And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.
~ 1 Kings 14:13
And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether: and also in Judah things went well. Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God. But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?
~ 2 Chronicles 12:12, 2 Chronicles 19:3, Job 19:28
For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
~ Ezekiel 18:32, 2 Peter 2:8-9
That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
~ Philemon 1:6
We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
~ 1 John 5:18, Proverbs 4:23
Grace: The Truth and Growth and Different Degrees Thereof, by Christopher Love. 1650.
This is the first sermon of the series, which includes its preface. Preached by that faithful and painful servant of Jesus Christ, Mr. Christopher Love, late minister of Lawrence Jury, London. The series are his last sermons he ever preached.
The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of Mustardseed which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest amongst herbs, and becomes a tree, &c.
–Mat. 12. 31. 32.
To the Christian Reader.
Our purpose in publishing this small Treatise, is not to make old sores bleed, or foment any ones discontent, or renew any ones griefe, concerning the much lamented death of this godly and Reverend Author; nor shall we mention what great losse the Church of God had in the death of so useful and hopeful a Minister: But we shall in a few words acquaint thee why this little piece is thus made publique.
There are many imperfect copies of Mr. Love’s Sermons, which are likely to be obtruded into the world, by some who regard no other end in publishing and printing books, then their own private gain; To prevent which, we have from his own notes published these Sermons, and shall desire the Reader to take notice, that whatever Sermons of this Author shall be thought fit to be published, shall be attested with some of our hands, who are intrusted with his Papers, and hope none will be so injurious to the Author and others, as to presume to print any thing of Mr. Love’s without the said Attestation.
Thou hast here but the marrow and substance of the last Sermons preached by that late faithfull Servant of God. Pulpit-repetitions and enlargments are here omitted, we having endeavoured to accommodate thee in the price in buying, and in thy pains in reading, that thou mightst have much fruit, though there be not many leaves. Those bookes are best that have much worth and weight in a little bulk, and such is this if we mistake not.
The Reverend Author, though he had not attained many yeers, yet he had gotten much experience about soul-affairs. These were his last Meditations, and therefore the more desired by, and we hope will be the more acceptable to those, to whose souls his Ministry was profitable and precious. Thou wilt finde here no new, uncouth, and unscripturall expressions, but plain practicall Doctrine, old Divinity, sound, solid, and conscience-searching truths. The gracious Author preaching and pressing them on the hearts of his hearers, from his own experience of them. Neither wilt thou meet with any railings or reproachings of the publick and present Governours, (the usual, though the most unjust, charge against the Presbyterian Ministers.) This whole discourse is not about State, but Soul-affairs, which is another reason why it is published, to check the licentiousnesse of this Age, which hath surfetted upon absurd and unprofitable Pamphlets. The Lord give thee to have thy spiritual senses exercised, to discern both good and evil. But alas! What between State-mutations, and Church-dissensions, spiritual truths lie by neglected. It is much to be feared the Work of Grace goes on but slowly, few enquire into their Soul-state. But to enquire into our spirituall estate is the best husbandry in the world. If we are to be diligent to know the state of our flocks, then surely we should give all diligence to know how it is with our precious and immortall souls. The benefit and profit of this soul-searching, will abundantly recompence our pains and care in performing it.
There are two great mistakes to which the best Christians are very subject.
Either to despise and disparage the work of grace, if their measures be small.
Or else, if their attainments be somewhat considerable, to sit down contented with their acquired measures.
We beseech you take heed of both these evils, which are both alike; unthankfulnesse to God, and injuriousnesse to your own soul, the one despiseth the truth, and the other neglects the Growth of Grace.
