There is an old legend of Abraham which teaches its lesson of toleration. Sitting one day at the door of his tent, he was visited by a stranger. Abraham asked him within and they sat down to break bread together. Unlike Abraham, the stranger did not pause to ask a blessing. Abraham inquired the reason why, and he told him that he worshiped the sun. Angry with him, Abraham drove him out of the tent.
Afterward the Lord called and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, "I thrust him out because he did not worship thee."
Then said the Lord: "I have suffered him and his ancestors for hundreds of years, and couldst not thou endure him for one hour?"
When James and John wished to bring down fire and lightning upon a Samaritan village which had been inhospitable to Jesus, Christ rebuked the sons of thunder, and said, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." (Luke 9:55.)
There are few hymns which we like to sing more than "Rock of Ages," by Toplady, and "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," by Charles Wesley. John Wesley had a most bitter dispute with Toplady, the author of "Rock of Ages."
Wesley grossly caricatured Toplady's Calvinism as amounting to this: "One in twenty of mankind are elected; nineteen in twenty are reprobated. The elect shall be saved, do what they will: the reprobate shall be damned, do what they can. Reader, believe this, or be damned. Witness my hand, A—T—"
To this stinging satire Toplady responded with a pamphlet calling Wesley a perverter of the truth and saying that under different circumstances a similar forgery would have landed him in Virginia or Maryland.
Of the same nature was a dispute between Newman Smith and Robert Hall. Smith was the author of a widely read and useful pamphlet, "Come to Jesus." In his controversy with Hall, Smith wrote a bitter pamphlet, and unable to think of an appropriate title, he submitted the article to a friend on whose judgment he relied and asked him to suggest a title. His friend read the fierce pamphlet, and then said to Smith, "I would name it 'Go to Hell,' by the author of 'Come to Jesus.'"