shepherd boy: for the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance. . . . Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. Oh! exclaims the Bishop, how different are the judgments of God from those of man!
Men often preach up some act as great and wonderful which is worthless in God’s judgment. Men estimate the quality of a work from the outside, God weighs the inward intent of the soul: as says the wisest of kings: All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. (Prov. xvi. 2.) This is the difference between the judgments of God and of man, and this difference will be made manifest when all things shall be revealed before the Divine tribunal. To that judgment-seat will come the Christian soul and there give account of all its works, its alms, its fasts, its prayers: boastfully perhaps it will advance, resting on the multitude of these, reckoning to enter through them into life everlasting, and to merit the crown of immortality.
Look! what an eminent work of mercy! a large sum of money given as dower to a poor girl! Look! what a meritorious fast! three days’ abstinence on bread and water! Look not on his countenance. To the eye these seem to be great works, and yet they are accounted as nothing by God, because they were not wrought with a right intent: whereas the crust of stale bread given in the name of a disciple, and out of love to God, is rewarded with a crown of eternal glory. I am reminded, says the preacher, of a story told by John Geminiano, which is to the point.