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Conversation of Faithful and Talkative.
Taik. Profitable ourt
Faith. Friend, whither away? are you going to the heavenly country?
Talk. I am going to the same place.
Faith. That is well; then I hope we may have your good company?
Talk. With a very good will I will be your com
Faith. Come on then, and let us go together, and let us spend our time in discoursing of things that are profitable.
Talk. To talk of things that are good, to me is very acceptable, with you or with any other: and I am glad that I have met with those that incline to so good a work; for, to speak the truth, there are but few that care thus to spend their time as they are in their travels; but choose much rather to be speaking of things to no profit: and this hath been a trouble to me.
Faith. That is indeed a thing to be lamented : for what thing so worthy of the use of the tongue and mouth of men on earth, as are the things of the God of heaven?
Talk. I like you wonderfully well, for your say. ings are full of conviction ;-and, I will add, what things are so pleasant, and what so profitable, as to talk of the things of God?
What things so pleasant ? that is, if a man hath any delight in things that are wonderful: for instance, if a man doth delight to talk of the history or the mystery of things; or if a man doth love to talk of miracles, wonders, or signs-where shall we find things recorded so delightful, and so sweetly penned, as in the holy scripture ? • Faith. That's true; but to be profited by su things in our talk should be our chief design.
Talk. That is it that I said: for to talk of such things is most profitable: for by so doing a man may
Conversation of Faithful and Talkative.
get knowledge of many things; as of the vanity of earthly things, and the benefit of things above. Thus in general; but, more particularly, by this a man may learn the necessity of the new birth; the insuf. ficiency of our works; the need of Christ's righteous. ness, &c. Besides, by this a man may learn what it! is to repent, to believe, to pray, to suffer, or the like: by this also a man may learn what are the great pro. mises and consolations of the gospel, to his own comfort. Further, by this a man may learn to refute false opinions, to vindicate the truth, and also to instruct the ignorant'.
Faith. All this is true, and glad am I to hear these things from you.
Talk. Alas! the want of this is the cause that so few understand the need of faith, and the necessity of a work of grace in their soul, in order to eternal life; but ignorantly live in the works of the law, by the which a man can by no means obtain the kingdom of heaven.
Faith. But, by your leave, heavenly knowledge of these things is the gift of God; no man attaineth to them by human industry, or only by the talking of them,
Talk, All that I know very well: for a man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven; all is of grace, not of works; I could give you an hundred scriptures for the conSrmation of this.
Faith. Well then, said Faithful, what is that one thing that we shall at this time found our discourse upon ?
This is a picture to the life of many a formal worshipper. Hence observe: a mere professor may learn, like a parrot, to talk of sound doctrines, and he may have a sound judgment about them; while his heart is rotten, as to any experience of them, love to them, and the power and influence of them upon his affections and his life. Many call Christ their master now, whom he will condemn hereafter as their judge.
Christian and Faithful's Discourse
Talk. What you will : I will talk of things heavenly, or things earthly; things moral, or things evangelical; things sacred, or things profane; things past, or things to come; things foreign, or things at home; things more essential, or things circumstantial; provided that all be done to our profit.
Faith. Now did Faithfuil begin to wonder; and stepping to Christian (for he walked all this while by himself) he said to him, but softly, What a brave companion have we got! surely this man will make a very excellent pilgrim.
Chr. At this Christian modestly smiled, and said, This man, with whom you are so taken, will beguile with this tongue of his twenty of them who know him not.
Faith. Do you know him then ?
Faith. Pray what is he?
Chr. His name is Talkative ; he dwelleth in our town; I wonder that you should be a stranger to him; only I consider that our town is large.
Faith. Whose son is he? and whereabouts doth he dwell ?
Chr. He is the son of one Say-well, he dwelt in Prating-row: and is known, of all that are acquainted with him, by the name of Talkative of Prating-row; and, notwithstanding his fine tongue, he is but a sorry fellow».
FAITH. Well, he seems to be a very pretty man. Chr. That is, to them who have not a thorough
? As we are forbid to speak evil of any man, Titus iii. 2, is not Christian guilty of this ? No, for where the glory of God and the honour of the gospel are at stake, and there is danger of a brother's being deceived by a mere talkative, loose, wicked professor, the nature of the case requires that we should detect and expose such a person in a becoming spirit.
respecting the real Character of Talkative.
acquaintance with him ; for he is best abroad, near home he is ugly enough: your saying, that he is a pretty man, brings to my mind what I have observed in the work of the painter, whose pictures show best at a distance, but very near, more unpleasing.
Faith. I am ready to think you do but jest, because you smiled.
Chr. God forbid that I should jest (though I smiled) in this matter, or that I should accuse any falsely. I will give you a further discovery of him : this man is for any company, and for any talk; as he talketh now with you, so he will talk when he is on the ale-bench: and the more drink he hath in his crown, the more of these things he hath in his mouth: religion hath no place in his heart, or house, or conversation: all he hath lieth in his tongue, and his religion is to make a noise therewith.
FAITH. Say you so? then I am in this man greatly deceived.
CHR. Deceived! you may be sure of it: remember the proverb, “ They say, and do not :” but 66.the kingdom of God is not in word, but in powers." He talketh of prayer, of repentance, of faith, and of the new-birth; but he knows but only to talk of them. I have been in his family, and have observed him both at home and abroad ; and I know what I say of him is the truth. His house is as empty of religion as the white of an egg is of savour. There is there neither prayer, nor sign of repentance for sin; yea, the brute, in his kind, serves God far better than he. He is the very stain, reproach, and shame, of religion, to all that know him*: it can hardly have a good word in all that end of the town
where he dwells, through him. Thụs say the com· mon people that know him" A saint abroad, and
- Matth. xxiii. 3.
1 Cor. iv. 20.
Rom. ii. 23, 24.
The real Character of Talkative
and be to them Of opiniomble ar
a devil at home.” His poor family finds it so: he is such a churl, such a railer at, and so unreasonable with, his servants, that they neither know how to do for, or speak to him. Men that have any dealings with him, say it is better to deal with a Turk than with him, for fairer dealings they shall have at his hands. This Talkative, if it be possible, will go be. yond them, defraud, beguile, and overreach them.-Besides, he brings up his sons to follow his steps; and if he finds in any of them a “foolish timorous, ness" (for so he calls the first appearance of a ten, der conscience) he calls them fools and blockheads, and by no means will employ them in much, or speak to their commendation before others. For my part, I am of opinion that he has by his wicked' life caused many to stumble and fall; and will be, if God prevents not, the ruin of many more.
Faith. Well, my brother, I am bound to believe you, not only because you say you know him, but also because like a Christian you make your reports of men. For I cannot think that you speak those things of ill-will, but because it is even so as you say. **Chr. Had I known him no more than you, I might perhaps have thought of him as at the first you did : yea, had he received this report at their hands only that are enemies to religion, I should have thought it had been a slander (a lot that often falls from bad men's mouths upon good men's names and professions :) but all these things, yea, and a
* Read this, and tremble, ye whose professions lie only on your tongues, but who never knew the love and grace of Christ in your souls. Oh, how do you trifle with the grace of God, with Jesus Christ, and with the holy word of truth! Oh, what an awful account have you to give hereafter to a holy hearı-searching God! - Ye true pilgrims of Jesus, read this, and give glory to your Lord, for saving you from resting in barren notions, and in a fruitless talking of truths.