A Sense of the Heart (Jonathan Edwards)

"See that your chief study be about your heart... for the true spirit of prayer is no other than God's own Spirit dwelling in the heart. And as this spirit comes from God, so doth it naturally tend to God in holy breathings and pantings." (Jonathan Edwards)

If life seems confusing, it is because we complicate it by listening to the words of the mind instead of the wordless warmth of the heart.

When we take a few moments to center down in silence, we open to the guidance of an Inward Light, a radiant sensation in the region of the heart, directing us as surely as a blindfolded child is directed by a Mother's whisper: Getting warmer... getting warmer....

To develop this intuitive sensibility is the greatest need of our educational system. Today's schools educate us to be data-processors, with complex technical skills but no inner voice. How can leaders guide the world if they don't know how to listen to the guidance of the spirit?

The Colonial theologian, Jonathan Edwards, called this inward skill the sense of the heart. "It is not a thing that belongs to reason, to see the beauty and loveliness of spiritual things; it is not a speculative thing, but depends on the sense of the heart."* He is describing a spiritual touch, a leading beyond words, yet something distinct from impulse, gut reaction, or mere sensuality.

The sense of the heart is characterized by a feeling of warmth, expansion and lightness with regard to what is good for us, for our community, and for our environment; by a sense of coldness, contraction, and heaviness with regard to what is not evolutionary. The sense of the heart is never wrong. What misleads us is the voice of doubt or the voice of judgment, but they do not come from the heart.

The time is approaching when our lives may depend on whether we follow this sense of the heart, or remain stuck in stale arguments, mental concepts, and outworn creeds.

*Sermons, 'A Divine & Supernatural Light,' Northampton, 1734