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XXXV. 1. A Christian indeed is much taken up in the government of his thoughts, and hath them so much ordinarily in obedience, that God and his service, and the matters of his salvation have that precedency in them, and his eye is fixed on his end and duty ; and his thoughts refuse not to serve him for any work of God to which he calleth them. He suffereth them not to be the inlets or agents for pride, or lust, or envy, or voluptuousness, or to contrive iniquity : but if any such sparks from hell are cast into his thoughts, he presently laboreth to extinguish them. If they intrude, he letteth them not lodge or dwell there. And though he cannot keep out all disorder or vanity, or inordinate delights, yet it is his endeavor, and he leaveth not his heart in any thing to itself.
2. The weak Christian also maketh conscience of his thoughts, and alloweth them not to be the inlets or servants of any reigning sin. But alas, how imperfectly doth he govern them! what a deal of vanity and confusion is in them! how carelessly doth he watch them! how remissly doth he rebuke them, excite them, and command them! how oft are they defiled with impurity and uncharitableness! and how little doth he repent of this, or endeavor to reform it! And little serviceable are his thoughts, to any high and heavenly work, in comparison of the confirmed Christian.
3. And the seeming Christian is very little employed about his thoughts, but leaveth them to be the servants of his pride, and worldliness, or sensuality, or some reigning sin; Psal. x. 4. Matt. xv. 19. 1 Cor. iii. 20. Isa. lv. 7. Jer. iv. 14. vi. 19.
XXXVI. 1. A Christian indeed is much employed in the government of his passions; and hath so far mastered them, as that they prevail not to pervert his judgment, nor to discompose his heart so far as to interrupt much his communion with God, nor to ensnare his heart to any creature, nor to breed any fixed uncharitableness or malice in him, nor to cause his tongue to speak things injurious to God or man, to curse, or swear, or rail, or lie ; nor yet to cause him to hurt and injure any in his heart. But when passion would be inordinate, either in delights or desires, or anger, or grief, or fear, or hope, he flieth to his helps to suppress and govern them. (Though fear is more out of man's power than the rest, and therefore ordina
rily hath less of sin.) He knoweth that Christ hath blessed the meek (Matt. v. 5.) and bids us learn of him "to be meek and lowly;” Matt. xi. 28. 29. And that a "meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price;" 1 Pet. iii. 4. It is, therefore, his care and course to give place to wrath when others are angry; Rom. xii. 18, 19. And “if it be possible, as much as in him lieth, to live, peaceably with all men,” (Heb. xii. 14.) ; yea, to follow peace when it flieth from him ; and not when he is reviled, to revile again, nor to threaten or revenge himself on them that injure him; 1 Pet. ii. 21—24. Reason and charity hold the reins, and passion is kept under; yea, it is used holily for God; Ephes. iv. 26. Slow to anger he is in his own cause, and watchful over his anger even in God's cause; Prov. xv. 18. xvi. 32. Ephes. iv. 31. Col. iïi. 8.
2. But the weak Christian doth greatly shew his weakness in his unruly passions, (if he have a temper of body disposed to passion) : they are oft rising, and not easily kept under; yea, and too often prevail for such unseemly words, as maketh him become a dishonor to his profession. Oft he resolveth, and promiseth, and prayeth for help, and yet the next provocation sheweth how little grace he hath to hold the reins. And his passionate desires, and delights, and love, and sorrows, are oft as unruly as his anger, to the further weakening of his soul. They are like ague fits, that leave the health impaired.
3. And the seeming Christian hath much less power over those passions, which must subserve his carnal mind. For anger it dependeth much upon the temperature of the body; and if that incline him not strongly to it, his credit, or common discretion may suppress it : unless you touch his chiefest carnal interest, and then he will not
: only be angry, but cruel, malicious, and revengeful. But his carnal love, and desire, and delight, which are placed upon that pleasure, or profit, or honor, which is his idol, are indeed the reigning passions in him. And his grief, and fear, and anger, are but the servants unto these; Acts xxiv. 26. 27.
XXXVII. 1. A Christian indeed is one that keepeth a constant government of his tongue; he knoweth how much duty or sin it will be the instrument of. According to his ability and opportunity he useth it to the service and honor of his Creator, in speaking of his excellencies, his works, and word ; inquiring after the knowledge of him and his will; instructing others, and pleading for the truth and ways of God, and rebuking the impiety and iniquities of the world, as his place and calling doth allow him. He bridleth bis tongue from uttering vanity, filthiness, ribaldry, and foolish and uncomely talk and jests; from rash and irreverent talk of God, and taking of his name in vain; from the venting of undigested and uncertain doctrines which may prove erroneous and perilous to men's souls; from speaking imprudently, unbandsomely, or unseasonably about holy things, so as to expose them to contempt and scorn; from lying, censuring others without a warrantable ground and call; from backbiting, slandering, false-accusing, railing and reviling; malicious, envious, injurious speech, which tendeth to extinguish the love of the hearers to those he speaketh of; from proud and boasting speeches of himself, much more from swearing, cursing, and blasphemous speech, and opposition to the truths and holy ways of God, or opprobrious speeches, or derision of his servants.
