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self; they discover his own weakness to him, and empty him of self-trust; but they do not dismay him from getting up and going on, not boldly and carelessly forgetting his fall, but, in the humble sense of it, walking the more warily, yet not the less swiftly; yea, the more swiftly too, making the more haste to regain the time lost by the fall. So then, if you would run in this way, depend on the strength of God, and on his Spirit leading thee, that so thou mayest not fall. And yet if thou dost fall, arise, and if thou art plunged in the mire, go to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, and wash there ; bemoan thyself before thy Lord ; and it hurt and bleeding by thy fall, yet look to him, desire Jesus to pity thee, and bind up and cure thy wound, washing off thy blood, and pouring in of his own. However it is with thee, give not over; faint not, run
And that thou mayest run the more easily and expeditiously, make thyself as light as may be ; lay aside every weight. Clog not thyself with unnecessary burdens of earth, and especially lay aside that which, of all things, weighs the heaviest and cleaves the closest, the sin that so easily besets us, and is so hardly put off us, that folds so connaturally to us, and we therefore think will not hinder us much. And not only the sins that are more outward, but the inuer close-cleaving sins, the sin that most of all sits easily to us; not only our cloak, but our inner coat; away with that too, as our Saviour says in another case; and run the race set before us, our appointed stage, and that with patience, under all oppositions and discouragements from the world without and from şin within. Aud to encourage thee in this, look to such a cloud of witnesses, that compasseth us about to further us ; as troubles, temptations, and sin, do to hinder us. They encountered the like sufferings, and were incum. bered with the like sins; and yet, they ran on and got home. Alexander would have run in the olympic games if he had had kings to run with : now, in this race, kings, and prophets, and righteous persons run; yea, all are indeed a kingly generation, each one heir to a crown as the prize of this race. ..And if these encourage thee but little, then look beyond them, above that cloud of witnesses, to the Sun, the, Şun of Righteousness ; looking off from all things here, that would
either entangle thee or discourage thee, taking thine eye off from them, and looking to him who will powerfully draw thee and animate thee. Look to Jesus, not only as thy forerunner in this race, but also, as thy undertaker in it, the author and finisher of our faith. His attaining the end of the race is the pledge of thy attaining, if thou follow him cheerfully on the same encouragements that he looked to; Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, and despised the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of God.
When thou shalt enlarge my heart. In all beings, the heart is the principle of motion, and according as it is more or less perfect in its kind, those motions which flow from it, are more or less vigorous. Therefore hath the psalmist good reason, to the end his spiritual course may be the stedfaster and the faster, to desire that the principle of it, the heart, may be more enabled and disposed, which here he expresses by its being enlarged.
What this enlargement of the heart is, a man's own inward sense should easily explain to him. Surely it would, did men reflect on it, and were they acquainted with their own hearts ; but most men are not. They would find the carnal, natural heart, a narrow, contracted, bampered thing, bound with cords and chains of its own twisting and forging, and so incapable of walking, much less of running, in this way of God's commandments, till it be freed and enlarged.
The heart is taken generally in scripture for the whole soul, the understanding and the will, in its several affections and motions; and the phrase being here of an enlarged heart, it seems very congruous to take it in the most enlarged sense.
It is said of Solomon, that he had a large heart, (the same word that is here,) as the sand of the sea-shore, 1 Kings iv, 29; that is, a vast comprehensive spirit, that could fathom much of nature, both its greater and lesser things. He spake of trees, from the cedar in Lebanon, to the hyssop in the wall, and of great beasts and small creeping things. Thus, I conceive, the enlargement of the heart compriseth the enlightening of the understanding. There arises a clearer light there, to discern spiritual things in a more spiritual manner; to see the vast difference betwixt the vain things the world goes after, and the true solid delight that is in the way of God's commandments; to know the false blush of the pleasures of sin, and what deformity is under that painted mask, and not be allured by it; to have enlarged apprehensions of God, his excellency, and greatness, and goodness; how worthy he is to be obeyed and served. This is the great dignity and happiness of the soul : all other pretensions are low and poor, in respect of this. Here then is enlargement, to see the purity and beauty of his law, how just and reasonable, yea, how pleasant and amiable it is ; that his commandments are not grievous ; that they are beds of spices; the more we walk in them, still the more of their fragrant smell and sweetness we find.
