Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

SERM. And were this Frame to continue, what an
VII.
excellent Christian would he be! How

great
an Alteration should we foon see in the Man!
What Seriousness and Sobriety, instead of
Sloth and Sensuality! But, alas! he is
presently another Man. He goes into Com-
pany and the World, and his Heart receives
it's old Tincture. His Thoughts and Senti-
ments are quite altered. His Temper as vain,
as light, as earthly as ever. He thinks he
may and ought to love the World, and in-
dulge his Passions and his Pleasures. And
herein he does nothing but what he sees al-
most every Body else do. He looks

those Ministers and Authors who speak and write fo freely of the Vanity of these Things as too precise and stiff by far; and fancies it is only the Effect of Spleen and Envy, of a narrow Spirit, or an Ignorance of the World. “ That it is talking in our own Way; and « he will bear with us because we know no better. But Men of Genius, Wit, and « Spirit, talk and think in a different Strain.” And therefore he concludes, that his former Thoughts of the Matter were only the Effects of a gloomy Imagination, or a melancholy turn of Mind.-~And thus does he

upon

think about the most important Things as Serm. differently from himself, as if he had actually VII. two Understandings.

2. The double minded Man moreover acts as if he had two Wills. For Instance, with regard to any particular Duty; sometimes he finds himself readily enough inclined to it, at other Times he is most averse and reluctant; and can scarce, with all the Command he hath over himself, persuade his Heart to set about it. At one time he goes to it with Delight, at another time he can hardly drag his backward Mind, even to the dullest Performance of it.

So with respect to any particular Sin; at one time he can venture upon it without Scruple, at another time his Conscience startles and hesitates. Now his Will is set towards his Duty, now towards his Lufts. Now he minds Carnal, and now Spiritual Things. And thus he becomes a perpetual Contradiction to himself.

Nay, with respect to the fame Action, or the same Object, his Will is often drawn two contrary Ways at the same time.

3. The double minded Man will find the fame Diversity and Contrariety in the other VOL, II,

M

lead.

Serm. leading Power of his Soul, the Affe&tions. VII.

Which are spiritual or carnal, ferious or senfual, heavenly or worldly, just as the two contrary Principles of Flesh and Spirit prevail in him; which alternately sway the Mind; and of which alternate Sway this Variableness of Temper, I am now treating of, is the certain Effect.

How devoutly and heavenly are our Affections sometimes when we get nearest to GOD, and are carried in our Contemplations to eternal and invisible Things! After that we are ready to imagine, that nothing mortal could ever move us. But we foon come down to Earth again; when our Hearts presently begin to hover over the World, and cling, and clasp, and center to it again as closely as if it were indeed our Rest, and we regretted a short Absence from it.

Thus have we taken a brief View of the double minded Man. An unhappy Charac

but none more common. Such an unsteady, wavering, inconstant, vague and variable Temper we observe and smile at in Children, who discover it in the lowest Things; but we neither see nor pity it in

[ocr errors]

ter ;

Qur.

ourselves, who discover it more in the high. Serm. eft Concerns. But let us now,

VII.

II. Consider briefly the Effect of this unhappy Temper mentioned in the text.

This Variableness of Temper, the Apostle James saith, is always attended with an Instability of Conduct. A double minded Man is unstable in all his Ways. That is, in all those Instances in which his Heart is so divided, his Behaviour must be incoherent and various. His Conduct is as unsteady as his Temper. But as I have confined this to Things of Religion, I shall consider that, which is the Effect of it, under the fame Re. Itriction.

Now this Instability of a double minded Man's Conduct, (though it be evident enough of itself, as the Effect of his Temper, yet) may not be amiss briefly to represent under three different Views.

1. He is inconstant in his purposes and Pursuits. This is a natural Effect of that divided Mind we are speaking of. So it was with the revolting Jews in the Prophet's Time. Their Heart is divided (faith God,) j.e. between me and Baal; therefore fall

they

M 2

Serm. they be found faulty; and are as an empty VII. Vine, Hof. x. 2.

Were the Heart once fixed to a Point, it would soon know what to purpose and prosecute ; but having no steady certain Views, it must of Consequence be undetermined. What it defires at one time, it despises at another; foon flies from what it before pursued ; and again pursues what it lately so industriously avoided.

Thus a double minded Man spends his whole Life, as it were, in doing and undoing; in sinning and repenting ; till his last Summons comes, and then indeed he is determined. Death, or the near and certain Prospect of it, fixes his Views intirely for God and Heaven; but it is under the Amazement and Horror of this Reflection, that he hath but a few Hours to do that in, which ought to have been the Buhness of his Life; but which he could never before fully find in his Heart to make fo. However variable and changing the Heart may be in Life, it will be fixed in Death. But then it may be too late.

2. Another Effect of such a divided Heart is, that it can seldom in good earnest fall in with the Dikkates of Conscience in the plainest

Instances

« PreviousContinue »