Solitude is a separation from all men for a period of time, in order to be enabled to express ourselves more earnestly and with more freedom as we engage ourselves in seeking after God. We designate this as a separation from all fellowship with men (IV: 19).
This is a seasonal separation and thus not life-long as the papists do in their monasteries, which are nothing more than places of filth, dens of murder, and impure Sodoms. Then there are also the hermits among them who permit themselves to be enclosed within four walls, or who make either the forest or the wilderness their residence. We abhor this manner of life--even if it were void of all superstition and pollution. For, first of all, it is contrary to God's command who has created man as a being in need of companionship, saying, "It is not good that the man should be alone" (Gen. 2:18). Secondly, it is God's will that we let our light shine before men in order that they may see our good works and may glorify our Father which is in heaven (Mat. 5:16); and that we would use our gifts to the advantage, conversion, and edification of other men. We have received our talents to that end, along with the command: "Occupy till I come" (Luke 19:13). Thirdly, continual solitude prevents us from becoming acquainted with our corrupt heart, being humbled by this, and striving for its sanctification, there being no opportunity whereby this corruption would manifest itself (IV: 19-20).