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diers did at Christ in his sufferings, Matth. xxvii. 28. 29. The natural imperfections of others are their sport, though reproaching the poor they despite his Maker; yea and their sinful imperfections too, for fools make a mock at fin.
Some have a mighty fondness for gibing and taunting; their whole converse runs that way, to make others uneasy and themselves merry with their taunts. Let them not value themselves on their ta. lent; if any spark of tenderness be left in them, I doubt they dare look to it as a good gift given them from above, but as an abuse of the good gift of God. It was Ishmael's way, for which he was cast out of the farnily of the faithful, Gal. iv. 29.
(13.) Reviling and railing, giving others reproachful and opprobrious names, piercing them with bitter words, and murdering them with their tongues, Matth. v. 22. 1 Cor. vi. 10. Revilers are among those excluded out of heaven.
These are some of the ways how the wicked tongue gives home thrusts to others, and pierces like the piercing of the sword, following the example of him who was a liar and a murderer from the beginning. But would ye see them all gathered together in one, ye have them in,
(13.) Lastly, Scolding and rating, an abominable disorder which we are so much disturbed with. There their wicked hearts, stirred up with pasiion and re-. venge, vomit out all at once this filthy stuff. For there their neighbour's faults are unnecessarily discovered, aggravated, ec. as if hell's forces were rendezvouling betwixt them. Wonder oot at the expreffiou. See Juve 9. No, the angel durft not engage S:tan with these weapons whereof he was the proper maiter, and at which none can outdo him. If ye take not better heed to your tongues, they will ruin you, Pfal. lii. 2 - 5.
There are some other evils of the tongue here forbidden, the hurt whereof does not so plainly appear.
1. Talkativeness, or much speaking. Some are ever talking, and are never in their element but when prattling; and when once they loose, it is as hard to ftop them as to stop a flood, and turn it another way. Of it I say,
(1.) It is a sign of a loose and frothy heart, where the fear of God has little place, Eccl. v, 2. For that would make our words few, true, weighty, and useful. When God has given us two ears, and but one tongue, that we may be swift to hear and flow to speak; it is a pregnant evidence of a naughty heart, to be swift to speak and lļow to hear.
(2.) It is the fool's badge, Eccl. v. 3. Talkative perfons, for want of acquaintance with themselves, thinking to shew themielves wise, ordinarily present a fool to the company. They will have a flood of words, who have hardly a drop of good sense or judgement; so that they are juit a voice, and no more. They that are given to much speaking, can hardly speak either true or well; which made an orator ask a double fee of a talkative scholar, one to learn him to speak well, another to learn him to hold bis peace. It is the character of a virtuous.woman, that the. openeth ber mouth with wisdom, Prov. xxxi. 26. Her mouth is not always open, but duly fhut and discreetly opened.
2. Idle speaking, Matth. xii. 36. The tongue was given to man to be for the honour of God, and the good of himself and his neighbour. Though our words then be not evil in themselves, they are evil because they are idle; that is, words spoken to no good purpose, tending neither to the honour of God, for the good of ourselves or others, neither to his moral good to make him more holy, nor to his civil good, as not being upon the neceflary concerns of human life, nor his natural good, to maintain the moderate chearfulness of fociety. It may be comprehended under foolish talking, rash, raving, and impertinent discourse, doing no good to the hearers, but bewraying the folly of the speaker.
3. A trade of jesting, Eph. v. 4. It is not finful to pass an innocent jest for begetting of moderate chearfulness. The wife man tells us, There is a time to weep, and a time to laugh, Eccl. iii. 4. It may
in some cases be as necessary to chear the spirits, as a cordial is to restore them, or a pleasant gale of wind to purify the air. It was not unbecoming the gravity of the prophet to mock Baal's priesls, and to say, Cry aloud ; for he is a god ; either he is talking, or be is pursuing, or he is on a journey ; or peradventure be seepeth, and must be awakened, 1 Kings xviii. 27. But finful are,
(1.) Offensive jests, which tend to the fhewing a despiling of our neighbour, to the irritating and provoking of him. And indeed it is often seen, that those who are much given that way, their conversation is most offensive, sparing neither friend nor foe, and will rather lose their friend than their jeft.
