by Thomas Brooks
"Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." - Proverbs 4:23
God's eye is mainly upon the heart. The heart is the fountain, the root, the store-house, the great wheel which sets all a-going; so therefore, above all keepings, keep your hearts.
The highest and hardest work of a Christian lies with his heart. To reform the heart, to keep the heart in a gracious frame, is one of the best and hardest works in the world. Oh what guards and double guards! Oh what watches and double watches, should men put upon their hearts! A man is to keep his eye, and keep his mouth, and keep his feet—but above all keeping, he is to keep his heart. A gracious heart is Christ's fort-royal. Now, against this fort Satan will employ the utmost of his strength, art, and craft. And therefore how highly does it concern every Christian to keep a strong guard, a constant guard about his heart!
Men should keep their hearts, as they keep a rich treasure of money or jewels. Now, to preserve a rich treasure, what locks, what bolts, what bars, what chains are made use of! Our hearts are jewels more worth than all the kingdoms, crowns, and scepters of this world. There are few men who know how to value their own hearts as they should. What are mountains of gold, and rocks of pearl—compared to the heart, the soul of man! All our spiritual riches are in our hearts. Oh then, what a guard, what a watch should a man continually keep upon his heart!
It is one of the greatest and clearest evidences of grace, for a man to make it his greatest business, work, and concern—to keep his heart always . . .
in a gracious frame,
in a wakeful frame,
in a watchful frame,
in a tender frame,
in a believing frame,
in a repenting frame,
in a humble frame,
in a patient frame,
in a serious frame,
in a heavenly frame,
in a jealous frame.
"O Lord, my memory is weak, and my utterance is bad, and my understanding is dark, and my gifts are low, and my affections are flat, and my temptations are strong, and my corruptions are prevalent. But You, who are the great heart-searcher, You know that I would sincerely have my heart in a better temper. I had rather have my heart brought into a gracious frame, and kept in a gracious frame, than to have all the riches of the Indies, than to be
an emperor, yes, than to be king over all the earth."