« הקודםהמשך »
You will readily acknowledge the work of God, and confess the greatness of it. You will remove all difficulties and objections, as far as may be, out of his way. You will strengthen his hands by speaking honourably of him before all men, and avowing the things which you have seen and heard. You will encourage others to attend upon his word, to hear bim whom God hath sent. And you will omit no actual proof of tender love, which God gives you an opportunity of showing him.
IV. 1. If we willingly fail in any of these points, if we either directly or indirectly forbid him, “because he followeth not us,” then we are Bigots. This is the Inference I draw from what has been said. But the term Bigotry, I fear, as frequently as it is used, is almost as little understood as Enthusiasm. It is, too strong an attachment to, or fondness for, our own party, opinion, churchi, and religion. Therefore he is a Bigot who is so foud of any of these, so strongly attached to them, as to forbid any who casts out devils, because he differs from himself, in any or all these particulars.
2. Do you beware of this. Take carc, 1. That you do not convict yourself of Bigotry, by your unreadiness to believe that any man docs cast out devils, who differs from you. And if you are clear thus far, if you acknowledge the fact, then examine yourself, 2. Am I not convicted of Bigotry in this, in forbidding him directly or indirectly? Do I not directly forbid bim on this ground, because he is not of my party ?becalise hic docs not fall in with my opinions ?-or, because he does not worship God according to that scheme of religion, which I have received from my fathers ?
3. Examine yourself, Do I not indirectly at least forbid him, on any of these grounds ? Am I not sorry, that God should thus own and bless a man that holds such erroneous opinions ? Do I not discourage him, because he is not of my church, by disputing with bim concerning it, by raising objections, and by perplexing his mind with distant consequences? Do I show no auger, contempt, or unkindness of any sort, either in my words or actions? Do I not mention behind his back, his (rcal or supposedl) faults, his defects, or infirmities? Do not I hinder sinners from hearing his word ? If you do any of these things, you are a Bigot to this day.
4. “ Search 4, () Lord, and prove me. Try out my reins and my heart! Look well if there be any way of (Bigotry) in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." In order to examine ourselves thoroughly, let the case be proposed in the strongest
manner. What if I were to see a Papist, an Arian, a Socinian, casting out devils? If I did, I could not forbid even him, without convicting myself of Bigotry. 'Yea, if it could be supposed that I should see a Jew, a Deist, or a Turk, doing the same, were I to forbid hiin either directly or indirectly, I should be no better than a Bigot still.
5. O stand clear of this ! But be not content with not forbidding any that cast out devils. It is well to go thus far; but do not stop here. If you will avoid all Bigotry, go on. In every instance of this kind, whatever the instrument be, acknowledge the finger of God. And not only acknowledge, but rejoice in his work, and praise his name with thanksgiving. Encourage whomsoever God is pleased to employ, to give himself wholly up thereto. Speak well of him wheresoever you are ; defend his character and his mission. Enlarge, as far as you can, his sphere of action; show him all kindness in word and deed; and cease not to cry to God in his behalf, that he may save both himself and them that hear him.
6. I need add but one caution : Think not the Bigotry of another is any excuse for your own. It is not impossible, that one who casts out devils himself, may yet forbid you so to do, You may observe, this is the very case mentioned in the text, The Apostles forbade another to do what they did themselves, But beware of retorting. It is pot your part to return evil for evil. Another's not observing the direction of our Lord, is no reason why you should peglect it. Nay, but let him have all the Bigotry to himself. If he forbid you, do not you forbid him, Rather labour, and watch, and pray the more, to confirm your love toward him. If he speak all manner of evil of you, speak all manner of good (that is true) of him. Imitate bereip that glorious saying of a great man, (O that he had always breathed the same spirit!) “Let Luther call me an hundred devils; I will still reverence him as a messenger of God."
“ And when he was departeil thence, he lighteil on Jehonadab the
son of Rechab coming to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thine hand.” 2 Kings x. 15.
