by Daniel Dyke
Or a Discourse and discovery of the deceitfulness of Mans Heart:
The heart is deceitful above all things, who can know it? JER. 17. 9.
Who knows the errors of his life? Lord cleanse me from my secret faults. PSAL. 19. 12.
This text has been initially updated from EEBO-TCP by Project Puritas (Logan West, with David Jonescue and Alex Sarrouf.) www.puritansearch.org. Further revision and editing done by Monergism. Copyright Monergism via universal text usage permission from the above
In "The Mystery of Self-Deceiving" by Daniel Dyke, ruminate on the intricate nature of the human heart, which serves as he principal seat of the soul. Through the lens of Scripture, the author explores how the heart is often used as a metonymy for the entire soul or its specific faculties, including the will and affections, all of which possess a deceitful quality.
Drawing from the Hebrew language, the word "deceitful" carries profound meaning, originating from a verb denoting the act of supplanting, reminiscent of runners in a race who cleverly trip their opponents. Just as Jacob acquired his name by catching Esau's heel at birth, our hearts cunningly trip us up when we embark on the race set before us. Echoing this notion, our hearts can be rightfully called "Jacob's," as they deceive many and endeavor to deceive all, obscuring God's blessings and the promise of heavenly inheritance.
A question arises: Does this deceitfulness afflict all individuals indiscriminately or only certain ones? The answer lies in the universality of this trait, except for Christ, whose mouth and heart were found devoid of guile. By nature, all our hearts share this inclination. The transformative power of grace, while remarkable, does not entirely eradicate deceit from even the noblest individuals. Christ commended Nathanael for his guileless heart, and David attributed the same quality to all justified persons. However, this purity of heart pertains solely to the spirit, the new creation fashioned by God within the regenerated individual, while the flesh, represented by the old man, cunningly outwits the young man due to its age and experience.
Just as young men continue to mature and strive for perfection, while old age brings decline and senility, the craftiness of the old man gradually weakens. Inflicted wounds from the stronger young man's arm strike at the old man's brain, while the spiritual wisdom of the young man flourishes daily. Thus, the words of the prophet can be interpreted as follows: The heart of man, both of the wicked and the godly, displays deceitfulness. For the wicked, this deceitfulness is complete, strong, and prevalent, manifested throughout their lives. In contrast, the deceitfulness in the hearts of the godly is weaker, as they discern and combat it. While the overall conduct of the godly is marked by uprightness, occasional specific actions may reveal traces of deceit, as seen in David's transgression with Uriah. Similarly, the hearts of the wicked can exhibit brief uprightness in certain actions, as demonstrated by Abimelech's interaction with Sarah. Nevertheless, God acknowledges the integrity of their hearts in those particular instances but does not attribute it to the entirety of their conduct.
The book sheds light on the magnitude of deceit within the heart, surpassing all other traits. It delves into the cause of this deceitfulness, which can be attributed to the inherent evil in human nature. Moreover, the inscrutability of the heart is highlighted, prompting the question: Who can truly know it? The human intellect alone cannot fully comprehend its depths without the aid of a higher and clearer light.
"The Mystery of Self-Deceiving" provides profound insights into the deceitful nature of the human heart, exploring its multifaceted aspects and offering thought-provoking reflections on the challenges of self-deception and the pursuit of genuine righteousness.
Table of Contents
TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE AND MOST VIRTUOUS LADY
CHAPTER I. The Text opened; A preparation to the treatise following, showing the original of the hearts deceitfulness, the difficulty, and yet the means of knowing it.
CHAPTER II. Of the deceitfulness of the heart in regard of others.
CHAPTER III. Of the deceit whereby we judge ourselves not to be so evil, as indeed wear.
CHAPTER IV. Of the deceits of three several sorts of men, the rich worldling, the civil justiciary, the loose libertine.
CHAPTER V. Of the deceits of the temporary believers Faith and feelings.
CHAPTER VI. Of the deceits of the temporary believers sorrows, and desires.
CHAPTER VII. Of the deceits of the temporary in the outward practice of repentance
CHAPTER VIII. Of the deceitfulness of the Temporaries obedience.
CHAPTER X. The use of the first head of the hearts deceitfulness, or an earnest exhortation to try our selves whether we have overtaken the temporary.
CHAPTER XI. Of the deceit of the heart in giving directions for our actions.
CHAPTER XII. The deceitful judgment of the heart in censuring our actions already done, and more specially the shifts it useth for excusing of sinful actions.
CHAPTER XIII. Of the deceit of the heart in translating the sin from ourselves upon some other cause.
CHAPTER XIV. Of two other deceitful excuses of sin, and the use of the whole.
CHAPTER XV. Five deceits of the heart in persuading to sin.
CHAPTER XVI. Of nine more deceits in the same kind.
CHAPTER XVII. Six deceits of the heart in persuading to the omission of good.
CHAPTER XVIII. Of another deceit in the same kind.
CHAPTER XIX. Of the deceit of the heart in that which it promiseth to us.
CHAPTER XX. Of the deceit of the heart in that which it promiseth to God.
CHAPTER XXI. Of four deceits of the heart in practicing.
CHAPTER XXII. Of eight more deceits in the same kind.
CHAPTER XXIII. Of the deceit of our affections in general.
CHAPTER XXIV. Of the deceitfulness of our love, anger, joy.
CHAPTER XXV. Of the deceitfulness of our sorrow, desire, and confidence.
CHAPTER XXVI. - Of the greatness of the hearts deceitfulness, and of the cause of her deceitfulness.
CHAPTER XXVII. Of the unsearchableness of the heart, and of six notes to discover it by.
CHAPTER XXVIII. Of certain notes which the word of God giveth of an upright heart.
CHAPTER XXIX. Certain general uses arising out of the former doctrine of the hearts deceitfulness, or an exhortation to watchfulness over, and dealing wisely, and straitly with our hearts.
CHAPTER XXX. Motives unto, and means of sincerity.
CHAPTER XXXI. The answering of the objection which the deceitful heart of man might gather out of the former doctrine of the hearts deceitfulness.