Of the Best of Men

If we would always recollect that we live among men who are imperfect, we should not be in such a fever when we find out our friend’s failings; what’s rotten will rend, and cracked pots will leak. Blessed is he who expects nothing of poor flesh and blood, for he shall never be disappointed. The best of men are men at best, and the best wax will melt.

It is a good horse that never stumbles,
And a good wife that never grumbles.

But surely such horses and wives are only found in the fool’s paradise, where dumplings grow on trees. In this wicked world the straightest timber has knots in it, and the cleanest field of wheat has its share of weeds. The most careful driver one day upsets the cart, the cleverest cook spills a little broth, and as I know to my sorrow a very decent ploughman will now and then break the plow and often make a crooked furrow.

It is foolish to turn off a tried friend because of a failing or two, for you may get rid of a one-eyed nag and buy a blind one. Being all of us full of faults, we ought to keep two bears, and learn to bear and forbear with one another; since we all live in glass houses, we should none of us throw stones.

Everybody laughs when the saucepan says to the kettle, “How black you are!” Other men’s imperfections show us our imperfections, for one sheep is much like another; and if there’s an apple in my neighbour’s eye, there is no doubt one in mine. We ought to use our neighbours as mirrors to see our own faults in, and mend in ourselves what we see in them.

I have no patience with those who poke their noses into every man’s house to smell out his faults, and put on magnifying glasses to discover their neighbour’s flaws. Such folks had better look at home, they might see the devil where they little expected. What we wish to see, we shall see or think we see. Faults are always thick where love is thin.

A white cow is all black if your eye chooses to make it so. If we sniff long enough at rose water, we shall find out that it has a bad smell. It would be a far more pleasant business, at least for other people, if fault-finders would turn their dogs to hunt out the good points in other folks, the game would pay better, and nobody would stand with a pitchfork to keep the huntsmen off his farm.

As for our own faults, it would take a large slate to hold the account of them, but, thank God, we know where to take them and how to get the better of them. With all our faults, God loves us still if we are trusting in His Son. Therefore, let us not be downhearted, but hope to live and learn, and do some good service before we die.

— Charles Haddon Spurgeon (source)

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