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Order and Condition. Orkufe 'tis the Whisper of some good Angel commissioned by him, who is willing to perform a godlike Act of Charity to us, that we may raise up our Minds to their proper Object; and lends us Wings to mount up to the highest Heaven wichal. . For the Heart of Man naturally is full of Evil, and out of it proceed all kind of wicked Thoughts, and vain Imaginations. It disembogues such impure Steams and contagious Exhalations, as blaft and infect the whole World. "Tis an Asphaltites, a Dead-Sea, which sends up most noxious Vapours. "Tis from the Heart that all the Evil in the World originally proceeds: And therefore ’tis a most natural piece of Advice, that whenever we behold any Evil in any part, or Instance of the whole Creation, we presently lay our Hand upon our Breaft, look into ourselves, and examine our own Heart. 'Tis Folly to lay the Blame upon this and that, and r'other Thing, when we should trace the Evil to its Fountain-head. 'Tis most true that all the vile and sinful Thoughts, the baseft and most abominable Lufts, proceed from the Heart : But when they are bred out of the Corruption, and Putrefaction of the Heart itself, and when cast into it by the Devil, 'tis not so easy to determine. The accursed Enemy I of our Soum doth (no doubt) lay hold on

all Opportunities to caft into our Minds À wicked Thoughts; and is very watchful

of the Times and Seasons, when to corrupt and debauch our Souls, and make 'them yet more vile than naturally they are. And therefore these wicked Thoughts which many timerous Souls imagine to be their own, may be rationally presumed to be his. There are indeed some Marks which probably may serve to distinguish

the Devil's Injections, from our own CoE gitations. As when they are monstrously

prophane and blasphemous: When they

aflault us all of a sudden with a tempee ftuous Vehemence, filling us with Terror

and Amazement. Or else when they are

such Thoughts as contradict all the Ine tereits of Human Nature; as when a Man

thinks of murdering and destroying himIl felf. Such a Thought cannot well be and supposed to be the Iflue of the Heart it

self, though very corrupt, but rather 13 thrown in by the Devil, Who was a Murtil derer: from the Beginning. But (I say) as to Da the greater Part of evil Thoughts, it is no Sư easy matter to know which are our own, Den or which are the Devil's. As for those and that are the immediate Result of the Heart, to the Devil is very quick and ready to imdy prove them. And for those which are

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the the Devil's Injections, our compt Hearts are too willing to comply with them : so that we must think ourselves equally obliged to guard ourselves againyt the one and the other. And there is something unquestionably in our Power in order to it, We can do something towards it; unless we will look upon ourselves as Machines, and so destroy boch Reason and Religion at once. I will agree that by an Hypochondriack, or some other Disease; or by a long Series and Habit of sinning, which is a Disease more inveterate and harder to be cured, that the Oeconomy of the Soul and Spirits may be so broken and Thattered, that the Power of Thinking is become very weak and impaired; and that the Lassitudes of the Soul are as great almost as those of the Body. But yet I think there are few Cases, but a Man can do something in order to a regular Thinking. Few Men are arrived to so great a Degree of either, as to be able to do nothing towards it: though it must be granted some can do much more than others. Our blessed Lord, when he was upon Earth, did not give useless Descriptions of Things, and deal with Men otherwise than rational Creatures. And therefore I cannot but suppose that when he fhews them that out of the Heart proceed evil


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Thoughts, at was to this end that they should endeavour to govern and subdue then.

Now vide may lay down this as a certain Truth, (viz.) that evil Thoughts whatsoever they bé, do not endanger our Eternal Salvacion further than we comply with them. They are not our Sins further than we indulge them. But totally to hinder them I think is a Thing impraAicable. It is impossible but that such Offences will come. And I believe the holiest Men find it so, so long as they are in a World where, there are so many Objects, and in a State where there are so many Imperfections. But yet when wicked Thoughts arise in our Minds, we may certainly chuse whether we will harbour and embrace them or not. This we máy do, as long as we have any Liberty of Will left: So much is unquestionably in our Power. Though 'ris confessed they will make frequent Returns upon us, and every now and then with great Importunity present themselves to us, though but the last Moment we thruit them out. Like an importunate Credicor, or an impertinent Guest, they will obtrude themselves upon us, do what we can, and if we tell them we have never so great and weighty Business, they will still be troublesome and haunt us, C2


impuri, Thenich them

while we are actually ingagedig it: Nay, will pursue us even to the Sanctuary, and affault us at the Altar of God. Yet if we as often thrust the mout as they return, they will never be charged upon us. For 'cis a giving them Encouragement, and a Compliance with them, that makes us criminal. Then alone Thoughts will be imputed to us as our Sins, when we are pleased with them, or when we do not abominate and cast them out as soon as they come into our Minds, as soon as we have Power to discover that they are sinful. 'Tis true the Devil may continue to difquiet and disturb the Peace and Tranquility of our Consciences, by his wicked Injections, and putting into our Minds evil Thoughts: But though they are our Grief and Moleftation, yet they (being refifted) are his Sins; and God will judge him for them, and spare and pity us. God knows whereof we are made, and remembreth that we are but Dust. The Blessed Tesus afsum'd our Nature, and therefore well knows how to compassionate us in such Circumstances. He was himself sollicited by the accursed Tempter, Mat. iv. but he did not yield to him, but resisted him ; and if we follow our Lord's Example, and do so too, if he doth not presently flee from us, yet 'tis not our Sin, but Un


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