(2.) Profane jests, either making a mock of "lin, or of that which is holy, particularly wresting and abusing of scripture, to express the conceits of their light and wanton wits. It is a dangerous thing to jest in such matters.
(3.) People's being immoderate in jesting. To make every word a jelt, is liker the stage than Chriftian gravity. This is as absurd as to present a man a dish of salt to feed on; a little of it is good for seasoning, but to give it for the whole entertain. ment is absurd.
4. Lastly, Flattery, Psal. xii. 3. This is a most dangerous Itroke, and the more deadly that the wound it gives does not smart, but by it a man is hugged to ruin. The words of a flatterer are smoother than oil, yet are they in effect as drawn swords. It is a compound of lying, abjectness of spirit, and treachery. The flatterer gives the praise that is not due, professes the kindness that is not real, and screws up
all to a pitch far above truth; and so he is a liar. He debases himself to please others, turning himself into every shape to humour the party he is to flatter; and betrays him into self-conceit and unacquaintedness with himself.
I shall shut all with a twofold dehortation.
First, Speak truth, and beware of lying. Lying is
a very common sin; repent of that guilt, and beware of it for the future. For notives, consider,
Mot. 1. That God is the God of truth, the author and lover of truth, so that he cannot lie. And therefore lying is most contrary to the nature and mind of God; it is therefore fingularly abominable and hateful to him, Psal. x. 6. Prov. vi. 16. 17. We find that God suffered Adam's sons to marry own fifters, and the Israelites to spoil the Egyptians of what they had borrowed of them ; but never did the God of truth at any time difpenfe with mens speaking lies. Hate that abominable thing then, which God so hates.
2. All lies are from the devil in a special manner, John viii. 44. It was he that first broached lies in the world, and ruined mankind with them; and having sped so well with that engine of hell at first, no wonder he fets himself to keep up the trade. He is the father of lies, that begets them on the false heart, and they are brought forth by the lying tongue. Whom do liars resemble then, the God of truth or the father of lies? ..
3. Lying is a part of the old man of fin, which must be put off, if we would not be put out of God's presence, Eph. iv. 24. 25. It is the way to which our corrupt natures do kindly and quickly incline, Pfal. lviii. 3. The wicked go astray, as soon as they be born, Speaking lies. Hence children are not to learn this, they have the art of it from their first father Adam. But as soon as grace enters the heart, it rectifies it in that point. Hence the Lord's people are called children that will not lie, Il. lxii. 8. VOL. III.
4. There is a meanness or baseness in lying beyond what is in other common fins, either because it proceeds from fear, or tends to deceive. Hence liars themselves cannot endure to be called liars ; thie baseness of the fin being so much acknowledged in the world, that though many bring forth and cherish the vile brat, none can endure to be reputed the father of it. And no wonder it is reputed such a base thing ; for when once a man is known to make no conscience of truth, he has loft his credit, and is looked on as a man that cannot be bound with the common ties of society, nor trufted.
Lastly, It will bring God's wrath heavily on the guilty, Prov. xix. 5. 9. A false witness Mall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape. A falle witness shall not be unpunished; and he that Speaketh lies shall perish. God's truth is impawned for the liar's destruction, even eternal destruction. Shall liars have access to heaven? No, they are barred out from thence, Rev. xxi. ult. There shall in nowise enter into it any thing that—maketh a lie. Their lodging is appointed to them in another place with the devił the father of lies, in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, Rev. xxi. 3. & xxii. 15.
I shall give you a few advices.
1. Strike at the root of lying, and so the fruit will wither and come to nought. The great root of all is the corrupt ature, that needs to be mortified by grace from Jesus Christ. There are also particular lufts on which lies depend. Labour to be humble, for pride and self-seeking occasions many lies, as the boafter's lie. Some are founded on covetouiness, as the lies in bargaining ; fome in fear, flaviih tear of men, as denying of truth; fome in the vanity and rathness of our natures, whereby lies come to be broached without a formed delign.
2. Accustom yourselves to few words, for in the multitude of words there wanteth not fin, Prov. X. 19.