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But that is not all, for it is sensual also, saith the apostle, as the world hath her part in it, so the flesh hath its part in it; those that are the authors of these envyings, strifes and contentions, they are such as have dissensions within themselves: a tumult within, a war in the flesh, before there be a tumult without, and this is the cause of unquietness and dissensions without. As in the earth, let the wind blow never so strong upon it, it moves it not, but when it is within the earth, it makes it to quake and tremble; so if there be a man that hath not these tempests of lusts within himself, all the winds and blasts that are without him are not able to shake him; but hence it comes because there are wars within : it is a fruit of the flesh and they are carnal that follow it. Let us now see in what parts of the corruption of man's nature this is, from whence this ariseth. I answer briefly it is from want of wisdom in the understanding, from want of integrity in the heart, and from want of a due temper in the affections. First it ariseth from want of wisdom in the understanding, for as Solomon speaketh concerning wrath, that is a continual companion of dissension, that it resteth in the bosom of fools. And you shall never see men given to dissension, but you shall desire more wisdom in them than they show. A hasty contentious troublesome man the more earnest he is, the more highly doth he exalt his own folly, there is little understanding in him.“ Ae fool's lips enter into contention,” it is for want of wit, it is an easy matter to enter into it; but how to stop a man's self when he is in it, he hath not wit to know how to do it: “Every fool,” says the wise man, " will be meddling.” It is an argument of extreme folly to desire to fish in troubled waters. Suppose a wise man and a fool meet together, in this case there must always be confusion and restlessness; so that this is one corruption from whence these dissensions and confusions come. Secondly, a worse is from want of integrity in the heart; when the heart corrupts
• Proverbs, chap. 18. ver. 6.
Ibid. chap. 20. ver. 3.
the understanding, and that is out of order, all is nought. As in the natural body, the head hath a sympathy with the stomach, and pains in the head rise from the stomach ; so in spiritual matters there is a kind of correspondency between the brain and the heart, that if a man be of a corrupt heart, it is a just judgment of God that his head should be infected, and that he should be given to this vein of contention. “ The end of the commandment is love," says the apostle; “ from which some having swerved, they have turned aside to vain janglings.” When men take no pains to look to their own corrupt hearts, but depart from a good conscience, and profess themselves enemies to all goodness; then have they swerved from the commandment, and turned aside to vain jangling. In 2 Tim. chap. III. ver. 1, 2. the apostle sets down the perils of the last days and times; and one peril is, " that men shall be lovers of themselves :" they make themselves the idol, unto which all things must bend; they love themselves more than they love peace, the Church and commonwealth, or any thing else. These men are like Jannes and Jambres, who withstood Moses: but how comes it to pass ? do you not think that Moses was the best scholar of the three? They were Pharaoh's magicians; they would not give way to Moses, though they were convicted. What was the ground of it; because they were better scholars? No, but they were men of corrupt minds, and therefore fierce and evil men. There is no curing of the head before the heart; if evil, they will wax worse and worse, use what means you can, the cause is in the heart. Thirdly, there is a distemper in the affections, as love and hatred, or envy; and the mis-tempering or misplacing of affections is a great ground to move unto this contention. But what, is love the mother of contention? Yes, love misplaced is. In Acts, chap. XV. there is a memorable story between two good men, Paul and Barnabas: every one knows that Paul was a good man, and so we read that Barnabas was but yet that contention grew so sharp between them, that they broke
h 1 Tim. chap. 1. ver. 5, 6.
