Matthew 7:1-2. Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye
judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be
measured to you again.
Use your judgment, of course: the verse implies that you will judge in
a right sense. But do not indulge the criticizing faculty upon others
in censorious manner, or as if you were set in authority, and had a
right to dispense judgment among your fellows. If you impute motives,
and pretend to read hearts, others will do the same towards you. A hard
and censorious behaviour is sure to provoke reprisals. Those around you
will pick up the peck measure you have been using, and measure your
corn with it. You do not object to men forming a fair opinion of your
character, neither are you forbidden to do the same towards them, but
as you would object to their sitting in judgment upon you, do not sit
in judgment upon them. This is not the day of judgment, neither are we
his Majesty's judges, and therefore we may not anticipate the time
appointed for the final assize, nor usurp the prerogatives of the Judge
of all the earth. Surely, if I know myself aright, I need not send my
judgment upon circuit to try other men, for I can give it full
occupation in my own Court of Conscience to try the traitors within my
Matthew 7:3-5. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's
eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt
thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye;
and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out
the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cut
out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
The judging faculty is best employed at home. Our tendency is to spy
out splinters in other men's eyes, and not to see the beam in our own.
Instead of beholding, with gratified gaze, the small fault of another,
we should act reasonably if we penitently considered the greater fault
of ourselves. It is the beam in our own eye which blinds us to our own
wrong doing; but such blindness does not suffice to excuse us, since it
evidently does not shut our eyes to the little error of our brother.
Officiousness pretends to play the oculist; but in very truth it plays
the fool. Fancy a man with a beam in his eye pretending to deal with so
tender a part as the eye of another, and attempting to remove so tiny a
thing as a mote or splinter! Is he not a hypocrite to pretend to be so
concerned about other men's eyes, and yet he never attends to his own?
Jesus is gentle, but he calls that man a "hypocrite " who fusses about
small things in others and pays no attention to great matters at home
in his own person. Our reformations must begin with ourselves, or they
are not true, and do not spring from a right motive. Sin we may rebuke,
but not if we indulge it. We may protest against evil, but not if we
willfully practice it. The Pharisees were great at censuring, but slow
at amending. Our Lord will not have his kingdom made up of hypocritical
theorists, he calls for practical obedience to the rules of holiness.
After we are ourselves sanctified, we are bound to be eyes to the
blind, and correctors of unholy living; but not till then. Till we have
personal piety, our preaching of godliness is sheer hypocrisy. May none
of us provoke the Lord to say to us, "Thou hypocrite"!
Matthew 7:6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye
your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and
turn again and rend you.
When men are evidently unable to perceive the purity of a great truth,
do not set it before them. They are like mere dogs, and if you set holy
things before them they will be provoked to "turn again and rend you":
holy things are not for the profane. "Without are dogs": they must not
be allowed to enter the holy place. When you are in the midst of the
vicious, who are like "swine," do not bring forth the precious
mysteries of the faith, for they will despise them, and "trample them
under their feet" in the mire.
You are not needlessly to provoke attack upon yourself, or upon the
higher truths of the gospel. You are not to judge, but you are not to
act without judgment. Count not men to be dogs or swine; but when they
avow themselves to be such, or by their conduct act as if they were
such, do not put occasions in their way for displaying their evil
character. Saints are not to be simpletons; they are not to be judges,
but, also, they are not to be fools. Great King, how much wisdom thy
precepts require! I need thee, not only to open my mouth, but also at
times to keep it shut.
Matthew 7:7-8. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find;
knock and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh
receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it
shall be opened.
To men you may not always speak of heavenly things, but to God you may.
"Ask, seek, knock"; let your prayer be adapted to the case; let it
increase in intensity, let it advance in the largeness of its object.
To receive a gift is simple, to find a treasure is more enriching, to
enter into a palace is best of all. Each form of prayer is prescribed,
accepted, and rewarded in a manner suitable to its character. The
promise is universal to all who obey the precept. The commands are in
opposition to the methods of carking care which have been denounced in
the former chapter; and they are encouragements to the precepts of
giving and non-recessional set forth previously, since he that can have
of God for the asking may well give to men who ask, and even yield to
those who unjustly demand. With such boundless stores at command, we
should not be either niggardly or litigious. Lord, help me to have done
with fretting, and to abound in asking, seeking, knocking; so shall I
soon overflow with thanksgiving.