Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart on your bed, and be still. Selah.
I would introduce, must I say, a stranger? to your acquaintance; one whom it infinitely concerns you to know, and to be intimate with. Our text will tell you his name — "commune with your own heart."
I. WHAT IT IS TO COMMUNE WITH OUR OWN HEART. Communication supposes two persons, but here a man's own heart must supply the place of both. It is what we call soliloquy. It is the soul's inquiry into and of itself. And it may be either —
1. Direct: we can bid our soul ponder our ways.
2. By way of reflection. And this should be ordinary with us; the soul should talk over every occurrence with itself. But sometimes, when there is a more than common call for self-consultation, it should be extraordinary.
II. WHAT SHOULD WE THUS COMMUNE ABOUT?
1. About our state; our former state — what we were; and of our present state — what we are. Our first salutation to one another when we meet is, "How d'ye do?" — let this be every man's first address to himself, "Heart, how dost thou?" Especially if you are living in sin, or walking inconsistently with your Christian profession. And we should converse also about our future — what we are likely to be. Have we a good hope, or are we in danger of hell?
2. About sin.
III. WHEN SHOULD WE COMMUNE WITH OUR OWN HEARTS? When should we not? We cannot do it too often. But more especially —
1. When we are most at leisure.
2. When the conscience is in any way awakened.
3. When we are under any particular trouble. "In the day of adversity consider." (Ecclesiastes 7:14).
4. When we engage in the solemn duties of religion.
5. The Lord's day.
6. When we in the immediate prospect of death.
IV. WHY SHOULD WE DO THIS? Because —
1. God commands it. A good man who had a wild and wicked son, whom neither tears nor entreaties nor threatenings could reclaim, left it as his dying charge to his son, and gave him an estate expressly upon this condition, that he should spend half an hour every day alone. The good man died; and the next day, the young prodigal, rather than lose his fortune, shuts himself up. But what an age did the first half hour seem I How impatiently did he count the slow-moving minutes; and as soon as ever they had gone, joyfully haste away to his gay companions. Sometimes he would spend the time in fretting at or ridiculing this odd command of his father. "What could he mean by it?" (at length he began to think); he was always kind, and could never design to vex me. And yet what good can I, get by sitting here moping and musing? I begin to grow melancholy already. However, he persevered, in obedience to the will; and at length it pleased God to give his mind such a thoughtful turn, that he came to long for the half hour as much as formerly he dreaded it. He was led on from step to step, until he became a serious and exemplary Christian. Now God hath as positively enjoined on us this duty (2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 6:4). Then, thinks —
2. The thing itself is reasonable. What should we think of a man who was hardly ever at home, sauntering up and down all the day long, and letting his own affairs be neglected?
3. And it is useful also. It prevents waste of time. Helps to improve ends of time. Saves from many snares. Makes us thrive in grace.
4. And necessary.
V. HOW MUST WE THUS COMMUNE?
4. Rightly — do not judge yourself by a false measure.Weigh your actions and thoughts in the balance of the sanctuary (2 Corinthians 10:12, 18). But some of you will not do this, and the reason is — you are afraid. And yet you must die. Is it not better, then, to obey, and hear what your heart will say
Parallel VersesKJV: Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.