Guide Expand Our Spiritual Hearts

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10 great Bible verses to improve your spiritual life

Every child and servant of God, taught by the Spirit, knows that he cannot perform one precept except as the Lord enlarges his heart. This deep sense of our helplessness does not foster sloth, nor lead to licentiousness; for guilt and condemnation are felt from the non-performance of the precepts; and our desires and prayers, when we are in our right mind, are, that the Lord would enlarge our heart, for we love to run the way of His commandments.

WHAT are these commandments?

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And HOW do we run in the way of them? I will endeavor to show you. The Lord in His word has given several commandments; and these commandments we perform when the Lord enlarges our heart. Believe in Jesus! I do this? Before I can, of myself, do this, I must be able to say, "Let there be light, and there shall be light. But when the Lord by His grace and Spirit enlarges the heart; when He drops His dew, unction, and savor into the soul; when He draws near to it, and makes it draw near to Him; when this blessed Sun of Righteousness shines forth through the dark cloud, and warms the cold dark soul, then it can no more not believe in Him, than before it could believe in Him.

We can no more refuse to believe when faith comes into the heart, than we can believe before faith does come. When God enlarges the heart, and draws forth the affections, then we run in the way of this commandment. We do not believe as a duty; we do not believe as a precept; nor do we believe even as a privilege. But we believe as a blessing. We believe as we see an object with our eyes. We open our eyes, and we cannot but see. So when faith opens its eyes, it sees Jesus; no, it cannot but see Him.

Have the heart broken with contrition! Can I do this? It is utterly beyond my reach. I may shed crocodile tears. I may work myself up into fleshly excitement. I may fall upon my knees, lacerate my back, refuse to eat my food, and lie upon the ground. But to feel a broken heart, melted down into compunction and godly sorrow--the man that feels what an adamant stone he carries in his bosom knows well that it is the pure grace of God alone that can give him repentance. I believe the Lord brings all his people to that spot of which Mr.

Deer speaks--when the question was not whether he would repent, but whether God would give him repentance; no longer whether I will do this for the Lord, but whether the Lord in mercy and grace will do this for me.


The great I sinks then into absolute insignificance; and the creature is brought down to its true spot-abasement and helplessness. But when the Lord enlarges the heart, with this enlargement is there not the grace of penitence?

Is there not the tearful eye, the convulsive sob, the inward grief of soul? Is there not real gospel repentance and sorrow felt in a broken and tender heart? I am sure there is this. God commands us "to LOVE one another. I may pretend to do so; I may do as one of old did, who came to his brother with a very brotherly salutation, "Are you in health, my brother?

I may say, 'Brother this,' and 'Sister that'--'how I love you! But I cannot feel, nor create this true love, without a special work of the Spirit on my soul. But when He enlarges the heart, and melts the soul at his footstool, He gives love to Himself--and with that love, He gives love to His people, pure affection--not a pretending--but a real desire for their spiritual welfare; not a few canting phrases, but a true feeling of brotherhood; not a mere expression of 'brother' on the lip, but brotherly affection in the heart. When He enlarges the heart, we do not need to go among our brethren to say, 'Brother,' or 'Sister;'--we feel them in our very soul; when we are alone with God there is a tender affection flowing forth out to them of our heart, an embracing of them in our soul.

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No more, we can forgive our enemies when the Lord enlarges our heart. If we can see them in the right light, where we would desire to see them, we can forgive them, though they have been most unkind to us, and cruelly treated us. I have felt, that when the Lord is pleased to enlarge the heart, anger, enmity, prejudice, bitterness, malevolence--those unclean birds all take flight--and simplicity, tenderness, humility and love all live in the soul. Can we do this? We cannot. We may affect a popish austerity; we may put on a hypocritical visage; we may appear all sanctity and holiness; we may cleanse the outside of the cup and platter, and put an extra coat of whitewash on the sepulcher.

But as to that inward crucifixion, that inward deadness to the world, that inward putting off of the old man and putting on of the new, which the Word of truth speaks of, we cannot attain to--except God the Spirit works in us both the will and the power. But when God enlarges the heart, then there is no burden in God's ways; His precepts are not grievous; it is a pleasure to walk in them; and there is a sweet gratification in obeying them. These are not grievous; they are not burdensome, when the Lord enlarges the heart. When we are narrowed up, shut up, contracted, these ordinances of the Lord's house are burdensome to us.

We hate the very sight of the table spread with the emblems; we have the most horrible feelings of rebellion against the ordinance of baptism; yes, we feel every infernal sensation that Satan can stir up in our minds. But when the Lord enlarges our heart, there is no burden then; whatever be the precept, whatever be the ordinances, we can run in that way with cheerfulness, freedom and liberty. Whatever it be, we can run in the way of God's commandments when He enlarges our heart.

There is no running in any other way. All other service is mere legalism; all other obedience is but the froth and spawn of free-will, nothing but the 'mere natural obedience' of the creature, not the 'spiritual obedience' of the child of God. But let us look at this. Is it our happiness, is it our pleasure when we cannot run the way of God's commands? Do we lay the inability upon God, or put the responsibility upon the 'old sinful nature'? This is the very essence of antinomianism, the very spawn of licentiousness, the worst abuse of gospel grace.

Sometimes he is shut up, contracted, cold, dead, torpid. But this is his grief and misery. In this state of feeling, he cannot run the way of God's commandments.

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But is he pleased with being a loiterer? No--it is his grief and trouble that he cannot run in the way of God's commandments. This evidences the work of God the Spirit upon him--he desires do it, but he cannot--"the good that he would do, he does not. On the other hand, the children of God are sometimes in this state--their hearts are enlarged, their souls strengthened, and their feet are enabled to run the race that is set before them.

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This is their joy, their happiness, and their delight. Now can you trace out BOTH of these things in your conscience? What is the use of my standing here to speak these things? Is it merely to amuse you? Is there not something deeper needed than that? You have a soul to be saved or damned; you are a child of God or not; the grace of God is in your heart, or it is not; you are on the broad road to hell, or on the narrow road to heaven.

Have you no concern about it? If you are a child of God, you will have this deep concern at times in your bosom. Can you trace out in your soul the distinct existence of the two things I have endeavored to handle? Do you know what it is to be shut up, cold, dead, and stupid?

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On the contrary — outer knowledge obstructs the path to inner wisdom. Thinking uses the methods of analysis and synthesis, and thus closes the door to inner wisdom. Inner wisdom, however, hides behind the mind. Otherwise stated, the inner wisdom can only come to the fore in the silence of the mind.

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  4. The opening and the expansion of the spiritual heart does not make the mind narrower — not at all. Quite the other way round, what happens is an expansion of the mind. You can think of it that way: At first, you feel a tiny part of your heart, which starts communicating with the mind through your regular meditation and aspiration. So the mind is indeed able to perceive the heart. Over time, this connection intensifies and broadens, and becomes like a highway.

    Just as two neighboring cities engaging in trade are growing together, so do the spiritual heart and the mind. In the process, the mind expands, transforms and not even loses its previous abilities but is enriched with numerous new qualities. So, this is not a matter of narrowing the mind, but of expanding the heart to flood and embrace the mind.