2 Corinthians 6:13
As a fair exchange, I ask you as my children: Open wide your hearts also.
Sermons
Be Ye EnlargedD. Fraser 2 Corinthians 6:13
A Christian Minister's AppealW. H. Stowell, D. D.2 Corinthians 6:11-13
Heart ExpansionCaleb Morris.2 Corinthians 6:11-13
Spiritual EnlargementCongregational Pulpit2 Corinthians 6:11-13
Tendency of the Gospel to Enlarge the HeartN. Emmons, D. D.2 Corinthians 6:11-13
The Apostle's Love and its Desired RecompenseF. W. Robertson, M. A.2 Corinthians 6:11-13
The Enlargement of Christian BenevolenceR. Hall, M. A.2 Corinthians 6:11-13
The Influence of Religion to Enlarge the MindJ. Lathrop, D. D.2 Corinthians 6:11-13
His Warmth of AffectionC. Lipscomb 2 Corinthians 6:11-18


The apostle had specially in view the increase of joy. But we may use the exhortation to commend the enlargement of Christian people as respects head and heart and hand.

I. BE ENLARGED IN YOUR THOUGHTS. No doubt there is a dangerous breadth or laxity; but there is also mischief in the opposite direction, in narrowness. Good people are apt to become the slaves of their own phraseology, and to insist on their own traditions of expression and definition as exclusively safe and orthodox. Christian truth appears to be with them quite a narrow ledge of stone shaped to their liking, whereas it is a broad firm rock that does not submit itself to men's measuring lines. Never follow a narrow-minded religious teacher. He is sure to be opinionative and monotonous. And even when he lodges a truth in the mind, he gives it the effect of a prejudice. Be enlarged in the comprehensive and manifold wisdom of the Bible. Dare to give yourself room in the far-reaching thoughts and words of God. Especially seek to be enlarged in your estimate of Jesus Christ. Only by degrees was any sufficient knowledge of him attained by those who "companied with him" on earth. They loved him from the first and often wondered. They tried by questions to peer into his mind, but could not make him out. They were surprisingly slow in their apprehensions, till he opened the Scriptures to them after his resurrection, and the Holy Spirit fell on them after his ascension. And now, though the Holy Spirit is with us, his teaching is not received all at once by disciples, and they need more and more enlargement. It is the mark of a growing Christian that in his view Christ increases; the mark of a great Christian that to him Christ is very great. Augustine, Bernard, Leighton, Rutherford, Owen, Martyn, - were these great Christians? And what had they in common? Large and admiring thoughts of Christ.

II. BE ENLARGED IN YOUR SYMPATHIES. Narrow hearts are even more mischievous and unchristian than narrow heads. It is confessedly difficult for one who may have received little mental culture, or has been early imbued with strong prejudices, to gain breadth of view; but there is no excuse for any one who, while naming the name of Jesus, and professing to know the love of God, retains a peevish and contracted heart. We have said "professes to know the love of God," because, when this love is really "shed abroad by the Holy Spirit," it must tend to expand the affections and sympathies. Argument will not do it. Admonition cannot produce the effect. Love only kindles love, and so imparts a larger kindness and more delicate sensibility. Love cries shame on harshness and envy, spreads brotherly kindness, disposes to forgiveness of wrong and a kindly construction of motives, covers a multitude of sins. Have sympathy with all good objects, though you cannot actually help all. Take the part of right-hearted men. A great Christian is one to whom the Lord has given "largeness" of heart. Paul, Chrysostom, Bengel, Baxter, Whitefield, Chalmers, - were these great Christians? And what had they in common? Great hearts, large generosity of soul, the capacity of loving much, and of enlisting the love and sympathy of others for worthy objects.

"The truly generous is the truly wise,
And he who loves not others lives unblest."

III. BE ENLARGED IN LABOURS AND GIFTS. A grudging hand and indolent temper in the Church go with a narrow spirit; but where mind and heart are enlarged in Christ, the hands will be found ready to every good enterprise and open in giving up to the measure of ability. - F.









O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.
I. THE APPEAL OF A REVIVED MINISTER,

1. It consists of a full exhibition to you of all the truths which the gospel teaches for your salvation.

2. It comprises an affectionate desire for your enjoyment of all the blessings which the gospel offers. This enjoyment —

(1)Comes from God.

