Page images

destroys the peace of neighbourhoods, and breaks up all the happiness of society. It is an enemy which erects a strong battery against the whole system of christianity, which declares, 6 Ye shall not lie one to another. The Lord hates a lying “ tongue, and lying lips are an abomination to him. Where. “ fore put away lying and speak every man truth with his


There are other fins of the tongue, such as preaching falle doctrine, pretending to inspiration, as some have foolishly done of late, without affording the least thadow of teftimony in their favour, perverting prophesies, and bending them to their own imaginations, and in their ewn imagination extracting from the scriptures things not contained in them; deriding true religion and experimental piety, and uttering fcofis against persons profeffing godliness, and pouring derision upon the ministers of Chriit, upon whom wrath will come to the utmost. Oitentatious boasting of knowledge, understanding or religion, who, like Jehu, issue their loud proclamations to come and see their zeal for the Lord. When children speak dilhonorably of their parents, and inferiors of their fuperiors ; this is an evil under the fun, when persons become fo abandonedly wicked as to speak evil of dignities.

Another fin of the tongue is a forward, iille and babbling loquacity, light and vain discourse only adapted to awaken in the hearers unbecoming ideas. - Fooliih talking or jening, « faith Paul, are things'not convenient.All the filthy ribaldry flowing from obłcene mouths, le censures as “ corupt “communication.” Slandering is a detalle vice, speaking falsely of others to render them odioas, readily believing evil reports, and sedulous in reporting them -Rah judging and censuring others, upon a hasty foundatin, is condemned by our Lord, when he fay, “Juige nut, thai ye w not judged ;

[ocr errors]

for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and " with what mvasure ye mete it shall be measured to you “ again." - Railing, reviling, and all the paflionate speeches of provocation, which dettroy brotherly love and create discord, forert contention and drive through society the tempest of every evil work, muit not this be a fire kindled by hell ?-Flattery is a fin the oppofite of cenfure.--Vice, with all its aflumptions, never dared to allume consistency. This would be to destroy itfelf. Whatever its pretenfions, by its votaries, may be, its life and soul will forever confiit in inconsistency. "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 escape. And perhaps few'evils, in which the ministers of the gofpel are enveloped, and froin which they receive injury to their own souls, and by the practice of which they conimit injury upon the souls of others, equal to this. Ministers are flattered, this blinds their minds, and infiates their hearts to flatter others. Hence they are diipcsed, to falter those under cob: ern of soul, that they are converted; those under some trouble of mind, that they qught to be comforted ; those under just fears, that they ought to give their apprehenfions to the wind, and go on in their heavenly course rejoicing. The great evil here is, their wealtay fupporters flatter them with the excellency of their performances, and they return the adulation with a tenfold accumu. lacion, that they and their children are on the high road to Leaven. 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 subject I have often wished to see judiciouíly and scripturally handled. I think it might be of great advantage to public orators upon every occasion, and of the most eminent utility to the weekly fpeakers, and the daily direders of fouis.


I heard a minister above fifty-five years ago declare from the pulpit," that the pavement of hell was of minister's skuls," and I have often prayed that mine might not be one of the pebbles. Pardon, my brethren, this excursion, which a whole discourse would be too contracted for illustration. Hearken to a few declarations of scripture upon the evils of a flattering tongue. “ He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the “ eyes of his children shall fail. They that flatter with their “ tongues, deltroy 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 mast not detain you to speak of tattling, talebearing, whirpering, and an incalculable number of such evils.

6. An un. “ 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 whisper separateth chief friends. All that hate

me whisper together againit me.” I must pass over the use of the tongue in idolatry, prailing of idols and praying to them; all cheating, deceiving, and overreaching in words, and all illurements to evil company, and the enticements to lasciviousness and to innumerable wicked practices, too tedious for the descriptioa of a world of iniquity. “The tongue is a “fire, a world of iniquity; fo is the tongue amongit the mem“bers, that it defileth the whole body, and fetteth on fire the “ course of nature, and it is set on fire of hell.” Let us turn away from the unhappy theme, and close the disagreeable fubject with a refcction or two. The

First relection is, that the fins and duties of the tongue are so great and many, that it ought with the utmost circumspection to be watched over--and the way to watch it is to guard

the heart. If the latter be neglected, the former will always Aray into the wilderness of sin. Let the heart be kept in pu. rity, and this alone can confine the tongue to duty and propriety. If pride, vanity, or wickedness bloat the one, the other will always be bubbling over its banks. A divine counsel is, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues 46 of life.” This is the fountain from which the streams of evil from the tongue flow. If the heart be on the world, the flowing torrents of the tongue will be on the things of the world. If the heart be proud, the mouth will speak proudly. If the heart be vain, malicious, sanderous, envious, &c. the tongue will be so also. Guard the heart, and this will be a faith. ful centinel for the tongue, that it can neither fet on fire the course of nature, cor be set on fire of hell.

Secondly, we reflect, that the love of God and our neighbour, the love of purity and holiness, is the best possible security against the evils of this unruly member. This will tame, what otherwise the power of no man can regulate or subdue. Wherefore, to speak right, we must first think and understand, and we shall speak according to the oracles of reason, and according to the oracles of God. If this rule could be observed, few would be the words uttered to what they now are.

When a man confiders what he is to say, then will he speak understandingly. “ The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom, “ but the froward tongue shall be cut off. The lips of “ the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth “ of the wicked speaketh frowardness. The tongue of the “ wise useth knowledge aright, but the mouth of fools pour«s eth forth foolishness. A fool's lips enter into conten. " tion, and they are the snare of his soul. Seelt thou a man " that is halty in his words, there is more hope of a fcol than s of him.”

The cloling advice is, after relinquishing the disagreeable

fubjeët, let us resolve, my brethren, to govern this unruly little member which creates a world of mischief here, and heats a more dreadful furnace than Nebuchadnezar's hereafter. Let us fet a watch upon the door of our lips, guard our paffions, hourly inspect the temper of our hearts, be much in prayer, and, in one word, let us be chriflians.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »