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Group Title: Wandering thoughts : a sermon on 2 Corinthians, X. 4
Title: Wandering thoughts
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00000064/00001
 Material Information
Title: Wandering thoughts a sermon on 2 Corinthians, X. 4. i.e. X. 5
Physical Description: 12 p. : ; 17 cm. (12mo).
Language: English
Creator: Wesley, John, 1703-1791
Publisher: Printed for G. Whitfield, New-Chapel, City-Road and sold at the Methodist-Preaching-Houses in Town and Country
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1797
Subject: Sermons, English -- 18th century   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Citation/Reference: Baker, F. Wesley bibl.,
Citation/Reference: Baker, F. John & Charles Wesley,
Statement of Responsibility: by John Wesley.
General Note: First published in Bristol by F. Farley, 1762.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00000064
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001807999
oclc - 24340404
notis - AJN1843

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
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Full Text
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2 Corinthians,

X. 4*

Lat Fattow of LiNCeLN--CoLLtECz Oxroit,
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Printed for G. WHIT IE LD, New*Chapel, City.Road
and {old at the Methodi -Preaching.Houfca
ia Town and Country. 1797.




7 ----- -I ---------------

2 C o R. X. 4.

4 Bringinginto Captivity evcry Thought to the obce
tci_.cV of Chljitt*"

4. D UT %,I I G od fo bring every tboiigit inlo rfr'ti.
-A)ily to the obedience of CZyri-f, that no wndrri/$
rAhogiu g ih l find alplace in the mind, even while we
wffi~t in tin& body L %o i;rne i-avc vcbenmcntly mnanm-
*%I Acd: yea4, have airnied:, OLit none are prerfr cd i r
louv, unl fs they are fj;u pc'fcted in Undcr( t:7ditlg,
that all wandering thvu--hs; are done aw-ay : unlcfs tnot
only every affcioiun aitd temn r I, holy, andjufl and
good,s but every 1ndi vidiual thuugln which aides in the
nmibd, be wifi and rr-'yular.
2. This is a qu9ftnon of no fmall importance. For
how many of thiife who frar Cod, y%-a "nd love him,
perhaps wiih' all thcir heart, have been greatly dif.
treft on this account How many, by nort undcirftand-
ing it right, hasve not oniiy hLcTil diltrcl, but greatly
hurt in thcir fouls 5 !Cft ixito uliIprofitlbc, yca.mif-
chievous redlb-ning5, frizi os tAhac1incnd thtir motion
towards God, and4 wcieied Ahem in rturing the iacc
fet before tliten. Nay rndny, th rough mifa'pprchenfions
of this very thing, have cvd1 awav the p-recious -ift of
God! They have been iiiduced firfit to doubt of, arid
then to deny, the -work Goft hith wrought inthcir
foid1s; and licrcby haivo grieved the Spirit of God, till
be withdreOw andi left trelri i;n utter klarkncfs.
3. Hlow is it tIhen, that amidfl the abundance of
books, which have hben. latcy publiffied almost on all
fubjcdts, we, should have none upon Wandeting
Thvulg/4 At leaft none that wili at aI ifatisly a c~inm
2nd fe rious nri d ? In ot i r d u this in 16me dcgree
J purpose to enquirer,
1. What aiae the several forts of T'andering Thou~hts?
H Wh'at aec ihe-geryeral ocataftris oFthcm ?
1IJ. Which of t:hcm are firiful, and which not
IV. Which of thcm we fnay cxpeGi aund prjv to be
delivered from ? 1. is

r m rrr-i','i. wrr-- fl P --. I* ** -" -***"

1. I purpose to enquire, Firft, WXkt are the fTl
veral forts of Weardering Thoiugts ?-The particular
forts are innumerable, but in general, they aro of two
forts. Thoughts that wander from God, and 'Thughts
that wander from the particular point we have in hand.
Ss. With regard to the former, all our thoughts are
naturally of this kind. For they are cotitinuAlly wan-
dering from God; we think nothing about him.
God is not in all our thoughts. We are, one and all as
the Apoftle obferves, witho-t God in the world. Wa
think of what we love: but we do not love God
therefore we think not of him. Or if we are now and
then conftrained to think of him for a time, yet as we
have no pleasure therein, nay, as thefe thoughts are
not only inftpid, but diftaleful and irkfome to us, wC
drive tiem out as foon as we can, and return to what
we love to think of, fo that the world and the things
of the world, what we Thall eat, what we (hall drink,
what we lhall put on : what we hall fee, what we
hall hear, what we ihall gain: how we hall pleafo
our fenfes or our imagination, takes up all our time,
and engroffes all our thought. So long therefore, as
we love the world, that is, fo long as we are in our
natural fate, all our thoughts, from morning to even-
ing, and from evening to morning, are no other than
wandering Thoughts.
8, But many times we are not only without God in
the world, but alfo fighting again Aim : as there is in
every man by nature a carnal mind which is enmity again t
Cod. No wonder therefore, that men abound with
audelitigW thoughts : either faying, if not denying
his power, orwiTfdom, his mercy or juftice, or hol
mnes. No wonder, that they fo often doubt of his Pro-
vidence, at leaft of its extending to all events: o;
that even though they allow it, they fill entertain
murmuring or repioing thoughts. Nearly related to
thefe, and frequently conneAged with them, areproa4
and vain imaginations. Again: sometimes they are
taken up with angry, malicious, or revengeful thoughts
at other times, with airy scenes of plifure, Whether
A of

