a tenderness of the most deceiving kind. They receive the Word of God with joy. They feel every expression ofit, but they speedily go their way and forget what manner of men they are. They are as impressible as the water, but the impressionis as soon removed, so that another change is needed, namely, to make them retentive of that which is good-otherwise you mightengrave and re-engrave-but, like an inscription upon wax, it would be gone in a moment if exposed to heat.
The devil, the world and the temptations of life would soon erase out of the heart all that God had written there if He didnot create it anew with the faculty of holding fast that which is good. In a word, the heart of man needs to be totally changed,even as Jesus said to Nicodemus, "You must be born again." Dear Hearers, we preach to you that whoever believes in Christhas everlasting life and we speak neither more, nor less, than the Truth of God when we say so! But yet, believe us, theremust be as great a change in the heart as if a man were slain and made alive again! There must be a new creation, a resurrectionfrom the dead-old things must pass away-and all things must become new. God's Law can never be written upon the old naturalheart-there must be a new and spiritual nature given-and then, upon the center of that new life, upon the throne of that newpower within our life, God will set up the proclamation of His blessed will and what He commands shall be done.
So, then, you see these tablets are not so easily written upon, as perhaps we first thought. If God is to write the Law uponthe heart, the heart must be prepared, and in order to being prepared, it must be entirely renewed by a miracle of mercy,such as can only be worked by that Omnipotent hand which made both Heaven and earth.
II. Secondly, let us pass on to notice THE WRITING. "I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts."What is this writing? First, the matter of it is the Law of God. God writes upon the hearts of His people that which is alreadyrevealed. He inscribes there nothing novel and unrevealed, but His own will which He has already given us in the Book of theLaw. He writes upon the heart, by gracious operation, that which He has already written in the Bible by gracious Revelation.He writes not philosophy, nor imagination, nor superstition nor fanaticism, nor idle fancies. If any man says to me, "Godhas written such-and-such a thing on my heart," I reply, " Show it to me in the Bible," for if it is not according to theother Scriptures, it is not a Scripture of God!
A fancy as to a man's being a Prophet, or a prince, or an angel may be on a man's heart, but God did not write it there, forHis own declaration is, "I will write My Law in their hearts," and He speaks not of anything beyond. The nonsense of modernpretenders to prophecy is no writing of God-it would be a dishonor to a sane man to ascribe it to Him! How can it be of theLord? He here promises to write His own Law on the heart, but nothing else. Be content to have the Law written on your souland wander not into vain imaginings lest you receive a strong delusion to believe a lie. Observe, however, that God says Hewill write His whole Law on the heart-this is included in the words, "My Law."
God's work is complete in all its parts and beautifully harmonious. He will not write one command and leave out the rest asso many do in their reforms. They become indignant in their virtue against a particular sin, but they riot in other evils.Drunkenness is to them the most damnable of all transgressions, but covetousness and uncleanness they wink at! They denouncetheft and yet defraud! They cry out against pride and yet indulge envy! Thus they are partial and do the work of the Lorddeceitfully. It must not be so! God does not set before us a partial holiness, but the whole moral Law! "I will write My Lawin their hearts." Human reforms are generally lopsided, but the Lord's work of Grace is balanced and proportionate. The Lordwrites the perfect Law in the hearts of men because He intends to produce perfect men.
Mark, again, that on the heart there is written not the Law toned down and altered, but, "My Law"-that very same Law whichwas, at first, written on the heart of unfallen man. Paul says of natural men, that "they show the work of the Law writtenin their hearts." There is enough of the Light of God left on the conscience to condemn men for most of their iniquities.The original record of the Law upon man's heart at his creation has been injured and almost obliterated by man's fall andhis subsequent transgressions, but the Lord, in renewing the heart, makes the writing fresh and vivid, even the writing ofthe first principles of righteousness and truth.
