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XIII. WHAT HELPS NOT HURTS.

A VAIN thought arose in my heart, instantly my corruption retains itself to be the advocate for it, pleading that the worst that could be said against it was this, that it was a vain thought.

And is not this the best that can be said for it? Remember, O my soul, the fig-tree was charged, not with bearing noxious, but no fruit. [Luke xiii. 7.] Yea, the barren fig-tree bare the fruit of annoyance, cut it down, why cumbereth it the 97ground? Vain thoughts do this ill in my heart, that they do no good.

Besides, the fig-tree pestereth but one part of the garden, good grapes might grow at the same time in other places of the vineyard. But seeing my soul is so intent on its object that it cannot attend two things at once, one tree for the time being is all my vineyard. A vain thought engrosseth all the ground of my heart; till that be rooted out, no good meditation can grow with it or by it.

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