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greatest feeders of enmity, uncharitableness, contentions and slanders in the world. I speak it upon great observation and experience, I have seldom heard any man bitterly oppose the servants of Christ, but either the grossly wicked, or those that never had much acquaintance with them: and I see commonly, how bitter soever men were before, when once they converse together, and grow acquainted, they are more reconciled. The reason is, partly because they find less evil and more good in one another than before they did believe to be in them; and partly because uncharitableness and malice, being an ugly monster, is bolder at a distance, but ashamed of itself before your face: and therefore the pens of the champions of malice, are usually more bitter than their tongues when they speak to you face to face. Of all the furious adversaries that have raged against me in the latter part of my life, I remember not one enemy that I have or ever had, that was ever familiar or acquainted with me: and I have myself heard ill reports of many, which by personal acquaintance I have found to be all false. Keep together, and either silence your differences, or gently debate them; yea, rather chide it out, than withdraw asunder. Familiarity feedeth love and unity.
Direct, xxm. 'Whenever you look at any corruption in the church, look also at the contrary extreme, and see and avoid the danger of one as well as of the other." Be sure every error and church corruption hath its extreme: and if you do not see it, and the danger of it, you are the more like to run into it. Look well on both sides if you would be safe.
Direct, xxiv. 'Worship God yourselves in the purest manner, and under the most edifying ministry that lawfully you can attain; but be not too forward to condemn others that reach not to your measure, or attain not so much happiness: and deny not personal communion sometimes with churches that are more blemished, and less fit for communion.' And when you cannot join locally with them, let them have the communion of your hearts, in faith and charity, and prayer for each other. I fear not here openly to tell the world, that if I were turned loose to my own liberty, I would ordinarily worship God in that manner that I thought most pure, and agreeable to his will and Word; but I would sometimes go to the churches of other Christians, that were fit for Christian communion, if there were such about me: sometimes to the Independents, sometimes to the moderate Anabaptists, sometimes to such as had a liturgy as faulty as that of the Greek or the Ethiopian churches; to shew by my practice, what communion my heart hath with them all.
Direct, xxv. 'Take heed that you interest not religion or the church in civil differences'.' This error hath divided and ruined many famous churches, and most injuriously made the holy truth and worship of God to be a reproach and infamy among selfish, partial, carnal men. When princes and states fall out among themselves, they will needs draw the ministers to their sides, and then one side will certainly condemn them, and call them all that self-interest and malice can invent: and commonly when the controversy is only in point of law or politics, it is religion that bears the blame of all: and the differences of lawyers and statesmen must be charged upon divines, that the devil may be able to make them useless, as to the good of all that party that is against them, and may make religion itself be called rebellion. And O that God would maintain the peace of kingdoms! and kings and subjects were all lovers of peace, the rather because the differences in states do cause so commonly divisions in the church. It would make a man wonder, (and a lover of history to lament,) to observe in the differences between the pope and Henry the fourth, and other emperors, how the historians are divided, one half commending him that the other half condemneth: and how the bishops and churches were one half for the pope, and the other for the emperor; and one half still accounted rebels or schismatics by the other, though they were all of one religion. It is more to ruin the church, than kingdoms, that satan laboureth so much to kindle wars, and breed civil differences in the world: and therefore let him that loveth the church's peace, be an obedient subject, and an enemy of sedition, and a lover and defender of the civil peace and government in the place that God hath set him in: for this is pleasing unto God.
<. Since the writing of this, I have published a book called "The Cure of Church Divisions," and a " Defence of it:" which handle these things more fully. I know there are some, that with too bloody and calamitous success, have in most ages given other kind of directions for the extirpation of error, heresy, and schism, than I have here givenf: but God hath still caused the most wise, and holy, and charitable, and experienced Christians to bear their testimony against them. And he hath ever caused their way of cruelty to turn to their own shame: and though (like treasons and robberies) it seem for the time present to serve their turn, it is bitterness in the end, and leaveth a stinking memorial of their names and actions to posterity. And the treatises of reconcilers, (such as our Halls, Ushers, Bergius, Burroughs, and many other,) by the delectable savour of unity and charity, are sweet and acceptable to prudent and peaceable persons, though usually unsuccessful with the violent that needed them. Besides the forecited witness of Sir Francis Bacon, &c., I will here add one of the most ancient, and one or two of this age, whom the contrary minded do mention with the greatest honour. Justin Martyr Dial, cum Tryph. doth at large give his judgment, that a Judaizing Christian, who thinketh it best to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, be suffered in his opinion and practice, and admitted to the communion and privileges of the church, and loved as one that may be saved in that way, so be it he do not make it his business to persuade others to his way, and teach it as necessary to salvation or communion; for such he doth condemn. King James by the pen of Is. Casaubon telleth Cardinal du Perron, that 'His Majesty thinketh, that for concord there is no nearer way, than diligently to separate things necessary from the unnecessary, and to bestow all our labour that we may agree in the things necessary, and that in things unnecessary there may be place given for Christian liberty. The King calleth these things simply necessary, which either the Word of God expressly commandeth to be believed or done, or which the ancient church did gather from the Word of God by necessary consequence.'Grotius Annot. in Matt. xiii. 41. is so full and large'Beda Hist. Eccles. lib. i. c. 26. Didicerat enim (Rex Edilberlh) et a doctoribus, auctoribusque suae salutis, servitium Christi voluntarium, non coactitium debere esse.
