Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Love All Good Men of All Descriptions

A portion of a letter written by Charles Simeon of Cambridge, to James Haldane of Scotland. The two were close friends though of different denominations. Simeon was an Anglican and Haldane a Baptist. They had differences between them but appreciated one another and sometimes ministered together in the gospel. Ministers in the Established Church, whether Anglican in England or Presbyterian in Scotland, were not generally favorable to itinerant or lay preachers, as were the dissenters. Simeon was not of that mind and expressed his opinion in this letter, written April 13, 1798.

With respect to your excursion, I am far from having entertained the opinion you suppose. I must acknowledge that I think immortal souls of such value, that I should rejoice if all the Lord’s people were prophets. With respect to regularity, propriety, etc., the most godly men in all ages have differed in their judgment; and I find it so difficult precisely to draw the line in any case of my own, that I do not presume to judge for others. Some think they may eat meat, and others not; I neither judge nor despise, but leave all to their own Master. We certainly must not do MORAL evil, that good may come. But if mercy and sacrifice stand in opposition to each other, we may choose mercy; and if David and his men be fainting with hunger, they may eat the forbidden bread. I love all good men of all descriptions, and rejoice in the good they do, whether they do it in my way or not. I think for myself and act for myself, and leave others to do the same.

The Lives of Robert and James Haldane, by Alexander Haldane, first published in 1852, reprinted by The Banner of Truth, 1990, p. 197.

No comments: