Is a man's general character godly?

(J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel of John")

We are often too ready to be deceived by
an 'appearance of GOOD'. We are in danger
of rating some men as very good Christians,
because of a little outward profession of
religion, and a decent Sunday formality;
because, in short, they talk the language
of Canaan, and wear the garb of pilgrims.

We forget that all is not good that 'appears
good', even as all is not gold that glitters,
and that daily practice, choice, tastes,
habits, conduct, private character, are
the true evidence of what a man is.

We are too ready, on the other hand, to
be deceived by the 'appearance of EVIL'.
We are in danger of setting down some
men as not true Christians, because of a
few faults or inconsistencies.

We must remember that the best of men
are but men at their very best
, and that the
most eminent saints may be overtaken by
temptation, and yet be saints at heart after
all. We must not hastily suppose that all is
evil, where there is an occasional appearance
of evil.

The holiest man may fall sadly for a time, and
yet the grace within him may finally get a victory.

Is a man's general character godly?

Then let us suspend our judgment when
he falls, and hope on.