A Persuasive to Unity

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py3ak

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I came across this magnificent sermon by Thomas Manton tonight, and wanted to encourage everyone to read it. It is delivered with a gracious and meek spirit, and contains many encouragements and rebukes that I believe pretty much all of us need to hear.

A link: Complete Works of Thomas Manton, D.D. Vol. II. - Christian Classics Ethereal Library

It is quite short, but packed with useful instruction nonetheless. Three quotes to whet your appetite:

As long as charity and mutual forbearance remaineth, there is hope of doing good to one another; but when men break out into opposite parties, they are prejudiced against all that light that they should receive one from another, suspecting every point as counsel from an enemy: Gal. iv. 16, ‘Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?’ When men are once engaged in a way of error, whosoever is an enemy to their error is counted an enemy to themselves; yea, they can hardly bear that sound doctrine which doth directly cross their opinions, but are apt to cavil at all that is said by a dissenter. And partly because when men give themselves up to separating and narrow principles, the power of godliness is lost, and all their zeal is laid out upon their petty and private opinions, and so religion is turned into a disputacity. That is the reason why the apostle doth so often tell them, Gal. vi. 15, ‘For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature;’ and Gal. v. 6, ‘For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith that worketh by love;’ and 1 Cor. vii. 19, ‘Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping the commandments of God.’ Observe it where you will, and you shall find that separation and distance from the rest of believers, doth not befriend godliness, but undermine it A regiment fighting apart from the rest of the army of Christ, is always lost through their own peevishness; at least, they lose great advantages of promoting the kingdom of Christ.

A grounded Christian beareth with the infirmities he seeth in others, and pitieth and helpeth them, and prayeth for them more than the weak, who are usually most censorious and addicted to the interest of their party and faction in the world, and make a bustle about opinions rather than solid godliness; but the grown Christian is most under the power of love and a heavenly mind, and so loveth God and his neighbour, is most sensible of his own frailty, hath a greater zeal for the welfare of his church and interest in the world, and seeth farther than others do.

As we must not on our part give offence or occasion the divisions, so we must not take offence when it is given by others; for charity, as it provoketh not, so it ‘is not easily provoked,’ 1 Cor. xiii. 5. So likewise if a rent be made by others, we must do what we can to heal it. If an angry brother call us bastard, yet let us own him as a brother and a child of the family: for ‘Blessed are the peacemakers,’ Mat. v. 9. The world censureth us for compliers and daubers, but God counteth us his genuine and true children.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Ruben, that portion should be required reading before a Christian participates in social media or message boards.

Sent fron my Galaxy S4 using Tapatalk
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
Ruben:

Thanks, brother, so much for citing this. The importance of what Manton is communicating here can scarcely be overestimated. It is often that which is most needful to us committed to sound doctrine.

Peace,
Alan
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I'm glad the sermon and quotes are proving profitable. I know I need to hear these things more often myself. I have to add one additional excerpt, though if I keep it up I will soon have quoted the sermon in full:

This forbearance cannot in reason be expected from others to ourselves, if we be not ready to repay it to others. There is no man which hath not infirmities of his own which call for forbearance, James iii. 2. In the general, every man is obliged to do as he would be done unto, Mat. vii. 12. So in particular, he is reproved when he had his own debt forgiven him, yet took his fellow-servant by the throat and showed him no mercy, Mat. xviii. 28. We have all our failings and mistakes; usually God punisheth censures with censures, Mat. vii. 1, injuries with injuries. Paul, that stoned Stephen, was himself stoned at Lystra. So he punisheth separations with separations; they are endless, as circles in the water beget one another.

It's not very difficult to illustrate this point from history. And lest anyone should think that this really only applies to church officers, Manton spends some time in the sermon demonstrating that a private person may also cause divisions. Whether online, as Bill notes, or in the flesh, this is something relevant to all of us. My pastor pointed out yesterday that in 2 John we are required not to receive false teachers; but in 3 John Diotrephes is castigated for failing to receive the brethren. We cannot think that either extreme is acceptable.
 
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