(4) Epilogue (cf. Matthew 5:3 , note). Dare to take up this position, which has been laid down in Mt 5:21-7:12, involving though it must separation from the majority of men ( Matthew 7:13 , Matthew 7:14 ); and this notwithstanding the claim of others to reveal the Lord's mind, whose true nature, however, you shall perceive from their actions ( Matthew 7:15-20 ); they that work iniquity have neither present nor future union with me ( Matthew 7:21-23 ). Finally a solemn warning ( Matthew 7:24-27 ).
Matthew only in this form, though most of the separate verses have much matter common to other passages; viz.: verses 16, 18, parallel with Luke 6:43 , Luke 6:44 , cf. also infra , Matthew 12:33 ; Matthew 12:19 , cf. Matthew 3:10 ; verse 21, cf. Luke 6:46 ; Luke 6:22 , cf. Luke 13:26 ; Luke 13:23 , parallel with Luke 13:27 . (For the connexion of these verses, cf. Luke 13:13 , note.)
Matthew only. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit . The similarity between the fruit and the nature of the tree extends not only to the species, but also to the specimen. Good tree ( δένδρον ἀγαθόν ); intrinsically sound. Good fruit ( καρποὺς καλούς ); attractive in the eyes of men. As is the inner character of the tree, so is the obvious nature of the fruit. But a corrupt tree ( τὸ δὲ σαπρὸν δένδρον ); "the" picturing it. Corrupt ; unsound, rotten, worthless (cf. Matthew 13:48 ); also in the moral world ( Ephesians 4:29 ).
Various practical rules issuing out of the central duty of self-consecration.
I. CONDUCT TOWARDS OTHERS .
1 . Gentleness in our estimate of the lives of others. The hypocrites trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others; they made an ostentatious display of their own supposed good deeds, and passed stern judgments on their neighbours. The righteousness of Christ's disciples must exceed that of the Pharisees in both respects. Indeed, Christ's words must not be understood in that literalness which was one of the characteristic errors of the Pharisees. The judge must pass sentence upon criminals; it is his duty to God, to society. The minister of God must "reprove, rebuke, exhort,": when God saith unto the wicked, "Thou wicked man, thou shalt surely die," he must warn the wicked of his sin; for otherwise (God himself hath said it) "that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thy hand." All Christians must hate sin, and show that they hate it. "Woe unto them," saith the Prophet Isaiah, "that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Sometimes it is our duty to judge others. When it is our duty, we are safe, if we do it with pity for the sinner and with grief for the dishonour done to God (see Psalms 119:136 ). It is a duty full of danger and temptation; there is need of prayer and self-examination and careful scrutiny of our own thoughts and motives. When it is not our duty, it is never free from the danger of sin against the law of love. Censoriousness is one of the great blots of social intercourse. People who have nothing else to talk about, talk about their neighbours; they discuss their conduct; they impute unworthy motives; they repeat slanders, they exaggerate them; they take a sinful pleasure in condemning others; they often sin against the ninth, continually against the new, commandment. And these unchristian judgments imply self-righteousness, pride, hypocrisy; they usurp the prerogative of the great Judge, who alone can search the thoughts of the heart; they bring the uncharitable into exceeding great danger, for the commandment of the Judge is, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;" and surely those who judge their brethren harshly take part (awful as it seems) rather with Satan, the accuser of the brethren, who accuses them before our God night and day, than with the Lord Jesus Christ, the most loving Saviour, who dearly loved the souls of men, who wept over impenitent Jerusalem, and said, "Father, forgive them," as they nailed him on the cross. Therefore "judge not, that ye be not judged." Men will judge harshly those who judge others harshly, and the human judgment passed upon the censorious is but a shadow of the more dreadful judgment that is to come.
