Great Texts of the Bible by James Hastings - Psalms 133:1 - 133:1

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Great Texts of the Bible by James Hastings - Psalms 133:1 - 133:1


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Unity

Behold, how good and pleasant it is

For brethren to dwell together in unity.—Psa_133:1

1. Herder says of this exquisite little song that “it has the fragrance of a lovely rose.” Nowhere has the nature of true unity—that unity which binds men together, not by artificial restraints, but as brethren of one heart—been more faithfully described, nowhere so gracefully illustrated, as in this short ode. True concord, we are here taught, is a holy thing, a sacred oil, a rich perfume, which, flowing down from the head to the beard, from the beard to the garment, sanctifies the whole body. It is a sweet morning dew, which falls not only on the lofty mountain-peaks but on the lesser hills, embracing all and refreshing all with its influence.

2. The preservation of this unity was the object of the selection of one place to which the tribes should go up on pilgrimage three times a year. And the intercommunion with each other which the pilgrimages fostered was certainly one of the chief means by which the unity of feeling and sentiment was kept up among the scattered members of the nation century after century. The pilgrimages were to the Israelites what the meetings at the Olympic and other games were to the Greeks—at once witnesses to a belief in ethnic unity and a strong and efficient bond of union. This psalm was therefore admirably fitted for a “pilgrim song,” which it is allowed on all hands to have been, and it must have greatly helped the various classes of pilgrims—the spiritual and secular authorities, the rich, the poor, the citizen, the peasant, and the widely divided members of the great Diaspora—to feel themselves united with each other and with Jehovah.

I

The Secret of Unity

There are innumerable ways in which we are bound together in life. There are ties of relationship or of friendship, nearer or more distant, of class and occupation, of common tastes, of personal likings, of religious feeling, of natural affection. There is that higher tie by which men are united in the endeavour to become better and to live above the world. There is still a higher union which, in our imperfect state, may be thought visionary or impossible, when the wills of men meet in God, and they know no other law or rule of life than His will. Yet there have been those in whom such a unity of the human and the Divine has really existed—it might exist in any of us. All these unities have in them elements of diversity arising out of circumstances or character or education. And to preserve the “one in many” (as the ancient philosopher would have said) is the first duty of any society, of mankind, of a family, a school, a college, a church, a nation.

1. A common life binds together the members of a family. A common life is the basis of the unity of a nation. Yet these can but illustrate the far more complete and searching unity of those, who, having the common life—the sublime, spiritual, eternal life in Christ—come together into the fellowship of the Christian Church. They are one in bonds that are eternal; one by no mere accident of natural birth, or social place; one in ways that cannot pass with the changing fashions of the world. They are one as being born again of the Spirit; as being created anew in Christ Jesus; as being quickened from the death of trespasses and sins; as being bought, not with corruptible things as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. Their common life in Christ breathes one common atmosphere, and feeds on one common food, and finds expression in one common want. They breathe in the smile of Christ’s acceptance, and the knowledge of Christ’s will. They feed on Christ’s provision of grace. They want, above all things, Christ’s honour. So they are one in the unity of their common life.

We can form mechanical unions. We can bind wood and iron and gold and silver together. Each object that enters the combination retains all the qualities peculiar to it. There is union is such combinations but not unity. Gold is the same in all parts of the universe. It is the same in all ages and in all worlds. The same is true of all Christians. They are begotten of God; they are possessed of His nature; they are one in mind and in heart. They are one in spite of the flight of time. Christians of the first century and of the last and of all intervening centuries form one community. They are one in spite of space. Christians in all parts of the world, those that speak different tongues and have different manners and customs, are one flock, even as they are all tended by one Shepherd. They are one in spite of all differences, physical, mental, social, and spiritual. They are children of one Father, and they constitute the one household of the faith.1 [Note: A. M‘Lean, Where the Book Speaks, 231.]

2. There is unity in diversity. You cast your eye over a landscape, and your heart rejoices in the harmony unfolded from the scene before you, yet there is everywhere a difference in manifestation. In the beauty and grace of the forms which you see, in the spirit which insensibly reveals itself to you from wood and stream, lake, meadow, and mountain-side, you feel the sense of oneness. One Mind has evidently planned all this. One Hand, through whatever channels of physical force, has manifestly moulded all this. Yet, when group by group and item by item, you turn your eye and thought upon the objects of this landscape, you note how wide the difference is between the one and the other. May it not be thus also with the Church of the living God? May not the blessing of Divine grace rest, and the sweetness of brotherly unity abide, equally upon the hills of God’s universal Zion, whether they tower from the north in the peaks of Hermon or roll away southward to the mountains round about Jerusalem?

