Unity, Patience, and Charity (Alison)

Francis Alison (d. 1779) was the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia who was also a professor at an academy there in Philadelphia. Alison preached a sermon on Ephesians 4:4-7 before the Synod of New York and Philadelphia 1n 1758 as the divided Presbyterian church was discussing the Plan of Union. The following quote is an excerpt of Alison’s sermon. You may recognize the opening statement of the quote. This phrase is found elsewhere, but most likely this is the first time it was used in the United States. The entire quote is a good one when considering divided churches coming back together:

“We must maintain union in essentials, forbearance in lesser matters, and charity in all things…. In promoting and preserving peace and unity among Christians, we are carefully to follow the commands and example of Christ and his apostles, and not the experiments of our own devising…. We should remember, that no two men are agreed in all points, and that where they are agreed, they generally different in their ways of explaining and defending them…. In a church like ours in America, collected from different churches of Europe, who have followed different modes and ways of obeying the ‘great and general command of the gospel,’ there is a peculiar call for charity and forbearance.”

The above quote is found in The Presbyterian Creed by Donald Forston, page 35.

Shane Lems
From Charlotte, NC

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