by Archibald Alexander
"My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed." Men are often the subject of strong impressions, and have their feelings strongly excited, when they are far from a fixed and deliberate purpose to devote themselves unreservedly to the service of God. Whatever vicissitudes of feeling and fluctuation of hope the real Christian may experience, his purpose never wavers. He may be strongly tempted, and carnal desires may plead against his course, and his self-denial may be painful, like plucking out a right eye, or cutting off a right hand; but still his determination is fixed that he will serve the Lord. Yes, when by some powerful temptation he is overcome, and is betrayed into sin, though he may for a season be in despair, yet his purpose is, that if he perishes, he will perish seeking mercy and trying to serve the Lord.
Fixedness of purpose is a much better evidence of genuine piety than the most elevated feelings of joy; and this is an evidence which the Christian possesses in his darkest hours of discouragement. Our sensible feelings are much more connected with the state of the nervous system than is commonly supposed; but the steady, fixed purpose of the will, is a good evidence that the heart has been renewed. Our purpose may be stronger at one time than another, but it is always fixed.
The writer has come upon following case. A careless and profane young man was awakened, and professed to be converted. His zeal was ardent, and his confidence strong. He relinquished a lucrative business that he might commence a course of education for the Christian ministry. After a while his zeal began to cool, and his prospect of success in preparing for the ministry being somewhat uncertain, he began to regret that he had commenced such a course. And worse than this, he began to repent that he had left the world, and had relinquished a profitable business for the sake of Christ. In a conversation which the writer had with him, he acknowledged that, he often hesitated whether he should continue to seek God, or go back to the world. This confession struck the writer with surprise, as he had before entertained a very favorable opinion of this man, and he could not reconcile such wavering with sincerity. After some time, the young man suddenly relinquished his studies, gave up his Christian profession, and plunged into more than his former dissipation. He became openly profane, and it is believed avowed his disbelief in the reality of true religion. The change in his course affected the pious with grief, and furnished occasion of triumph to the enemies of vital piety. But his course was short. Though possessed of a strong and healthy constitution, he was seized with an inflammatory fever, and died in horror and despair!