Irenicum, to the lovers of truth and peace heart-divisions opened in the causes and evils of them : with cautions that we may not be hurt by them, and endeavours to heal them / by Jeremiah Burroughes.

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Irenicum, to the lovers of truth and peace heart-divisions opened in the causes and evils of them : with cautions that we may not be hurt by them, and endeavours to heal them / by Jeremiah Burroughes.
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.
London :: Printed for Robert Dawlman,
MDCLIII [1653]

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Christian union.
Theology, Doctrinal.
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"Irenicum, to the lovers of truth and peace heart-divisions opened in the causes and evils of them : with cautions that we may not be hurt by them, and endeavours to heal them / by Jeremiah Burroughes." In the digital collection Early English Books Online. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed July 25, 2024.


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Joyning Considerations.

The first. The consideration of the many things wherein God hath joyned us.

GOd hath joyned us together as we are men: we are not dogs, not wolves, let us not be so one to another. Act. 7. 26. Moses speaks thus to those who strove one with another: Sirs, ye are brethren, why do yee wrong one another? The words in the Greek are, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, men yet are brethren. There is a consideration in this, that ye are men: if there were no more, yet ye should not strive one with another, but much more consi∣dering ye are brethren. If we be men, let us be humane. What is the meaning of humanity, but courteousness, gentleness, pleasantness in our carriages one towards another? But still the consideration growes higher, as we are the same Country-men, of old acquaintance, in the same imployment, of the same fami∣ly and kindred, but above all, joyned in such a blessed root, the fountain of all love and peace. Ephes. 4. 4. presents this consi∣deration most fully to us. The reason the Apostle gives why we must keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, is, because there is one body, and one spirit, ye are called in one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptisme, one God and Father of all. Here you have seven Ones together in two or three lines. It is very much that the spirit of God should joyn so close together seven Ones; sure∣ly it is to be a strong argument for us to unity.

First, one Body. The meanest member yet it is in the body. Is it comely for the body of Christ to be rent and torn? any re∣ference to Christ might perswade unity, but union with Christ as the members with the body, what heart can stand against the strength of this? What can cause one member to tear and rend another, but madness?

2. One Spirit, 1 Cor. 12. 11. that one and the self same spi∣rit: he does not only say, The same spirit; but, The self same spirit: and as if that not enough, he addes One to the self same; and that yet not enough, he sayes, That one, all this is in the Greek, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. The repeating the Article hath a great

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elegancy in it. And is not this one Spirit the Spirit of love and meeknesse? What does a froward contentious spirit do in thee, who professt thy self to be a Christian? What, sayes Cyprian, does the fierceness of Wolves,* 1.1 the madnesse of Dogs, the deadly poyson of Serpents, the bloudy rage of Beasts, in a Christians breast?

3. Called in one hope. Are not you heyres, joynt heyres of the same Kingdome, and do you contend as if one belonged to the kingdome of light, and the other to the kingdome of dark∣nesse?

4. One Lord. You serve the same Lord and Master. Is it for the credit of a Master, that his servants are alwayes wrangling and fighting one with another? Is it not a tedious thing in a fa∣mily that the servants can never agree? Mark how ill the Lord takes this, Mat. 24. 49. 50, 51. that evill servant who begins to smite his fellow-servants, provokes his Lord against him so as to come upon him with such severity as to cut him asunder, and to appoint his portion with the Hypocrites; 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, he will dichotomize him, divide him in two; he by his smiting his fel∣low-servants makes divisions, but his Lord will divide him. It may be he pretends that his fellow-servants do not do their du∣ty as they ought; as if he were more carefull of the honour of his Lord then others who are of a different way from him. But in the meane while he inveighs against others, smiting them with the tongue, and otherwise as he is able. He sits at full Tables, eats and drinks of the best, with such as are carnall and sensuall, but they are great men, to have their countenance is brave; this is ex∣treme sutable to a carnall heart, who yet keeps up a profession of Religion, hath some forme of godlinesse, he is afraid to lose his fleshly contentment, therefore he smites those who stand in his way: Thus divisions and troubles are made in Gods fa∣mily: The Lord the master of it will reward accordingly; he will divide such by cutting them asunder, and appointing them their portion with the Hypocrites.

