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private Conceits, is privy to all our Wishes, Desires and Purposes, observes and takes notice of all the Motions of our Minds, and that at the last Day he will bring every secret thing in, to Judgment; are we not alham’d of shewing in his right fuch Folly, of committing such Wickedness in his Presence? Should we blush and be confounded to have but a mortal Man certainly know all the childish, vain, wanton, lustful Thoughts that possess our Minds; and is it nothing to us that the great God of Heaven and Earth beholds and sees them all ? Consider this then, O vain Man, who pleasest thy self in thy own foolish Conceits, with thinking how finely thou dost cheat the World, by a Mask of Religion and Godliness! Consider I say, that there is not an evil Thought that ever thou takest any pleasure and delight in, not an evil Device or Imagination of thy Heart, but what is perfectly naked and open to that God with whom we have to do : That he is with thee in the silent and dark night, when
eye seeth thee, when thou thinkest thy self safe from all discovery, and that thou mayît then securely indulge thy own wicked Appetites and corrupt Inclinations; for the Light and Darkness are both alike unto God, he compasseth thy Path and thy Bed, he is aca quainted with all thy ways. And the frequent Consideration of these things would certainly produce a mighty Awe in us, and a futable Care not willingly to entertain or cherish any such Thoughts as we should be ashamed to
have known to all the World, nor ever to suffer any other Thoughts to take place or remain in our Minds, than such as we should not blush to have written in our Foreheads.
.s. For the right Government of your Thoughts, let me recommend to you above all things, serious Devotion, especially humble and hearty Prayer to God Almighty. Man is compounded of two Natures, à rational and spiritual, and a bodily : by our Bodies we are join’d to the visible Corporeal World, by our Souls we are allied to the immaterial Invisible World. Now as by our outward Senses the Intercourse and Correspondence is maintained between us and the Corporeal World, so by our Devotions chiefly our acquaintance is begot and kept up with the Spiritual World. When we lay aside all Thoughts of this lower World, and the Concerns of this Life, and apply our selves to the Father of Spirits, and make our humble Addresses to him, we then more especially converse with him as far as this State will admit; and the more frequently and constantly we do this, the more we shall abstract our Minds from these inferior Objects which are so apt to entangle our Hearts, and take up all our Thoughts, and shall make the things of the other World become more familiar to us : for:when we betake our felves seriously to our Prayers, we do then bid adieu to all that is visible and sublunary, and for that time endeavour to employ our Minds wholly on what relates to another Lifc;
and therefore consequently the oftner we do this, and the more hearty and serious we are in it, the more our Minds will be used and accuftomed to divine Thoughts and pious Meditations, and weaned from present sensible Objects. Every devout Exercise conscientiously performed will season our Spirits, and leave a good Tincture upon them, and dispose us for worthy and excellent Thoughts; it is like keeping of good Company, a Man is by degrees moulded and fashioned into fome Likeness unto them : and on the other side, the Intermission, Neg. lect, or formal and perfunctory Performance of our Devotion, will soon breed in us a Forgetfulness of God and heavenly Things; as omitting to speak of an absent or dead Friend, or neglecting to call him to our mind, by degrees wears him quite out of our Thoughts and Memory. So that you see a due sense of God upon our Minds, and of those things that belong to our greatest Interests, is by nothing so well maintain'd as by our constant Devotion; this is like seeing our Friends often, or conversing with them every day; it preserves Acquaintance with them, it cherishes our Love and Kindness towards them. I end all with that excellent Colleet of our Church: Almighty God, unto whom all Hearts be open, all Desires known, and from whom no Secrets are hid; cleanse the Thoughts of pur Hearts by the inspiration of thy holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Preach'd at the
The GENTLEMEN Educated
at St. Paul's Schoo L.
The SIXTH SERMON.
1 Cor. xiii. 4,5,6,7. Charity suffereth long, and is kind;
Charity envieth not; Charity vaunteth not it self, is not puffed up, &c.
HE chief and most laudable Design of this and other the like Anniversary
Meetings being to promote Love, Kindness and Friendship amongst Men, from the consideration of some particular Relati
ons, by which (over and above what doth belong to us in common with all Men and Christians) we are more nearly united and linked one to the other ; I thought I could not entertain you with any thing more proper to this Solemnity, than a Discourse upon these words: wherein I intend,
Į. To describe unto you wherein this ami
cable friendly Temper and mutual Love; which we are to further among our
felves this day, doth consist. And, II. To recommend it especially to your Care
and Practice, who have had the advantage of a liberal and ingenuous Education.
1. To fhew you wherein true and undissembled Love doth consist, which I shall do only by paraphrasing or commenting as briefly as I can, upon this most excellent Description of Charity given us by St. Paul.
1. Charity suffereth long ; is not hasty to return any Evil or Injury we may have received from others; it makes a Man patient, forgetful of Wrongs, and slow to demand Satiffaction. He that is possessed with this excellent Grace of Charity, will defer righting himself when injured, and seem for a great while as if he did not at all observe or take notice of those Affronts and Trespasses, which the Furious and Wrathful would be sure straight to revenge. He doth not lie at catch, and presently take all advantages against his Neighbour,