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whom God has endowed with Senfe and Reason and Understanding, they who have not loft their own fhall determine. But, allowing the Excufe, it will not exempt him from the Judgment of the Text; becaufe by idle Words, as has been already shewn, fuch Words are meant as are capable of this Excuse, as not being chargeable with any great Evil. Lastly, Add to the Text the Comment of St. Paul, and then by idle Words we must understand foolish Talking and Jefting, which are not convenient. This may teach us what Judgment we are to make from the Scope and Design of the Text: But yet here we can find nothing directly pointing against common Converfation, where the Subject of the Discourse is poor and mean, and incapable of yielding any Profit or Improvement; and fince we cannot directly conclude from the Text, let us confider,

Secondly, The End and Defign of Speech, which is the Gift of God to Mankind: For if we use our Speech to ferve any Purposes contrary to the End defigned by God in giving us Speech, we manifeftly abuse his Gift, and must answer for fuch an Abuse.

Speech

Speech was given us for the Communica tion of our Thoughts to each other; the Mind is furnished with Variety of Thoughts and Reflections, fome of which are proper for Difcourfe, and fome not: There are fome Things which a Man cannot but have Ideas of, fome Things which intrude upon the Mind, but are not fit Subjects of Discourse. So that though Speech be given for the communicating of our Thoughts, yet all our Thoughts are not to be difclofed, or brought into Converfation. We must judge what are proper Subjects, and must be anfwerable for the Government of our Tongues. A Man may be innocent in having fome Thoughts in his Mind, which he cannot innocently disclose; the Reason is, because he cannot always chufe his Thoughts, but he can always chufe what he will talk of. As to the proper Ends of Speech, we may rea

fon thus: God has made us reasonable Creatures, and fitted us for his Service, and therefore expects a reasonable Service from us: As he has given us all the Good we enjoy, it is our Duty to praife and adore him; to raife in ourselves and others a Senfe of Gratitude and Duty towards him: This is one End of Speech. As he has made us liable

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to many

Wants and Neceffities, it is our Duty to pray to him, and in all our Wants to apply to him both in public and private: This is another End of Speech. Under these Heads we include, with refpect to Reason, the Contemplation of the Works of Nature and Providence, which ferves to give us a just Sense of the Power and Wisdom of God; and, with refpect to Speech, all Discourses upon these Subjects, which tend to inspire others with the fame awful Senfe of the Almighty: These are, no doubt, proper Subjects for reasonable Creatures and Chriftians,

But then farther, The Wants and Neceffities of Nature, which are present, call for our Help. We must by Labour and Industry supply ourselves with Neceffaries and Conveniencies of Life; and as this Subject must employ great Part of our Thoughts, fo likewise great Part of our Speech; for we cannot live without the mutual Aid and Affiftance of each other; and this neceffarily makes the Business of Life the frequent Subject of Discourse. And a very proper Subject it is, and Men are usefully employed, when they are learning themselves, or inftructing others in the Bufinefs of their Trade or Profeffion. So then this is another End

of

of Speech, that Men may confer concerning the neceffary Affairs of Life, and be mutually aiding and helping to each other.

But farther ftill, God has made us to delight in each other's Company. We are by Nature fociable Creatures, and there is a Pleasure in Converfation, though we have no End to ferve by it, no Business to difcourfe of, nor any thing to afk or defire of one another. And fince God has made us fociable Creatures, and it is his Will and express Command to us, that we love and delight in one another; it follows, that it is very lawful and commendable for Men to meet for this Purpofe, for the improving and maintaining mutual Love and Friendship : And then another End of Speech is to be a Bond of Society, to be a Means of bringing and keeping Men together.

Now then, if it does appear that Men may meet for mutual Society and Conversation, it follows, that nothing can render Converfation unlawful that is not finful: For God made us for the Society of each other, and has commanded us to love each other; and therefore if our Difcourfes are friendly and focial, they are fo far virtuous, as they serve the End of Nature.

Now Men may talk of many Subjects, which have no prefent Profit or Inftruction in them, and yet they may serve this End of Conversation, of making Men delight in each other's Company: And fince Love and Friendship are fuch great Gospel-Virtues, a Man may fafely dedicate fome Hours in the Day to them without a Prospect of serving any other End, and yet be virtuously employed. How often is it seen, that Men by meeting accidentally, and discourfing only upon common Subjects, come to have a good Liking to each other, which by degrees improves into Love and Kindness? How often too are the greatest Enemies reconciled, by being brought into Company together? At first they hardly bear the Sight of each other; Were they to talk of their own Affairs, or even of any thing that would admit of a Difpute, their Resentments would flame out into Anger and Paffion; but upon common and indifferent Subjects they make shift to bear with one another in Converfation; which by degrees foftens them into a mutual Compliance, and reftores the long-forgotten Friendship and Kindness: And will you fsay the Time is ill spent, that ends fo profitably, so much to the Glory of God, and the Good. of Men? At

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