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Religious Toleration, Or Charity.

Religious Toleration, Or Charity.

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Published by glennpease

By DAVID SWING



" Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye, hut not to doubtful
disputations ; for one believeth that he may eat all things ;
another, who is weak, eateth herbs." — Rom.

By DAVID SWING



" Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye, hut not to doubtful
disputations ; for one believeth that he may eat all things ;
another, who is weak, eateth herbs." — Rom.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 15, 2013
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RELIGIOUS TOLERATIO, OR CHARITY.By DAVID SWIG" Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye, hut not to doubtfuldisputations ; for one believeth that he may eat all things ;another, who is weak, eateth herbs." — Rom.Y0U may consider this entire chapter to be thesource of my theme, and the theme, therefore,to be the Toleration of Religious Opinion.The word " toleration " suffers a change of meaningin successive times. To suffer an opposite sect toworship at all, to suffer your religious opposite to live,was once the meaning of toleration. But we havepassed beyond that usage of the term, and have cometo a better age, when toleration means the extendingtoward one of different belief our friendship and allthe civilities of refined or Christian life. ot daringany more to put men to death for their opinions, thequestion remains as to how much ill feeling we mustsuppress and actual good-will reveal. This is the form12 RELIGIOUS TOLERATIO, OR CHARITY.assumed by the question in our enlightened and freecountry.We suffer this morning the pain that comes fromdiscussing a subject too large for the hour — a subjectthe complete investigation of which would demandyour study, your reading, your deep interest, for daysinstead of moments. Each week in this era, when theworld has grown so broad in its means of investiga-
 
tion and in its power to investigate, the pulpit moreand more must feel that it can only suggest Hnes of thought, and in its half hour indicate subjects worthyof the more deliberate and thorough study of the mul-titude. In oiir vast world, the clergy and all publicspeakers have become only an index of the book of knowledge, instead of being the grand solid vohmie inwhich the wisdom is all elaborated. In the ages of great vices the clergy were likened unto finger-boardswhich pointed out to others paths in which theydid not themselves journey. This is perhaps no longertrue as to virtue, but it is as to knowledge, for, likefinger-boards, we can point out the paths of study andresearch, but are unable to go with you in the longbiit impressive journey.This chapter from St. Paul is worthy of be'inglearned by heart, and then, in many a silent hour whenalone, we would find discourses fiowing into our soulsRELIGI0U8 TOLERATIO, OR CHARITY. 13from that great perennial fountain. The words, himthat is weak in the faith receive, but not to doubtfuldisputations, draw their truthfulness from the very na-ture and condition of man. The fact that man is by-nature imperfect, makes it necessary that he shouldalso be tolerant. The fate that gave man a career of comparative ignorance ought to secure for him a careerfull of charity and forgiveness given and received.There is nothing more universal than ignorance, andhence there should be no virtue more universal thantoleration of religious opinion. By ignorance I donot mean barbarism, but that hiimility of knowledgeconfessed by even the most learned of each successivegeneration. The facility with which we all absorb,error, the readiness with which we all fall into deepand blind prejudices, should make us always ready,
 
not indeed to excuse sin against light, but to toleratemany shades of religious opinion. It is folly to de-mand a. unity of belief in a world where there is noone wise but God, and no one good except God. Someof the best men who have ever lived are now seen tohave been the victims of great errors; and the perse-cutions they carried forward in the name of theirsuperior wisdom appear to us now in a bad lightindeed, when it is now evident that they themselvesheld only a very imperfect system of doctrine. Their14: MELIGI0U8 TOLERATIO, OR CHARITY.mistake lay in the assumption that they had reachedthe ideal in religion; whereas, God only holds theideal in knowledge ; man deals only in the imperfec.t.It was a maxim of the ancients that you must notpraise one until after he is dead, for there is no secu-rity that he may not commit a crime or reveal a follyeven in his most mature days. The old statesmanmay at last accept a bribe, or may, having been arepublican, become at last ¦ an aristocrat and a des-pot. "We must pause until he has ended his career,and then, if he dies in perfect honor, praise may chantits song safely over that tomb which ends all thevicissitudes of earth. Caesar set out as a great Ro-man republican, the hater of crowns and lover of thedear people; but, says the play, "Was the crownoffered him thrice ? Aye, marry, was't, and he put itby thrice, every time gentler than the other." Ac-cording to history, Caesar's democracy was being drainedout of him in the late years of his career, thus show-ing us that the grave is the place for pronouncingthe true eulogy over man. After God has let thecurtain fall, then we can come with our estimate of love or sorrow.The same philosophy must apply to the forms of 

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