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ther's Eye, fignifies to us how improper a thing it is for us to exercife 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 fure it is, which un-" fits us for that Work; and therefore it is no way proper for us; but because this will come in better afterwards from the 5th Verfe, where we are told what we muft do in order to the clearing of our Judgment and Understanding, I fhall therefore país it by at prefent, and come to,
IV. The Fourth and laft Aggravation of this Sin, viz. The Interrogation why the Cenfurer thus pries where he ought not to look, and looks not at Home, where he fhould ufe a diligent Infpection; for this fhews that the cenforious Man can have no good Motives and Intentions in fo doing; the Interrogation having the Force of a Negation. The Import of this Interrogation is, to fhew us there can be no good Reafon for this Practice; but, on the contrary; very good Reason against it.
(1.) No good Reafon for this Practice; and from no good Motives doth it proceed. The Parents that produce it are Pride, Self-conceit, Malice, Hatred, Anger, Inconfideration, Revenge, and fuch like evil Principles. The Effects are Animofities, Divifions, Difcord, mutual Provocations, Parties and Factions.
(2.) The Reafons against it are very many, and very confiderable. The Blindness as to
our own Faults ftops 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 impofed upon, and foothed in our evil Courfes; it banishes all Freedom of Reafoning, Counfel, and Debate; it vitiates our Understanding and difcerning Faculties to that Degree, that we do no more judge of Things by their intrinfick Worth and Goodnefs, but by their Agreeableness or Difagreeableness to our own vitiated Palate. It will expofe a Man of the best Senfe to be a Prey to every the fenfeleffeft Creature, that has but the Dexterity to flatter, and to ftrike in with his Selfconceit. Then the Sharp-fightedness to others Faults makes us very unfociable, expofes us to all the Effects of the fame implacable Difpofitions in them, which we feel in ourselves, whenever we are vilified and defpifed. In short, it fettles us in a Course of Injustice, that we fee our own and other Mens Actions with quite different Eyes, and are prefently 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; fo that the golden Rule of doing by others, as we would with others to do by us, is quite laid afide 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 obferves, Mat. xv. 14. If the Blind lead the Blind, they
fball both fall into the Ditch. And to oppofe one of this Temper, you infallibly lose him, and make him your Enemy; fo that there is no Choice left, but Solomon's Dilemma, Prov. xxix. 9. If a wife Man contendeth with a foolish Man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no Reft. If he laugh by your Affentation, or if he rage by your Oppofition, 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 ftormy Weather; far from a fettled Quiet and Serenity.
To conclude then, let us both endeavour to open our Eyes, and to look at home, that we may readily fee every Blemish in our felves, and likewife be moderate in our Judgment and Cenfure of the Blemishes of others; which is the only fure Way both to a well rectified Judgment, and a good Conduct of ourselves, and Peace and Quiet with others: and above all, to inward Peace and Quiet in our own Confciences, and Peace with God through Jefus Chrift our bleffed Saviour and Redeemer. To whom, &c.
Or how wilt thou fay 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 caft out the Beam out of thine own Eye; and then shalt thou fee clearly to caft out the Mote out of thy Brothers Eye.
The Fourth Sermon on this Text.
S the Chriftian Religion has carried all Virtue to an higher Fitch of Perfection, than either Jews or Heathens knew before; fo there are no Virtues it more directly aims and labours to perfect, than thofe of Humility, Peaceableness, and Charity. It was so much the more neceffary to prefs thefe Duties, because the Scribes and Pharifees, the great Doctors of thofe Days, were Men of a quite different Spirit themfelves, and by their Doctrine and Example were apt to infect others with their proud, cenforious, and unpeaceable Temper.
We have heard, from the three preceding Verses, how our Saviour prohibited his Difciples the Sin of Cenforiousness and rafh judging; and what Arguments he has made ufe of, to diffuade
from it; namely, that it expofes us both to the Cenfures of Men, and to the Judgments of God; and that it is a Practice highly unbecoming us, who have fo many great Faults of our own, to be fo fharp-fighted as to our Neighbours, and fo cenforious of them. I proceed now to Two Arguments more to the fame 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 adminiftring Cenfure and Corre Яtion to others, while we are, fo guilty ourselves, and fo blind as to that Guilt. Or why wilt thou fay 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 Af pect on that fort of cenforious Perfons, who not only find Fault, but take upon them to reform and mend the World. In this though the Scribes and Pharifees perhaps are particularly aimed at; for they took upon them to be the great Cenfors and Reformers of Men; no doubt this Character reaches a great many others in all Ages. For there is always in the World a fort of Men, who pretend to be Dictators to others, and ufurp an Afcendency over them, who by the Authority of their Sect and Party take it very ill, if any, of their Notions and Sentiments are difputed. Our Saviour often guarded his Difciples against this Spirit and Temper; forbiding the Lording over Peoples Faith; and the ufurping the Character of Rabbi and Mafter, Mat. xxiii. 7, 8. yet there is abundance of this Spirit in the World ftill; and every new Sect VOL. IV. E