Whether the fiery tryall of contention, or of persecution be greater, is hard to determine; God hath wrought for us to free us from the one, we have brought upon our selves the other. Every man is angry that others are not of his mind; we have been so divided, that it is the infinite mercy of God that our enemies have not come in at our breaches, and divided all among themselves, before this time. Were our divisions onely between the good and bad, they were not so grievous. Chrysostome sayes,It is better to be hated for Christ, then to be beloved for him. How much better then is it to be hated for Christ, then to be beloved for sinne? The reason he gives of that strange assertion of his, is, If thou beest loved for God, it is an honour to thee, and thou art a debtour for that honour; If thou beest hated for him, God is a debtour to thee, he owes honour to thee, for so he is pleased to be to his poore servants. But our divisions have been and still are between good men, even Gods Diamonds do cut one another; good men cause afflictions to good men; every man is plotting, working, winding for himselfe. Every man strives like Apelles and Protogenes who shall draw the subtilest line to attain his owne ends, but few strive who shall draw the straightest, who shall in the most direct course work himselfe and all his wayes to God and publique good. Who can meddle with this fire that is kindled among us, and not burn his fingers? A mans good affections happily may be approved, but his prudence will be questioned. But what I finde Luther writes in an Epistle to his friend Nicolas Gerbelius in the like case, shall satisfie me, Cupio ego inveniri Christi & Ecclesiæ suæ fidelis, si prudens esse non potuerim minister: I desire howsoever to be a faithfull Minister of Christ and his Church, if I cannot be a prudent one. The standing in the gap is more dangerous and troublesome then the getting behinde the hedge; there you may be more secure, and under the winde, but it is best to be there where God looks for a man. That which Pelopidas said to his wife taking her leave of him as he was going out of his house to the Warres, is a speech worthy of all men in publique place: She comes weeping to him, and prayes him to look will to himselfe; he answers her, My good wife, it is for private souldiers to be carefull of themselves, not for those in publique place, they must have an eye to save other mens lives. It may be when you are going about a work that hath hazard and trouble in it, your wives or some friends of yours will with great affection desire you, beseech you, to have a care of your selves, that you bring not your selves into trouble or danger, oh take heed of that, rather never meddle, let others doe that work if they will; you should answer, It is for private men to take care of themselves, but men in publique places are called to look to the publique, that it suffers not through their neglect.CrosssReach Publications
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