Emphasizing Essentials

There is a saying, sometimes attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but probably more rightly attributable to Rupertus Meldenius or to Philipp Melanchthon, which seems to constitute a good rule for harmonious co-operation. The saying is as follows: "In things essential, unity; in doubtful, liberty; in all things, charity." To what a very great extent would friction be eliminated from human contacts if the spirit of this rule were to be followed by human beings in their dealings with one another!

Many of the points on which human beings differ, sometimes stubbornly and acrimoniously, may be classified as "doubtful," if not entirely unimportant. How often differences of opinion are about nonessentials! Oftentimes mortals disagree, sometimes violently and persistently, about something that is not essential to real progress. Probably the settlement of a particular question in accordance with the views of one disputant or the other would not be of vital importance to either. How wise was Abraham, of old, when he said to Lot, "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, ... for we be brethren"!

"He put them all out"
April 25, 1936

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