If thou art one of the tender Plants in Christ’s Orchard, a weak Lamb in his Flock, a Babe in his Family, yet Oh, despise not the day of small things in thy soule; though thy gifts be few, & thy comforts fewer, yet tread not out thy selfe the smoaking flax; stay thy selfe upon his name who is a rock of Ages, and whose work is perfect, and his grace unchangable, who will bring forth judgement unto victory. Sleight not the least measure of grace: though the first and ruder draught be but drawn on thy soule, yet be comforted in this, that the image of Christ is begun to be renewed there. But be sure thy grace be right. Temporary faith, partial obedience, mercenary love, pretended zeale, legall sorrow, feigned humility, may make up a lifelesse picture of a professor, who hath the form without the power of Godlinesse: but it is true Grace that makes a true Christian. Common gifts and graces may bring a man neer heaven, but they will never bring a man into heaven. This Treatise therefore will teach thee to bring thy grace to the true touch-stone. It is one of the saddest considerations that can settle on the heart of a Christian, to think how high a formall hypocrite may goe towards Heaven with his seeming grace, and how low a true child of God may fall by sin towards Hell, and yet have real Grace. It is a dreadfull thing to think how many Professors in our age rest in duties performed, and parts acquired, and never examine themselves whether they are in the faith, and have attained that true Grace which Reprobates and hypocrites can never have. When we finde in Scripture, Cain sacrificing, Pharaoh confessing his sin, Ahab fasting,Saul weeping, Jehu reforming, Judas repenting and restoring, Simon Magus believing, Herod rejoycing, and Felix trembling at the Word, and yet not one of these had one dram of Grace. How carefull should we then be to examine and prove our selves whether we are in a state of true grace? Oh! it is very sad to fall short of them that fall short of Heaven. As for the most part of Professors of our times; it is much to be feared, that their spirituall trading lies more for the increase of gifts and parts, (in which their Religion consists) then for Grace, which is the true reason why we have so little truth and peace amongst us: for parts puffe up the minde, pride begets contention, and contention encreaseth errour. Former times had lesse gifts, but more Grace, lesse knowledge and more conscience.
If thou art one of those, that upon good Scripture-grounds canst say thou hast the truth of Grace, labour then after growth in Grace. Oh labour, that whilst others are joyning house to house, and laying field to field, till they be placed alone in the midst of the earth, that you give all diligence to adde to your faith vertue, and to your vertue knowledge, and to your knowledge temperance, and to your temperance patience, and to patience godlinesse, and to godlinesse brotherly-kindnesse, and to brotherly-kindnesse charity, that these graces may be in you and abound, that you may be neither barren nor unfruitfull in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus.
No Christian should content himselfe with any measures of Grace attained, for he is like to make use of all the grace he hath, had he a Benjamins portion. The time is comming when one dram of true grace, will be of more worth then all the world. The comforts of grace, the joy and peace of believing, will be Cordials to you when you are dying, and will set up such a light in the soule, which the shadow of death shall neither damp nor darken. But alas! most men are labouring, more after wealth then faith, more after greatnesse in the world then true grace of whom when they die it may be said, They had laid up goods for many yeers; but it cannot be said, In them was found some good thing towards the Lord. Men doe usually lay up riches for a deare yeere, they’l say, they know not what need they may have before they come to die: Be then as wise and provident for your precious souls. Your temptations and trials may be such, that you may have use for all your faith and patience. Eate (said the Angel to Elijah,) for the journey is long. It is no short way to Heaven, nor is the opposition small thou shalt meet withall in thy passage thither. Oh then get thy soule well stored with spirituall provision of grace, and the comforts of it. It is true, thy safety is in the being, but thy comfort stands in the strength and activity of thy graces. Weake Grace is saving, but strong Grace is comfortable; truth of grace shal be rewarded with heaven, growth of Grace doth, as it were, antedate heaven. The least true grace wil bring thee to Heaven, but the more Grace thou hast, the fitter for, and surer thou wilt be of Heaven. The Lord make these and all the labours of his servants profitable to his Church. Ye therefore, beloved seeing you know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the errour of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastnesse. But grow in Grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; to him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Reader we remain Ready to serve thee in thy Soul-affairs,
London, February 13. 1651-52.
Sermon I. At Lawrence Jury, London. March 9. 1650/1.
Kings 14. part of the 13. verse.
—Because in him there is found some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.
