A Catholic Spirit


“A Catholic Spirit” is one of my most favorite sermons of John Wesley. Some excerpts:

"And when he left there, [Jehu] met Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him, and he greeted him, and said to him, "Is your heart right, as my heart is with your heart?" And Jehonadab answered: "It is." [Jehu said], "If it is, give me your hand."- 2 Kings 10:15.

1. Even those who do not pay this great debt concede that love is due to all mankind, the royal law, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." It carries its own evidence to all who hear it. This does not mean, according to the miserable construction put upon it by the zealots of old times, "You shall love your neighbor," your relation, acquaintance, friend, "and hate your enemy." Not so; "I say unto you," said 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 you may be the children," may appear so to all mankind, "of your Father which is in heaven; who makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

2. But it is sure, there is a special love that we owe to those who 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 you love one another: as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another" (John 13:34, 35)…

3. All men approve of this; but do all men practice it? Daily experience shows the contrary. Where are even the Christians who "love one another as he has given us commandment?" How many hindrances lie in the way! The two grand, general hindrances are, first, that they cannot all think alike and, in consequence of this, secondly, they cannot all walk alike. However, in several smaller points their practice must differ as their opinions differ.

4. But even though 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?…

5. Surely in this respect the example of Jehu himself, as mixed a character as he was, is well worthy both the attention and imitation of every serious Christian. "And when he left there, [Jehu] met Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him, and he greeted him, and said to him, "Is your heart right, as my heart is with your heart?" And Jehonadab answered: "It is." [Jehu said], "If it is, give me your hand."
- John Wesley, 1771

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Good sermon, Father John.
Sky+

Comments

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