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CATHOLIC SPIRIT
AUTHOR: Wesley, John
PUBLISHED ON: April 9, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN
PUBLISHED IN: Sermons

  John Wesley: SERMON XXXIV: CATHOLIC SPIRIT

  “And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab
the son of Rechab coming to meet him, and he saluted him, and
said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy
heart? And Jehonadab answered: It is. If it be, give me thine
hand.” – 2 KINGS X. 15.

  It is allowed even by those who do not pay this great
debt, that love is due to all mankind, the royal law, ‘Thou
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,’ carrying its own
evidence to all that hear it: and that, not according to the
miserable construction put upon it by the zealots of old
times, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour,’ thy relation,
acquaintance, friend, ‘and hate thine 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 ye may be
the children,’ may appear so to all mankind, ‘of your Father
which is in heaven; who maketh His sun to rise on the evil
and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the
unjust.

  2. But it is sure, there is a peculiar love which we owe
to those that 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 ye love one another: as I have loved you, that
ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye
are My disciples, if ye have love one to another (John xiii.
34, 35) This is that love on which the Apostle John so
frequently and strongly insists: ‘This,’ saith he, ‘is the
message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love
one another’ (I John iii. 11). ‘Hereby perceive we the love
of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought,’
if love should call us thereto, ‘to lay down our lives for
the brethren’ (verse 16). And again: ‘Beloved, let us love
one another: for love is of God. He that loveth not, knoweth
not God; for God is love’ (iv. 7, 8). ‘Not that we loved God,
but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation
for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to
love one another (verses 10, 11).

  3. All men approve of this; but do all men practise it?
Daily experience shows the contrary. Where are even the
Christians who ‘love one another as He hath 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; but in several smaller points their
practice must differ in proportion to the difference of their
sentiments.

  4. But although 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? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all
the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller
differences. These remaining as they are, they may forward
one another in love and in good works.

  5. Surely in this respect the example of Jehu himself, as
mixed a character as he was of, is well worthy both the
attention and imitation of every serious Christian. ‘And when
he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of
Rechab coming to meet him; and he saluted him, and said to
him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And
Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thine hand.’

  The text naturally divides itself into two parts: – First,
a question proposed by Jehu to Jehonadab: ‘Is thine heart
right, as my heart is with thy heart?’ Secondly, an offer
made on Jehonadab’s answering, ‘It is’: ‘If il be, give me
thine hand.’

  I. 1. And, first, let us consider the question proposed by
Jehu to Jehonadab, ‘Is thine heart right, as my heart is with
thy heart?’

  The very first thing we may observe in these words, is,
that here is no inquiry concerning Jehonadab’s opinions. And
yet it is certain, he held some which were very uncommon,
indeed quite peculiar to himself; and some which had a close
influence upon his practice; on which, likewise, he laid so
great a stress, as to entail them upon his children’s
children, to their latest posterity. This is evident from the
account given by Jeremiah many years after his death: ‘I took
Jaazaniah and his brethren and all his sons, and the whole
house of the Rechabites, . . . and set before them pots full
of wine, and cups, and said unto them, Drink ye wine. But
they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab,’ or Jehonadab,
‘the son of Rechab, our father’ (it would be less ambiguous,
if the words were placed thus: ‘Jehonadab our father, the son
of Rechab’, out of love and reverence to whom, he probably
desired his descendants might be called by his name),
‘commanded us, saying, ye shall drink no wine, neither ye,
nor your sons for ever. Neither shall ye build house, nor sow
seed; nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye
shall dwell in tents…. And we have obeyed, and done
according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us’ (Jer.
XXXV. 3-10).

  2. And yet Jehu (although it seems to have been his manner
both in things secular and religious, to drive furiously)
does not concern himself at all with any of these things, but
lets Jehonadab abound in his own sense. And neither of them
appears to have given the other the least disturbance
touching the opinions which he maintained.

  3. It is very possible, that many good men now also may
entertain peculiar opinions; and some of them may be as
singular herein as even Jehonadab was. And it is certain, so
long as we know but in part, that all men will not see all
things alike. It is an unavoidable consequence of the present
weakness and shortness of human understanding, that several
men will be of several minds in religion as well as in common
life. So it has been from the beginning of the world, and so
it will be ’till the restitution of ali things.’

