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IV. Labour to get thy heart into a right frame and temper. The work is serious, and chou hadst need rally together all the powers of thy foul, that thy thoughts may be intent and fixed when thou secteft on this duty.
V. Begin with prayer, begging the assistance and help of God, io order thy meditations aright. Prayer jazútisies every thing.
VI. Confine thy thoughts to one Subject only at a time. One truth driven home by meditation will kindly affect the heart.
VII. For che Method.
1. Let thy mind consider and dwell on the thing thou propoundest to meditate on, so long, till thou haft setled fome perswafions in thy self concerning it..
2. Labour to ftir up and awaken such affections in thy heart, as the subject meditated on rex quires.
3. Draw fore fit and proper resolutions tending to Gods Glory, and the furtbering thee in a gracious course, from thy meditations.
VIIJ. For the manner.
1. Do it sincerely. Take heed of formality and superficialneffe, the bane of most religious per, formances.
2. Shut up all with prayer.
Frequent good company, that may further chee,
and help thee forward in the way to Heaven. And thought by Calling, Necessity of businesse,Charity to their souls, and a desire to dothem good, may draw thee fomtimes to converse with, yet be not willingly, ordinarily, and unneceßarily a companion of wicked and ungodly men; who by their vain, unfavoury discourse, and sinfull conversation, will be ape co draw thy heart unto a nego lect and fighting of spiritual things. 'Tis exceeding dangerous to be ordinarily in such company, as will be ever hindring, never helping us for. ward in the way to Heaven; and where we shall hear no talk of Religion, buc in distast and contempt. Believe it, Thousands have been everlastingly undone by evil company, That therefore thou maist be more wary
in this Particular, I shall desire chee to consider of these chings.
I. ill company must needs be exceeding dangerons, because sin is of an infecting, contagious nacure. It quickly spreads among such, as ordinarily and familiarly converse cogether. Why should we not be as much afraid of being infect. ed with fin, as with a contagious disease ? but chat we are carnal, and fear the evil of the body
which is death, more than the evil of the soul, which is fin and damnation. The ground of thac dreadful Church-Cenfure, Excommunication, is the contagion of other mens fins. Purge out the old leaven, faies the Apostle, 1 Cor. 5.7. Which w.ts the incestuous person. And why? because
little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. • There is a strange power in ill company, co infeft
and deprave the best dipositions, Can a man touch
pitch, and not be defiled ? luies the foo of Sirach, - Chap.13.1.
1. By frequent & familiar converse with such, there fleals upon a man secretly & infenfibly, a diflıke of Religion,and the waies of Godlinefs, as coo strict and restraining to humane nature.
2. He usually comes by degrees, to approve E, and delight in sensual courses, and sinful pra. Ctises. 3
Atlaft he comes to be an ulter enemy, and opposer of the waies of Holines. And no wonder, for such as men usually converse with, such (for the most part) they prove to be. Ungodly company is the deep ditch, ouc of which few escape.
11. To delight in ungodly company, is a fure fogn a mans heart is naught. Similitude is the cause of love: Like will to like, whether good of evil. Though many will not be drunk or (wear, &c. Yec if they delight in the company of those that do fo, 'cis plain i heir dispositions are again Gedlinesse. David having a Godly frame of heart,
declared it in this, that in the Saints of the Earth, and the excellent was all his delight, Psal. 16.3. & Ps.119.63 He saies, I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy Precepts. Ecclefiaficus tels us, Ch.13.16. All flesh conforteth according to kind, and a man will cleave to his like. What fellowship bath the wolf with the lamb? So the finner with the Godly? When you choose wicked, loose company, when you may have better, and find delight and content in such, you plainly declare what you are. There is no reason he should be accounted Gods friend, who familiarly cen. verses with his professed enemies.
III. By frequenting ill company, chou dost harden, encourage, and embolden them in their sinful courses. How can they think, but thou approvest their 'waies, seeing thou delightest in their society : Whereas the Apostle com: mands us Eph.5.11. To have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darknesse, but rather reprove them. David's eyes ran down wité rivers of tears, because he saw men kept not Gods Law, Pfal.119.136. And Lots righteous soul was vexed with the unclean conversation of the micked among
whom he lived. So far is it from the temper of a gracious heart to hold a delightful famili arity with wicked companions.
IV. Consider ill company is a great hinderance to conversion. Wicked companions (like Herod, kill the young beginnings, and first ten
dencies of the heart towards God. One wicked
perfon, by his fcoffs and flouts has done more hurt, than many Sermons have done good. Scoffers ac Religion, and deriders of true Piery, and Holineile, make things of the saddest and most serious concernment, to seem ridiculous. And when once the awe of these great Truths is weakned, men are easily induced to cast off all care and profession of Religion. Many have been jeer'd from the praEtise of Godlineffe, and a holy life, that could never by serious Arguments bé disputed or diswaded from it. Mockers and Scoffers ac Religion, are usually the worst of sinners. In Psal.s. there are three degrees of sinners mentioned; and che highest rank are they that fit in the seat of the scornful: Which the Septuagint render the chair of
pestilence : They being indeed the pests of mankind. 'Tis better to go with the frowns and scoffs of carnal friends to heaven, than with their love to hell.
V. Remember, 'cis not only the openly pro. phane and diffolute, che (wearer, the drunkard, and the professed open enemies of Godlinese, chac thou are to avoid, as hurtful companions; but chou must also take heed of coo frequent society with dead. hearted formalists, and persons meerly civil, whose conference is usually barren and unfavoury, nothing conducing to the raising the heart Heaven-ward. And by conversing much with such, though thou dost not endanger chy foul as to infection with sin, yet thou doit, as id