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Spirit from us. Let this also teach some People the Reason, why they are so dead and senseless of Religion, and hardly capable of an outward formal Compliance with it ; they are not guilty of gross Sins, they have an aversion to Cheating and Falseness, but at the same timə have no more feeling or relish of Religion, than mere Reprobates. Now the Reaion of it is this, they live in such an Impertinence of Conversation, their own Communication is so constantly upon filly and vain Subjects, and they are so fond of those who have the Talent of conversing in the same Manner, that they render themselves
unfit for the Residence of the Holy Spi- rit. Their whole Life is almost nothing
else, but a Course of that Filthiness, foolis Talking and Jefting, which the Apostle forbids. Now this kind of Conversation may grieve the Holy Spirit, for these two Reasons, first, because it proceeds from too disorder'd a Soul, for the Holy Spirit to delight in; for such as our Conversation is, such is our Heart, for Truth itself has assured us, that Out of the abundance of the heurt the mouth speaketh. If therefore we are delighted with idle Raillery, foolish Festings, and ridiculous Stories, we must not think that we are only Foolish, so far as a little talk goes, but we must charge
our selves home, and be assured that it is a foolishness of Heart, a vanity of Soul that we labour under.
SECONDLY, Another Reason why this Conversation grieves the Holy Spirit, may be this, because it is of so great Confequence, and has so great an Influence in Life. We don't seem enough to apprehend, either how much Good or how much Evil there is in Conversation, and I believe it may be affirmed that the greatest Instructions, and the greatest Corruptions proceed from it. If some People were to give us their true History, they would tell us that they never had any Religion, since they had such Acquaintance, and others have been insensibly led into a fincere Piety, only by conversing with pious ? People. For Men's common Conversation and ordinary Life teach much more effectually, than any thing they say or do at fet Times and Occasions.
WHEN a Clergyman Preaches, he is for the most part considered as doing his Duty, as Acting according to his Profession, and doing that which all Clergymen do, whether good or bad. But if he is the same wise and virtuous Man in his Communication, that he is in the Pulpit, if his Speech be season'd with Salt, that it may minister Grace unto the Hearers, X 4
if the common and ordinary Actions of his Life be visibly govern’d by a Spirit of Piety. Such a one will make Converts to Holiness; he will be heard with Reverence on the Sunday, not so much for the Weight of what he says, as for what he says and does all the Week. And on the contrary, if a Clergyman when he comes out of the Pulpit, is but like other Men, as Irregular in his Tempers, as Trifling in his Conversation, as Eager in Diversions, and as Ridiculous in his Pleasures, as Vain in his Designs, as other People, he will mightily lessen his Power over the Hearts of his Hearers. A Father now and then gives his Son virtuous Advice, and the Son perhaps would be much the better for it, but that he never hears him talking Virtuously, but when he is giving him Advice, this makes him think, that he is then only Acting the Part of a Father, as when he is buying him Clothes, or putting him out to an Employment. Whereas if he faw his Father's ordinary Life and Conversation to be under the Rules of Religion, and his every-day Temper, a Temper of Piety, 'tis very likely, that he would be won into an Imitation of it.
A MOTHER, orders her Daughter to taught the Catechism, and deares that she
may have Books of Devotion, the Daughter would have imagined that she was to have formed herself by these Books, she would have read them when she was alone, but that she finds her Mother sits
up at Night to read Romances, and if the is ill, must be read to Sleep with a Play. She might have had some Notion of religious Modesty and Humility, but that the sees her Mother eager after all Diversions, Impatient till she knows all Intreigues, fond of the Wit and Flattery of Rakes, pleas'd with the Gentility of Fops, and the Gracefulness of Players.
Now a Daughter educated with a Mother of this Temper and Conversation, is render'd almost incapable of Religion.
This therefore may be one Reason, why a vain unedifying Conversation grieves the Holy Spirit, viz. because it not only proceeds from a Corruption of Heart, a diforder'd State of the Soul, but because it is so powerful in its Influences, and does so much harm to those that we converse with. For it is our Communication, our ordinary Temper, and manner of common Life that affects other People, that either hardens them in Sin, or awakens them to a Sense of Piety. Let therefore all Clergyinen, and Masters and Mistresses of Families,
look carefully to themselves, let them consider, that if their ordinary Life, their Communication be vain, impertinent, and unedifying, that they are not only in a corrupt State of Heart, but are guilty of corrupting and perverting the Hearts of those that belong to them. Let them not think, that they have sufficiently discharg’d their Duty, by seeing that those who relate to them, have their proper Instructions, for it is next to impossible for such Instructions to have their proper Effect, against the Temper and Example of those we converse with. If a Clergyman Plays, and Drinks and Sports with his Flock in the Week-Days, let him not wonder, if he preaches them asleep on Sundays. If a Father is intemperate, if he Swears, and converses foolishly with his Friends, let him not wonder, that his Children cannot be made virtuous. For there is nothing that teaches to any Purpose, but our ordinary Temper, our common Life and Conversation; and almost all People will be such as those, amongst whom they were born and bred. It is therefore the necessary Duty of all Christans in all States of Life, to look carefully to their ordinary Behaviour, that it be not the
Means of poisoning and corrupting the Hearts of those that they converse with. They must consider, that all the Follies,