In the meantime, let us consider what a late writer Dr. Jeremy Taylor, Repentance , ch. This is very feeble and weak, for it is willingly acknowledged that the increase of actual wickedness was the immediate and proximate cause of this general judgment. Had not their iniquities in that age risen higher and cried louder for vengeance than ordinarily sin did, we may conceive God would not have proceeded to such an unheard of and extraordinary judgment.
They were enormous sins, all this the Text is clear for, but this is not all. The Text goeth higher, to aggravate these impieties from the fountain, which is a corrupt nature, even as David Psalm 51 doth heighten his actual wickedness from the sinful nature he was born in. Therefore both actual sins, as the fruit, and Original Sin as the root, is here made the cause of that universal judgment.
The second exception, to which the third may be adjoined, is that this corruption is supposed by those who hold it to be natural and unavoidable, and therefore God could no more punish mankind for that, than for sleeping or being hungry. Because why were eight persons excepted, when all were alike?
Is not this a respect of persons? This here is either gross ignorance or else a willful mistake about the word natural and unavoidable. We grant it to be natural and unavoidable in some sense, but not in that which he taketh it, as if it were natural like sleep or hunger, which are not culpable, or have any guilt in them. But of this largely in its time, because the adversaries do usually in an odious manner represent this inevitableness of sinning unto their reader, though we say voluntarily contracted at first, and seem much to triumph in it.
As for the other addition [eight persons were excepted], it is answered that those who were godly then, and escaped that judgment, were delivered from the dominion and guilt of this Original Sin. Therefore it being pardoned to them, though the remnants in some measure continued in them, they were not involved in this judgment. Lastly, what ignorance is manifested in saying [It must be respect of persons], if God amongst those that were equally guilty spared some, and rejected others?
For he may learn out of Aquinas and his followers that respect of persons cannot be in matters of liberality and munificence, for where that is, there is some justice and debt supposed. Now if God had not saved any one man more than any apostate Angel, I suppose he would not have charged God with in justice. Thirdly, it is questioned if it were the natural corruption God complained of, why did he do it but thus, as if it were a new thing? It is answered, the though original corruption was in all mankind, as soon as ever the Image of God was lost, and therefore Seth is said to beget his son after his own likeness, sinful and mortal.
Yet because it did not break out into those violent torrents of iniquity before, as it did at this time, hence it was that God did more severely take notice of it, as putting itself forth in such bitter effects. Fourthly, it is objected that Noah the preacher of righteousness was sent to draw the world off from that which was likely to destroy it, but no man can think he would dehort [dissuade] them from being guilty of Original Sin. To this we also answer, that as for being guilty of Original Sin in our birth, and how that can be our sin then, when we were not capable of a precept, I have at large treated of, and so shall not actum agere [do what has already been done], as also how far Original Sin is to be repented of.
Only to the present objection we say that though the Ministry be not to hinder us from being born in sin, yet it is to be instrumental in working our regeneration which great gift of God those that deny Original Sin must also necessarily deny which is a subduing and mortifying of Original Sin in some degree, and is a renovation of all those parts which Original Sin had corrupted. The Text then thus vindicated from corrupt glosses, for the imagination and devices of many men, though learned, have been very evil, and that continually in the interpretation of it.
I shall only add this: Although by the imagination of the thoughts be chiefly meant the working of the mind and the understanding, yet because the imaginative power or fantasy in a man is immediately subservient to the understanding in its operations, and is therefore called ratio imperfecta , imperfect reason, and cogitativa facultas , the cogitative faculty in the soul, I shall therefore treat of it only from this verse, for the original pollution of the understanding hath been abundantly discovered.
From the Text then observe:. That power of the soul, whereby we imagine or fancy anything, is universally corrupted. It imagineth only evil, and that continually. We have sinful fancies as well as sinful affections. Before we insist on the particular pollutions thereof, let us briefly take notice of the nature of this imagination in man. First, it is taken two ways. For either by imagination we mean the power itself, whereby we do imagine, or the acting thereof, even as the word Wib is sometimes taken for the power, and sometimes for the act, so is fancy and imagination.