As no two blades of grass are exactly alike, so no two minds are capable of looking at any truth in precisely the same light. Queen Elizabeth could not get her ministers to agree among themselves as to a certain policy. She took half a dozen watches and started them all at the same time. After a while some lagged behind, others shot forward; no two kept together. “Ah!” said she, “I may well give up trying to make my ministers agree, when I cannot get half a dozen watches to keep time together.” But nature has unity in the most varied diversity. No two atoms in the countless number that make up our globe are exactly alike, yet they make up an entire world. No two drops in the sea are probably alike in weight and form, yet they all unite to make up one sea. No two sands are identical, still they all unite to make up one shore. Behold here is unity in diversity. Taking a broad view—

The Church’s one foundation

Is Jesus Christ her Lord:

She is His new creation

By water and the word.

The foundation is one; the stones built on the foundation are as varied as can possibly be; but they all unite to make one building. Much, then, as we may vary in things non-essential, is there not a common basis on which all Christians can unite on things essential?1 [Note: O. F. S. P. Jenkins.]

3. Unity does not obliterate individuality but gives room for its free development. A living organism, such as the body of man or any other animal, is not merely a unity of parts, each of which fulfils a function necessary to the rest, so that the brain, heart, lungs, the various members and organs, have absolutely no separate or separable existence or life, so that each lives in and by the rest, their life its life, its life not its own but theirs; but, more than that, it is a unity which, unlike that of the machine, the parts themselves feel, so that each suffers in the injury or suffering, is happy with the happiness and well-being, of the rest. The closer and more integral oneness is not attained at the cost, but rather by the more intense development, of individual distinctiveness. Each member and organ is itself, attains to the richest development of its individual nature, gains itself, so to speak, only where it surrenders itself, its whole being and activity, to the unity in which it is comprehended. If it begins to act for itself, to seclude itself, to display any independent phenomena, any slightest movement that is not conditioned by the organism to which it belongs, the isolation is fatal. And if it is entirely separated from the rest, if it ceases to be permeated by a life that is other than its own, the severed limb or dissected organ loses its whole reality and worth, and becomes mere dead matter.

In the last year of his life, the Bishop wrote to Dr. Guinness Rogers, one of the best known of the leaders of English Nonconformity: “To me it is the most painful proof of our inadequate hold on the principles of Christianity that the profession of those principles should be a cause of disunion and bitter feeling. Attempts to remedy this fail because they conceive unity as something external and structural. When we look at the development of the world, we see increasingly varied opinions kept within useful limits by a general sense of the common welfare. I can conceive of a Christian commonwealth, consisting of bodies of believers each with opinions of their own about matters of organization, understanding one another, and respecting one another, yet conscious of a common purpose, which transcends all human methods. An Italian friend of mine quoted in a letter a saying of a Greek Bishop—that our systems were necessary protections against the storms of the world, but though the walls might be thick below, they all opened to the same heaven.”1 [Note: Life and Letters of Mandell Creighton, ii. 472.]

II

The Realization of Unity

1. The Psalmist gives us two figures. Both are peculiar, and perhaps difficult for us to understand; but both are very expressive to the Eastern mind. They are the figures of the oil and the dew. Brotherly unity is like “the precious oil upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that came down upon the skirt of his garments.” Brotherly unity is like “the dew of Hermon, that cometh down upon the mountains of Zion.” Evidently in each of these figures the pervading, spreading, and beautifying influence of the sympathetic spirit is represented. God Himself pours on men the sacred anointing of His Divine Spirit and the dew of His quickening influences. When His servants are knit together, as they should be, they impart to one another the spiritual gifts received from above. When Christians are truly one as brethren, God’s grace will fructify through each to all.

(1) Like the precious oil.—Easterns perfumed themselves with fragrant oils, much as we do now with scented spirits; and the idea of the ointment spoken of would come home better to us if it were called “scent.” The fragrant oil used to prepare the high priest for his solemn duties was made by special injunction from God, and the smell of it was strong and delightful. Poured on Aaron’s head, it ran down his face and neck, touched the collar of his robe, and spread its fragrance to its very edge, and the whole place was filled and sanctified with the delightful Divine odours. So, pour down on any family, or Church, the sweet-smelling oil of unity, peacefulness, mutual bearing and forbearing, and brotherly love, and it will flow down over the whole body, adorning every member, and making every one a centre of fragrance and a fount of blessing.

