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Habits Strengthen Habits

There can be no treaty of peace, till once we lay down those weapons of rebellion wherewith we fight against heaven; nor can we expect to have our distempers cured, if we be daily feeding on poison.

If we desire to have our souls moulded to [a] holy frame, to become partakers of the divine nature, and have Christ formed in our hearts, we must seriously resolve, and carefully endeavour to avoid and abandon all vicious and sinful practices. There can be no treaty of peace, till once we lay down those weapons of rebellion wherewith we fight against heaven; nor can we expect to have our distempers cured, if we be daily feeding on poison. Every wilful sin gives a mortal wound to the soul, and puts it at a greater distance from God and goodness; and we can never hope to have our hearts purified from corrupt affections, unless we cleanse our hands from vicious actions. Now in this case we cannot excuse ourselves by the pretence of impossibility; for sure our outward man is some way in our power; we have some command of our feet, and hands, and tongue, nay, and of our thoughts and fancies too; at least so far as to divert them from impure and sinful objects, and to turn our mind another way: and we should find this power and authority much strengthened and advanced, if we were careful to manage and exercise it. In the mean while, I acknowledge our corruptions are so strong, and our temptations so many, that it will require a great deal of stedfastness and resolution, of watchfulness and care, to preserve ourselves.

—Henry Scougal
The Works of the Rev. H. Scougal (London: Ogle, Duncan, and Co., 1822), 43–44.