Choking the Weeds

Charles Spurgeon loved reading the Puritans. As he read, he would underline, mark sections, highlight them. Likely, Spurgeon would have loved the invention of the Highlighter pen! One writer he returned to frequently was Thomas Manton, and from the writings of the long-deceased Puritan, Spurgeon extracted a host of quotes that he then expanded upon and published in a little volume, Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden. The following few paragraphs are from that book.

The way to destroy ill weeds is to plant good herbs that are contrary.

Thomas Manton

We have all heard of weeds choking the wheat; if we were wise, we should learn from our enemy and endeavor to choke the weeds by the wheat. Preoccupation of mind is a great safeguard from temptation. Fill a bushel with corn, and you will keep out the chaff: have the heart stored with holy things, and the vanities of the world will not so readily obtain a lodging place.

Herein is wisdom in the training of children. Plant the mind early with the truths of God’s word, and error and folly will, in a measure, be forestalled. The false will soon spring up if we do not early occupy the mind with the true. He who said that he did not wish to prejudice his boy’s mind by teaching him to pray soon discovered that the devil was not so scrupulous, for his boy soon learned to swear. It is well to prejudice a field in favor of wheat at the first opportunity.

In the matter of amusements for the young, it is much better to provide than to prohibit. If we find the lads and lasses interesting employments, they will not be so hungry after the gayeties and ensnarements of this wicked world. If we are afraid that the children will eat unwholesome food abroad, let us as much as possible take the edge from their appetites by keeping a good table at home.

Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden, p. 24

I found this little entry helpful on both a personal and a parental level. How often could my mind be spared trailing off into wastefulness were it wholesomely occupied? Reminds me of Paul’s counsel:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

Now in the stage of grand-parenthood, I can reflect back on far too many times I was more concerned with pulling weeds than planting wheat. Perhaps I can do better with the grandchildren—while somehow not spoiling them!


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