5. One Faith. What though we agree not together in some things of lesser moment, yet we agree in one faith. Why should we not then keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace? The agreement in the faith one would think should swallow up all other disagreements. We should rather blesse God for keep∣ing

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men found in the faith, then contend with them for lesser mistakes. When the Pharisees, Acts 23. 9. understood that Paul agreed with them in that great doctrine of the Resurrection, they presently overlooked his other differences, saying, We finde no evill in this man. Our Brethren agree with us in more Funda∣mentals then this, and yet we can finde evill in them, and aggra∣vate their evill beyond what it is, and improve it all we can a∣gainst them. This is worse then Pharisaicall.

Master Calvin in his Epistle to our Countreymen at Frank∣ford,* 1.2 fled for their lives in witnesse to the truth, yet miserably jarring and contending one against another there, to the scan∣dall of all the Churches of God in those parts, begins his Epstle thus: This doth grievously torment me; it is extremely absurd that dissentions should arise amongst brethren, exiles, fled from their countrey for the same faith, and for that cause which alone in this your scattering, ought to be to you as a holy band, to keepe you fast bound together. Their contentions were about Church-worship.

6. One Baptisme. We are baptised into Christs death, and is not that to shew that we should be dead to all those things in the world that cause strife and contention among men? Our Bap∣tisme is our badge, our livery, it furthers somewhat the unity of servants that they weare all one livery.

7. One God. Though there be three persons in the Divine Nature, and every person is God, yet there is but one God; here is an union infinitely beyond all unions that any creature can be capable of; the mystery of this union is revealed to us, to make us in love with union. Our interest in this one God is such a conjuction, as nothing can be more.

Josephs brethren, Gen. 50. 17. looked upon this, as having ve∣ry great power in it to make up all breaches, to heal all old grud∣ges. After their Father was dead, their consciences misgave them for what they had done to Joseph, they were afraid old matters would break forth, and that Joseph would turn their ene∣my; now how do they seek to unite Josephs heart to them? We pray thee, say they, forgive the trespasse of the servants of the God of thy Father, and the Text sayes, Joseph wept when they spake unto him. Oh this was a heart-breaking speech to Joseph, The servants of the God of my Father; Shall my heart ever be

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stranged from the servants of the God of my Father? The Lord forbid. This offence indeed was great, but their God is my God, & he was my Fathers God; this argument had more in it to draw Josephs heart to them, then if they had said, We are your bre∣thren, we came from the same loynes you did: True, that is some∣thing, but the servants of the God of thy Father is much more. Let us look upon all the godly, though they have many weak∣nesses, though they have not carryed themselves towards us as they ought, yet they are the servants, yea the children of our God, and of our fathers God; let this draw our hearts to them. If they be one with us, in their interest in one God, let them be one with us in the affections of our heart, to love them, delight in them, and rejoyce in communion with them.

One God and Father. Mal. 2. 10. Have we not all one Father? hath not one God created us? why do we deale treacherously every man against his brother? Job 31. 15. Did not he that made me in the wombe, make him? and did not one fashion us in the wombe? Is it seemly that one mans children should be alwayes conten∣ding, quarrelling and mischieving one another? do you thinke this is pleasing to your Father? It followes in that 4. of Ephes. who is above all, and through all, and in all. You have enough in your Father to satisfie your soules for ever, whatsoever you want other wayes; he is above all; he that is so glorious and blessed, infinitely above all things, hath put honour enough up∣on you, that he is your Father; why will you contend and quar∣rell about trifles? He hath absolute authority to dispose of all things as he pleaseth; let not the different administrations of his, to some in one kinde, to some in another, be matter for you to contend about. And he worketh in all.

Those gifts and graces especially that are in his children, are his workings; that some have more then others, it is from his working. You may see the workings of your Father in the hearts of your Brethren. He is in all. Men may have children in whom little or nothing of their Father appeares, but God is in all his children, notwithstanding all their weaknesses, therefore our hearts should be in them and with them. This Scripture is one of the most famous Scriptures for the union of the Saints in one, that we have in all the book of God.

You will say, If indeed we could see God in such, if

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we could see grace and holinesse in them, our hearts would close with them, but we see not this.

1. Take heed thou dost not reject any from being thy brother,* 1.3 whom Jesus Christ at the great day will owne for his, and God the Father will call Child.

