Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XLII.: of flattery. - The Works of John Robinson, vol. 1
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CHAPTER XLII.: of flattery. - 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 reproof by Diogenes is not more known, than just, upon flatterers; that as tyrants are the worst of all wild beasts, so are they, of all tame.* And yet there is, and the same very common, a worse beast, than either of them severally—to wit, a monster gendered of them both. Men flatter their superiors, or others able to oppose them; to the intent they may tyrannize over their inferiors the more freely, without danger, or fear, and so, become both flatterers and tyrants.
A man needs no other flatterer than his own partial heart to infatuate him. Notwithstanding, though few would rather buy a false, than a true glass to see their faces in, yet how few are there so truly hating their own vices, as that they had not rather seek, or at least, entertain such friends, as may rather cover their faults by flatteries, than cure them by faithful reproofs. And this benefit, men of a poor and despised condition may set against divers miseries incident thereunto, that they are thereby out of danger of being much flattered. Every one will be bold to call a poor man, fool, or knave, and to speak of and to him all the ill which he knows, and more also. Whereas the rich and mighty in the world are, for the most part, soothed up to their destruction; as the fat ox is clawed† by the same hand that strikes him' down. And this is just from God upon the most of them, because they desire rather to the pleased by flatteries, than bettered by hearing the truth. Few coming near David's order, will say as he did, “ Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness: let him reprove; me, it shall be a precious oil.” Psa. cxli. 5. Where yet the excuse is not nothing, which the philosopher makes; that as worms soonest breed in soft and sweet woods, so gentle and noble spirits do most easily admit flatteries.*
He that reads the epistles dedicatory of learned men's books in all faculties, divinity not excepted, if either he knew not the contrary, by experience, or suspected not, how easily ambition, the canker of learning, and mother of flattery, might grow in learned men's breasts, would soon be brought to think, that almost all the great men in the world were so good, so virtuous, so religious, such, and so wise, and worthy patriots, as nothing more could be wished or hoped for. But how oft, God and men know, whilst they labour to honour many of them unjustly, do they most justly shame themselves, in proclaiming those things of their benefactors to the world, with all confidence, which a modest man that knows the persons, cannot read without blushing; and giving men just cause to suspect, as Lactantius speaks of a philosopher in Bithynia, writing against Christians, and pouring out himself into the praises of persecuting princes, that ofttimes they write their books rather to flatter in their prefaces, than for other matters prosecuted in the treatises themselves.†
Flattery is in all cases and persons a base sin, and which will make one man, dog-like, to fawn upon another, for a morsel of bread. Prov. xxviii. 21. But in the ministers of God's holy Word, above all other men, it is most pernicious. For whereas in other cases a man makes himself a claw-back;‡ in this he makes God himself, in whose name he speaks, no better, what in him lies: besides, that he turns into deadly poison the only sovereign medicine of the soul. This made the apostle “take God to witness, that he never used flattering words,” 1 Thess. ii. 5; and to protest against others, that they in doing it, “served not the Lord Jesus, but their own bellies.” Rom. xvi, 18. Such are not to be accounted the servants of Christ, whom they make their stales;§ nor yet of their flattered lords and masters, how loud soever they profess themselves their obedient servants; but they have a base master, whom they serve, and are ashamed to own, their belly, and the devil in it. It is not for nothing that the prophets, and apostles have so thundered against the flatterers of the mighty, who both look so much for it, as that they think themselves half maligned, and envied, if they be but sparingly flattered,* and yet are so deeply endangered by it. Here notwithstanding, we must beware, that to avoid the note of flatterers we become not railers, affecting to “speak evil of dignities,” Jude 8, either in pride, as many scorn to flatter, that is, love to revile, or out of discontentment in ourselves, or to nourish it in others.
[‡]A flatterer or sycophant.