Tag Archives: religious emotion

Alistair Begg – Heart-rending

Alistair Begg

Rend your hearts and not your garments.

Joel 2:13

The tearing of garments and other outward signs of religious emotion are easily displayed and are frequently hypocritical; but to feel true repentance is far more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will pay attention to the most minute ceremonial regulations-for those things are pleasing to the flesh. But true faith is too humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of people of the flesh; they prefer something more ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly.

Outward observances are temporarily comfortable; eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and self-righteousness is puffed up: But they are ultimately delusive, for in the face of death, and at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven.

Heart-rending is divinely worked and solemnly felt. It is a secret grief that is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, soul-moving work of the Holy Spirit upon the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a matter to be merely talked about and believed in, but keenly and sensitively felt in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating and completely sin-purging, but it is also sweet preparation for the gracious consolations that proud, unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them alone.

The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally as hard as marble: How, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: A dying Savior’s voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as men tear their garments in the day of lamentation.

 

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning   “Rend your heart, and not your garments.” / Joel 2:13

Garment-rending and other outward signs of religious emotion, are easily

manifested and are frequently hypocritical; but to feel true repentance is far

more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will attend to the most

multiplied and minute ceremonial regulations–for such things are pleasing to

the flesh–but true religion is too humbling, too heart-searching, too

thorough for the tastes of the carnal men; they prefer something more

ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly. Outward observances are temporarily

comfortable; eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and

self-righteousness is puffed up: but they are ultimately delusive, for in the

article of death, and at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more

substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital

godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every

form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of

heaven.

 

Heart-rending is divinely wrought and solemnly felt. It is a secret grief

which is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, soul-moving

work of the Holy Spirit upon the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a

matter to be merely talked of and believed in, but keenly and sensitively felt

in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating, and

completely sin-purging; but then it is sweetly preparative for those gracious

consolations which proud unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is

distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them

alone.

The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally hard as

marble: how, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: a dying

Saviour’s voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed

Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent

even as men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation.

 

Evening    “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy

herds.” / Proverbs 27:23

Every wise merchant will occasionally hold a stock-taking, when he will cast

up his accounts, examine what he has on hand, and ascertain decisively whether

his trade is prosperous or declining. Every man who is wise in the kingdom of

heaven, will cry, “Search me, O God, and try me”; and he will frequently set

apart special seasons for self-examination, to discover whether things are

right between God and his soul. The God whom we worship is a great

heart-searcher; and of old his servants knew him as “the Lord which searcheth

the heart and trieth the reins of the children of men.” Let me stir you up in

his name to make diligent search and solemn trial of your state, lest you come

short of the promised rest. That which every wise man does, that which God

himself does with us all, I exhort you to do with yourself this evening. Let

the oldest saint look well to the fundamentals of his piety, for grey heads

may cover black hearts: and let not the young professor despise the word of

warning, for the greenness of youth may be joined to the rottenness of

hypocrisy. Every now and then a cedar falls into our midst. The enemy still

continues to sow tares among the wheat. It is not my aim to introduce doubts

and fears into your mind; nay, verily, but I shall hope the rather that the

rough wind of self-examination may help to drive them away. It is not

security, but carnal security, which we would kill; not confidence, but

fleshly confidence, which we would overthrow; not peace, but false peace,

which we would destroy. By the precious blood of Christ, which was not shed to

make you a hypocrite, but that sincere souls might show forth his praise, I

beseech you, search and look, lest at the last it be said of you, “Mene, Mene,

Tekel: thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.”