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it; such as long Fasts, and Watchings, and being too much alone. But, to advise about these Things, belongs not to me, but to another Profellion, and therefore I fay no more about them.
Secondly, It will concern them to keep themselves employed, as much as they can, and, if it be possible, to have always some Work or Business upon their Hands, to exercise their Minds about. Idleness is the worst thing in the World for this sort of Distemper, and indeed those that labour hard, are seldom troubled with it. And therefore, if these Persons have no Affairs to take care of, (which yet few in any Station are without) they must make Business for themselves. But then there is one fort of Business, that they ought to be seriously cautioned against, and that is, the too long, or too. intense Application of their Minds to their spiritual Exercise ; such as Reading, Meditation, and the like. For, tho' thele Employments, above all others, are to be recommended to Persons that have Health and Leisure, yet to such as are in their Condition, they often do more Hurt than Good.
Thirdly, Another Thing that would be of fingular Use to these Persons, if they could be pessuaded to practise it, is this : Not to lay these Disturbances of their Minds too much to Heart. Let them not be so grievouly concerned, when they cannot govern their own Thoughts, as they desire, but a thou
fand filly or wicked Fancies do impose themselves upon them, whether they will or no: On the contrary, let them neglect them, let them despise them, and not think themselves the worse, upon account of them : It is their Eagerness to prevent, or stop, this fort of Fancies, and their immoderate Trouble for them afterwards, that is one of the most effectual Means to excite and
perpetuate them: Whereas, if they would make no great matter of them, but let them go out, as they came in, without being concerned about them, in all Probability, with a little Degree of Health, they would vanish and die: And they that now complain so much that Account, would have as much Peace in their own Minds, as other Men.
But, Fourthly and Lastly, there is one Thing more to be recommended to these Persons, and then I have done, and that is this: Let them never omit ariy known Duty, either to God or their Neighbours, upon account of the Suggestions, how violent of how troublesome foever they be: Let them never leave off saying their Prayers, at the accustomed Times, or receiving the holy Sacrament, or doing any other Duty, that the Law of Christ hath tied upon them.
them. And tho', upon these Occasions, above all others, they are most distracted by these
ungoverno able Fancies, yet, for all that, let them go od ; and, how little foever they please themselves
in these Duties, or how unfit foever they take themselves to be to engage in them, yet let them affure themselves, that God is as much pleased with them, when they do thofe Duties out of Conscience, and because they think they are bound fo to do, (tho' it be with much Infirmity, and a very shatter'd distracted Mind) as if they had fatisfied themselves never fo much in the Performance of them.
This I say, and I conclude with it : So long as we bear an honest Mind towards God, so long as we do not prevaricate with him, and wilfully depart from the known Rules of our Duty ; but endeavour sincerely in all our Actions to obey his Laws; he will accept us, nay, he will reward us, be the Disadvantages we labour under never so great. And, tho’ we cannot please ourselves, we shall please him ; nay, (as I had occasion to say in one of my former Discourses) he will be better pleased with us, for doing our Duty under these discouraging Circumstances, than if, being free from these Incumbrances, we had done it with more Pleasure to ourselves. And, if the Devil was really as busy about us, as some of us fancy him to be, nay, tho' all the Powers of Hell should set themselves against us, yet, so long as we thus walk, God will protect us. And, if sometimes he doth not, so soon as we desire, remove our Affictionis, yet he will give us Grace and Strength to bear them, and, after that, reward us for them, by increasing our Glory in the next World, in Proportion to the Difficulty we had to struggle with, in his Service, in this.
SER MON VI.
LUKE XIII. 23.
that shall be saved? And be said unto them,
N Pursuance of the Argument I
Opportunity; I mean to treat now
As for those that out of Curiosity desire to be satisfied about the point here proposed to our Saviour, concerning the Fewness of the Saved, (which seems to have been the Temper of those that asked this Question in my Text) they ought to have no other Answer VOL. III.