Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

this will be best known, by considering the import of the Terms severally. By Judging therefore, is properly understood that action of the Mind which either joins the Attribute with the Subject, or separates it from it. Or to speak less Artificially, and more to Common Apprehension, which either affirms or denies one thing of another. By Appearance, I understand the Representation of the object to the Mind, with its Motives and Arguments, true or false, in order either to affent or dissent. So that to Judge according to Appearance, is in other Words to affirm or deny one thing of another, upon the representation of certain Arguments or Motives, to Believe, Think, or to be Assured that a thing is so or fo, upon such and such Grounds; and so it takes in the Three-fold kind of Assent, and that in all the variety of Degree, Faith, Opinion, and Science, with this only difference between them, that whereas Faith and Opinion do not neceffarily suppose a firm Foundation, but are indifferent to due and undue Appearances, (for a Man may believe and think upon false as well as upon good Grounds, ) Science does always fuppose a due and regular Appearance of the Object, and cannot proceed but upon sufficient Grounds.

AND this I think fufficient in Answer to the First Question; I proceed therefore to in quire Secondly, whether all Judging accordding to Appearance, be opposed to judging,

Rightcous

Righteous Judgment, and consequently here forbidden. But we need not inquire long about it, for 'tis most certain that all is not; for if it were, there could then be no such thing as that Righteous Judgment which our Saviour Commands, and therefore Supposes. Nay, there could be no such thing as Judging at all, because all manner of Judgment is grounded upon the Appearance of things, and without some motive of Persuafion, some shew of Truth, no Man can in any degree be Persuaded. For the Understanding can no more be determined without an Appearance of Truth, than the Will can without an Appearance of Good : And consequently 'tis as absurd, that all Judging according to Appear, ance should be Criminal, as that all Willing according to Appearance should be so. For then indeed all manner of Judgment would be Unrighteous, and a Man could not use his Intellectual Faculty, but he inust Sin; which would introduce a new and unheard of Scepticism into the World, and oblige Men to suspend the Exercise of their Intellectual Powers, not be cause there is no Truth, but because 'tis not lawful to Embrace her.

SINC e therefore, all Judging according to Appearance, is not opposed to Righteous Judgment, nor consequently here forbidden, it concerns us to inquire in the Third place, which it is that is so.

AND First, to Judge Ill of a Man upon clear and full Evidence, is not that Judging

according according to Appearance, which is here Forbidden, as opposed to Righteous Judgment: Nay, this is the most Righteous Judgment that can be, for this is the due use of our Judging Faculty, in the right Exercise whereof, 'tis impossible there should be any Miscarriage. I do not make a meer Judging Rightly, or according to what is True, to be a due use of our Understandings; for though a Man give his Judgment according to Truth, yet if he be determined to such an Assent by incompetent Motives, he does not use his Understanding a. right ; but if it be in a Matter of bare Specu- · lation, is guilty of Levity and Rashness; if in a thing wherein his Brothers Reputation is concerned, of Uncharity and Cenforiousness. But if my Judgment of another be never so Ill, provided the Evidence be Full and Clear, i make a right use of my Judging Faculty, nor can my Judgment be taxed as Unrighteous. And upon this Principle relies all the Innocence and Equity of Courts of Justice, the severest of whose Verdicts are Justified by the Sufficiency of the Evidence.

And there is the same common Reason and Measure for the more private Court of Conscience, that there is for the more Publick ones, and that which warrants the Proceedings of either, will justifie both; so that if it be lawful for a Jury to bring in a Verdiet of the high, est Guilt against a Man upon clear Evidence, any Private Person may also upon the likeGrounds

pass

pass the like Ill Judgment concerning any Man within his own Breast, and in his Thoughts pronounce him a Criminal, if he has good Ěvidence for such a Judgment. Thus if I see a Man live in a constant course of Vice, in open Defiance to all Laws both Human and Divine, to Wallow, in all manner of Bestiality, and Drink down Iniquity with Greediness, I may safely and innocently pronounce him an Ill Man. First, becaufe 'tis not in a Man's Power to sufpend such a Judgment, any more than 'tis to refilt a Demonstration in Mathematicks. The Truth thrusts her self upon me, and I cannot put her back, she will be imbraced and I cannot refuse her; I may wink against the Sun, but I cannot shut my Eyes against Manifest Truth: And to pretend Charity here, is ridiculous; for however Charity may oblige me to Believe and Hope the Best, where there is any room for a favourable Construction, yet certainly it does not oblige me to put out my Eyes, and reject all the information of my Senses: Neither is it pofsible for me to do fo. But suppose I could refift such a Judgment, yet I need not, because Secondly, in such a Case, there is no wrong done to the Party whom my Censure concerns: He is represented in a faithful Glass, censured af. ter his due Character, and called by his proper Name, and therefore cannot complain of an Injury, without committing one. Acts 13. 10. O full of all Subtilty and all Mischief, thou Child of the Devil, thou. Enemy of all Righteoufness, said

Ss,

St. Paul to Elymas the Sorcerer, when he saw him endeavouring to turn away the Deputy from the Christian Faith. And have not I chosen Twelve, and one of you is a Devil, said our Blesfed Saviour. Both these Charges went very high, but the Evidence of the Guilt bore Próportion to them, and that was their Justification. 'Tis therefore very Warrantable to pass a severe Judgment upon a Man, when 'tis plain and out of all question that he deserves it. Nay, 'tis not only Warrantable, but in several respects of great Use and Necessity; for by this Means I am instructed to inlarge my Litany, both for his Conversion, and for my own Deliverance, to apply Reproofs and Advices with all other Methods of Reformation, to beware of his Contagion my self, and in great Measure to prevent its diffusion among others. Whereas if we suffer our Eyes to be so far blinded by a pretended Charity, as not to see the Devil under his Monastick Disguise, he has what he could wish, and what Ill Men use to wish;

Noctem Peccatis, & Fraudibus objice Nubem.

to be Skreen'd about with the Shades of Night, and to Sin in a Cloud, and will do the more Mischief for not being better Understood, and destroy like the Pestilence that walketh in Dark

6.

ness, Psal.

91.

Вит

« AnteriorContinuar »