Secondly, consider that Philosophers do affirm that besides the rational and immaterial faculties of the soul, as also besides the external senses, there are internal material senses, about the number whereof they greatly dissent. Others three, others four, some but one, only it may seem many because of the several manners of operation. It is not worth the while to contest herein. It is enough to know that there is in man such a power whereby he doth imagine and fancy things, witness those dreams which usually rise in our sleep.
The use of this imagination is to preserve the species suggested to order them, and judge of them, and thereby is necessary to our understanding, according to that rule, Oportet intelligentem phantasmata speculari [speculative notions are necessary for understanding]. And certainly the power of God is admirably seen in this imaginative faculty, whether in men or beasts. For how do birds come so artificially to make their nests, and the ants and bees to be such admirable provident creatures in their kind, but from that natural instinct in them, whereby their fancies are determined to such things?
So it is from this imagination that the sheep is afraid of a wolf, though it never saw one before. Especially in man, his imagination being perfect, there are many admirable things about the nature of it, which, when learned men have said all they can, they must confess their ignorance of. Only you must know that as the affections are very potent in a man, to turn him this way or that way, so also is the imagination and fancy of a man. Insomuch that it is a great happiness to have a sanctified fancy that is commonly in men, the womb wherein much iniquity is conceived.
It is greatly disputed in Philosophy what the power and strength of imagination is. Some have gone so far as to attribute all miracles, whether divine or diabolical to the strength of imagination. Only it is granted that some strong impressions it may make on the party himself, as also on the fruit of the womb in conception.
But I shall not hold you any longer here, let us proceed to the discovery of the natural sinfulness thereof. First, the metaphorical expression in the Text doth fully declare it. For as the potter doth make vessels upon the wheel daily, or as some explain it, as the artificer doth of his wood and other materials make idols, which he worshipeth as gods, though they be vanities. Thus the imagination of man doth daily fabricate such fancies and idols to itself, making gods of them, and putting confidence therein.
And if you observe what riseth daily in the heart of a man devoid of grace, you shall find that it is a continual idol maker, it maketh daily puppets and vain conceits, whereby it pleaseth itself, and accounteth itself happy therein. Thus we see what shops as it were our hearts are.
The imagination having that sinful artifice as to make and erect idols all the day long. Even as children naturally delight to make babies, and then to play with them, so do all men by nature. How many vain idols do the ambitious men, the unclean men of the world daily build up in their fancies?
Hence it is that the glorious things, the pleasant things they please themselves with, are more in the imagination than in any real possession, as is more to be dilated upon. In the meanwhile let us sadly mourn under this horrible corruption of the imaginative part of a man, that it should be daily making new gods, continually erecting idols, in which we are apt to put our confidence. Lapide on Genesis where we have the like expression and metaphor doth offer intolerable violence to the sacred Text.
For whereas it saith the imagination is only set to evil, he would make two shops as it were wherein this imagination doth work: a shop of sin wherein it only fabricateth evil, and a shop of virtue wherein it imagineth good things. But what can be directly to confront a Text, and to put the lie upon it, if this be not? Let us then be willing to be found out in all this evil. Let us acknowledge that our imagination doth continually set up vanities, idols. We make to ourselves gods, and so leave the only true God. We have made some entrance already upon the discovery of that wound and deadly blow the imaginative power of man hath received by Original Sin.
Wonder not if in the managing of this point, we often mention thoughts, discourse, invention, and apprehensions, attributing these to the imagination. For although the understanding be properly the power of the soul, from whence these operations do proceed, yet because the imaginative faculty is so near to the intellectual, that in all is operations it hath some dependence on it, so that it is hard to know or perceive when some internal parts of the soul are the operations of the fancy, or of the mind.
Though indeed sometimes reason doth correct our imaginations, even as they do sense. Yea Divines and Philosophers do commonly attribute some kind of opinion and judgment, yea imperfect discourse unto it. This difference is given between the common internal sense and the imagination.
