Page images
PDF
EPUB

ob how vile are we, if one member be guilty of so much fon! Nor without reason therefore hach St. Frames in his third Chap. v.6. described an svil Tongue, to be a fire, a world of iniquity, and set on fire of Hell, e. from the Devil che Facber of lies, malice, and virulency. They chac nourish an evil congue, nourish that which comes from Hell, and which will

carry

them thicher, without serious, and timely repentance. The tongue can no man tame, as he goes on, v.8. that is, of himself without the concurrence of Divine Grace. Pray therefore for chis Grace, that thou maist take heed to the words, that thox offend not with thy tongue. And for che becter regulating and governing of it, observe these Directions,

1. Begin at thy heart, if thou would rightly govern thy congue. Pray as David did, Psal.s1.10. Create in me a clean heart o God, and renew a right Spirit within me. Out of the abondance of the heart the mouth speakerh, faith our Sa. viour, Mat. 12.34. The disorders of the tongue, usually proceed from the distempers of the heart. Idlenelle of words, from vanity of thoughts ; Rashnesse of speech, from hastinelle of Spirit: Boasting, and proud brags, from pride of heart; Reviling, and open reproaching, from inwará malice. The foul fomack betraies it felfe, in a stinking breath. The naughtinesse of the hearc vcats it self by che congue. A heart stor’d wich

S

wifdom

wisdom and grace will discover it self in favoury discourse.

2. Let thy end and aim in speaking be, to glorifie God, and.co do good to others. That word is an idle word, and utterly lost, which tends to no goud purpose. Either peak somthing betier than silence, or keep silence, Taies the Heathen Poer. Choose eicher to speak that which is (some wiy or other) proficable; or to be filent. Now there may be a finfull filence, as in thiele cases.

1. When God is dishonoured, and we expreso no dislike of it.

2. When "ris our duty to reprove an offending Brother, and we neglect il.

3. When our silence proceeds from want of delight in Spiritual things; when we are free enough to any woi ldly discourse, but cannot abide to speak of matters that concern our Joules.

4. When we are ashamed to own the waies of Gud, for fear of reproach.

5. When we neglect to give good counsell where we ought.

3. Consider before thou speakest, and be noi rafh with thy mouth; Be flow to speak, faith St. Fam. Chap. 1.v.19.1.6. deliberate, and advifed: Let thy mind be thy tongues guide. When thy words are once out of chy mouch, they are past recal. And therefore one sec a pretty moral picture over his cable (a place usually of too much lio

cencious

a

centious discourse) of a man out of whose mouth many little birds flew (which were his words) which he wich both his hands strove to catch again, but could not: Consider cherefore before thou speakest, and ere thy words be gone out of thy reach and power ; especially confider before thou promisest any thing: Consider whether the thing be good, fit, convenient, and in thy power, and

whether thy mind will suffer thee to do it or no: He that does not chis, will be ape to erre, and co ensnare himself by his owne words.

4. Whatever thou halt covenanted, agreed, or promised, be carefull to perform, though to thy losse and damage. If thou findest thy self unable to perform, give notice becimes, and crave either

forbearance, or a release. 'Tis a good caution that one gives, that we should be exceeding careful what vores we make to God, or what promises to man.

5. Be sure, that whatever chou speakest, be - morally crue; (i.c. that there be an agreement

between thy heart and tongue) though thoa

are not obliged to 'peak all chic thou knowest to . be true, at all times. There may be someimes

malice in reporting the truth : An eager desire to spread a fault wants not fin.

6. Speak with a great deal of caution and marinesle, where chou art aggrieved, and doft think thou sufferest : Trust not chy self, if there

ons.

be any the least touch of ill will, or envy in thec, towards the person spoken of. Iill will never fpeaks wel. Under sense of wrong, our mindes are ape to run into: very uncharicable imaginaci

7. Forbear ałrogether to speak when thou art in paffion. He chat is in a high fic of passion, is as fraly drunk, as he whose head is full of wine. Paffion is a bad counseBour, and as illa Speaker: Moses whex in passion spake unadvisedly with his lips, Pfal.106.33. Job cursed the day of bis Nativity, Job.3.2.3. Jonah (pake pettishi, against God himself, Jonah

4.9. 8. Deal with anothers good name as thou wouldst be williog thine owa should be deale with; be very wary of speaking of the credit of others on bare reports. A good name is better than ziches, Prov.22.1. Poffibly thou abhorrest to feal from thy neighbour, or be thought a thief'; do not then rob him of his good name, which is more percious than worldly substance. By a good name many have done good after their death: by the lösse ofis many have been rendred mjekes while they lived.

9. Be not severe-spirited, and apt to interpret every thing in the worst sense. Let charity bave its perfect work. 'Tis better to erre tes times in a way of charity, than once in a way. of cruelty. Goodnes is leaft fufpitious : Gracious bearis relect mod upon themselves, they do not seek

fo

so much what to reprove in others, as what to amend in themselves ; they love to look inwards, and being sensible of their own failings, are tender in reflecting on the weaknesses of others: whereas those that are most inquificive into the lives of ochers, are usually most careleffe in rcforming their owne. Sharp cenfurers, and reprovers, had need be very exact in their own lives; else in judging others they pronounce their own doom. Be not apt therefore to judge or censure the actions of others. Con. fider how often thou thy selfe hast offended; use another with the same mercy thou wouldst have shewed to thy self, Gal.6.i. Brethres, if any man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are fpiritual, restore such a one in the Spirit of meekneß, considering i by self, left thon also be tempted. They that are most piritwal, are most tender to fec a fallen Christian in joynt again. Consider well therefore, before thou pronounce too hard a censure upon thy brother : If chou canft noc excuse che action, yet confider possibly the intent was good, or it might proceed from ignorance, or some violent temptation, and that thox thy self maist so fall, if so tempted, and God do not Sustain thee. Bernard tels of a man, that hearing of a fallen brother, fell into a bitter weeping, and said, he is fallen to day, and I may fall to morrow: Therefore cherish an humble sense of thing oron frailty, and chat will make thée Chari

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

table

S: 3

« PreviousContinue »