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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



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Vol. II. exercised; the more zealous should we
mbe in particular to do honour tó Reli-

gion, and to fix a Mark of Shame and
Infamy upon Vice. Never is this Rule
more scandaloully transgress'd, then
when Priests and Prelatescourt theCom-
pany and Favour of Atheists and Adul.
terers : or Matrons and Virgins that
of a wretched Woman, whose State
and Port is not inore notorious than
the Shame and Lewdness that main-
tains it. How can our Wives or Daugh-
ter's think that there is any Shame or
Turpitude in the Sin, when we pay
much respect to the Sinner.

2. We must consider what ought
to be the true end and design of Socie.
ty and Conversation among Christians.
Certainly that Man has a very mean
and low Notion of Friendship, who
proposés no other End than to Eat
and to Drink together, or to laugh
and fool away our precious Moments.
The Scriptore points out to us much
nobler Purposes and Designs of Con-
versation, when it tells us, That our
Speech should be such as may admini-
fter Grace 3 that we should build up one
another in our holy faith ; that we should
comfort one another, exhort one another


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continually, and so much the more, be. Vol. II.
cause the day approaches, &c. and sure.
ly we are strangely mistaken, if wę
think chaç our Communication will
lose all gust by being directed to one
of these ends. On the contrary, it
would doubtless be as much more de-
lightful as beneficial, if when we meet
we were accustomed, instead of Cen:
sures and Reflections, News and Im-
pertinence, or Frothiness and Light-
ness, to discourse of some worthy and
noble Subject, becoming the Genius
and Hope of a Christian. The Exam-
ple of David confirms this Notion
he try'd and found that Friendship was
both useful and pleasant, whilst it
was maintain'd on the stock of Reli.
gion; My Companion, my Guide, my
familiar Friend; we took Sweet Counsel
together, and walked into the House of
God in company, Psal. 55. 14, 14.

To this it will be again objected,
It will be very difficult at all times to
find Matter and Occasion for good
Discourse. I answer, Firft, I do not
utterly and totally exclude the common
Accidents of Life, the Business and
Affairs of it, nay, even Things of a
pleasant and divertive Nature, if mo-

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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,


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