Brothers, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness…
Let us begin this consideration with its proper beginning — the first detection — the first moment that constitutes what society knows as a criminal. The first detection may have followed on a trifling fault, or a mere inadvertence; but once past, the barrier is past with it — the badge is irremovably attached; the words "convicted criminal" are the strokes of a knell which tolls the man to his grave, be he scores of years from it: we are so determined to be in outward appearance separate from sinners, that we draw the line bold and dark which shall mark the distinction: there shall be no penumbra to that eclipse. Exiles and outcasts, whether their fault has been great or small, from the society of the virtuous or of the undetected — every influence is arrayed, many influences perhaps not unjustly arrayed, against their return to the place whence they have fallen. First of all, in speaking of this duty, let me say something of the spirit in which it is to be performed. "Restore such an one in the spirit of meekness — considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." Surely this is the very opposite of the spirit of the world, of which we have been speaking. That spirit refuses to consider the possibility of ourselves being tempted: parades a challenge in the face of the world to question our own purity and inviolability, and declares that we are determined never to admit the hypothesis of our becoming like them. Well then, it is here as so often: I have to ask you to put on a spirit directly contrary to that which you find around you in the world: to sit at the feet of a far different Teacher, and learn of Him. We have spoken of Him who came to seek and to save that which was lost. And this is the very thing which we ask you to do likewise. Our blessed Lord spent His life and shed His blood, in devising means whereby His lost ones might be recovered to Him. And every follower of His — every one who is under the discipline of that great Reformatory which He has founded — is expected not to look only on his own things, but also on the things of others. These criminals are your brethren; your fellow-Christians by profession. And it is only His preventing and upholding grace, which keeps from falling any of us who thinketh he standeth in uprightness. Bearing their burdens, instead of disclaiming them and letting them sink under their weight; and so fulfilling the law of Christ. We may ask, what law? And the answer is very simple. There was one law in which our blessed Lord summed up His social and practical precepts; one, which peculiarly belongs to Him: "Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do unto them." This is emphatically the law of Christ.
Parallel VersesKJV: Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.