This Chapter conteins in it Ahijahs Prophesie, foretelling what dismall judgements should befal Jeroboam and his posterity, for his Idolatry in worship, and defection from the Government and house of David. For which sins God did destroy him and his posterity: and not only the bad, a but the good were punished for their fathers guilt. For so it is intimated in this verse, out of which the Text is taken. Here was a young man, Jeroboam’s son that should die for the fathers fault; and yet here was a mitigation of the punishment, that he should not die after the same manner that the rest did, he shall goe to his grave in peace, because in him there is found some good, &c. Behold the goodnesse of God! a little good in him, and yet the great God takes notice of the little good in him. God found as it were one pearle in a heap of pebbles, one good young man in Jeroboams houshold, that had some good in him towards the Lord God of Israel.
In the whole verse, three parts.
A lamentation for the death of this son of Jeroboam; It is said, all Israel shall mourn for him, and so they did, v. 18.—which argued there was goodness in him; for if he had not been desired and prized while he lived, he would not have been so lamented at his death.
A limitation of his punishment, he only of Jeroboams family shall come to the grave, the rest of his posterity that died in the City, dogs should eat, and him that dieth in the field, should the fowles of the ayre devoure. vers. 11.
III. The commendation of his life, in him was found some good, &c. (of this I am now to treat.)
He is commended by the Holy Ghost; for his goodnesse is set forth.
By the quality of his goodnesse; it was a good thing, not a good word only, or a good purpose or inclination, with which too many content themselves, but it was a good action.
By the quantity of it; it was but some little good thing that was found in him, and yet that little good God did not despise or over-look.
By the sincerity of his goodnesse; there are two notable demonstrations of this young mans goodnesse.
It was towards the Lord God of Israel.
It was in Jeroboam’s house.
His goodnesse was towards the Lord God of Israel. This argued Paul’s sincerity, that in his speaking, writing and actions he could and did appeal to God. That Religion saith the Apostle, is pure and undefiled, that is, so before God and the Father. Many Hypocrites may be good towards men, who are not so towards God; to be rich indeed, is to be rich towards God. True repentance is erepentance towards God; and he is unblamable indeed that is void of offence towards God, as well as towards men.
He was good in the house of Jeroboam. A wicked man may seeme good in a good place, but to be good in a bad place argues men to be good indeed. To be good in Davids house, this was not so much; but for this young man to be good in the house of Jeroboam his father, whom the Scripture brands for his Idolatry, that he made all Israel to sin and yet could not make his son to sin; this argued he was sincerely good: as it did argue Lots sincerity to be righteous in Sodom; for Job to be good in Chaldea; and to be Saints in Nero’s Palace, and to feare God in Jeroboams family, this is goodnesse indeed.
There is onely one difficulty in the Text, viz. What was that good thing that was found in Abijah.
For answer to this, ’tis true, the Scripture doth not particularly expresse what that good thing was which was found in him: but Tostatus and P. Martyr affirme from the Hebrew Rabbins, that when the Jews of the ten Tribes did on their appointed times repair to Ierusalem to worship according to the command of God, and Jerboam commanded Souldiers to intercept them: this Abijah did hinder the souldiers to kill them, and gave them passes to go to Jerusalem to worship God, and incouraged them therein, notwithstanding the rage of his father, who had forsaken the true worship of God, and set up Calves at Dan and Bethel.
Others think the goodnesse of this young Prince was in this, that he would not consent to his father in taking away the government from the house of David; but where the Scripture hath not a tongue to speak, we have not an eare to hear, and therefore we shall not undertake to determine what the Scripture hath not determined.
There are many collaterall observations which I shall deduce from the severall circumstances in the text, and but name some of them. From the consideration that this good Abijah died:
Good men, and usefull, and hopefull instruments may be taken away by death, when wicked men may live long upon the earth.
Bad Jeroboam lived long, his good sonne died soon; so true is that of Solomon, A righteous man may perish in his righteousnesse, when a wicked man may prolong his dayes in his wickednesse; Briers and Thorns and Thistles wither not so soon as Lilies and Roses, they may be taken out of the world, of whom the world is not worthy, and they remaine behind, who are not worthy to live in the world.
From the consideration of the death of godly Abijah, when wicked Nadab the other son of Jeroboam lived,—Observe
That good children may be taken away by death from their parents, when ungodly children may live to be a shame and a curse to their parents.
From the consideration of the cause why this gracious young man died so soon, it was for his fathers sins, as we may gather from vers. 9, 10, 11, 12.