The emblem is felicitous by reason of the preciousness, the fragrance and the manifold uses of oil; but these are to be taken into account only in a subordinate degree, if at all. The one point of comparison is the flow of the oil from the priestly head on to the beard and thence to the garments. It is doubtful whether Psa_133:2 refers to the oil or to the beard of the high priest. The latter reference is preferred by many, but the former is more accordant with the parallelism, and with the use of the word “flows down,” which can scarcely be twice used in regard to oil and dew, the main subjects in the figures, and be taken in an entirely different reference in the intervening clause.

Luther says, “In that He saith ‘from the head,’ He showeth the nature of true concord. For like as the ointment ran down from the head of Aaron, the high priest, upon his beard, and so descended unto the borders of his garments, even so true concord in doctrine and brotherly love floweth as a precious ointment, by the unity of the Spirit, from Christ, the High Priest and Head of the Church, unto all the members of the same. For by the beard and extreme parts of the garment He signifieth, that as far as the Church reacheth, so far spreadeth the unity which floweth from Christ her head.”

(2) Like the dew of Hermon.—In this figure the same idea is preserved. The dew touches first the head, the high hill of Hermon, but it descends to the lesser hills of Zion, and spreads its refreshing influences over mountain-side and vale. Dew is the emblem of Divine grace and blessing, so it may well be used as a figure for the special grace of brotherly unity. Wherever that gracious dew falls, the dry families, the dry churches of Zion, are surely nourished and refreshed.

How can the dew of Hermon in the far north fall on the mountains of Zion? Some commentators, as Delitzsch, try to make out that “an abundant dew in Jerusalem might rightly be accounted for by the influence of the cold current of air sweeping down from the north over Hermon.” But that is a violent supposition; and there is no need to demand meteorological accuracy from a poet. It is the one dew which falls on both mountains; and since Hermon towers high above the height of Zion, and is visited with singular abundance of the nightly blessing, it is no inadmissible poetic licence to say that the loftier hill transmits it to the lesser. Such community of blessing is the result of fraternal concord, whereby the high serve the lowly, and no man grudgingly keeps anything to himself, but all share in the good of each. Dew, like oil, is fitted for this symbolic use, by reason of qualities which, though they do not come prominently into view, need not be wholly excluded. It refreshes the thirsty ground and quickens vegetation; so fraternal concord, falling gently on men’s spirits, and linking distant ones together by a mysterious chain of transmitted good, will help to revive failing strength and refresh parched places.1 [Note: A. Maclaren.]

2. The Spirit of unity needs to be cultivated. The unity of brotherly love will never become general, still less perfect, until we have all come to love God our Father supremely, with all our hearts, never until we see that the next great law which He wishes us to keep is to love one another as brethren, as all children of the same family as ourselves, until we see that only by loving one another can we possibly prove our love to Him. So that the more we love God the more we shall love one another, because that is the only way in which we can possibly please Him or be worthy of our high calling as His sons and daughters; moreover, this is the only way by which to know Him truly. And in the cultivation of sympathy with others we develop our own higher selves.

Personality has no existence except in and through fellowship. So we who believe that there is a vital distinction between persons and things, and that persons are made in the image of God, and are redeemed by Him in order that they may be restored to His likeness, cannot acquiesce in any permanent separation from the innermost law of God’s own life, which unveils to us—as far as we can discern it—personality perfected in and through fellowship. Each time that we proclaim our belief in the doctrine of the Trinity we bind ourselves afresh to try to learn the Divine secret which must be true, not only within the Godhead, but of all human personalities called into being by Him. It may well be that we are placed on earth on purpose to learn this lesson of communion and fellowship one with the other, with the laws which govern it, and with the hope for our race bound up in it.

