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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Habit

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See DRESS. Habit, "a power and ability of doing anything, acquired by frequent repetition of the same action. Man,' says Dr. Paley, is a bundle of habits. There are habits of industry, attention, vigilance, advertency; of a prompt obedience to the judgment occurring, or of yielding to the first impulse of passion; of extending our views to the future, or of resting upon the present; of apprehending, methodizing, reasoning; of indolence and dilatoriness; of vanity, self-conceit, melancholy, partiality; of fretfulness, suspicion, captiousness, censoriousness; of pride, ambition, covetousness; of overreaching, intriguing, projecting; in a word, there is not a quality or function, either of body or mind, which does not feel the influence of this great law of animated nature. "If the term attachment seems too good to be applied to habits, let us, if you please, call them ties. Habits, in fact, are ties, chains. We contract them unawares, often without feeling any pleasure in them; but we cannot break them without pain. It costs us something to cease to be what we have always been, to cease doing what we have always done. Life itself, in its least attractive form, the life least deserving of the name, is dear to us from the mere habit of living. The most intimate attachments, and, still more, the most incontestable, duties, have often given way before the power of habit. To have the loins girt about, then, is not merely to distrust our attachments; it is to prevent our habits from striking their roots too deep within. Nothing, therefore, which is habitual should be regarded as trivial. The most invisible ties are not the weakest, and, at all events, their number renders them indestructible. We must remember that a cable is composed of threads. It is impossible to dispense with habits; a life without habits is a life without a rule. But in regard to these, as in regard to everything else; it is necessary to say with the apostle, All things are lawful unto me, but I will not be brought under the power of any"(Vinet, Gospel Studies, p. 310). See Fellowes, Body of Theology, 1, 58; Paley, Moral Philosophy, 1, 48; Kames, Elen. of Criticism, ch. 15; Jortin, Sermons, vol. 3; Reid, Active Powers of Man; Muller, On the Christian Doctrine of Sin (see Index).

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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Habit'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/h/habit.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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