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mended must not be considered as an attempt to unite the service of God with that of mammon; as an easy road chalked out, whereby one might at once enjoy the pleasures of the world and secure the joys of eternity. Far from it. If I have any right conception of what I wish to teach, it is a much more difficult course than the other from which I dissuade. I do not bid you think and act like the rest of the world, but I bid you adopt the thoughts and the conduct of Christ; whilst like Him I would have you not refuse to hold intercourse on due occasions with surrounding publicans and sinners. I bid you not to conform to the evils of society, but to enter into it with a Christian spirit, and a Christian resolution ; to renounce no amusement in which you might be of use to others, and in which you might partake without sin, for fear of not yourself partaking in it innocently; but rather to endeavour so to partake of it; to decline no duty which is clearly defined to you, for fear of violating some other, but rather to endeavour to fulfil both. It is easy to be a hermit; but the great difficulty is to do our duty in society, and yet to live with a hermit's devotion to God. It is easy to draw upon one's self persecution, but then only can we be said to be persecuted for righteousness' sake, when in the faithful discharge of our duty to God, we withdraw ourselves from all persecution as much as possible, and court not the attention of the world by any
vain and offensive ostentation. However difficult such a course of charity may be, let us praise God that He has no where required more of man than He has also enabled us to perform, And let us pray to Him to pour into our hearts this most excellent gift, in the full hope that the prayer of faith will be heard, not only for ourselves but for all our brethren, for all of whom He has commanded us to intercede.
CHRISTIAN LIBERALITY. (Note IX.)
ΜATT. 7. 1.
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
ONE of the most striking particulars in St. Paul's beautiful description of Christian charity is that it “thinketh no evil.” (1 Cor. 13. 5.) This excellent quality is not however always found characteristic of the conduct of professing Christians. Indeed there are few of our Saviour's plain positive precepts that are more commonly kept out of sight, even by those who in matters of greater apparent solemnity seem anxious to obey his commands. Nothing is more common whether amongst the world in general, amongst the more sober part of society, or amongst those who are esteemed of superior piety, than to hear men pronouncing sentence on the conduct of their neighbours, with as little hesitation, and as much security, as if the practice were no where forbidden, as though our Lord and Master had never said “ Judge not, that ye be not judged."
Let us therefore now consider what kind of judging is here forbidden. Let us seriously call to mind the reasons which should induce us to desist from the practice. And in conclusion let us endeavour to form a right estimate of that true Christian liberality, which is at once conducive to the well being of society, and an important part of our duty to God.
I. Now the kind of judging here forbidden is undoubtedly not the judging of things but of persons; not by the church, but by individuals. The passage immediately following the text proves, that our Saviour means to condemn the habit of censuring the conduct, and pronouncing sentence on the salvation, of those amongst whom we live, our brethren in kindred, in society, in nation, or in religion. We must hate sin, but we must not presume to cast the first stone at the sinner. We must exercise a severe scrutiny into our own hearts, but we must not presume to determine what passes in the hearts of others. All expressions therefore are here forbidden, and all thoughts also, which proceed on the assumption that the tares and the wheat, the sheep and the goats, can be certainly discerned by mortal eye, or separated without risk of error before the great day of final account. If this be the kind of judging forbidden, the precept is clearly applicable to the general subject of our consideration, and seems directly at variance with those notions of nonconformity to the world which constitute each individual, whether young or old, an exact judge of the goodness or badness, the piety or impiety of all the rest of mankind. If we must not judge, we must not be forward to pronounce sentence concerning individuals, which of them are or are not included in that world, to which we are forbidden to be conformed. But we must rather, as before laid down, associate af