“But especially preserve the charity of your soul from the dangers you may incur by a conversation with muses that are no better than harlots: among which are others besides Ovid’s Epistles, which for their tendency to excite and foment impure flames, and cast coals into your bosom, deserve rather to be thrown into the fire, than to be laid before the eye which a covenant should be made withal. Indeed, not merely for the impurities which they convey, but also on some other accounts…
[T]he powers of darkness have a library among us, whereof the poets have been the most numerous as well as most venomous authors. Most of the the modern plays, as well as the romances and novels and fictions, which are a sort of poems, do belong to the catalogue of this cursed library. The plays, I say, in which there are so many passages that have a tendency to overthrow all piety … How much do I with such pestilences, and indeed all those worse than Egyptian toads (the spawns of a Butler, a Brown, and a Ward, and a company whose name is legion!), might never crawl into our chamber! The unclean spirits that come like frogs out of the mouths of the dragon, and of the beast, which go forth unto the young people of the earth and expose them to be dealt withal as the enemies of God, in the battle of the great day of the Almighty. As for those wretched scribbles of madmen, my son, touch them not, taste them not, handle them not: thou wilt perish in the using of them. They are, the dragons whose contagious breath, peoples the dark retreats of death. … those vile rhapsodies … which you will find always leave a taint upon your mind, and among other ill effects, will sensibly indispose you to converse with holy oracles of God your Saviour” (Cotton Mather; underlining mine–CD).
This is certainly NOT an absolute endorsement of Cotton Mather. But SOME of his comments made me think of verses like unto these:
“Do not be led astray; bad companionships ruin good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
“For the rest, brothers, whatever is true, whatever honorable, whatever [is] right, whatever pure, whatever lovely, whatever of good report, if [of] any virtue, and if [of]any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
“I made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I look intently on a virgin?” (Job 31:1)
“Beloved, I exhort [you] as pilgrims and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).
“I [am] a companion of all who fear You; yea, of those who keep Your Precepts” (Psalm 119:63).
“I have hated the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked” (Psalm 26:5).
“A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know evil” (Psalm 101:4).
“As for the saints in the earth, they [are] the excellent ones; all my delight [is] in them” (Psalm 16:3).
“But let not fornication, and all uncleanness, or greediness, be named among you, as is fitting for saints; also baseness, and foolish talking, or joking (the things not becoming), but rather thanksgiving. For be knowing this, that every fornicator, or unclean one, or covetous [one], who is an idolater, has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for through these [things] the wrath of God comes on the sons of disobedience. Then do not become partakers with them; for you then were darkness, but [are] now light in [the] Lord; walk as children of light. For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth, proving what is pleasing to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove [them.] For it is shameful even to speak of the things being done by them in secret” (Ephesians 5:3-12).
“… who knowing the righteous order of God, that those practicing such things are worthy of death, not only do them, but also approve those practicing [them]” (Romans 1:32).