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prayers, examination, meditation, and reading, Mat. xxvi. 41; Prov. xxiii. 21.
8. Neglect of ejaculatory prayer when conversing with others; for this is the fountain of waters that drops from heaven, and makes the heart fruitful, Mat. xxvi. 41.
9. Impertinent vain thoughts in the morning, and when riding, and when in private religious exercises; though materially good, I have found these to distemper my spirit as much as any thing, and to render me utterly unfit for duty, Jer. iv. 14.
10. Unwatchfulness and heart security while in the world, not being " in the fear of God all the day long," not keeping guard, or neglecting the continual oversight of my heart, tongue, and actions, but growing careless. I have found my heart unwatched to run away, and engage in sins and tentations: Many disorders in the city while there is no government, Mat. xxvi. 41. This hath done evil exceedingly; through this I lose in public what I gain in private.
.11. Unbelieving discouragements arising from sense of wants, sins, desertions, and tentations; these have weakened my hands, 1 Sam. xii. 20; Lam. i. 9; Jer. ii. 28; Heb. xii. 12, 13. When Peter did fear, then did he begin to sink.
12. Great engagements in civil affairs and business, and eager prosecution of them; these have distracted me, and made me utterly unserviceable to God, Luke x. 4, and xxi. 34.
13. Pride, and conceiting much of myself, boasting of myself, seeking the praise of men, and by a careful performance of duties, seeking to exalt myself, and to share with Christ in the matter of salvation; this hath made the Lord reject me many times, withdrawing me from my resolution to "hide pride," Rom. ix. 31, 32. This made the Jews miss of righteousness, because they sought it "as it were by the works of the law."
14. Sloth in long sleeping, and trifling the time; this hath "clothed me with rags," especially in company.
Declaring some of SataiUs spiritual and more subtile devices, rchercby the work of sanctification hath been much hindered, 2 Cor. ii. 11.
1. In making me think the essence of true repentance to consist in contrition for sin more than in turning in heart and practice from it; whereby it hath come to pass, that not finding myself in a mourning sorrowful frame, but straitened in my affections, I have not turned from sin, but was still taken up in. drawing out my sensible sorrow for it, as thinking there was no true repentance without this; and, when I mourned, have rested in this, as if this were sufficient; whereas, repentance doth mostly consist in turning to God, and mourning is but the manner and qualification of this act of turning, Joel ii. 12. "Turn with mourning," Isa. lviii. 6. "The fast God hath chosen is, breaking the bands of wickedness," Prov. xxi. 3.
2. After falls and slips, and ordinary departures, Satan has sought to astonish me with my fall, and to amaze and confuse me so with what I had done, as thereby I was kept from getting up to my feet and going forwards; like those that, running a race, catch a fall, and are therewith so perplexed, thinking what to do, that in the meantime they lose much time, and are far behind. The best way were to get up, and consider our ways, mourn, seek pardon, and then go to work; so was it with Joshua, chap. vii. 10, viz., Joshua, after the smiting of Israel, lies complaining; the Lord saith thus, " Wherefore liest thou thus? up to thy work." Gen. xlii. 1, and xliii. 10, " Why look ye upon one another?" When David sinned, he immediately falls to repentance; "I have sinned, yet now, Lord, forgive." It must, when all is done, turn and end in this. So in Job xxxiv. 32, "If thou hast done wickedly," what is done cannot be helped, "do so no more." He doth not say, Amaze and distract yourselves with cares, for, " Who can by thinking: add one cubit to his stature?"
3. In making me think that because I come not up the full length of duty, or to do it in that manner and form that is required, better omit it than do it in such a sinful manner; whereby it hath come to pass that nothing hath been done at all, God not honoured, and others not profited; not considering that doing the duty as we may is a mean to the better doing of it, as scribbling is to good writing. Humility will not stand on such niceties; the Lord pardons imperfections: hence the duty of reproof hath been omitted, because I could not do it so freely, evangelically, and plainly, as the Lord requires, thinking that so doing of it was an abomination; this is over-driving. But it is better paying what we may than let all run on our head. 2 Sam. vi. 7,8, 9, 10, when David saw what reverence was required to the ark, he let it alone, "Who can stand?" Unbelief whereby the soul thinks God such a hard master that will exact to the uttermost, and pride in disdaining to do any thing but what may be worthy or meritorious, are the causes of this deceit.