2 . Strictness in judging ourselves. We extenuate our own faults; we always have excuses ready. We magnify the faults of others; we have no excuse for them. Our faults seem to us as motes, theirs as beams; our judgment is often reversed by the just judgment of God. Consider your own faults, concentrate your attention upon them—that is your duty; not, as a rule, to pass judgment upon your neighbours. "Every one of us shall give account of himself to God. " Of himself; then let him take heed to his own soul, let him look into its state narrowly and jealously, let him carefully remove every mote and every defilement, let him wash it white in the blood of the Lamb. This diligent self-examination will prepare us for the difficult and delicate task of helping others. He who would take heed to the flock must take heed first unto himself ( Acts 20:28 ); it needs a clean heart, and a close fellowship with Christ, and a purified spiritual vision, to see clearly to cast out the mote out of our brother's eye. There is need of true humility and heavenly wisdom and deep spiritual experience , if we are to deal successfully with the souls of others. If we are to restore others, it must be in the spirit of meekness, by the help of the good Spirit of God, always considering ourselves, lest we also be tempted.
3 . Holy caution in dealing with the worldly and the wicked. "Holy things for the holy," is a well-known direction in the ancient liturgies; it expresses the lesson which the Lord would teach us here. Judge not, but yet be careful. The deep things of spiritual experience are not for all men. The mysteries of the soul's converse with God are not to be lightly divulged in common talk. "My Beloved is mine, and I am his." The intercourse of the converted soul with the heavenly Bridegroom is a thing too sacred for ordinary conversation. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him … They that feared the Lord spake often one to another." The Christian can tell what God hath done for his soul only to the like-minded—the holy with the holy; and there are hidden things of which he speaks only to God in the silence of his heart. The deepest thoughts of that life which is hid with Christ in God, the blessed truths on which the soul leeds in loving faith, are far too sacred to be offered to the contentious, the unbelieving, the mere controversialist; far too precious to be thrown down to the gross and sensual, who despise the pearl of great price in comparison with their low and coarse enjoyments, who will turn angrily and scornfully upon him who introduces such subjects. Confessions of past sin, histories of conversions, spiritual experiences, are very sacred; but they are not for all men. They will do harm to the worldly; they wilt provoke them to scorn and derision.
II. OUR RELATIONS WITH GOD .
1 . The duty and blessedness of prayer. "Ask … seek … knock." He bids us pray through whom all prayer is offered, in whose Name every knee must bow; he will hear us, we know. He has just taught us the blessed words of his own most holy prayer; he bids us use them, not as mere words uttered by the lips, but as true prayer prayed out of the depths of the heart. "Ask," he says, "and it shall be given you;… everyone that asketh receiveth. " It is not asking, to repeat a few words without real desire. The heart must ask; the heart asks by its longings, yearning after God with groanings that cannot be uttered. Ask thus, and surely ye shall have. "Seek," he says, "and ye shall find." You ask for that which you need; you seek that which has been lost, that which is hidden. Original innocence has been lost; the true treasure of the soul is a hidden treasure. Seek after righteousness, seek the kingdom of God, seek Christ. Seeking implies perseverance , careful, watchful effort. The Lord came to seek and to save that which was lost. He sought on and fainted not through the thirty years of his quiet life at Nazareth, through the three years of his ministry—those years of unwearying labour, self-forgetting love. He sought on even as he hung dying in agony on the cross: "Father, forgive." He sought and he found: "To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise." He sought, and we must seek; we must seek him who is seeking us. If we seek as he sought, in patience, perseverance, in love, we shall surely find him; for he is still seeking, still calling, "Come unto me . " "Knock," he says, "and it shall be opened unto you." But knock now, while it is the day of grace. There are some who will stand without, and knock at the door, saying, "Lord, Lord, open unto us;" and he shall answer,"I know you not." Knock now. Knocking implies importunity. It is not enough to be "not far from the kingdom of God;" we need to enter in, into the presence of the most holy One. He will open if we knock in faith and strong desire; for he himself, in the wondrous condescension of his infinite love, deigns to knock at the door of our poor unworthy heart. "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof." But he desires to enter, in his gracious mercy. "If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Then we know that he will open if we continue knocking; he will not keep the door shut against those souls of men whom he loved so very dearly. He will admit us, if we persevere in faithful prayer, into his most gracious presence now, into the joy of our Lord hereafter.