-c-- c~ cc~ --~I .- -~F~. -. I-~

( 4 )
offense or imagination : whereby the earthy, fcnrual
mind, becomes more earthy and fenfual itil1: Now by
all thefe they make flat war with God ; thce arc Wan-
dering Thoughts of the highest kind.
4. Widely different from thec are the other fort of
wandering thoughts: in which the heart does not win-
der from God, but the underflanding wanders from the
particular point it had then in view. For instance : I
fit down to consider thofe words in the verfle preceding
the text, The weapons of our warfare are not carnl but
rnighty through God. I think, This ought to be the
cafe with al that are called Chriftians." But how far
is it otherwise ? Look round unto almorf every part of
what's termed, The Chrilian arld! What manrner of
weapons are thefr ufing ?' In what kind of warfare are
they engaged,
t' While men, like fiends, each other tear,
In all the heIfh rdge of war? "-
S$e how thUf Chrifjians love one another ? Wherein
are they preferable to Turks and Pagans ? What abo-
inination canbe found armoug M[ahoiiietansor Heathens
which is not found among Chrz,-ians alfo?" And thus,
my mind runs off before I am aware, from one circum-
ftance to anotlier. Now all there arc in fome feife
wan deting thoughts. For, although.they do not wander
from G.od, much lefs Fight against him, yet they do
wander from the pjdticular point 1 had in view.
I. Such is the nature, fuch are the forts (to peak
rather ufecfully, than philosophically) of wandering
thoughts. But what ar te general occasions of them ?
This we are in the fecond place to consider.
l. And it is eafy to observe, that the occasion of the
former fort of thoughts which oppose or wander from
God, are, in general finful tempers, For irnlance, why
s, not God in all thethoughts, in any of the thoughts of
a natural man? Fora plain reason: be he rich or poor,
learned or unlearned, he is an Atheift; (though not
vulgarly io called) he neither knows nor loves God.
1M hy are his thoughts continually wandering after the
world ?

--r-------- -^.-C-...-. ---- --- I.-T1?A~r~-".~ .-1* -r

world ? Becaufche is an idolater. He does not indeed
worship an image, orbow down to the flock of a tree :
yet he is funk into equally damnable idolatry: ha
Lc ves, that is, worships the world. He feekshappinefs
in the things that are not feen, in the plafures that
perth in the ufing. Why is it, that his thoughts are
perpetually wandering from the very end of his being,
the knowledge of God in Chrif j? Becaufe he is an unf
believer; becaufc he hath no faith, or at left no more
than a devil. So all thefe wandering thoughts cafily
and naturally spring frormthat evil root of unbeli e .
a. The cafe is the fame in other inlaances. Pride,
anger, revenge, vanity, luft, covetoufnefs, every one
9fthem occasion thoughts suitable to their own nature.
And ro does every finful temper, of which thehuma*
mind is capable. The particulars it is hardly pcffible
nor is it needful to enumerate. It fuffices to ob fcrv,
that as many evil tempers as find a place in any foyl,
fo many ways that foul will depart from God, by thp
worlf kind of wandering thoughts.
3. The occasions of the later kind of wandering
thoughts are exceeding various. Multitudes of theMp
pre occafioned by the natural union between the foul
and body. How immediately and how deeply is thp
understanding affe&ed by a difeafed body Let butthe
blood move irregular in the brain, and all regqlaj
thinking is at an end. Raging madnfs enfurs, and then
farewell to all evenncfs of thought. Yea, let only'the
fpirits be hurried or agitated to a certain degree, andca
temporary madnefs, a delirium prevents all settled
thought. And is not the fame irregularity of thought
in a measure occafioned by every nervo;s diforder ? $o
does the corruptible bodypr/s down tie fwi!, and ccaujf it
to mufe about many things.
4. But does it only caufe this in the time of ficknefs,
or preter-narural disorder ? Nay, but more or lefs, at
all times, even in a late of perfeL ]health. Let a :nui
be ever fo healthy, he will be more or :efs deliriout, I
every four and twenty hours. For dues he not flep.
And while he flceps, is he not liable to dream ?2 Arnd
A 3 who -.

