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to all kind of just and honest dealing with all men; for justice in its own nature is, and by common agreement has been designed, the guardian of peace, and sovereign remedy of contention. 4. It much conduces to the preservation of peace and amicable correspondence in all dealings liable to doubt and debate, not to insist on nice and rigorous points of right, not to take all advantage offered to us, or to use extremities to the damage of others, without any proportionate benefit to ourselves. 5. We must use towards all men such demonstrations of respect and courtesy, to which, according to their stations, custom intitles them, or which on the common score of humanity they may reasonably expect from us. 6. This precept directly prohibits the use of reproachful, scornful, and provoking language; such being the immediate results of enmity, and actual breach of peace: this point enlarged on. 7. If we desire to live peaceably with all men, we must be equitable in censuring men's actions, candid in our interpretation of their meanings, mild in reprehending, and sparing to relate their miscarriages, &c. 8. We must be disposed to overlook such lesser faults committed against us, as make no great breach in our interest or credit, yea to forgive injuries, to excuse the mistakes, connive at the neglects, and bear with the hasty passions of our neighbor, to embrace readily any seasonable overture, and accept any tolerable conditions of reconciliation. 9. If we would thus live peaceably, we must not over-highly value ourselves, nor over-eagerly pursue our interests, admire our own endowments, or insist on our deserts; for this will make us apt to depreciate others, and them to loathe us. 10. It also concerns us to abstain from needless contests about matters of opinion, and questions either frivolous and vain, or over-nice and subtle, or that are agitated with eagerness and heat of passion, &c.: this point enlarged on. 11. Moreover, we must restrain pragmatical curiosity within the bounds of our proper business and concerns, not invading other
men's provinces, or without leave and commission intermeddling with their affairs, prying into their designs, and subjecting their proceedings to our censure. 12. Farther, it behoves us not to engage ourselves so deeply in any singular friendship, or in devotion to any one party of men, as to be intirely partial to their interests and prejudiced in their behalf, without distinct consideration of the truth and equity of their pretences in the particular matters of difference, &c. 13. If we would live peaceably ourselves, we should endeavor to preserve peace, prevent differences, and reconcile dissensions among others, by doing good offices and making fair representations between them, by concealing causes of future disgust, removing present misunderstandings, and excusing past mistakes; by allaying their passions, &c. for the fire that devoures our neighbor's house, threatens and endangers our own ; and it is hard to be near contention without engaging therein. Lastly, if we would effectually observe this precept, we must readily comply with the innocent customs, and obey the established laws of the places where we live. There is no preserving of peace, nor preventing of broils, but by punctually observing that ordinary rule of equity, that in cases of doubtful debate and points of controverted practice, the least should yield to the greatest number, the weakest bend to the strongest, and this the best and wisest of men have done, as far as their duty to God and their conscience would permit : instances given. Nor can a compliance with religious customs, used in divine worship, be excepted from this rule since a willing discrepancy from them greatly destroys peace, and kindles the flame of contention; and it cannot be imagined that the God of love and peace should approve a course so directly contrary to it.
But yet much more is peaceable conversation impeached by disobedience to established laws, those great bulwarks of society, fences of order, and supports of peace; which he who
refuses to obey may reasonably be supposed unwilling to have peace with any man, since he in a manner defies all mankind, vilifies their most solemn judgments, and subverts the only foundation of public tranquillity: this point enlarged on. Conclu
OF A PEACEABLE TEMPER AND CARRIAGE.
ROMANS, CHAP. XII.-VERSE 18.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
THIS chapter containeth many excellent precepts and wholesome advices, (scarce any portion of holy Scripture so many in so little compass.) From among them I have selected one, alas, but too seasonable and pertinent to the unhappy condition of our distracted age, wherein to observe this and such like injunctions, is by many esteemed an impossibility, by others a wonder, by some a crime. It hath an apt coherence with, yet no necessary dependence on, the parts adjoining; whence I may presume to treat on it distinctly by itself: and without farther preface or circumstance we may consider several particulars therein.
I. And, first, concerning the advice itself, or the substance of the duty charged on us, eionvevew, (' to be in peace,' or ' live peaceably,') we may take notice, that whether, according to the more usual acception, it be applied to the public estate of things, or, as here, doth relate only to private conversation, it doth import,
1. Not barely a negation of doing or suffering harm, or an abstinence from strife and violence, (for a mere strangeness this may be, a want of occasion, or a truce, rather than a peace,) but a positive amity, and disposition to perform such kind offices,
without which good correspondence among men cannot subsist. For they who by reason of distance of place, non-acquaintance, or defect of opportunity, maintain no intercourse, cannot properly be said to be in peace with one another: but those who have frequent occasion of commerce, whose conditions require interchanges of courtesy and relief, who are some way obliged and disposed to afford needful succor and safe retreat to each other; these may be said to live in peace together, and these only, it being in a manner impossible that they who are not disposed to do good to others (if they have power and opportunity) should long abstain from doing harm.
2. Living peaceably implies not some few transitory performances, proceeding from casual humor or the like; but a constant, stable, and well-settled condition of being; a continual cessation from injury, and promptitude to do good offices. For as one blow doth not make a battle, nor one skirmish a war; so cannot single forbearances from doing mischief, or some few particular acts of kindness, (such as mere strangers may afford each other,) be worthily styled a being in peace: but an habitual inclination to these, a firm and durable estate of innocence and beneficence.
3. Living in peace supposes a reciprocal condition of being; not only a performing good, and forbearing to do bad offices, but a receiving the like treatment from others. For he that being assaulted is constrained to stand on his defence, may not be said to be in peace, though his not being so (involuntarily) is not to be imputed to him.
4. Being in peace imports not only an outward cessation of violence and seeming demonstration of amity, but an inward will and resolution to continue therein. For he that intends, when occasion is presented, to do mischief to another, is nevertheless an enemy, because more secret and dangerous: an ambuscado is no less a piece of war than confronting the enemy in open field. Proclaiming and denouncing signify, but good and ill intention constitute, and are the souls of peace and war. From these considerations we may infer a description of being in peace, viz. that it is, to bear mutual good-will, to continue in amity, to maintain good correspondence, to be on terms of mutual courtesy and benevolence; to be disposed to perform re