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II.

There is much peril in thinking upon and representing to our mind imaginary scenes of sin and vanity, which never can come to pass, visions in which our passions or pride shape themselves to their own world of spiritual wickedness in high places, and show us what we should be if our merciful Creator had not placed limits to our course of sin, and bounds which it shall not pass. We may commit in a few hours in thought sins which, if allowed in act, would occupy a lifetime. A pious and solemn watch over the mind is constantly required, not only to control its desire of vain things that are visible, but to sanctify its more frequent exercises, its contemplations of things that are unseen. “ We wrestle not against flesh and

blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world 3.” May we be able to say, with St. Paul, “ With the mind I myself serve the law of God 4."

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Matt. iv. 8—10.

III.

Thoughts will return, not to the heart in which they have been strangers, but to the mind in which they have often dwelt and found their home. For this reason doth our blessed Saviour warn us so earnestly against "evil thoughts.". We do not now suffer so much from their effect and influence as we shall suffer some future

3 Eph. vi. 12.

4 Rom. vii. 25.

year when they assail our weakness, they will then distress a sick bed with shame, and breathe their corruptions to a departing spirit. None of us but would in this respect “ die the death of the righteous,” undisturbed by the flittings to and fro of abhorred remembrances: none but would have his last thoughts (which will be, what they have been habitually,) peaceful and pure, so that he may sink into his rest in unconsciousness of sin, and pass in the breath of some thought inspired by the Holy

Spirit into the presence of a Holy God.

O Jerusalem, how long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? for a voice declareth and publisheth affliction. Jer. iv. 14, 15.

Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, my soul hath not been polluted. Ezek. iv. 14.

In the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts delight my soul. Ps. xciv. 19.

IV.

Stay not till holy reflections come of themselves, but set apart daily some time for meditation - meditation in which we so often find the fruit and benefit of our prayers, and feel every remembered scripture more affecting. We cannot convert our

1

Whilst we

selves, but we may consider of such
awful truths as will lead to our conver-
sion. We may retire into our secret
chamber, and there reflect upon the
solemn revelations of the word of
God, and its fulfilment in the changes
of the world, and on the change which
has for some time been coming to pass
in our hearts and minds.
are engaged in the devout meditation,
God will manifest such further truths
to us, and suggest such resolutions for
the future, as we shall have reason to
bless Him for through all eternity.
How

many have begun to run well, and what hath hindered them that they fell short ? but the neglect of that retired and solemn duty of meditation in which the divine grace is silently nurtured in the soul; in which we endeavour to profit by that which has been given us, and “

are thank

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