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36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

One of the great mental infirmities to which human nature is subject,‭ ‬is that of giving a verdict or judgment upon things which they do not understand.‭ ‬In the language of scripture,‭ "‬they speak evil of things which they understand not‭" ‬and there is not wanting in every society a class of persons,‭ ‬censoriously inclined,‭ ‬who have an inveterate propensity to magnify the‭ ‬motes in their neighbours‭' ‬eyes,‭ ‬into very uncomely,‭ ‬sight-destroying‭ ‬beams.‭

To form some kind of a judgment,‭ ‬however,‭ ‬upon things which we see and hear,‭ ‬is a natural instinct,‭ ‬and a very useful and important one-for without it,‭ ‬we should be deprived of that tact and sagacity essential for carrying on our affairs,‭ ‬for self-protection and preservation,‭ ‬and for proper discernment between right and wrong‭; ‬this is the lawful,‭ ‬legitimate use of the faculty‭; ‬but like all other faculties which we inherit by natural descent from the first Adam,‭ ‬it has been sadly misused and perverted,‭ ‬as the natural consequence of the blindness and perversion of judgment manifested by the father and mother of our race.

Many persons,‭ ‬labouring under this very unhappy inheritance,‭ ‬allow their judgment to revel in the mazes of conjecture,‭ ‬supposition and imagination,‭ ‬concerning‭ "‬other men's matters,‭" ‬and finally decide to condemn the apparently real ways and conduct of others,‭ ‬the inmost recesses of whose private affairs,‭ ‬it is impossible for them to fathom-pronouncing judgment upon things which they understand not.‭ ‬Judgment used in this way,‭ ‬is‭ ‬misused and perverted,‭ ‬and is a fruitful source of mischief in any society,‭ ‬but especially among the faithful in Christ who desire to live in peace,‭ ‬love and harmony with each other.‭

There is a natural judgment,‭ ‬and there is a spiritual judgment-or in other words,‭ ‬there is a judgment according to the flesh,‭ ‬and there is a judgment according to the spirit.‭ ‬When we become members of the spiritual family,‭ ‬we must not assert the right to judge our fellows according to fleshly rules,‭ ‬but according to the divine standard,‭ ‬by which all are to be judged.‭ ‬Let no one judge or condemn his brother on account of some infirmity or weakness of character,‭ ‬which causes no special violation of gospel principles or divine commands‭; ‬the one who does this,‭ ‬is himself the subject of a great infirmity-and,‭ ‬as often happens,‭ ‬is far more culpable,‭ ‬than the object of his censure or condemnation.

It is well understood that all men and all women are compassed with infirmities-otherwise what need have we of a saviour‭? ‬Our Lord said,‭ "‬I came not to call the righteous but‭ ‬sinners to repentance‭"-‬that is,‭ ‬he came not to call the righteous in their own estimation,‭ ‬who,‭ ‬in reality were sinners,‭ ‬but those who knew that they were sinners-with honest and good hearts,‭ ‬notwithstanding all the sins which they had committed-sinners,‭ ‬possessing a love for truth,‭ ‬and consequently with unsophisticated understandings-that is,‭ ‬understandings untrammelled by the intricate meshes and webs of the serpent's deceitfulness.‭ ‬Such sinners as these were considered fit receptacles for the truth of God,‭ ‬by which they might be cleansed from all unrighteousness.‭ ‬We see that there is a classification of sins in the scriptures.

The heart that is full of serpentine subtilty and deceitfulness,‭ ‬is not a heart in which the truth can take root and bear fruit unto eternal life-but only the honest and good heart,‭ ‬although it may have been guilty of evil thoughts resulting in evil actions.‭ ‬When repentance comes to such,‭ ‬turning them from dead works to serve the living God,‭ ‬they are prepared to accept any conditions,‭ ‬to make any sacrifice,‭ ‬to give up their whole heart with unselfish devotion to the service of God and His truth‭; ‬completely divested of selfish objects and feelings-having only one object before their minds,‭ ‬viz.‭ ‬the glory of God‭; ‬that is,‭ ‬the promotion of his truth,‭ ‬the service of his ecclesia‭; ‬the internal culture of their own hearts-showing the triumphant power of the truth over the flesh,‭ ‬the devil....

A heart filled with tender mercy and loving kindness,‭ ‬is not likely to be severe in judgment upon fellow heirs of the saints‭' ‬inheritance.‭ ‬The more our hearts are filled with love toward our brethren for the truth's sake,‭ ‬the less inclined we shall be to judge them at all‭; ‬but if at any time it become necessary to exercise the faculty of judgment in any particlar case,‭ ‬we shall be careful to judge righteously,‭ ‬according to the Written Word,‭ ‬and not according to fleshly standards.

In the law of Moses it is written‭ "‬Thou shall do no unrighteousness in judgment‭; ‬but in righteousness thou shalt judge thy neighbour.‭" ‬This is also according to the gospel,‭ ‬for Jesus said‭ "‬Judge not according to the appearance,‭ ‬but judge righteous judgment.‭" ‬It was because of their failure to render righteous judgment,‭ ‬that the eyes and ears of the Jewish people became dim and heavy,‭ ‬and powerless to act for the general good‭; ‬the Lord accused them of heavy transgressions in this respect,‭ ‬when enumerating their iniquities,‭ ‬which brought down His wrath upon them.‭ ‬If,‭ ‬therefore,‭ ‬He spared not the natural branches because of these things,‭ ‬it behoves us to take heed that we come not under the same condemnation‭; ‬for the gospel rule is,‭ "‬with what judgment ye judge,‭ ‬ye shall be judged.‭"

The judicial courts of the kingdom of heaven,‭ ‬being based upon a higher code of laws,‭ ‬will pronounce judgments upon higher principles,‭ ‬than can be attained under the present order of things‭; ‬for it is written of the supreme judge himself,‭ ‬that‭ "‬He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes,‭ ‬nor reprove after the hearing of His ears‭; ‬but in righteousness shall He judge the poor,‭ ‬and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth.‭"

Under present arrangements,‭ ‬the sight of the eyes,‭ ‬and hearing of the ears,‭ ‬generally form the only basis for judgment,‭ ‬owing to the limitation of human wisdom,‭ ‬and being disqualified to discern the hidden springs of action‭; ‬the thoughts,‭ ‬motives and intents of the heart.‭ ‬May we,‭ ‬therefore,‭ ‬who profess to follow Christ,‭ ‬cease to judge after the flesh,‭ ‬but endeavour to form our judgment upon a more enlightened basis.‭ ‬Indeed,‭ ‬it is very essential that we who are to be the future judges and rulers of mankind,‭ ‬should seek to build upon the true basis in this respect as well as in all others.‭

Above all things,‭ ‬let us not judge or condemn our brethren upon light,‭ ‬frivolous grounds‭; ‬but if,‭ ‬as before stated,‭ ‬it become necessary to exercise our judgment in some particular case,‭ ‬we have the rule‭; "‬judge not according to the appearance‭" ‬and in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall everything be established.

Let not the brother or sister who is gifted with ten talents,‭ ‬condemn the possessor of only one‭; ‬and let not the possessor of one talent envy‭ ‬and misjudge the possessor of the ten.‭ ‬The Lord has distributed to all according to His good pleasure,‭ ‬for the furtherance of the gospel‭; ‬only let all take care that these talents are applied for the given purpose,‭ ‬and not used for selfish objects,‭ ‬that we may receive the blessing in due time,‭ ‬and reap abundantly,‭ ‬if we faint not.

The Ambassador of the Coming Age, Aug 1867. p185-188.