Richard Steele: A Remedy for Contentions in the Church

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VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Richard Steele, "How the Uncharitable and Dangerous Contentions That Are Among Professors of the True Religion May Be Allayed," in Puritan Sermons: 1659-1689, Vol. 4, p. 248:

Apply yourselves to the practice of real piety. By this I mean, that we should employ our chief care to procure and increase a lively faith, to exercise daily repentance, to strengthen our hope, to inflame our love to God and to our neighbour, to grow in humility, zeal, patience, and self-denial: to be more diligent in watchfulness over our thoughts, words, ways, in mortification of our sinful passions and affections, in the examination of our spiritual estate, in meditation, in secret and fervent prayer, and in universal and steady obedience. In these things do run the vital spirits of religion: and whoso is seriously employed in these, will have but little time, and less mind, for unnecessary contentions. These will keep that heat about the heart, which evaporating, degenerates into airy and fiery exhalations, and leaves the soul as cold as ice to any holy desires. "It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." (Heb. xiii.9.)

It is manifest what a sad decay of these hath followed our multiplied quarrels; and how hard it is to be "fervent in spirit," and withal to be fiery in controversies. He that walks with God, and whose "conversation is in heaven," will be quickly weary of windy disputes with men, and will be apt to conclude, with one of the ancients, Lassus sum, dum et cum sermone atque invidia, et cum hostibus et cum nostris, pugno:* which hath occasioned divers great divines the more earnestly to long for heaven, that they might be out of the noise of endless and perverse disputations. The serious practice of godliness hath the promise of divine direction in all material points: "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant." (Psalm xxv. 14.) "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." (John vii. 17.) And likewise, he that "lives in the Spirit, and walks in the Spirit," dares not "bite or devour" his neighbour. "Let not us," saith the apostle, that so walk, "be desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another." (Gal. v. 25, 26.)
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
pp. 251-252:

Observe that good old rule, of doing to others as you would be done to. -- You would have others to bear with you; and why will not you bear with others? You would have the best sense put upon your words, actions, and carriages; and why will not you put the best sense on their words, actions, and carriages? You would not be imposed on, censured, reproached, backbitten, slandered; no more should you impose on others, or censure them, or reproach or backbite or slander them. I may say to you, as Chrysostom, on that, Matt. vii. 12: "Let thine own will here by thy law." Let not this rule, which was reverenced by Heathens, be trampled on by Christians. It is true, error cannot reasonably expect the same regard from truth, as truth may from error; yet erroneous persons, whose errors are not mortal, should no more be devoured by the servants of truth, than those who have right on their side, by those that are in the wrong. Those who have not otherwise forfeited the repute of sobriety, piety, and honesty, save only that they cannot be of your mind; let them still be so esteemed and treated, as you yourselves desire to be esteemed and treated, if any contrary party should ever have wind and sun with them. Remember how this melted Sesotris, a Pagan, into compassion, when he observed one of his royal captives, who helped to draw his chariot, looking wistly on the wheel, how the part now lowest was presently uppermost; so that he, considering the mutability of these sublunary things, released him from that bondage. And, however, forget not what the Holy Ghost saith: "He shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment." (James ii. 13.)
 

Law Grace Radio

Puritan Board Freshman
Richard Steele, "How the Uncharitable and Dangerous Contentions That Are Among Professors of the True Religion May Be Allayed," in Puritan Sermons: 1659-1689, Vol. 4, p. 248:

to exercise daily repentance

This is something that has challenged me a lot recently. There is something about confessing sin to the master. A great activity to attend too. And most importantly it lowers our opinions of ourselves and raises our opinion of our God.

Thanks brother, helpful article!
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Richard Steele, "How the Uncharitable and Dangerous Contentions That Are Among Professors of the True Religion May Be Allayed," in Puritan Sermons: 1659-1689, Vol. 4, p. 248:

to exercise daily repentance

This is something that has challenged me a lot recently. There is something about confessing sin to the master. A great activity to attend too. And most importantly it lowers our opinions of ourselves and raises our opinion of our God.

Thanks brother, helpful article!

:amen: and you're very welcome, brother.
 
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