  4. Nay, farther: although every man necessarily believes
that every particular opinion which he holds is true (for to
believe any opinion is not true, is the same thing as not to
hold it); yet can no man be assured that all his own
opinions, taken together, are true. Nay, every thinking man
is assured they are not, seeing humanum est errare et
nescire: ‘to be ignorant of many things, and to mistake in
some, is the necessary condition of humanity’. This,
therefore, he is sensible, is his own case. He knows, in the
general, that he himself is mistaken; although in what
particulars he mistakes, he does not, perhaps he cannot,
know.

  5. I say ‘perhaps he cannot know’; for who can tell how
far invincible ignorance may extend? or (that comes to the
same thing) invincible prejudice? – which is often so fixed
in tender minds, that it is afterwards impossible to tear up
what has taken so deep a root. And who can say, unless he
knew every circumstance attending it, how far any mistake is
culpable? seeing all guilt must suppose some concurrence of
the will; of which He only can judge who searcheth the heart.

  6. Every wise man, therefore, will allow others the same
liberty of thinking which he desires they should allow him;
and will no more insist on their embracing his opinions, than
he would have them to insist on his embracing theirs. He
bears with those who differ from him, and only asks him with
whom he desires to unite in love that single question, ‘Is
thy heart right, as my heart is with thy heart?’

  7. We may, secondly, observe, that here is no inquiry made
concerning Jehonadab’s mode of worship; although it is highly
probable there was, in this respect also, a very wide
difference between them. For we may well believe Jehonadab,
as well as all his posterity, worshipped God at Jerusalem!
whereas Jehu did not: he had more regard to state-policy than
religion. And, therefore, although he slew the worshippers of
Baal, and ‘destroyed Baal out of Israel’, yet from the
convenient sin of Jeroboam, the worship of the ‘golden
calves,’ he ‘departed not’ (2 Kings x. 29).

  8. But even among men of an upright heart, men who desire
to ‘have a conscience void of offence,’ it must needs be,
that, as long as there are various opinions, there will be
various ways of worshipping God; seeing a variety of opinion
necessarily implies a variety of practice. And as, in all
ages, men have differed in nothing more than in their
opinions concerning the Supreme Being, so in nothing have
they more differed from each other, than in the manner of
worshipping Him. Had this been only in the heathen world, it
would not have been at all surprising: for we know, these
‘by’ their ‘wisdom knew not God’; nor, therefore, could they
know how to worship Him. But is it not strange, that even in
the Christian world, although they all agree in the general,
‘God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him
in spirit and in truth’; yet the particular modes of
worshipping God are almost as various as among the Heathens?

  9. And how shall we choose among so much variety? No man
can choose for, or prescribe to, another. But every one must
follow the dictates of his own conscience, in simplicity and
godly sincerity. He must be fully persuaded in his own mind
and then act according to the best light he has. Nor has any
creature power to constrain another to walk by his own rule.
God has given no right to any of the children of men thus to
lord it over the conscience of his brethren; but every man
must judge for himself, as every man must give an account of
himself to God.

  10. Although, therefore, every follower of Christ is
obliged, by the very nature of the Christian institution, to
be a member of some particular congregation or other, some
Church, as it is usually termed (which implies a particular
manner of worshipping God; for ‘two cannot walk together
unless they be agreed’); yet none can be obliged by any power
on earth but that of his own conscience, to prefer this or
that congregation to another, this or that particular manner
of worship. I know it is commonly supposed, that the place of
our birth fixes the Church to which we ought to belong; that
one, for instance, who is born in England, ought to be a
member of that which is styled the Church of England, and
consequently, to worship God in the particular manner which
is prescribed by that Church. I was once a zealous maintainer
of this; but I find many reasons to abate of this zeal. I
fear it is attended with such difficulties as no reasonable
man can get over. Not the least of which is, that if this
rule had took place, there could have been no Reformation
from Popery; seeing it entirely destroys the right of private
judgement, on which that whole Reformation stands.

