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SERM. David seems not now. to have recollected XVII. the resolutions, which he had formed, the
plan of government, which he had laid down
to himself, before his settlement on the throne Pl: ci.
of Israel. When he said : Whofo privily 5. 7.
Nandereth his neighbour, bim will I cut off. He that worketh deceit, Mall not dwell in my house. He that telleth lyes, Mall not abide in my fight. And indeed, it may exceed the abilities of the best, and wisest of men, to guard, at all times, against all the arts of detraction.
2. Another thing, that should induce us to this care, is, that otherwise we cannot approve ourselves to be truly religious. It is an observation of St. James, already taken notice. of. If any man among you seemeth to be religious, and bridletb not his tongue, but deceivetb. bis own beart, that man's religion is vain. And the truth of that observation is confirmed by what has been said under the foregoing particular, of the importance of this matter. That man is not truly religiou's, whatever profession he may make, who talks without consideration, spreads stories to the disadvantage of others, founded only on surmise, or upon testimonie that ought to be
suspected : or affects to recommend the prin- Serm.
3. It ought to induce us to aim at the go-
Serm. And it is a character, which we may delire XVII. to attain to.
III. Which brings me to the third and
last thing that was proposed, to lay down some rules and directions, which may affift 'us in governing the tongue,
and curing the faults of it. 1. Let us cherith the principle of the fear of God in our hearts. For that will deter
kind of evil, and dispose to good Pl. xxxiv
. words, as well as to good actions. Come, ye, children, fays the Psalmist, bearken unto
I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is be that defreth life, and loveth many days, that be may see goad? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from Speaking guile.
2. Let us also cherish and cultivate the Rom. xiii. love of our neighbour. For love, as the
Apostle says, is the fulfilling of the law. If we love our neighbour as ourselves, we shall be concerned for his credit, as well as for our own: and not willingly injure him by words, any more than by actions.
3. Let us call to mind former offenses and transgressions of this kind, which we have
been convinced of, and have been forry for. SERM.
4. If we are acquainted with any excellent masters in t:is art, who are great examples of this virtue, we thould diligently observe them for our imitation. If we know of any, who do not readily receive evil reports, who rarely speak to the disadvantage of any, who never aggravate the real faults of men, who are willing to applaud commendable actions, and to excuse imprudences, and lefter faults: whose discourses are useful and entertaining: in whose mouth is the law of kindneffe, and whose wisdom is accompanied Ja. ii. 13. with meekneffe; they are worthie of our attentive view and observation.
5. Let us endeavor to mortify pride, envie, and inordinate self-love, and cultivate that wisdom, which is pure, peaceable, unbiased, Ver. 17: disinterested, and public-spirited. Then we are likely to attain to this perfection, and not offend in word.
6. Let us also endeavor to emprove in the knowledge of the works of nature, and the word of God. If a man's mind is filled
Serm. with a variety of valuable knowledge, he will XVII. be under little temptation to divert into the
topics of detraction and scandal, for the fake of thining in companie.
7. Let us often recollect some of the directions, which the Scripture affords upon
this Tit. iii. 2. point: Speak evil of no man: Let every one Ja. i. 19. be swift to bear, How to Speak : Speak not evil ... iv. 11. one of another, brethren.
But it is time to conclude, out of reverence to the rules that have been just laid down, some of them especially.
I add therefore but one word more, which is, that we should now make application, not to others, but to ourselves. And if we
have this day seen any of our faults, and the Ja. i. 23. causes of them ; let us not be like a man,
who having beheld bis face in a glase, goes away, and soon forgeteth what manner of man be was : but having looked into the perfect law of virtue, let us continue therein : not being forgetful bearers, but doers of the word. For such shall be blessed in their deed.