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that are naturally weaker, have by long Use, and many Trials, obtained a greater Power over their Thoughts than others. Again, the fame Persons, that; at fonie times, have a greater Power over the Motions of their minds, may, at other times, have a lefs Command over them, and this according as their Health, or their Business, or a hundred Contingencies of outward Things do affect them. So that all that can be done, as to this Matter, is to lay down fome general Propositions which every Body is to apply to himself, as there is Occafion." - And Five of this kind I have to offer, and which, I think, will take in all, or the
greatest Párt of what belongs to this ArguBhi The First Proposition I lay down is this, lyi That the first Motions of our Minds are very he little, if at all, in our Power. . onde * By the First Motions of our Minds, I mean zul those füdden Thoughts, or Apprehensions, or Gon: Passions, or Desires, which are excited in our 10 Minds, by any Object, that is at that Time.
presented to our Imagination: As to these, I Elini fay, we are not so much Masters of ourselves e isso as to be able to stop them; nay, though, per700 haps, they be very irregular. And the Reaat fon is, because they are produced so quick, der that there is not Time enough given for ReaDres son to interpose. In 11$. There is no necessity, indeed, that a Mán
should give Consent to these Motions; but as of the for their coming into his Mind, he can no more cert help it, than he can help his present Temper, Sur or the present Circumstances he is ingaged in.'
Thus for Instance; Do you think it possible for a Man that is of a Fiery Passionate Temper, to avoid the feeling a sudden Resentment of Anger arising in his Mind, if he meets with any unexpected Affront, or other great Provocation? Or for a Man that desires to be well thought of, not to entertain some Vanity of Imagination, when he hears himself commended or flatter'd ? Or for a Man that is addicted to Pleasures, not to feel some irregular Inclinations in himself towards the gratifying his Appetites in those Things, when he hath all the Temptations before him? And thus in all other Cases.
I grant, indeed, that a Man by long Consideration, and a serious exercising himself in the Ways of Vertue and Piety, may bring himself to that Temper, that he shall not have so many irregular, undecent Motions in his own. Mind, upon any Occasion whatsoever, as he was wont to have ; and that those that were formerly Temptations to him, will at last be none: But still I say, the first Motions and Workings of his Mind, however they be occasioned, are in a great Measure out of his Power; he cannot stop them; and therefore the Art of governing his Thoughts, doth not lie there.
The Second Proposition I lay down is this, When a Man's Mind is vigorously affected and possessed, either with the outward Objects of Sense, or with the inward Passions of any kind, in that Case he hath little or no Command of his Thoughts ; his Mind at that Time will be in a manner wholly taken up with that it is then full of: nor will be able, till those Im
pressions be worn off, to think freely of what he pleaseth. ; .
Thus for Instance, When a Man is under a sharp tormenting Pain; as he cannot avoid the To feeling of that Pain, fo neither can he avoid the
I thinking of it. When one is full of Grief, for at the Loss of a dear Relation; or transported with - Passion, for some unworthy. Usage he hath
met with : it is in vain to fáy, Pray think not of these Matters; for these Things must, and will, in a great measure, imploy his Thoughts, till his Passions do cool, and the Impressions that caused them be vanished.
Thus, for a Man to come from some Busia ness in which he is more than ordinarily conf cerned; or from the hearing some very good
or very bad News: I say, to come fresh from For this to the saying his Prayers; I do not, I can
not wonder, that in this Case his Mind will be be much upon his Business, or his News, notwith
standing all his Endeavours to the contrary.
For the Nature of Man is such, that he can. not so on a sudden, turn his Mind from one Business to another ; but that if he did closely and vigorously apply himself to the first Business, his Thoughts will for some Time run upon it, even after he hath applied his Mind to the other.
I do not deny, but that a Man may often fo order his Affairs, as to be able to keep his Mind clear and free from such Prepossessions as I am now speaking of, so as that when he comes to apply himself to any Business he hath a mind to, he may intend it with his whole Might.
But this I say, If our Minds be once engaged is with warm Thoughts about any Thing; it is. Ei Vol. I.
very hard, if not impossible, to get them difengaged on a sudden. So that the Art of Governing our I boughts doth not much lie in that neither.
Tbirdly, There are some Cases likewise, where a Man's Thoughts are in a manner forced upon him, from the present Temper and Indifpofition of his Body. So that though he be in no Passion, though there be nó unusual Objects of Sense that excite those Thoughts in him; nay, tho' he never so much refolve not to think upon those Things; yet so long as that Habit of Body lafts, he cannot avoid thote kind of Thoughts ; So that in this case also, there is little room left for the Government of Thoughts.
That which I now fay, happens frequently, not only in all Sorts of Distempers where the Brain is visibly difturbed, as in Fevers, and the like; which often cause a Thoufand delirious Fancies, and sometimes down-right Madnefs and Distraction : but also in other Cases where there seems to be no Fever, or other visible Distemper; nor doth the Brain, as to other Matters, seem to be at all diforder'd; but the Persons, in all appearance, are found both in Body and Mind. .
And this is the Cafe of some deeply Hypochondriac Persons; many of which will be haunted with a Set of Thoughts and Fancies, that they can by no Means get rid of, though they desire it never so earnestly.
Sometimes they cannot get it out of their Heads, but that they are Atheiff's and Infidels, they neither believe in God nor in Jesus Chrift, nor have any Sense at all of Religion.
to which they
a : Sometimes they are tormented with Blog
phemous' Thoughts, and they cannot set them-
I have known several well-disposed Persons, and some of them fincerely Pious, that have been in this Condition.
What now is to be said to this? Why, it is very certain that all these Thoughts and Fancies are thrust upon them, and are not the free, natural, voluntary Operations of their own Minds; but the Effects of Vapours or Hypochonen driac Melancholy. Nor can the Persons themfelves any more help their thus Thinking, or Fancying, than they can help the Disturbances of their Dreams, when they have a Mind to
fleep quietly. Indeed, we may properly enough ' call these Fancies of theirs, their waking Dreams; as their Dreams are their sleeping Fancies.
Well, but now of all Persons whatsoever, these People are most desirous to have Rules
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