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3. Your evil speaking of your brethren destroyeth love in others, as it proves the want of it in yourselves. And to destroy their love is to destroy their souls. You do your worst to quench the love, both of him that you speak evil of, and of them to whom you speak it. Good is the object of love; and therefore to speak (well) of men, and manifest them to be lovely, is the only way to make them loved. Evil is the object of hatred : and therefore to speak evil of them, is to make them seem hateful, and draw men to the guilt of hating them. To praise a man will do more to make him loved, than if you only entreat another to love him ; and to dispraise a man will do more to make him hated, than if you directly persuade another to hate him.. And what service you do the devil, and what disservice unto Christ, by destroying love, and sowing hatred among his ser-, vants, were you impartial you might easily discern.
4. Is it not shame and pity, that the followers of Christ. should imitate the devil, and ungodly men, as by detraction and reviling words they do? You aggravate your brethren's faults ; and find faults where there are none; and so do Satan and ungodly men. You have a secret desire to make them seem contemptible and vile ; and so have Satan and ungodly men. And hereby you seem to justify the wicked, and encourage them in their reproaching. They think they may boldly speak such a language of you all, as they hear you speak of one another. O what pity is it to hear the professed children of the Lord, to use the hell-bred language of his enemies, as if they had gone to school to Satan !
4. Are there not tongues enough sharpened against us in the world, but we must wound each other with our own ? Is it. not enough, if we are the seed of Christ, that every where the serpent's seed do hate us; and that all manner of evil is falsely spoken of us, and that we are not made as the scorn and the offspring of all things, but we must also hate and reproach each other ? Have you not load enough from the world ? Have you not enemies enough to do the work of enemies, but friends must do it? And hath not Satan instruments and tongues enough of his own, but we must use those that are Christ's against himself?
6. If thou hate thy brother, yet sure thou dost not hate thyself. Why then dost thou hurt and shame thyself ? His hurt is but to be defamed, which is little, if any thing at all (for it. is much in himself whether it shall hurt him.) But thy hurt
that doeth it, is to provoke God against thee, and incur his wrath, and wound thy soul by the guilt of sin. And if another hurt thee in the heel, wilt thou therefore stab thyself to the heart? If another be bad, wilt thou become so by unjust defaming him? And how dost thou cross thine own intentions ? The stone that thou castest at him, Alies back in thy face. Thou proclaimest thy own transgression and shame, when thou art uncharitably proclaiming his. Is not a backbiter, a reviler, is not a malicious calumniator, a worse name (which thou takest to thyself) than that which thou canst fasten on him whom thou dost reproach?
7. Thy uncharitable speeches are a dangerous sign of an unhumbled and unpardoned soul. If thou canst not forgive, thou art not forgiven. Did you know yourselves, it would teach you to deal more compassionately with others. You would have the act of oblivion as extensive as you could, if you knew what danger you are in yourselves. Do you not know as much by yourselves as you have to reproach your brother with? Do you not then invite both God and man to take you at the worst, and use you as you use your brother? Methinks
should rather be desirous of a more tender and indulgent way, as knowing what need yourselves have of it.
If you say, but he hath done thus and thus against me. Let conscience say what you have done yourselves against God and others. If you say, he is a schismatic, an hypocrite, or this or that; remember that malice is blind, and never wants matter of accusation or reproach, and innocency is no defence against it: else Christ and his prophets and apostles had been better used by the world. And ask conscience whether more than you can truly say of him, may not be said against yourselves. If all such must be defamed, how infamous will
8. If you will speak ill, you must hear ill. You teach men how to use you. “Si mihi pergit quæ vult dicere, quæ non vult audiet.”
“Benedictis si certasset, audisset bene,” saith the comedian. And God usually in justice suffereth it to be. And as those that by violence trample down others, when they feel themselves; on the higher ground, do oft live to be trampled on themselves ; so those that take their advantages to insult and defame others, do usually live to be defamed. - For with wha: measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. Judge not therefore, that ye be not judged.” (Matt. vii. 1, 2.)
