More on How Sincerity Covers the Saints’ Failings - from Gurnall's, The Christian in Complete Armour

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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
I tried to add this to my original post, but it is no longer open. You can access it here.

Here's what I just read today. It is very good.

[This section is an expert from Chapter VII. SECTION III]

SECTION III.—Now to give some account why this grace of sincerity is so taking with, and delightful to God, that it even captivates him in love to the soul where he finds it. There are two things which are the inseparable companions of sincerity, yea, effects flowing from it, that are very taking to draw love both from God and man.

First, Sincerity makes the soul willing, when it is clogged with so many infirmities as to disable it from the full performance of its duty, yet when the soul stands on tiptoes to be gone after it; as the hawk upon the hand, as soon as ever it sees her game, launcheth forth, and would be upon the wing after it, though possibly held by its sheath to the fist: thus the sincere soul is inwardly pricked and provoked by a strong desire after its duty, though kept back by infirmities; a perfect heart and a willing mind are joined together, 1 Chron. 28:9. It is David’s counsel to his son Solomon, ‘to serve God with a perfect heart, and a willing mind.’ A false heart is a shifting heart, puts off its work so long as it dares, and it is little thanks to set about it when the rod is taken down; yet hypocrites are like tops, that go no longer than they are whipped; but the sincere soul is ready and forward, it doth not want will to do a duty, when it wants skill and strength how to do it. The Levites (2 Chron. 29:34) are said to be more upright in heart, to sanctify themselves, than the priests were. How appeared that? in this, that they were more forward and willing to the work. No sooner did the word come out of the good king’s mouth, concerning a reformation, ver. 10, but presently the Levites arose to sanctify themselves; but some of the priests had not such a mind to the business, and therefore were not so soon ready, ver. 34; shewing more policy than piety therein, as if they would stay and see first how the times would prove, before they would engage. Reformation-work is but an icy path, which cowardly spirits love to have well beaten by others, before they dare come on it: but sincerity is of better metal; like the true traveller, that no weather shall keep him from going his journey when set, the upright man looks not at the clouds, stands not thinking this or that to discourage him, but takes his warrant from the word of God, and having that, nothing but a countermand from the same God that sets him at work shall turn him back. His heart is uniform to the will of God. If God saith, ‘Seek my face,’ it rebounds and echoes back again, ‘Thy face will I seek,’ yea, Lord, as if David had said with a good will. Thy word is press-money enough to carry me from this duty to that, whither thou pleasest: may be when the sincere soul is about a duty, he doth it weakly, yet this very willingness of the heart is wonderful pleasing to God. How doth it affect and take the father when he bids his little child go and bring him such a thing, that may be as much as he can well lift, to see him not stand and shrug at the command as hard, but runs to it, and puts forth his whole strength about it, though at last may be he cannot do it; yet the willingness of the child pleaseth him so, that his weakness rather stirs up the father to pity and help him, than to provoke him to chide him. Christ throws this covering over his disciples’ infirmities, ‘The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ O! it is obedience, that, like the dropping honey, comes without squeezing, though but little of it, tastes sweetly on God’s palate; and such is sincere obedience.

Gurnall, W., & Campbell, J. (1845). The Christian in Complete Armour (pp. 238–239). London: Thomas Tegg.
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