But to come a little closer to the matter-what does the Scripture mean by writing the Law of God in the heart? The writing,itself, includes a great many things. A man who has the Law of God written in his heart, first of all, knows it. He is instructedin the ordinances and statutes of the Lord. He is an illuminated person and no longer one of those who knows not the Law andis cursed. God's Spirit has taught him what is right and what is wrong. He knows this by heart and, therefore, can no longerput darkness for light, and light for darkness. This Law, next, abides upon his memory. When he had it only upon a tablet,he must necessarily go into his house to look at it, but now he carries it about with him in his heart, and knows, at once,what will be right and what will be wrong. God has given him a touchstone by which he tries things.
He finds that "all is not gold that glitters," and all is not holy which pretends to that character. He separates the preciousfrom the vile and does this habitually, for his knowledge of God's Law and his memory of it are attended by a discernmentof spirit which God has worked in him, so that he quickly discerns what is according to the mind of God and what is not. Nowthis is a great point, for some things are commonly done by men which they will even defend and say that there is no wrongin them. But, according to the Divine rule, they are utterly unjust. God's people judge these things and take no pleasurein them. A sacred instinct warns the Believer of the approach of sin. Long before public sentiment has proclaimed a hue andcry against questionable practices, the Christian man, even if deluded, for a while, by current custom, yet feels a tremblingand an uneasiness. Even if he consents outwardly-being overborne by general opinion-a something within protests and leadshim to consider whether the matter can be defended. As soon as he detects the evil, he shrinks from it. It is a grand thingto possess a universal detector, so that, go where you may, you are not dependent upon the judgment of others and, therefore,are not deceived as multitudes are. This, however, is only a part of the matter, and a very small part comparatively.
The Law is written on a man's heart, further than this, when he consents unto the Law that it is good. It is when his conscience,being restored, cries, "Yes, that is so, and ought to be so! That command by which God has forbidden a certain course is aproper and prudent command-it ought to be enjoined." It is a hopeful sign when a man no longer wishes that the Divine commandswere other than they are, but confirms them by the verdict of his judgment. Are there not men who in their anger wish thatkilling were not murder? Are there not others who do not steal, but yet wish they might take their neighbors' goods? Are therenot many who wish that fornication and adultery were not vices? This proves that their hearts are depraved!
But it is not so with the regenerate, they would not have the Law altered for any reason! Their vote is with the Law. Theyregard it as the guardian of society, the basis on which the peace of the universe can, alone, be built, for only by righteousnesscan any order of things be established. If we could possess the wisdom of God, we would make just that Law which God has made,for the Law is holy, just, good and promotes man's highest advantage! It is a great thing when a man gets as far as that.But, furthermore, there is worked in the heart, by God, a love to the Law as well as a consent to it-such a love that theman thanks God that He has given him such a fair and lovely representation of what perfect holiness should be-that He hasgiven such measuring lines by which he knows how a house is to be built in which God can dwell. Thus thanking the Lord, hisprayer, desire, longing, hungering and thirsting are after righteousness, that he may, in all things, be according to themind of God.
It is a glorious thing when the heart delights itself in the Law of the Lord and finds, therein, its solace and pleasure.The Law is fully written on the heart when a man takes pleasure in holiness and feels a deep pain whenever sin approacheshim. Oh, my dear Friend, the Lord has done great things for you when every evil thing is obnoxious to you! Even though youfall into sin through the infirmity of your flesh, yet if it causes you intense agony and sorrow, it is because God has writtenHis Law in your heart! Even though you cannot be as holy as you want to be, yet if the ways of holiness are your pleasure-ifthey are the very element in which you live as much as the fish lives in the sea-then you are the subject of a very wonderfulchange of heart!
It is not so much what you do, as what you delight to do, which becomes the clearest test of your character. Many strictlyreligious people who go to and fro to Church and Chapel would be uncommonly glad if they did not feel bound to do so. Is nottheir public worship a dead formality? A great many people have family prayers and private prayers who wish they could berid of the nuisance. Is there any religion in bodily exercises which are burdensome to the heart? Nothing is acceptable toGod until it is acceptable to yourself-God will not receive your sacrifice unless you offer it will-
ingly! How contrary this is to the notion of many, for they say, "You see I deny myself by going so many times to a placeof worship and by private prayer, therefore I must be truly religious." The very reverse is far nearer the truth! When itbecomes a misery to serve God, then, indeed, the heart is far away from spiritual health, for when the heart is renewed, itdelights to worship and serve the Lord!
