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ciety of the first Christians; and of Vol. II. the rest durft no man join himself unto them, Acts 5. 13. Thou dost too much accommodare thy self to the Modes and Humours of the World, and this draws upon thee the Company of the Imperciņent and Vicious ; 'tis an earthly vanishing Splendour, about which these Moths and Night-flies flutter : 'Tis Jet, not Gold and Diamond, that is said to attract Straws.
3. But lastly,. This Rule obliges us only as far as we can (the nearness of Relation or necessary Business, does sometimes make it our Duty to Converse with those which we otherwise would decline.' And in this case all that can be expected is) not to have any Fellowship or Communion with them in their Vices, but to discountenance or reprove them: And, as the World goes now, I think this Rule is to be extended no farther then to Intimacies and Familiarities, to voluntary and chosen Acquaintance, not to Accidental Meetings or Occasional Correspondencies. But we must take care not to be too favourable and complyant in this Matter ; the more Sió a. bounds, the less Discipline is or can be
Vol. II. exercised; the more zealous should we
gion, and to fix a Mark of Shame and
2. We must consider what ought
continually, and so much the more, be. Vol. II.
To this it will be again objected,
Vol. II. deltand inoffensive, from being some
times the Subject of Conversation ; but, I say, Religion ought to be the main and great End of it. Secondly, 'Tis hard for me to conceive how a good Christian should often want either Matter or Opportunity for pious Discourse. As for Matter, he must suffer the Providences of God to pass without any observation or remark, he must be a Stranger to the Works of Nature; he must be utterly unread in the History of Human Affairs; he must be unacquainted with the Book of God; and he must have little experience of the Power and Operation of God's Word and Spirit upon his own Soul ; he must have reflected very little on the Wilds of Satan, the Temptations of the World, and the Defects and Weaknesses of Human Nature, who can want Matter for good, Discourse. The Man of Letters, the Man of Business, the Man of Pleasure, never wants Matter
Books furnish the one, Business the other, and their Vices and Diversions the third. 'Tis strange that the Christian alone should be barren. The Christian, who is a Child of the Light, and of the Day, and should a
bound in Wisdom and Understanding. Vol. II. The Christian, who has every bour Matters of the highest Importance on his hands ! and who, finally, is entertain'd with more and richer Pleasures than the most fortunate Epicurean can pretend to. As to Occafion or Opportunity of good Discourse, did the Heart run that way, every thing would afford it us. But alas ! we rather shun than seek occasions : and I know not by what strange Error we have banish'd all Matters of Religion out of Company ; as if nothing but Ignorance or Affe&ation could make a Man fo impertinent, as to talk of any thing that were pious and good. I beseech you to consider, whether this be not a very near approach to the being alham'd of Chrilt
j and if it be, how shall we escape that dreadful Sentence which is denounced against it, Mark 8. 38. Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this wicked and adulterous Generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be aAhamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy Angels. This minds me of the 3d, and last Direction, 'which is,