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unprepared for it to-morrow. Persevere, therefore; determine to keep your hold; let principalities, and powers, and spiritual wickedness, oppose you how they will; for if you resist the devil, he will certainly flee from you. Should these distractions prevail so far, that you cannot proceed in words and outward expressions, go on by sighs and tears, rather than immediately desist. If you cannot speak, weep out your devotions. The spirit, you know, makes intercessions with groanings which cannot be uttered. At the same time, remember that it is not the length of a duty, but its sincerity, and the strength of affection in it, which is regarded by God. We
We may be too long, and spoil the duty by our tediousness. A short fervent ejaculation is better than tedious bab, bling. Therefore, when you pray, use not vain repetitions as the Heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. As God is in heaven, and thou upon earth, let thy words be few.
But,” says another, “ if good thoughts occur to my mind in the season of duty, and my heart dwell much upon them, is it not right to pursue what is thus accidentally suggested ?”
God's Spirit never works in a disorderly manner, so as, when we are attending to one duty, agreeably to his command, to call us away to another. Though the thoughts, therefore, which intrude upon us, may be good, yet, because they are unseasonable, there is reason to suspect that they may come from that lying spirit, who we know can transform himself into an angel of light: and this seeming goodness only makes the temptation more dangerous. If the suggestions had been wicked, you would, perhaps, have immediately rejected them with abhorrence: but since they appear good, you are inclined to bid them welcome. It is probable that if you were immediately to attend to that supposed duty to which your thoughts would now lead you, you would find yourselves as indisposed for that as for what you are ready to leave: for the deceitfulness of the heart would make us seem fit for any service, but for that in which we are at present engaged. If
be satisfied that what you are attending to is your duty, no temptation to entice you away, should be listened to, upon the most spe cious pretences. Upon the whole,
Let the consideration of the numerous imperfections of our duties humble us, and prevent us from resting in them.
It is a proof of the blindness and degeneracy of our minds, if we do not perceive the defilement which is caused by wandering thoughts; and if we think that there is worthiness enough in those distracted services to give us any title to the kingdom of Heaven. Alas! did we see our duties as God beholds them, we should blush rather than boast; and though we should have done ten thousand times more than we have, we should, with the deepest humility, acknowledge ourselves to be unprofitable servants. To conclude, let us adore the grace
which assists us, and which accepts such weak and worthless per. formances.
Though we may not rest in our best duties, yet we may hope in God for the acceptance of our meanest. He has kindly promised his Spirit to help our infirmities, and to kindle holy affections; and has
engaged, that we shall have Christ for our high, priest, to present our sincere, though imperfect duties with acceptance. O! how sweetly and how swiftly will our feeble prayers and praises ascend in the incense of this angel of the covenant ! Our services, though deformed and polluted when offered by us, will be presented to God by our great Intercessor, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing
ON BLASPHEMOUS THOUGHTS.
MATTHEW xv. 19.
Out of the heart of man proceed-blasphemies.
I shall now address you on the subject of blas. phemous thoughts. It is strange that there should be any occasion for delivering a discourse upon blasphemy, not only to the openly profane, but to truly humble and serious Christians. Sin must be deeply rooted in our nature, and its poison must be malignant indeed, when blasphemous thoughts are found even in those hearts in which its power is broken, and its pollution in a great measure removed. But I need not aggravate it to you, Christians; the very mention of it fills your souls with confusion and hor
I should not have made your wounds bleed afresh but with a design of pouring wine and oil into them; and in hopes that the great Physician will prescribe something, which shall mitigate, if not perfectly remove, this most painful and threatening complaint. A blasphemous thought is a sinful motion or conceit of the mind, by which a person thinks that of God which is inconsistent with him; or denies that of God which ought to be believed.
Sometimes it is directed against his being : “ The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” Some
times blasphemous thoughts refer to his nature; as if he were not such a being as he has been represented. Sometimes they oppose the name and attributes of God. Such was the language of those to whom David refers; “ How doth God know?” say they: “and is there knowledge in the Most High?” So some are mentioned by Ezekiel, who said, “ The way of the Lord is not equal." Blasphemous thoughts sometimes relate to the word of God, or some of the most important truths of religion. They oppose the corruption of human nature, the efficacy of grace, the glory of Christ, the operations of the Spirit, and question the reality of judgment, heaven, or hell. Such kind of thoughts have troubled the best of God's children. But I need not describe them more particularly; they are too fresh in some of your minds to need any remembrance.
I was going to proceed in my subject, when, me. thought, I heard some one thus excusing himself:
Surely, I was never accounted a blasphemer; and I have never been guilty of blasphemy. I believe that there is a God; and I have no doubt of the truth of the scriptures.” It may be so; but say, do you not live in some allowed sin ? Why then, you have a thousand and a thousand times blasphemed God; for doing abominable works, is joined with saying in the heart, “ There is no God.” Would you dare sin so boldly, if you truly apprehended and believed God to be as omniscient, just, and jealous, as the scriptures represent him? Denial of God in works, overthrows the profession of God in words. Again, do you make conscience of prayer? No. Then you are a blasphemer; you do not believe that God is,