2. Suppose thou canst not be satisfied in their godlinesse, yet the gifts of the Spirit of God that are in them, should cause some kind of closing; common gifts are of a middle nature, between nature and grace, as the spirits of a man are neither of the same nature with the soule, nor of the body, but between both, and serve to unite the soule and body together, which otherwise are of natures very different. The common gifts that men who are not yet sanctified have, may and should cause some union be∣tween the godly and them while they live in this world, so far as to be usefull one to another in what God hath given them.

The second joyning Consideration: Let us consider how farre we can agree.

VVE differ thus and thus, but what doe we agree in? doe we not agree in things enough, wherein we may all the dayes of our lives spend all the strength we have in glorifying God together? Many men are of such spirits as they love to be altogether busied about their brethrens differences; their dis∣course, their pens, and all their wayes are about these, and that not to heale them, but rather to widen them. You shall not hear them speak of, or meddle with their agreements; their strength is not bent to heighten and strengthen them: if at any time they do take notice of their agreements, it is to make advantage of them: to render their disagreements the more odious, or to strengthen themselves in what they differ from them; they desire to get in men, and to get from them, only to serve their owne turnes upon them, this is an evill spirit. No marvaile therefore though some be so loath to discover to them how near they can come to him.

Pliny tells us of Apelles,* 1.4 that drawing the face of Antiochus the King who had but one eye, that he might hide this deformity, he devised to paint him turning his visage a little away, so he shew∣ed but the one side of his face: and from him, sayes Pliny, came

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the invention first of concealing the defects and blemishes of the visage. But the Painters of 〈◊〉〈◊〉 time are quite in another way, if there be any deformity or defect on any side, they will be sure to paint that side in all the lin••••ments of it, that must be set forth fully to the view of all men; yea if it may be made to look more ugly and monstrous then it is, all the skill they have shall be improved to do it. But my brethren, this ought not to be, God doth not so with us: he takes notice of the good of his children, but conceals their evill. There was but one good word in Sarahs speech to Abraham, Gen. 18. 12. she called him Lord, the speech otherwise was a speech of unbelief, yet the holy Ghost speaking afterwards of her, in reference to that speech, 1 Pet. 3. 6. conceals all the evill in it, and mentions only that reverend title she gave to her husband, commending her for it. Thus should we do; had we peceable hearts thus we would do: all the good of our brethren we would improve to the ut∣termost, and what is evill, so far as with a good conscience we might, we could conceal. When I shall see this temper in mens spirits, I shall hope there will be peace.

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,

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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.

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The fourth joyning Consideration.
What we get by contention will never quit cost.

A Merchant thinks it an ill venture, if when he casts up his ac∣counts he finds the charge of his voyage rises to more then his incomes. If thou hast so much command of thy spirit, if thou canst so farre overcome thy passions as to get a time in coole bloud to cast up thy accounts truly, what good thou hast done, or what thou hast got by such and such contentions; and on the other side cast up what the hurt thou hast done, what sin hath been committed, what evill hath got into thy spirit, I fear you will have little cause to boast of,* 1.5 or rejoyce in your gains. To be freed from that expence that comes in by strife, is not a little gain, says Ambrose. In strife you will finde there is a very great ex∣pence of time, of gifts, and parts. Many men in regard of the good gifts God hath given them, might have proved shining Lights in the Church, but by reason of their contentious spirits, they prove no other then smoaking firebrands. It may be by all the stirre you keep you shall never get your minde; if you do, it will not quit cost; the charge you have been at for it, comes to much more then it is worth. God deliver me from having my minde at such a dear rate.

The fifth joyning Consideration.
The strongest hath need of the weakest.

LEt not the hand say, it hath no need of the foot; nor the eye, it hath no need of the hand; God hath so tempred the bo∣dy, that every member hath need of every member.

It was a sweet spirit in Peter, that great Apostle, writing to the scattered Christians, he begins his Epistle thus: Simon Pe∣ter a servant and an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have ob∣tained like precious faith with us. Little nayles may be usefull, where great wedges can do no good. Little chips may help to set great logs on fire.

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The sixth.
Consider when any thing falls out that occasions strife, it may be this is but for a triall, this is a temptation.

