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bulent zeal: who were conceited of them- SERM, selves, and despised others : and were impo.
XVII. fing, and uncharitable. That may be one reason, why this writer insists so much, and so frequently, upon this matter.
In the very first chapter ver. 19, he exhorts with affectionate earneftneffe: Wherefore, my beloved bretbren, let every man be swift to bear, how to speak, how to wrath. And again ver. 26. If any man among you seemeth to be religious, and bridletb not his tongue, deceiving his own beart, that man's religion is vain. In this chapter he enlargeth upon the point.
the point. Some of his expressions are extremely strong, saying, that the tongue can Ja. iii. 86 no man tame : meaning, however, no more, than that it is very difficult for a man to govern his own tongue, or to teach others that skill. For we are not to suppose, that he intends to say, that it is altogether impossible. This may be inferred from his exhortations. He would not be at the pains to admonish and argue, as he does, if there were no hopes of fucceffe. He would not, then, have said: My brethren, let every man be swift to bear, how to speak, He would not have argued, and shewn the inconsistence of blessing God, .. iii. 9.
SERM. and cursing men : nor have added: My breXVII. thren, these things ought not to be. Such ad
monitions and reproofs are delivered upon the supposition of the happy effects of great care in this matter. And here, in the text, it is admitted, that some may, and do attain to a great degree of perfection in this refpect.
We are not to suppose, then, that St. James designs to fay, the government of the tongue is absolutly impossible. Much less are we to think, that he intends to censure
the faculty of speech, when he says, the Ja. iii, 6. tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. No!
he only aims, by emphatical expressions, and pathetic arguments, to correct the abuses of it : which were very great and frequent, as it seems, among the Christians, to whom he writes, as well as among many other persons. David sometimes speaks of his tongue, as bis glorie, it being fited to celebrate the praises of God. Indeed the communication, which we have with each other, and the
advantages of society, depend upon it. And the organs of speech are admirable. The dispositions made for it are beyond the dis
cription of the most eloquent tongue, and SERM.
St. James begins this chapter with a cau-
SERM. In farther discourfing on this text I hall
1. I Thall shew fomewhat distinctly the difficulty of governing the
tongue. II. I shall propose some motives and con
fiderations, tending to engage us to do our best to govern the tongue. III. I intend to lay down some rules and
directions, which may be of use to affist us in obtaining this excellence and perfe&tion.
I. In the first place I would shew the dif
ficulty of governing the tongue, the point so largely insisted on, and fo em
phatically represented in this chapter. : The difficulty of this will appear by these particulars: the great number of those who offend in word, the many faults which
tongue is liable to, and the springs and causes of transgressions of this kind.
1. The difficulty of governing the tongue may be argued from hence, that great numbers of men offend in their words.
There are many, who scarce set any guard upon their expressions, as if their tongue
was their own, and subject to no law, and Serm.
But I need not infist farther on this parti-
2. Another thing, which shews the diffi, culty of governing the tongue, is the many offenses, it is liable to.