And in the government of his tongue, he always beginneth with his heart, that he may understand and love the good which he speakech of, and may hate the evil which his tongue forbeareth ; and not hypocritically to force his tongue against or without his heart. His tongue doth not run before his heart, but is ruleth by it; Ephes. iv. 15, 29. 31. v. 3, 4, 6. Psal. xxxvii. 30. xv. 2, 3. Prov. xvi. 13. x. 20. xxi. 23. xviii. 21. xv. 2. 4. Psal. 34. 13. Prov. xxv. 15. 23. xxviii. 23. Matt. xii. 31, 32. 34.
2. But the weak Christian, though his tongue be sincerely subject to the laws of God, yet frequently miscarrieth and blemisheth his soul by the words of his lips, being much ofter than the confirmed Christian, overtaken with words of vanity, meddling, folly, imprudence, uncharitableness, wrath, boasting, venting uncertain or erroneous opinions, &c. so that the unruliness of his tongue is the trouble of his heart, if not also of the family, and all about him.
3. The seeming Christian useth his tongue in the service of his carnal ends, and therefore alloweth it so much unjustice, uncharitableness, falsehood, and other sins, as his carnal interest and designs require; but the rest perhaps he may suppress, especially if natural
sobriety, good education and prudence do assist him; and his tongue is always better than his heart; Prov. x. 32. xix. 5. 9. Psal. I. 20. xii. 3. cxliv. 8. cxx. 2, 3. Prov. xxi. 6, 23.
XXXVIII. 1. The religious discourse of a confirmed Christian is most about the greatest and most necessary matters. Heart-work and heaven-work are the usual employment of his tongue and thoughts; unprofitable controversies, and hurtful wranglings he abhorreth ; and profitable controversies he manageth sparingly, seasonably, charitably, peaceably, and with caution and sobriety, as knowing that the servant of the Lord must not strive, and that strife of words perverteth the hearers, and hindereth edifying; 1 Tim. vi. 4—6. iv. 7, 8. 2 Tim. ii. 14-17. 24, 25. His ordinary discourse is about the glorious excellencies, attributes, relations, and works of God; and the mystery of redemption, the person, office, covenant, and grace of Christ; the renewing, illuminating, sanctifying works of the Holy Ghost; the mercies of this life, and that to come; the duty of man to God as his Creator, Redeemer, and Regenerator; the corruption and deceitfulness of the heart; the methods of the tempter; the danger of particular temptations ; and the means of our escape, and of our growth in grace; and how to be profitable to others; and especially to the church. And if he be called to open any truth which others, understand not, he doth it not proudly, to set up himself as master of a sect, or to draw disciples after him, nor make divisions about it in the church; but soberly, to the edification of the weak. And though he be ready to defend the truth against perverse gainsayers in due season, yet doth he not turn his ordinary edifying discourse into disputes, or talk of controversies; nor hath such a proud, pugnacious soul, as to assault every one that he thinks erroneous, as a man that taketh himself for the great champion of the truth.
2. But the weak Christian hath a more unfruitful, wandering tongue and his religious discourse is most about his opinions or party, or some external thing; as which is the best preacher, or person, or book. Or if he talk of any text of Scripture, or doctrine of religion, it is much of the outside of it; and his discourse is less feeling, lively, and experimental. Yea, many a time he hindereth the more edifying, savory discourse of others, by such religious discourse as is imVol. II.
prudent, impertinent, or turneth them away from the heart and life of the matter in hand. But especially his opinions, and distinct manner of worship, are the chief of his discourse.
3. And for the seeming Christian, though he can affectedly force his tongue to talk of any subject in religion, especially that which he thinks will most honor him in the esteem of the hearers; yet when he speaketh according to the inclination of his heart, his discourse is first about his fleshly interest and concernments, and next to that of the mere externals of religion, as controversies, parties, and the several modes of worship.
XXXIX. 1. A Christian indeed is one that so liveth upon the great substantial matters of religion, as yet not willingly to commit the smallest sin, nor to own the smallest falsehood, nor to renounce or betray the smallest holy truth or duty, for any price that man can offer him. The works of repentance, faith, and love, are his daily business, which take up his greatest care and diligence. Whatever opinions or controversies are afoot, his work is still the same; whatever changes come, his religion changeth not; he placeth not the kingdom of God in meats and drinks, and circumstances and ceremonies, either being for them or against them, but in "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” And he that in these things serveth Christ, as he is acceptable to God, so is he approved by such a Christian as this, however factious persons may revile him; Rom. xiv. 17, 18. 1-5. 10. The strong Christian can “ bear the infirmities of the weak,” and not take the course that most pleaseth himself, but that which "pleaseth his neighbor for his good to edification;" Rom. xv. 1-3. The essentials of religion, faith, and love, and obedience, are as bread and drink, the substance of his food. These he meditateth on, and these he practiseth, and according to these he esteemeth of others.
But yet no price can seem sufficient to him, to buy his innocency; nor will he wilfully sin, and say, it is a little one, nor do evil that good may come by it;” nor offer to God the sacrifice of disobedient fools and then say, 'I knew not that I did evil;' for he knoweth that God will rather have obedience than sacrifice, and that " disobedience is as the sin of witchcraft;" and " he that breaketh one of