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St. MATTHEW vii. 1.
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
THESE, my friends, are our Saviour's words, to us, for I go on in telling you what he ordered the people, who heard, him, to do. And the same things which he ordered them, have been put into the Bible, for us to know them, and for us, with the help of God's grace, to do them. And you must remember, that the way, in which you are to shew that you are Christians, is by doing what Jesus Christ orders you to do. This you can know only by hearing the Bible read to you. And I trust and hope, that you will take a pleasure in hearing it read to you at Church, and if it could be so, by persons at your own houses. I
never feel happier than when I am reading the Bible. There I learn all that my Saviour said and did: there I learn all that he expects me to do: there I learn what good things he has in store for all who love and obey him. And it is a great comfort to all who can read their Bible, that when they are in distress, they know from the Bible that a day is coming when all the good, who sow now in tears, will reap in joy in Heaven, that when they are tempted to do sin, they can know from the Bible where to look for strength to conquer temptation, and can pray to God to deliver them from evil, and to keep them in those ways, which only are the ways both of pleasantness and of peace. And though you may not be able to read, yet God knows that I give you all an opportunity of hearing a great deal about the Bible on the evening of every Sunday, and if you slight the opportunity, you may take my word, that God, who sees this and every thing, will call you to account for it in the next world, and will punish you for it.
God has been graciously pleased to make Jesus Christ the judge of the world. We shall all appear before him, to give an account for all that we have done in the body. And as he is to judge us hereafter, let us, oh! let us attend to him here: let us learn what he wishes us to do: let us try to obey him, and pray for strength to do so, that, when he shall call us before him, we may not tremble and be dismayed, but may trust in him, and say, O Lord, Jesus Christ, I have faithfully endeavoured to do thy will, and receive me into that glory, which thou hadst with the Father, before the world was. ·
This same Jesas tells us, Judge not, that ye be not judged. You all know how apt people are to speak evil of others, to blame wrongfully, to suspect others of doing things they have not done, in short, for it is our Saviour's word, to judge them. Now all this is wrong. If you are fond of judging others rashly, and of not shewing towards others a christian love, you must expecta severe judgment from your Lord. I know some slaves, who think themselves good, and praise themselves because they do not steal, nor get drunk. And so far they do well. But they think nothing of sins committed by the tongue, of the liberty they give themselves of speaking ill of others, and of judging them of being guilty of crimes, of which they are innocent. But who art thou that thou judgest another? He has a Master in Heaven, who will judge bim, and who will judge and condemn thee for being of so slandering, so evil a spirit. Why, says our blessed Saviour, why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Why are you prying into the fanlts of others, and not considering, mourning over, and repenting of your own sins? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of thine eye, and behold a beam is in thine own eye? 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 brother's eye. Look well, to yourselves, my friends: think seriously, as in the presence of God, about the state of your own hearts : try them and prove, and if you find, as you will find, any way of wickedness in them, pray to God to give you repentance unto life, and to give you his grace, that you may walk in the way, wbich leadeth to life everlasting. If you do this, you will have little time for talking about the faults of others. You will learn to judge fairly : you will not be too ready to blame: and therefore, you will not expose yourselves to the righteous judgment of your Almighty Judge.