by Lee Hanks
Advocate and Messenger, April, 1934
When I was a boy in the ministry about fifty-four years ago, I traveled with a precious old father in Israel who was loving, tender and kind to me. If I made a misquotation, a mispronunciation or an ungrammatical expression he would privately tell me about it. He did so in love. He never corrected me publicly. I always loved him. Many times I have thought I heard good brethren misapply the scriptures, but I ever publicly exposed them. If I said anything about it, it was to them in private. No matter how honest and sincere we may be, and how much we know, we could be mistaken. Brethren should be very kind and tender with each other. It is good for brethren to meet and discuss their seeming differences and see how close together they are. You can hardly find any two that will fully agree on every little technical point. Better not harp on those points.
On the great essentials there is great harmony among us. It should be our greatest desire to comfort, strengthen, educate, and bind our dear people more closely together. We should not decide that everyone that does not view every little point as we do and say everything as we say it, is unsound, disorderly, and has the leprosy and that it will not do to associate with him lest we catch the contagion. Brethren, in different sections, have different customs and some are more tolerant than others. We should not thing the Lord has made it the business of some of us to regulate all of our brethren and force them to come to our standard. I fear that some are like Diotrephes who would not receive the brethren and rejected all who did (I John 9:10).
As I grow older the less confidence I have in self and the more forbearing I am. Jesus ate with publicans and sinners. The Pharisees reproved Him for it. Charity suffers long and is kind, not easily provoked. Not puffed up, beareth all things. Charity covers a multitude of sins. And it is so good for all of us that we all be kind and keep ourselves unspotted from the world, and shun the appearance of evil. I am now (July 28) at the good home of our esteemed brother, Eld. John Glisson, Claxton, Ga., a great and good man. I have been visiting the good Baptists of this country for about forty years. they are a great and noble people, and I pray that the little misunderstanding may be soon adjusted. If meddlers and sowers of seeds of discord will stay out, and let all speak the truth in love and investigate and understand matters better, and remove all dead lines, here will soon be a sweet reunion .
I love them all and pray God that they can soon all dwell together in unity as in the days of yore. Read Jas 4:11 and Jas 5:16. If all true Primitive Baptists were dwelling together in unity they would be a much greater power for good. All have made mistakes. The Apostolic churches were not perfect, made some mistakes. It is not what brethren did back yonder,–but are they living right at this time is the important question. Let us labor for peace. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’