Friday, January 22, 2016

John Winthrop on Sabbath Recreation (Life and Letters, p.104)

When I had some tyme abstained from suche worldly delights as my heart most desired, I grewe very melancholick & uncomfortable, for I had been more careful to refraine from an outward conversation in the world, then to keepe the love of the world out of my heart, or to uphold my conversation in heaven; when caused that my comfort in God failinge, and I not daringe to meddle wth any earthly delights, I grewe into a great dullnesse & discontent: which beinge at last perceived, I examined my heart, & findinge it needfull to recreate my minde with some outward recreation, I yielded unto it, and by a moderate exercise herein was muche refreshed; but heere grewe the mischiefe: I perceivinge that God and mine owne conscience did alowe me so to doe in my need, I afterwards tooke occasion, from the benefite of Christian libertie, to pretend need of recreation when there was none, and so by degrees I ensnared my heart so farre In worldly delights, as I cooled the graces of the spirit by them: Whereby I perceive that in all outward comforts, althoughe God allows us the use of the things themselves, yet it must be in sobriety, and our hearts must be kept free, for he is jealous of of love, and will not endure any pretences in it.

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