To which of these two former ranks you should refer the common names of scorn that religious persons have been most loaded with among us, you must judge by the particular occasion and person. It is not my intention or desire to plead for any faction, disobedience, irregularity, or hypocrisy; much less to palliate heresies or odious crimes that are cloaked with the name or profession of religion. It is the hypocrite that I am all this while detecting. But I must say that it hath been the highest brand or character of hypocrisy and impudent profaneness conjunct; and one of the most crying transgressions of this land, that men, baptized into the name of Christ, have made a scorn at the diligent serving of him, and lived in the hatred of that religion in the life and practice, which themselves profess. And that if upon some small circumstantial differences, any of their superiors have encouraged them to use any nickname of reproach against their most conscientious brethren, they have been glad of the occasion, and used those reproaches against the serious practice of religion, which others pretend to use only against men's different opinions, which they account their exorbitancies or mistakes. How the names of zealots, precisians, puritans, and such like, have been used in this land ; and what sort of people have been made thereby (and by the discountenance of those that should have cherished a diligent, holy life) to be the common scorn; and how great a hinderance this hath proved to the salvation of many thousand souls, is a thing that is much more sad to mention, than difficult to prove. And when one nickname is grown out of use, the serpentine enmity watcheth for the opportunity that is afforded by differences and discountenance of the times, to take up another that may have a sharper sting. The dead form of religion, and as much as you
will of words and shows, they can reverence or endure: but life, and seriousness, and practice, is the thing they hate. Just like a bear, or other ravenous creature, that will let their prey alone while it seem dead and stirs not; but if it stir, they leap upon it; and tear it into pieces. And therefore it is that the diligent zealous exercise of religion among the Papists, by images, and tautologies, and lifeless ceremonies and forms, is not half so much hated or reproached by the vulgar, as the serious exercise of unquestionable duties, that all are in words agreed in, is here with us. To pray in our families; to instruct our children or servants in the necessary points of faith and duty ; to exhort a drunkard, a swearer, a covetous person, or other ungodly ones to repent, and to give up themselves to a holy life; to take up any serious speech of death and judgment, and the life to come, and the necessary preparations thereto; these and such like are the odious marks of a zealot, a precisian, or puritan, with the ungodly rabble : so that serving the great and glorious God is with them become a matter of scorn; while serving the devil is taken for their glory, if they can but do it in the plausible less, disgraceful mode.
But because some of the chief accusers of the brethren would needs persuade men, that the ordinary usage of the forementioned nicknames hath been less impious and more justifiable, against a sort of people only whom they feign to be unfit for human society, I shall only appeal now to the godly bishops, and conformable ministers, that mention it.
Bishop G. Downame (who, though he had written so much for bishops, hath written as much to prove the Pope to be the Antichrist) in his sermon called Abraham's Trial, p. 72, saith : “And even in these times, the godly live among such a gene. ration of men, as that if a man do but labour to keep a good conscience in any measure, though he meddle not with matters of state, or discipline, or ceremonies ; (as for example, if a minister diligently preach, or in his preaching seek to profit, rather than to please, &c.—Or if a private Christian makes conscience of swearing, sanctifying the sabbath, frequenting sermons, or abstaining from the common corruptions of the time) he shall straightway be condemned for a puritan, and consequently be less favoured, than either a carnal gospeller, or a close papist.” &c. Such were the times then.
Dr. Robert Abbot, public professor of divinity in Oxford, and after bishop of Salisbury, in a sermon on Easter-day, 1615, saith: " That men, under pretence of truth, and preaching against the puritans, strike at the heart and root of faith and religion, now established among us : that this preaching against the puritans was but the practice of Parson's and Campian's counsel, when they came into England to seduce young students; and when many of them were afraid to lose their places if they should professedly be thus, the counsel they then gave them was, that they should speak freely against the puritans, and that should suffice," &c. So he.
Of Archbishop Laud's tract of Doctrinal Puritanism, drawn up for, and presented to, the Duke of Buckingham, see Pryne, in his Tryal, p. 156. Divers bishops have affirmed the Jesuits were the masters of this nickname here in England, and the promoters of it.
But of the common sense of this word, and the use of it, I shall now call in no more witnesses but Mr. Robert Bolton, a man that frequently published his judgment for conformity to prelacy and ceremonies; in his Discourse of Happiness, p. 163, he thus speaketh:
“I am persuaded there was never poor persecuted word, since malice against God first seized on the damned angels, and the graces of heaven dwelt in the heart of man, that passed the mouths of all sorts of unregenerate men, with more distastefulness and gnashing of teeth than the name of puritan dotlr at this day; which notwithstanding as it is now commonly meant (N. B.) and ordinarily proceeds from the spleen and spirit of profaneness, and good fellowship, as an honourable nickname, that I may so speak, of Christianity and grace. And yet for all this I dare say, that there is none of them all, but when they shall come unto their beds of death, and are to grapple immediately with the painful terrors of the king of fears, and to stand or fall to the dreadful tribunal of the living God, then (except the Lord suffer them to fall into the fiery lake with senseless hearts and seared consciences) would give ten thousand worlds, were they all turned into gold, pleasures, and imperial crowns, to change their former courses of vanity, &c., into a life of holy preciseness, strictness, sincerity, and salvation. Oh! when the heavens shall shrivel together like a scroll, and the whole frame of nature flame about their ears; when the great and mighty hills shall start out of their places like frighted men; and the fearful reprobate cry and call upon this mountain, and that rock, to fall upon him; when as no dromedary of Egypt, nor, wings of the morning, shall be able to carry them out of the reach of thy revenging hand; no top of Carmel, no depth of sea, or bottom of hell, to hide them from the presence of him that sits upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; no rock, nor mountain, nor the great body of the whole earth, to cover them from the unresistable power that laid the foundations of them; no arm of flesh, or armies of angels, to protect them from those infinite rivers of brimstone which shall be kept in everlasting flames by the anger