The common sense doth receive the simple impressions of things, as of a stone, of bread, as the wax receiving the impression of a seal, not the seal itself, but the image of it. Thus doth the common sense receives the species of things and retaineth them. But the fancy doth go higher, it doth compound these single species together, witness those many dreams, and also Chimeras which many do imagine, that never had any existence in the world.
Therefore by this office it hath, we see how near it is to the understanding. Yea Suidas saith that Aristotle calleth it […] viz. However this be, due to the immediate subservience to the understanding and conjunction with it, we may without any absurdity say the thoughts, the opinion, the judgment thereof.
And so I proceed to the further manifestation of its pollution. Secondly, in respect of its defect from that end and use, which God did intend in the creation of man by making him with this imaginative power. We must readily yield that as God did shew his wonderful wisdom and power in making of man, which the Scripture often observeth, comparing the workmanship of our body to the curious needle work of some skillful woman Psalm , so all these powers and parts of the soul were made for singular and admirable use, and therefore the imagination as well as the rest.
Yea we are to know that in all those visions and dreams by which God did appear to the Prophets and others, it was by exciting and working upon their imagination; so that God hath exceedingly honored that part of the soul in this way. The use of this imaginative power is two-fold, as of the other senses. The one proximate and immediate, which is to perform their operations for which they were given to men. The other remote and more general, which is to be instrumental to the salvation of the soul, and also to the glorifying of God.
For by the imagination we are to glorify God, as well as by other parts of soul and body. The former end of the imagination I may call natural, the latter, moral. I shall not speak of the former, because whatsoever defect is now upon the fancy in that way, not being able to do its office, as at first creation, it is merely penal, a punishment, and not so much our sin.
Thus, that men are subject to madness in their fancy, that the imagination by any distemper in the organ where it is fixed may be wholly perverted, as we see in fevers, and in frenzies, and sometimes in dying men. It is true that Adam, though created with full and perfect knowledge in naturals and supernaturals that was necessarily required to his blessedness, yet as Suarez well determineth De Creatione homines lib. Only in that state, as the organ was not subject to any bodily distempers, so neither could his imagination any way err. But the sin of Adam hath not only brought on that part an obnoxiousness to many bodily distempers, but filled it also with sinfulness, which is eminently seen in its aberration from that two-fold main end it was at first bestowed on us for.
The one whereof is the salvation of our souls. For if the sense of hearing the Word of of God, and of seeing the wonderful works which God hath wrought, be so greatly instrumental to our sanctification, why should not the imagination much more? It imagines evil and vanity, it is wholly pleased with empty and vain things, neglecting the true solid good so that there is no man that is acquainted with the frame of his soul, but may groan under the sinful unruliness of his imagination, especially as is to be shewed in holy and religious approaches to God.
When all the powers should be united in one way, then what swarms of roaring imaginations? What importunate and impertinent fancies are ready to fill thy soul, as flies sometimes did Egypt? Was it thus in the state of Creation? Did God create us with such fickle confused and erratic imaginations? How greatly would it dishonor God to affirm so? It is a corrupt licentious opinion which Speranza though a Papist attributeth to several famous Schoolmen, viz.
That a man is not bound to repel an evil thought if there be not danger of consent to it, but may suffer it to be in his mind, as some natural thing, even with advertence that it is there. But this is justly called by the aforesaid author, Spiranza scrip. As for the other end, which is to glorify God. Wherein hath God been more dishonored than by the imaginations of men? Whence hath that idolatry filled the whole world?
How come superstitious magical divinations but by the sin of imagination? These phantasmata on […], in the brain make these idols which men fall down and worship, so that they may well have the same name. The Apostle Rom. Because of their idolatry, turning the glory of God into birds, and beasts, insomuch that the sinfulness of the imagination of man hath caused all the idolatry of the world. They have not gone to God as revealing himself in the Word by faith, but according to their natural light, by carnal and gross imaginations.
The truth is, they did teach, and confirm in erroneous imaginations, for from such pictures do ignorant people still conceive of God, as an old man, and of the Holy Ghost as a dove, they imagining such things, as these images do represent. The imagination then of man doth arise unto an high degree of impiety when it will fancy or conceive of God without the guide of the Scripture. If so be the understanding cannot comprehend this infinite Essence, how much less can our imagination?
