September 24, 1760.
Alas! I have sometimes evil thoughts arising in my mind, which I can scarcely think are mine; but if they are mine, I immediately bewail them, and myself for them, and beg both pardon for them, and preservation from them for the future. And if they are injections of Satan, I strive to suppress them and reject them with all haste—as I would quench a fire without delay. And sometimes I get them smothered in their formation—all praise to sovereign grace. These things make me humble, and a daily suppliant to free grace, and give a continued demonstration of my own abominable vileness. My! what a mass of hell is my corrupt nature on the one hand. But how prevalent is true grace on the other hand! through which I hope I can say, thanks be to God who gives me the victory.
Another thing I condemn myself in is a too great delight in the creature, and having excess pleasure in the possession of any worldly thing. But, as in the day of adversity I am to consider; so in the day of prosperity I not only may—but should be joyful. So, that I might not err, I resolve:
1. To accept every blessing with a cheerful countenance and thankful heart from God.
2. To see that my thankfulness, both to God and my fellow-creatures, increases with the increase of worldly good things.
3. To look on all creature enjoyments as common mercies, promiscuously dealt to saints and sinners—of which the last have often the largest share.
4. To fix their fleeting nature in my mind, and neither boast of, nor build upon them; remembering that he who was one of the greatest men one day, was a poor naked Job the next day.
5. Not to have an exceeding joy in anything beside Christ.
6. And, therefore, to hold all things, as it were, at a moment's warning, even friends and relations, which are the dearest of worldly enjoyments—to be delivered back at God's call. "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord."
7. That anything which may ever fall to my lot in the world, through grace, shall no way jostle itself into the place of God in my soul, or take off my meditation from that purchased possession, that inheritance of glory which fades not away.
8. To use common things with Christian caution, and as one who must answer for things in the day of judgment, even as to my food, my drink, and my apparel. Thus would I wish to use the world as not abusing it, because the time is short until I am no more. And such a one should be, if he weeps—as though he wept not; if he rejoices—as though he rejoiced not; and if he buys—as though he possessed not.