Teach me your way, O LORD; I will walk in your truth: unite my heart to fear your name.
I. A good man has not two hearts. David does not pray that God would unite his old and new heart, or his old and new principle, or his old and new disposition, or his old and new taste; but his one, only heart. The new heart destroys the old heart,
II. WHAT HIS ONE HEART IS. A sinner's heart consists in a train of mere selfish affections; but a saint's heart consists in a train of both benevolent and selfish exercises. The best of saints are imperfectly holy in this life; and their imperfection in holiness consists in their sometimes having holy, and sometimes unholy affections. Their holy and unholy affections are always distinct, and never blended together. Their holy exercises are never partly holy and partly unholy, but perfectly holy; and their unholy exercises are never partly holy, but perfectly unholy. A train of holy and unholy affections forms the heart of a saint; but a train of constant, uninterrupted sinful affections forms the heart of a sinner.
III. THE HEART OF THE SAINT NEEDS TO BE UNITED. The perfect holiness of Adam, in his primitive state, wholly consisted in the constant and uninterrupted succession of his holy affections. The perfect holiness of just men in heaven consists in the constant and uninterrupted succession of their holy affections. Nor could there be the least moral imperfection in the hearts of good men in this world, if their affections were constantly holy, without any interruption by affections of an opposite and sinful nature. The reason why the heart of a good man needs to be united is, because it is disunited by a contrariety of affections; and not because his affections are too weak, or low, or languid. The only way to raise the ardour of a holy heart is, to make the succession of holy affections more constant and less interrupted, or, in other words, to unite one holy affection so intimately with another, that there should be no time, nor room, for any sinful affection to intervene, interrupt, or cool the ardour of Divine love.
IV. THERE IS A PROPRIETY IN HIS PRAYING THAT GOD WOULD UNITE HIS HEART.
1. Every Christian finds that his heart is more or less disunited; that not only his love, his fear, his faith, and other gracious affections are sometimes what he calls low and languid, but actually interrupted by directly opposite exercises. He finds opposition instead of submission; unbelief instead of faith; the love of the world instead of love to God; and aversion to duty, instead of delight in it. These are positive exercises of sinful affections, which are diametrically opposed to positive exercises of grace.
2. It is proper for Christians to pray that God would unite their disunited hearts, because no external means or motives will produce this effect without His special influence.Improvement: —
1. If every Christian has but one heart, and that heart consists in moral exercises, then no person is passive in regeneration.
2. If a good heart consists in good affections, which are continually liable to be interrupted by affections of an opposite nature, then it is easy to see wherein the deceitfulness of the heart consists, viz., in its mutability.
3. If the hearts of good men consist in free, voluntary exercises, then they ought to be perfectly holy in this life. For if they ought to have one holy exercise, then they ought to have another and another, in a constant, uninterrupted succession. They have no right to exercise one selfish, sinful affection.
4. If a good heart consists in holy exercises, then the Gospel as really requires perfect holiness as the law. The difference between the law and the Gospel does not lie in their precepts, but in their promises. The law promises eternal life to nothing short of the constant, uninterrupted exercise of holy affections, and-condemns the man who indulges one selfish, sinful affection; but the Gospel promises eternal life to every one who perseveres in holy exercises, though they are interrupted in a thousand instances.
5. If the hearts of saints consist altogether in moral and voluntary exercises, then they never have any more holiness than they have holy exercises.
6. If the hearts of saints consist altogether in free, voluntary exercises, then there is a foundation in their hearts for a spiritual warfare.
7. In the view of this subject Christians may see their great moral imperfection.
(N. Emmons, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.