4. By the injecting of thoughts materially good, yet impertinent to the exercise the soul for the present is called unto, whereby my purpose hath been broken, my spirit made vain, no good done, nor peace in it. And when other palpably sinful thoughts have been extruded, these real enemies, yet seeming friends, have been let in because of their "sheep's clothing;" and it is but the devil transforming himself into an "angel of light," 2 Cor. xi. 14. The righteous "bringeth forth fruit in season;" these thoughts are vain because fruitless and unseasonable.
5. In doing of duties, and not seeking to attain the end of duties, not because I thought this worthy, but I thought it sufficient if the Lord was honoured. And in this snare I am ordinarily entrapped, though beaten out of formality; and this hath rendered the means useless to me, and " ever learning," and "never coming to the knowledge of the truth." I have been like children, who with their little bows shoot, but at no mark, but that they may shoot; or as when they set their paper-boats to sea, but look for nothing else than to see them swim upon the waters; and so it
VOL. II. T
may be said of them, "There is no end of their labour." And hence I have exhorted, not to convert or edify, but because commanded, and to show obedience, and sometimes to render inexcusable; and thus have waited on the Lord in private and public means, not for supplying of wants or drawing near unto God, but merely to do homage unto him. Whereby there is a standing still and no progress; duties rendered a burden, because no end to draw to, or no end intended; and my motion irregular, because no end to direct; and so have wrought at random.
6. Under the pretence of waiting on the Lord for strength, I have been driven to gaze, and neglect the duty itself, when there hath been an opportunity; so in preparing for prayer, have neglected prayer: In looking for strength and grace to edify when in company, nothing hath been done; and strength received, not improven. Acts i. 11, " Why stand ye gazing ?" go to your work, to Jerusalem. Matth. xx. 6; Jer. xiii. 16, " Give glory to the Lord," lest, looking for light, darkness come.
7. To neglect the practice of grace and duty, by resting in the sweet and relishing speculation thereof, and resolution to do it; I have been taken up with the sweetness of duty on the mind, but not so careful to practise it, though there have been some slight resolutions. This I thought sufficient, or else through security I have not expected difficulty in the practice; and so, knowing and approving and teaching others the Law, yet neglecting it, they "say and do not," Rom. ii. 13, 14, 18; Matth. vii. 21; Jer. ii. 19, 20. So that the end of these speculations hath not been so much to practise as to relish and delight the understanding in expatiating on such subjects.
8. I have been much hindered from duty, by studying the manner of duty rather than the substance of it; by studying faith in prayer rather than prayer in faith; by studying openness and plain-dealing in reproving rather than reproof itself; by studying constancy in watching rather than watching itself. Which I have found to proceed from pride, choosing the excellency of it rather than the thing itself; and from Satan's persuading me that nil commands are but the Lord's seeking ground of quarrel to cast out with me, and therefore not only seeks duties, but that they be done after such a manner as thou knowest thou canst not get done; that so, when he cannot condemn for the matter, he shall be sure for the manner to find fault. Whereby my mind hath been so taken up with the circumstantial, and perfect, and exact qualifications of duties, that the matter and substance of it hath been neglected. I have made the manner of it the matter.
9. Satan, with my foolishness, tyrannically yet subtilely presses the doing of many things at once, which is impossible; that so, dividing my spirit with several objects, nothing may be well done, and all slighted: so that when I came to say, What have I ado? it is answered, Ye have this, and that, and the other thing; when I am called to one thing, I address to another, and thus " troubled with many things," like Martha, Luke x. 41, 42; with which one thing, if my spirit were taken up, I might come to some profit and get it done; but, seeking to grasp too much, I let all go. When many crowd out or in at a passage, they hinder one another; but the rule is, u Whatever thou dost, do it with all thy might," i. e.t Let thy heart be taken up wholly with that one thing while thou art doing it, and with no other.
10. Satan's transforming into an angel of light, by gilding vices with lustre and appearance of virtue, and under spiritual and specious pretences. Hence have I been tempted to lightness, excess in comforts, under pretence of shunning unthankfulness, and of not using Christian liberty, and of walking uncomfortably; and hence neglected to affect the heart with the evil of sin, because repentance consists more in turning from sin than in sorrow for it. Prayer under indisposition hath been shunned, lest I should render the easy yoke of Christ a grievous burden. Whereby sin hath prevailed by these, when it hath been overcome when it appeared in its own clothing; and "the grace of God turned into wantonness," 2 Cor. xi. 14; Rom. vi. 1; Gal. v. 13; "called to liberty, yet not to use it as an occasion to the flesh."
11. In following the disposition of my spirit as a rule in refer