Vain Thoughts
Jeremiah 4:14
O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your vain thoughts lodge within you?

Heart compared to house, to entertain and lodge guests; into which, before conversion, all the light wanton thoughts that post up and down in the world have open access; while they, like unruly gallants, revel day and night, and defile those rooms they lodge in. "How long?" whilst I, with My Spirit, and Son, and train of graces, stand and knock, and cannot find admittance?


1. The internal acts of the mind; reasonings, resolutions, consultations, desires, cares, etc.

(1) The thinking, meditating, musing power in man, which enables him to conceive, apprehend, fancy.

(2) Thoughts which the mind frames within itself (Proverbs 6:14; James 1:15; Isaiah 59:4-7).

(3) Thoughts which the mind in and by itself begets and entertains.

2. What vanity is.

(1) Unprofitableness (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 3).

(2) Lightness (Psalm 62:9).

(3) Folly (Proverbs 12:11).

(4) Inconstancy (Psalm 144:4; Psalm 146:4).

(5) Wicked and sinful (2 Chronicles 13:7; Proverbs 24:9).


1. In regard to thinking what is good.

(1) A want of ability to raise and extract holy and useful considerations and thoughts from the occurrences and occasions which surround us.

(2) A loathness to entertain holy thoughts.

(3) The mind will not be long intent on good thoughts.

(4) If the mind think of good things, it does so unseasonably; intrudes on prayer and interrupts it (Proverbs 16:3).

2. The readiness of the mind to think on evil and vain things.

(1) This vanity shows itself in foolishness (Mark 7:22), which proves itself in the unsettledness and independence of our thoughts.

(2) If any strong lust or passion be up, our thoughts are too fixed and intent.

(3) A restless curiosity concerning things not affecting us.

(4) Taking thought to fulfil the lusts of our flesh.

(5) Acting sins over again in our imagination.


1. Get the heart furnished and enriched with a good stock of sanctified and heavenly knowledge in spiritual truths.

2. Endeavour to preserve and keep up lively, holy, and spiritual affections in the heart.

3. Get the heart possessed with deep and powerful apprehensions of God's holiness, majesty, omniscience, and omnipresence.

4. In the morning when thou awakest, as did David (Psalm 119:18), prevent the vain thoughts the heart naturally engenders by filling it with thoughts of God.

5. Have a watchful eye upon thy heart all day; though vain thoughts crowd in, let them know that they pass not unseen.

6. Please not thy fancy too much with vanities and curious flights (Job 31:1; Proverbs 4:25).

7. Be diligent in thy calling (2 Thessalonians 3:11; 1 Timothy 5:13); only, encumber not the mind too much (Luke 10:41).

8. In thy calling and all thy ways commit thy goings to the Lord (Proverbs 16:3).

( T. Goodwin, B. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?

WEB: Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you?

Vain Thoughts
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