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I heard a minifter above fifty-five years ago declare from the pulpit, "that the pavement of hell was of minifter's skuls,” 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 "eyes of his children fhall fail. They that flatter with their "tongues, destroy 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 innermost parts of the "belly. A whisper feparateth chief friends. All that hate "me whisper together againit me." I mult pafs over the ufe 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 lafciviousness 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 fubject 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
the heart. If the latter be neglected, the former will always tray into the wilderness of fin. 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 counfel is, Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues "of life." This is the fountain from which the ftreams 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 fpeak proudly. If the heart be vain, malicious, flanderous, envious, &c. the tongue will be fo alfo. 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, nor be fet on fire of hell.
Secondly, we reflect, that the love of God and our neighbour, the love of purity and holiness, is the beft poffible fecurity against the evils of this unruly member. This will tame, what otherwise the power of no man can regulate or fubdue. Wherefore, to fpeak right, we must first think and understand, and we fhall fpeak 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 fay, then will he fpeak understandingly. "The mouth of the juft bringeth forth wifdom, "but the froward tongue fhall be cut off. The lips of "the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth "of the wicked fpeaketh frowarduefs. The tongue of the "wife ufeth knowledge aright, but the mouth of fools pour"eth forth foolishness. A fool's lips enter into conten "tion, and they are the fnare of his foul. Seeft thou a man "that is hafty in his words, there is more hope of a fool than " of him."
The cloling advice is, after relinquishing the difagreeable
fubject, let us refolve, my brethren, to govern this unruly little member which creates a world of mifchief 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 infpect the temper of our hearts, be much in prayer, and, in one word, let us be chriflians.
The Symptoms of the Day of Grace being paft.
Fer. viii. 20.
The harveft is paft, the fummer is ended, and we are not faved.
THESE words are the most heart aching and defpairing moan, that was ever uttered upon earth. They are a part of the lamentations of the weeping prophet, for the ruin and complete defolation brought upon them by the Babylonian fword. The dreadful horror of the cafe, with all its accompa nying realities, had been reprefented in the preceding part of this chapter; and in the defcription is contained, the awful degeneracy, and the procuring cause, of the nation's ruin.
The divine vengeance had been long restrained by the fupe rior power of mercy, yet mercy herfelf, by their perfevering impenitency and increafing wickedness, was at laft compelled from her station, and the floods of wrath burst forth in irresistable torrents, and laid the whole land in utter waite. In the eighteenth verfe the afflicted prophet utters his doleful feelings in reference to this unhappy cafe. "When I would com"fort myfelf again forrow, my heart is faint in me."
When I would awaken a glimmering expectation of the interpofition of heaven in our favour, my foul finks within me, refufes comfort, and nothing arifes but gloomy and despairing ideas. Let my head be waters and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I may weep day and night for the spoiling of the daughter of my people. Behold I hear from far, even from the North country and from the fides of the earth, lamentation, weeping and bitter mourning, for my unhappy and miferable people, because of the oppreffion of those who dwell in the north country and fides of the earth. The horror of the cafe extracts from the foul of the prophet, broken accents of fupplication for their fafety and deliverance. "Is not the Lord in Zion? is not her king in her?" Hereby the prophet would humbly infinuate that the honour and reputation of their Lord and king would be deeply affected, if his people fhould be given up to the devouring jaws of his enemies. As if he had faid, haft thou not covenanted to be Zion's Lord and Saviour, to know her in adverfity, and to be a prefent help in time of trouble? Wilt thou now forget thy character and be unmindful of her in her greateft extremity? Canft thou now fuffer thy name to be traduced among the nations?-Canf thou tarnish thy reputation, and give the heathen an oppor tunity to blafpheme? To which the Sovereign king in hafty indignation replies, there is no hope for them, the laft drop of mercy is exhaufted. "Why have they provoked me to anger "with their graven images, and with range vanities?" Then the doleful lamentation burfts from the prophet, in the defpairing language of our text; "The harveft is paft, the "fummer is ended, and we are not faved." Hitherto he feemed to have entertained fome glimmering hope, but now finding the decree is paft, he is overwhelmed in all the anguish of gloomy despair. Heaven frowns, God is departed, and 'nothing but the blacknefs of darknefs impends over their guilty heads. The Babylonians are upon us and we must endure their rage and fuffer all their fury. Their cavalry have en.