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er: but they are often made sinful by some other voluntary act: they may be sinful by participation and consequently. And the acts that make them sinful, are either such as go before, or such as follow after. 1. The satecedent causes are any sinful act which distempereth the body, or any sin which inclineth the fantasy and mind thereto; or the omission of what was necessary to prevent them. 2. The causes which afterwards make them objectively sinful, are the ill uses that men make of them: as when they take their dreams to be divine revelations, and trust to them, or are affrighted by them as ominous, or as prophetical; and make them the ground of their actions, and seduce themselves by the phantasms of their own brains. Direct. 1. ‘Avoid those bodily distempers as much as you can, which cause sinful dreams, especially fulness of diet; a full stomach causeth troublesome dreams, and lustful dreams: and hath its ill effects by night and by day. Direct. 11. ‘Endeavour the cure of those sinful distempers of the mind which cause sinful dreams.” The cure of a worldly mind, is the best way to cure worldly, covetous dreams: and the cure of a lustful heart, is the best way to cure lustful dreams: and so of the rest: cleanse the fountain, and the waters will be the sweeter day and night. Direct. 111. “Suffer not your thoughts, or tongue, or actions to run sinfully upon that in the day, which you would not dream sinfully of in the night".’ Common experience telleth us, that our dreams will be apt to follow our foregoing thoughts, and words, and deeds. If you think most frequently and affectionately of that which is good, you will dream of that which is good. If you think of lustful, filthy objects, or speak of them, or meddle with them, you will dream of them: and so of covetous and ambitious dreams. And they that make no conscience to sin waking, are not like much to scruple sinning in their sleep. Direct. Iv. ‘Commend yourselves to God by prayer before you take your rest, and beseech him to set a guard upon your fantasy when you cannot guard it.” Cast the cure upon him, and fly to him for help by faith and prayer in the sense of your insufficiency.
" Cogitationes sanctiones sequuntur soundia blandiora et delectabiliora. Greg. Moral.
Direct. v. ‘Let your last thoughts still before your sleep, be holy, and yet quieting and consolatory thoughts". The dreams are apt to follow our last thoughts. If you betake yourselves to sleep with worldliness or vanity in your minds, you cannot expect to be wiser or better when you are asleep, than when you are awake. But if you shut up your day's thoughts with God, and sleep find them upon any holy subject, it is like to use them as it finds them. Yet if it be distrustful, unbelieving, fearful thoughts which you conclude with, your dreams may savour of the same distemper. Frightful and often sinful dreams do follow sinful doubts and fears. But if you sweeten your last thoughts with the love of Christ, and the remembrance of your former mercies, or the foresight of eternal joys, or can confidently cast them and yourselves upon some promise, it will tend to the quiet ness of your sleep, and to the savouriness of your dreams: and if you should die before morning, will it not be most desirable, that your last thoughts be holy 2
Direct. vi. “When you have found any corruption appearing in your dreams, make use of them for the renewing of your repentance, and exciting your endeavours to mortify that corruption.” A corruption may be perceived in dreams, 1. When such dreams as discover it are frequent: 2. When they are earnest and violent: 3. When they are pleasing and delightful to your fantasies: not that any certain knowledge can be fetched from them, but some conjecture as added to other signs. As if you should frequently, earnestly and delightfully dream of preferments and honours, or the favour of great men, suspect ambition, and do the more to discover and mortify it: if it be of riches, and gain, and money, suspect a covetous mind. If it be of revenge, or hurt to any man that you distaste, suspect some malice, and quickly mortify it: so if it be of lust, or feasting, or drinking, or vain recreations, sports and games, do the like.
Direct. v11. ‘Lay no greater stress upon your dreams than there is just cause.” As 1. When you have searched, and find no such sin prevailing in you, as your dreams seem to intimate, do not conclude that you have more than your waking evidence discovers. Prefer not your sleeping signs before your waking signs, and search. 2. When you are conscious that you indulge no corruption to occasion such a dream, suppose it not to be faulty of itself, and lay not the blame of your bodily temperament, or unknown causes upon your soul, with too heavy and unjust a charge. 3. Abhor the presumptuous folly of those that use to prognosticate by their dreams, and measure their expectations by them, and cast themselves into hopes or fears by them. Saith Diogenes, “What folly is it to be careless of your waking thoughts and actions, and inquisitive about your dreams ? A man's happiness or misery lieth upon what he doth when he is awake, and not upon what he suffereth in his sleep.”