(2)Is maintained by devout meditation and prayer.

(3)Is encouraged by examples.

(4)Expresses itself by earnestness of spirit in self-denying labours.

II. THE RESPONSE OF A REVIVED CHURCH.

1. Take a firm and steady hold of the simple gospel, as divinely suited to the ends for which it has been given.

2. Meet the ministers of the gospel in the spirit in which they come to you.

3. Extend your own views, plans, and hopes in connection with the enlargement of the Church.

(1)What can you do?

(2)What is the wisest way of doing it?

(3)What are your encouragements and hopes?Address —

1. Those who have no disposition to respond to this appeal — why not?

2. Such as have.

3. Those confirmed by the meetings.

4. Those who are awakened.

(W. H. Stowell, D. D.)

I. THE APOSTLE'S AFFECTION overflows in an exuberant apostrophe (ver. 11). His love was deep, and this flow of eloquence arose out of the expansion of his heart.

1. "Our heart is enlarged." This remark is wonderful considering the provocations Paul had received. The Corinthians had denied the truthfulness of his ministry, charged him with interested motives, sneered at his manner, etc. In the face of this his heart expands! — partly with compassion. Their insults only impressed him with a sense of their need. How worthy a successor of his Master's spirit! And this is the true test of gracious charity. Does the heart expand or narrow as life goes on? If it narrows, ii misconception or opposition wither love, be sure that that love had no root. "If ye love them that love you, what reward have ye?, And this love is given to all, partly from looking on all as immortal souls in Christ. The everlasting principle within makes all the difference. Hold fast to love. If men wound your heart, let them not sour or embitter it; let them not shut up or narrow it; let them only expand it more and more, and be always able to say with Paul, "My heart is enlarged."

2. "Our mouth is open unto you." He might have shut his lips, and in dignified pride refused to plead his own cause. But instead he speaks his thoughts aloud, and, like Luther, lays his whole heart open to view. Paul had no afterthought, no reservation — he was a genuine man.

II. THE RECOMPENSE DESIRED.

1. The enlargement of their heart towards him.

2. To be shown in their separation from the world and from all uncleanness. It was not simply affection towards himself that he desired, but devotion to God.

3. This is the only true recompense of ministerial work.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

I. THE NATURE OF HEART EXPANSION.

1. It is not mere mental expansion. History supplies too many examples of intellectual greatness associated with moral degradation.

2. It is not mere liberality of sentiment.

3. It consists in enlarged views of men as the subject of moral government, and enlarged desires for promoting their well-being. It is Christianity only that inspires those views and those feelings. It gives to man enlarged expectations, and teaches him the way to realise them.

II. THE MEANS OF HEART EXPANSION.

1. Examine the present state of the heart.

2. Meditate upon the great evangelical facts. "God so loved the world," etc.

3. Commune with men of enlarged souls. He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, he that walketh with good souls may participate in their goodness.

4. Hold fellowship with the Son of God. Be much with Him, drink in His sentiments, imbibe His spirit.

III. THE NEED OF HEART EXPANSION. Why should we seek it?

1. The heart is capable of it. How the gospel makes little souls great!

2. We are representatives of Christ. How great in soul should Christians be who have to stand between the loving Son of God and the fallen world!

3. Enlargement of heart is essential to our usefulness. It is only the heart expanding with love that can turn time, talent, property, acquirements, to spiritual use.

4. We are responsible for the condition of the heart whether contracted or enlarged.

(Caleb Morris.)

The gospel had enlarged the heart of the apostle, and he supposed it had a tendency to enlarge the hearts of the Corinthians. His views and feelings were once confined to himself, and to objects connected with his personal interests. But after he had understood and loved the gospel his heart expanded, and he felt interested in everything comprised in the great and benevolent scheme of man's redemption.

I. WHAT WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND BY THE HEART'S BEING ENLARGED.

1. The heart is something different from the faculties of the mind, and consists in free voluntary exercises, emotions, or affections.

2. Every moral agent has some supreme object in view. Self is the object in the unsanctified heart, but the renewed heart has a regard to the interest of others.