WHen men provoke us we are ready to flye upon them, looking no further then the men with whom we are displeased. But if you look a little further, perhaps you may see the Devill is on the other side of the hedge, and hath been the chief agent in this business. Augustine presseth this by a most excellent similitude. When a Fowler, saith he, hath set his net to catch Birds, he sets it at a distance from the hedge, and when he has done he takes stones and throwes at the hedge, upon this the Birds flye out, and flutter about. The Fowler does not intend any hurt to the hedge, neither does he think to hit any Birds with his stones, but that which is in his eye is the net on the o∣ther side of the hedge, he hopes to drive the Birds in there. So sayes he, the Devill prepares his net to catch men in, he raises up contentions, and causes much trouble to be in Churches, and among brethren, you think all the evill is in the trouble of your present contentions. Oh no: the Devill is behinde, he intends to bring some of you into some great sin by these; he hath set his net for you, when you are troubled and vexed by such con∣tentions, the Devill sees you fit for a temptation, now I hope I shall get him to do such and such things, which otherwise I could never have got him to. Oh that we had hearts when we find contentions stirring to consider, But is there not a tempta∣tion in them?

The seventh.
Consider how the heart of God is set upon making peace with us, and what it cost him.

GOd was in Christ reconciling the world to himself: this work hath taken up the thoughts, councels, heart of God from all eternity above any thing that ever he did: this is the chief master-piece of all the works of God. There is more of the glory of God in this, then in all that God hath done. This is and shall be the object of the admiration of Angels and Saints,

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the matter of their praises to all eternity. The heart of God was so in this, that he was resolved to have it whatsoever it cost him; it cost the dearest that ever any thing in this world did; yea the price of it was more then ten thousand worlds are worth: it was no lesse then the bloud of the Sonne of God, of him who is the second person in Trinity, God blessed for evermore. Col. 1. 14. In whom we have redemption through his bloud who is the image of the invisible God, the first borne of every creature: by him were all things created, he is before all things: by him all things consist, in him all fulnesse dwels: and having made peace through the bloud of his Crosse, ver. 20. What God hath done for peace with us, cals aloud to us to prize peace one with another. It is the Apostles argument, 1 Joh. 3. 16. He laid down his life for us, we ought to lay downe our lives for the brethren. It cost his life to make our peace with God. We should be willing to do any thing we are able, even to the hazard of our lives, to make peace among the Saints. Christ laid down his life even for this peace also. Ephes. 2. 14. For he is our peace who hath made both one, and hath broke downe the middle wall of partition betweene us, having abolished in his flesh the enmity, to make in himselfe of twaine one new man, so making peace, and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Crosse. Christ reconciles both unto God: but how? it is in one body. Lay this Consideration warm at your hearts, and it will comfort your hearts, and so preserve and encrease peaceable dispositions in you towards one another.

The eighth.
Consider how unworthy we were when Jesus Christ received us into union with himselfe.

WHat uncomely, what loathsome creatures we were! yet Christ took us into his bosome, into his heart, and re∣solved that never any thing should seperate us from him againe. But that those embracements of his should be everlasting, and yet shall every trifle take us off from one anothers hearts? shall every jealous spusitious conceit, every little difference, be e∣nough to seperate us and that almost irreconcileably? Have we the spirit of Christ in us? is the same minde in us that was in Christ Jesus?

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The ninth.
Consider that we are called to Peace.

GOD hath called us to peace, 1 Cor. 7. 15. That case upon which the Apostle mentions our calling to peace is as diffi∣cult a case to preserve peace in, as any can fall out in ones life. It was the case of man and wife unequally yoaked, one is a Be∣leever, the other an Infidell, yet being man and wife the Apostle determines that the Beleever must be content to live with the unbeleever, as it becomes a wife or a husband; except he or she of themselves will depart, but they should give them no occasi∣on of departing, but rather by their holy humble conversation seek to convert them: this no question was accounted a hard task, but it must be, sayes the Apostle, and upon this he grounds it, for God hath called us to peace. There is another case almost as difficult as this, where the patience and quietness of spirit is very much tryed, and that is when a servant meets with a harsh, rugged, cruell master, that abuses him very injuriously; if any thing would put ones spirit into a rage, one would thinke this would do it. No, saith the Apostle, such must be the command you must have over your spirits, as you must patiently bear this: and he grounds it upon this, For hereunto were ye called, 1 Pet. 2. 21, 22. But though husbands and wives should live at peace, though they suffer one from another: though servants should put up wrongs from their masters, yet it followes not that the like patience should be required in us, when we are wronged by our equals, by those to whom we have no such band of rela∣tion to tye us. Yes, this argument of calling is strong in this case also: 1 Pet. 3. 8, 9. Love as brethren, be courteous, not ren∣dring evill for evill, or railing for railing, but contrariwise, bles∣sing, knowing that ye are thereunto called.