That good children as well as bad may be outwardly punished, for the sins of their parents.
From all Israel’s lamenting the death of this hopefull young man; Observe
That good men who have been, and might be further usefull in their lives, should be much lamented at their death; they that have lived desired, should die lamented.
From these words, he shall go to his grave in peace;
It is a great blessing to go to ones grave in peace in times of war and common calamity.
He was good towards God;
He is good indeed, who is so to God, as well as unto men; many are good in mans sight, that are not so in the sight of God.—
There are two other circumstances upon which I shall a little inlarge my selfe, before I come to the main point I intend to handle.
From the age of this son of Jeroboam, who is here commended for his goodnesse, it is said, he was a childe, vers. 12. Whence it may be observed,
It is very commendable to see goodnesse in young people: to see young men good men, is a very commendable thing.
There were many good men in that time but to be good so soon as Abijah was, when he was a child, the Scripture records this to his praise.
I shall shew you that it is a commendable thing to see young men good men. This I prove,
First, Because the Scripture makes very honourable mention of young men, when good men; as first of Obadiah, that he feared the Lord from his youth. And it is recorded to the honour of Timothy that be knew the holy Scriptures from a child. Jerome conceives that John was the mostk beloved disciple, because he was the youngest of all God remembers the kindnesse of our youth. God takes more kindly the kindnesse of our youth then of our age. It was matter of joy unto John, that he found children walking in the truth.
Secondly, Because God commends morall and common goodnesse in the young man in the Gospell, Christ is said to love him, for his moral goodnesse and naturall ingenuity
The reason why it is so commendable in a young man to be a good man, is this, because their temptations are more, and their affections are stronger to carry them from God; youth hath a stronger aptitude and proclivity to sinne then any other age, their blood is sooner stirr’d up to choler, and their strength to lust. As every relation hath its speciall sin, so every age of a mans life; old age is peevish and covetous; middle age proud, malicious and revengful; young men are usually rash, lustful and voluptuous; and therefore Paul bid to Timothy to fly all youthfull lusts; and therefore seeing youth is exposed to so many temptations, and subject to so many corruptions,—it is rare to see young men good.
Oh then be exhorted you that are young, to become religious betimes; and to quicken you hereunto, Consider.
If you be not good in your youth, you can never use the Psalmists arguments, Cast me not off O Lord in the time of my old age, for sake me not when my strength faileth, v. 9.—and his argument he had before, v. 5. for thou art my hope, and hsst been my trust from my youth, and who would be without such an argument on his death-bed?
Consider, there are recorded in Scripture many young men that were good, of al sorts and conditions, and of all callings; and the Holy Ghost doth not only set down their goodnesse, but their age in which they were good: Solomon a young King, Obadiah a young Courtier, Daniel a young Prophet, John a young Apostle, Timothy a young preacher, and here Abijah a young Prince; and all these were good men, and are recorded for our example and incouragement.
Consider, that God in the dispensations of his grace bestows it upon young men, and passeth by the elder. Thus Abel the younger was righteous, and Cain wicked: Jacob the younger brother loved, and Esau hated; Thus David the youngest of Iesses sons, and yet the best of them, and the chosen of the Lord.
God doth many times do as Jacob did when he blessed the children of Joseph, he stretched out his right hand and laid it upon the head of Ephraim the younger,—so doth God in the dispensation of his grace many times pitch on the youngest, God saith, as Joseph, of all the rest, bring me Benjamin, and gives him a double portion.
The time of your youth is the freest age of your life to betake your selves to the exercise of religion and duties of godlinesse. Young men that are servants, have more freedome and lesse cares then when they grow in yeers, and theq cares & incumbrances of a family fill their hands and clog their hearts.
Consider, if thou art not gracious in youth, the fins of thy youth may trouble thy conscience in thy old age. Many young men who are active and venturous in the heat of their youth, get those bodily bruises and blows, that they feel the ache thereof to their dying day. Thou that givest a blow or a bruise to thy conscience in thy youth, mayest feel this in thy old age.
