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Rule v. Separation and sequestration from the world and men 68of the world, with all ways of false worship, until we be apparently a people dwelling alone, not reckoned among the nations.

Num. xxiii. 9, “Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.”

John xv. 19, “Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

2 Cor. vi. 14–18, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

Eph. v. 8, 11, “Walk as children of light. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.”

2 Tim. iii. 5, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.”

Hos. iv. 15, “Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Beth-aven.”

Rev. xviii. 4, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

Prov. xiv. 7, “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.”

Explication v. Separation generally hears ill in the world, and yet there is a separation suitable to the mind of God. He that will not separate from the world and false worship is a separate from Christ.

Now, the separation here commanded from any persons is not in respect of natural affections, nor spiritual care for the good of their souls, Rom. ix. 3; nor yet in respect of duties of relation, 1 Cor. vii. 13; nor yet in offices of love and civil converse, 1 Cor. v. 10; 1 Thess. iv. 12; much less in not seeking their good and prosperity, 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2, or not communicating good things unto them, Gal. vi. 10, or not living profitably and peaceably with them, Rom. xii. 18: but in, — 1. Manner of walking and conversation, Rom. xii. 2; Eph. iv. 17–19; 2. Delightful converse and familiarity where enmity and opposition appear, Eph. v. 3, 4, 6–8, 10, 11; 3. In ways of worship and ordinances of fellowship, Rev. xviii. 4, not running out into the same compass of excess and riot with them in any thing: for these three, and the like commands and discoveries of the will of God, are most express, 69as in the places annexed to the rule; necessity abundantly urgent, spiritual profit, and edification, no less requiring it. Causeless separation from established churches, walking according to the order of the gospel (though perhaps failing in the practice of some things of small concernment), is no small sin; but separation from the sinful practices, and disorderly walkings, and false unwarranted ways of worship in any, is to fulfil the precept of net partaking in other men’s sins. To delight in the company, fellowship, society, and converse of unsavoury, disorderly persons, proclaims a spirit not endeared to Christ.

Let motives hereunto be, —

1. God’s command.

2. Our own preservation from sin and protection from punishment, that with others we be not infected and plagued.

3. Christ’s delight in the purity of his ordinances.

4. His distinguishing love to his saints; provided that, in the practice of this rule, abundance of meekness, patience, gentleness, wisdom, and tenderness be exercised. Let no offence be given justly to any.

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