We Must Lay Siege to the Hardness of Our Own Hearts

Let us justify Christ in all his chastisements, knowing that all his dealing towards us is to cause us to return into our own hearts. His work in bruising tends to our work in bruising ourselves. Let us lament our own perversity, and say: Lord, what a heart have I that needs all this, that none of this could be spared! We must lay siege to the hardness of our own hearts, and aggravate sin all we can. We must look on Christ, who was bruised for us, look on him whom we have pierced with our sins. But all directions will not prevail, unless God by his Spirit convinces us deeply, setting our sins before us, and driving us to a standstill. Then we will cry out for mercy. Conviction will breed contrition, and this leads to humiliation. Therefore desire God that he would bring a clear and a strong light into all the corners of our souls, and accompany it with a spirit of power to lay our hearts low. ~ The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes

God’s Word Wielded By His Arm Breaks Hard Hearts

The instrument with which the heart is broken, and with which the spirit is made contrite, is the Word. ‘Is not my word like as a fire, saith the Lord; and like a hammer, that breaketh the rock in pieces?’ (Jer 23:29). The rock, in this text, is the heart, which in another place is compared to an adamant, which adamant is harder than flint (Zech 7:11, 12; Eze 3:9). This rock, this adamant, this stony heart, is broken and made contrite by the Word. But it only is so, when the Word is as a fire, and as a hammer to break and melt it. And then, and then only, it is as a fire, and a hammer to the heart to break it, when it is managed by the arm of God. No man can break the heart with the Word; no angel can break the heart with the Word; that is, if God forbears to second it by mighty power from heaven.  ~ The Acceptable Sacrifice by John Bunyan

God so Calls as He Allures

God so calls as He allures; He does not force, but draw. The freedom of the will is not taken away, but the stubbornness of it is conquered. ‘Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power’ (Psalm 110:3). “All Things for Good” pg. 107

Ministers of God are Only the Pipes and Organ

The Word is the instrumental cause of our conversion, the Spirit is the efficient. The ministers of God are only the pipes and organs; it is the Spirit blowing in them that effectually changes the heart. ‘While Peter spake, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word’ (Acts 10:44). It is not the farmer’s industry in ploughing and sowing, that will make the ground fruitful, without the early and latter rain. So it is not the seed of the Word that will effectually convert, unless the Spirit puts forth His Sweet influence, and drops as rain upon the heart.

Therefore the aid of God’s Spirit is to be implored, that He would put forth His powerful voice, and awaken us out of the grave of unbelief. If a man knock at a gate of brass, it will not open; but if he come with a key in his hand, it will open: so when God, who has the key of David in His hand (Rev. 3:7) comes, He opens the heart, though it be ever so fast locked against Him. “All Things for Good” pg. 106

When God Calls a Man by His Grace, He Cannot but Come

When God calls a man by His grace, he cannot but come. You may resist the minister’s call, but you cannot the Spirit’s call. The finger of the blessed Spirit can write upon a heart of stone, as once He wrote His law upon tables of stone. God’s words are creating words; when He says, ‘Let there be light’, there was light, and when He says, ‘Let there be faith,’ it shall be so. When God called Paul, he answered to the call. ‘I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision’ (Acts 26:19). God rides forth conquering in the chariot of His gospel; He makes the blind eyes see, and the stony heart bleed. If God will call a man, nothing shall lie in the way to hinder; difficulties shall be united, the powers of hell shall disband. ‘Who hath resisted his will?’ (Rom. 9:19). God bends the iron sinew, and cuts asunder the gates of brass (Psalm 107:6). When the Lord touches a man’s heart by His Spirit, all proud imaginations are brought down, and the fort-royal of the will yields to God. “All Things for Good” pgs. 108-109