« AnteriorContinuar »
ther's Eye; signifies to us how improper a thing it is for us to exercise towards one another.
There is another Aggravation of this Sin infinuated in the Words, namely, our utter Unfitness for this Work of judging; for having a Beam in our Eye, whether that be Ignorance, Pride, Malice, Self-Love, or Partiality; fome great Imperfection to be sure it is, which unfits us for that Work; and therefore it is no way proper for us; but because this will come in better afterwards from the 5th Verse, where we are told what we must do in order to the clearing of our Judgment and Understanding, I shall therefore pais it by at present, and come to,
IV. The Fourth and last Aggravation of this Sin, viz. The Interrogation why the Censurer thus pries where he ought not to look, and looks not at Home, where he should use a diligent Infpection ; for this shews that the cenforious Man can have no good Motives and Intentions in so doing; the Interrogation having the Force of a Negation.' The Import of this Interrogation is, to thew us there can be no good Reason for this Practice ; but, on the contrary, very good Reason against it.
(1.) No good Reason for this Practice; and from no good Motives doth it proceed. The Parents that produce it are Pride, Self-conceit, Malice, Hatred, Anger, Inconsideration, Revenge, and such like evil Principles. The Effects are. Animofities, Divisions, Discord, mutual Provocations, Parties and Factions.
(2.) The Reasons against it are very many, and very considerable. The Blindness as to
our own Faults stops the Door to Repentance ; hardens us against all the Admonitions we might otherwise receive from the Word of God, or faithful Friends ; it renders us utterly incapable of any Advice, but from Flatterers; it lays us open to be abused and imposed upon, and soothed in our evil Courses; it banishes all Freedom of Reafoning, Counfel, and Debate ; it vitiates our Understanding and discerning Faculties to that Degree, that we do no more judge of Things by their intrinsick Worth and Goodness, but by their Agreeableness or Disagreeableness to our own vitiated Palate. It will expose a Man of the best Sense to be a Prey to every the senselessest Creature, that has but the Dexterity to flatter, and to strike in with his Selfconceit. Then the Sharp-sightedness to others Faults makes us very unsociable, exposes us to all the Effects of the same implacable Dispositions in them, which we feel in ourselves, whenever we are vilified and despised. In short, it fettles us in a Course of Injustice, that we see our own and other Mens Actions with quite different Eyes, and are presently for trafficking in the World with different Weights and Measures, one to weigh and measure our own Actions by, and a quite different one for the Actions of all other Men; so that the golden Rule of do-' ing by others, as we would with others to do by us, is quite laid aside by this Practice. Then it follows too, that not only themselves, but all that are carried away by their Influence, Authority, or Example, muft infallibly be under a wrong Conduct; for as our Saviour observes, Mat. xv. 14. If the Blind lead the Blind, they
Mall both fall into the Ditch. And to oppose one of this Temper, you infallibly lose him, and make him your Enemy; so that there is no Choice left, but Solomon's Dilemma, Prov. xxix. 9. If a wife Man contendeth with a foolish Man, whether be rage or laugh, there is no Rest. If he laugh by your Afsentation, or if he rage by your Opposition, there is no Quiet can follow ; by Affentation they are carried blindfold till both fall into the Ditch ; and by Rage, they are carried into Contention and all manner of stormy Weather ; far from a settled Quiet and Serenity.
To conclude then, let us both endeavour to open our Eyes, and to look at home, that we may readily see every Blemith in our felves, and likewise be moderate in our Judgment and Censure of the Blemishes of others; which is the only sure Way both to a well rectified Judgment, and a good Conduct of ourfelves, and Peace and Quiet with others: and above all
, to inward Peace and Quiet in our own Consciences, and Peace with God through Jesus Christ our blessed Saviour and Redeemer. To whom, &c.
SE R M O N IV.
MAT. VII. 4:
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? V. 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.
The Fourth Sermon on this Text.
S the Christian Religion has carried all
Virtue to an higher Fitch of Perfection, than either Jews or Heathens knew. before ; so there are no Virtues it more directly aims and labours to perfect, than those.. of Humility, Peaceableness, and Charity. It was so much the more necessary to press these Duties, because the Scribes and Pharisees, the great Doctors of those Days, were Men of a quite different Spirit them selves, and by their Doctrine and Example were apt to infect others with their proud, censorious, and unpeaceable Temper.
We have heard, from the three preceding Verses, how our Saviour prohibited his Difciples the Sin of Cenforiousness and raih judging ; and what Arguments he has made use of, to dissuade
from it ; namely, that it expofes us both to the Censures of Men, and to the Judgments of God; and that it is a Practice highly unbecoming us, who have so many great Faults of our own, to be fa sharp-lighted as to our Neighbours, and so censorious of them. I proceed now to Two Arguments more to the same Purpose, contained in the Words I have read.
III. The Third Argument then against this Practice of Cenforiousness is, that we are very unqualified for administring Censure and Corre&tion to others, while we are so guilty ourselves, and so blind as to that Guilt. Or why wilt tbou say to thy Brother, let me pull out the Mote out of thine Eye ; and behold a Beam is in thine own Eye? This Argument has a particular Afpect on that sort of censorious Persons, who not only find Fault, but take upon them to reform and mend the World. In this though the Scribes and Pharisees perhaps are particularly aimed at ; for they took upon them to be the great Censors and Reformers of Men; no doubt this Character ' reaches a great many others in all Ages. For there is always in the World a sort of Men, who pretend to be Dictators to others, and usurp an Ascendency over them, who by the Authority of their sect and Party take it very ill, if any of their Notions and Sentiments are disputed. Our Saviour often guarded his Disciples against this Spirit and Temper ; forbiding the Lording over Peoples. Faith ; and the usurping the Character of Rabbi and Master, Mat. xxiij.
7, 8. yet there is abundance of this Spirit in the World still; and every new Sect VOL. IV.