Toleration Sermon Illustrations

Toleration Sermon Illustrations

When we speak of the necessity of the great beliefs, we do not mean a flat uniformity as to matters in Christian doctrine about which men may differ. When Charles V was trying to bring the world to a uniformity of belief, and employing the thumbscrew and the rack to that end, he was one day experimenting with three clocks in his retreat at Yuste. Unable to make the three clocks keep exactly the same time, he gave it up in disgust, exclaiming, "Here I was trying to make a whole world believe exactly alike, and I can't even make three clocks keep the same time."

Carlyle wrote of John Knox: "Tolerance has to tolerate the unessential and see well what that is. Tolerance has to be noble, measured, just in its very wrath, when it can tolerate no longer. But on the whole, we are not here altogether to tolerate! We are here to resist, to control and vanquish withal. We do not tolerate Falsehoods, Thieveries, Iniquities, when they fasten upon us; we say to them, Thou art false, thou art not tolerable!"

One Saturday evening a visitor appeared at Pastor Rutherford's door. Being welcomed as a guest, he took his place with the rest of the family at family worship that evening and was catechized in his turn. Rutherford asked him, "How many Commandments are there?" His reply was, "Eleven." Rutherford corrected him, but his guest maintained his position, quoting for authority the words of Christ, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another" (John 13:34).

Early Sabbath morning Rutherford arose, as was his custom, and went out for meditation to a near-by thicket. Arrived there, he was surprised to hear the voice of prayer in behalf of the souls that day to assemble for worship. Rutherford was now beginning to suspect that he was entertaining angels unawares, and soon his guest made known his identity. He was none other than the celebrated Archbishop Usher. They had sweet converse together, and at the morning service the Archbishop entered the Covenanter pastor's pulpit and preached on "The New Commandment."

Wesley once said: "I have no more right to object to a man holding a different opinion from mine, than I have to differ from a man because he wears a wig and I wear my own hair. But if he takes his wig off, and shakes the powder in my eyes, I shall consider it my duty to get rid of him as soon as possible."

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