2 . Our Father hears the prayer of his children. Earthly fathers give their children what they need; they will not give a stone for bread, a scorpion for fish. They are sinful; the inherited corruption of sin cleaves to them all; yet they love their children and care for them. How much more does our Father which is in heaven, our Father who is Love, care for us, his children! Our Father listens to our voice, but he listens in wisdom and true holy love. We ask him sometimes for stones or scorpions, for earthly things which will only be a weight and hindrance in our heavenward journey, or perhaps may even tempt us to fall into sin, which is the sting of death. He will not give the evil things which we blindly ask; but it is in love that he refuses. "My grace is sufficient for thee." He gives the true bread—the bread which, if a man take, he shall live for ever. He gives good things to them that ask him; not always the good things of this world, which are not reckoned good in the world to come—" Son, thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things"—but things really good, things that the souls of the blessed can take with them when the world passeth away. He gives, in answer to the prayer of the heart, the best of all good things—the Holy Spirit of God.
3 . We must imitate him. "Be perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." To be like unto God is not to be strong and beautiful and brave, like Homer's godlike heroes, but to imitate God in that which, his apostle tells us, enters into his very nature. "God is Love." If we would have him give good things to us, we must give good things to our neighbours according to our power. Our Lord lays down a plain, simple rule to guide us in our daily walk: "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." We must ask ourselves how we would have our neighbour act towards us if our circumstances were reversed. Thus our own heart becomes our guide; it tells us just how we ought to act. Only let us be sincere, truthful with ourselves, and we cannot he deceived. The rule is wide in its range. It is not, "Do not to others what you would not they should do to you;" others before our Lord had said that much. The Lord's rule is far wider, far more stringent. It strikes hard at that selfishness which is the parent of so many sins; it extends over all the circumstances of life; it substitutes for the minute rules of the Pharisees one comprehensive principle; it implies the energy of holy love in the heart, for only true Christian love can enable a man to apply this commandment of the Lord to the government of his own life and actions. This is the Law and the Prophets. All the commandments of the second table are briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." And it implies the commandments of the first table; for Christian love, that charity which is the greatest of all graces, flows out of the love of God. "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his command-merits." Then this is the Law and the Prophets. All the practical teaching of Holy Scripture is contained in the one law of love; and one Teacher only can write that law upon our selfish hearts, and teach us to apply it to the details of our daily lives—the Holy Spirit of God, whom our Father which is in heaven will give (his blessed Son has promised it) to them that ask him.
III. THE OBSTACLES WHICH IMPEDE OUR OBSERVANCE OF THE SAVIOUR 'S RULES .
1 . Their difficulty.
Therefore the Lord bids us enter in at the strait gate; in his tender love for our souls he condescends to show us the way, entering there himself. Few find it, but the Lord Jesus is with those few. He is their Guide; his cross goeth before them; they follow him in trustful faith, though often with much fear and trembling, sometimes with many anxious doubts. For the path is very narrow; it is hemmed in on each side with difficulties and dangers. Many side-paths open out from it; they seem sometimes to follow the same general direction, but a slight divergence at first often leads very far astray. They are sometimes very tempting; they look smoother, easier, pleasanter, than the one narrow way. There is need of much careful thought, much self-restraint, to keep the right path; it is steep, sometimes very rugged, leading ever upwards. Few find it. Sometimes, in moments of depression, they seem to us very few indeed; but we remember that when Elijah thought himself alone, God could tell him that there were seven thousand faithful men in Israel. And if they are but few, they are the followers of the Lamb, "called, chosen, faithful." He himself is with them, cheering, comforting, strengthening them. The narrow path is often a vale of weeping—there is much sorrow, many trials; but there is much comfort. The Lord is with his followers; therefore "they go on from strength to strength, and at the last unto the God of gods appeareth every one of them in Zion." For at the end of the narrow path lies the strait gate. It is strait; there is need of self-denial, diligence, holy thoughtfulness, even to the last. It is strait; but there is room for all to enter in who have chosen the service of Christ; for he has passed through that strait gate himself, and he will open it wide to his followers. It is strait; but it leadeth unto life—to that life which is indeed worth living; the everlasting life with God in heaven. For the strait gate of the parable is, indeed, the pearly gate of the golden city; there shall enter the saints of God, ten thousand times ten thousand, when the fight with sin and death is over, and the redeemed of the Lord, more than conquerors through the precious blood, go up with singing to Zion into the city of the living God.
2 . The influence of false teachers.
