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THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 1221 1195 Lecture XXI. & XXII. Grieving the Holy Spirit- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

13. Evil thinking, as well as evil speaking, grieves the Holy Spirit. God looks at the heart. Your thoughts and the secret movements of your mind, lie open before him. And your words and actions are no otherwise pleasing or offensive in his sight, than as they are the expression of what passes within. You may, therefore, as effectually, and no doubt do more frequently, grieve the Holy Spirit by your thoughts than by your words. All your silent and most secret musings, are distinctly observed, and marked, and pondered by the Holy Spirit. He weighs every thought of your heart in his balance. If you indulge evil, and unkind and unchristian thoughts of any being in the universe, he knows it and is as truly grieved and offended with them, although you may never have given utterance to them, as if they were penciled in sunbeams in every part of the universe. Are you in the habit of taking up a strict scrutiny and searching into the secret thoughts, and purposes, and workings of your mind? O how much you may have grieved the Holy Spirit without scarcely being aware of it. You can see, that if all the thoughts you have entertained, had been spoken out, both God and man might have been grieved and had a just cause of offense. Now remember that to God's ear these thoughts have been as audibly expressed as if spoken in thunder-tones. To God's eye they have been as open, and as black, and as grievous as if written in letters of darkness upon the very skies. Now do commune with your own heart, and be still, and take up the solemn question: what have I thought as well as what have I said?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 8 TABLE OF CONTENTS ...

Lecture III. Evil Thinking

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 133 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

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THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 134 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

Evil Thinking
Lecture III
February 28, 1849

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 141 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

III. To give some of the evidences of evil thinking;

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 143 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...


I. Thinking evil in the sense of the text includes thinking unjustly.

1. Forming unjust opinions of others, and giving indulgence to feelings in correspondence with our unjust opinions is certainly evil thinking.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 144 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

2. So is thinking enviously. When envy governs our opinions of others, we are guilty of evil thinking.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 153 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

7. A charitable man cannot dwell upon injuries received. It grieves him to think of them, and he will of choice banish them entirely from his mind unless some important interests or rights are so involved as to demand his attention to them. He finds more pleasure in dwelling upon the good received than upon the evil.

III. Some evidences of evil thinking next demand our attention.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 154 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

Some things under this head have already been anticipated. Hence I shall be the more brief now.

1. Evil speaking of course evinces a state of evil thinking; for "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 156 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

3. A disposition to find fault with others is an evidence of evil thinking. How remarkable that some men say almost nothing else but in the way of fault-finding. If they attempt to speak or pray, fault-finding is uppermost. If they speak in a church meeting, you can anticipate the strain of their remarks--always some form of fault-finding. It seems as if the man was forever brooding over the faults of his brethren. He sees no bright spots ever in any brother or in any church. His temper is morose and crabbed; he is a natural-born Arab; his hand is against every man and every mans' hand against him. You may always know that his bosom is the prey of perpetual evil thinking.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 157 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

4. A disposition to complain of the ill-treatment received from others is another evidence. Fall into conversation with him where you will, he is complaining of having been injured. Somebody has injured him, and it engrosses his mind to the exclusion of almost everything else. This man is given to evil thinking.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 158 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

5. Another evidence of evil thinking is a disposition to complain of being neglected. Some persons have a world of trouble on this score--alas, they are always overlooked; nobody cares as much for them as in their humble opinion they deserve. This state of mind becomes a source of great uneasiness. It proves that they are given to evil thinking.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 159 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

6. Others show their evil thinking by a disposition to question the purity of other's motives. You see some people who can scarcely ever believe that their neighbors and acquaintance are really what they profess to be. It seems most natural to them to assume that everybody besides themselves is dishonest. It may happen that all appears right in their neighbor's conduct. "Well," in such a case they will say--"that will do--if--IF he is honest in it." Now you may know without an if that such men are evil thinkers. Their very souls are putrid with jealousy and suspicion. They cannot even put a good construction upon what appears unexceptionable.

The same is true substantially of those who are always disposed to question the piety of others. A man may do some things which are entirely wrong, and yet his general character may be so good that you have no sufficient reason to question his piety. In such a case let charity prevail.

7. You sometimes see the evidence of evil thinking in a slowness to credit professions of repentance and sincerity. Sometimes there may be good reasons for being slow in this matter. I speak of cases where the backwardness is not really warranted by anything in the individual's character, or in the present circumstances.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 160 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

8. Evidence of evil thinking is seen sometimes in a readiness to question the truthfulness of others. On this point it should be considered that men may state what is really false, and yet be in heart entirely truthful. They may misapprehend the real state of the facts, may truthfully state the case as they understand it. I have heard during my life thousands of men state things which I knew to be false; yet I did not for this reason feel authorized to say they lied. To assume that they lie is uncharitable--so long as it may be the case that they misapprehend the facts. Memory is sometimes at fault, and sometimes the man may be in real fault for lack of care to inform himself of the certainty of what he affirms; but charity forbids us to put any man down a liar till we are well assured that he affirms for truth what he knows to be false.

The disposition to impute lying to a man on the slightest occasion should be reprobated as in the highest degree uncharitable. Often the mere fact of a man's stating what is not true affords scarcely the shadow of evidence that he lies. We must not believe the man lies unless the circumstances utterly forbid the charitable conclusion.

9. A readiness to hear evil is another indication of a state of mind which thinks evil. Sometimes persons will not allow themselves to originate evil reports, but will take them up, believe and circulate them without scruple. It is remarkable that the Bible places these two classes--the originator and the receiver of evil reports--on the same footing, for it promises an abiding place in God's holy will to him "that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor." Whoever therefore takes up a reproach against his neighbor, saying, "Aha, aha, so would we have it"--may be known as one that "thinketh evil."

Moreover, when men manifest a readiness not only to hear but to believe evil reports of others, you may know they are evil thinkers.

10. An unhappy state of mind is often an evidence, for it is a development of thinking evil. From the very laws of mind, such persons are always unhappy. You never see persons of evil thinking habits whose countenances shine with the joy of their hearts. Show me an uncharitable man, and I will show you an unhappy man.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 161 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

11. Men who are discontented with their present position are wholly given to evil thinking. Mark those men who cannot bear the neighborhood they live in; those students here who are forever uneasy, rasped, vexed, discontented--who want to get away, and are forever restive for some change; mark them I say; for if you could know the bottom of their hearts, you would find evil thinking there. They are brooding over the dark features of others' character and conduct, and practically forget that there are many good things in almost all men and all situations. Uncharitableness breeds misery and discontent.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 162 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

12. A general want of confidence in others betrays a heart of evil thinking. You see some who seem to have lost confidence in everybody. The Psalmist once said in his haste "all men are liars." If you read that psalm and mark his state of mind you will see that he seemed not to know whom to trust. He didn't believe anybody is pious. He has no confidence in any man. The trouble lies--at least in part--with himself; his heart is thinking evil continually.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 174 133 Lecture III. Evil Thinking ...

6. The manifestations of this state of evil thinking are often odious and shocking. Sometimes men make these manifestations without being themselves aware of it. I recollect the case of a minister who once spent some time at our house. After he had gone, one of the children said, "Don't you think Mr. ___, has a bad spirit?" "Why do you ask that question?" "Because he is finding fault with everybody." If ever I see him again, I mean to tell him what impression his conversation made on my children. I have warned him against this practice of evil-speaking, and I cannot acquit my conscience without rebuking him again.