company : what was the reason of it? the question ariseth concerning Mark: Barnabas would have Mark to go in company with them: “ No," says Paul, “ he left us at Pamphilia.” Was not Paul in the right? Yes: but for all this, Barnabas would not yield; but why would he stand against Paul, he being a good man? the reason is, Markh was Barnabas's sister's son, and he would not have him to be disgraced; there was his natural affection
Natural love, though it be an excellent affection, yet it may cause much disturbance and discord; “ It is told me,” says the apostle to the Corinthians, “ that there are dissensions among you.” What is the reason? Why, some say, “ I am of Paul, and I of Apollo, and I of Cephas:" that is, men will cast their affections to this or that person, and he shall be their oracle; this is a ground of dissension, having some men's persons in admiration. And if love be the cause of contention, much more hatred : for of hatred cometh contention, as also of pride. Thus you see this wisdom, let it be covered with never so much show of wisdom, it is earthly, hath worldly respects, and is sensual. But yet there is another thing in it, for it is devilish also: make no small matter therefore, of contention in the Church and commonwealth ; for thou shalt see the Devil also in it. Lord bless us, that men should be the instruments of the Devil; that a man should be in so base an office, as to be his bailiff, and to serve him in his work; in Judges, chap. IX. ver. 23. you read that “God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the house of Sechem." there were great contentions between the king and the people ; whence came it? there was an evil spirit, not to be seen, but the Devil had an oar in that boat. This contentious wisdom, examine it well, and you will find it is not only carnal and earthly, but devilish; there is an evil spirit in it. He that put God and man at variance at the beginning, and puts brethren at variance now, he is of that evil one, as St. John saith. Know, that they that are of this contentious disposition, and labour to nourish factions, they do that service to a master, they would be loth to do it if they knew it. So that you see God is not the author of dissension; but the world, the flesh, and the Devil. What now may
h Coloss. chap. 4. ver, 10.
i 1 Cor. chap. 1. ver. 11, 12.
be looked for from contention if it come from such a root, but a bad issue: therefore, as the apostle saith, “ Ifk you bite and devour one another, take heed you be not consumed one of another.” Destruction and desolation must follow these divisions. Do we live among Christ's sheep, or among wolves and bears, to devour one another; that one shall not see the face of a man, but some cruel beast will bite him? But take heed you do not consume one another, take heed the God of peace doth not withdraw himself from those that do not know the way of peace. It is a peremptory speech of Christ: “Everyl kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, and every house or city divided against itself cannot stand.” These are the speeches of the wisest that ever was upon earth. Beloved, doth not this nearly concern us to consider of, when the question is, whether our state shall be dissolved or no? howsoever you may think to prevent it by your secret wisdom and policy, yet give me leave to believe my Saviour before all the politicians in the world. Certainly let dissension in a kingdom, in a city, or in a house go forward, let not those that are wise beguile themselves; for certainly all the policy in the world cannot make that kingdom, city or house stand, but it must be dissolved. You will
be so in time, when it comes to the height of contention. But
you read of a holy proverb that Solomon maketh use of, and it is this; “ Them beginning of strife,” says he, " is as the opening of the waters;" what then, “therefore leave off contention before it be meddled with.” The beginning of contention thou thinkest is but a small matter; why, so it is but a small matter to open a dam; but if they should do
| Matt. chap. 12. ver. 25.
k Gal. chap. 5. ver. 15.
so in the low countries, all the wit they have will not stop it again. So is the beginning of contention, before it be meddled with ; therefore, leave it off, now it lies in your power to stop it. A child may be able to fire an house, but it will trouble and pose the wits of a thousand to quench it again when it hath gotten head. Now, to what end is all this? would we had not all cause to speak, but we have all cause to speak, but we have all cause to pray that God would be merciful to us; we see the ruins of the kingdom, the destruction of the state and Church: if we will persuade ourselves that all things will be well, beloved, let us consider this may not be: far be it from me to intrude upon that which belongs not unto me; but among the churches of the saints, then I am in my own element. Do not we see the churches of the saints abroad are in destruction, and the same flame did begin in our neighbours' countries, first by the disputations in the schools, and then in the state ; afterwards there was a supplication of peace, that it might be no breach of peace; at last it came to perfection, and many would not join with them, but they must have congregations of their own, else they would not contribute to the wars. I beseech God, we in this nation may not try conclusions with God in this case, to see how far such a thing may go before it be stopped. may say, how shall this be? I answer and profess before God to give nothing as studious of parts, but of peace.
I advise that all opprobrious terms be suppressed. I see that those that will not yield to that new doctrine which hath disturbed the low countries, there is an odious name cast upon them, and they are counted puritans, which is a thing tending to dissension; we know who are esteemed by Christ, and were it not a vile thing to term him a puritan? And king James maintained the same; and shall those be counted so, who confess the points which he maintained? Do not think I speak any thing as being hired on any side ; but I foresee that the forecasting of that name upon those that maintain the doctrine, as hath been published by the pen of our sove