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kindleth charity, and meekness, and mellowness, and moderation in the heart; and cureth those bloodshotten eyes, which are unable till cured to discern the truth. It helpeth us to knowledge, and to that which is more edifying, and keepeth knowledge from puffing us up. And experience will tell you at long running, that among ancients and moderns, Greeks and Latins, Papists and Protestants, Lutherans and Calvinists, Remonstrants and Contra-remonstrants, Prelatists, Presbyterians, Independents, &c., commonly the moderators are not only the best and most charitable, but the wisest, most judicious men. Direct. xix. “With all your readings still join the reading of the Scriptures, and of the most holy and practical divines; not fantastical, enthusiastic counterfeits, Paracelsian divines; but those that lead you up by the solid doctrine of faith and love to true devotion, and heavenly mindedness, and conversation.’ This must be your bread and drink; your daily and substantial food : without this you may soon be filled with air, that cannot nourish you, and prove in the end as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. These will breed strength, and peace, and joy, and help you in your communion with God, and hopes of heaven, and so promote the end of all your studies' There is more life and sweetness in these, than in the things that are more remote from God and heaven. Direct. xx. Lastly, “Do all as dying men: promise not yourselves long life, lest it tempt you to waste your time on things least necessary, and to loiter it away; or lest you lose the quickening benefit, which the sight of death and eternity would yield you in all your studies.’ The nearer you apprehend yourselves to death and heaven, the greater help you have to be mortified and heavenly. This will make you serious, and keep up right intentions, and keep out wrong ones, and powerfully help you against temptations, that when you have studied to save others, you may not be cast-aways; nor be cheated by the devil with the shell, and leaves, and flowers, while you go without the saving fruit. I have spoken the more on this subject of governing the thoughts, because it is so great and excellent a part of the work of man; and God doth so much regard the heart; and the Spirit of Christ and satan so much strive for it; and grace is so much employed about it; and our happiness or misery, joy or sorrow, is greatly promoted by our thoughts. And more I would have said, but that in the third Chapter, and in my “Treatise of the Divine Life,” there is much said already. And for a method and Directions for particular meditations, I have given them at large in the fourth Part of the “Saints' Rest,” from whence it may easily be taken, and applied to other subjects, as it is there to heaven. It is easy to write and read Directions; but I fear lest slothfulness through the difficulty of practice, will frustrate my Directions to the most. But if any profit by them, my labour is not lost.
CHAPTER VII. Directions for the Government of the Passions.
The Passions are to be considered, 1. As in themselves, and the sin of them as respecting God and ourselves only : and so I am to speak of them here. 2. As they are a wrong to others, and a breach of the commandments which require love and duty towards our neighbour: and so I shall speak of them after. Passions are not sinful in themselves, for God hath given them to us for his service: and there is none of them but may be sanctified and used for him. But they are sinful, 1. When they are misguided and placed on wrong objects. 2. When they darken reason, and delude the mind, and keep out truth, and seduce to error. 3. When they rebel against the government of the will, and trouble it, and hinder it in its choice or prosecution of good, or urge it violently, to follow their brutish inclination. 4. When they are unseasonable. 5. Or immoderate and excessive in degree. 6. Or of too long continuance. 7. And when they tend to evil effects, as to unseemly speeches or actions, or to wrong another. Passions are holy when they are devoted to God, and exercised upon him or for him. They are good when, 1. They have right objects; 2. And are guided by reason; 3. And
are obedient to the well-guided will; 4. And quicken and awake the reason and the will to do their duty; 5. And tend to good effects, exciting all the other powers to their office; 6. And exceed not in degree, so as to disturb the brain or body.
Tit. 1. Directions against all sinful Passions in general.
Direct. 1. ‘Trust not to any present actual resistance, without any due, habitual mortification of passions, and fortification of the soul against them. Look most to the holy constitution of your mind and life, and then sinful passions will fall off, like scabs from a healthful body when the blood is purified.’
