William Gurnall – Sincerity & Hypocrisy

We come now to the second kind of truth—commended to the Christian under the notion of the soldier’s girdle—and that is, truth of heart. Where it would be known, First. What I mean by truth of heart. Second. Why truth of heart is compared to a girdle.

First. What I mean by truth of heart. By truth of heart, I understand sincerity, so taken in Scripture, ‘Let us draw near with a true heart,’ that is, with a sincere heart, Heb. 10.22. We have them oft con­joined, the one explaining the other: ‘Fear the Lord, and serve him with sincerity and truth,’ Joshua 24:14. We read of ‘the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth,’ I Cor. 5:8. Hypocrisy is a lie with a fair cover over it. An insincere heart is a half heart. The in­ward frame and motion of the heart comports not with the profession and behaviour of the outward man, like a clock, whose wheels within go not as the hand points without.

Second. Why truth of heart is compared to a girdle. Sincerity, or truth of heart, may fitly be com­pared to a girdle, in regard of the twofold use and end for which a girdle, especially a soldier’s belt, is worn.

First. The girdle is used as an ornament put on uppermost, to cover the joints of the armour, which would, if seen, cause some uncomeliness. Here—at the loins I mean—those pieces of armour for the defence of the lower parts of the body are fastened to the upper. Now because they cannot be so closely knit and clasped, but there will be some little gaping betwixt piece and piece, therefore they used to put over those parts a broad girdle, that covered all that uncomeliness. Now, sincerity doth the same for the Christian, that the girdle doth for the soldier. The saint’s graces are not so close, nor his life so exact, but in the best there are found infirmities and defects, which are as so many gapings and clefts in his ar­mour, but sincerity covers all, that he is neither put to shame for them, nor exposed to danger by them.

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