  11. I dare not, therefore, presume to impose my mode of
worship on any other. I believe it is truly primitive and
apostolical: but my belief is no rule for another. I ask not,
therefore, of him with whom I would unite in love, Are you of
my church, of my congregation? Do you receive the same form
of church government, and allow the same church officers,
with me? Do you join in the same form of prayer wherein I
worship God? I inquire not, Do you receive the supper of the
Lord in the same posture and manner that I do? nor whether,
in the administration of baptism, you agree with me in
admitting sureties for the baptized, in the manner of
administering it; or the age of those to whom it should be
administered. Nay, I ask not of you (as clear as I am in my
own mind), whether you allow baptism and the Lord’s supper at
all. Let all these things stand by: we will talk of them, if
need be, at a more convenient season, my only question at
present is this, ‘Is thine heart right, as my heart is with
thy heart?’

  12. But what is properly implied in the question? I do not
mean, What did Jehu imply therein? But, What should a
follower of Christ understand thereby, when he proposes it to
any of his brethren?

  The first thing implied is this: Is thy heart right with
God? Dost thou believe His being and His perfections? His
eternity, immensity, wisdom, power? His justice, mercy, and
truth? Dost thou believe that He now ‘upholdeth all things by
the word of His power’? and that He governs even the most
minute, even the most noxious, to His own glory, and the good
of them that love Him? Hast thou a divine evidence, a
supernatural conviction, of the things of God? Dost thou
‘walk by faith not by sight’? looking not at temporal things,
but things eternal?

  13. Dost thou believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, ‘God over
all, blessed for ever’? Is He revealed in thy soul? Dost thou
know Jesus Christ and Him crucified? Does He dwell in thee,
and thou in Him? Is He formed in thy heart by faith? Having
absolutely disclaimed all thy own works, thy own
righteousness, hast thou ‘submitted thyself unto the
righteousness of God, which is by faith in Christ Jesus? Art
thou ‘found in Him, not having thy own righteousness, but the
righteousness which is by faith’? And art thou, through Him,
‘fighting the good fight of faith, and laying hold of eternal
life’?

  14. Is thy faith ————- – filled with the energy,
of love? Dost thou love God (I do not say ‘above all things,’
for it is both an unscriptural and an ambiguous expression,
but) ‘with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all
thy soul, and with all thy strength’? Dost thou seek all thy
happiness in Him alone? And dost thou find what thou seekest?
Does thy soul continually ‘magnify the Lord, and thy spirit
rejoice in God thy Saviour’? Having learned ‘in everything to
give thanks, dost thou find ‘it is a joyful and a pleasant
thing to be thankful’? Is God the centre of thy soul, the sum
of all thy desires? Art thou accordingly laying up thy
treasure in heaven, and counting all things else dung and
dross? Hath the love of God cast the love of the world out of
thy soul? Then thou art ‘crucified to the world’; thou art
dead to all below; and thy ‘life is hid with Christ in God.’

  15. Art thou employed in doing, ‘not thy own will, but the
will of Him that sent thee’ – of Him that sent thee down to
sojourn here awhile, to spend a few days in a strange land,
till, having finished the work He hath given thee to do, thou
return to thy Father’s house? Is it thy meat and drink ‘to do
the will of thy Father which is in heaven’? Is thine eye
single in all things? always fixed on Him? always looking
unto Jesus? Dost thou point at Him in whatsoever thou doest?
in all thy labour, thy business, thy conversation? aiming
only at the glory of God in all, ‘whatsoever thou doest,
either in word or deed, doing it all in the name of the Lord
Jesus; giving thanks unto God, even the Father, through Him’?

  16. Does the love of God constrain thee to serve Him with
fear, to ‘rejoice unto Him with reverence’? Art thou more
afraid of displeasing God, than either of death or hell? Is
nothing so terrible to thee as the thought of offending the
eyes of His glory? Upon this ground, dost thou ‘hate all evil
ways,’ every transgression of His holy and perfect law; and
herein ‘exercise thyself, to have a conscience void of
offence toward God, and toward man’?

  17. Is thy heart right toward thy neighbour? Dost thou
love as thyself, all mankind, without exception? ‘If you love
those only that love you, what thank have ye?’ Do you ‘love
your enemies’? Is your soul full of good-will, of tender
affection, toward them? Do you love even the enemies of God,
the unthankful and unholy? Do your bowels yearn over them?
Could you ‘wish yourself’ temporally ‘accursed’ for their
sake? And do you show this by ‘blessing them that curse you,
and praying for those that despitefully use you, and
persecute you’?

