Mark 9:38-40. And John answered him As if he had said, But ought we to receive those who follow not us? Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name Probably this was one of John the Baptist’s disciples, who believed in Jesus, though he did not yet associate with our Lord’s disciples. And we forbade him, because he followeth not us How often is the same temper found in us! How readily do we also lust to envy! But how ill does that spirit become a disciple, much more a minister, of the benevolent Jesus! St. Paul had learned a better temper, when he rejoiced that Christ was preached, even by those who were his personal enemies. But to confine religion to them that follow us, is a narrowness of spirit which we should avoid and abhor. Jesus said, &c. Christ here gives us a lovely example of candour and moderation. He was willing to put the best construction on doubtful cases, and to treat as friends those who were not avowed enemies. Perhaps in this instance it was a means of conquering the remainder of prejudice, and perfecting what was wanting in the faith and obedience of these persons. Forbid him not Neither directly nor indirectly discourage or hinder any man, who brings sinners from the power of Satan to God, because he followeth not us, in opinions, modes of worship, or any thing else which does not affect the essence of religion. For he that is not against us, is for us Our Lord had formerly said, He that is not with me, is against me: thereby admonishing his hearers that the war between him and Satan admitted of no neutrality, and that those who were indifferent to him now, would finally be treated as enemies. But here, in another view, he uses a very different proverb; directing his followers to judge of men’s characters in the most candid manner; and charitably to hope, that those who did not oppose his cause wished well to it. Upon the whole, we are to be rigorous in judging ourselves, and candid in judging each other.
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