Open rebuke is better than secret love.…
Self-love is so natural to us, that as it makes us apt to flatter ourselves on all occasions, so it inclines us to accept too easily of the flatteries of all others. Our unwillingness to know our own faults, or to be humbled under the sense of them, makes us uneasy when any venture on the most charitable, but often the most unacceptable, act of friendship, the telling us of our faults. But so long as we have faults it is very fit that we be made acquainted with them. And since we are too much blinded in our own favour, it is a great happiness to fall Into the hands of such friends as will not spare us. No man can perform this act of friendship without some force put upon himself. Few love to touch a tender part, or to grieve a person who is dear to them. Friends see faults while they are yet secret, before they break out into open observation; so by the kind severity of their rebukes, they save from the shame which the discoveries that envy will soon make may bring. Friendship that carries a man to rebuke another plainly and roundly is better than secret love, or silent, indulgent, blind love. Such reproofs may be as wounds, and give a very painful uneasiness; but even that will be medicinal. The first and necessary rule in managing our reproofs is, that no man should offer to reprove another, who is eminently and notoriously faulty himself. Another is, reprove in such a manner that it may appear we are their friends whom we reprove, and that we correct them for their own good. So much depends on the temper in which reproof is given. The most comprehensive rule is to order our reproofs with discretion and prudence. The things of which we find fault should be things of importance. Junior and inferior persons should not usually reprove their elders and superiors. And a wise and prudent time should be chosen. Take care that it is not a mere finding fault upon some general and popular notions. Illustrate such things as lewd conversation, swearing, etc.
Parallel VersesKJV: Open rebuke is better than secret love.