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If he said Quinquid de Deo dici potest, eo ipso est indignum, quia dici potest ; and, Tunc Deum digne estimamus, cum inestimabil indicimus. If I say he be thus above the highest contemplations of our minds, no wonder if he infinitely transcend our imaginations. It is an evasion that some Papist hath as I have read, though I cannot remember where for the present , when pressed with this argument, that it is a great dishonor to God, and full of reproach to his majesty, to represent him under such external forms and shapes, he would I say evade by instancing in the imagination, as a natural faculty in the soul.
The understanding cannot apprehend of God but by the imagination, and the imagination doth necessarily receive images and representeth species about God. Otherwise we cannot at all think of him, and yet this is no idolatry.
First it may be answered: These forms and representations in the fancy, when we think of God, arise from the natural constitution of man, so that it cannot be avoided. It doth arise from our finite and corporeal nature, whereby nothing can come into the understanding before it hath been in the sense and the imagination, but their images and idols are external, gross, and voluntarily set up to worship God by. Therefore the imagination must not guide the understanding, but the understanding lead the imagination, that so we may not have the least thought about God, but what becometh his glorious being.
But of this more in a particular by itself, because of its great concernment. Thirdly, the imaginative power of man is greatly polluted in the restlessness of it, in the perpetual constant workings thereof. Insomuch that thereby the sinfulness of it is continual, as the eye is always twinkling.
Is there a moment wherein thy fancy is not busied about some object or other? And whereas other parts of the soul are subject to sin while we are awake only, the will, the mind, they only sin at that time, this fancy is many times very sinful in the night time. How many polluted and wicked dreams do men fall into at such a time, at which they tremble and abhor themselves when awakened?
Thus though all sleep, yet sin doth not, but liveth and acteth in the imagination. But of the sinfulness of dreams by the corrupt imagination, more afterwards. Only for the present let us humble ourselves under the perpetual and incessant motion of our sinful fancy, there being no hour or moment wherein we are free from the corrupt stirrings thereof. If there could be a breathing time or a respite from sin, this would at least lessen the damnable guilt thereof.
But to be daily minting and fashioning corrupt imaginations without any intermission, how heavily should it press us down, and make us to judge ourselves worse than beasts, yea equal to the apostate Angels in perpetuity of sinning? The Devil doth vent his enmity, and never hath any stop therein by any natural impediment. Now whereas in man by reason of sleep, there is to be a natural intermission and interruption of evil, the imagination being corrupted, doth thereby keep the fire of sin, like that of Hell, from going out.
Cry out then unto God, because of this daily oppression that is upon thy soul. Yea how happy would it be if thou couldst judge it to be an oppression and a slavery? But these sinful imaginations are matter of delight and titillation to thee, thou art pleased and ravished as it were with them all the day long.
Fourthly, as the perpetual sinful actings of them may humble us, so the universality and multitude of them. They do extend themselves to ens and non- ens [being and non-being], to everything, and to nothing. Insomuch that the multitude of thy imaginations do even overwhelm thee, for this being the difference between the external senses and the imagination, that the outward senses are never moved or excited, but by the present objects. The imagination is constantly working about absent objects.
Hence it is that your fancies are many times roving and wandering about those objects that are many hundred miles distant from thee. As God complained of the people of Israel, that they drew nigh with their lips, but their heart was afar off. They shewed much love, but their heart went after their covetousness, Ezek.
Thus it is with us continually, when we pray, when we hear, our imaginations are running many miles off. They are like Cain, vagabonds, and have no settled abode. Which brings in the next instance of their sinfulness. Fifthly, their roving and wandering up and down without any fixed and settled way. They fly up and down, and frisk here and there, so that although they were a multitude, yet if in a settled ordered way, there might be some spiritual advantage made of them.
