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SERM. I need not enumerate them all. But it is XVII.
very obvious, that they are numerous. Some are guilty of a light and frequent use, or bold profanation, of the name of God. Others are' murmurers and complainers. And because every thing in the world is not to their mind, they take great liberties in complaining of the methods of Providence, or the conduct of their saperiors and governours.
There are obscene discourses, called by the Eph. iv. Apostle corrupt, and filthie communication, Col. iii. 8. which ought not to proceed out of the
month of a Chriftian.
Fallhood is supposed to be a very common fault in the dealings of men one with another : where truth ought to be strictly regarded, as the great bond of society, and of confidence in each other.
Abufive speeches, proceeding from anger, or contempt, are too common among men, Our blessed Lord has condemned all such
expressions, when he shews the guilt of those Mat. V.
who say to their brother Racha, or thou fool, How apt are some, upon occasion of flight provocations, to break forth into very abufive and contemptuous language against those
who have, or are fupposed to have dif- SERM. obliged them!
XVII. Calumnie is another great fault of the tongue, which too many are guilty of, for carrying on selfish designs, and to weaken and disparage their enemies, or rivals. And many arts of detraction there are, divulging lefser faults that might be concealed, or passed by, without detriment to any: aggravating the known offenses of men, lefsening the merit of good and commendable actions, or converting actions that are innocent, or at the most suspicious only, into heinous transgreffione. ;
Flatterie is another fault of the tongue, and an abuse of the noble faculty of speech : when, to carry on designs of private interest, we deceive men, by ascribing to them excellences they are destitute of, and thus fill them with an empty conceit of imaginarie worth, and encourage floth and indolence, or otherwise misleading them to their great detriment. Ridicule, ill applied, is another fault of
Some make a mock at fin, and would scoff away the weighty and awful truths of religion... Some endeavor to bring the Sacred Scriptures into contempt.
SERM. Others expose their neighbours by ridiculing XVII.
the natural defects and infirmities of the body, or the mind, which are no real faults, but their own unhappinesse.
There is a fault, which we may stile the uncharitablenesse of the tongue : When men strive to lefsen all those who differ from them in opinion, representing them, as prejudiced, or destitute of a love of truth, and out of the favour of God, and the way of salvation. And accordingly they pronounce bard and unmerciful sentences of condemnation upon
them. St. James seems particularly to have an eye to this conduct. And he shews, that it cannot proceed from a principle of true religion. It may indeed consist with a profession of religion. But it is inconsistent with virtue and true piety. Sincere praises of God, and severe and unrighteous sentences against our neighbour, can no more proceed from the fame mind, than bitter and sweet water from one and the same fountain. Consequently, if men fo condemn their brother, their love of God is not fincere and genuine. So in his argument ver. 9. 10. Therewith bless we God, and therewith curse we men, made after the fimili
túde of God. Out of the same mouth proceed- SERM.
Another fault of the tongue, which we
St. Paul has particularly cautioned against the same thing. Brethren, if a man Gal. vi. be overtaken in a fault, ye that are spiritual, restore such an one in the Spirit of meeknese, confidering thy-self, least thou also be tempted.
Another fault of the tongue is talkativenesse, or a multitude of words, in which, aš Solomon says, there wanteth not fin. This fault Pr. X. St. James has an eye to in several of his directions and observations in this epiftle, particularly, in the text above cited : Let every man be fwift to kear, Now to speak. Where he seems to condemn talkativeneffe, abstracting from the confideration of what is faid; when men
Serm. speak with little or no regard to, 'or thought XVII. of doing good or harm. Which, though it
may seem an indifferent matter, or of no great consequence, yet an indulgence of such a disposition leads men into many offenses : inasmuch as when innocent, or indifferent, topics of discourse are exhausted, such will not fail, in order to gratify that disposition,
into defamation and scandal, . So it is in conversation. And the like temper will Thew itself on other occasions. Some may
desire to be teachers of the law, who are un i. 7. acquainted with it's design: and may affect
prolixity of discourse, and use a multitude of words, not because their subject requires it, but to gratify the disposition to discourse, and an ambition of shining as very knowing men, and fluent speakers.
These and other faults there are of the tongue. And this is one thing, that shews the difficulty of governing it.
3. And we shall be farther satisfied of this, if we consider the causes and springs of these faults. And there are many of them. This was observed by St. James. Does he say of the tongue at ver. 6. That it fettetb on fire the whole course. of nature. He adds ::