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own great Vices ; first cast out the Beam out of thine own Eye. There are but few that will fee their own Faults; and of those who see them, there are but few that repent, and take
effectual Measures towards Amendment. Yet all this is necessary, if we intend to pull out the Beam out of our own Eye. It is necessary that by a thorough Self-Examination we come by a true Sight and Sense of our sinful State ; more particularly it is necessary 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 admonith others. And when we know our Faults, our next Business must be to imploy our Care in the most proper
and effectual Manner to remove them. In order to which, there are chiefly these three Means to be used, which I shall but just name, and conclude.
1. Sincere and steady Resolutions, deliberately made, well considered, and frequently renewed.
2. Constant, fervent, and hearty Prayer, joined with the diligent Use of the other Means of Grace, the Study of the holy Scriptures, by reading, hearing, meditating, and digesting it, with the due Use of the holy Sacrament, and the Advices of good Friends and Books, to stir us up and quicken us to our Duty.
3. Vigorous Endeavours both to resist the Temptations to those Sins, and in the Exercise of the contrary Virtues : particularly Humility, which will put us more on the Search after our own Sins, than those 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 secret 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.
These Things would require a fuller Discusfion; but considering that there may perhaps some Opportunity offer from the remaining Part of the Subject, to give them a more particular Consideration, I shall conclude for this Time, with my Prayers for God's Blessing on what we have heard, that it may take Root in our Hearts, , and bring forth Fruit in our Lives, to God's GloTy, and our own Edification and Salvation, through the Mediation of Jesus Christ our blessed Saviour and Redeemer. To whom, &c.
MAT. VII. 5. Thou Hypocrite, first cast out the Beam out of
thine own Eye ; and then Malt thou see clearly to caft out the Mote out of thy Brothers
Eye. V. 6. Give not that which is boly unto the Dogs,
Neither cast ye your Pearls before Swine; left they trample them under their Feet, and turn again and rent you.
The Fifth Sermon on this Text.
E are now come to the Fifth and last
Argument which our Saviour proposes against the Sin of rash judging or censuring ; which, together with the Antithesis or opposite Duty here insinuated, is all that now remains to be spoke to on this Subject. The Argument is taken from the Difficulty of the Qualifications necessary to this Duty of censuring, both on the Part of the Censurer, 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 Censurer, there are Two Things seem to be required.
1. One, that he be clear from all grofs Vices himself; that he have cast out the Beam out of his own Eye.
2. The other, that he fet about the correcting of his Neighbour, not from hypocritical ByDesigns, but from a sincere Design of discharging his own Duty, and of doing good to his Neighbour. Then on the Part of the Offender, two Things likewise seem to be requisite.
1. That he be not of an impatient, fierce, angry Temper, ready to fly like a Dog, at the Throat of the Person 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 Lust, and so apt to trample upon all the sacred Admonitions that are given him. The performing of this Duty to the firft of these Persons, as I apprehend it, is here called, the giving of that which is holy unto Dog's ; and the performing it to the second, is called here, the casting of our Pearls before Swine. All which deserves 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 cast out the Beam out of his own Eye'; that is, that he be clear from all gross Vices himself. There is fome Difficulty in this, why our Saviour, who requires that we observe the good Admonitions of bad Men, in the due Execution of their Office,
should yet deter bad Men from the Monitor's Office, till they have first tried the Effect of their good Counsel upon themselves. He tells us of these fame Scribes and Pharisees, that they fat in Moses'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 observe, that observe and do ; but do not ye after their Works, for they say, and do not. But though he advises the People to obey their good Doctrine, as far as it was grounded on Moses's Law, altho' the Teachers themselves lived not up to it; yet he discourages here these fame Scribes and Pharisees from censuring 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 same time, the People are required to obey their good Doctrine, without being scandalized at their bad Lives. And there is no Contradiction between these two. It is possible that the good Admonitions and Reproofs of a bad Man may have good Effect, especially upon such as know him not. But it is most probable that they will do little good upon such as know him, till he repents and amends. Let us consider then, how great Reason there is for this Qualification required here of our Saviour, previously to our performing the Duty of Fraternal Admonition and Correption to Brother.