Those sins which now thou feelest not, may be a trouble to thy conscience, and an aking to thy heart, when thou lyest on thy death bed. And though God do not remēber the sins of your youth to damne your souls; yet he may make you remember them so as to be a trouble to your consciences. These things which are the joyes of youth, may be the bitter burdens of old age. Take heed of laying a loade on thy conscience when thou art young, lest God write bitter things against thee when old, and make thee to possesse the sins of thy youth, and fill thy bones with the sins of thy youth.
A second use of reproofe of two sorts of people.
First, Of those who instead of being good when young, are wicked when they are young, such as fill their youth with manifold evils. Usually youth is subject to these evils:
Pride is the sin of youth, a Preacher must not be a young novice, lest he be lifted up with pride.
Rashnesse and indiscretion is usually the sin of a young head. Exhort young men (saith Paul to Titus) to be sober•minded, to be discreet or wise; how rash and heady was the counsell of the young men to Rehoboam, which made him lose his Kingdom? yeeres teach experience.
Lustfulnesse, which was the ground of Paul’s caution to young Timothy. It Timothy, who was so abstemious a man, that Paul gave him advice to drink some wine with his water, had need of this caution, how much more have they that are not so exercised in duties of mortification? Which gave Solomon ground to give that counsel, Put away the euils of thy flesh,for childhood and youth are vanity. He was a young man that followed the harlot to her house.
Ficklenesse and unsetlednesse of judgement; and therefore in times of errour, the younger sort are most subject to be seduced; Children are tossed to and fro with every winde of doctrine: the hebrew calls a young man in non-Latin alphabet, which comes from in non-Latin alphabet, and signifies to tosse to and fro, intimating that they are unsetled and unstaied in their judgements and resolutions. How soon was the minde of that rich and forward young man changed, mentioned in the Gospel?
To scoffe and condemn the aged; they were children who did mock the aged Prophet; the young men derided Job.
Sensual pleasures and pastimes,—they do rejoyce and chear their hearts in the days of their youth;Sampson made a feast, for so used the young men to do.
Secondly, Reproof lights heavily on those who seem to be good in their youth, but in their old age cast off goodness; how many are like Joash, who seemed to be a good young man whilst he seemed to be under the tuition of Jehojada, but when he was dead, how did he break out.
How many are there in the world, who have lost their affection and desires after God, which they had in their youth? It was a brand set upon Solomon, who, though when young, was well taught by his mother; yet when he grew old, his wives turned away his heart from God. So David had his first days which were better then his last. Even so amongst us, we have too many, who when they were young did love Religion, and delight in Ordinances, and when they became old have abated exceedingly, which may make them to fear the sincerity of their goodness; for he that is truly good in youth will be so in his old age.
A second remarkable circumstance is this, that this young Abijah was good in the house of Jeroboam. Whence observe —
That it is a great commendation for men to retein their goodness whilest they live in bad places and families; That this is so, we may see by that commendable mention the Scri¦ptures make of such as were good in evill places. Thus God commends the Church of Pergamus, I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satans seat is, and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas my faithful Martyr, who was slain amongst you, where Satan dwelleth. Pergamus was a City more given to Idolatry then all the Cities of Asia, and yet there were some that held fast the name of Christ, and did not deny his faith: to be a Saint in Nero’s family is very commendable.
And the reason thereof is,
Because many of God’s children have failed, and abated much of their goodnesse in bad places. How did Peter fall in the High Priests Hall; though when in good company he was zealous, yet there he denied Christ. So Abraham when he was in Gerar, and Isaac also, denied their wives: so Joseph in Pharaoh’s Court, and learn’t the Court Oath, to swear by the life of Pharaoh. Hence God commands the children of Israel, not to mixe themselves with the Heathens, lest they learn their manners and customs. Bad places are like bad aire for zeale to breath in; as sheep amongst brairs lose part of their fleece, so good men in bad company lose part of their goodnesse. As one scabbed sheep may infect a whole flock: so one root of bitterness may spring up and defile many.
Reas. Because it is a cleer evidence of the sincerity of a mans goodness, to be good in a bad place. This shews thy grace to be grace indeed, when thou hast discouragements to be good, and then art holy; this is a demonstration that thou art sincerely good, and that thy goodness is not counterfeit and taken up upon any sinister and hypocritical end. It is good to be good with the good; but it is most excellent to be good amongst the bad, and to be best amongst the worst.
