What is the aim of religion? To get yourself saved? Then you are following after reward; you are a Pharisee of the Pharisees. For the aim of true religion is to forget your own self and to help the souls of others to health, and life, and light, and God. What is your motive in professing religion? Oh, it pays me to come to church, it would not do to give up going to a place of worship, the neighbours would talk, and the shop would suffer. Then your righteousness does not exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees; the kingdom of earth is yours, but the kingdom of heaven never (p. 156)….
All the plastering of the public walls with texts, all the announcements of a business meeting, certainly at such a time, but if it is a religious meeting, “only if God will,” is Pharisaism pure and simple. The Pharisees loved praying in the market places, their religion was to be seen of men. (p. 156)
But the deadliest form of Pharisaism is the isolation, the separating of sect from sect on questions of doctrinal differences, which may be important but do not touch the soul. My interpretation agreeth not with thine, therefore thou art accursed, this was the Pharisee’s feeling of old time in matters doctrinal. “I thank God I am not as other men are,” followed, of course as a natural sequence. (p. 156)
To-day you may find religious people holding this or that doctrine, and quite as unable as the Pharisees of old to believe, either that others, who do not hold it, have the light or will have a chance of salvation. And all this red-hot propagandism, this compassing the whole world to make a proselyte, and all these attempts to get people to see eye to eye with us in our views about the scheme of salvation, about eternal punishment, about the atonement, about justification, about conversion and the like; all this quiet sneering at sermons that have not our pet shibboleths in them is Pharisaism—is death and the way of death. (p. 156)
To all these Christ Jesus seems to say: “Ye hypocrites, except your righteousness and ideas of right are put upon a higher plane than this, and are moved by higher motives than these to higher issues, except you get a more spiritually exalted notion of why you and your neighbours do right, and what right is: in a word, “Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye can in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven.” (p. 156)
“The way of life is this—thou shalt hate all hypocrisy.” (p. 156)
(Christian World Pulpit, 32 (7 September 1887), 154-6)