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own great Vices; firft caft out the Beam out of thine own Eye. There are but few that will fee their own Faults; and of thofe who see them, there are but few that repent, and take any fectual Measures towards Amendment. this is neceffary, if we intend to pull out the Beam out of our own Eye. It is neceffary that by a thorough Self-Examination we come by a true Sight and Senfe of our finful State; more particularly it is neceffary that, by a thorough Acquaintance with ourselves, we discover those reigning, predominant Sins and Failings, which are the true Beams, which, till they are pulled out, we shall neither be able to take any right Conduct of ourselves, or to admonish others. And when we know our Faults, our next Bufiness must be to imploy our Care in the moft proper and effectual Manner to remove them. In order to which, there are chiefly these three Means to be used, which I fhall but juft name, and conclude.
1. Sincere and steady Refolutions, deliberately made, well confidered, and frequently renewed..
2. Conftant, fervent, and hearty Prayer, joined with the diligent Ufe of the other Means of Grace, the Study of the holy Scriptures, by reading, hearing, meditating, and digefting it, with the due Ufe of the holy Sacrament, and the Advices of good Friends and Books, to ftir us up and quicken us to our Duty.
3. Vigorous Endeavours both to refift the Temptations to thofe Sins, and in the Exercife of the contrary Virtues: particularly Humility, which will put us more on the Search after our own Sins, than thofe of other Men. Especially
let us study to be as fincere, vigilant, and upright in private, as we are in publick, and not act the Hypocrite, who, though he indulges himself in fecret Vice, puts on a fair outward Shew, as if he were an extraordinary Proficient in Virtue, and had a Right to dictate to all others.
- Thefe Things would require a fuller Difcuffion; but confidering that there may perhaps fome Opportunity offer from the remaining Part of the Subject, to give them a more particular Confideration, I fhall conclude for this Time, with my Prayers for God's Bleffing on what we have heard, that it may take Root in our Hearts, and bring forth Fruit in our Lives, to God's Glory, and our own Edification and Salvation, through the Mediation of Jefus Chrift our bleffed Saviour and Redeemer. To whom, &c.
MAT. VII, 5.
Thou Hypocrite, first caft out the Beam out of thine own Eye; and then fhalt thou fee clearly to caft out the Mote out of thy Brothers Eye.
V. 6. Give not that which is holy unto the Dogs, Neither caft ye your Pearls before Swine, left they trample them under their Feet, and turn again and rent you.
The Fifth Sermon on this Text.
WArgument which our Saviour propofes
E now come to the Fifth and last
against the Sin of rafh judging or cenfuring; which, together with the Antithefis or oppofite Duty here infinuated, is all that now remains to be spoke to on this Subject. The Argument is taken from the Difficulty of the Qualifications neceffary to this Duty of cenfuring, both on the Part of the Cenfurer, and on the Part of the Offender; from the Confideration of which it will appear, that this is not a Duty to be undertaken rafhly at all Times, nor by, nor toward all Perfons.
First, On the Part of the Cenfurer, there are Two Things seem to be required.
1. One, that he be clear from all grofs Vices himself; that he have caft out the Beam out of his own Eye.
2. The other, that he fet about the correcting of his Neighbour, not from hypocritical ByDefigns, but from a fincere Defign of discharging his own Duty, and of doing good to his Neighbour. Then on the Part of the Offender, two Things likewife feem to be requifite.
1. That he be not of an impatient, fierce, angry Temper, ready to fly like a Dog, at the Throat of the Perfon who offers to perform that friendly Office of fraternal Correption to him.
2. That he be not of a profane Temper, wallowing in the Mire of Luft, and fo apt to trample upon all the facred Admonitions that are given him. The performing of this Duty to the firft of thefe Perfons, as I apprehend it, is here called, the giving of that which is holy unto Dog's; and the performing it to the fecond, is called here, the cafting of our Pearls before Swine. All which deferves a more particular Confideration.
I. To begin then with the Qualifications for this Duty on the Part of the Cenfurer.
1. The first of them is, That he caft out the Beam out of his own Eye; that is, that he be clear from all grofs Vices himself. There is fome Difficulty in this, why our Saviour, who requires that we obferve the good Admonitions of bad Men, in the due Execution of their Office, fhould
hould yet deter bad Men from the Monitor's Office, till they have first tried the Effect of their good Counfel upon themselves. He tells us of thefe fame Scribes and Pharifees, that they fat in Mofes's Seat, Mat. xxiii. 2. that is, they were the Interpreters of the Law; and from thence he draws this Inference, All therefore whatsoever they bid you obferve, that obferve and do; but do not ye after their Works, for they fay, and do not. But though he advises the People to obey their good Doctrine, as far as it was grounded on Mofes's Law, altho' the Teachers themselves lived not up to it; yet he difcourages here these fame Scribes and Pharifees from cenfuring of others, till first they had reformed themselves. It is very true, whenever in holy Scripture the Pastors are taught their Duty, the greatest Holiness of Life is required of them, and without it they are not encouraged to hope for any good Success of their Labours; yet at the fame time, the People are required to obey their good Doctrine, without being fcandalized at their bad Lives. And there is no Contradiction between these two. It is poffible that the good Admonitions and Reproofs of a bad Man may have good Effect, especially upon fuch as know him not. But it is most probable that they will do little good upon fuch as know him, till he repents and amends. Let us confider then, how great Reafon there is for this Qualification required here of our Saviour, previously to our performing the Duty of Fraternal Admonition and Correption to our Brother.