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Matt. XV.

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And it is set on fire of hell. There are, with- SERM.
"in, bad principles, that give the tongue this XVII.
wrong direction, and set it on work for mif-
chief. · Blasphemie, or evil-speaking, is one
of those defilements, which our Lord says
come from the beart, that is, from some
bad disposition there. And St. James
ver. 14. 15. If ye bave bitter envying and strife
in your hearts, glory not, and lye not against
the truth. This wisdom is not from above,
bút is earthly, fenfual, devilish.

The 'causes of the offenses of the tongue
are such as thefe. Unbelief, and discontent.
These were the causes of the murmurings
and complaints of the people of Israel against
God, and Moses, in the wilderneffe. And
the many murmurings and complaints of men
in all ages are owing to the like causes.
Other springs and principles of faulty dif-
course are inordinate felf-love, pride, arro-
gance, envie and ill-will, contempt of other
men, and a disregard to their interests, covet-
ousnesse, emulation, and ambition. These
lead men into falfhood, and defamation, for
promoting their own gain, and lessening those
whom they envy, or whose influence stands
in their way. St. Paul speaks of fome, who

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Serm. taught things which they ought not, for filthie XVII. lucre's fake. Some depart from the truth, Tit. i.

and forward erroneous conceits, because they are pleasing. Detraction is one way of leffening those who are eminent, and of carrying a point against them. St. John had experience of this, and therefore fays in his third epistle : I wrote unto the church. But Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence, receiveth us not.

Wherefore, if I come, I will remember bis deeds which be does, prating against us with malicious words.

These, and other causes there are of the offenses of the tongue. And when it is considered, how difficult it is to root all these bad pinciples out of the heart of man ; it

must be apparent, that governing the tongue Matt. xii. is no easie thing. For out of the abundance of

the beart the mouth Speaketb. The streams will partake of the qualities of the fountain. And according to the root, so will the fruit be.

34:

II. In the second place some arguments

should be mentioned, to induce us to use our best endeavours to bridle the tongue.

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And St. James does presently furnish us Serm. with three considerations to this purpose : XVII. first the importance of the thing to the good of the world. . Secondly, it's importance to

forasmuch as without it our religion would be vain. And thirdly, it is a great perfection.

1. The importance of this matter. St. James has illustrated this by several instances and comparisons, the bit in the borse's mouth, the helm of hips, and fire, a spark of which kindles into a devouring flame.

That is, the use or abuse of the tongue is of much importance, and great things, for good or evil, are effected thereby, in the state, in leffer focieties, and among particular persons. By the right use of the tongue truth is recommended, virtue promoted, the peace

and happinesse of mankind advanced. By a perverse employment of speech the peace of society, of families, and particular persons is interrupted and disturbed : the interests of errour are promoted, instead of those of truth: good designs are obstructed, or quite defeated: the reputation of innocent, and even excellent men is blasted : seeds of animosity and diffenfion are fown among brethren,

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SERM. friendships broken and diffolved, and many XVII. bad effects produced, more than can be easily

numbred.

How much did Jofeph suffer by the calumnie of his mistreffe ! how long, before his reputation could be vindicated, or his innocence cleared up! And sometimes the reputation of the innocent and virtuous is for ever ruined by malicious and artful detraction. We have a remarkable instance of the bad effect of a studied misrepresentation of things, in the historie of David. When he fled from Jeru, falem, on occafion of Abfalom's rebellion, Ziba, servant of Mephibosheth, fon of Jo

nathan, came to David, bringing him pre2 Sam. sents. And David said to bim: Where is the Xyi.

master ? And Ziba faid unto the King : Bebold, be abideth at Jerufalem. For he said: To day shall the bouse of Israel restore me to the kingdom of my father. Then said the King to Ziba: Bebold, thine are all that pertained unto Mepbibofbeth. But when David returned victorious, and in safety, to Jerusalem, it appeared, that during the time of his absence, Mephibosheth had lived with all the outward tokens of mourning and affliction, without putting on his usual ornaments, or taking the

refresh

2 Sam, xix.

f

refreshments, customarie in times of peace Serm.
and prosperity. And wben be met the King, XVII.
David said unto him: Wherefore wentest thou
not with me, Mephibofseth? And he answered:
My Lord, o King, my servant deceived me.
For tby: servant said: I will faddle me an ase,
that I may ride thereon, and go to the King,
because thy servant is lame. And be bas fan-
dred thy servant unto my Lord the King. But
my Lord the King is as an angel of God. Do
therefore what is good in thy eyes. What now
is the answer, which David makes to Me-
phibosheth, after so fubmissive a speech, and
fo full a defense of himself? It is this. The
King said unto bim ; W by Speakest thou any
more of thy matters ? I bave faid: I bou and
Ziba divide the land. An anfwer, if we may
presume to judge, unworthie of David. It
seems to shew, that Ziba's storie still made
impressions upon him, and that he was not
fully, reconciled to Mephibolheth : or else,
that he was unwilling to own, how much he
had been deceived, and imposed upon by the
artifice of Ziba, Mephibofheth's servant.
Such effect had flatterie, and flander, im-
probable lander, upon the mind of King
David,

David

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