- -- ---

who then is master tb his own thoughts. or able to
preferve the order and confiflency of them ? Who can
then keep them fixt to any one point, or prevent
their wandering from Pole to Pole ?
5. But fuppofe we are awake, arc we always fo
awake, that we can steadily govern our thoughts? Are
we not unavoidably expofed to contrary extremes, by
the very nature of this machine, the body ? Some-
times we are too heavy, too dull and languid, to pursue
any chain of thought. Sometimes on the other hand,
we are too lively. The imagination, without leave,
l1arts too, and fro, and carries us away, hither and
thither, whether we will or no, and all this from the
merely natural motion of the fpirits, or vibration of
the nerves.
6. Farther. How many wanderings of thought may
rife, from thofe various a ftialions of our ideas, which
'are .made entirely without our knowledge, and inde-
pendently on our choice? How there connexions are
formed, we cannot tell : but they are formed in a
thoufand differcn: manners. Nor is it in the power of
the wifeft or holieft men, to break thofe affociations,
or to prevent what is the neceffary colfequence of
them, and matter of daily observation. Let the fire
butt o(uch oe end of the train, and immediately it runs
on to the other.
7. Once more. Let us fix our attention as ftudioufly
as we are able on any fubject, yet let either pleaJre or
pain arife, especially if it be intense, and it will de-
, nnd our immediate attention, and attach our thought
to itself. It will interrupt the fteadieft contemplation,
and divert the mind from its favourite fubjeAt
-8. Thefc occari0ns of wandering thoughts lie within,
are wrought in our very nature. But they will like-
wife naturally a:d ncceffarily arife, from the various
itpulfe of out ward oljeis. XVhatevcr firikes upon the
organ of fcrTe, the eye or ear, will raile a perception
Sit the mind. And accordingly, whatever we fee or
hear, will break in upon our foriner train of thoutghrt
Ev-.,y lanm therefore that does any thing in our fight,

- --- - -- -. .-----. rr-. -. -- --c- -- -- -- -.. S. -r --

Or (peaks any thing in our hearing, occasions our m-nd
to wander more or les from the point it was thinking
of before.
9. And there is z:o question but thofe evidfirits, who
are continually feeking rhom they may devour, make ufe
of all the foregoing occasions, to hurry and diitral our
minds. Sometimes by one, sometimes by another of
there means, they will harafs and perplex us, and fo
far as God permits, interrupt our thoughts, particular-
ly when they are engaged on the beft fubje s. Nor
is this at all firange : they well understand the very
springs of thought, and know on which of the bodily
organs, the imagination, the underflanding, and every
other faculty of mind more immediately depends. And
hereby they know, how by affecting thefe organs,to effect
the operations dependent on them. Add to this, tfiat
they can injea a thoufand thoughts, without any
of the preceding means ; it being as natural for spirit
to al upon spirit, as for matter to at upon matter.
Thefe things being considered, we cannot admire, that
our thought fo o ten wanders from any point which
we have in view,
III. t. What kind of wandering thoughts are finful,
and what not, is the third thing to be enquired into.
And first, All thofe thoughts which wander from God,
which leave him no room in our minds, are undoubt-
edly finful. For all thefe imply praEfical Atheifm, and
by thele we are without God in the world. And to
much more are all thole which are contrary to God,
which imply opposition or enmity to him. Such are
all murmuring, difcontented thoughts which fay in
effrc, we will not have thee to rule over us; all un-
believing thoughts, whether with regard to his being,
his attributes, or his providence. I mean, his particular
providencee over all things, as well as all perfons in the
-univerfe : that, without which not ajparrow thatfals to
the ground, by which the hairs of our head are ad num-
bered. For as to a general Providence (vulgarly fo called)
contradiftinguifhed. from a particular, it is only a de-
cent, well-founding woid, which means juft nothing.
2. A$1in. I

