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those hypocrites who could discern the face of the sky, and of the earth, but could not discern the signs of the times, nor even of themselves judge what was right, Luke xii. 56, 57.

The above right of judgment is a divine grant to every child of God, let the preacher call himself what he may; Bishop, or Pastor; Dean, or Doctor. Our teachers are not to be hid in a corner any more; our eyes are to see them. « Let the prophets speak, two or three; and let the others judge,” i Cor. xiv. 29; whether he speaks as the oracles of God or not; and his word is to be received or rejected according to that rule, without any regard paid to his age, learning, or dignity; for there are accursed sinners an hundred years old, and many letter-learned fools and seducers; and there have been false apostles. The preacher who rejects this, and would dispute us out of this right, or reprove us for using it, ought to be suspected of being destitute of the Spirit, for the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, 1 Cor. xiv. 32. Thus are we to judge of the preacher's experience, doctrine, power, usefulness, conversation, life, and walk; for, “ He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man,” i Cor. ii. 15.

1 Cor. ii. 15. Paul himself submitted to this: “I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say,” i Cor. x. 15.

We are to judge likewise of the conversion, the soundness in faith, and the reformation, of every one that offers himself, or herself, as a member of the church, and receive or reject them according to the rule of God's word, and the best of our judgment; and we are to judge them also after they are in the church. “ What have I to do to judge them also that are without [the pale of the church]? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without, God judgeth,” 1 Cor. v. 12, 13.

We should likewise form a private judgment of those whom we visit or associate with, that we do not herd with infidels. “ If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord,” says Lydia to Paul, “ come into my house, and abide there," Acts xvi. 15.

Hence it appears, that pastors are to be sufficiently proved, not hastily called; and the judgment of a plurality of ministers is to be called in, as an addition to the judgment of the church: nor are hands to be laid suddenly on any man; nor is a raw, green disciple, or a novice to be set up at all, nor a fool to be heard at all. Thus far, according to the best of my judgment, a child of God may warrantably judge. It remains, therefore, that neither of the above are the senses of our Lord in the text, for one text never contradicts another.

Rash judgment seems rather to be intended, touching the final state of a .person, delivered in an angry manner, without being properly guarded with ifs, buts, unless, except, and peradventure. God only is the judge of quick and dead; and to

him alone it belongs to justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.

False, or wrong judgment, must also be intended. He that says to a wicked man, “Thou art righteous, him shall the people curse; nations shall abhor him,” Prov. xxiv. 24. This is justifying the wicked, which is an abomination to the Lord.

Judging according to an external shew, without any regard to a change of heart, or soundness in the truth, is intended also. “Judge not according to appearance,” saith the Lord.

Judging a sinner's state to be good because of his adherence to human traditions, and the commandments of men; or to judge a saint in meats, drinks, holy days, feasts, and fasts, is forbidden in the book of God also.

Giving way to natural affections; being zealously affected by a person, but not well, so as to let the feelings of nature sway a person from truth and conscience; is called judging after the flesh, John viii. 15.

But that which is chiefly intended in the text, appears to me to be, the wicked judging the righteous; which they have ever been forward to do: as the Jews, who called Christ Beelzebub, who excommunicated the confessors of him, and declared them accursed, and ignorant of the law, that followed him. Such persons judge after the flesh, and in the malice of Satan. They cursed those whom the Lord had blessed; judged those

that were spiritual, who could not be judged of any;

and condemned them whom the Lord had justified. These must be an abomination to God; and with what measure such mete, it shall be measured to them; and with what judgment they judge, they shall be judged. The curse of the law is a divine sentence in the lips of the King, whose mouth transgresseth not in judgment. But this sentence ill becomes the lips of fools. And, as for the children of God, they are commanded to bless, and curse not. The Judge of all the earth hath done, and will do, that himself; and tells us, that they who are of the works of the law are under the curse; and those who preach any other doctrine than Paul preached, are already cursed; and those who curse the saints, the Lord himself will curse. The above seem to me to be the senses of the scriptures touching such judgment as is strictly forbidden.

But, to form a private judgment, or speak my judgment, of a preacher, whether he be sent of God, or unsent; and of his spirit, whether it be the spirit of truth, or a spirit of error; and of his doctrine, whether it be of Christ, or of men; whether he be a true messenger, or an impostor; a minister of the Spirit, or of the letter; a sound teacher, or a seducer; a gatherer, or a scatterer; a saint, or a sinner; a child of God, or of Satan, is a divine grant to every disciple of Christ, that he may not be deceived, nor seduced from the simplicity that is in Christ, nor from the truth of the gospel. And to this end is the Holy Ghost to guide us into all truth, that we may not be deceived. “ Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

Take heed that no prejudice or hatred be secretly indulged against a minister, or professor; and thou speak to the wounding his reputation through hatred, without any regard either to truth or conscience; for no christian, nor character, can stand before envy. Nor are we to make a man an offender for a word; much less, lie in wait for, or hate, them that reprove us in the gate. A man may err in speech, who errs not in judgment. A sound speech may sometimes be dropped from an erroneous man.

We are not to condemn the former for a word, nor to justify the latter for his speech. Aaron spoke wrong, when he told Israel, the golden calf brought them out of Egypt; and Satan spoke the truth, when he called Christ the Holy One of God. Yet Aaron was a saint, and the devil a liar. But Satan's speech is not to be rejected, nor are Aaron's words to be credited. The terror of Christ extorted truth from Satan, and the fear of a tumultuous multitude drew a falsity from the mouth of Aaron.

Furthermore: remember every real minister of Christ in your prayers, and esteem them in love for their work sake. Nor be puffed up for one, ,

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