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writer of these lines occasionally travels; and, therefore, can write experimentally. The result of his own ob. servations he cheerfully submits to this traveller; and, indeed, to all others of a like stamp. Though he has to regret not having always acted upon these principles,yet when he has done it, he has uniformly found them availing
1st, Look to God in secret prayer. Pray to be kept from the contagion of the company you are in. Beg that you may “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; but rather reprove them.” By fellowship, the apostle means friendly and cordial intercourse and pleasure. We are cautioned against "foolish talking, filthiness, and jesting;” and, “if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” Now, prayer will enable us to act agreeably to these exhortations. Prayer is our best weapon; and can be successfully used when a company are not aware of it.
2dly, Never be ashamed of your profession. You are not ashamed of telling what your secular profession or trade may be; then, why be ashamed to say
that you profess Christianity?
“Ashamed of Jesus!-- just as soon
“Let midnight blush to think of noon." If a company see you sneak, as they call it, and that you wish to conceal your real character, it will only make them more impudent and wicked. How often have Christians, in some companies, permitted a succession of indecent songs, toasts, and vollies of oaths, merely because they wanted a little timely courage in checking them at first! The righteous should be bold as a lion!
3dly, Imitate the frankness and zeal of the wicked. As soon as some men get into a coach, or arrive at an
inn, they almost immediately display their colors, and avow themselves the servants of Sin; they are impatient till they have opened their character; they give awful evidence that they are the children of darkness. Why then should we be ashamed of being known as the chil. dren of light?. Their consciences tell them that ours is the most honorable character; and yet we are afraid of receiving the honor they are obliged to give us. We may assert our characters, by politely checking the first improper 'remark, or reproving the first swearer we hear. If we were to begin singing hymns, or talking directly on religion, when we entered into company, how many a reproof, and oath too, should we have for our pains! and yet we let sinners play their parts with impunity! Whole companies have been siienced by a well-timed reproof. If a rebuke loses its effect, which is seldom the case, have the manliness to quit the company as soon as convenient; and the sooner the better, for this will put a keener edge upon your reproof than staying among them.
Lastly, Be beforehand with your company, when it can be done with propriety. Take an early opportunity of dropping a moral or serious remark, and it will operate in the way you wish it. Precepts are enforced by examples. The traveller will, therefore, see the force of this head of advice, if I introduce two anecdotes: A person was once in a coach, when it stopped to take up a gentleman who had every appearance of being a clergyman. Silence was observed for some time, particularly by a loquacious swearing passenger. At length the supposed clergyman began to talk; and, at intervals, politely introduced the word Devil into his discourse.
This opened the lips of the other; and he could then swear and talk nonsense with a vengeance. To have a parson connive at his language, was all the sanction he required. The other instance was this:-A gentle. man in a coach began his conversation by boasting of the plenty and prosperity we enjoyed as a nation; adding, that we want for nothing. No, Sir,' said a minister pleasantly, 'we want nothing but gratitude to God." This timely hint took the company by surprise; and as they suspected they had a Methodist present, he found them very decent companions till they separated.
I cannot conclude without recommending to travellers to carry a parcel of Religious Tracts with them; such as A Dialogue between a Traveller and yourself, On the Sabbath, On Swearing, &c. These offered to fellow-travellers, left at inns, given to waiters, &c. might be attended with great good, and help to 'counteract the prodigious evil communicated by profane and wicked men on their journies. A FELLOW-TRAVELLER.
WHAT is the conduct a Christian ought to pursue when
called in the path of duty into a mixed company, where, immediately after partaking of the bounties nf Provi. dence, it is directly followed by an immodest or im
proper toast? First, The Christian should be decidedly of opinion, that he is called in a "path of duty," and not of choice, when he associates with a company of this description. I am well aware that religious characters, in the course of their lawful avocations, are so connected with men of opposite sentiments, as to be under a kind of necessity of being present in their public assemblies; yet, when this is unavoidably the case, the Christian will aim to dignify the character he sustains, by a consistency of conduct, in testifying, either directly or indirectly, against every thing that is subversive of its pure and salutary tendency.
But the question returns. What should be the line of conduct respecting the case in point? How is he to manifest his disapprobation of a custom, alas! too prevalent, in giving immoral toasts, after partaking of the bounties of Providence? I readily acknowledge that I feel some kind of difficulty in attempting to prescribe the most effectual means; for, in my humble opinion, there is nothing that requires so much delicacy and discretion as the proper mode of administering a reproof so as not to defeat the end of the reprover; for if un. seasonably attempted, it not unfrequently irritates, rather than reforms.
But still, something ought to be done. Suppose the Christian, in the case alluded to, disgusted with the immorality, not to say indecency of the chairman, who disseminates impurity through the company over which he presides, evacuates his seat, on such toasts being given tacitly evidencing thereby his total abhorrence of such proceedings; and, as it would, perhaps, be indiscreet to make a verbal appeal to the president, who so ignobly, though fashionably, adapts himself to the corrupt custom of the times; let him convey his thoughts on the subject to him privately, by a few lines written in a spirit of moderation and calmness, reminding him,
in the language of a poet of our own, that
“Immodest words admit of no defence;
Would not this be as likely a method as any to convince him of the immoral tendency of the custom, though sanctioned by the too prevalent habit of a degenerate age? And whether it has the desired effect or not, the Christian will have the satisfaction to reflect, that though he is in the world, and has to do with men of the world, yet, he is not of it, but wishes to testify against its corrupt maxims, in the various departments wherein he is called to move.
ON PSALM 119.
How may the operations of the Holy Spirit on the mind
be distinguished from the mere influence of the passions? and, How may it be ascertained when the passions themselves are under the influence of Satan, especially under public ordinances?
The mind of man is apt to wander in pursuit of improper objects. When the mind is enticed and misled, the character is likely to be affected and injured by the proposed objects of sensible good. A child of God knows this by personal and painful experience. His heart turns aside after vanity; and his feet go astray into forbidden paths. Inattention to the word of God is the cause of this. If his heart were sound in the Divine statutes, his conduct would be free from reproach and censure. But the great Shepherd of Souls views