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To the Inhabitants of the Parishes of
Substance of several Discourses delivered to you from the Pulpit. The Subje£t of it is undeniably most Useful, and of the
Frenteft Importance to our cternal Welfare: 1 And the more I consider of it, the more I am
persuaded of its Moment. And because it is s & Matter of Difficulty too, and requires more
lasting Attention of the Mind, than any Person (how well soever disposed) can give to Sermons when spoken, I thought fit to pub
lish it, that so you might have there Diį re&tions always, before g'ou, which I hope may
somewhat alift g'ou in the Performance of so grcat a Work. And as a Testimony of my great Respect, and an Acknowledgment of the many Obligations I have received from you, I have dedicated them to you : The
The Epistle Dedicatdry. ther, hoping that g'ou will the more seriously and earnestly apply thein. Whatever Defects there are in this Treatile, I hope my Sincerity will be a sufficient Protection to the Meanness of my Endeavours. All my Aim being to contribute to your Spiritual, and eternal Advantage: Which is, and skall be always, Part of the constant and earnest Prayer of, . ..',
: MATTH. XV. 19. ...in For out of the Heart proceed Evil Thoughts [ A M now entred upon a Subject
which demands more than or
dinary Attention of the ReadGe e r. The Government of the Thoughts is what I intend to discourse on from these Words: Which, as it is a Matter of the greatest Importance, so it is a Thing of no small Difficulty. Few Medicines can reach internal Wounds, and he is an Artist indeed that can cure them. But notwithstanding the Difficulty, I have attempted it; and Thall lay before you the best Method that I can, in order to the well-governing of the Thoughts. Which
felves and wicht overty
when attained, is an Archievchent above those of the greatest Conquerors, and deferves Trophies beyond the most famous Exploits of Victory that ever were made. The wiseft of Men telling us, That bethat guleth bis Spirit, is better than be that taketh o City, Prov.xvi. 32.And our own Experience confirms this Sentence of the wife Man. For there is nothing a more common Observation than that great Generals and Captains, who have carried their Arms through diItant Nations, and have done Wonders, and even brought the World into. Subjection, have yet been Slaves to their own selves ; tamely yielding to their own corrupt and wickedHearts and have not obtained a Conquest over their own Thoughts. They have not avoided soiling their Triumphs with their Vices, and aspersing their glorious Actions with a wicked Life. As if the Reward of their best Actions were to be their worst, and as if it were a Crown to their Arms to be dissolved in Lust, and all manner of Impieties: As if the Blessing of success were Riot and Intemperance, and the greatest of Sins to be their Heralds. What can be a greater and truer Reflection than this ? which as it takes off from the Credit and Applause of the noblest Actions, so it serves to Thew us, that 'cis a more difficult Task to
conquer our owo Thoughts than the most potent Adversaries; to subdue our Hearts and Souls than whole Battalions; and that Man is the greateft Enemy to himself: For out of the Heart procced evil Thoughts — He that searcheth the Heart, and knoweth the Thoughts, spake thele Words.
The Occasion on which he spake them shall be the Firf Thing which I shall confider..
Secondly, I shall fhew the vast Advantage of well-governing our Thoughts, in order to the Purposes of Religion in general.
Thirdly, That evil Thoughts arife out of the Heart, and proceed from thence ; which lays an Obligation on us of restraiing them; and how far we are able fo to do.
Fourtbly, I shall lay down fome general Rules and Directions for our easier and better performing of this great, and difficult, and absolutely necessary Work, of well-governing the Thoughts. And,
Fiftbly, I Thall select some special kinds of evil Thoughts, and shall discourse more particularly and diftinctly of them, and what are the proper Remedies against them
whatcularly and and fall di pecial kinds