The recently published journals of Scott’s Last Expedition supply precisely the illustration that we need. That expedition consisted of sixty-five members, thirty-two of whom were connected with the ship’s crew and thirty-two formed that party, who, with him as leader, landed and lived together in that ice-bound region, five of them fighting their way over the 800 miles which separated them from the goal of their ambition. It is worth noting that this intrepid body were representative of many interests. If capitalists had contributed large sums of money for the privilege of taking part in it, no less had labour its representatives in those whose chief recommendation consisted in their capacity for hard work. Art, as well as science in several branches, was ably represented among them; some were of the learned professions, while others could be described as unlearned and ignorant men. Both the great services, the Navy and the Army, made characteristic contributions in the men of grit and character who represented them. Only those who have read the journals can realize the abundant excuses which might have been put forward had dissension and diversity of opinion broken out among them. But what do we read in Captain Scott’s own words?—“Never could there have been a greater freedom from quarrels or troubles of all sorts. I have never heard a harsh word or seen a black look. It is glorious to realize that men can live together under conditions of hardship, monotony, and danger, in such bountiful good-comradeship and harmony.” While on board, we read, “Not a word of complaint or of danger has been heard, and the inner life of our small community is very pleasant to think upon, and also very wonderful considering the small space in which we are confined.” In the hut during the weary months from January to November, 1911, Captain Scott’s many references to their unity may be summed up in the following striking witness of it: “I am very much impressed with the extraordinary and genuine cordiality of the relations which exist among our people. I do not suppose that a statement of real truth—that is, there is no friction at all—will be believed. It is so generally thought that the many rubs of such a life as this are quietly and purposely sunk into oblivion. With me there is no need to draw a veil—there is nothing to cover up. There are no strained relations existing here and nothing is more emphatically evident than the universal amicable spirit that is shown on all occasions.” Here, then, it will be granted that men found it a good thing for brethren to dwell together in unity; but the question arises how was it done? The answer may give us at least an indication of the remedy to meet our own need. It was their unbounded belief in their leader. Each and all found their unity in subordinating their will to his. They were not of the same mind, still less were they of the same opinion, but they were all “like-minded” in this respect, to quote the distinction which Bishop Creighton made in commenting on St. Peter’s analysis, “Be ye all like-minded, sympathetic.” Although there were moments when the Commander’s decision caused terrible disappointment to individuals and groups of individuals, yet we read that they took it very well and behaved like men. Secondly, “enduring hardness” was common to them all, leader and followers alike. They found themselves bound together in an inhospitable region, bent on achieving a difficult enterprise, each needing help, each rendering it in turn. Under these conditions they learnt how to live in an atmosphere of constant self-sacrifice, and the division and disunion which so often arises from unconscious self-assertion, rooted in self-will, must have been, as it were, “frost-bitten” at its very beginning and allowed to perish. Even greater proof of their possession of the virtue of self-repression was given by the magnanimity with which they met their disappointment at discovering that rival explorers had outstripped them. There was no little-mindedness, though natural disappointment, at realizing that, while the victory had been won, yet the pre-eminence and priority of being first belonged to their competitors, not to themselves. This most difficult lesson of learning to rate the triumph of a cause higher than the triumph of personally achieving it was not the least of the hardships by which they were tried and tested and not found wanting. Again, they had, and realized that they had, the eyes of the nation upon them, and not of one nation only, but of the whole civilized world. The interest taken by the whole world in the news of the fate of the five heroic men who laid down their lives for their cause proved the tension and suspense with which they were being watched. These men were, and felt themselves to be, trustees of the national honour and national traditions. It was therefore true instinct which led their leader not only to plant his country’s flag at the South Pole, but also at the hour of his death to ask that a portion of that flag might be handed to his Sovereign, for he and his companions had earned the right to be regarded as representatives of the Empire.1 [Note: Canon Bickersteth, in The Guardian, Jan. 30, 1914.]

III

The Blessings of Unity

“For there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” Does this mean for the individual simply a life that is to be endless? In the light of the whole Psalter one may answer “No.” “For ever” in the Old Testament has a relative sense, which has in each particular case to be separately investigated. If it were simply endless life, we might be encouraged to think of God’s blessing as continuous prosperity in outward circumstances. It is altogether better to have that kind of blessing from God changeable, because our circumstances cannot remain long the same, and the relation of circumstances to us, and the influence of circumstances on us, are constantly varying. If God were to imprison and fix one set of circumstances for ever, and give us to choose which we would have thus fixed, we should be hopelessly puzzled, and God would be doing us no kindness. People talk about “for ever” and “everlasting,” without thinking to what alone those terms can be applied, if they are to represent any real blessing to us. The entire sphere of the sensual cannot be “for evermore.” It is of its very nature that it begins and ends. The “fashion of this world passeth away.” It is life that is for evermore. It is the spiritual being that man is that lives for ever. It is the spiritual character that man wins that abides for ever. And helping him to win that character is the blessing—the “life for evermore” which God bestows.