1 . The Lord teaches the great danger of idle and slanderous gossip; take heed, listen, and obey.
2 . Pray earnestly for grace to see your own faults, examine yourselves; be real, hate unreality, and hypocrisy.
3 . Pray always, in trustful faith, m persevering earnestness.
4 . Deny yourselves; only the way of the cross leadeth to the crown of life.
5 . Seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit; beware of false teachers.
The tree and its fruit.
It is not enough for Christ to spread his own wholesome teaching; he must warn against the dangerous influence of bad teachers. Later in his ministry he had occasion to speak of the pretended shepherds, who were really thieves, or at best hirelings ( John 10:10 , John 10:12 ). Here his reference to the tree and its fruit is meant to be applied to the teacher and his work. It shows that he expects people to be watchful over those who assume to be their instructors. Christians are to judge prophets.
I. THE QUALITY OF THE WORK IS DETERMINED BY THE CHARACTER OF THE WORKER .
1 . Work is fruit. A man's true work is not something which he has chosen to do by free selection from any number of possibilities. It is the very product of his being; it is himself thrown out and expressed in action. All real work is a growth from a man's life.
2 . The fruit must correspond to the tree. It is not just a miniature tree, but it is "after its kind." The teaching and life-work may not be merely photographs of the mind of the teacher and worker, but they will correspond in kind. This is necessary because it is natural. Christ's parallel goes beyond an illustration, and becomes an argument from analogy. The whole course of nature makes it monstrous to suppose that good work can come from bad men, or bad work from good men.
II. THE WORKER MUST BE JUDGED BY HIS WORK .
1 . He should not be judged prematurely. We are tempted to form hasty prejudices about people, the results of first impressions. But these are most delusive. A pretentious or an attractive teacher may be worthless. One who vexes and offends us may be a very prophet of God. The present popularity of a preacher is a poor test of the value of his ministrations.
2 . His work must be examined. Our Lord distinctly requires this. We are not to judge men in private life and as to their own individual conduct. But when any one takes on him the office of a public teacher he invites examination. It is not incumbent on us to criticize for the sake of the criticism, but we must decide whether a man whom we follow is leading us aright.
3 . The test is to be found in final effects. There are snares in the judgment by results. We may look only at external effects; we may be impatient for quick returns; we may mistake quantity for quality. It is necessary to wait for some autumn fruit ripening. Then the question is as to kind and quality. If these are good, the teaching is wholesome. The best form of Christian evidences is the biography of Christian men. Honest missionary reports are an important element in apologetics.
III. THE BAD WORK WILL CONDEMN THE UNWORTHY WORKER . The tree only exists for the sake of its fruit. Its goodly shape, its vigorous growth, its luxuriant foliage, count for nothing, or worse them nothing, for they cumber the ground. What would be a merit in the forest is a fault in the garden. Trees planted for fruit must bear fruit, or they will be useless. It is bad to produce poisonous or worthless fruit; but it is also a matter of condemnation to be barren, like the fruitless fig tree of the parable ( Luke 13:6-9 ). God's test at the great judgment will ignore the fame of popular preaching, the glitter of daring thinking, the honour of exalted position. All will go by the quality of the output. And on this test will follow more than the acceptance or the condemnation of the work. The worker himself will be judged—condemned or rewarded.—W.F.A.
The branded false prophets.
This passage brings us to the last but one of the great typical admonitions of this primaeval discourse in Christian ethics. Typical they must surely be regarded. Nor, as we scan them with ever so jealous eye, do we find it at all easy to make comparisons as to any imagined relative temporariness of application belonging to them, or the reverse. But if, on the contrary, we suffered ourselves for a moment to be the victims of mere plausible impression, and to court illusion therein, then, perhaps, we might be tempted to rule that this present admonition, though it should be the only one, was the one the importance of which had dwindled in the growth of time, however real it had once been. The impression cannot vindicate itself, but it might serve to convict us of the extent—the depth and breadth—to which the evil has spread which it fancied was not existent. And we come round to the persuasion that this last but one of the series of admonitions is not behind any other whatsoever in testifying to the foresight of Christ, to his forecast of the character of the history of untold Christian generations, and to his measured, faithful, emphatic warning of his Church respecting them. In language that cannot be mistaken, the passage certifies to us—
I. THE BRAND THAT CHRIST SETS UPON FALSE RELIGIOUS TEACHERS . They are ravening wolves, covered over with sheep's clothing. It may be that through the centuries of Christendom the name of these has been truly enough legion many times multiplied. And it may be that because of this our vexed thought blankly refuses to face the deadly field of slaughter, the widespread, disastrous havoc the ravening wolves have wrought! But on our wearied ear may not then these words of Christ fall, with all their original forcible simplicity, to waken a more natural conscience, graciously to exorcise its callous indifference, and to freshen young faith? E.g.:
1 . They suggest how Christ would guard, and does guard, the springs and the rudiments and the inspirations of our higher life.
