The Immortality of the Affections
Psalm 22:26
The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.

The heart has been employed by the inspired writers as the symbol of human affections. So the heart of man is said to be tried by God — to be opened, established, enlightened, strengthened, searched by God. The text asserts the absolute indestructibility of our religious affections. Work up to this through the intervening lessons.

1. There is one thing in this fleeting world which is immortal. Man wears on his forehead the crown of his regnant majesty; for his nature is undying. No soul has ever yet passed out of existence.

2. The text draws a distinction between life and mere existence. Into this word "live" we must suffer a new increment of meaning to enter. These hearts of ours may have one of two moral states. Whichever of these is possessed as a permanent character decides destiny. The heart that "seeks God" enters immediately into the nearness of God's presence, where there is fulness of joy. The heart that wilfully refuses to "seek God" is forced into the darkness of utter banishment from God for the unending future. The first of these conditions is "life," the second is "death."

3. The text evidences its authority by language peremptory and plain. The word "shall" is of itself sovereign and conclusive But the form of speech employed is not that of prediction so much as that of promise. There are also three fixed laws of human nature which, fairly working together, render it absolutely certain that our affections will survive the shock of death, and reassert themselves hereafter.

(1) One is the law of habit. The pressure of such a law holds more surely in our mental and moral nature than in our physical. Loves are stronger and hates are more inveterate than simple habits of body and mind.

(2) Another law is that of exercise. "Practice makes perfect." Under this law the memory is often so wonderfully strengthened that it disdains data of aid. The most curious working of this law will appear in the fact that when our affections are wrought upon their increase is supreme. One's prejudices become his master.

(3) Then there is the law of association. Most of all, this is subtle and forceful. When its action reaches a man's moral and mental natures working together it seems almost irresistible. These three laws actually intertwine themselves together, and accelerate the action of each other.

4. The text teaches that human immortality is quite independent of all accidents and surroundings. says, "Our life is so brief and insecure that I know not whether to call it a dying life or a living death." It is not in the body that our immortality resides. Your "heart" is yourself. There is one thing in man, only one, that is immortal — the soul. Human affections will live forever in the line of their "seeking." The heart therefore is independent of all surroundings.

5. The text fixes all its force by an immediate application of its doctrine to such as are meek enough to receive it. If your heart is to live forever, then much consideration ought to be given to your aims in life, for they are fashioning the heart that is to be immortal. And our companionships ought to be chosen with a view to the far future which is coming. If our hearts are to live forever, then some care should be had concerning our processes of education by which our affections are trained. And if our hearts are to live forever, then surely it is now time some hearts were changed powerfully by the Spirit of Divine grace.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.

WEB: The humble shall eat and be satisfied. They shall praise Yahweh who seek after him. Let your hearts live forever.

Seekers Become Singers
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