LEt us make for ever conscience of them, so Iob did, Iob 31. 1. I made a convenant with mine eyes, why should I thinke upon a Maide? Solomon gives in especiall charge, above all Page 110 keeping, keepe thy heart, Prov. 4. 23.
First, thou art to keepe the Lords day holy, thy selfe unspotted of the World. To keepe thy brother, to keepe all the Commande∣ments, but above all to keepe thy heart, and in it, thy thoughts; for this is the Great Commandement, be∣cause it extends it selfe (as the foundation) unto them all: for as in the same Com∣mandement where mur∣ther is forbidden, a malici∣ous thought is also, and so of the rest; So in keeping the thoghts, thou virtually keepest all the Comman∣dements: as originall sinne is said to bee forbidden in all the Commandements, Page 111 so are thy thoughts taken order for in all.
Secondly, out of it are issues of life; thoughts and affections are the spring, speeches and actions the streame: as are our thoughts, so are our affe∣ctions; for these are the bellows: so also our pray∣ers, so all, for they are in the soule as the spirits in the body, they run through all, move all, act all.
Thirdly, if you looke to God, our thoughts are that spot of ground, which he proclaimes him∣selfe sole Lord of, and makes it one of his grea∣test titles, that hee knows them, and judgeth them. Kings attempt to rule your Page 112 tongues, to binde your hands, and rule your acti∣ons; but God onely your thoughts. By them wee chiefly sanctifie him in our hearts, by them wee walke with God, and shall we not make conscience of them?
Fourthly, if you looke to the worke and power of grace, wherein lies it, But in bringing every thought into obedience? 2 Cor. 11. 4. This is the glory of our re∣ligion above all other in the world: wherein lies the difficulty of it, the strictness of it, what makes it so hard a taske? but the observing and keeping the thoughts in boūds: wherin lies the difference between sincere hearted Christians Page 113 and others? but the keep∣ing of our thoughts, with∣out which all Religion is but bodily exercise. Papists may mumble over their prayers, hypocrits talke, but this is godlinesse.
Fiftly, if wee looke to things wee have a care of; if wee have a care of spee∣ches, because Christ hath said, wee shall answere for every idle word; why not also for the same reason, should wee have a care of thoughts? which are the words of the minde, onely they want a shape, to bee audible to others, which the tongue gives them, for which you must answer as well as for words, Heb. 4. 12. 1 Cor. 4. 5. If you be Page 114 carefull what companions you have, and whom you lodge in your houses, and who lie in your bosomes, then much more of your thoughts, which lodge in your hearts, which are not yours, but Gods houses; built for himselfe, and for Christ and his Word to dwel in: seeing also the things you think of have the most neare intimate fellowship and converse with you. And therefore when you thinke of the Word, it is said to talk with you, Pro. 6. If you be carefull of what you eate, because such blood you have, &c. then be careful what you think, thoughts being Pabulum animae, as Tully calls them. Page 115Thy words did [I eate] saies Ieremiah, speaking of me∣ditating on it.
Sixthly, if you looke to the issue of things: what shall be the subject of that great inquest at the Day of Judgement? the thoughts and councels, 1 Corin. 4. 5. And after the Day of Judgement, mens thoughts shall prove their greatest executioners: what are the cords God lashes you with to all eternity? your owne thoughts; thoughts accusing, whereby you stu∣dy over every sinne; and every one will be as a dag∣ger, Isay 33. 18. the Hypo∣crites torment, is to medi∣tate terrours, to study Gods wrath, and the Saints bles∣sednesse, Page 116 and their owne sinnes and misery.