de Sales Solves the Federal Vision Controversy

From Introduction to the Devout Life by Francis de Sales.

In this passage, de Sales is talking about the error of making rash judgements against others, something that I think is at the root of the Federal Vision controversy. If one speaks boldly and rashly and is later shown to be mistaken (i.e.- declaring a group of people heretics before you even understand what they're saying), then when one is shown the error of one's ways, the only two options are to repent of the rash judgement (which is hard) or stubbornly dig one's heels in and claim that one's enemies are being evasive and wicked (which is easy).

"We must ask why it is that we make rash judgements. Some of us are naturally bitter and harsh...Some judge rashly out of pride...Many take the liberty of judgeing others rashly, delighting in the sound of their own voice, opinions and wit. If unhappily, they err in their judgement, it then becomes very difficult to correct people's perspective because of the force and confidence with which opinions have been expressed. Others judge by feeling and prejudice, thinking well of those they like and ill of those they dislike. Jealousy, fear, ambition and other weaknesses all contribute towards the breeding of suspicion and rash judgements.

So what is the remedy?

Charity is the sovereign remedy for all ills, and of this ill in particular. All things appear yellow to someone afflicted with jaundice: rash judgement is a spiritual jaundice which makes everything appear evil. The cure is to apply love--to your eyes, to your understanding, and to your affections in which your soul is rooted. If your heart is gentle, your judgements will be gentle; if it is loving, so will your judgements be."

(Emphasis Mine)

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