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sent. How wicked then, to force people of one sect to adopt the creed of another sect, by slandering them and their opinions; by endeavoring to bring popularity and fashion to bear against them; and by persecuting them in every possible manner which the age will permit!The self-reproach of Charles the Fifth, Emperor of Germany, is full of instruction in reference to this point. After abdicating his throne and retiring to a monastery, he passed away his time with mechanical arts, particularly that of watch-making. One day he broke out with the exclamation, "what an egregious fool must I have been to have squandered so much blood and treasure, in an absurd attempt to make all men think alike, when I can not even make a few watches keep time together."* May not all those in modern times, who attempt to enforce uniformity of faith, very properly apply this rebuke to themselves?
To pursue the broadest highway of kindness in reference to the multitudes of widely differing sectarians, does not presuppose the least backwardness in proclaiming what each sect has embraced as the truth. Each denomination possesses the clearest right to advance, discuss, and if possible, prove its peculiar opinions, and no
* Penny Magazine, vol. I, p. 40.
other denomination has any divine or legitimate human authority, to deprive it of this inestimable privilege. But that denomination wanders very far from the Christian spirit, as well as from its own interests, if it speaks its faith in thunder and breathes maledictions upon all who do not bow to it without question. It is the injunction of Paul, to "speak the truth in love." Let it be invested with affection-let it breathe from the heart with heaven-born charity for those who deem it error-let it come with the unhes- itating acknowledgment, that all persons possess the right to avow, defend and enjoy whatever they may have imbibed as truth-let all the kind offices of society be cheerfully discharged without any regard to peculiarity of faith-let the spirit exist between the sects, which the Messiah, in the following touchingly simple narration, described as existing between a Samaritan and a Jew-and it will not only destroy persecution, but it will give to people such desires, that instead of fighting for sectarism, they will press earnestly on in the divine work of obtaining Christianity as it fell from the lips of Christ and his apostles.-"A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his raiment and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a
certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, he that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, go, and do thou likewise."* That such Christian charity will break down sectarian harshness and blind persecution, is as evident as that the spring sun will melt ice and frost from the bud, and expand it into the loveliness of a flower. As direct proof of this fact, some instances will be adduced.
On a certain occasion, Messiah was performing a journey to Jerusalem. While on his way, he sent messengers before him to prepare pla
See Luke x: 30-37.
ces of reception for him. Among others, they went to a village of the Samaritans. But when Messiah came, the Samaritans refused to receive him, "because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.” On account of their rival religions, there existed the most bitter prejudice between the Jews and Samaritans; which explains the fact of the Samaritans not receiving Messiah. The disciples were exercised with indignation because of the decided opposition manifested against Christ. "And when his disciples, James and John, saw this, they said, 'Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?" Here was the genuine spirit of revenge. Because the Samaritans manifested bigotry towards Messiah, they would sweep them from the face of the earth. But how acted Jesus? On the broadest scale of kindness. "He turned, and rebuked them, and said, 'ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of―for the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.' And they went to another village."* He not only disapproved the spirit of his disciples-he not only left the Samaritans unmolested-but he quietly sought another place Had he been like many who have
* See Luke ix: 51-56.
professed his name since his day, he would have desolated that offending village with fire and blood--but as his was the duty to divinely “love his enemies," he chose peace rather than war; kindness rather than harshness. And there can be no doubt but that the kindness of the Saviour opened the path for the apostles to afterwards preach," the Gospel in many villages of the Samaritans,"* to the conversion of crowds of their inhabitants.
The beautiful results of kindness and toleration in reference to difference of religious faith, are very admirably manifested in the case of John Frederic Oberlin, whose character has already been described. He knew no bigotry. His Christian character did not dream of using an individual harshly and unkindly, on the simple ground of difference of opinion. He looked upon all around him as his brethren. "His tolerance," says a writer, for some time a resident in his district, was almost unbounded. He administered the sacrament to Catholics, Lutherans and Calvinists at the same time; and because they would not eat the same bread, he had, on the plate, bread of different kinds, wafer, leavened and unleavened. In every thing the same spirit appeared; and it extended not
*Acts viii: 25.