He Who Censures Often (Binning)

Christian Love Some of us might know people who are super critical of everything.  They always seem to be criticizing someone for something.  They never say anything nice about anyone but they find faults in everyone.  Everything they say is critical.  That’s very annoying and even painful to deal with when the person is not a Christian; it’s even harder to deal with when the critical person says he or she is a Christian.

As he reflected on Paul’s discussion of love in 1 Corinthians 13, Hugh Binning (d. 1653) wrote a helpful insight on the critical person:

…Great censurers are often the greatest hypocrites; on the other hand, 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.  It seems like we think it is commendable for us to condemn others, and pious to charge another with impiety.  …Reflecting on them or their ways has more provocation in it than edification.  A censorious attitude is certainly most partial to itself, and self–indulgent; it can sooner endure a great log in its own eye than a little sliver in its neighbors.  This shows the reason for censure clearly is not the hatred of sin or the love of virtue, but self-love shrouded under the veil of displeasure at sin and delight in virtue.

I would think that one great help to fix this would be to refrain much from the multitude of discourses about others.  In the multitude of words there lacks not sin, and in the multitude of discourses about other men, there cannot miss the sin of rash judging.  I find saints and those who fear God commended for speaking often to one another, but not at all for speaking about one another….

The above quote (slightly edited) is found on pages 54-55 of Christian Love by Hugh Binning.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI

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The Bond of Perfection (Col 3.14)

  I’ve appreciated this book on Christian love (based on John 13.35, 1 Cor 13, etc.) by Scottish Covenanter Hugh Binning (d. 1653).  It isn’t the easiest Puritan Paperback to read, but it is worth the effort.  The treatise is short (80 small pages) and there are a few of Binning’s sermons as an appendix (around 25 pages).  I’m amazed at how deep and solid this book is – Binning wrote it when he was between 23 and 26 years old.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes.

“Self-love is the greatest enemy to true Christian love, and pride is the fountain of self-love” (p. 14).

“Charity and Christian love should be the moderator of all our actions toward men; from thence they should proceed, and according to this rule be formed” (p. 17).

Caritas non punit quia peccatum est, sed ne peccaretur” [Love does not punish because one has sinned, but so that one should not sin] (p. 23-4).

“He whose sins are covered by God’s free love cannot think it hard to spread the garment of his love over his brother’s sins” (p. 59).

“Humility makes a man compare himself with the best that he may find how bad he himself is, but pride measures by the worst, that it may hide a man from his own imperfections” (p. 74).

As you can see, this is a great little booklet.  Don’t forget one like it that I’ve mentioned before, Renihan’s True Love published by EP books.

shane lems