Instead of saying, "I would omit prayer if I could," the regenerate mind cries, "I wish I could be always praying." Insteadof saying, "I would keep away from the assembly of God's people if I could," the newborn nature wishes, like David, to dwellin the House of the Lord forever! This is a great evidence of the writing of the Law upon the heart, when holiness becomesa pleasure and sin becomes a sorrow. When this is done, what great things God has done for us! The main point of the whole,is this, that whereas our nature was once contrary to the Law of God so that whatever God forbade we at once desired, andwhatever God commanded we, therefore, began to dislike, the Holy Spirit comes and changes our nature and makes it congruousto the Law-so that, now, whatever God forbids we forbid and whatever God commands, our will commands!
How much better to have the Law written upon the heart than upon tablets of stone! If anybody should enquire how the Lordkeeps the writing upon the heart, legible, I should like to spend a minute or two in showing the process. How the Holy Spiritfirst writes the Law on the heart, I cannot tell. The outward means are the preaching of the Word and the reading of it. Buthow the Holy Spirit directly operates on the soul, we do not know-it is one of the great mysteries of Grace. This much weknow within ourselves, that whereas we were blind, now we see and, whereas we abhorred the Law of God, we now feel an intensedelight in it! We also know that the Holy Spirit worked this change, but how He did it remains unknown. That part of His holyoffice which we can discern is done according to the usual laws of mental operation. He enlightens by knowledge, convincesby argument, leads by persuasion, strengthens by instruction and so forth.
So far, also, we know that one way by which the Law is kept written upon a Christian's heart is this-a sense of God's Presence.The Believer feels that he could not sin with God looking on. It would need a brazen face for a man to play the traitor inthe presence of a king-such things are done "under the rose," as men word it-but not before the monarch's face! So the Christianfeels that he dwells in God's sight and this forbids him to disobey. The eye of the Heavenly Father is the best monitor ofthe child of God. Next, the Christian has a lively sense within him of the degradation which sin once brought upon him. Ifthere is one thing I never can forget, personally, it is the horror of my heart while I was yet under sin. God revealed mystate to me. Ah, Friends, the old proverb that a burnt child dreads the fire has an intensity of truth about it in the caseof one who has ever been burnt by sin so as to be driven to despair by it! He hates it with a perfect hatred and, by thatmeans, God writes the Law upon his heart.
But a sense of love is a yet more powerful factor. Let a man know that God loves him, let him feel sure that God always didlove him from before the foundations of the world, and he must try to please God. Let him be assured that the Father lovedhim so much as to give His only-begotten Son to die that he might live through Him and he must love God and hate evil. A senseof pardon, of adoption and of God's sweet favor, both in Providence and in Grace must sanctify a man. He cannot willfullyoffend against such love! On the contrary, he feels himself bound to obey God in return for such unsearchable Grace and thus,by a sense of love, does God write His Law upon the hearts of His people!
Another very powerful pen with which the Lord writes is to be found in the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we seeJesus spit upon, scourged and crucified, we feel that we must hate sin with all the intensity of our nature. Can you countthe purple drops of His redeeming blood and then go back to live in the iniquity which cost the Lord so dear? Impossible!The death of Christ writes the Law of God very deeply upon the central heart of man. The Cross is the crucifier of sin. Besidesthat, God actually establishes His holy Law in the throne of the heart by giving us a new and heavenly life. There is, withina Christian, an immortal principle which cannot sin because it is born of God and cannot die! It is the living and incorruptibleSeed which lives and abides forever! In regeneration there is imparted to us a something altogether foreign to our corruptnature-a Divine principle is dropped into the soul which can neither be corrupted nor made to die-and by this means the Lawis written on the heart. I do not pretend to explain the process of regeneration, but for certain, it involves a Divine lifeimplanted by the Holy Spirit.
