תמונות בעמוד

“ God."

How earnestly he exhorts them, in these words, to work zealously together to drive out all false doctrines from among them, and to continue in the faith which had once for all been delivered unto them ! This apostle evidently did not think, as so many think now-a-days, that it matters little what men believe, so long as their lives are moral, and their general conversation outwardly blameless. He thought, as the Church teaches us, that we have as much need to pray our Lord to deliver us from all false doctrine, heresy, and schism, as we have to pray Him to deliver us from fornication and uncleanness, and envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness; and not only to pray to be kept in the true faith, but to contend earnestly for that faith, that it may not be in any way corrupted. What would have been our condition now, if those saints of old had not thus stemmed the tide of heresy and infidelity which even then was beginning to set in? What should we have done if the true faith, which Christ delivered to His apostles, and His apostles to the Church at large, had been allowed to be smothered and crusted over and concealed by the doctrines of men ? We should have been running hither and thither in

painful perplexity, groping after the truth, instead of being familiar with the glorious truths which are the mainstay of our faith in life and of our hope in death. And let us remember that it is our bounden duty to hand down those precious truths, unaltered, as a heritage to our children, even as our forefathers have delivered them to us, and so to preserve them in their integrity in our generation as they did in theirs.

2. The next lesson the Church teaches us today is, that our zeal must ever be tempered by love. The very first words of the gospel for the day teach us this, “These things I command "you, that ye love one another." The chief reason, probably, why the Church has done so little in recovering the erring and deceived is, that there has been so much bitterness and

anger mixed up with our zeal. The history of the Church abundantly shows that those who have been the most zealous in controversy have too often been lacking in charity. It is true, of course, that no portion of the truth may be sacrificed with the object of keeping peace—“the 6 wisdom that is from above is first pure, then “peaceable ”—yet it is a matter of indispensable necessity that we should “speak the truth in

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“ love," "in meekness instructing those that

oppose themselves;" not calling others hard names, because they differ from ourselves, but seeking, by brotherly love, to show them that we are contending not for ourselves or for our party, but for Christ and His truth, and for their own souls ; and while we are firm, and uncompromising wherever there is a principle to be maintained, meeting them as far as our conscience will permit, as far, that is, as we can do so without betraying what we believe to be the truth of God.

3. The third lesson the Church would have us learn to-day is the lesson of unity. So she teaches us to pray, in the collect for the day, that as God has built His Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Himself being the head corner-stone, we may be so joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple, acceptable unto Him-each of us a separate living stone in that spiritual temple, but all of us built up together in that one temple of His Church. And how shall we secure that unity of spirit? Remember it is not mere uniformity that we are to seek. Men are differently gifted and differently constituted, one after this manner and another after that manner—their tastes, and perceptions, and judgments will necessarily differ to a certain degree, so that we cannot and need not in minor points think exactly alike, though in matters of vital importance, we must, as the apostle says, be of one accord, of one mind. If we hear several persons singing together, and they all sing exactly the same notes, or, as we say, in unison, the effect is monotonous because of the uniformity; but if, while they sing the same piece of music, each contributes his own part, the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, there is no longer the monotony of uniformity, but the harmony of unity. But it must be the same piece of music, otherwise the effect will be discord. So we must indeed hold to the same doctrines of the faith of Christ, and not swerve ourselves from or surrender to others one jot or tittle of the faith once delivered to the saints, but in minor matters we may vary, so long as we “ endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit in the “bond of peace.” Zeal without love will degenerate into bitterness and mere party spirit; love without zeal will degenerate into laxity and latitudinarianism: but zeal and love combined, while they maintain orthodoxy of doctrine, will also produce unity of spirit. And if we remember that the longest prayer of our Lord which is recorded in the gospel is for the unity of His Church, and that He Himself has said that the unity of the Church will conduce more than anything else to the conversion of the world, we shall see how wise is that rule which S. Augustine has laid down—“Let there be in essentials unity, “ in non-essentials, liberty, but in all things


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