2 . They give us to infer the genuine honour in which Christ holds our real teachers, though they be still only human teachers.
3 . They caution us, if for the hundredth time, against deserting well-assured principles in favour of appearance, of soft voices, of smooth vestures, of complaisant manner. These all are but other versions of sheep's clothing, disguising the ravening wolf. Christ strengthens our faith in the sure landmarks of matter, of reality, of plain sincerity, howsoever plain.
II. THE CRITERION ACCORDING - TO WHICH THEY ARE TO BE JUDGED . The " fruits " of "false prophets," of false teachers, who invest themselves with the abused title of "religious," are both those fruits which appear in their own manner of life, and those which appear in their work , their ill work, among and in others. The false prophet often denounces himself in the utter incoherence of his doctrines, and in the inconsistency and impurity of his life. But whereas he is also a "ravening wolf," on the highest authority, it is because of the dissensions, divisions, malice, and schism that his path is strewed with; and because of the falseness of his creed—erring now by defect, now by invention and addition, and now by contradiction of the Word and the Spirit. Not all the hostile forces that array themselves from without against the Church compare for a moment, in the disastrous, ravening havoc that follow in their track, with the cunning, dissembling, subtle havoc of the ravening wolves—a widespread foe, that haunt the fold within—in the fleece of the flock that belong to it. And, lastly, it is to be remembered that, whereas it is not always of design, nor always of ill intention and pure malice towards souls, that false prophets work the havoc of ravening wolves, for this very reason—the criterion of their works, or "fruits," is the one given to men. For charity's sake we may not make ourselves judges by any assumed superiority of our own knowledge or wisdom; yet less may we arrogate the authority of the only omniscient, unerring Judge, nor offer to do the angels' work prematurely, and presume to separate the tares from the wheat; but, says Christ, "by their fruits ye shall know them." Let intention be what it may, if the fruit is bad, that prophet is a false prophet. Some of the less crew of ill quality, vanity, conceit of superior illumination—that worst ignorance that is so ignorant that it has not a suspicion of it—irresistible or certainly unresisted loquacity, presumptuousness,—these may have the dominion that effectually make the self-sent prophet, the false prophet. He wears the clothing of the sheep, and did not don it for the conscious purposes of deceiving; but he is deceived himself, and in nothing would be more individually surprised and mortified, if that could be brought home to him—than which nothing is more certain—that he is doing the odious work of the ravening wolf. Who can count the number of these deceived and deceivers , and the number of grievous wounds and rendings of limbs which these have made in the body of Christ in this one current half-century? We are entitled to say it, we are compelled to bewail it—"because of their fruits." And in the seething multitude of those who name the Name of Christ now , one warning, one merciful, gracious caution, needs to be uttered aloud and to be listened to, "Beware of false prophets!"—B.
Sermon on the mount: 8. Wise and foolish builders.
The righteousness required in God ' s kingdom is the subject of our Lord's teaching in this sermon. After contrasting this with various spurious forms of righteousness, he shows the ruin that results from false pretensions. This he does by means of three figures:
1 . The mere pretender is like a wolf in sheep's clothing; you cannot turn a wolf into a sheep by merely putting on it from the outside a fleece.
2 . Or he is like a thorn-bush that has artificial flowers and fine fruits stuck on to it. It may for a time excite the admiration of the ignorant, but the tree remains wholly unaffected.
