By Hugh Binning
Where there is a purity of truth, but also accompanied with envying, bitter strife, rigid judging, wrangling, and such like, then it is defiled and corrupted by the mixture of vile and base affections, ascending out of the manure pile of the flesh. The vapors of our lusts arising up to the mind, stain pure truth. They put an earthly, sensual, and devilish face on it.
Charity, its conversation and discourse, is without judging, without censuring, because it contains much edification, I will speak more hereafter. “Without partiality, without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17) words in the original mean (without judging and wrangling, and without hypocrisy), revealing, that great censurers are often the greatest hypocrites, and sincerity always has much charity. Truly, there is much idle time spent this way in discourses of one another, and venting our judgments of others, as if it were enough of commendation for us to condemn others, and much piety to charge another with impiety. We should even be sparing in judging them that are without, (1st Corinthians 5:12-13) Ruminating on them or their ways, has more provocation than edification in it. A censorious disposition is certainly most partial to itself, and self indulgent. It can sooner endure a great beam in its own eye, than a little mote in its neighbor’s, and this shows evidently that it is not the hatred of sin, or the love of virtue, which is the single and simple principle of it, but self-love, shrouded under the veil of displeasure at sin, and delight in virtue.
I think one great help to prevent this, is to turn away from the excessive amount of discourse about others. “In the multitude of words there is no lacking of sin,” and in the multitude of discourses about other men, there cannot miss the sin of rash judging. I find the saints and God fearing commended for speaking often one to another, but not at all for speaking one of another. The subject of their discourse (Malachi 3:16) certainly was of another strain, “how good it was to serve the Lord,” and the like, opposite to the evil communication of others there registered.