The third joyning Consideration: Let us consider of mens tempers, spirits, temptations, education, yeeres, gifts.
THere must be a due consideration of all these, and we must indulge something to them all. This would allay much strife: as we read Numb. 31. 23. Every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make it goe thorough the fire, and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make goe thorough the water. We must deal with every man according to his temper. Some men are by their complexions of a more harsh and rugged temper then others. Consider what is the best way of dealing with such: in the main they are faithfull and usefull, they will joyn with you there, and spend their lives for you: if the harshness of their natures cause some excrescencies, unpleasing carriages, consider their tem∣pers, though no evill in them is to be justified, yet deal ten∣derly with them, indulge them what lawfully you may. Some mens spirits, though upright to God and you, yet they have a fervor in them that is not qualified with that wisdome, meek∣ness, Page 274 humility, as they ought, do not presently take these ad∣vantages against them, that they in their heat may perhaps give you; do not fly upon them as if those unjustifiable expressions that com from them, came from a spirit of malignity: You know the man and the manner of his communication, pass by weaknesses, accept of uprightnesse. Some mens temptation are very strong; it may be their hearts are pressed with disappointments, it may be they are pricked with the want of many comforts you have; they have family-temptations, and personall temptations that you are freed from: you do not know what you might doe if you were under the like temptations. Blesse God that you are delivered from them; but do not adde to your brethrens afflicti∣on, by taking advantages against them, but according to the rule of the Apostle, Gal. 6. 1. If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spirituall restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, consider∣ing thy selfe lest thou also be tempted. Beare ye one anothers bur∣dens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Consider their education. Some men have been brought up altogether amongst Prelaticall men, perhaps among Papists; some all their dayes have lived in wicked families, they never were acquainted with the society of the Saints, with that way of godlinesse that hath the most strictnesse and power in it. You must not deale with them for all things you see amisse in them, in the same way you would deale with such who have had godly education, who have had acquaintance with the most strict and powerfull wayes of godli∣nesse, but now manifest a spirit against them.
Consider mens yeares: old age looks for respect, and justly: especially such as have gone through the brunt and suffered much for your good: though some infirmities should break forth that are incident to old age, we must cover and passe by what we can, not forgetting that reverent respect that is due to the hoary head found in the way of godlinesse. Consider mens gifts: it may be they are not able to rise to your height, to understand what you do; thank God for your strength, but be not angry with your brother because he is weaker. This was one of the ar∣guments for peace that Constantine in that forementioned Let∣ter of his to Alexander and Arius, used, we are not in all things like minded, neither have we all the same nature and gift engraf∣ted in us.