Evening, August 15, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” — Ezekiel 36:26
A heart of flesh is known by its tenderness concerning sin. To have indulged a vulgar thought, or to have allowed a wild desire to remain even for a moment, is quite enough to make a heart of flesh grieve before the Lord. The heart of stone declares a great immorality to be inconsequential — not so the heart of flesh.
“If to the right or left I stray,
That moment, Lord, reprove;
And let me weep my life away,
For having grieved thy love”
The heart of flesh is tender to God’s will. My stubborn self-will is a great braggard, and it is hard to subject him to God’s will; but when the heart of flesh is given, the will quivers like an aspen leaf in every breath of heaven, and bows like a willow in every breeze of God’s Spirit. The natural will is cold, hard iron, which refuses to be hammered into form, but the renewed will, like molten metal, is soon molded by the hand of grace. In the heart of flesh there is tender affection. The hard heart does not love the Redeemer, but the renewed heart burns with affection towards him. The hard heart is selfish and coldly demands, “Why should I weep for sin? Why should I love the Lord?” But the heart of flesh says; “Lord, you know that I love you; help me to love you more!” There are many privileges of this renewed heart; “‘It is here the Spirit dwells, it is here that Jesus rests.” It is tailored to receive every spiritual blessing, and every blessing comes to it. It is prepared to yield every heavenly fruit to the honor and praise of God, and therefore the Lord delights in it. A tender heart is the best defense against sin, and the best preparation for heaven. A renewed heart stands on its watchtower looking for the coming of the Lord Jesus. Have you this heart of flesh?
My notes: Spurgeon says, “My Lord Will-be-will is a great blusterer.” Since Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is not as commonly read and referenced today as in Spurgeon’s day, I have rendered this “My stubborn self-will is a great braggard.” “Foul imagination” I have rendered “vulgar thought,” “Osier” is a European willow and I have used “willow” in its place. “In the fleshy heart there is a tenderness of the affections” I have simplified to “In the heart of flesh there is tender affection.” “The heart of stone calls a great iniquity nothing” I have rendered as “The heart of stone declares a great immorality to be inconsequential.” I hope these edits clarify Spurgeon and in no way degrade his message.