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and perhaps pronounces Sentence upon htm, as to the reprobate State he is in at present; and perhaps too goes further, to judge of his final Incorrigibleness and Impenitency; and so damns him to the Pit of Hell. Such a vast Degree of Malice is infused into this Temper, which yet the Person, in whose Breast it lodges, is not sensible of, and how he is in much worse Circumstances himself, than the Person he so liberally censures.
7. Another Character of this judging, censorious Temper is, that the Person in whom it resides, never keeps it to himself; he is impatient till he sets it abroad; not to the Offender, in the Way of Christian Admonition; nor to any good Friend of his, with an Intent that he should make that Use of it; but to his bitterest Enemies, at least to those he is sure will set it a going; and then all their Wits are employed to set it off, with all the Aggravations of artful Malice, suppressing whatever Circumstances might seem to extenuate the Crime, and laying together those that may heighten and blacken it; and contriving to make use of the whole so as to do the most effectual Disservice to the Person, and.' his Friends and Party, in their good Name, or any other Interest that is most precious and dear to them.
8. Another Character of this censorious Person is, that he endeavours to fix the Crime of every single Person upon his whole Party; and to load any Opinion which he has a Mind to blacken, with all the evil Consequences that can be drawn from the Errors and Follies of any of those that maintain it; which is a very unreasonable, reasonable, as well as a very malicious. Way of Calumny.
9. And Lastly, This Spirit of rash and censorious Judgment, is near a-kin to Schism in the Church, Sedition in the State, and a downright Spirit of Persecution; it is commonly the Parent both of a Tongue and Paper War; it begets and feeds Parties; it is the Cause of an infinite Number of private Animosities, Quarrels, and Murders, and even of publick Persecutions, where the Slanderer has so much Interest with Persons in Power. Of all Men that ever have the Honour to be near to such Persons, they are the most dangerous for both Rulers and People; for if their Advice is followed, every Government will quickly become an House divided against it self> and then it is certain, it cannot long stand. So that this censorious Slanderer is the greatest Pest of Human Society.
So much for the Characters by which we may judge whether we are guilty of this Vice or no. But are there no Cafes in which it may be lawful, even for private Persons, to judge and censure their Neighbour? I answer, That there are some Cases in which it may and ought to be done, but that great Care should then be taken, to do nothing out of Malice or Partiality, but to go by the Rules of Truth and good Conscience, and a sincere Aim at Justice and Charity. No doubt, when we are obliged to give an Account to our Superiors, either upon Oath or Honour, we ought not to deceive them with false Characters on the charitable, no more than the uncharitable Side. When we our selves are falfly accused, and have no other Way to clear
our our own Innocence, but by discovering the Falsehood of the Calumniator, there is not the least Doubt of the Lawfulness of that Practice) aS when Ziba falfly accused his Master Mephibofheth to David, 2 Sam. xix. 26. it was, no question^ very lawful for him to defend himself, though by exposing the Falshood of that wicked Servant. And this, all Casuists agree, we may do in Defence of the Publick, or of our Friends, as well as of our selves. An Historian, if he cannot do right to the Truth, without exposing Mens FaultSi must prefer Truth to any private Regard whatsoever. Yet all this doth not hinder, but that we should be very cautious how we do any thing to, hurt our Neighbour's Reputation and good Name; that we are never to do it falfly, or rashly; and even when we have the Truth of our Side, that we are not then to do it, if we can save his Reputation, without Injustice to our selves or others.
Thus now I have endeavoured td give you a Description of this censorious, rash Judging, which we are guarding against in.my Text. I find Time will not serve to consider the Reasons of the Prohibition; nor the opposite Duty, which are both handled in the Words; which I must therefore refer to other Opportunities.
Now God bless what we have heard; and infuse into our Hearts this excellent Grace of Charity; I mean, Charity in judging in out Minds, Charity in speaking, and Charity in pardoning; as well as Charity in relieving. Of all which we have a noble Pattern in the Exam<ple of our Lord and Master Christ Jesus. To him, &c.
Vol. IV. C SERSERMON H.
Mat. VII. i.
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
V. 2. For with what Judgment ye judge, ye Jhall be judged: and with what Measure ye mete, it jhall be measured to you again.
The Second Sermon on this Text.
HAVING formerly read to you these Words, together with what follows on the seme Subject, to the End of the Sixth Verse; I divided the whole into these three Heads of Discourse,
1. A Prohibition of Censoriousness, or rash Judgment. Judge not.
2. An Enforcement of this Prohibition by several Reasons.
3. The Antithesis, or opposite Duty to this Censoriousness, or rash Judgment, in several Particulars.
Now having at that Time spoke to the First of these, the Prohibition of Censoriousness, or rash Judgment, from these first Words, judge not $ I proceed now to the Second Head of Dis
. . course, course, namely, the Consideration os the Reasons with which this Prohibition is enforced: and they are these Five; namely,
1. That this Practice of rash judging exposes us both to the Censures of Men, and to 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 every small Fault of our Neighbours, and so censorious of them.
3. That we are very unqualified for administring Censure and Correction to others, while we are so guilty our selves, and so blind as to that Guilt.
4. That this Practice is a clear Proof of our Hypocrisy.
5. That there is an antecedent Duty requisite on our Part, before we take upon us to judge and condemn our Brother; namely, that we first find out and amend our own Faults, before we become Censurers of others. And that there is likewise another Qualification requisite on the Part of our offending Brother, before we take upon us to administer our Censures and Reproofs to him; namely, that he be in such a State, as to receive Benefit, and not to grow worse by our Admonitions and Reproofs.
It is only the first of these Reasons I intend now to consider, viz. That the Practice of rash judging exposes us both to the Censures of Men, and to the Judgment of God: for so much is implied in the Threatning annexed to this Prohibition. Judge not, that ye be not judged; and that according to our Charity or Severity with Men, God will deal with us, both by the Dis
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