by Hugh Binning
As a man may persuade himself to Christian love by the examination of his own heart and ways, so he may enforce upon his spirit a meek and compassionate stamp, by the consideration of his own frailty, what he may fall into.
This is the Apostle’s rule, Galatians 6:1—”Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual” and pretend to it “restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness;” Do not please yourselves with a false notion of zeal, thinking to cover your impertinent rigidity by it. Do as you would do if your own arm were disjointed. Set it in, restore it tenderly and meekly, considering yourselves that you also may be tempted. Some are more given to reproaching and insulting than mindful or restoring. Therefore their reproofs are not tempered with oil that they may not break the head, but mixed with gall and vinegar to set on edge of teeth.
But whenever you look upon the infirmities of others, then consider yourself first, before you pronounce sentence on them, and you shall be constrained to bestow that charity to others which you are in need of yourself. Veniam petimusque damusque vivissim. If a man have need of charity from his brother, let him not be so hard in giving it. If he know his own weakness and frailty, surely he may suppose such a thing may likely fall out that he may be tempted and succumb in it. For there needs nothing for the bringing forth of sin in any but occasion and temptation, as the bringing of fire near gunpowder. And truly he who had no allowance of love to give to an infirm and weak brother, he will be in mala fide, in an evil capacity, to seek what he would not give.
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