The Ninth Evil.
Earthly-mindednesse doth wonderfully dead the heart in prayer. It sinks the spirits of men, and straightens them in spiritual duties; yea, and indeed, doth defile every duty of Religion; in the 119. Psal. 37. ver. David (you shall find) paryes there to God, That he will turn away his eyes from beholding vanity, and that he would quicken him in his law. Certainly by the vanity that he speaks of there, he means the things of the world, and by his eyes he understands the eyes of his mind, chiefly the working of the thoughts of his heart after earthly things; for if you will cast your eyes but to the 36. verse, faith he there, Incline my heart to thy testimonies, and not to covetousness; Oh Lord, let not my heart be inclined to covetousness: afterwards, Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, to the end that my heart may not be inclin'd to covetousness; Lord, let not my thoughts be busied about such vain things, but quicken me in thy Law: as if he should say, Lord, while my mind is turned to vanity, or my heart to covetousnesse, after the things of this earth, I alwaies find my spirit dull and hea∣vy in any holy duties, I have no quickness at all in my in∣ward man when I come in thy presence, and by experience I find this to be the cause that my heart is so drossie, be∣cause my thoughts and mind are set upon earthly things that are but vanity, therefore, Lord let not mine heart be in∣clin'd to covetousness nor mine eyes looking after vanity, but turn away mine eyes from these things and quicken me in thy Law: If you would have your hearts quicken'd in Gods Law, in the Duties that God sets you about, take heed of your eyes that they look not after vanity, & your hearts that they fol∣low Page 43 not after covetousnesse; for an earthly spirit will be a dead spirit, as the element of earth it's the sluggishest, and deadest element of all; so earthlinesse in the heart makes the heart sluggish and dead, and listlesse to any holy and spiritual duty: I appeal to your consciences in this, when you have let out your hearts after the things of this earth, and been exercised in the world, in abundance of busines∣ses, when you have come to enjoy communion with God, Oh! how dead have you found your hearts! a drossie heart must needs be a dead and a straight heart in heavenly exer∣cises: you complain many times of your vain thoughts in performance of holy duties, you cry out of dead spirits then, but there lies the cause, you have given your hearts up so much to the things of the earth at other times, and hence when you should come to have converse with God your hearts are so dead and dull & straight as they are, look at this to be the ground of it; this is the great root of all, it lies here in your earthly-mindednesse, Oh! how many prayers have been quite spoil'd with an earthly heart! whereas, such as have had spiritual hearts, have enjoyed blessed communion with God at the Throne of his Grace, and have been sweetly refreshed as a Gyant with wine; the while thou hast gone with a dead heart, and continued so there, and came away with as dead an heart, without anie quicknesse and life, and this is that that comes by, thy earthly-mindednesse, which is such a remora and pulback to duties.