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III. KNOWING ourselves fallible, it becomes us to maintain a jealousy over ourselves, and be constantly on our guard. We should conside er, that though we do not fin wilfully, and our own hearts do not condemn us, yet, we are not hereby juftifed. We are conscious that we have often erred, and made wrong conclu Gons, when we did not design to leave the right way. We are liable to do the same again. Our eye should therefore be to God for direction and guidance—“ That which I know not, teach thou me; if I have done iniquity, I will do no more."
This is the more necessary, because " the light which is in us may have become darkness.” For there are those who “put darkness for light and light for darkness." Those with whom this is the case know it not ; they flatter themselves
. “ To the pure, all things are pure ; but to them that aredefiled, and unbelieving, is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” This often happens to those who for a time yield to temptation and go into the
ways of fin; they contract false principles, and judge by them, and probably sometimes live and die under the deceptiveinfluence of their darkening power. None would dare to plead before the bar of Christ, that they were his disciples," and had eat and drank in his presence," had they not been deceived into false views of duty, and mistaken apprehensions of the conditions of acceptance with him.
JUDGING well of ourselves doth not ensure jul. tification at the bar of heaven. Our judgments of ourselves may be erroneous. If they are so, they will be reversed. We shall “ be judged out of 'the books, according to our works ;" not accord. ing to our false and deceitful views. I know nothing by myself, yet, am I not hereby justified. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth:
Characters will be disclosed, and Justice
-Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts ; and then shall every man have praise of God. ST. PAUL having professed himself a minister of Christ, and steward of the mysteries of God, acknowledged the obligations of fidelity, and difclaimed anxious concern respecting the opinion entertained of him by his fellow men, because the Lord was his judge, here adds a caution, reprehenfive of the cenforious fpirit of the Corinthians, who seem to have listened to his enemies, and given into their suspicions of the apostle. Therefore judge nothing before the time
În the text we observe a caution against rafh judging the chara&ers of men-a declaration that they will be known when the Lord comes and that fome things commendable will then be found in all
then shall every man have praise of God. We ob ferde
1. A CAUTION against rafh judging the characters of men--judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come.
Civil judges may give judgment according to law and evidence, on those brought before them for trial-so may the church on those arraigned at her tribunal. These are necessary to the subGftence of civil and ecclefiaftical communities; there. fore ordered of God. It is another species of judging which is here forbidden; judging the characters of men, especially such as profess God. liness, and appear to act Gncerely ; pretending to determine their moral state, before the motives which actuate them are disclosed. This is judging before the time, and without evidence on which to ground a judgment; which the wise man observes to be folly and a shame to him who doth it.
This had been done at Corinth, by the enemies of the apostle ; and hath been done by others in every age. There have ever been people who have dared to scatter their cenforious deci Gions at random, according to the prevalence of humor, caprice, or prejudice ; often to the wounding of the faithful ; and rending of the body of Christ.
This occasions temporary mischief ; but the day is coming when all these disorders will be recțified. The censurer, and the censured, will stand : at the same bar, and be tried by the same Judge, Every wrong judgment will then be reversed, and every injurious fufpicion be removed. For,
II. EVERY man's character will be known when the Lord comes—who will bring to light the hidden things of darknefs, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.
Many things necessary to determine the moral characters of men are hidden from mortal eyes. We are ignorant of the counfels of the hearts-do not know their purposes and views. Without this knowledge, right judgment cannot be formed.
Our knowledge of ourselves is imperfect. For felf knowledge we have advantages which we have not for the knowledge of others. We can turn inward, and contemplate the motives which govern, and the views which actuate us. But pride, pasfion, prejudice, or the corrupt bias, operating in ways unperceived, often blinds the mental eye, and renders us strangers at home. " Whoso trusteth his own heart is a fool. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?" It requires great attention to form a just judgment of ourselves---yea, to attain that self knowledge which is necessary for us.
With regard to the knowledge of others, the difficulty is Nill greater. We can neither see the heart, nor know the thoughts and defigns.
We are often at a loss for the motives which occasion things which fall under our observation. Other things which might cast light upon them, are hidden from us. But when the Lord cometh, the veil spread over secret matters will be removed. “ There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed, or hid that shall not be known."