The tenth.
Consider the presence of God and of Christ.

OUr God, our Father, our Master, our Saviour, stands by looking on us. It is a most excellent passage that I finde in an Epistle of Luther to the Ministers of Norimberg. There were great divisions amongst them: he writes to them that he might pacifie their spirits one towards another. Suppose (sayes

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he) you saw Jesus Christ standing before you,* 1.6 and by his very eyes speaking thus unto your hearts, What do you, O my dear children, whom I have redeemed with my blood, whom I have begotten a∣gaine by my Word, to that end that you might love one another? Know that this is the note of my Disciples. Leave this businesse, ye wholly cast it upon me, Ile look to it, there is no danger that the Church should suffer by this, though it should be stilled, yea though it should dye, but there is a great deale of danger if you dissent a∣mongst your selves, if you bite one another: Do not thus sadden my spirit, do not thus spoile the holy Angels of their joy in Heaven; am not I more to you, then all matters that are between you? then all your affections? then all your offences? What? can any words of a brother, can any unjust trouble penetrate your hearts, stick so fast in you as my wounds, as my bloud, as all that I am to you, your Saviour Jesus Christ? Oh that we had such reall appre∣hensions of Christ looking upon us, speaking to us!

The eleventh.
Consider what account we can give to Jesus Christ of all our Divisions.

WHen Christ shall come, will you stand before him with scratched faces, with black and blew eyes? 1 Thes. 3. 12, 13. The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one towards another, and towards all men: To what end? To the end, saith the Apostle, he may establish your hearts un∣blameable in holinesse before God, even our Father, at the com∣ming of our Lord Iesus Christ with all his Saints. It will be a sad thing to be found in our divisions, at the comming of Je∣sus Christ, Mat. 24. 50. the comming of Christ is mentioned as a terror to those who shall but begin to smite their fellow-ser∣vants. We may wrangle & stand out one against another in our contentions now; but it will not be so easie to answer Jesus

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Christ, as it is to answer one to another. In the Name of Jesus Christ I now speak unto you, yea as from him charge you, let no reason move you to contend with, dissent or seperate from your brethren, but that which you are perswaded in your conscience, and that after due and serious examination will hold out before, will be approved of, Jesus Christ at his comming.

The twelfth.
Let every man consider his owne weaknesses.

YOu are ready to take offence from others, within a while you are as like to be offensive to others. There will be as much need they should beare with you, as now there is you should beare with them. The Common Law of those who intend to live at peace one with another, is, Veniam, petimus, damusque, We desire pardon, and we doe pardon.

The thirteenth.
Let us consider our mortality.

IT is but a little time we have to live; shall the greater part of it, nay why should any part of it be ravel'd out with conten∣tions and quarrels? I have read of Pompey, that upon a time passing over divers hils, where there lived many people in caves, but their order was that the man lived in one cave and the wife in another; he asking the reason, they said, In those parts they live not long, therefore they desired that the little time they did live, they might have peace and quiet, which they had found by experience they could not have, if man and wife lived constant∣ly together.* 1.7 Though the means they used for their quiet was sordid, yet the good use they made of the shortnesse of their lives was commendable. Virgil sayes, if swarms of Bees meet in the ayre, they will sometimes fight as it were in a set battell with great violence; but if you cast but a little dust upon them, they will all be presently quiet. Sprinkle upon your hearts the medi∣tations of death, that within a while this flesh of yours will be turned to dust, this will quiet you.

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The fourteenth.
Consider the life of heaven.

THere is and will be perfect agreement there. We are here as Bees, flying up and down from flower to flower all day, but at night they come all into the same Hive; That is a place where Luther and Zuinglius will well agree. Shall not we whom God from all eternity hath ordained to live co-heires in heaven, to joyn together in praises there, agree together here on earth?


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