Once more, the Holy Spirit, Himself, dwells in Believers. I pray you, never forget this marvelous doctrine, that as trulyas ever God dwelt in human flesh in the Person of the God-Man Mediator, so truly does the Holy Spirit dwell in the
bodies of all redeemed men and women who have been born again! And by the force of that indwelling, He keeps the mind foreverpermeated with holiness, forever subservient to the will of the Most High!
III. Now we turn, for just a minute, to think of THE WRITER. Who is it that writes the Law in the heart? It is God, Himself!"I will do it," He says. Note, first, that He has a right to write His Law in the heart. He made the heart-it is His tablet-letHim write there whatever He wills. As clay in the hands of the potter, so are we in His hands. Note, next, that He, alone,can write the Law in the heart. It will never be written there by any other hand. The Law of God is not to be written in theheart by human power. Alas, how often have I expounded the Law of God and the Gospel of God, but I have got no further thanthe ears-only the living God can write in the living heart! This is noble work, angels, themselves, cannot attain to it! "Thisis the finger of God."
As God, alone, can write there, and must write there, so He, alone, shall have the Glory of that writing when once it is perfected.When God writes, He writes perfectly. You and I make blots and errors-there needs to be a list of itemized errors at the endof every human piece of writing! But when God writes, blots or mistakes are out of the question! No holiness can excel theholiness produced by the Holy Spirit when His inward work is fully completed! Moreover, He writes indelibly. I defy the devilto get a single letter of the Law of God out of a man's heart when God has written it there! When the Holy Spirit has comewith all the power of His Divinity and rested on our nature-and stamped into it the life of holiness-then the devil may comewith his black wings and all his unhallowed craftiness, but he can never erase the eternal lines!
We bear in our hearts the marks of the Lord God Eternal and we shall bear them eternally! Written rocks bear their inscriptionslong, but written hearts bear them forever and ever! Does not the Lord say, "I will put My fear in their hearts that theyshall not depart from Me"? Blessed be God for those immortal principles which forbid the child of God to sin!
IV. I wish to finish by noticing THE RESULTS of the Law being thus written in the heart. I hope while I have been preachingabout it, many of you have been saying, "I hope that the Law will be written in my heart." Remember that this is a gift andprivilege of the Covenant of Grace and not a work of man. Dear Friends, if any of you have said, "I do not find anything goodin me, therefore I cannot come to Christ," you talk foolishly! The absence of good is the reason why you should come to Christto have your needs supplied. "Oh, but if I could write God's Law in my heart I would come to Christ." Would you? What wouldyou need Christ for? But if the Law is not written on your heart, then come to Jesus to have it so written!
The New Covenant says, "I will put My Law in their inward parts and will write My Law in their hearts." Come, then, to havethe Law thus inscribed within! Come just as you are, before a single line has been inscribed. The Lord Jesus loves to prepareHis own tablets and write every letter of His own Epistles-come to Him just as you are, that He may do all things for you!What are the results of the Law being written in the hearts of men? Frequently the first result is great sorrow. If I haveGod's Law written in my heart, then I say to myself, "Ah me, that I should have lived a lawbreaker so long! This blessed Law,this lovely Law, why I have not even thought of it, or if I have thought of it, it has provoked me to disobedience! Sin revivedand I died when the Commandment came." We wring our hands and cry, "How could we be so wicked as to break so just a Law? Howcould we be so willful as to go against our own interests? Knew we not that a breach of the Commandment is an injury to ourselves?"Thus we are in bitterness as one that is in bitterness for the death of his first-born. I do not believe God has ever writtenHis Law on your hearts if you have not mourned over sin. One of the earliest signs of Grace is a dew upon the eyes becauseof sin.
The next effect of it is there comes upon the man a strong and stern resolve that he will not break that Law again, but willkeep it with all his might. He cries out with David, "I have sworn and I will perform it, that I will keep Your righteousjudgments." His whole heart says, when reading the precepts of the Lord-"Yes, that is what I ought to be, that is what I wishto be and that is what I will be, according to the will of God." That strong resolve soon leads to a fierce conflict, foranother law lifts up its head, a law in our members-and that other law cries, "Not so quick, there! Your new Law which hascome into your soul to rule you shall not be obeyed! I will be master!"