  18. Do you show your love by your works? While you have
time as you have opportunity, do you in fact ‘do good to all
men,’ neighbours or strangers, friends or enemies, good or
bad? Do you do them all the good you can; endeavouring to
supply all their wants; assisting them both in body and soul,
to the uttermost of your power? – If thou art thus minded,
may every Christian say, yea, if thou art but sincerely
desirous of it, and following on till thou attain, then ‘thy
heart is right, as my heart is with thy heart.’

  II. 1. ‘If it be, give me thy hand.’ I do not mean, ‘Be of
my opinion.’ You need not: I do not expect or desire it.
Neither do I mean, ‘I will be of your opinion.’ I cannot, it
does not depend on my choice: I can no more think, than I can
see or hear, as I will. Keep you your opinion; I mine; and
that as steadily as ever. You need not even endeavour to come
over to me, or bring me over to you. I do not desire you to
dispute those points, or to hear or speak one word concerning
them. Let all opinions alone on one side and the other: only
‘give me thine hand.’

  2. I do not mean, ‘Embrace my modes of worship’, or, ‘I
will embrace yours.’ This also is a thing which does not
depend either on your choice or mine. We must both act as
each is fully persuaded in his own mind. Hold you fast that
which you believe is most acceptable to God, and I will do
the same. I believe the Episcopal form of church government
to be scriptural and apostolical. If you think the
Presbyterian or Independent is better, think so still, and
act accordingly. I believe infants ought to be baptized; and
that this may be done either by dipping or sprinkling. If you
are otherwise persuaded, be so still, and follow your own
persuasion. It appears to me, that forms of prayer are of
excellent use, particularly in the great congregation. If you
judge extemporary prayer to be of more use, act suitable to
your own judgement. My sentiment is, that I ought not to
forbid water, wherein persons may be baptized; and that I
ought to eat bread and drink wine, as a memorial of my dying
Master: however, if you are not convinced of this act
according to the light you have. I have no desire to dispute
with you one moment upon any of the preceding heads. Let all
these smaller points stand aside. Let them never come into
sight ‘If thine heart is as my heart,’ if thou lovest God and
all mankind, I ask no more: ‘give me thine hand.’

  3. I mean, first, love me: and that not only as thou
lovest all mankind; not only as thou lovest thine enemies, or
the enemies of God, those that hate thee, that ‘despitefully
use thee, and persecute thee’; not only as a stranger, as one
of whom thou knowest neither good nor evil, – I am not
satisfied with this, –  no; ‘if thine heart be right, as mine
with thy heart,’ then love me with a very tender affection,
as a friend that is closer than a brother; as a brother in
Christ, a fellow citizen of the New Jerusalem, a fellow
soldier engaged in the same warfare, under the same Captain
of our salvation. Love me as a companion in the kingdom and
patience of Jesus, and a joint heir of His glory.

  4. Love me (but in a higher degree than thou dost the bulk
of mankind) with the love that is long-suffering and kind;
that is patient, – if I am ignorant or out of the way,
bearing and not increasing my burden; and is tender, soft,
and compassionate still; that envieth not, if at any time it
please God to prosper me in His work even more than thee.
Love me with the love that is not provoked, either at my
follies or infirmities; or even at my acting (if it should
sometimes so appear to thee) not according to the will of
God. Love me so as to think no evil of me; to put away all
jealousy and evil-surmising. Love me with the love that
covereth all things; that never reveals either my faults or
infirmities, – that believeth all things; is always willing
to think the best, to put the fairest construction on all my
words and actions, – that hopeth all things; either that the
thing related was never done; or not done with such
circumstances as are related; or, at least, that it was done
with a good-intention, or in a sudden stress of temptation.
And hope to the end, that whatever is amiss will, by the
grace of God, be corrected; and whatever is wanting,
supplied, through the riches of His mercy in Christ Jesus.

  5 I mean, secondly, commend me to God in all thy prayers;
wrestle with Him in my behalf, that He would speedily correct
what He sees amiss, and supply what is wanting in me. In thy
nearest access to the throne of grace, beg of Him who is then
very present with thee, that my heart may be more as thy
heart, more right both toward God and toward man; that I may
have a fuller conviction of things not seen, and a stronger
view of the love of God in Christ Jesus; may more steadily
walk by faith, not by sight; and more earnestly grasp eternal
life. Pray that the love of God and of all mankind may be
more largely poured into my heart; that I may be more fervent
and active in doing the will of my Father which is in heaven,
more zealous of good works, and more careful to abstain from
all appearance of evil.