pon it. that I must entreat the reader to peruse his own words; where by arguments and authority he vehemently rebuketh the spirit of fury, cruelty, and uncharitableness, which under pretence of government, discipline, and zeal denieth that liberty and forbearance, even to heretics and ) Senders, (much more when to the faithful ministers of Christ) which human frailty hath made necessary, and Christ hath commanded his servants to grant. Concluding, Ubi solitudinem fecerant, pacem appellabant. (as Tertul.) Et his omnibus obtendi solet studium Divini nominis; sed plerumque obtendi tantum. Nam Deus dedignatur coacta servitia; nec placere illi potest quod vi humana exprimitur. Reipsa solent qui id faciunt non nomini divino, sed suishonoribus, suis commodis et tranquillitati consulere; quod scit ille qui mentes introspicit. Atque ita fit, ut lolium evellatur cum tritico, innocentes cum nocentibus: immo ut triticum saepe sumatur pro lolio: non enim tam bene agitur cum rebus humanis, ut semper meliora pluribus aut validioribus placeant; sed ut in grege taurus, ita inter homines, qui viribus est editior, imbecilliorum caedit: et iidem saepe qua?
pati se quaerebantur, mox in alios audent.' Lege caetera. Again, I entreat those that would escape the sin of schism, to read seriously the foresaid Treatises of peacemakers; especially " Bishop Hall's Peacemaker;" "Bishop Usher's Sermon on Ephes. iv. 3.;" and "Mr. Jeremy Burroughs' Irenicum:" to which I may add " Mr. Stillingfleet's Irenicum," for the hot contenders about church-government; though I believe all the substance of church order to be of Divine institution: and " Jac. Acontii Stratag. Satanae." And it must be carefully noted, that one way by which satan tempteth men into church divisions, is by an over vehement zeal against dividers; and so he would draw the rulers of the world, under pretence of a zeal for unity and peace, to raise persecutions against all that are guilty of any excess of scrupulosity about church-communion, or of any principles or practices which a little swerve from true Catholicism: and so by the cruelty of their penalties, silencing ministers, and vexing the people, they much increase the divisions which they would heal: for when satan cannot do his work barefaced and directly, he useth to be the most Vol. v. p
forward in seeming to do good, and to take part with Christ, and truth, and godliness; and then his way is to over-do: he will be over-orthodox, and over-godly, and over-peaceable, that he hug the church and truth to death, by his too hard embracements. As in families and neighbourhoods, some cross words must be passed over if we would have peace: and he that for every provoking, unpeaceable word of another, will raise a storm, shall be himself the most unpeaceable. So is it in the church; he that cannot bear with the weaknesses of the younger sort of Christians, who are too much inclined by their zeal against sin, to dividing ways, but will presently let fly at them as schismatics, and make them odious, and excommunicate or punish them according to his wrath, shall increase the zeal and the number of dividers, and prove himself the greatest divider. And by this violence and destroying zeal of orthodox rulers, against the real faults and infirmities of some separating, well-meaning men, a far greater number of heterodox rulers, are encouraged to persecute the most learned, sober, and peaceable ministers, and the most godly and faithful of their subjects, who dare not conform to all their unrighteous edicts, and ecclesiastical laws, in things forbidden by the law of Christ: and all this is done upon pretence of promoting unity and peace, and suppressing heresy and schism. And so persecution becometh the devil's engine to keep out the Gospel and godliness from the infidel world, and to keep them under in the Christian world.'Sed tamen sive illud (Origenis de Redemptione futura diabolorum) Error est, ut ego sentio; sive Haeresis ut putatur, non solum reprimi non potuit multis animadversionibus sacerdotum, sed nequaquam tam late se potuisset effundere, nisi contentione crevisset:' inquit Posthumianus in Sulp. Seven Dialog, i.
'Sed non fuit animus ibi consistere, ubi recens frateruse cladis fervebat invidia. Nam etsi fortasse videantur parere episcopis debuisse, non ob hanc tamen causam multitudinem tantam sub Christi confessione viventem, praesertim ab episcopis oportuisset affligi.' Id. ibid. Speaking of the bishops provoking the secular power to afflict the monks of Alexandria for defending Origen. When the Emperor Constantius would by violence force