I will mention to you two observable experiments, things which I have observed in the course of my pilgrimage:
Where the slander will often fall
First, It is a passage which famous Baxter has in his Christian Directory: “If you be famous for any grace or good work, expect to be defamed for quite the contrary. I have known some that have given away almost all they had to the poor, and hardly kept necessaries for themselves; yet these person have been accused of covetousness, unkindness hard-dealing.”
‘Tis most certainly so, Insani sapiens nomen feret, Aequus Iniqui. (A wise man will bear the accusation of insanity, even iniquity.) If you decline a thousand opportunities to make yourself a name, and very patiently bear [difficulties], and almost seek to be overlooked; yet, you shall be called “The proudest of men.” If you are ever devising liberal things and ever scorn little things, you shall be reproached as a “Man always looking for gain.” I you contrive all the methods imaginable not only to be good, loving, tender in your several relations, yet you shall be treated as a very unkind person, and perhaps most unkindly by them that have the least reason for it.
Methought, I have often seen some resemblance of this matter in a thing which I have seen befalling a minister, when in the way of his pastoral duty he visited persons possessed with evil spirits; the persons though they knew everyone else in the room, yet through the unaccountable operation of the evil spirits on their eyes, the minister who was most likely to do them good, still appeared so dirty, so ugly, so disguised unto them, they could have no knowledge of him.
So misrepresented shall good men often be to the minds of people, when evil spirits are working on the unpersuadable children. Sir, if ever you find it so remember that God is not trying you, whether you will grow in that grace; hold on in that good work,, for which you have hithero had so mall encouragements, in the representations of the neighborhood.