“Now, to prevent this danger of being infected with the sins and evils of the times, I shall lay down a few directions.
- If you would prevent infection in these evil days, begin every day with God: season your hearts every morning by communion with the Lord. This was David’s practice, Psalm cxxix. 18. “When I awake, I am still with thee.” It was blessed counsel which a worthy person gives in this case; ‘Before earthly things (saith he) break in upon us, and we receive impressions from abroad, it is good to season the heart with thoughts of God, and to consecrate the early and virgin operations of the mind, before they are prostituted to baser objects. When the world gets the start of religion in the morning, it can hardly overtake it all the day; and so the heart is habituated to vanity all the day long: but when we begin with God, we take him along with us to all the businesses and comforts of the day; which being seasoned with his love and fear, are the more sweet and savoury to us.’
- Be choice in your company. Christ indeed conversed frequently with publicans and sinners, but it was still in order to their good, and there was no danger of receiving any evil from them, there was nothing in him to fasten a temptation upon, but we can seldom get off without a taint.
- Quicken up your zeal for God; this will be a spur to the discharge of your duty in all places, times, and companies. ‘Love (saith Mr. Gurnal) ever goes armed with zeal, that is her dagger she draws against all opposers of truth.’ Qui non zelat non amat. Many times we hear the name of God profaned, and dare not take as much liberty and boldness to reprove sin, as they do to commit it: whence is this but from the want of zeal? O it would make thee, as it did Jonathan, to cast a kingdom at thy heels, to appear against sin: And methinks thy interest in God should provoke thy zeal. We must not neglect the duty of a friend, for fear of incurring the suspicion of an enemy: It is better to lose the smiles than the souls of men: If thou discharge thy duty, the sin is his; if not, it is thine too.
- Furnish your hearts with such principles, as are antidotes and preservatives against infections. As physicians advise in times of infection, to carry some preservatives still about you. Of this sort I shall commend four or five, and shut up this head” [ed.] i) the glory of God ii) peace of conscience iii) hate sin iv) fulfill your duty to God v) remember the coming judgment.
1. Flavel, John. The Works of John Flavel, Volume IV. “Antipharmacum Saluberrimum.” Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1968, pages 545-546.