Stealing Friendships

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…Though all this be true, yet it has been the portion of God’s dearest saints and servants to be slandered, reproached, vilified, and falsely accused:

Ps xxxi. 18, Let the lying lips be put to silence, which speak grievous things proudly, and contemptuously against the righteous.

How sadly and falsely was Joseph accused by his wanton mistress; David by Doeg and Shimei; Job of hypocrisy, impiety, inhumanity, cruelty, partiality, pride, and irreligion! Was not Naboth accused of speaking blasphemy against God and the king? Did not Haman present the Jews to the king as refractories and refuels? Was not Elias accused to be the troubler of Israel, and Jeremiah the trumpet of rebellion; the Baptist a stirrer up of sedition, and Paul a pestilent incendiary? Were not the apostles generally accounted deceivers and deluders of the people, and the offscouring of the world? Athanasius and Eustathius were falsely accused of adultery. Heresy and treason were charged upon Cranmer, parricide upon Philpot, sedition upon Latimer. As the primitive persecutors usually put Christians into bears’ skins and dogs’ skins, and then baited them; so they usually loaded their names and persons with all the reproach, scorn, contempt, and false reports imaginable, and then baited them, and then acted all their malice and cruelty upon them. I think there is no Christian, but sooner or later, first or last, will have cause to say with David,

Ps. xxxv. 11, False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not;

they charged me with such things whereof I was both innocent and ignorant. It was the saying of one [Hippias], that there was nothing so intolerable as accusation, because there was no punishment ordained by law for accusers, as there was for thieves, although they stole friendship from men, which is the goodliest riches men can have.

Well! Christians, seeing it hath been the lot of the dearest saints to be falsely accused, and to have their names and reputes in the world reproached and fly-blown, do you hold your peace, seeing it is no worse with you than it was with them, of whom this world was not worthy….

Taken from The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod by Thomas Brooks


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