James Smith, 1861
"My son, give me your heart!" Proverbs 23:26
Majesty on earth commands — but the majesty of Heaven stoops to solicit. Sometimes God invites us, sometimes be exhorts us, and, sometimes he asks of us — as if requesting a favor. What wondrous condescension! What amazing love! The God of the universe stoops to his poor, depraved, degraded creature man, and says, "My son, give me your heart!" He created the heart for himself, he wishes it to be fixed on himself, and he asks for it, that he may fill it with himself. Has God my heart? Reader, has he yours? He asks for it now, let us then-consider two things:
1. WHO asks for your heart?Not a stranger — not a foe — not an oppressor; but a kind, gracious, loving Father! God speaks to us as unto his children. He says, "My son, give me your heart." It is our highest honor to be the sons of God — nothing can equal this. It is a source of the purest happiness — how can God's children be unhappy? What should make them so? It is a display of the richest grace, for it is an unmerited favor, and altogether an unmerited favor — for the Lord God to put us among his children. It is a mark of peculiar condescension, we are so poor, so polluted, so vile — and yet he calls us, sons. How tender! How alluring! How loving!
2. WHAT does he ask for?The heart, only the heart — but the whole heart. This intimates, that the heart is withheld from him. This intimates, that he will be satisfied with nothing less — with nothing else. This intimates, that the heart must be absolutely surrendered. This proves that God will take the heart, just as it is; and that he has a right to it — it is his own.
This should lead us to inquire: what will he do with it? Do with it? He will sanctify and cleanse it! He will inhabit it as his temple, and dwell in it, as if it were his Heaven!
God may demand, for he has authority — but he stoops to ask, as if for a favor. All will be benefitted, and none can be injured by the surrender. The person shall be saved, his relatives shall get good, the Church will be increased, and even Heaven will become more populous.
Say then, friend — shall God have your heart? He will not force it from you — it must be voluntarily surrendered. Shall he have it? If so, when? Has it not been given to the world long enough? Has it not been inhabited by Satan long enough? Has it not been withheld from God long enough? How polluted it is, how unhappy it has been, what restless desires still work in it, to bring forth fruit unto death. What it has been, it will continue to be — unless you surrender it to God.
Now you have the opportunity. Are you young — that
is the best season to present the heart to God. He will . . .
receive it at your hands,
purify it by his word,
perfume it with his graces,
fill it with his Spirit, and
cause it to overflow with joy and peace.
Give your youthful heart to God — and you will never regret it.
Will you surrender your heart to God? If so, how? Will you do it promptly — at once, and without delay? Will you do it heartily — making a full, sincere, and honest surrender of the whole heart at once? Will you do it cheerfully — glad to have it in safe keeping, and in safe keeping for evermore?
Well, friend, how is it to be? Who is to have your heart
— God or Satan? One of these must, one of them will, one of
them has now. If you have not given the heart to God as your
own solemn and deliberate act and deed — then Satan has it, dwells in
it, and influences it! If God has your heart — he has . . .
your prayers, and
If God has your heart — he will . . .
keep it by his power,
conform it to the heart of Jesus,
and will delight in it for evermore.
But if God has not your heart, it is occupied by some base usurper, it is influenced by a principle of enmity to God — it will be found a vessel of wrath at last, and will be filled with an agonizing sense of God's just and eternal hatred forever. Now then, while God asks you — now while time is afforded you, now while opportunity is offered you — make the surrender and say, "Lord, take my heart, my whole heart — and let it be wholly, only, and forever yours!"