3. The heart is large or small in proportion to the largeness or smallness of the objects upon which ii terminates.

4. Men's hearts enlarge as their capacities, relations, connections, and spheres of action increase. When David was a shepherd his mind and heart were as small as his flock; when he became a general they were as large as his army; when he ascended the throne they were enlarged in proportion to the interests of the nation.

5. It is true, indeed, the heart does not always keep pace with the progress of capacity and knowledge. If a man's supreme object be mean or unimportant it will contract his mind and feelings. The man who makes property his supreme object sees nothing in the universe superior to property, and esteems nothing important but what tends to property. So with amusements, etc. As a man's heart is always where his treasure is, so his heart is as large and no larger than his supposed treasure.

II. THE GOSPEL HAS A DIRECT TENDENCY TO ENLARGE THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO EMBRACE IT. The gospel comprises the highest good of the universe, and those who embrace it cordially approve of this design. They love the good that God loves, and desire to have it promoted in the way proposed in the gospel. As soon, therefore, as any become cordially united to Christ, the discovery of this great good immediately expands their hearts. The gospel tends to enlarge men's hearts —

1. Towards God. It gives the fullest and brightest display of His glory.

2. Towards Christ. The great and glorious Saviour is nowhere revealed but here. Nature discovers none such. As men's knowledge of the gospel therefore increases, their love, gratitude, and whole hearts are enlarged towards Christ.

3. Towards the Church of Christ.

4. Towards all mankind.

5. Towards all created beings, whether holy or unholy, and towards every living creature, from the highest angel to the smallest insect. These all belong to God, and are a part of tits interest.

6. To take an interest in all events. They all stand inseparably connected with the extensive design of the gospel, which assures believers that all things are theirs, whether past, present, or to come, and shall eventually work together for their good.If the gospel tends to enlarge the views and hearts of those who embrace it, then —

1. Unbelievers have no just ground to object to it as enfeebling the minds and contracting the hearts of men.

2. We see why the Scripture represents believers as far more amiable and excellent than unbelievers.

3. They sincerely desire that the gospel may be universally known and embraced.

4. They know by experience that they cannot serve God and mammon.

5. They ardently desire to know more and more about it.

6. It enables them to perform all the duties which it requires with great pleasure and delight. "I will run the way of Thy commandments when Thou shalt enlarge my heart."

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

Be ye also enlarged
Congregational Pulpit.
Consider the text —

I. AS IT MAY BE APPLIED TO THE SINNER. Be enlarged —

1. In understanding and wisdom.

2. In the affections of the heart.

3. In the blessedness of the future. "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good."

II. AS IT APPLIES TO BELIEVERS.

1. Be ye also enlarged in the knowledge and love of Christ.

2. In prayer and holy effort.

III. AS IT REMINDS OF HEAVEN. Heaven will be an eternal enlargement, for —

1. There will be perfect comprehension. Nothing to perplex, nothing to obscure.

2. The soul will be released from its earthly prison-house.

3. The bliss of the redeemed will be ever increasing.

(Congregational Pulpit.)

I. IN WHAT THE ENLARGEMENT OF THE TEXT CONSISTS.

1. Negatively.(1) Not in expansion of intellect, for there are many in whose character moral deficiencies form a striking contrast to brilliancy of intellect.(2) Others flatter themselves that they possess superior enlargement because they entertain an equal indifference to all the varieties of human opinion in religious subjects, and feel no regard for any sect or creed. This would, no doubt, be a very cheap and easy doctrine to embrace; by those who are indifferent concessions are easily made to almost any extent, and there can be no great liberality in sacrificing truth where no real attachment to truth is felt.

2. Positively it consists in a real benevolence to the whole Church of Christ, as opposed to any selfish views of our own salvation, or of our own Church, as exclusively concerned. There are some who live solely to themselves, others limit their benevolence to the circle of their own family or of their acquaintance, and others extend their benevolent interest to every case of distress that falls within their view. And this is the utmost extent of human benevolence, apart from the religion of Christ. The proud Roman confined all his benevolence to Rome. That all nations were of one blood never entered into the views of the most enlightened men in the pagan world. But suppose us enabled to open our eyes to a comprehensive view of mankind as one vast family; suppose God to have clearly discovered Himself as the universal Father, from whom all have alike departed by sin; suppose Him to have shown us that one great method of recovery has been provided for all, what should be the effect of such a revelation but first to attach us to God as our common centre, and then to the whole family of man as called to form the Church of God?

