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Evil Thoughts.

Evil Thoughts.

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Published by glennpease
BY Rev. WILLIAM ANDERSON, LL.D,

"KEEP thy Heart with ALL diLIgence; for out of it are the isSUES Of LIFE."— Proverbs iy. 23.
BY Rev. WILLIAM ANDERSON, LL.D,

"KEEP thy Heart with ALL diLIgence; for out of it are the isSUES Of LIFE."— Proverbs iy. 23.

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 18, 2014
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02/18/2014

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EVIL THOUGHTS.BY Rev. WILLIAM ANDERSON, LL.D, "KEEP thy Heart with ALL diLIgence; for out of it are the isSUES Of LIFE."— Proverbs iy. 23. We do not question that the heathen of old had a conscience which at times distressed them with its upbraidings and dark presentiments of the avenging of their crimes. But so rude was their moral sense that it required something very atrocious to arouse it We may say, in general, that it needed a murder, before the con-science of a Greek or Roman distressed him much. At all events, they saw or felt no sin in evil thoughts. I question if Seneca, for instance, the most refined moralist of heathen times, was ever affected with melancholy just because a bad thought had had the occupation of his mind. He no doubt censured evil dispositions, but this was always in connection with their tendencies to produce evil actions. In the thought itself disconnected from the action, the heathen philosopher does not appear to have seen any guilt. It is one of the glories of revealed religion, that the code of morality in which it trains its disciples is so refined, that when there has been nothing wrong either
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in their words or deeds, they shall be found full of distress and bitter self-condemnation because of the evil nature of their thoughts. It is a first principle of our religion that it is according to the internal feeling, rather than Digitized by Google 398 DISCOURSES. according to the external action, that God, who Himself is a Spirit, takes account of us. Though the speech be graceful and the action comely, what do they avail if the thought within the bosom be envious, malicious, or impure ? We ourselves judge of men only according to what we suppose to be the state of their hearts. We approve of him who with a libera] hand distributes to the necessities of the poor, only because we take his action as an evidence of a love and compassion which internally
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move him. Were we assured that he has only some selfish end to accomplish, we would change our approval into condemnation. If we ourselves, then, judge others only according to what we suppose to be the state of their hearts, shall we complain of it as severe when it is according to what He sees in our hearts that Qod judges us ? By the manner of our own judgments we acknow-ledge the righteousness of the judgment of Qod ; and yet how few make this spiritual judgment of Qod a matter of serious consideration ! Notwithstanding all the times it has been pressed on their attention, how many pass their days as if their thoughts were their own, for the nature of which they are accountable to none; yea, the cowards ! they will acknowledge their accountability to man, for they will hypocritically disguise their thoughts, and endeavour to gain from their acquaintance the approbation of right ordered hearts ; but are insultingly bold towai'ds God, in whose presence, all-seeing and heart-searching though He be, they exercise no care about the regulating of their meditations. Will the current of your thinking, my hearers, bear the scrutiny of God ? Is it such a state of thought that you are persuaded He must be pleased with it ? Yea, let me ask, would man be pleased with it, did he see it?
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