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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 him 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 not your part to return evil for evil. Another's not observing the direction of our Lord, is no reason why you should neglect 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 herein 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 departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him: and he suluted 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 love 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 ye 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 union 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."
I. 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, And 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. And 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 entertain 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 an 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; secing 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 how
far invincible ignorance may extend? Or (that comes to the same thing,) invincible prejudice ?-which is often so fixed in tender minds, that it is afterwards impossible to tear up what has taken so deep a root. And who can say, unless he knew every circumstance attending it, how far any mistake is culpable? Seeing all guilt must suppose some concurrence of the will; of which He only can judge who searcheth the heart.
6. Every wise man, therefore, will allow others the same liberty of thinking, which he desires they should allow him; and will no more insist on their embracing his opinions, than he would have them to insist on his embracing theirs. He bears with those who differ from him, and only asks him, with whom he desires to unite in love, that single question, "Is thy heart right, as my heart is with thy heart?"
7. We may, secondly, observe, that here is no inquiry made concerning Jehonadab's mode of worship; although it is highly probable there was, in this respect also, a very wide difference between them. For we may well believe Jehonadab, as well as all his posterity, worshipped God at Jerusalem: whereas Jehu did not; he had more regard to state-policy than religion. And, therefore, although he slew the worshippers of Baal, and destroyed Baal out of Israel; yet from the convenient sin of Jeroboam, the worship of the golden calves, he departed not. (2 Kings x. 29.)
8. But even among men of an upright heart, men who desire to "have a conscience void of offence," it must needs be, that, as long as there are various opinions, there will be various ways of worshipping God; seeing a variety of opinions necessarily implies a variety of practice. And as, in all ages, men have differed in nothing more than in their opinions concerning the Supreme Being, so in nothing have they more differed from each other, than in the manner of worshipping him. Had this been only in the heathen world, it would not have been at all surprising: For we know, these "by [their] wisdom knew not God;" nor, therefore, could they know how to worship him. But is it not strange, that even in the Christian world, although they all agree in the general, "God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth," yet the particular modes of worshipping God are almost as various as among the heathens?
9. And how shall we choose among so much variety? No man can choose for, or prescribe to, another. But every one must follow the dictates of his own conscience, in sim