And then consequently, upon the larger and clearer knowledge of these things, the heart dilates itself in affection. The more it knows of God still the more it loves him, and the less it loves this present world. Love is the great enlarger of the heart to all obedience. Then nothing is hard, yea, the harder things become the more delightful.
All love of other things doth pinch and contract the heart, for they are all narrower than itself. It is framed to that wideness in its first creation, capable of enjoying God, though not of a full comprehending of him. Therefore all other things gather it in, and straiten it from its natural size; only the love of God stretches and dilates it. He is large enough for it, yea, in its fullest enlargement, it is infinitely too narrow for him. Do not all find it, if they will ask themselves that in all other loves and pursuits in this world, there is still somewhat that pinches ? The soul is not at its full size, but, as a foot in a strait shoe, is somewhere bound and pained, and cannot go freely, much less run: though another who looks on, cannot tell where, yet each one feels it. But when the soul is set free from these narrow things, and is raised to the love of God, then is it at ease and at large, and bath room enough; it is both elevated and dilated. And this
word signifies a high-raised soul, and is sometimes taken for proud and lofty; but there is a greatness and height of spirit in the love of God and union with him, that doth not vainly swell and lift it up, but, with the deepest humility, joins the highest and truest magnanimity. It sets the soul above the shares that lie here below, in which most men creep and are entangled, in that way of life which is on high to the just, as Solomon speaks.
Good reason hath David to join these together, and to desire the one as the spring and cause of the other; an enlarged heart, that he may run the way of God's commandments.
Sensible joys and consolations in God, do encourage and enlarge the heart; but these are not so general to all, nor so constant to any. Love is the abounding fixed spring of ready obedience, and will make the heart cheerful in serving God, even without those felt comforts, when he is pleased to deny or withdraw them.
In this course or race, are understood constancy, activity, and alacrity; and all these flow from the enlargement of the heart.
Constancy. A narrow inthralled heart, fettered with the love of lower things, and cleaving to some particular sins, or but some one, and that in secret, may keep foot a while in the way of God's commandments, in some steps of them ; but it must give up quickly; it is not able to run on to the end of the goal. But a heart that hath laid aside every weight, and the most close-cleaving and beseting sin, hath stripped itself of all that may falter or entangle it; it runs, and runs on, without fainting or wearying; it is at large; hath nothing that pains it in the race.
Activity: not only holding on, but running, which is a swift, nimble race. It stands not bargaining and disputing, but once knowing God's mind there is no more question or demur. I made haste and delayed not, as in this psalm the word is, did not stay upon why and wherefore. He stood not to reason ihe matter, but ran on. And this love, enlarging the heart, makes it abundant in the work of the Lord, quick and active, despatching much in a little time. Div. No. IX.
Alacrity. All is done with cheerfulness, so no other constraint is needful, where this overpowering, sweet constraint of love is. I will run, not be hauled and drawn as by force, but skip and leap ; as the evangelic promise is, that the lame shall leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing ; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. The spouse desires her beloved to hasten as a roe and hind on the mountains of spices, and she doth so, and each faithful soul runs towards him, to meet him in his
way. It is a sad heavy thing to do any thing as in obedience to God, while the heart is straitened, not enlarged towards him by divine love ; but that once taking possession and enlarging the heart, that inward principle of obedience makes the outward obedience sweet; it is then a natural motion. Indeed the soul runs in the ways of God, as the sun in his course, which finds no difficulty, being naturally fitted and carried to that motion ; he goeth forth as a bridegroom, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
This is the great point which our souls should be studious of, to attain more evenness, and nimbleness, and cheerfulness, in the ways of God; and for this end we ought to seek above all things this enlarged heart. It is the want of this makes us halt, and drive heavily, and run long upon little ground. O my beloved, how shallow and narrow are our thoughts of God! Most even of those who are truly godly, are led on by a kind of instinct, and carried they scarcely know how, to give some attendance on God's worship, and to the avoidance of gross sin, and go on in a blameless course. It is better thus, than to run to excess of riot and open wickedness, with the ungodly world. But, alas! this is but a dull, heavy, and languid motion, where the heart is not enlarged by the daily growing love of God. Few, few are acquainted with that delightful contemplation of God, which ventilates and raises this flame of love. Petty things bind and contract our spirits, so that they feel little joy in God, little ardent active desire to do him service, to crucify sin, to break and undo self-love within us, to root up our own wills to make room for his, that his alone may be ours, that we may have no will of our