Wallowing in Follies

Discussion in 'The Pilgrims Progress' started by Joshua, Jun 16, 2019.

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  1. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    The Rev. Stephen Charnock (Works, Vol. 5, pp. 302-303):

    What a mass of vanity should we find in our minds, if we could bring our thoughts, in the space of one day, yea, but one hour, to an account! How many foolish thoughts with our wisdom, ignorant with our knowledge, worldly with our heavenliness, hypocritical with our religion, and proud with our humiliations! Our hearts would be like a grot, furnished with monstrous and ridiculous pictures; or as the wall in Ezekiel’s vision, Ezek. 8:5, 10, portrayed with every form of creeping things and abominable beasts; a greater abomination than the image of jealousy at the outward gate of the altar. Were our inwards opened, how should we stand gazing both with scorn and wonder at our being such a pack of fools! Well may we cry out with Agur, Prov. 30:2, ‘We have not the understandings of men.’​

    We make not the use of them as is requisite for rational creatures, because we degrade them to attendances on a brutish fancy. I make no question, but were we able to know the fancies of some irrational creatures, we should find them more noble, heroic, and generous in suo genere, than the thoughts of most men; more agreeable to their natures, and suited to the law of their creation: Ps. 10:4, ‘God is not in all his thoughts.’ How little is God in any of our thoughts according to his excellency! No; our shops, our rents, our backs and bellies, usurp God’s room. If any thoughts of God do start up in us, how many covetous, ambitious, wanton, revengeful thoughts are jumbled together with them!​

    Is it not a monstrous absurdity to place our friend with a crew of vipers, to lodge a king in a stye, and entertain him with the fumes of a jakes and dunghill? ‘A wicked man’s heart is little worth,’ Prov. 10:20; all the peddling wares and works in his inward shop are not valuable with one silver drop from a gracious man’s lips. It was an invincible argument of the primitive Christians for the purity of the Christian religion above all others in the world, that it did prohibit evil thoughts. And is it not as unanswerable an argument that we are no Christians, if we give liberty to them? What is our moral conversation outwardly but only a bare abstinence from sin, not a disaffection? Were we really and altogether Christians, would not that which is the chiefest purity of Christianity be our pleasure? and would we any more wrong God in our secret hearts than in the open streets?

    Is not thought a beam of the mind, and shall it be enamoured only on a dunghill? Is not the understanding the eye of the soul, and shall it behold only gilded nothings? It is the flower of the spirit. Shall we let every caterpillar suck it? It is the queen in us. Shall every ruffian deflower it? It is as the sun in our heaven; and shall we besmear it with misty fancies? It was created surely for better purposes than to catch a thousand weight of spiders, as Heliogabalus employed his servants.‡ It was not intended to be made the common sewer of filthiness, or ranked among those ζῶα πάμφαγα,§ which eat not only fruit and flesh, but flies, worms, dung, and all sorts of loathsome materials. Let not, therefore, our minds wallow in a sink of fantastical follies, whereby to rob God of his due, and our souls of their happiness.​
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