The apostle exhorts them further to a prudent and decent conduct towards all those with whom they conversed, towards the heathen world, or those out of the Christian church among whom they lived (Col. 4:5): Walk in wisdom towards those who are without. Be careful, in all your converse with them, to get no hurt by them, or contract any of their customs; for evil communications corrupt good manners; and to do not hurt to them, or increase their prejudices against religion, and give them an occasion of dislike. Yea, do them all the good you can, and by all the fittest means and in the proper seasons recommend religion to them.—Redeeming the time; that is, either “improving every opportunity of doing them good, and making the best use of your time in proper duty” (diligence in redeeming time very much recommends religion to the good opinion of others), or else “walking cautiously and with circumspections, to give them no advantage against you, nor expose yourselves to their malice and ill-will,” Eph. 5:15, 16. Walk circumspectly, redeeming the time, because the days are evil, that is, dangerous, or times of trouble and suffering. And towards others, or those who are within as well as those who are without, “Let your speech be always with grace, Col. 4:6. Let all your discourse be as becomes Christians, suitable to your profession—savoury, discreet, seasonable.” Though it be not always of grace, it must be always with grace; and, though the matter of our discourse be that which is common, yet there must be an air of piety upon it and it must be in a Christian manner seasoned with salt. Grace is the salt which seasons our discourse, makes it savoury, and keeps it from corrupting. That you may know how to answer every man. One answer is proper for one man, and another for another man Prov. 26:4, 5. We have need of a great deal of wisdom and grace to give proper answers to every man, particularly in answering the questions and objections of adversaries against our religion, giving the reasons of our faith, and showing the unreasonableness of their exceptions and cavils to the best advantage for our cause and least prejudice to ourselves. Be ready always to give an answer to every man who asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear, 1 Pet. 3:15.
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