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Sincerity of Heart

By John Henry Newman

      "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:17).

      Every thing is plain and easy to the earnest; it is the doubleminded who find difficulties. If you hate your own corruption in sincerity and truth, if you are really pierced to the heart that you do not do what you know you should do, if you would love God if you could, then the Gospel speaks to you words of peace and hope. It is a very different thing indolently to say, I would I were a different man," and to close with God's offer to make you different, when it is put before you. Here is the test between earnestness and insincerity. You say you wish to be a different man; Christ takes you at your word, so to speak; He offers to make you different. He says, "I will take away from you the heart of stone, the love of this world and its pleasures, if you will submit to My discipline." Here a man draws back. No; he cannot bear to lose the love of the world, to part with his present desires and tastes; he cannot consent to be changed. After all he is well satisfied at the bottom of his heart to remain as he is, only he wants his conscience taken out of the way. Did Christ offer to do this for him, if He would but make bitter sweet and sweet bitter, darkness fight and light darkness, then he would hail the glad tidings of peace;--till then he needs Him not.

      But if a man is in earnest in wishing to get at the depths of his own heart, to expel the evil, to purify the good, and to gain power over himself, so as to do as well as know the Truth, what is the difficulty?--a matter of time indeed, but not of uncertainty is the recovery of such a man.

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