f .w- .- nw w rw ru un uv ws ut wil 7 sT-

( ) 8
a. Again. All thoughts which spring from' finful'
tempers, are undoubtedly finful. Such, for instance
are thofe that firing from a revengeful temper, from
pride, or luff, or vanity. An evil tre cannot brinc forth
good frait. Therefore if the tree be evil, fo muft the
fruit be alfo.
3. And fo muff thofe be, which either produce or
feed any finful temper: thofe which either give rife to
pride or vanity, to anger or love of the world, or con-
firm and increase thefe or any other unholy temper,
paffion, or affe&ion. For, not only whatever flows
from evil is evil, but alfo whatever leads to it: what
ever tends to alienate the foul from God, and to make
or keep it earthy, feinfal and devil i.
4. Hence even thofe thoughts which are occasioned
by wcaknefs or difeafe, by the natural mechantfm of
the body, or by the laws-of vital union, however in-
nocent they may be in themselves, do nevertheless be-
come finful, when they either produce or cherish and
increase in us any finful temper; fuppofe the defire of
the flefh, the desire of the eye, or the pride of life. In
like manner, the wandering thoughts which are occa-
fioned by the words or actions of other men, if they
caufe or feed any wrong difpofition, then commence
finful. And the fame we may obferve of thofe which
are fuggetled or injected by the devil., When they
minifler to any earthly or devilifh temper(which they
do, whenever we give place to them, and thereby make
them our own) then they are equally finful, with the
tempers to which they minister.
5. But abftraf6ing from thefe cafes, wandering
thoughts, in the latter fenfe of the word, that is,
thoughts wherein our understanding wanders from the
point it has in view, are no more finful than the motion
of the blood in our veins, or of the spirits in our brain,
if they arife from an infirm constitution, or from forne
accidental weakness or diftemper, they are as innocent
as it is to have a weak con lituiron, or a diftempcred
bo'dy. And furely no one doubts but a bad Rate of
nerve, a fever of any kind, and either a transient or


lafing detlirium, may confift -withper eft innocence.
And if they should arife in any foul which is united to
a healthful body, either from the natural union be-
tween the body and the foul, or from any of ten thou-
fand changes, which may occur in thofe organs of the
body that minifler to thought; in any of theFe cafes they
are as perfeftly innocent as the cauFes from which
they spring. And io they are when they spring from
the casual involuntary affociations of our ideas.
6. If our thoughts wander from the point we had in
view, by ninars of other men, varioufy affefcing out
e tnfes, they are equally innocent fill; for it is 1n
mrole a fin, to underfland what I fee and hear, and in
manycafes cannot help fleeing, hearing, and underftand-
inf, than it is to have eyes and ears. "But if the devil
inje-is wandering thoughts, are not thofe thoughts
evil ? They are troublefome; and in that fenfe evil;
but they are notfinful. I do notknow that he fpoketb
our Lord with an audible voice; perhaps he fpoke to
his heart only, when he faid, All thefe things will I
give thee, iff tho r ilt fall down and wvor/kif me. But
whether he fpoke inwardly or outwardly, our Lord
doubtlefs underflood what he faid. He had therefore
a thought correspondent to thofe words. But was it a
finful thought ? \W know it was not. In him was no
fin, either in action, or word or thought. Nor is there
any fin in a thoufand thoughts of the fame kind, which
Satan may- inject into any of our Lord's followers.
7. It foliovws, that none of there wandering thoughts
(whatever unwary perfons have affirmed, thereby
grieving whom the Lord had not grieved are inconfif-
tent with perfe& love. Indeed if they were, then not
only fharp pain, but fleep itself would be inconfiftent
with it; fharp pain; for whenever this fupervenes,
whatever we were before thinking of, it will interrupt
our thinking, and of course draw our thoughts into
another channel: yea, and fleep itfelf, as it is a flare
of infenfibility and flupidity : and fuch as is generally
mixt with thoughts wandering over the earth, loofe,
wdld, and incoherent. Yet certainly thefe are confif-

