Hebrews 13:20-21 — Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus … through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
My Dear Comrades,
Has anything I have said set anyone among you longing after the possession of the precious, the inestimable, Blessing of a Pure Heart? Has anyone in your Corps been heard singing:
"Oh, when shall my soul find her rest,
My strugglings and wrestlings be o'er;
My heart, by my Saviour possessed,
Be fearing and sinning no more?"
It is those who "hunger and thirst after righteousness" that are to be "filled." If this desire has been created, in any degree, I am delighted. Let me try and increase that longing, by holding up before your eyes some of the advantages that flow out of the possession of the Blessing. And the first thing I mention that seems calculated to create this desire is the fact that —
1. A Pure Heart will ensure a Holy Life. But here does anyone who has not heard my previous explanation of this subject ask, "What do I mean by a holy life?" I answer, that it is a life that meets the requirements, and ensures the fulfillment of the promises of this Holy Book; a life fashioned after the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. It will, at the best, be very imperfect, have many weaknesses about it, and be subjected to many mistakes; but still, according to the light possessed, it will be a holy life.
Is not such a life desirable, my Comrades? Is not a man who is able to live out his religion before his family, before his workmates, and before the world, highly privileged? Will he not be a means of blessing to those around him, whichever way he turns? Look at him.
He is honest and faithful in all his worldly dealings, in his shop, factory, home, or wherever he may come. He has an honest heart.
He is true to his promises and engagements. His word is his bond. You can trust him either in or out of sight. He has a true heart.
He is industrious. He neither shirks his duty, nor wastes his time, nor scamps his work. He has an industrious heart.
He is kind. He is loving to his wife, tender to his children, faithful to his comrades, considerate for his servants, gentle to the weak, sympathetic to the sick. He has a kind heart.
He is compassionate. He pities the poor, yearns over the Backslider, fights for the Salvation of sinners in public, and cries to God for their deliverance in private. He has a soul-loving heart.
He is a holy man. His secret life is holy. In thought and feeling, conversation and disposition, he is able to please God and do His blessed Will. He has a Pure Heart. Is not such a heart desirable, my Comrades? I thank God for as many of you as have been brought, by Divine Grace, into the possession of this beautiful treasure, but I want you all to come up to this standard.
I want you all to enter this holy state.
2. But, further, a Pure Heart will give you Peace. It is a condition of peace. You cannot have peace without it. I am always saying to you, in one form or another, that you must not expect a life of uninterrupted gladness in this world. It cannot be. Our imperfect bodies, with all their pains and weaknesses; the temptations of the Devil, and the miseries of a world in rebellion against God, prevent anything like a life of unmixed rejoicing for you and me.
But peace, "the peace of God, the peace that passeth all understanding," is your birthright, and with a Pure Heart, the treasure shall be yours. I say again, that while you are here you must have certain strife. You cannot help it. You will have strife with the Devil. War to the knife with hell. You will have strife with wicked men. They will fight you because you are for righteousness and God, and for the deliverance of men from their power.
But, Hallelujah! in the heart that is purified by the Holy Spirit, and sprinkled with the Blood of the Lamb, the strife with God has ceased, the war with conscience is ended, the fear of death and hell is over. The soul possessed of a Pure Heart has entered "the rest that remaineth to the people of God."
Do you enjoy this rest, my Comrades? Is the inward strife over? Oh, make haste, and let the Blessed Spirit, who waits to sanctify you wholly, cast out the enemies of your soul!
It is not your poverties, nor your persecutions, nor your afflictions, nor your ignorances, nor ever so many other things all put together, that prevent your perfect peace. Sin is the enemy; and when malice and indolence, and ambition and unbelief, and every other evil thing has been cast out, your "peace shall flow as a river, and your righteousness shall abound as the waves of the sea."
3. Purity of Heart is the condition on which God will enter and dwell in your soul. Now listen, my Comrades, and cry to God for an increase of Faith, seeing that what I am going to say is a great mystery. But it is, nevertheless, gloriously true. God wants to live with you, not only in your home, but in your very heart. Poor and ignorant as you may be among men, and little noticed, nay, even despised, by the great and rich people of the world, yet God — the great God, whom the "heaven of heavens cannot contain" — wants to come and live in your heart and that not as a visitor only, but as an abiding guest.
An old writer curiously says, "God is like the rich people in one respect. He has two houses — a town house and a country house. His town house is in the Celestial City, but His country house is in the hearts of His people." Hear what He says Himself: — "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place" — and — "with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit" — in order — "to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
Brother, sister, can you not hear Him saying, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him"?
"O joyful sound of gospel grace!
Christ shall in me appear;
I, even I, shall see His face;
I shall be holy here.
"This heart shall be His constant home;
I hear His Spirit cry;
'Surely,' He saith, 'I quickly come';
He saith who cannot lie."
Will you not say "Amen, come in, Lord Jesus, and come quickly"'? Will you not let all go that would prevent Him entering? Will you not fling the gates of your soul wide open, and let Him come in? If you will, go down before Him just now, and bid Him welcome.
I have much more to say to you on this precious subject, but it must wait till another time. Meanwhile, wait no longer for a full Salvation.
"Jesus, my All-in-all Thou art,
My rest in toil, my ease in pain,
The medicine of my broken heart,
In war my peace, in loss my gain,
In grief my joy unspeakable,
My life in death, my All-in-all.
"In want my plentiful supply,
In weakness my almighty power,
In bonds my perfect liberty,
My light in Satan's darkest hour,
In grief my joy unspeakable,
My life in death, my heaven in hell