3 . Or he is like a man who builds a superb mansion, sparing neither pains nor cost upon it, and yet neglecting the one essential that it should have—a foundation. Two objections may be taken to this simile, the first a trifling one.
I. THAT OUR LORD WARNS AGAINST TRUSTING TO APPEARANCES . He indicates that there is a stronger tendency to this in religion than in secular life, and more unsparingly and thoroughly does he tear off the mask of the hypocrite than the fiercest assailant of Christianity has ever done. The tendency to display, though we sometimes smile at the ways in which it manifests itself in others, is no venial fault; it is a species of dishonesty which gradually corrodes the whole character. In religion it is damaging in various ways.
1 . There is a large class among us, the class of respectable people, whose whole character and habits have been so formed under the influence of social opinion that when they wish to ascertain what is right or wrong, they think whether it will shock people or not. They unconsciously reverse our Lord's judgment; and to them the poor wretch who has fallen under the power of some evil habit, and ruined his prospects in life, is a far more hopeless and pitiable object than the hardhearted, self-righteous, respectable sinner, who has not a tenth part of the other's humility or longing after righteousness.
2 . However quick we may be to detect and repudiate what is showy in other departments of life, we are all liable to be shallow in religion. The primitive idea of God that he is exacting, a Lord who must be propitiated, is one so native to the guilty conscience, that it lingers among the motives of conduct long after we have mentally repudiated it. We will not comprehend that it is all for our benefit religion exists; that it is an essential of human life and happiness. So we do those things which it is supposed God requires, but we remain in nature unchanged.
3 . Or we may admire a certain kind of character, and set it up as our ideal, without possessing it even in its beginning. A man may have the reputation of being a Christian, and may learn to accept himself as one, while he has no foundation; it is only the appearance which is in his favour.
4 . Or we may have such an eagerness to hear teaching about righteousness, that we feel as if the hearing itself were sufficient evidence of a devout mind; we make such efforts to understand what God's will is, that we exonerate ourselves from doing it; we make such profuse declarations of our obligation to obey, that we feel we have done enough. But do not believe in your purpose to serve God better until you do serve him better. Give no credit to yourself for anything which is not actually accomplished. Do not let us be always speaking of endeavours, hopes, and intentions, and struggles, and convictions of what is right, but let us do God's will.
II. THE RESULTS OF SUPERFICIALITY are portrayed in language intended to bring out their overwhelmingly disastrous nature, but not less their certainty. For what is it that brings the house about the builder's ears? It is nothing exceptional; it is the inevitable that tests it. So it is with character. It is tested by the ordinary emergencies of life. Time is all that is required to test anything. The wolf may pretend to be a sheep for an hour or two, but his natural appetite soon reveals him; the tree makes a fair show till autumn tests it. So some reputations are short-lived. Some sudden temptation may reveal to others, and even to a man himself, that his most rooted motives are not what his conduct indicates. Other reputations survive all the storms of life, and a man passes to another world undetected by himself or others. But the evil day is thereby only delayed. Under the eye of Christ all disguises must drop off, and we shall be known for what we really are. The catastrophe of which we are forewarned can be averted by spending pains on the foundation. Through the surface soil of inherited tastes and tendencies, of social restraints and traditional morality, of pious desires and righteous resolves, try and get down to the very basis of your character; make sure that it has such a foundation that it will stand all the shocks of time and last to eternity. Make sure that you know why you strive and labour to reach righteousness, why you hope through all failure that yet righteousness awaits you. Make sure especially that if you are not bringing forth fruit as spontaneously and as regularly as a good tree, you yet know what is changing your nature, and giving you every day an increasing love for what is good and a readiness to do it.—D.
The course of human action is in Scripture called a way. Of these there are two—the right and wrong, the good and the evil. There is no intermediate way. Here we have—
I. THE WAY OF DEATH .
1 . It is broad.
2 . Its gate is wide.
3 . Its company is large.
4 . Its end is destruction.
II. THE WAY OF LIFE .
1 . It is strait.
2 . Its gate is narrow.
3 . The company is select.
4 . Its end is life.
III. WHICH WAY WILL YOU TAKE ?
1 . You have the option.
2 . Beware of false prophets.
4 . Test them by their fruits.
4 . Be warned of their doom.