CCLXXVII. The Tolerance and Intolerance of the Gospel.

1 JOHN iv. 3, 7. “And every spirit that confesseth not that
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not ofGod. Beloved, let us
love one another.”

WE have here a motto of true dogmatism as well as true
charity, of the true intolerance as well as the tolerance of
the Gospel.
I. The real Gospel is the dogma of dogmas. It is a
sentence cut clear, sharp, hard, strong as crystal—” The
Word was made flesh.” Many say, “I love the Gospel
because it is so liberal, so tolerant.” If by that is meant
physical toleration, abhorrence of hatred and persecution,
such an one is right; but if he means moral toleration of
error, such an one is wrong. The first Epistle to St. John
is to be studied as an example of true dogmatism. “Who
is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? ”
II. The tolerance of the Gospel. A right intolerance
will instruct us in a right tolerance. Let us be tolerant to
manifestations of spiritual life in forms different from our
own. When a great spiritual current sweeps through the
Church, people cease to spy into each other’s ways. We
should believe the best of those who are separated from
us, and whatever is Christlike amongst them we should
love for His sake. Aye, and for those who are farther
from us than these we should have a kindly tolerance. We
see Jesus in the glory of His suffering, in the sympathy of
His agony and great sorrow. They may see Him so one
day when life has drenched them with a sweat of blood
and circled them with a crown of agony. Be this the
secret of our intolerance—”Every spirit that confesseth
not Jesus Christ come in the flesh is not of God”; this
the secret of our tolerance—” Beloved, let us love one
another.”
William. Alexander, D.D.

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