* Iturus in somnum aliquid tecum desert in memoria et cogitatione in quo placide obdormias, quod etiam somniare juvet: sic tibi nox ut dies illuminatur, et in deliciis tuis placide obdormies: in pace quiesces, facile evigilabis, et surgens promptus eris ad redeundum in id, unde non totus discessisti.
Directions for the Government of the Tongue". Tit. 1. The General Directions.
Direct. 1. ‘UNDERst AND in general of what moment and concernment it is, that the tongue be well governed and used.” For they that think words are inconsiderable, will use them inconsiderately. The conceit that words are of small moment (as some say of thoughts, that they are free) doth cause men to use their tongues as if they were free, saying “Our lips are our own: who is Lord over us"?”
1. The tongue of man is his glory: by which expressively he excelleth the brutes: and a wonderful work of God it is, that a man's tongue should be able to articulate such an exceeding number of words: and God hath not given man so admirable a faculty for vanity and sin: the nobler and more excellent it is, the more to be regarded, and the greater is the fault of them that do abuse it. Hilary compareth them to an ill barber that cuts a man's face and so deformeth him, when his work was to have made him more neat and comely. So it is the office of the tongue to be excellently serviceable to the good of others, and to be the glory of mankind: the shame therefore of its faults is the more inexcusable. 2. The tongue is made to be the index or expresser of the mind; therefore if the mind be regardable, the tongue is regardable. And if the mind be not regardable, the man is not regardable. For our Lord telleth us, that the tree is known by its fruit: an evil tree bringeth forth evil fruits: and “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” And Aristotle saith, that “such as a man is, such are his speeches, such his works, and such his life".” Therefore by vain or sinful words you tell men the vanity and corruption of your minds. 3. Men's works have a great dependance on their words: therefore if their deeds be regardable, their words are regardable. Deeds are stirred up, or caused by words. Daily experience telleth us the power of speech. A speech hath saved a kingdom, and a speech hath lost a kingdom. Great actions depend on them, and greater consequents. 4. If the men that we speak to be regardable, words are regardable. For words are powerful instruments of their good or hurt. God useth them by his ministers for men's conversion and salvation: and satan useth them by his ministers for men's subversion and damnation. How many thousand souls are hurt every day by the words of others : Some deceived, some puffed up, some hardened, and some provoked to sinful passions ! And how many thousand are every day edified by words! either instructed, admonished, quickened or comforted. Paul saith, “The weapons of our warfare are mighty through God: And Pythagoras could say, that “tongues cut deeper than swords, because they reach even to the soul:” tongue-sins and duties therefore must needs be great. 5. Our tongues are the instruments of our Creator's praise; purposely given us to “speak good of his name,” and to “declare his works with rejoicing “” It is no small part of that service which God expects from man, which is
* See the Directions for Holy Conference, Part ii. c. 10. * Psal. xii. 4.
• Lingua index mentis. Aristippus being asked, Quid differat sapiens ab insipiente? Mitte, inquit, ambos nudos ad ignotos, et disces. Laert. in Aristip. lib. ii. sect. 73. p. 123. * Psal. lxvi. 2. xcvi. 2. cxxxv. 3. cxlviii. 13. xxix. 2. c.
performed by the tongue; nor a small part of the end of our creation: the use of all our highest faculties, parts and graces, are expressively by the tongue: our wisdom and knowledge, our love and holiness, are much lost as to the honour of God, and the good of others if not expressed. The tongue is the lanthorn or casement of the soul, by which it looketh out, and shineth unto others. Therefore the sin or duty of so noble an instrument is not to be made light of, by any that regard the honour of our Maker. 6. Our words have a great reflection and operation upon our own hearts. As they come from them, so they recoil to them, as in prayer and conference we daily observe. Therefore for our own good or hurt, our words are not to be made light of. 7. God’s law and judgment will best teach you what regard you should have to words. Christ telleth you, that by “your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned".” And it is words of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which are the unpardonable sin". “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole body’.” “The tongue is a fire; a world of iniquity: so is the tongue amongst our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire of hells.” “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain".” “For he that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile’.” “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment".” The third commandment telleth us, that “God will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” And “Speaking the truth in his heart, and not backbiting with the tongue,” is the mark of him that shall abide in “God’s tabernacle, and dwell in his holy hill.” And the very work of heaven is said to be the
d Matt. xii. 37.
ryllus when he was asked why Lycurgus made so few laws. Plut. Apotheg. p. 423.