Oh what groaning should the new creature be in, till it be delivered from this bondage! See then to thyself, and examine all things that pass through thy soul more narrowly and exactly. It may be thy imagination is the cause of all thy religion, of all thy opinions. It may be it is not faith but fancy. It may be it is not conscience, but imagination that instigates you.
Alas, marvel not at it, these serpents and toads were a long while
breeding in the imagination. The pleasure or profit of such a sin was often
fancied before. It was again and again committed in thy thoughts before it
was expressed in thy life, so that a man can never live unblameably in his
life that doth not keep his imagination pure and clean. Hence you have so
often evil thoughts complained of as the root of all bitterness, Jer. 4:14.
“How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?” Mat. 15:19. “Out
of the heart proceed evil thoughts.” As exhalations and vapors ascending
from the earth, which are scarce perceptible, yet at last are congealed into
thick and dismal clouds, so those sins which while in the thoughts and
imagination were scarce taken notice of, do at last grow into soul and
From CCEL, “In his treatise, Owen addresses the nature and power of temptation, the risk of entering into it, and the means of avoiding its danger. Owen defines temptation as anything with the ability to entice the Christian’s mind or heart away from obedience to God and redirect it towards sin. Owen warns us that our power is not strong enough to protect us from temptation; rather, it is by God’s power of preservation that we are saved. As Christians, we can guard ourselves against temptation in part by praying for God’s power to help us resist it. His treatise teaches Christians how to recognize the threat of temptation and protect themselves against it.