  6. I mean, thirdly, provoke me to love and to good works.
Second thy prayer, as thou hast opportunity, by speaking to
me, in love, whatsoever thou believest to be for my soul’s
health. Quicken me in the work which God has given me to do,
and instruct me how to do it more perfectly. Yea, ‘smite me
friendly, and reprove me,’ whereinsoever I appear to thee to
be doing rather my own will, than the will of Him that sent
me. O speak and spare not, whatever thou believest may
conduce, either to the amending my faults, the strengthening
my weakness, the building me up in love, or the making me
more fit, in any kind, for the Master’s use.

  7. I mean, lastly, love me not in word only, but in deed
and in truth. So far as in conscience thou canst (retaining
still thy own opinions, and thy own manner of worshipping
God), join with me in the work of God; and let us go on hand
in hand. And thus far, it is certain, thou mayest go. Speak
honourably wherever thou art, of the work of God, by
whomsoever He works, and kindly of His messengers. And, if it
be in thy power, not only sympathize with them when they are
in any difficulty or distress, but give them a cheerful and
effectual assistance, that they may glorify God on thy
behalf.

  8. Two things should be observed with regard to what has
been spoken under this last head: the one, that whatsoever
love, whatsoever offices of love, whatsoever spiritual or
temporal assistance, I claim from him whose heart is right,
as my heart is with his, the same I am ready, by the grace of
God, according to my measure, to give him: the other, that I
have not made this claim in behalf of myself only, but of all
whose heart is right toward God and man, that we may all love
one another as Christ hath loved us.

  III. 1. One inference we may make from what has been said.
We may learn from hence, what is a catholic spirit.

  There is scarce any expression which has been more grossly
misunderstood, and more dangerously misapplied, than this:
but it will be easy for any who calmly consider the preceding
observations, to correct any such misapprehensions of it, and
to prevent any such misapplication.

  For, from hence we may learn, first, that a catholic
spirit is not speculative latitudinarianism. It is not an
indifference to all opinions: this is the spawn of hell, not
the offspring of heaven. This unsettledness of thought, this
being ‘driven to and fro, and tossed about with every wind of
doctrine,’ is a great curse, not a blessing, an
irreconcilable enemy, not a friend, to true catholicism. A
man of a truly catholic spirit has not now his religion to
seek. He is fixed as the sun in his judgement concerning the
main branches of Christian doctrine. It is true, he is always
ready to hear and weigh whatsoever can be offered against his
principles; but as this does not show any wavering in his own
mind, so neither does it occasion any. He does not halt
between two opinions, nor vainly endeavour to blend them into
one. Observe this, you who know not what spirit ye are of:
who call yourselves men of a catholic spirit, only because
you are of a muddy understanding; because your mind is all in
a mist; because you have no settled, consistent principles,
but are for jumbling all opinions together. Be convinced,
that you have quite missed your way; you know not where you
are. You think you are got into the very spirit of Christ;
when, in truth, you are nearer the spirit of Antichrist. Go,
first, and learn the first elements of the gospel of Christ,
and then shall you learn to be of a truly catholic spirit.

  2. From what has been said, we may learn, secondly, that a
catholic spirit is not any kind of practical
latitudinarianism. It is not indifference as to public
worship, or as to the outward manner of performing it. This,
likewise, would not be a blessing but a curse. Far from being
an help thereto, it would, so long as it remained, be an
unspeakable hindrance to the worshipping of God in spirit and
in truth. But the man of a truly catholic spirit, having
weighed all things in the balance of the sanctuary, has no
doubt, no scruple at all, concerning that particular mode of
worship wherein he joins. He is clearly convinced, that this
manner of worshipping God is both scriptural and rational. He
knows none in the world which is more scriptural, none which
is more rational. Therefore, without rambling hither and
thither, he cleaves close thereto, and praises God for the
opportunity of so doing.

