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for temptation. “Wisdom is before him that hath understanding, but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth".” 6. Take heed of an envious eye, which looketh with dislike and discontent at the prosperity of others, especially such as stand cross to your own interest". “Is thine eye evil because I am good"?” It is the envious eye, that in Scripture is called by the name of an evil eye, ‘trovnpoc $40a)\uoc.” It is an eye that would see evil rather than good upon another: as Deut. xv. 9. “Lest thine eye be evil against thy poor brother,” &c. Prov. xxiii. 6. it is an eye that grudgeth another any thing that is ours. So Prov. xxviii. 22. Mark vii. 22. 7. Take heed of a passionate, cruel eye that kindleth the hurting or reviling fire in thy breast, or is kindled by it: that fetcheth matter of rage or malice from all that displeaseth thee in another. 8. Take heed of a self-conceited and censorious eye, that looketh on all the actions of another with quarrelling, undervaluing, censure, or reproach. 9. Take heed of a fond and fanciful eye, that falls in love too much with houses, or friend, or child, or goods, or whatsoever pleaseth it. 10. Take heed of a sleepy, sluggish eye that is shut to good, and had rather sleep than watch, and read, and pray, and labour. 11. Abhor a malignant eye, which looketh with hatred on a godly man, and upon the holy assemblies and communion of saints, and upon holy actions; and can scarce see a man of exemplary zeal and holiness, but the heart riseth against him, and could wish all such expelled or cut off from the earth. This is the heart that hath the image of the devil in most lively colours he being the father of such, as Christ calleth him, John viii. 44. 12. Abhor an hypocritical eye, which is lifted up to heaven, when the heart is on earth, on lusts, on honours, on sports or pleasure, or plotting mischief against the just. Know the evil and danger of all these diseases of the eye. Direct. 111. “Remember that the eye being the noblest, and yet the most dangerous sense, must have the strictest watch.” Sight is often put in Scripture for all the senses: and living by sight is opposed to living or walking by faith. . “We walk by faith, not by sight".” And a sensual life is called, a “walking in the ways of our heart and in the sight
* Prov. xvii. 24. ! Sce Dr. Hammond on Matt. vi. * Matt. xx. 15. in 2 Cor. v. 7.
of the eyes".” An ungoverned eye doth shew the power of the ungoverned senses. Abundance of good or evil entereth in by these doors: all lieth open if you guard not these. Direct. Iv. “Remember that as your sin or duty, so your sorrow or joy do depend much on the government of your eyes:’ and their present pleasure is the common way to after sorrow. What a flood of grief did David let into his heart by one unlawful look! Direct. v. “Remember that your eye is much of your honour or dishonour, because it is the index of your minds.” You see that which is next the mind itself, or the most immediate beam of the invisible soul, when you see the eye. How easily doth a wandering eye, a wanton eye, a proud eye, a luxurious eye, a malicious eye, a passionate eye bewray the treasure of sin which is in the heart! Your soul lieth opener to the view of others in your eye, than in any other part: your very reputation therefore should make you watch. Direct. vi. “Remember that your eye is of all the senses most subject to the will, and therefore there is the more of duty or sin in it:’ for voluntariness is the requisite to morality, both good and evil. Your will cannot so easily command your feeling, tasting, hearing, or smelling, as it can your sight; so easily can it open or shut the eye in a moment, that you are the more inexcusable if it be not governed: for all its faults will be proved the more voluntary. Ham was cursed for not turning away his eyes from his father's shame, and Shem and Japhet blessed for doing it. The righteous is thus described, “He that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high P.” &c. Men's idols which they are commanded to cast away are called, “The abomination of their eyes".” Covetousness is called, “The lust of the eyes'.” It is said of the unclean, that they have “eyes full of adultery".” And as sin, so punishment is placed on the eye: “The eyes of the lofty shall be humbled'.” Yea, the whole bodies of the daughters of Zion are threatened to be dishonoured with nakedness, scabs, and stink, and shame, because they walked with “wanton eyes, haughtily, and mincing as they go",” &c. Direct. vii. “Therefore let believing reason, and a holy, resolved, fixed will, keep a continual law upon your eyes, and let them be used as under a constant government.” This Job calleth, the “making a covenant with them”.” Leave them not at liberty; as if a look had nothing in it of duty or sin; or as you might look on what you would. Will you go to foolish, tempting plays, and gaze on vain, alluring objects, and think there is no harm in all this? Do you think your eye cannot sin as well as your tongue? undoubtedly it is much sin that is both committed by it, and entereth at it: keep away therefore from the bait, or command your eye to turn away. Direct. viii. “Remember still how much more easy and safe it is, to stop sin here at the gates and outworks, than to beat it out again when it is once got in :’ if it have but tainted your very fantasy or memory, (as tempting sights will almost unavoidably do,) it hath there spawned the matter for a swarm of vain and sinful thoughts. It is almost impossible to rule the thoughts without ruling the eye: and then the passions are presently tainted; and the citadel of the heart is taken before you are aware. You little know when a lustful look or a covetous look beginneth the game, to how sad a period it tendeth. Many a horrid adultery, and murder, and robbery, and wickedness, hath begun but with a look: a look hath begun that which hath brought many a thousand to the gallows, and many millions to hell! Direct. 1x. ‘Keep both eye and mind employed in continual duty, and let them not be idle, and have leisure to wander upon vanity.” Idleness and neglect of spiritual and corporal duty is the beginner and the nurse of much sensuality. Let your spiritual work and your lawful bodily labours, take up your time and thoughts, and command and keep your senses in their services. Direct. x. ‘Beg daily of God the preserving assistance of his grace and providence.” Of his inward grace to confirm you and assist you in your resolutions and watch; and of his providence and gracious disposals of you and objects, to keep the temptations from before your eyes; and when others will run and go on purpose, to gaze on vain or tempting shews, or to admire like children the vanities of the playful, pompous world, do you go to God with David's prayer. “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity: and quicken me in thy way.” And imitate him. “Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate on thy word".” And make every look a passage to thy mind, to carry it up to God, and pray : “Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law".” Observe these, with the general directions forenamed.