1. With Christian unity there comes peace. In the Psalmist’s days brotherly unity brought peace. Benjamin ceased to “ravin as a wolf,” and Ephraim no longer “vexed Judah.” The civil strife of the land ceased, and peace flowed like a river. It is so always when Christian unity gains its holy power. Strife fails. Brotherhood hangs up the needless sword and shield and spear. Brotherhood soon forgets all jealousies, and ceases to practise the arts of war. Brotherhood makes mutual injury impossible. Brothers bear one another’s burdens. Brothers in Christ follow peace with all men, and holiness. Brothers have one great anxiety, that, if it be possible, they may see eye to eye, and be of one mind in the Lord. Unity ever brings with it peace.

As a basis of Christian fellowship and fully acknowledged brotherhood, we hold that nothing more is necessary than evidence of unfeigned faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Unum corpus sumus in Christo.” That is enough: “Christ is all and in all.” But, so far, we seem to be getting farther and farther from a union that is manifest to the world. A great ecclesiastical organization is a visible thing; uniformity, though less impressive, is yet quite easily observed; even a creed is something that can be made visible after a fashion by the use of the press; but this “faith in Christ” withdraws the essential unity so entirely into the spiritual region that the world cannot be expected to follow it there and find it out, and be any the wiser or better for it. It remains, then, to show how this unity of faith in Christ can be made manifest to the world. And here it will be safe to go to the Apostle Paul. “Neither circumcision,” he says, “nor uncircumcision, but faith”—so far so good, and what next? “Faith working through, love.” Here we have the transition from the invisible to the visible. The faith which links each Christian to Christ is unseen by men, but the love which is the result of it, need not, cannot in fact, be concealed from them, if it is there in force. And every effort should be made to promote the love among Christians, and to induce them to avail themselves of all means within their reach, not only of cherishing it in their hearts, but also of expressing it in their lives. There has been progress in this direction too, very marked and happy progress, in recent years; but there needs to be a much larger development and fuller expression of this Christian affection before much impression can be made on an unbelieving world. It must, in fact, be so marked and remarkable as not only to compel attention, but to oblige those who observe it to ask the questions, How can it be? Whence has it come? No one can say that this point has yet been reached.1 [Note: J. Monro Gibson, Christianity According to Christ, 102.]

2. Unity brings pleasantness. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is!” Unity puts graciousness and beauty upon a community or a church, so that men think it pleasant to look upon. Unity is a bloom upon the fruit, sunshine upon the landscape, polish upon the diamond, health upon the face, morning glow upon the flowers, tone in the voice, and deep clear blue in the vast sky. Unity tints a family, a church, an enterprise with pleasantness. How pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is related of the Duke of Wellington, that once when he remained to take the sacrament at his parish church, a very poor old man went up the opposite aisle, and, reaching the communion table, knelt down close by the side of the duke. Some one (probably a pew opener) came and touched the poor man on the shoulder, and whispered to him to move farther away, or to rise and wait until the duke had received the bread and wine. But the eagle eye and quick ear of the great commander caught the meaning of that touch and that whisper. He clasped the old man’s hand, and held him, to prevent his rising, and in a reverential undertone, but most distinctly, said, “Do not move; we are all equal here.”1 [Note: R. Tuck.]

3. Unity is the secret of prosperity. Divided, men ever fail, but united, they become more than conquerors. The strands of a rope will not hold a child from falling. Knit them together, twine them about each other, and they will hold the great ship to her moorings. United, God gives prosperity. “It shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.” God withholds His blessing until the cry that rises to Him is the united cry of land and sky and crops and men.

During the siege of the legations in Peking national lines and religious lines were forgotten. In the presence of the infuriated Boxers all felt that they were one and that their salvation depended upon their standing together. Protestant and Catholic and Greek were one for the time. During the siege wherever the line was hard pressed there the defenders rallied, regardless of what nationality held the hard pressed point, because a failure at one point meant a failure at every point. One of the interesting incidents of the siege was connected with the international gun. This was an old English six-pounder. It was mounted on an Austrian carriage; it was loaded with German powder and Russian shells; it was fired by the trained hand and eye of an American gunner. Had it not been for the spirit of unity that prevailed in that most critical period all must have perished.1 [Note: A. McLean, Where the Book Speaks, 239.]