  3. Hence we may, thirdly, learn, that a catholic spirit is
not indifference to all congregations. This is another sort
of latitudinarianism, no less absurd and unscriptural than
the former. But it is far from a man of a truly catholic
spirit. He is fixed in his congregation as well as his
principles. He is united to one, not only in spirit, but by
all the outward ties of Christian fellowship. There he
partakes of all the ordinances of God. There he receives the
supper of the Lord. There he pours out his soul in public
prayer, and joins in public praise and thanksgiving. There he
rejoices to hear the word of reconciliation, the gospel of
the grace of God. With these his nearest, his best-beloved
brethren, on solemn occasions, he seeks God by fasting. These
particularly he watches over in love, as they do over his
soul; admonishing, exhorting, comforting, reproving, and
every way building up each other in the faith. These he
regards as his own household; and therefore, according to the
ability God has given him, naturally cares for them, and
provides that they may have all the things that are needful
for life and godliness.

  4. But while he is steadily fixed in his religious
principles in what he believes to be the truth as it is in
Jesus; while he firmly adheres to that worship of God which
he judges to be most acceptable in His sight; and while he is
united by the tenderest and closest ties to one particular
congregation, – his heart is enlarged toward all mankind,
those he knows and those he does not; he embraces with strong
and cordial affection neighbours and strangers, friends and
enemies. This is catholic or universal love. And he that has
this is of a catholic spirit. For love alone gives the title
to this character: catholic love is a catholic spirit.

  5. If, then, we take this word in the strictest sense, a
man of a catholic spirit is one who, in the manner above-
mentioned, gives his hand to all whose hearts are right with
his heart: one who knows how to value, and praise God for,
all the advantages he enjoys, with regard to the knowledge of
the things of God, the true scriptural manner of worshipping
Him, and, above all, his union with a congregation fearing
God and working righteousness: one who, retaining these
blessings with the strictest care, keeping them as the apple
of his eye, at the same time loves  – as friends, as brethren
in the Lord, as members of Christ and children of God, as
joint partakers now of the present kingdom of God, and fellow
heirs of His eternal kingdom – all, of whatever opinion or
worship, or congregation, who believe in the Lord Jesus
Christ; who love God and man; who, rejoicing to please, and
fearing to offend God, are careful to abstain from evil, and
zealous of good works. He is the man of a truly catholic
spirit, who bears all these continually upon his heart; who
having an unspeakable tenderness for their persons, and
longing for their welfare, does not cease to commend them to
God in prayer, as well as to plead their cause before men;
who speaks comfortably to them, and labours, by all his
words, to strengthen their hands in God. He assists them to
the uttermost of his power in all things, spiritual and
temporal. He is ready ‘to spend and be spent for them’; yea,
to lay down his life for their sake.

  6. Thou, O man of God, think on these things! If thou art
already in this way, go on. If thou hast heretofore mistook
the path, bless God who hath brought thee back! And now run
the race which is set before thee, in the royal way of
universal love. Take heed, lest thou be either wavering in
thy judgement, or straitened in thy bowels: but keep an even
pace, rooted in the faith once delivered to the saints, and
grounded in love, in true catholic love, till thou art
swallowed up in love for ever and ever!

  CATHOLIC LOVE

Weary of all this wordy strife,
These notions, forms, and modes, and names,
To Thee, the way, the Truth, the Life,
Whose love my simple heart inflames,
Divinely taught, at last I fly,
With Thee and Thine to live and die.

  Forth from the midst of Babel brought,
  Parties and sects I cast behind;
  Enlarged my heart, and free my thought,
  Where’er the latent truth I find
  The latent truth with joy to own,
  And bow to Jesu’s name alone.

Redeem’d by Thine almighty grace,
I taste my glorious liberty,
With open arms the world embrace,
But cleave to those who cleave to Thee;
But only in Thy saints delight,
Who walk with God in purest white.

  One with the little flock I rest,
  The members sound who hold the Head.
  The chosen few, with pardon blest
  And by th’ anointing Spirit led
  Into the mind that was in Thee
  Into the depths of Deity.

My brethren, friends, and kinsmen these
Who do my heavenly Father’s will;
Who aim at perfect holiness,
And all Thy counsels to fulfil,
Athirst to be whate’er Thou art,
And love their God with all their heart.

  For these, howe’er in flesh disjoin’d,
  Where’er dispersed o’er earth abroad,
  Unfeign’d, unbounded love I find
  And constant as the life of God
  Fountain of life, from thence it sprung,
  As pure, as even, and as strong.

Join’d to the hidden church unknown
In this sure bond of perfectness
Obscurely safe, I dwell alone
And glory in th’ uniting grace,
To me, to each believer given,
To all Thy saints in earth and heaven.

                Charles Wesley.

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