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and perhaps pronounces Sentence upon him, as to the reprobate State he is in at prefent; and perhaps too goes further, to judge of his final Incorrigibleness and Impenitency; and fo damns him to the Pit of Hell. Such a vaft Degree of Malice is infufed into this Temper, which yet the Perfon, in whofe Breast it lodges, is not fenfible of, and how he is in much worfe Circumftances himself, than the Perfon he fo liberally cenfures.
7. Another Character of this judging, cenforious Temper is, that the Perfon in whom it refides, never keeps it to himself; he is impatient till he fets it abroad; not to the Offender, in the Way of Chriftian Admonition; nor to any good Friend of his, with an Intent that he fhould make that Use of it; but to his bittereft Enemies, at least to thofe he is fure will fet it a going; and then all their Wits are employed to fet it off, with all the Aggravations of artful Malice, fuppreffing whatever Circumftances might feem to extenuate the Crime, and laying together those that may heighten and blacken it; and contriving to make ufe of the whole fo as to do the most effectual Differvice to the Perfon, 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 cenforious Perfon is, that he endeavours to fix the Crime of every fingle Perfon upon his whole Party; and to load any Opinion which he has a Mind to blacken, with all the evil Confequences that can be drawn from the Errors and Follies of any of those that maintain it; which is a very unreafonable,
reasonable, as well as a very malicious, Way of Calumny.
9. And Laftly, This Spirit of rafh and cenforious Judgment, is near a-kin to Schifm in the Church, Sedition in the State, and a downright Spirit of Perfecution; it is commonly the Parent both of a Tongue and Paper War; it begets and feeds Parties; it is the Caufe of an infinite Number of private Animofities, Quarrels, and Murders, and even of publick Perfecutions, where the Slanderer has fo much Interest with Perfons in Power. Of all Men that ever have the Honour to be near to fuch Perfons, they are the most dangerous for both Rulers and People; for if their Advice is followed, every Government will quickly become an Houfe divided against it felf, and then it is certain, it cannot long ftand. So that this cenforious Slanderer is the greatest Peft 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 Perfons, to judge and cenfure their Neighbour? I anfwer, That there are fome Cafes in which it may and ought to be done, but that great Care fhould then be taken, to do nothing out of Malice or Partiality, but to go by the Rules of Truth and good Conscience, and a fincere 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 falfe Characters on the charitable, no more than the uncharitable Side. When we our felves are falfly accufed, and have no other Way to clear
our own Innocence, but by discovering the Falfhood of the Calumniator, there is not the leaft Doubt of the Lawfulness of that Practice, as when Ziba falfly accused his Master Mephibofheth to David, 2 Sam. xix. 26. it was, no queftion, very lawful for him to defend himself, though by expofing the Falfhood of that wicked Servant. And this, all Cafuifts agree, we may do in Defence of the Publick, or of our Friends, as well as of our felves. An Hiftorian, if he cannot do right to the Truth, without expofing Mens Faults, muft prefer Truth to any private Regard whatfoever. Yet all this doth not hinder, but that we fhould 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 fave his Reputation, without Injustice to
our felves or others.
Thus now I have endeavoured to give you a Defcription of this cenforious, rash Judging, which we are guarding against in my Text. I find Time will not ferve to confider the Reasons of the Prohibition; nor the oppofite Duty, which are both handled in the Words; which I must therefore refer to other Opportunities.
Now God blefs what we have heard; and infufe into our Hearts this excellent Grace of Charity; I mean, Charity in judging in our Minds, Charity in fpeaking, and Charity in pardoning; as well as Charity in relieving. Of all which we have a noble Pattern in the Example of our Lord and Mafter Christ Jefus. To him, &c. SER
MAT. VII. 1.
Judge not, that ye V. 2. For with fhall be judged
be not judged.
what Judgment ye judge, ye and with what Meajure ye
mete, it fhall be measured to you again.
The Second Sermon on this Text.
AVING formerly read to you these Words, together with what follows on the fame Subject, to the End of the Sixth Verfe; I divided the whole into these three Heads of Difcourfe,
1. A Prohibition of Cenforiousness, or rafh Judgment. Judge not.
2. An Enforcement of this Prohibition by several Reasons.
3. The Antithefis, or oppofite Duty to this Cenforiousness, or rafh Judgment, in feveral Particulars.
Now having at that Time fpoke to the First of these, the Prohibition of Cenforioufnefs, or rafh Judgment, from these first Words, judge not; I proceed now to the Second Head of Dif
course, namely, the Confideration of the Reafons with which this Prohibition is enforced : and they are thefe Five; namely,
1. That this Practice of rafh judging expofes us both to the Cenfures 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 fighted as to every fmall Fault of our Neighbours, and fo cenforious of them.
3. That we are very unqualified for adminiftring Censure and Correction to others, while we are fo guilty our felves, and fo blind as to that Guilt.
4. That this Practice is a clear Proof of our Hypocrify.
5. That there is an antecedent Duty requifite on our Part, before we take upon us to judge and condemn our Brother; namely, that we firft find out and amend our own Faults, before we become Cenfurers of others. And that there is likewise another Qualification requifite on the Part of our offending Brother, before we take upon us to adminifter our Cenfures and Reproofs to him; namely, that he be in fuch a State, as to receive Benefit, and not to grow worse by our Admonitions and Reproofs.
It is only the first of thefe Reasons I intend now to confider, viz. That the Practice of rafh judging expofes us both to the Cenfures of Men, and to the Judgment of God: for fo 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 Difpenfations