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Bible Dictionaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary

Hardness of Heart

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We meet with this expression very often in the word of God, and for the most part connected with the blindness of the heart. Thus, it is said, (Mark 3:5) the Redeemer was grieved for the hardness of their hearts; the margin of the Bible renders it the blindness of their hearts. So again, in Paul's Epistle to the Romans, (Romans 11:25) it is said, that "blindness in part is happened to Israel."In the margin, blindness is rendered hardness. And in 2 Corinthians 3:14, there the expression is, that "their minds were blinded." From these, and the like passages, it is plain, that the terms are one and the same, and both mean hardness of heart unfavourable to the reception of divine impressions. But what I beg the reader yet more particularly to mark in the phrase that not unfrequently in Scripture this blindness and hardness of the heart is ascribed to the Lord's act. Thus in Isaiah the church in her prayer saith, "O Lord! why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear!" (Isaiah 63:17) And in John 12:39-40. it is said, that "they could not believe, because that Esaias had said, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts." This memorable passage of the prophet Isaiah, which is in Isaiah 6:9-10, hath been considered so very important by God the Holy Ghost, that he caused it to be quoted by all the four Evangelists, once in the Acts of the Apostles, and once in the Epistle to the Romans. (Matthew 13:14-15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:39-40; Acts 28:25-27; Romans 11:8) But it is remarkable, at the same time, in those quotations, how the hardening the heart by the Lord is blended with the hardening of the heart by themselves. In the passage as quoted by Matthew, it is expressly said, that their eyes they have closed. And the same expression is used by Paul in his quotation. (Acts 28:27) And is there the least contradiction in the account? Most certainly not; the very original passage in the prophet explains itself. "Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes." And may not the Lord be said to do this, when in a fulness of blessings of his providence the tables of such men are so flowing over, that the bountiful hand which spreads the whole is lost and hidden from their view in a cloud of his own gifts? And when men become intoxicated, and over fed, and their eyes bloated with fatness, so that they neither discern the Lord's hand, yea, sometimes they see not one another, may not the Lord be said to make their heart fat, and their eyes heavy, by thus furnishing the means, while the beasts themselves, by abusing the bounties of the Lord (which, if rightly used, would have made them his blessed instruments in disposing of them to feed the hungry bellies of the poor), may be truly said no less to close their own eyes, and to harden their own hearts?

I must not dismiss this article without taking with it the observation, how suited the Lord. Jesus is to remedy all the evils of a hardened heart, and the blinded eye, in that lovely commission of his, "to heal the broken in heart, and to give sight to them that were blind." A broken heart, in the full sense of the word, is a dead heart, and the blind in Scripture is where the eyes are put out, as in the instance of Zedekiah. (See Jeremiah 52:11) And in the similar case of Samson, whose eyes were bored out, for so the expression hath it in the margin of the Bible. (Judges 16:21) And where the Lord Jesus exerciseth his grace, his almighty work is described under the strong term of making a new heart, taking away "the heart of stone, and giving an heart of flesh; making all things new." Hence the apostle saith, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." (2 Corinthians 5:17) Thus without Christ the heart of all men is for ever hardened. And with Christ's sovereign grace, he, and he alone, can make every faculty "willing in the day of his power." (Psalms 110:3)

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Hardness of Heart'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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