365 days with Newton


The plague in our hearts

‘What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house: then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive …’ 1 Kings 8:38–39

I can tell some of you what the plague of your heart is. It includes such things as these:
(i) guilt. I have sinned against the LORD [2 Samuel 12:13]. Well, there is forgiveness with him—for those who are beginning to come to him and for those who have backslidden from him.
(ii) unbelief. This is always with us. I see the gospel is good and true. I know and in my judgement approve the way of salvation, and yet I cannot make it my own. Look to the temple and say, ‘Lord, increase my faith.’
(iii) indwelling sin. Some may say, O I am ready to be swept away by the stream of corrupt nature, and especially in one instance: I have an enemy who knows where I am weak and threatens to overpower me. But in this temple there is a treasury of grace.
[contd in 6/6]
Physician of my sin-sick soul,
It makes me deaf, and dumb, and blind,
To thee I bring my case;
And impotent and lame;
My raging malady control,
And overclouds, and fills my mind,
And heal me by thy grace.
With folly, fear, and shame.

I would disclose my whole complaint,
A thousand evil thoughts intrude
But where shall I begin?
Tumultuous in my breast;
No words of mine can fully paint
Which indispose me for my food,
That worst distemper, sin.
And rob me of my rest.

It lies not in a single part,
LORD I am sick, regard my cry,
But through my frame is spread;
And set my spirit free;
A burning fever in my heart,
Say, canst thou let a sinner die,
A palsy in my head.
Who longs to live to thee?

SERMON: 1 KINGS 8:38–39 [5/6]

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