II. ITS MOTIVES AND REASONS.

1. It is perfectly reasonable and in harmony with nature. We are so circumstanced that we are perpetually and inevitably led out of ourselves. There are natural emotions that are purely benevolent; pity, e.g., identifies us with others. In all our social affections, supposing them genuine, we act on the ground of a disinterested benevolence; it is their happiness, not our own, that we primarily seek.

2. It agrees with the genius of Christianity, the grand display of the Divine benevolence, "Herein is love," etc. Hence the apostle declares, "The love of Christ constrains us." Such an example of compassionate benevolence — of enlargement of heart — once perceived and felt absorbs the soul.

3. It is conducive to our own happiness. The more we identify ourselves with the interest of others the more we consult our own happiness. In the pursuit of any merely solitary schemes we shall reap only disappointment. When the barriers of selfishness are broken down, and the current of benevolence is suffered to flow generously abroad, and circulate far and near around, then we are in a capacity of the greatest and best enjoyment.

4. It tends to promote all public good.

III. THE MODES OF ATTAINING IT.

1. Acquaintance with God. First draw near to the Father in that new and living way, for "whoso loveth Him that begot will also love all those that are begotten." Once taste for yourself that the Lord is gracious, and then you will find that you "cannot but speak of what you have seen and heard."

2. Prayer for the Holy Spirit's influence; by this alone can our hearts be truly enlarged in love to man.

3. Connection with great objects of beneficence. The mind takes a tincture from the objects it pursues. If you engage your attention in the concerns of Christian philanthropy your mind will be dilated in proportion to your ardour.

(R. Hall, M. A.)

Of this enlargedness of mind the apostle was an eminent example. All his worldly prospects he cheerfully relinquished for the service of Christ.

I. ITS NATURE AND OPERATIONS. The enlarged Christian —

1. Entertains comprehensive and connected ideas of the religion of the gospel, and regards the several parts of it according to their comparative usefulness and importance.(1) There are some who confine their zeal to certain favourite sentiments and usages, and these not the most important, like those primitive believers whose attachment to the rites and ceremonies almost excluded charity to their more liberal brethren.(2) The enlarged Christian imbibes his religious sentiments fresh and pure from the deep fountain of Divine truth, not from the shallow, variable stream of human opinion. Contemplating the perfect character of God, he concludes that all religion must consist in rectitude of heart and holiness of life; that love to Him and benevolence to men must be its leading principles.

2. Judges freely and independently in matters of religion. He will not receive doctrines as the commandments of men, nor, on the other hand, will he cavil and object against them to show his superiority to the opinions of men.

3. Yields an unreserved submission to the Divine government. To a contracted mind the ways of God are subjects of daily complaint, but the man of an enlarged heart contemplates the ways of God on a more extensive scale. He therefore acquiesces in all the allotments of providence, and rejoices that his interests are in better hands than his own.

4. Is of a humble mind. The man of a narrow heart thinks highly of his own worth, is tenacious of his own opinions, and devoted to his own interest; but the man of liberal sentiments thinks soberly, speaks modestly, and walks humbly. Influenced by this spirit, the Christian reveres the word of revelation, and receives its instructions with submission.

5. Has a benevolent heart. He whose feelings are contracted within himself views with indifference the misfortunes of a neighbour, or takes advantage from them. But the enlarged Christian considers all men as his brethren. He can sacrifice his own interest to the superior happiness of his fellow-men, like Paul, who sought not his own profit, but the profit of many, that they might be saved.

II. THE PROPER MEANS OF OBTAINING AND IMPROVING IT.

1. An intimate acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures. It is not any and every kind of knowledge that will enlarge the mind, but only-that which is great in its object and useful in its tendency.

2. Sub, mission to the power of the gospel. Knowledge is highly useful, but this alone will rather swell than enlarge the mind. It is charity which edifies.

3. Social inter. course, especially social worship.

4. Prayer.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)

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