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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold # 27

Evil Thoughts

Our hearts are of that color which our most constant thoughts dye into it. Transient fleeting thoughts, whether of one kind or another, do not alter the temper of the soul. Neither poison kills nor food nourishes, unless they stay in the body; nor does good or evil benefit or harm the mind unless they abide in it. (William Garnall)

We cannot keep thieves from looking in at our windows, but we need not give them entertainment with open doors. "Wash thy heart from iniquity, that thou mayest be saved: how long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?" They may be passengers, but they must not be sojourners. (Thomas Adams)

Vain thoughts defile the heart as well as vile thoughts. (William Secker)

They that are accustomed to evil thoughts can seldom bring forth good words, never good deeds. As the corn is, so will the flour be. (Thomas Adams)

(Some) though they cannot sin outwardly, for want of strength of body or a fit opportunity, yet they act sin inwardly with great love and complacency. As players in a comedy, they act their parts in private, in order to a more exact performance of them in public. (George Swinnock)

The mighty streams of the evil thoughts of men will admit of no bounds or dams to put a stop unto them. There are but two ways of relief from them, the one respecting their moral evil, the other their natural abundance. The first is by throwing salt into the spring, as Elisha cured the waters of Jericho - that is, to get the heart and mind seasoned with grace. The other is, to turn their streams into new channels, putting new aims and ends upon them, fixing them on new objects: so shall we abound in spiritual thoughts; for abound in thoughts we shall, whether we will or no. (John Owen)

Example

Though "the words of the wise be as nails fastened by the masters of the assemblies," yet their examples are the hammer to drive them in, to take the deeper hold. A father that whipped his son for swearing, and swore himself whilst he whipped him, did more harm by his example than good by his correction. (Thomas Fuller)

Man is a creature that is led more by patterns than by precepts. (George Swinnock)

Precepts instruct us what things are our duty, but examples assure us that they are possible. When we see men like ourselves, who are united to frail flesh and in the same condition with us, to command their passions, to overcome the most glorious and glittering temptations, we are encouraged in our spiritual warfare. (William Bates)

Old Testament examples are New Testament instructions. (John Owen)

Example is the most powerful rhetoric. (Thomas Brooks)

But instead of all virtues he commendeth the example of Christ for every virtue, and opposeth it to every vice; as if he should say, He which thinketh only to follow Christ, needeth not to be led by the hand from virtue to virtue, but His example will teach him what he shall follow, and what he shall fly, better than all the precepts in the world. (Henry Smith)

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