* Eccles. Xi. 9. P Isa. xxxiii. 15. * Ezek. xx. 7. * 1 John ii. 16. * 2 Pet. ii. 14. * Isa. v. 15.
PART III. Directions for the Government of the Ear.
Direct. 1. ‘Employ your ears in the duties which they were made for: and to that end understand those duties.” Which are as followeth : 1. To be the organ of reception of such communications from others, as are necessary for our converse in the world, and the duties of our several relations and vocations. 2. To hear the Word of God delivered publicly by his appointed teachers of the church. 3. To hear the counsel of those that privately advise us for our good; and the reproofs of those that tell us of our sin and danger. 4. To hear the praises of God set forth by his church in public, and particular servants in private. 5. To hear from our ancestors and the learned in history, what hath been done in the times before us. 6. To hear the complaints and petitions of the poor, and needy, and distressed, that we may compassionate them and endeavour their relief. 7. To be the passage for grief and hatred to our hearts, by the sinful words which we hear unwillingly.
Direct. 11. ‘Know which are the sins of the ear that you may avoid them.’ And they are such as follow : 1. A careless ear, which heareth the Word of God, and the private exhortations of his servants, as if it heard them not. 2. A sottish, sleepy ear, that heareth the Word of God but as a confused sound, and understandeth not, nor feeleth what is heard. 3. A scornful ear, which despiseth the message of God, and the reproofs and counsel of men, and scorneth to be reproved or taught. 4. An obstinate, stubborn ear, which regardeth not advice or will not yield. 5. A profane and impious ear, which loveth to hear oaths, and curses, and profane, and blasphemous expressions. 6. A carnal ear which loveth to hear of fleshly things, but savoureth not the words which savour of holiness. 7. An airy, hypocritical ear, which loveth more the music and melody, than the sense and spiritual elevation of the soul to God; and regardeth more the numbers, and composure, and tone, than the matter of preaching, prayer, or other such duties; and serveth God with the ear, when the heart is far from him. 8. A curious ear, which nauseateth the most profitable sermons, prayers, or discourses, if they be not accurately ordered and expressed; and slighteth or loseth the offered benefit, for a (modal) imperfection in the offer, or the instrument! and casteth away all the gold because a piece or two did catch a little rust: and perhaps quarrelleth with the style of the sacred Scriptures, as not exact or fine enough for its expectations. 9. An itching ear, which runs after novelties, and a heap of teachers, and liketh something extraordinary better than things necessary. 10. A selfish ear, which loveth to hear all that tends to the confirmation of its own conceits, and to be flattered or smoothed up by others, and can endure nothing that is cross to its opinions. 11. A proud ear which loveth its own applause, and is much pleased with its own praises, and hateth all that speak of him with mean, undervaluing words. 12. A peevish, impatient ear which is nettled with almost all it heareth; and can endure none but silken words, which are oiled and sugared, and fitted by flattery or the lowest submission, to their froward minds: and is so hard to be pleased that none but graduates in the art of pleasing can perform it. 13. A bold, presumptuous ear, which will hear false teachers and deceivers in a proud conceit, and confidence of their own abilities, to discern what is true and what is false. 14. An ungodly ear, that can easily hear the reproach of holiness, and scorns at the servants and ways of Christ. 15. A neutral, indifferent ear, that heareth either good or evil, without much love or hatred, but with a dull and cold indifferency. 16. A dissembling, temporizing ear, which can
y Psal. cxix. 37. * Verse 148. * Psal. cxix. 18.