Biblical Perspectives Magazine, Volume 23, Number 28, July 4 to July 10, 2021

Christian Retirement

By Thomas Reade



It is delightful to contemplate the beauties which are contained in one short passage of the Holy Scriptures. In grace, as in nature, we find much beauty in what appears comparatively minute. Faith, like the microscope, discovers the hidden charms, and presents to our mind those excellencies, which lie undiscovered to the eye of reason.

The following short promise is of this description: "I will give them one heart and one way." Jer. xxxii, 39.

The whole of the Christian character is summed up in these few words. This precious promise virtually contains every thing which relates to inward and outward godliness; faith working by love; and love working by obedience. "I will give them one heart and one way." The two great features of the Christian character are here expressed: SINGLENESS OF HEART, and CONSISTENCY OF CONDUCT. Without a single eye, that is, without a unity of desire, and a unity of design, to promote the glory of God, all profession of faith and love is hypocritical and vain.

True faith is simple in its dependence and looks only unto Jesus for pardon and peace, and every other spiritual blessing. It draws off the mind from all other objects, and causes the believer with "one heart" to rely upon the atonement made by the Son of God for sin; and to draw only out of his fullness every needful grace. This "one heart" is, therefore a most comprehensive blessing. The more we examine into it with spiritual discernment, the more of new beauties we shall discover, unfolding themselves to our enlightened minds.

When Adam was in a state of innocence, he had only "one heart." Since the fall, the heart of man is "divided." The world, sin, and self, each claim their share; and as the Almighty will have the whole or none, he has, in righteous displeasure, left his rebel creatures to the miseries of a divided and distracted heart.

But in the covenant of grace, he promises to repair the breach; to give us "one heart," that we may fear his name, seek his glory, become his portion, and thus enjoy, through the merits of the Savior, the inestimable blessings of communion with himself, peace of conscience, and assured hope of glory. "Unite my heart to fear your name," was the ardent prayer of David. Through the fall, we are dead in trespasses and sins. There is no movement for God. All is disorder and confusion, like a broken watch, whose wheels lie scattered here and there, and whose spring ceases to work.

But when divine grace renovates and regulates our spiritual faculties; when our heart is united; when we have "one heart" given to us; when all our soul is alive for God; and with singleness and simplicity aims at nothing but his glory, and the fulfillment of his will: then we become new creatures; then we are a people formed to show forth his praise; then we possess an inward witness of our union to Jesus, and our adoption into the family of God.

All the family of God, possessing this "one heart," must necessarily be united to each other in brotherly love.

This loving spirit our blessed Lord made the badge of discipleship. "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John makes it a mark of conversion: "we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." Paul strongly exhorts to unity and fellowship; and declares that all divisions mark the carnality of the mind, and the unsoundness of profession. This "one heart" is then a great blessing, since it constitutes the very essence of the Christian character, as opposed to unbelief, and the love of the world and sin.

"I WILL GIVE THEM ONE WAY." Christ is the one only way to the Father. Faith is the one only grace whereby we become interested in the work of Jesus. Love is the one only principle which gives intrinsic excellence to our various operations. Universal holiness is the one only Scriptural evidence of our possessing true faith and love; and being savingly united to Jesus, the living way to the Father.

Our outward conduct must, therefore, be in consistency with our principles and professions. We must have "one way," the way of God's commandments, and walk steadily in that one way, that we may fear his name for our present and everlasting good. Thus the whole Christian character is contained in this short, but beautiful promise: "I will give them one heart and one way." Here, we behold one of the sweet fruits of mercy hanging on the tree of life. All the precious promises are so many pledges of God's covenant love, which he engages to fulfill.

"Without holiness no man shall see the Lord;" but here holiness is promised as the work of Jehovah in the heart of poor sinners. What we cannot do, God has graciously promised to perform. He who says "I will," is Almighty and true. All his declarations of mercy are marked by solidity and stability. "The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, says the Lord, that has mercy on you." "Your word," says David, "is tried to the uttermost, therefore your servant loves it." This he could affirm from personal experience, having felt its blessed influence on his own heart. "Your word has quickened me." "Your word is true from the beginning." "My soul has kept your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly." "For your loving-kindness is before my eyes; and I have walked in your truth."

"Oh! divine Redeemer, out of whose inexhaustible fullness I would daily draw a rich supply of grace into my needy soul, be pleased to impart unto me this one heart; that to please you, may be my greatest happiness, and to promote your glory my highest honor. Preserve me from false motives, from a double mind, and a divided heart. Keep me entire to yourself, and enable me to crucify every lust, which would tempt my heart from you. Enable me by your grace to walk in 'one way'; one uniform path of holy, childlike obedience. Allow me not to start aside like a broken bow. When tempted to turn aside to the right hand or to the left, may I hear a voice behind me saying, ''this is the way." And oh may I keep steadily therein, until I reach the outer borders of the Wilderness; and then, blessed Jesus, may some blest seraph be commissioned to bear my happy and transported spirit along the shining way which leads to your abode; until brought before your throne, I see your face, behold your smile, and fall in ecstasy at your feet, lost in wonder, love, and praise."

Fill me, Oh Lord, with holy joy,
With humble, filial fear!
My undivided heart employ
In praise to you and prayer.

Protect me from the power of ill;
Defend my soul from sin;
Subdue my proud rebellious will,
And make me pure within.

Create an ardent, active love,
Your goodness to proclaim;
Oh may I sweetly feel and prove
The power of Jesus' name!

May Jesus my beloved be,
My shepherd and my friend;
Unite my soul, Oh, Lord, to you,
In bonds that never shall end!

Then will my raptured soul repeat
The wonders of your grace;
Until prostrate at your mercy-seat,
I view you face to face.

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