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SERM. pearances, but only not to trust too much VIII. to them. Let us remember the fame Rule
likewife whenever we are called to form our Judgment of things, especially of things that relate to Religion. It will make us wiser, more solid, steady and judicious Christians. + Especially if any Duty appears to us disagreeable or difficult. If it be a plain, certain Duty, that is enough to determine us: the Appearance of things is not to go
But what Tould recommend it above all, is the express Command of Jesus Christ himself; whom we profess to obey in all things, after which I need add nothing further to enforce it.
Rules to form a Righteous
JU D G M E N T.
John vii. 24. Judge not according to the Appear
ance, but judge righteous Judg
N these Words we have a double Precept; one negative, and the other positive. The nega
tive Precept is, Judge not according to the Appearance. This I have already particularly handled; and opened to you the excellency of this Rule, by thewing you in several instances, how apt we are to be imposed upon, and led to form a wrong
Serm. Judgment by the mere external Appearance IX.
of things ; and in what cases, this negative Rule is more especially to be applied.
I proceed now to the positive part of the Injunction, Judge righteous Judgment. In treating of which I propose,
1. To consider the Importance of this
form our Practice by it.
I. I am to consider the Importance of it.
This Command of Christ equally concerns us with those Jews to whom it was at first immediately delivered. And a Command of great Importance it is ; whether we consider the Authority of him from whom it came, the Circumstances of those to whom it is given, or the necessary Consequences either of obeying, or neglecting it.
1. If we consider the Authority of him from whom it came; viz. Jesus Christ our divine Master, to whose Authority we are bound by the most solemn Obligations' to submit, and whose Laws we acknowledge ourselves ready sincerely to obey. This is implied in
our Christian Profession. It is not a distant Serm, consequence, or inference drawn from the IX. obscure Words of Christ's Apostles, but a plain and express Precept of Christ himself; and which therefore in Duty to him we are obliged to make a Rule of Life; that is, to take care how we judge rashly, or determine precipitantly in any case whatsoever, and especially in Affairs that relate to Religion. · A wilful neglect of this Rule is a wilful Contempt of the Authority of him who enjoined it : nor do we act a part confiftent with the character of his Disciples and Followers, if when we know it to be his express Command, we pay it no more regard than if it were the Advice of an equal, or an inferior, whose Authority we do not acknowledge.
2. The importance of this Duty further appears, if we consider to whom this Command is given. The Persons to whom this Advice was immediately directed most certainly stood in the greatest need of it. No Men were more apt to form a rash and wrong Judgment of things (especially of those that concerned Religion) or were more apt to be misled by their native Prejudices
SERM. than the Jewish Priests and Pharisees. And IX. if, by the Grace of God, and the Favour
of Providence in disposing of our Circumstances in Life, and the manner of our Education, we have a better Temper and Understanding than they, yet there is in all of us fomething of the same Pride, Darkness and Prejudice, the same Carnality, Paffion and Perverseness, which led them into the most fatal Mistakes. Which renders the Advíce given immediately to them exceedinglý proper, and pertinent to us; and in this view it may imply in it a Warning to us all, to beware of those evil Dispositions of Mind which betrayed them into the most dangerous Misapprehensions and Mistakes, concerning Christ's Person, Character and Conduct.
3. The importance of this Precept further appears by confidering the mischievous Consequences of neglecting it. All the miferies of Mankind arise from their Sin and Error; and all their Sin and Error from a wrong Practice, in pursuance of a wrong Judgment. Whence arose all that enormous Heap of Errors maintained at this Day by the Church of Rome, but from this Source :