From hence learn the power and unlooseableness of saving grace; grace makes a man good in the worst times; let a man be cast into prison or bad company (which is the worst temptation) yet he shall not lose his grace: true grace is compared to oyle; now cast oyl into a vessel of water, and the oyl will not mix with the water, but will lie on the top; grace will swim upon the water of temptation. As all the water in the salt sea cannot make the fish salt: so all the wicked in the world cannot change the nature of grace; a good man like the fish retains his goodness in bad places; thus Joseph retained his goodnesse in the Court of wicked Pharaoh, Nehemiah in the Court of Artaxerxes, Obadiah in Ahab’s Court, Daniel in Nebuchadnezzars, the Saints in Nero’s houshold, and Abijah in wicked and idolatrous Jeroboam’s house.
Though it be a commendable thing to be good in bad places; yet you ought to bewail your living in bad places: it is your misery, though not your sin; thus did Isaiah, Wo is me, I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips,and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; so David, Wo is me that I dwell in Mesech, and have my habitation in the tents of Kedar, i. e. with the sinful, idolatrous and barbarous people, the posterity of Ishmael; thus Lots righteous soul was vexed from day to day, while he dwelt in Sodom, and saw their unclean conversations.
Hence we may gather, that it is our duty, the more bad the place or family is where God hath cast your dwelling, the better and more blameless you should labour to be; you will by this adorn your Profession, stop the mouths of adversaries, allure and win others to imbrace Christianity.—We must be blameless and harmless, the Sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, amongst whom ye shine as lights in the world. Stars shine brightest in a dark night, & fire burneth hottest in a cold and frosty day: so should thy star of profession shine brightest in darkest places, where thou livest, and the fire of thy zeal burn hottest in cold time, when the love of many waxes cold.
Then certainly it is a vain plea for men to excuse their wickedness, because they live in bad places; this was Abrahams fault to excuse his lie by being at Gerar. Seneca blames men of laying the fault of their badness on the place where they live:I am not ambitious by nature, but no man that lives at Rome can be otherwise. I am not given to costly and rich Apparel, but I must do so when I am at Rome. It is the badnesse of thy heart, and not the place that makes thee bad; no place though never so good, can exempt a man from sin; the Angels sinned in Heaven, Adam in Paradise, Judas in Christ’s family, and no place though never so bad can excuse a man from sin.
If it be so commendable to be good in bad places, then it is abominable to be bad in good places, to be dirty swine in a fair meadow; Oh how many are bad in good families, who despise good counsels, and hate the duties of Religion in religious families! If it was bad for Peter to be evil amongst the High-Priests servants, how abominable was it for Judas to be a Traitor amongst the Apostles, and in the family of Christ himself!
Delight not to be in bad places and companys; to delight in such, argues thou art bad thy self. We are to hate the garment spotted with the flesh; some expound this, To avoid the occasions of sin: but Mr. Perkins gives this sense,To hate bad company, and he saith, it alludes unto the Ceremonial law, That if a man had a leprous garment,or a•ga•ment any o¦therwise made unclean, his company was to be a voided. God therefore gave that command, Not to plough with an Oxe and an Asse together the Asse was an unclean creature, and the Oxe was one of the clean beasts, and they must not be in the same yoke; To note, (say Divines) that Gods people and prophane persons must not be yoked together. Though they may occasionally meet together, yet they must not be yoked together; a man may trade with the wickedest man alive, commerce is not forbidden, but our joyning with wicked men in a needlesse familiarity.
Keep company with the godly, and delight your selves with such as are good. It is lawful to be in bad company when a just occasion calls, but it is profitable to be in good company. He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but he that is a companion of fools shall be destroyed. As a man that comes in a shop of persumes wil carry away the sent with him: so a man by conversing with the godly shall carry away some good with him. Labour to to chuse those for thy companions from whom thou mayest get some good; but if God should cast thee into a house like the family of Jeroboam, imitate good Abijah, of whom it is said, That in him was found some good to the Lord God of Israel, even in the house of Jeroboam.