He who is born within us to be our king finds the old Herod ready to slay the young child. The lust of the eyes and the lustof the flesh-the pride of life-each one of these swears warfare against the new Monarch and the fresh power that is come intothe heart. Some of you know what this struggle means. It is a very hard fight, with some, to keep from
actual sin. Have you not, when troubled with a quick temper, had to put your hand to your mouth to stop yourself from sayingwhat you used to say, but what you never wish to say again? Have you not often gone upstairs to get alone, feeling that youwould soon slip if the Lord did not hold you up? How wise to get alone with God and cry to Him for help! How prudent to watchday and night against evil!
Certain braggers talk about having got beyond all that. I should be glad to think that there are such Brethren-but I shouldneed to keep them in a glass case to show them round, or in an iron safe where thieves could not get at them! I conceive itto be a snare of the devil to imagine that you are beyond the need of daily watchfulness! For my own part, I have not passedbeyond conflict and struggle. I bear testimony that the battle grows more stern every day! Those of God's people with whomI associate, I still find fighting and wrestling. Sometimes I know the devil does not roar, but I am more afraid of him whenhe is quiet than when he rages. Of the two, I would sooner he would roar, for a roaring devil is better than a sleeping devil.Whenever he gives way, he only gives an inch to take a mile-and whenever you begin to say to yourself, "My corruptions areall dead. I now have no tendencies to sin," you are in awful peril!
Poor Soul, you do not know what you are talking about! God send you to school and give you a little of His Light and you willsing another tune, I am sure, before long! These are the incidental results-when the Lord writes the Law in the heart, strifesand struggles are common within the man-for holiness strives for the mastery. But does not something better than this comeof the Divine heart-writing? Oh, yes! There comes actual obedience. The man not only consents to the Law, that it is good,but he obeys it! And if there is anything which Christ commands, no matter what it is, the man seeks to do it-not only wishesto do it, but actually does it! And if there is anything that is wrong, he not only wishes to abstain from it, but he doesabstain from it. God helping him, he becomes upright, righteous, sober, godly, loving and Christ-like-for this it is whichthe Spirit of God works in him! He would be perfect were it not for the old lusts of the flesh which linger, even in the heartsof the regenerate.
Now the Believer feels intense pleasure in everything that is good. If there is anything right and true in the world, he ison the side of it. If there are defeats to the Truth of God, he is defeated. But if the Truth of God marches on, conqueringand to conquer, he conquers and takes and divides the spoil with joy! Now he is on God's side; now he is on Christ's side;now he is on truth's side; now he is on holiness' side and a man cannot be that without being a happy man! With all his struggles,all his weeping and all his confessions, he is a happy man because he is on the happy side. God is with him and he, by God'sGrace, is with God-and so he must be blessed!
As this proceeds, the man becomes more and more prepared to dwell in Heaven. He is changed into God's image from Glory toGlory even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Our fitness for Heaven is not a thing that will be clapped upon us in the last fewminutes of our life, just as we are going to die, but the children of God have a meetness for Heaven as soon as ever theyare saved-and that meetness grows and increases till they are ripe and then, like ripe fruit, they drop from the tree andfind themselves in the bosom of their Father God! God will never keep a soul out of Heaven half a minute after it is fullyprepared to go there and so, when God has fitted us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in His Light, we shallenter at once into the joy of our Lord.
My Brothers and Sisters, I feel I have talked feebly about one of the most blessed subjects that ever occupied the thoughtsof man-how God's Law shall be kept, how it shall be honored, how holiness shall come into the world-and we shall no longerbe rebellious. Herein let us trust in our Lord Jesus, who is to us the Surety of that Covenant of which this is one greatpromise-"I will put My Law in their inward parts, and in their hearts will I write it." God do so to us, for Christ's sake.Amen.