As a great army, if well marshaled may be useful, but now here is nothing but confusion and disorders in thy imagination. So that sometimes many fancies come into thy head at the same time, that thy head and heart is all in uproar, which breedeth another particular of sinfulness. And that is the hurry and continual noise that a man hath daily within him, as if a swarm of bees were in his soul. Christ told Martha she was troubled about many things, but one thing was necessary, Luke The word signifieth, she was in a crowd as it were , there was a great noise within her, as men make in a market, or some common meeting.
As those in a mill have such a noise within that they cannot hear any speaking to them without. Thus it is here, the imagination fills thy soul with cumbersome thoughts, with confused noises, so that thou canst seldom make quiet and calm approaches unto God in any holy duty. If so be the ground tilled and dressed, doth bring forth such briars and thorns, is it any wonder that the wilderness doth? If in a godly man, there be nothing so much annoyeth him, which is so constant a burden and complaint to him, as these tumultuous imaginations, these roving fancies, flying up and down like so many feathers in a stormy wind, what can we think is continually in the imagination of a natural man?
Sixthly, the impertinence and unseasonableness of thy imagination is also to be bewailed. Indeed the unregenerate man findeth no load or burden here, therefore if these weeds choke up all the corn, if sinful imaginations fill his heart full all the while that religious duties are performing, he never mattereth it, he had rather his heart should be full of dung and earth than of pearls, he is more desirous that his soul should be fraught with pleasing imaginations than attentive to those things that are spiritual and heavenly.
But oh the sad complaints the people of God make in this particular. The unseasonableness of their fancy in heavenly approaches to God, commonly in religious duties more than at any other time do roving imaginations obtrude themselves, which even the children of God can no more hinder than the birds flying in the air.
And which is saddest of all, the Devil as is to be shewed doth usually at such times cast in his fiery darts, his blasphemous injections do oftentimes violate the soul, so that instead of drawing nigh to God, it is filled with doleful and terrifying imaginations. Sixthly, herein doth the sinfulness of it appear, that it doth eclipse, yea for the most part exclude and keep out, the understanding, which is the more noble light, and to which it ought to be subservient.
So that men whether in religions or civil affairs are more led by fancy than by reason, there imagination is more predominant than the understanding. It is with man the little world, as the great world, God made in this two great lights, the Sun and Moon, one to rule in the day, the other in the night. Thus man hath two lights created in him, which are to direct him in all his operations: the Sun that is the understanding, the Moon is like the imagination, which giveth a glimmering light, and that only in particular and corporeal things.
Now as it would be an horrible confusion in the world, if the Moon should shut out the Sun, and take upon it to rule in the day time all the light the Moon hath let it be supposed it hath some of its own would not suffice to make a day. Thus it is in man, his fancy which hath not light enough to guide him in his actions to his true end, yet that usurpeth upon the understanding, and doth in effect command all. Thus the inferior light prevaileth over the superior.
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 instigateth thee. They are not of a solid, true, and well-grounded knowledge, but are like meteors in the air. Thus do their opinions fly up and down in their head. We may observe it a very ordinary thing in controversies and polemical writings, that both parties will often charge one another with their fancies and their imaginations, that there is no such thing in Scripture or in reason, but a figment in the brain.
Thus you see in what confusion we are in when sometimes the solid doctrine of the Scripture is traduced for a mere imagination. And again, mere fancies applauded and earnestly contended for, as fundamental pillars of religion and piety. Seeing then our imaginations are so apt to get into the chair of the understanding, and as Athaliah destroyed the seed royal, that she might reign, so fancy bolteth out all solid reasons and arguments that it alone may do all, it behoveth us the more to watch over our hearts in this respect. To be sure they are the solid works of faith, and not the fickle motions of the fancy that do guide thee, and the rather, because it is the perpetual custom of wicked and ungodly men, to brand and stigmatize both the true faith and all solid piety with the reproach of a mere fancy.
It being therefore the constant charge by all enemies to truth, that it is not thy faith thou pleadest for, thou sufferest for, but thy mere fancy, it behoveth thee to be the more diligent in Scripture knowledge, and to pray that the Spirit of God may thereby quicken thee up to a sound and sure faith. Thus also it is in practicals. Let a man set himself to the power of godliness, walk strictly in opposition to the looseness and profaneness of the world.