4. Unity gives power. Our Lord evidently had a profound idea of the value and power of unity among His disciples. In His last prayer observe what He seemed most to desire for them: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” As soon as a church was gathered, the spirit of concord seemed to be a necessary feature, which appeared without being forced. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” They all continued “daily with one accord in the temple,” etc. Writing to the churches the Apostles evidently think that brotherly unity is of the utmost importance to the prosperity of those communities. They constantly urge its preservation. “Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.” “We, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.” “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” “Let brotherly love continue.” “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

The dew-drop, we are told, has within it a latent thunderbolt, yet it melts away into the corolla of the wild flower, and does its gentle work of nurture so silently that no ear can mark it. There are many men, and yet more women, who sink mildly into the earth-currents of life like a dew-drop, who have latent thunder enough within them to shake society if it should once go forth in that wise. But would their power for good be thereby any greater? Is not that a false estimate of moral forces which measures them by the noise and stir, the flash and thunderous echoes, which result from their exercise? Are not gentleness and repose, after all, the mightiest powers? Let those who love and choose to have their words distil as the dew remember that in the silent, unobtrusive acts of daily life they may be treasuring up in other hearts forces which in their final outcome will give countless blessings to the world.1 [Note: H. C. McCook, The Gospel in Nature, 55.]

No mere coincidence of opinion or of practice in other directions can be compared in uniting power with devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ. Even now, amidst all our outward schisms, and all our inward alienations from each other, it makes our hearts burn within us to speak together of Christ. At such moments—of course I mean where the love of Christ is seen to be genuine and single-hearted—we feel impatient of those miserable barriers which have erected themselves between us to defeat or to delay His purposes. We are conscious of being really one, and feel that it is a shame that that unity should not be allowed to have its open and glad expression. What right have divergences of opinion or practice by which either party intends only the promotion of the cause of Christ to interrupt ecclesiastical unity between those who love each other for the love that both bear to Him? In the ancient days the love of Christ was confessed to be the internal principle of Christian unity. “Grace be with all them who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity”: so St. Paul ends the great Epistle which displays the glories of the one holy Church. It is adoring love of Christ which is the true fundamental article of the Christian creed. It may co-exist with many mistakes, many superstitions, many blindnesses; and Christians may well be patient with these, while seeking to increase that central love which, in its natural and healthy action, will at last dispel them. “If the persons be Christians in their lives, and Christians in their profession”—I would heartily adopt the glowing words of Jeremy Taylor—“If they acknowledge the Eternal Son of God for their Master and Lord, and live in all relations as becomes persons making such professions, why then should I hate such persons whom God loves and who love God, who are partakers of Christ and Christ hath a title to them, who dwell in Christ and Christ in them, because their understandings have not been brought up like mine … have not the same opinions that I have, and do not determine their school questions to the sense of my sect or interest?” God grant that we may so prize and exalt Christ above all, extol and magnify His person so incomparably over all, that the common devotion to Him may annul and bear down the divisions which keep us asunder, and make us again to be outwardly one as He left His first disciples one, until we reach that yet richer and Diviner unity which was to be the reward and consummation of abiding in the fellowship which He established.1 [Note: A. J. Mason, The Principles of Ecclesiastical Unity, 64.]

Literature

Jowett (B.), Sermons Biographical and Miscellaneous, 338.

McCook (H. C.), The Gospel in Nature, 45.

Maclaren (A.), The Book of Psalms (Expositor’s Bible), iii. 355.

Pentecost (G. F.), Bible Studies: Mark, and Jewish History, 305.

Simpson (J. G.), Christian Ideals, 93.

Voysey (C.), Sermons, xxviii. (1905), No. 29; xxxiii. (1910), No. 9.

Christian World Pulpit, xiv. 281 (R. Tuck); lvii. 279 (R. A. Armstrong).

Church of England Magazine, xxix. 24 (T. Preston).

Church of England Pulpit, xl. 268 (O. F. S. P. Jenkins); liv. 19 (G. P. Horne).

Church Pulpit Year Book, 1905, p. 138 (M. Woodward).

Guardian, lxix. (1914) 139 (S. Bickersteth).

Sunday Magazine, 1893, p. 643 (B. Waugh).