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highest faculties and graces of the foul are manifefted by it. By this our knowledge, wifdom, love, friendship, gratitude &c. are expressed. The declaration of Chrift pronounces the high importance of our words. "By your words you shall "be juftified, and by your words you fhall be condemned.". So excellent is the tongue, that life and death are faid to be in its power. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue," faith the royal preacher. The work of heaven which confifts in praifing him who fetteth on the throne, and the Lamb forever and ever, holds up to view the tranfcendent excellency thereof. Hence, fay the fcriptures, "If a man offend not in "words, the fame is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole "body. And he that will love life and fee good days, let "him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from fpeaking guile. He that keepeth his tongue and mouth, keepeth his "foul from trouble." All thefe things, to which a multitude of others might be added, difplay the fuperior excellency of this member.
Secondly, our attention must be turned to the ends for which the tongue was given, and the duties of it. The grand end for which our Creator endowed us herewith, as well as all the other powers and faculties of body and mind, was for his own glory. And its duties are too numerous for a compleat detail. A few hints upon this fubject muft fuffice for the prefent. As it was conferred upon us for the honor of the Great Supreme, therefore the fum of all its duties is to glorify him; to magnify his name and fpeak forth the praife of his attributes and works. With this we are to fing the fongs of Zion, and give thanks for all the mercies we receive-to pray to him for what we want for ourselves, for the church and others to confefs his name, make profeffion of our belief in him, in Christ Jefus, of our fubjection to his grace in the gofpel, and obedience to his will in all things. With this, we
are to covenant with and make vows unto him-to teach and.' edify thofe committed to our care-to do good one to another. by inftruction, counfel and exhortation-to confefs our fins to God and our faults to each other as occafion may requirerecommend that which is good in others-to fpeak well of all men, fuperiors, inferiors and equals, as far as there is jut ground for the fame-to bear witnefs to the truth when lawfully called thereto-to defend the caufe of the just and innocent against falfe accufers. Laftly, to be inftruments of common communication between man and man; expreffing our mutual affections and refpects; for tranfacting all wordly bufinefs, for learning fciences, arts, trades, &c. Thefe are only a few extracts of the great ends and important duties of the tongue.
But it is proper we fhould attend to the main matters intended to be communicated to us in this text, to wit, the great fins and evils incident to the tongue. In fome former lectures we have confidered the iniquities of fwearing, curfing, backbiting, reproaching, &c. thefe fhall not be repeated. Among the henious offences committed by this member, that of blafphemy is of deep malignity, which is fpeaking evil of God, debafing his names and titles, reproaching him as a deceitful' being. As Rabfhehah in his fpeech to Hezekiah blafphemed the Lord. Perjury, or falfe witnefs bearing, is another aggravated tranfgreffion. It is near a kin to blafphemy and the fin against the Holy Ghoft. It is a folemn appeal to God in favour of a falsehood, calling the God of truth to witness a lie. This must be exceedingly provoking to the omnifcient Jehovah, injurious to all the laws of justice, and damning to the immortal foul. One obferves, that it was never known that a perfon convicted of perjury was ever brought to repentance. Lying is an abomination of a moft criminal nature. ver common the practice fcarcely any thing more injuriousit defpifes the commandments of God, contemas his menaces,
deftroys the peace of neighbourhoods, and breaks up all the happiness of fociety. It is an enemy which erects a strong battery against the whole fyftem of christianity, which declares, "Ye fhall not lie one to another. The Lord hates a lying 66 tongue, and lying lips are an abomination to him. Where"fore put away lying and fpeak every man truth with his "neighbour."
There are other fins of the tongue, fuch as preaching falfe doctrine, pretending to infpiration, as fome have foolishly done of late, without affording the leaft fhadow of teftimony in their favour, perverting prophefies, and bending them to their own imaginations, and in their own imagination extracting from the fcriptures things not contained in them; deriding true religion and experimental piety, and uttering fcoffs againft perfons profeffing godlinefs, and pouring derifion upon the ministers of Christ, upon whom wrath will come to the utmost. Oltentatious boafting of knowledge, understanding or religion, who, like Jehu, iffue their loud proclamations to come and fee their zeal for the Lord. When children speak dishonorably of their parents, and inferiors of their fuperiors; this is an evil under the fun, when perfons become fo abandonedly wicked as to speak evil of dignities.
