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conformed to the world. There is not such a gracious perion on earth, but if he cast himself, by untenderness and unwatchfulaers into the company of a carnal world, he will find their conversation abaie the edge of his zeal and cool the fervoir of wis devotion ; yea, enervate, debilitate, and weaken every grace; and, by little and little, transförın him to their manner, in a great meafure, till sovereign grace reform; him again: “ Wnen ini. quity abounds, the love of many waxeth cold.” This new-planted colony of grace in the heart, is in great danger when opposed, not only by the native, (I mean, our corruption,) but also by the auxiliary help and aid of the corruption of others.
4. The safety of their persons require that they be not conformed to the world: for they who are conformed to the wicked warld, are in danger of being punished there with. Though all that are in Christ are freed from condemnation, and eternal wrath; yet they are not freed from afiliation and temporal judgments, especiala ly if they ihail associate with the wicked. If Lot had not come out of Sodom, at the command of God, he had perished in the flimes: If Noah had not made tlie ark, at God's command, he had perished in the flood with the world. And hence the command of God to us is, “ Cone out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her fons, and that ye receive not of her plagues," Rev. xviii. 4. “ A companion of fools shall be destrova ed,” Prov, siii. 20. And ag1111, “ Come out from among them, and be ye feparate, faith the Lord; and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you,” 2 Cor. vi. 17. “ Should't' thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thce from before the Lord,” 2 Chron. xix. 2.
Thus you see many reasons, why the people of God must not be conformed to this world ; and that in re. fpect of themselves: their circumstances and their safety every way require it.
V. The fifth thing proposed, in the method, was, To make application of the subject; which we shall ef. say in an ule of information, reproof, examination, and
CONFORMITY Serm. XVII. cxhortation, inforced with some motives; and then conclude the subject with some directions..
Ule 1. Let us improve the doctrine in an use of information. If then matters be so, as you have been hear. ing, That the people of God must not be conformed to the wicked world, we may hence learn,
Y. What are the rules by which our conversation in the world is to be squared, and how our conversation with the world is to be cautioned. This non-conformity to the world doth not exclude all conversation whatsoever with the world : for, in several cases, we may lawfully converse with them.
Quest. In what cases may the godly converse with the world?
Answ. (1.) In case of necessity; when we are compelled and obliged to live aniongst them. This was David's case in Kedar; “ Wo is me that I dwell in Me. fech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar;" Psal. cxx. 5. So it was with the church of Pergamus; “I know where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is," Rev, ii. 13. Where God hath a chapel, Satan hath a throne,
(2.) In case of policy, traffic, trade and merchandise: in this respect we cannot live without the wicked of the world. It is lawful to have commerce with them; pro, vided always we mingle not with their vices,
(3.) In case of courtesy and civility. As this non-con. formity to the world doth nat exclude lawful traffic; fa neither doth it exclude, or impeach civil courtesy. It is not only lawful, but' laudable to do any courteous of fices towards them that are without, whereby to gain them.
(4.) In case of charity; hence we are called to do good to all, but especially to the houshold of faith, Tho' the houshold of faith, in poverty, be the special objects of charity; yet, we are not to exclude others: “ Do good to all."
(5.) In case of piety; and thus it is lawful to converse with the wicked as far as, by gentle and seasonable reproofs, we may, through grace, be useful to reclaim them. We are to walk wisely towards these that are
without; to visit them in their distress, when they are in affliction; and to do all the good we can to their souls.
(6.) In cafe of affinity. This non-conformity to the world doth not take away natural: affcction ; neither will it extend to a separation betweea husband and wife, for the sake of religion: it is lawful for the believing wife to converse with the carnal husband, as Abigail with Nabal: nay, for religion's fake, such are called to converle together; “ What knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or, what knowest thou, Oman,whether thou ialt save thy wifc?”'I Cor.vii. 14.16.
In all there, and the like cales, converse with the wicked of the world is lawful. But the meaning of non-conformity with them is, we must not chuse them for our daily companions, delight in their discourse, or frequent their haunts; “ Now, I have written unto you, not to keep company; if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such a one ro not to eat," i Cor. v. 11. We are not to affect their fociety, nor to favour their wickedness; but keep ourfelves unspotted from the world, James i. 27.
