Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XXXVI.: of peace. - The Works of John Robinson, vol. 1
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CHAPTER XXXVI.: of peace. - John Robinson, The Works of John Robinson, vol. 1 
The Works of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers, with a Memoir and Annotations by Robert Ashton, 3 vols (London: John Snow, 1851). Vol. 1.
Part of: The Works of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers, with a Memoir and Annotations by Robert Ashton, 3 vols.
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The Hebrews by comprehending under the name of peace, all, both safety and prosperity, whether bodily, or spiritual, do show therein how both pleasant and profitable a thing peace is, for all persons and societies. And though to strive, contend, yea, and wage war also, be in cases, and at times, not only lawful, but also necessary; yet are they never so much as tolerable for themselves, but only for peace, as the lancing of the wound is for the curing of it.
From “peace with God, through the forgiveness of sins, by faith,” Rom. v. 1, and a good conscience, ariseth peace with a man's self; with the angels; with all men, after a sort, yea with all creatures in the world. Such a one is “in league with the stones of the field, and at peace with the beasts of the field,” saith Eliphaz. Job v, 23. Yea “his very enemies,” saith the wise man, “are at peace with him.” Prov. xvi. 7. I add, that though he be burnt in the fire, drowned in the water, or otherwise killed, yet that fire, water, and other instrument of his bodily destruction, and therewith, all other creatures, are in a kind of secret league with him, and do even in killing him bodily, work for his spiritual and eternal good. Rom. viii. 28. And if they which are at peace with a king have his subjects at peace with them; how much more shall God's servants, and people, have all the creatures in heaven and earth at peace with them, for their true good, by the favour of him their absolute King and Lord.
God, to show how peaceable man should be, hath denied him such instruments of offence, and natural weapons, as many other creatures are furnished withal; of which some have horns, some hoofs, some paws, some tusks, some talons: but, alas, how hath sin armed man with hatred and malice; and they with weapons of violence and destruction ! so as more men are destroyed by men, than by all other creatures.
When the Lord would show himself to Elijah, he did it not in the great and strong wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the .fire; but “in the still small voice, which came after them.” 1 Kings xix. 11—13. And when he would have a temple built to dwell in, he would not have David build it, because his hands were full of blood, though of God's enemies, but Solomon the king of peace. 2 Sam. vii. 5—13. In the building of which, there was “neither hammer, nor axe, nor tool of iron heard in the house.” 1 Kings vi. 7. As the spirit of a man doth not quicken any member of the body, but as it is united to it; so neither doth the Spirit of God any member of the Church, but being united in the bond of peace.*
God would have Christians, if it be possible, and “as much as in them lieth, to have peace with all men.” Rom, xii. 18. But in some cases, and specially, where this cannot be done without sin, on their part; it lieth not in them to have peace, but in the other, which would put upon them the necessity of sinning. And in such a case, they must rather want peace with men, which is a cross, than with God, which is a greater cross, and a sin also. The apostle that bids follow peace with all men, adds in the same place, “and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Heb. xii. 14. Such may be the case, as a man may see God without peace with men, because it may be their fault, and not his; so can he not possibly without holiness, of which no man fails but by his own fault and sin. The contention which makes us nearer God is better than the peace that separates us from him.†
They are not most unpeaceable always, who dissent most from others, whether in opinion, or practice: but they who either affect differences, or carry them turbulently, whether small, or great, when they fall in. A fierce horse may be so whistled, or yoked, as he may draw in the same wagon quietly with others, either gentle, or headstrong; so may a violent and turbulent person go on in the same course quietly a long time, because it pleases him, or because he is strongly yoked, though without all true love of, or earnest pursuit after, peace. But the Lord would have us not only to be held in peace by others, and to hold peace with others, when we have it, and to embrace it when it is offered; “but to pursue and follow after it,” Psa. xxxiv. 14, even when it seems to fly from us.* Many cry aloud for peace, and against peace-breakers: and can speak very glorious things in commendation of so profitable and pleasant a good, whereby to persuade others to it. But what is this peace, unto which not a few of those good orators so earnestly and eloquently persuade ? Surely, too often nothing else but either a cursed consent in evil, or servile subjection to their, or their master's wills and lusts, without regard either of equity or reason. They would willingly have peace; that is, they would do what they list, and have others do the same their lists also, how unreasonable soever. But this, saith one, is not to follow peace, but to command it.† The devil himself would have such peace, and hath with his; “when the strong man armed keeps his house, all things that he hath are in peace,” Luke xi. 21; and upon condition that he might rule in and over them after his wicked will. But to follow after peace aright is clean another, and the same an excellent thing; requiring at the least these three particular virtues. First, a truly affectioned heart unto it, in conscience of God, and love to men, out of a due valuation of its excellency; as Elisha loving and reverencing his master Elijah, would follow after him, and not leave him. The second is, to deal justly, and equally with all men, without wronging any. It is double injury to beat men causelessly till they cry, and then to beat them for crying. Thus many breed strife by injury and oppression, and then cry out against it; as Athaliah eried out of treason. There are two friends, saith the father, “righteousness and peace,” Psa. lxxv. 10; he that will have the one, most do the other. All would have peace; but all will not do righteousness. But he that puts the one away, and loves not the friend of peace; peace loves not him, nor will come at him.* A third thing, is forbearance of others, what may be, though in our own wrong. For considering how ready all sorts of men are to wrong one another, and withal how apt to think themselves wronged, when they are not, yea oftentimes, when they themselves do the wrong: except we mingle with the former two, such moderation and Christian forbearance, as to bear, and tolerate for peace sake, persons and things not intolerable, we follow strife in effect; whatsoever we either pretend, or intend otherwise. 1 Cor. vi. 1—8; Eph. iv. 31.
It is ill when good men have not peace and unity amongst themselves; and as ill, yea worse, when there is peace amongst wicked and godless persons;† seeing, thereby, their strength in evil is increased. It is better the work of God go on weakly, as it doth, when peace among the good is wanting; than the devil's work strongly, as it doth, in the conspiracy of wicked men. Psa. xxxviii. 12. It is therefore a special work of God's good and powerful providence to cast a bone amongst such, and to set them one against another, that a “fire may come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem: and from the men of Shechem, and devour Abimelech,” Judges ix. 20: by which God makes one of them the other's executioner in his just judgment; and therewith provides many times for the peace of his people, whose utter ruin, otherwise, their accord in evil and violence against them would endanger.