Another fin of the tongue is a forward, idle and babbling loquacity, light and vain difcourfe only adapted to awaken in the hearers unbecoming ideas. "Foolish talking or jefting,
faith Paul, are things not convenient." All the filthy ribaldry flowing from obfcene mouths, he cenfures as "corrupt "communication." Slandering is a deteftable vice, fpeaking falfely of others to render them odious, readily believing evil reports, and fedulous in reporting them -Rash judging and cenfuring others, upon a hafty foundation, is condemned by our Lord, when he say, “Judge not, that ye be not judged ;
for with what judgment ye judge, ye fhall be judged, and "with what meafure ye mete it fhall be measured to you "again."-Railing, reviling, and all the paffionate speeches of provocation, which destroy brotherly love and create difcord, foment contention and drive through fociety the tempeft of every evil work, mult not this be a fire kindled by hell?-Flattery is a fin the oppofite of cenfure.--Vice, with all its affumptions, never dared to affume confiftency. This would be to deftroy itself. Whatever its pretenfions, by its votaries, may be, its life and foul will forever confit in inconfiftency. "A flattering mouth, faith Solomon, worketh ruin." And thus it doth in a thousand different forms. The tortuous windings of the tongue in this kind of evil, exceeds the intricacies of the Labyrinth. There is no thread or clue, by which the unhappy traveller can make his efcape. And perhaps few evils, in which the minifters of the gofpel are enveloped, and froin which they receive injury to their own fouls, and by the practice of which they commit injury upon the fouls of others, cqual to this. Minifters are flattered, this blinds their minds, and inflates their hearts to flatter others. Hence they are diípofed, to flatter thofe under consern of foul, that they are converted; thofe under fome trouble of mind, that they Qught to be comforted; thofe under juft fears, that they ought to give their apprehenfions to the wind, and go on in their heavenly courfe rejoicing. The great evil here is, their wealthy fupporters flatter them with the excellency of their perfor mances, and they return the adulation with a tenfold accumulation, that they and their children are on the high road to heaven. Their hearers intimate to them, the fermon ought to be printed and circulated round the world; the minillers. heart replies your falvation is certain. This is a fubject I have often wifhed to fee judiciously and fcripturally handled. I think it might be of great advantage to public orators upon every occafion, and of the most eminent utility to the weekly fpeakers, and the daily directors of fouis.
I heard a minifter above fifty-five years ago declare from the pulpit, "that the pavement of hell was of minifter's fkuls," and I have often prayed that mine might not be one of the pebbles. Pardon, my brethren, this excurfion, which a whole difcourfe would be too contracted for illuftration. Hearken to a few declarations of fcripture upon the evils of a flattering tongue. "He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the 66 eyes of his children fhall fail. They that flatter with their "tongues, deftroy them, O Lord. The Lord fhall cut off all flattering lips. A flattering mouth worketh ruin. Meddle "not with him that flattereth with his lips. A man that flat"tereth his neighbour fpreadeth a net for his feet."
I must not detain you to fpeak of tattling, talebearing, whif pering, and an incalculable number of fuch evils. "godly man diggeth up evil, and in his lips there is a burning "fire. A prating fool fhall fall. A fool's voice is known by "the multitude of words. Thou shalt not go up and down as "a talebearer among thy people. The words of a talebearer "are as wounds, they go down into the innermolt parts of the belly. A whifper feparateth chief friends. All that hate me whisper together against me." I mult pafs over the use of the tongue in idolatry, praifing of idols and praying to them; all cheating, deceiving, and overreaching in words, and all illurements to evil company, and the enticements to lafcivioufnefs and to innumerable wicked practices, too tedious for the defcription of a world of iniquity. "The tongue is a "fire, a world of iniquity; fo is the tongue amongst the mem"bers, that it defileth the whole body, and fetteth on fire the "courfe of nature, and it is fet on fire of hell." Let us turn away from the unhappy theme, and clofe the difagreeable fabject with a reflection or two. The
First reflection is, that the fins and duties of the tongue are fo great and many, that it ought with the utmoft circumfpection to be watched over-and the way to watch it is to guard