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Mat. VII. r.
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Ver. 2. For -with what Judgment ye judge, ye fialt be judged: and with what Measure ye mete, it Jhall be measured to you again.
Ver. 3. And why beholdefi thou the Mote that is in thy Brothers Eye, but confiderejl not the Beam that is in thine own Eye?
Ver. 4. Or how wilt thou fay to thy Brother, Let me full out the Mote out of thine Eye; and behold, a Beam is in thine own Eye?
Ver. 5. 'thou Hypocrite, first cast out the Beam out of thine own Eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the Mote out of thy Brothers Eye.
Ver. 6. Give not that which is holy unto the Dogs, neither cast your Bearls before Swine, lest they trample them under their Feet, and turn again and rent you.
The First Sermon on this Text.
SHALL not need to trouble you with the Connexion of these Words with those that went before, any further, than to acquaint you, that this is another Instance of the Deficiency of the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, and of that Vol. IV. B Part Part os Duty, wherein our blessed Lord would have our Righteousness to exceed theirs. As they were a fort of People, who thought themselves capable, and had a Right to admonish and reprove others; in the exercising of this Duty, they fell into some very gross Faults, which our Saviour thought it necessary to prevent in his Disciples; such as a too good Conceit of themselves, and too bad an Opinion of others; and consequent to these, the passing of rash Judgments on others, and taking upon them to correct, censure, and condemn them, when, in the mean time, they overlooked their own Faults, and could not endure to have them in the least observed or reproved. So much for the Connexion. I come next to consider the Words themselves. In them we have these Three Things.
1. A Prohibition of Censorioufnels, or rash Judgment. Judge not.
2. An Enforcement of this Prohibition, by several Reasons, such as, (1.) That this Practice exposes us both to the Censure of Men, and the Judgment of God. (2.) That it is a Practice Highly unbecoming us, who have so many great Faults of our own, to be so sharp-sighted as to our Neighbours, and so censorious of them. (3.) That we are very unqualified for administring Censure and Correction to others, while we are ib guilty our selves, and so blind as to that Guilt. (4.) That this Practice is a clear Proof of our Hypocrisy. (5.) That there are two Qualifications carefully to be observed and complied with, before we attempt the duty of censuring others; one with relation to the Censurers, the other with relation to the Offenders. With relation to the Censurers, That they first find out and amend their own Faults. And with relation to the Offenders, That they be in such a State, as
to grow worse by our Admonitions and Reproofs.
3. The Antithesis, or opposite Duty to this Censoriousness, or rash Judgment; which consists in these Three. (1.) In a strict Examination and Amendment of our selves. (2.) In a Love and Charity to our offending Brother. (3.) In administring the Duty of Fraternal Correption to our Neighbour himself, in all Humility and Sincerity; instead of exposing him to the Reproach of others.
I. I begin with the Prohibition of Censoriousness, or rash Judgment; which, I suppose, will be sufficient for our present Consideration. But before I speak of the Prohibition, as considered in it self, it will not be improper to consider it as it has relation to the Scribes and Pharisees; both because that is the general Scope our Saviour is pursuing, the raising his .Disciples to an higher Pitch of Duty, than that which was taught by the Scribes and Pharisees; and because the keeping them in our Eye, as our Saviour did, affords no small Help towards the Understanding of his Meaning in all these Duties: it being his plain Design in them all, to teach us these Duties in a perfecter Manner than they were taught by those Jewish Doctors. To consider then the Pharisaical Spirit in this respect, there are these following Particulars remarkable in it.
to be capable of
Benefit, and not likel
x. They had a great deal of Pride and Selfconceit; as if it had belonged to them to be Dictators to all others, and to be the common Observators and Censurers of others. This Pride was fed not only by a positive Contemplation of their own Virtues and good Qualities, and by a wilful Blindness as to all their own Faults and bad Qualities; but more especially by a comparative Contemplation of their Neighbour's Failings; as is very plain from the Pharisee's Devotion, which is all blended with his Pride, both positive and comparative, Luk. xviii. u. God, I thank the?, fays he, that I am not as other Men are, Extortioners, Unjuji, Adulterers, or even as this Publican. There's his comparative Pride, and rash Judgment of others. Then follows his positive Pride, his Contemplation of his own good Qualities. I soft twice in the Week, I give Tythes of all that I possess.
2. They had in their Minds a great Contempt of, and a great Uncharitableness towards all other Persons, that were not of their own Sect and Party. It is plain from the Scope of that Parable, Luk. xviii. 9. that our Saviour spoke it against some who trusted in themselves as being righteous, and despised others. And who these were, appears plainly by introducing the Pharisee into the Parable, and representing him as acting such a Part: so that the despising of others was a Part of their Character, as well as the having too good an Opinion of themselves.
3. Agreeably to this inward Disposition of their Minds, they were very censorious of others; that is, they were both very apt to pass a Judgment upon their Neighbour and likewise to be