1. It is allowed even by those who do not pay this great debt, that Love is due to all mankind; the royal law, “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” carrying its own evidence to all that hear it: And that, not according to the miserable construction put upon it by the zealots of old times, “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour," thy relation, acquaintance, friend, “and hate thine enemy:" Not so; “I say unto you,” saith our Lord, “ Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children (may appear so to all mankind] of your father which is in heaven; who maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
2. But it is sure, there is a peculiar lore which we owe to those that love God. So David : “All my delight is upon the saints that are in the earth, and upon such as excel in virtue.” And so a greater than he: “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John xiii. 34, 35.) This is that love on which the Apostle John so frequently and strongly insists: “ This,” saith he, “is the message that yo heard from the beginning, that we should love another.” (1 John iii. 11.) “ Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us : and we ought [if love should
call us thereto] to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (Ver. 16.) And again : “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love." (Chap. iv. 7, 8.) “Not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love another.” (Ver. 10, 11.)
3. All men approve of this. But do all men practise it ? Daily experience shows the contrary. Where are even the Christians who “ love one another, as He hath given us commandment?” How many hinderances lie in the way! The two grand, general hinderances are, first, That they cannot all think alike; and, in consequence of this, secondly, They cannot all walk alike; but in several smaller points their practice must differ, in proportion to the difference of their sentiments.
4. But although a difference in opinions or modes of worship may prevent an entire external union; yet need it prevent our uniou in affection ? Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike ? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion ? Without all doubt we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences. These remaining as they are, they may forward one another in love and in good works.
5. Surely in this respect the example of Jehu himself, as mixed a character as he was of, is well worthy both the attention and imitation of every serious Christian. “And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him. And he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, Give me thine hand.”
The text naturally divides itself into two parts, first, A Question proposed by Jehu to Jehonadab : “Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart ? ” Secondly, An Offer made on Jehonadab's answering, It is: “ If it be, give me thine hand."
1. 1. And, First, let us consider the Question proposed by Jehu to Jehonadab, “ Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart ? ”
The very first thing we may observe in these words, is, that here is no inquiry concerning Jehonadab's opinions. And yet it is certain, he held some which were very uncommon, indeed quite peculiar to bimself; and some which had a close influence upon his practice; on which likewise he laid so great a stress, as to entail them upon his children's children, to their latest posterity. This is evident from the account given by Jeremiah, many years after his death : “ I took Jaazaniah and his brethren, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites,-Ånd set before them pots full of wine and cups, and said unto them, Drink ye winc. But they said, We will drink no wine; for Jonadab (or Jehonadab] the son of Rechab our father” [it would be less ambiguous if the words were placed thus, Jehonadab our father, the son of Rechab; out of love and reverence to whom he probably desired his descendants might be called by his name] “commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye nor your sons for ever. Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any; but all your days ye shall dwell in tents.-ond we have obeyed and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us." (Jer. xxxv. 3–10.)
2. And yet Jehu (although it seems to have been his manner, both in things secular and religious, to drive furiously) does not concern himself at all with any of these things, but lets Jehonadab abound in his own sense. And neither of them appears to have given the other the least disturbance, touching the opinions which he maintained.
3. It is very possible, that many good men now also may cntertain peculiar opinions; and some of them may be as singular herein, as even Jehonadab was. And it is certain, so long as we know but in part, that all men will not see all things alike. It is au unavoidable consequence of the present weakness and shortness of human understanding, that several men will be of several minds in religion as well as in common life. So it has been from the beginning of the world, and so it will be“ till the restitution of all things."
4. Nay farther : Although every man necessarily believes that every particular opinion which he holds is true ; (for to believe any opinion is not true, is the same thing as not to hold it;) yet can no man be assured that all his own opinions, taken together, are true. Nay, every thinking man is assured they are not; seeing Humanum est errare et nescire: To be ignorant of many things, and to mistake in some, is the necessary condition of humanity. This, therefore, he is sensible is his own case. He knows in the general, that he himself is mistaken ; although in what particulars he mistakes, he does not, perhaps he cannot know,
5. I say, perhaps he cannot know; for who can tell hoir