No wonder if an unholy soul be a slave to passion, when the body is inclined to it: for such a one is under the power of selfishness, carnality, and worldliness; and from under the government of Christ and his Spirit; and wanteth that life of grace by which he should cure and subdue the corruptions of nature. The way for such a one to master passion, is not to strive by natural, selfish principles and reasons, which are partial, poor, and weak; but to look first to the main, and to seek with speed and earnestness for a new and sanctified heart, and get God's image, and his Spirit, and renewing, quickening grace : this is the only effectual conqueror of nature. A dull and gentle disposition may seem without this to conquer that which never much assaulted it; (the trial of such persons being some other way.) But none conquereth satan indeed but the Spirit of Christ. And if you should be free from passion, and not be free from an unholy, carnal, worldly heart, you must perish at last, if you seemed the calmest persons upon earth. Begin therefore at the foundation, and see that the body of sin be mortified, and that the whole tree be rooted up which beareth these evil, bitter fruits; and that the holy, victorious new nature be within you; and then you will resist sin with light and life, which others still resist but as in their sleep.
Direct. 11. “More particularly, let your souls be still possessed with the fear of God, and live as in his family, under his eye and government, that his authority may be more powerful than temptations, and your holy converse with him may
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make him still more regarded by you than men or any creatures.’ And then this sun will put out the lesser lights, and the thunder of his voice will drown the whisperers that would provoke you, and the humming of those wasps which make you so impatient. God would make the creature nothing, and then it would do nothing to disturb you, or carry you into sin. Direct. 111. ‘Dwell in the delightful love of God, and in the sweet contemplation of his love in Christ, and roll over his tender mercies in your thoughts, and let your conversation be with the holy ones in heaven, and your work be thanksgivings and praise to God: and this will habituate your souls to such a sweetness, and mellowness, and stability, as will resist sinful passion even as heat resisteth cold.’ Direct. Iv. ‘Keep your consciences continually tender, and then they will check the first appearance of sinful passions, and will smart more with the sin than your passionate natures do with the provocation.” A seared conscience, and a hardened, senseless heart, are to every sin, as a man that is fast asleep is to thieves ; they may come in and do what they will, so they do not waken him. But a tender conscience is always awake. Direct. v. ‘Labour after wisdom, strength of reason, and a solid judgment: for passion is cherished by folly.” Children are easily overthrown, and leaves are easily shaken with every little wind; when men keep their way, and rocks and mountains are not shaken. Women and children, and old, and weak, and sick people are usually most passionate. If a wise man should have a passionate nature, he hath that which can do much to control it: when folly is a weathercock at the wind's command. Direct. v 1. ‘See that the will be confirmed and resolute, and then it will soon command down passion.” Men can do much against passion if they will. Nature hath set the will in the throne of the soul: it is the sinful connivance and negligence of the will, which is the guilty cause of all the rebellion: as the connivance of the commanders is the common cause of mutinies in an army. The will either consenteth, or is remiss in its office, and in forbidding and repressing the rage of passion. When I say, ‘you can do it if you will,’ you think this is not true, because you are willing, and yet passion yieldeth not to your will's command: but H mean not that every kind of willingness will serve: it is not a sluggish wish that will do it: but if the will were resolute without any compliance, or connivance, or negligence in its proper office, no sinful passion could remain: for it is no further sin, than it is voluntary, either by the will's compliance, or omission, and neglect. Therefore let most of your labour be to waken and confirm the will; and then it will command down passion. Direct. v11. ‘Labour after holy fortitude, courage, and magnanimity.’ Great minds are above all troubles, desires, or commotions about little things. A poor, base, low, and childish mind, is never quiet longer than it is rocked asleep or flattered. Direct. v1.11. “Especially see that you want not self-denial, and that worldliness and fleshly-mindedness be thoroughly mortified: for sinful passion is the very breath and pulse of a selfish, fleshly, worldly mind.' It is not more natural for dogs to fight about a bone, than for such to snarl and quarrel, or be in some distempered passion, about their selfish, carnal interest. Covetousness will not let the mind be quiet. It is as natural for a selfish man to be under the power of sinful passions, as for a man to shake that hath an ague, or to fear that is melancholy. Fleshly men have a canine appetite and feverish thirst continually upon them, after some flesh-pleasing toy or other. Direct. Ix. “Keep a court of justice in your souls, and call yourselves daily to account, and let no passion escape without such a censure as is due.” If reason and conscience thus exercise and maintain their authority, and passion bé every day soundly rebuked, it will wither like a plant that is cropped as fast as it springeth. o Direct. x. “Deliberate and foresee the end : examine whether passion tend to that which will be approveable when it is past. Looking to the end doth shame all sinful passions: they are blind, and moved only by things present: they cannot endure the sight of the time to come, nor to be examined whither they go, or where is their home. Direct. x1. ‘Keep a continual apprehension of the danger and odiousness of sinful passions, by knowing how full they are of the spawn of many other sins.’ See the evil of