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Especially if God has placed us in circumstances of honor and service, that shall render our esteem as rough and strong as a file [a metal file] to every little whistle thing that shall grate upon it.  ‘Tis a threadbare saying, but never to be worn out, always of use to wise men when others go to pick holes in their coast: Magnum contumeliae remedium negligentia.[1]

The best way to conquer contumelies [hatreds] is to contemn them.  The best way to silence many contumelious people is to despise them. It is a maxim of wisdom, Proverbs 12:19, A lying tongue is but for a moment. Lies are usually short lived things. Do you by your piety and innocence and usefulness take away what must be necessary to support the credit of the lies with all reasonable men and for the most part you need not concern yourself. The lie will be but for a moment. They will die away from themselves. The only way to keep them alive [to keep the lie alive] will be for you to keep up the talk of them with laborious, troublesome, vindications.

The Jews have a proverb, Lies  have their feet cut off, they can’t stand long. To use the ancient phrase, Tempus mendacio lupus, a little time will be wolf enough to devour it. My friend, all would have been dead long ago, if you had not unadvisedly commenced a lawsuit upon it.

I will here take the liberty to transcribe another passage I have met withal [something I found somewhere]

If I hear that any person has done me wrong, in word or deed, I find it is often (perhaps not always) the best way in the world not to let them know that I have knowledge of it. The best way is to forgive and forget the wrong, and bury it in silence. For besides the consideration due to the internal advantage, reaped by such Christianity, there is this to be considered, Such is the malignity of most men that they will hate you only because you know they have wronged you. They will, as far as they can, justify the wrong they have done, and because their wicked heart imagine that you must needs bear a spite unto them, for the wrong you have received from them, they will bear a confirmed spite unto you on that vile account.

Whereas, I have often found that my concocting with patience and silence a slight or a burst that has been offered me, has been followed (& rewarded by God) with this consequence, that the very persons who have wronged me have afterwards be made instruments of singular service to me.

I have met a notable person among the Axiomate Philosophiae Christianae [fundamental propositions of Christian philosophy] written by Christopher Besoldus above a hundred years ago, axioms whereof every one is more valuable than gold. Says he, “They who take an antidote, won’t swell upon the bite of the viper, provided the antidote be good. We pretend we have humility and manseutude [the quality or state of being gentle] for our antidote. If when we are bitten by maledicent [evil speaking] people, we swell and are in a feverish rage upon it, our antidote was not good. Signum id est humilitatem nostrum & mansetudinem esse fucatam. It is a sign of our humility and gentleness is so colored. [It is proof of our humility and gentleness.]

If there were no other argument for your long suffering, methinks the loss of time that unavoidably attends our prosecution of every calumny [slander], were enough to affright us from it. You have but a little time to live; you have lost a great deal of time already. You have abundance of work to do for God in your own heart, and life, and family. Perhaps you have work to do for the churches of the Lord. The Devil would feign make this work lie by [be ignored, put to the side]. He throws calumnies in your way to divert you from your work. Instead of serving the Lord and his people in the most significant methods, you time is to go this way: to fend and prove, and at last gain weighty points. Such a vain man has said something he should not have said. A weighty point! Certainly, discretion shall preserve thee from this folly. You had better say to the most of calumnies, I can’t spare the time for you. Say, I am doing a great work; why should my work cease while I leave it and come down to you?

And now, after all the pains I have taken to dissuade you form speaking on this occasion, I will persuade you to speak. And this, unot the best purpose imaginable. I must set before the heavenly counsel & command of our Savior. Matthew 5:44, Pray for them which use you despitefully. You must give me leave to press this with a great importunity upon you: that whenever you understand that any person has injuriously defamed you and abused you, you make this very thing an occasion for you to pray for that person.

Pray for him by name, if you never did so before, before you go to bed that night, mention the very name of that person before the Lord. And let this pray be made without lips of deceit. Lord, pardon this person and bless him, and make him wise and good, do him good!

Be not able to rest until you have done so. When you have done this, Oh! The peace, Oh! The joy, which may now fill your mind in the assurance of your own pardon from the Lord. The comforting Spirit of God in the grace now exercised by you seals your pardon. Receive his testimony, Child be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee. A blessing worth a thousand worlds. I am importunate with you to assure it in this excellent way.


[1] This could be translated as the best remedy for hatred is to ignore it, or to despise it. Cotton opts for “despise”.