Thus we see, I say, the rule by which our conver. fation in the world should be squared. In things which are absolutely moral indeed, all rules of art fhould be affirmative : but in this point, a man may give a nega. tive rule, which may be safe and good. Do not as the world doth : do quite contrary to them. It is a good rule to live by, to mark the courses of worldly men, and to do the quite contrary, Worldly nien give themselves to covetouines, to worldly plealure, worldly lusts, worldly affections : now, it is a good rule of walk, to observe what they do, and to do the quite contrary,
2. Hence we may fee, if it be the property of a true Christian, not to be conformed to the world, how few true Christians there are in the world. There are many professors indeed, but few godly persons: why? because they are like the world; they live as others in the world do; they live as atheists and infidels. Look to your. felf, man, woman; do you not even the sanie things that the rest of the profane world do? Do you not live
after the same course, and at the same rate ? They restrain prayer before God, both in fecret, and in their families: they neglect the word ; they regard it not, they obey it not; they swell against it, they snarl at it : they break and profane the Sabbath; they omit the proper duties of it, and do those things which are in themfelves unlawful on that day : they are malicious ; they are deceitful in their dealings : they live contentedly without Christ; though they be poor, they live contentedly without the tried gold of his grace; though they be blind, they live satisfied without the eye-salve of his Spirit; though they be naked, they live peaceably without the white raiment of his righteousneis. Now, what is your life ? What contrariety is there between you and the world? Do you not live the very same way? O then, you are conformed to this world with the reit; and, how few are otherwise! Therefore there are but few faints indeed; because the most part are conforined to the world, and taken up with the vanities of
I understand there is to be a remarkable meeting here this week; an idle, vain rendevous ; I know not upon what pretence: but I fear the motto of it be, Vanity and Folly; if not Wickedness and Debauchery in the issue : and in case that prove the issue of it, I must exoner my. self on the head. True; fome may be thinking, it is better that the minister hold his peace; for, say what he will, the company will but laugh at it, when they are conveened : But I do not value that; I must answer to God for what I say, and you must answer for what you hear and do at his tribunal; and fee who will laugh there. : I have only a few questions to propose to all that de. lign to countenance that convention of idleness and foll:'. I. Will it be no conformity to the world, and fostering of its vanity and idleness, to give countenance thereto? 2. Will it be with a view to glorify God, or edify any poor immortal foul, that this meeting shall gather toge. ther? 3. Will it be of such a nature, that any, who countenance it, dare go to God and pray for a blessing upon įt? 4. Will it be of such a nature, and shall not
counteract, and contradict the call of providence, at this day, which calls us rather to mourning and weep. ing, than to joy and gladness? 5. Will it be a meeting of God's approbation, and such as they shall be able to account for, at his awful tribunal, without fear or shame? 6. Will it be such a meeting, as that your countenance ing it, will give ground of joyful reflection, when your eye-strings are breaking, and your souls, flying out of your bodies into eternity ?
If these queltions can be answered in the positive, and that it be indeed a meeting of this nature, then I have no quarrel with it; but if otherwile, and that none of these things can be said of it, then I protest against it, in God's great name; and take instruments, in the hands of your consciences, that I do so. And I would ear, nestly exhort all, that desire to be followers of Christ, that they would beware of it, as they would not offend God, nor grieve the generation of the righteous, and be guilty of conformity to the world: for, before ever it come, it hath no favour of Heaven about it; and, I fear, the interest of hell be advanced, and the vanity of the mind promoted by it. .
Why, say you, it is but designed for a little diversion and recreation. Indeed, it is easy for persons to put a fair face upon a foul design : but I fear the promiscu. ous dancing and revelling that I hear is designed, toge. ther with the drinking and carousing that may take place, will discover that the god of this world will be the great master.conveener, and the lufis of the world will be the great diversion ; even the lusts of the flesh, the lults of the eye, and the pride of life, .
A meeting for prayer and humiliation would be more suitable for the sad state of the souls of many of those who have such designs in view: for, it is to be feared, some will give countenance to that vanity, by whon the ordinances of Christ have been little countenanced these twelve months; and some who will find more pleasure in such merry caballing, than ever they found in God's fanctuary all their days; which says, that they have more need that God set them to their knees, to depricate the Vengeance that is hanging over their guilty heads, than