Let his soul mourn for sin, and his heart grieve for his evil ways. What do carnal people presently say? This is your fancy, these are your melancholy conceits, they judge it to be some distemper in your imagination, that it is a kind of a madness. Now that we may withstand such accusations, it behoveth us to seek after, and pray for such a thorough work of sanctification, that we may be assured it is no more fancy than that we live or have our being.
That if to be godly, if to be converted be a fancy only, then to be a man, or to be a wicked man is only a fancy also. Well, though we must take heed of calling faith a fancy, and the work of grace a melancholy conceit for that is a kind of blaspheming the Holy Ghost yet experience doth evidence that many have not faith, have not true piety, but mere empty shadows and imaginations in religion. Witness the skepticism of many in these days who are of no faith and no religion, who change it often, as they do their garments. Who have no rooting or immovable foundation, but are as the water which receiveth every impression, but retaineth none.
That are reeds shaken with every wind, and are clean contrary to Christ, for they are not the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Can we say, this is the Scripture-truth? No, you read the character of such who have true faith, and that in a sanctified manner, if it were possible to deceive the very elect Mat. Certainly the prevalence of the imagination above the understanding in religious things is one of the sore evils which Original Sin hath brought upon all mankind.
Seventh, this also doth greatly manifest the sinfulness of the imagination: That as in the affections, so likewise in it are conceived for the most part all actual impieties. The imagination and the affections joined together are commonly that dunghill wherein these serpents lay their eggs. Yea sin many times lieth a long while breeding in the imagination, before it be brought forth into action, yea many times it is never brought forth, but the womb of sin is also the tomb, it lived and died in the imagination.
We may observe the Scripture attributing the greatest works of impiety to the imagination, as the cause of it, Ps. Thus Ps. It is true, this imagination spoken of in the Text, comprehends also acts of the mind, yet because as you heard the mind acteth dependently upon the imagination, therefore we conjoin them together. How polluted then must that fountain be, which sends forth so many polluted streams? Sin as we told you may be a long while breeding here, before it be completely formed and actuated. Yea and God beholdeth and taketh notice of thy sins thus prepared in thy imagination long before the commission of them.
God did before they come into Egypt, see what was working in their imaginations, what they were making and fashioning in their hearts. And this is good and profitable for us to consider, we many times wonder to see how such gross and loathsome sins can come even from the godly themselves. 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. Thirdly, the sinfulness of the imagination is further to be amplified in that many times sin is acted with delight and content there, without any relation at all to the external acts of sin. So that a man while unblameable in his life, may yet have his imagination like a cage of unclean birds.
And this is commonly done when there are external impediments, or some hindrances of committing the sin outwardly. The adulterous man, is not his imagination full of uncleanness? The proud man, is not his fancy lifted with high and towering conceits? As the Apostle Peter speaketh of some whose eyes were full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin 2 Pet.
Seeing then our imaginations are so apt to get into the chair of the understanding, and as Athaliah destroyed the seed royal, that she might reign, so fancy bolteth out all solid reasons and arguments that it alone may do all, it behoveth us the more to watch over our hearts in this respect. Being Human is Like Being Here. Monday, June 13, -- PM. Clayton's Afterthoughts. It's also the law that can taint us with the sins of others.
The meaning is that as the oven heated is ready to bake anything put therein, so was the heart of those evil men prepared for any kind of naughtiness. Some understand it of the adultery of the body only, as if that were the sin intended by the Prophet. Others, of the spiritual adultery of the soul, by which name idolatry is often called in Scripture. Others refer it to both.
Know then that when the grace of sanctification shall renew thy spirit, soul and body, thou wilt then be very careful to look to thy very imagination, that no tickling fancies or conceits of any lust do defile thee. Thou wilt keep thy imagination as a precious cabinet wherein precious pearls shall be treasured up, not dirt and filth.
As we fitly use an expression concerning delight in sin, that it is the rolling of honey under the tongue, so there is a rolling of sin in the imagination with great titillation and pleasure. When sin cannot be committed in action, we do it in our imagination. Hence it is that by the imagination old men become guilty of their youthful lusts, when they have not bodies to be as instrumental to filthiness as they have been, yet in their imaginations they can revive their by-past sins many years ago committed.
