THE inmost thoughts of the heart have the greatest effect on character. “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he”, or so will he be (Proverbs 23:7). These inmost thoughts are necessarily the most effective, for they are with us all the time and they are always genuine. Even the most loquacious are sometimes silent and the most honest sometimes conceal thoughts by words. But the inmost thoughts of the heart are with us in all our waking hours, and possibly even during sleep, and those inmost thoughts are subject to no prudential restraint except the laws we impose upon them for our own good. The momentary act of self-control may have little or no effect upon character, but the continuous and diligent control of deed, word, and thought may have a great effect and indeed mark the difference between death and life.
ISLIP COLLYER, Principles and Proverbs, page 140.
23When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.