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people into a new land of shadows and dreams, and have been known to produce such an effect upon the imagination, that it sees spectres at noon day, and is under the delusions of sleep while it is wide awake. If such reports are true, they should teach Christian people to beware how they listen to miraculous novelties in religion or pharmacy.
4. Ile that would be sober-minded must also learn to regulate his bodily appetites. Experience must bave taught us all, what an effect our diet bas upon our dreams: and it must, in its degree, have a like effect upon our waking thoughts. Ilow differently do the same things appear according to the different states of the body! When the blood is inflamed, the mind falls into a delirium: and it is worthy of consideration, whether there be not persons, who, though not aecouuted insane, are yet never so perfectly in their senses, as they might be, if they would but do justice to their own understandings, by keeping theinselves cool, and practising a little reasonable self-denial ; for thus did the saints of God in the best ages preserve their minds pure, patient, humble, wise, and devout; and wlay should not the rule suceeed as well now, when there is a natural reason for it?
5. Business is another remedy; and the best for the purpose is business with some aim, some useful object in view; to keep the tboughts at work in a right line, and prevent wanderings. Labour of some kind is the lot.of man, to keep his restless mind out of mischief : and the careful mind, even though it be anxious, is always, preferable to the empty: it is delivered from itself: it no longer looks inward on that gloomy vacuity, which it is impossible to survey without being dispirited. The labouring part of mankind are seldom tormented with the evils of the imagination; and in
this respect they have an advantage over the rich, the learned, and the delicate : who will never be cured of their weakness but by that which preserves the strength of the poor; and the labours of the field or the garden are always open to the wealthy; and will be produce tive of pleasure to the mind, as well as health and soundness to the senses. The Christian should carry it a little farther; and learn, as the apostle advises, 10 endure hardness, like a soldier, to keep afar off that effeminate tenderness of the frame, which induces a weakness of the imagination: and hardness of life will have the same effect upon the Christian, as it hath upon the soldier ; it will lessen the fear of death, that greatest of all terrors; from which none can escape, and for which all must prepare.
6. To sum up all my rules in a few words, “ fear God and keep his Commandments, for this is the whole of man:" with this, man is every thing he should be; and without it he is nothing. His security can be found only in that, with which all wisdom should begin and end, Religion : I mean the religion of faith, hope, and charity. The first conflict in Paradise was between faith and imagination, and it is continued, under the original form, at this day. Imaginations and thoughts, according to the language of the text, are the ruin of man : faith is the victory that overcomes them both. What imagination raises, however high and strong, faith throws down ; and brings every thought into captivity: and having no dependence on man or itself, but only on God's truth, it is steadfast and unmoveable against all the changeable forms of human wisdom. Hope, like the sunshine that gilds all objects, improves every innocent enjoyment, and makes every state of life supportable. Charity, delivered from the tormenting selfishness of nature, is the friend of God and man; and preserves a conscience void of offence. Where these three are found, there will the Peace of God abide : and with it that illumination of the heart, that holy light of the day-star, before which all imposture is detected, all shadows fly away. In which state, keep us, O God of Truth, according to the measure of this present time ; and bring us to the consummation of it in thy presence, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
SENSE AND SUFFICIENCY OF HIS RELIGION ;
On the Tert of Matth. xviii. 17.
ADDRESSED TO THE
PARISH OF PASTON, IN NORTH AYPTONSHIRL.