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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 soul, that thy thoughts
may be intent and fixed when thou setcest on this duty.
V. Begin with prayer, begging the assistance and help of God, io order thy meditations aright. Prayer Janūtisies 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 the self concerning is..
2. Labour to stir 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 fuperficialneffe, the bane of most religious pero formances.
2. Shut up all with prayer.
Frequent good company, that may further
, and help thee forward in the way to Heaven. And thoughıby Calling Necessity of businesse,Charity to their souls, and a desire to do them good, may draw thee somtimes 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 conversieion, will be ape to draw thy heart unto a nez: lect and fighting of piritual things. 'Tis exceeding dangerous to be ordinarily in such company, as will be ever hindring, never helping us fer
. ward in the way to Heaven; and where we ihall hear no talk of Religion, but in diftast and com tempt. Believe ic, Thousands have been everlast. ingly undone by evil company,
That therefore thou maist be more wary in this Particular, I shall desire thee to consider of these chings.
1. ill company must needs be exceeding dange rous, because sin is of an infecting, contagious nacure. It quickly spreads among such, as ordia narily and familiarly converse cogether. Why should we not be as much afraid of being infect. ed with fin, as with a contagious disease? but that 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 Ew.t the incestuous person. And why? because C A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. .There is a strange power in ill company, co infect i and deprave the best dipositions, Car a man touch bo pitch, and not be defiled ? laies che fon of Sirach, * Chap 3 I.
1. By frequent & familiar converse with such, 3 there fleals upon a man secretly & infenfibly, a dif* like of Religion,and the waies of Godliness,as too Strict and restraining to bumare nature.
2. He usually comes by degrees, to approve e and delight in sensual courses, and sinful pratises.
3. At last he comes to be an ulter enemy, and opposer of the waies of Holines. And no wonder, for such as men wfusally 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 fign a mans heart is naught. Similitude is the
cause of love: Like will to like, whether good of Tevil. Though many will not be drunk or (vear, &c. Yecif they delight in the company of those that do so, 'cis plain iheir dipositions are againt Godlinese. David having a Godly frame of h:art,
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 faies, I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy Precepts, Ecclefiafticus tels us, Ch.13.16. All flesh consorteth 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 reafon he should be accounted Gods friend who familiarly converses 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 'wales, seeing thou delighteff in their society: Whereas the Apostle com: mands us Eph.5.11. To have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darknesse, but rather re. prove them. David's eyes ran down with rivers of tears, because he saw men kept not Gods Laro, Pfal. 119.136. And Lots righteous soul was vex. ed with the unclean conversation of the micked a mong 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 binder ance 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 Holinese, make things of the saddest and most serious concernment, to leem ridiculous. And when once the awe of chese great Truths is weakned, men are easily induced to cast off all care and profession of Religion. Many have been jeer'd from the prat Etise of Godlinesse, and a holy life, that could never by serious Arguments bé disputed or disswaded from it. Mockers and Scoffers ac Religion, are usually the worst of finners. In Psal.1. there are three degrees of finners mentioned; and che highest rank are they that sit in the seat of the scorn. ful: Which the Septuagint render the chair of peftilence : They being indeed the pefts 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 prophane and diffolute, the swedrer, the drunkard, and the profejjed open enemies of Godlineffe, thac thou art co avoid, as hartfal companions; buc chou must also take heed of coo frequent society with dead. hearted formalists, and persons meerly civil, whose conference is usually barren and unfavourý, nothing conducing to the raising the heart Heaven-ward. And by conversing much with such, though thou dost not endanger chy fouil as to infection with sin, yet thour doit, as id