Pristine Grace

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The Christian's Heart is Open to Those Who Differ
by John Newton
The Christian's Heart is Open to Those Who Differ

I thank my God... Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints. - Philem. 4-5

    A Christian ... knows he is frail; and therefore dares not be censorious.  As a member of society, he is just, punctual in the discharge of every relative duty, faithful to his engagements and promises, rendering to all their dues, obedient to lawful authority, and acting to all men according to the golden rule, of doing as he would be done by.  His conduct is simple, devoid of artifice, and consistent, attending to every branch of duty: and in the closet, the family, the church, and in the transactions of common life, he is the same man; for in every circumstance he serves the Lord, and aims to maintain a conscience void of offence in his sight.  No small part of the beauty of his profession in the sight of men, consists in the due government of his tongue.  The law of truth, and kindness, and purity, is upon his lips.  He abhors lying; and is so far from inventing a slander, that he will not repeat a report to the disadvantage of his neighbour, however true, without a proper call.  His converse is cheerful, but inoffensive; and he will no more wound another with his wit (if he has a talent that way), than with a knife.  His speech is with grace, seasoned with salt, and suited to promote the peace and edification of all around him.

    Such is the Christian in civil life.  But though he loves all mankind, he stands in a nearer relation, and bears an especial brotherly love, to all who are partakers of the faith and hope of the gospel.  This regard is not confined within the pale of a denomination, but extended to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ with sincerity...  He rejoices in the image of God, wherever he sees it and in the work of God, wherever it is carried on.  Though tenacious of the truths which the Lord has taught him, his heart is open to those who differ from him in less essential points, and allows to others that right of private judgment which he claims for himself, and is disposed to hold communion in love with all who hold the Head.

John Newton (1725-1807) was an English Anglican clergyman, staunch Calvinist, and abolitionist, most widely known for authoring the hymn Amazing Grace.