.. --.- I A

( to )
tent with pcrfefk love-: To then are all wandering
thoughts of this kind.
IV. i. From what has been observed, it is eafy to
give a clear answer to the laft question, What kind of
wandering thoughts we may expect and pray to be de-
live red from ?
From the former fort of wandering thoughts, thofe
wherein the heart wanders from God: from all thit
are contrary to his will, or that leave us without God
in the world, every one that is perfected in love, is
unqucftionably delivered. This deliverance therefore
we may expect: this we may, we ought to pray for.
Wandering thoughts of this kind imply unbelief, if
not enmity against God. But if both of there He will
destroy, will bring utterly to an end. And indeed,
from all finful wandering thoughts we hall be abfo-
lutely delivered. All that are perfected in love are de.
slivered from ihefe; elfe they were not favye from fin.
Men and devils will tempt them all manner of ways,
but they cannot prevail over them.
a. With regard to the latter fort of wandering
thoughts, the cafe iswidely different. Till the caufe
be removed we cannot in reason expect the effect
would ceafe. But the caufe, or occasions of there
will remain, as long as we remain in the body. So long
-befor we have all reason to believe the effets will
remain alfo.
3. To be more particular. Suppofe a foul, however
holy, to dwell in a diftempered body. Suppofe the
brain be fo thoroughly disordered, as that raging mad.
nrJi follows; will not all th.e thoughts be wild and un-
conneEted, as long as that disorder continues? Suppofe
a fever occafions that temporary madnefs, which we
term a delirium, can there be anyjuft connexion of
thought, till that delirium is removed ? Yea, fuppore
what is called a nervous disorder, to rife to fo high a
degree, as occafions at leaft a partial. madnefs, will there
not be a thousand wandering thoughts ? And mull not
there irregular thoughts continue, as long as the dif-
order which occafions hcm ?
4. Will

( i* )
4. Will not the caze be the rfme, hh regard to
thofe thoughts that neceffarily arife from :'iolent pin?
They will, mr.re or lefs, continue while that pain con-
tinues, by the inviolable oider of na;i:re. This order
likewifce will obtain, where the thoughts are difturbed,
broken, or interrupted, by any defeat of the appre.
henfion, judgment or imagination, flowing from the
natural conliitution of he body. And how many in-
teriuptions may spring from the unaccountable invo-
luntary affociations of our ideas? Now all there are
dfirrfly or indireElly caused by the corruptible body
preffing down the mind. Nor therefore can we expef~
them to be removed, till this corruptible hall fuasl
c. And then only when we lie down in the duft,
Thall we be delivered from thole wandering thoughts,
whi-ch are occafioned by tha't we fee and hear, ambng
thofe by whom we are now surrounded. To avoid
thete we muff go out of the world. For as long as we
re'rrain ithrein, as long as there are men and women
fund about us, and we have eyes to fee and hear, th
thin which we daily fee and hear, will.certainly
affett ourrmind, and will more or lefs break in upon,
and' interrupt bur preceding thoughts.
i~. And as long as evil fpirits roam to and fro ina
miferable, difordered world, Co intg they will affault
(wrethtr they can prevail or no) every u'habitant of
ftlet and blood. They will trouble even thofe whom
they, cannot deftroy: they Will attack if they cannot
conquer. And from there attacks of our reltlcfs, unrh
wearied enemies, we mull not look for an entire deli-
verance, till we are lodged where the wicked crafe froa
troubling, and where the weary are at reft.
7. To funm up the whole. To expect deliverance
from thofe wandering thoughts which are occasioned
by evil spirits, is to expect that the devil should die or
fall afleep; or at leaft should ns more go about as a
roaring lion. To expeC deliverance from thofe which
are occalioned by other men, is to expect either that
men should ceafe from the earth: or that we should be
absolutely secluded fiom them, and have no intercourse

"-~~1"7-""~1..rr~1l..-l. 'C-CIIIC-"I"r~ll~~I~FIIII~--~-C----

( 12 )
with them: or that having eyes, we should net fee,
neither bear with our ears, but be as renfelefs as flocks
or Runes. And to'pray for deliverance from thole
which are occasioned by the body, is in effect to pray
that we may leave the body. Otherwife it is praying
for impoffibilities and absurdities: praying that God
would reconcile contradictions, by continuing our
union with a corruptible body, without the natural,
neceffary consequences of that union. It is as if we
should pray to be angels and men, mortal and immortal
at the fame time. Nay, but when that which is im-
mortal is come, mortality is done away.
8. Rather let us pray, both with the Spirit and with
the Underltanding, that all thefe things may rworA tog
their for our good: that we may fuffer all the infirmities
of our nature, all the interruptions of men, all the
alfaults and fuggeftions of evl spirits and in all be
Wore than Conquerors. Let us pray, that we may be
delivered from all fin, that both root and branch may
be deflroyed ; that we may be deafed from all pollution
of ejA and spirit, from every evil temper and word"
and work ; that we may love the Lord our God with all
our heart, with all our mind, with all our foul, and with
al our firengtA;. that all the fuit of the fpirit may be .
found in us; .not only, .Lse, joy, peace; but alfo Leag-
fuerint pjetknefi ; goodasne; jddity, ranefir, temper-
once. Pray that all thefe tAhngs may ourijh and aouMdI
may increase in you more and more, till an abundant
entrance i e minifered natyo you, tinto r/ everlafling kingdom
of our Lord JefuC ChrjI.


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