Judge not, that you be not judged.…
There are divers sorts of judging which it is requisite to distinguish from the judging prohibited: —
1. That exercising public judgment, or administering justice, is not here prohibited.
2. The trial and censure, although out of court, which any kind of superiors do exercise on their inferiors, committed to their care, such as masters and servants.
3. Neither is friendly reproof proceeding out of charitable design, on clear ground, in fit season, within reasonable compass, concerned in this prohibition.
4. All observing and reflecting on our neighbours' actions, all framing an opinion about them, and expressing our minds concerning them, are not forbidden.
5. We are not hence obliged to think so well of all men as without competent knowledge always to rely on their pretences, or to entrust our interests in their hands.
6. We are not obliged, in contradiction to plain sense, to judge all men well.We observe:
1. No judge should intrude himself into the office, or assume a judicial power, without competent authority, either by delegation from superior powers, or by voluntary reference to the parties concerned.
2. A judge should be free from all prejudices and all partial affections.
3. A judge should never proceed in judgment without careful examination of the cause, so as well to understand it.
4. A judge should never pronounce final sentence, but after certain proof and on full conviction.
5. Hence there are divers causes wholly exempt from our judgment, such as the secret thoughts of men.
6. Hence we should not judge the state of our neighbour in regard to God.
7. A judge should not proceed against any man without warning, and affording him opportunity to defend himself.
8. Moreover a judge is obliged to conform all his determinations to the settled rules of judgment.
9. He must be a person of good knowledge and ability.
10. It is proper for a judge not to make himself an accuser.
11. He should himself be innocent.
12. He should proceed with great moderation.Again:
1. Censuring is an impious practice in regard to God.
2. In respect to our neighbour it is an unjust practice.
3. It is an uncharitable practice.
4. It is a foolish and vain practice.
5. It will produce many inconveniences and mischiefs.
(1) We provoke others to requite us in the same kind.
(2) We pass censure on ourselves, as we are seldom clear.
(3) We aggravate our own faults and deprive them of excuse.
(4) We forget to what a dreadful judgment we stand obnoxious to.
(5) It causes us to leave our own faults uncorrected.
(6) The best men are the most candid and gentle.
(7) It signifies bad conscience; a vulturous nature smelleth out carrion.
Parallel VersesKJV: Judge not, that ye be not judged.