Thus men became as it were perpetual sinners in their imaginations. Consider of this more seriously, and pray for an holy, chaste, and pure imagination. Knowing thou hast to do with an omniscient God that knoweth what is working therein, though it be hid from the world besides. Think not sinful imaginations will escape the vengeance of God, though no suitable operations of impiety do accompany them. Ninth, our imagination is naturally corrupted because of its propensity to all evil, both towards God, and towards man.
Let us take up that which was but glanced at before, and that is how prone we are to provoke God in his worship, declining from the true rule, and merely because of our imaginations. The pleasing of them hath been the cause of all that displeasure which God ever had in his Church concerning the worshiping of him. No sin doth more provoke God than the corrupting of his worship, to adulterate this is to meddle with the apple of his eye. God beareth other sins a long while till his worship become to be corrupted, and then he will endure no longer.
Now the original of all sinfulness in this kind hath been our imagination, we have not attended to what God hath commanded. We regard not his institutions, but our own fancies, the pleasing of them. It was this imagination carried them out to idolatry, whence came those goodly images, those glorious altars, and many other superstitious ways of worship. But because the fancy was pleased herein, what is pleasing to the senses is also carried with delight to the imagination.
Insomuch that those Heathens, Numa and others, who would have no images to adore their gods by, thinking it unbecoming their greatness, were carried by reason and did not give way to the imagination [c. The Second Commandment and the Light of Nature ]. And this is a very necessary truth, for all such who are so difficulty taken off from their idolatries and superstitions, for what is it but thy fancy thou wouldst have satisfied, thou doest not look upon ordinances and the worship of God as spiritual means to quicken thy faith, and to make thee more spiritual, but as that whereby thou wouldst have thy imagination take some corporeal refreshment and satisfaction.
Even Aristotle saw the vanity of this, and therefore would not have any musical delights in the worship of their Heathenish gods. And Aquinas following him herein, is against musical instruments in the service of God. What God appointed in the Old Testament cannot be brought as an argument for any such custom in the New. Here the imagination is as full of evil as the sea of water. How crafty and subtle is the imagination of man to devise wicked and malicious purposes? This is the forge of all those malicious bloody and crafty designs that ever have been acted in the world.
Read over profane and sacred histories, and there you will admire what subtle foxes men have been sometimes, what cruel lions they have been at other times. All which doth arise from this sinful imagination, which is prone to find out all manner of ways to vent the wickedness that is bound up in the heart. Yet the way some people approach this issue is a health-and-safety hazard akin to playing with matches in a firework factory… a sin indeed…. Go into subjective space for a while and imagine an orange. A nice, big, juicy orange. You can see it, right? Notice its subtle scent, and the even more subtle sound it makes as you squeeze it gently in your palm.
Dig your fingers into the surface: as you break through the peel, notice the slight mist of juice, the suddenly much stronger scent.
Strip away the peel, noticing the slight sense of acid-attack on fingernail and cuticle as you do so. Pull out just one imaginary segment, and put it in your mouth. Notice its papery texture on your tongue, the shape, the promise. Now bite into it — note the shock of flavour, sour, sweet, both, the swirl of saliva in your mouth. All of that you can feel right now, remember now, know now. True, yes? And yet the saliva is real enough; likewise the overall impressions. And were we to measure such things, the sensory sections in your brain would be registering something real — though exactly what , it might perhaps not be quite so sure….
All imaginary. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared. Or certain enough , anyway. Stop and think for a while about what that really means — and why, yes, the Reality Risk is all too real…. Not A Good Idea…. For a more mainstream example, consider how easy it is for paranoia to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Much, anyway. Some everyday business-examples would include:. To illustrate this, consider the weirdness that ensues when we meet up with work-colleagues at a family-gathering, or bring our children to work.
In traditional contexts, legends and the like will often warn us of potential risks at a place: we need to be aware of this, respect it, and take appropriate action or apply appropriate protection where necessary.