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is no thought, evil or righteous, which the tonguc may not be the instrument of embodying in words: no purpose, sinful or holy, which it may not be employed to cncourage or to repress.

I propose to explain the nature of some of the principal sins of the tongue. Our attention shall be first directed to thosc which, when compared with others, appear the lightest. Let me

, remind you, however, that for any sin, however light it may appcar, nothing but the blood of Christ can atone; and that in proportion as sins appear comparatively light, they will probably be the more frequently repeated, and repeated without being followed by repentanca

1. Let us advert to those offences of the tongue, which may be comprehended under St. Paul's cxpression, “ foolish talking."

To this description belongs all levity of discourse upon solemn or weighty subjects. Some persons are so indisposed to sobriety of thought, and have so long accustomed themselves to regard seriousness as bordering upon stupidity or gloom; that the gravest concerns lose in their conversation every symptom of importance. Whatever be the lopic under discussion, a flippancy of manner which they interpret to themselves as gaicty, and a pertocss of language which they suppose to be wit, are indiscriminately cxbibited. The wisest reflections are cncountered with unmeaning laughter: and conclusions of the highest moment are repelled by a paltry effort at a jest. Of another class, more numerous, and if it be possible, cqually thoughtless, the conversation is altogether and uniformly idlc. Day after day, at home and abroad, you hear nothing drop from their lips which inanifests a cultivated mind, or a desire of mental improvement. Every thing is trifling. In the multitude of words, for such persons usually are inccssant talkers, you discover nothing but emptiness and folly. Not only are all religious inquiries and observations excluded; but all disquisitions tending to the enlargement and communication of knowledge are discouragcd at least, if not despised. Now though reason and religion are very imperfectly understood, when they are conceived to discountenance innocent pleasantry, and cheerful relaxation in social converse; and though it should be admitted that neither of the two sets of persons which have been described are guilty of intentional criminality in their customary mode of discourse: yet surely it deserves the consideration of every man, whether speech, one of the most eminent gists of God, ought not

Vol. II.-58

to be employed to the glory of the Giver and the good of mankind; and whether the glory of God and the good of mankind are promoted by “ foolish talking." Docs it conduce to the glory of God that while the actions of your fellow creatures dwell on your tonguc, and form the theme of your praise; there should be no mention of His power, of his love, of bis wisdom, of his providence, of his great and wonderful works? Does it contribute to your own benefit and to the welfare of others that, while the petty concerns of the present life attract unwearicd attention, all reference to the interests of eternity should be chased away by levity or extinguished by silence; that discourse to be entertaining must guard against being instructive; and that mirth itself should lose the power of pleasing as soon as it begins to be rational? “The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, but the heart of the fool doth not so. The tongue of the wise uscth knowledge aright; but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness."

II. Another class of sins of the tongue includes those that arise from impatience and discontent.

of this description is hasty and peevish language in common life. In such language, and in the seclings wbich gave birth to it, many persons indulge themselves to a greater or a less extent, who appear conscious of the guilt of violent tempers, and are rarely, perhaps never, known to be hurried into the cxtrcme of passion. In society their deportment is placid, their language that of mildness and self-command. Neither are they acting a part. On the wholc, the state of their minds corresponds at the time to their words and demcanor. The slight degree of restraint which the presence of a stranger, or of any person with whom they are not intimately acquainted, imposes, proves suflicicnt imperceptibly to repress any rising emotion of ill-humor, or to call forth the mental exertions necessary to quell it. But follow them into domestic scenes, and you no longer contemplatc an uninterrupted calm. No surivus storm ariscs: but transient clouds are continually obscuring the sunshine. Any little incident that crosses the inclinations, any occurrence which disturbs the customary order of family proceedings, produces an expression more or less tinctured with anger. Trifling faults in the behavior of any other member of the household cxcite stronger symptoms of irritability. Scarcely has one petty source of vexation spent itself, when it is succeeded by some new cause of temporary dis

quiet. The intervals of tranquility are saddened by the apprehension that some trivial circumstance, unforseen until the moment when it takes place, will speedily intervenc to disturb the serenity of the hour. Thus domestic comfort is perpctually invaded by little uncasinesses, little bickerings, little disagreements: and at length perhaps falls a sacrifice to the multiplication of inconsidcrable wounds. Is this to be kindly affectioned, tender-hearted, one towards another? Is this to walk in love? Is this to imitate " the gentleness of Christ?” Who art thou who thus takest offence, if some tritie interferes with thy wishes of the moment? Who art thou who wcighest in such scrupulous scales the looks and words of every inmate of thy abode? Dost thou expect that all things shall be conducted, in uniform subscrvience to thy humor? Ara no compliances, no offices of accommodation, no sacrifices to the convenience and reasonable desires of others, due from thee? Ilast tho: so little regard for the feelings of those under thy rool, as continually to harrass and distress them? Is the affection of thy family of so small value in thine eyes, that necdlessly and for objects of no moment thou hazardest the dimunition of it? Examine thy bosom, that thou mayest detect the pride and selfishness, by which it is infected. Seek the grace of God: for only by Divine grace can it be purified.

But some men advance to bolder manifestations of impatience and discontent. Not only is their frctfulness querulous, vehement, and acrimonious, in domestic and in social life: but, after tormenling man, it shrinks not from insulting God. They repine at his dispensations: they murmur against his providence. If their plans fail of success, the first step is, whcthcr with reason or without reason, to transfer from themselves to others the charge of neglect and imprudent management. What is the second? To complain that they never prosper like other men, that numbers, far less deserving than themselves, have better fortune; that they have peculiar reason to complain of hard measure at the hand of Providence: in short, they approach as nearly as they dare to the blasphemous assertion, that the Ruler of the universe is tyrannical and unjust. What! shall not the Giver of all good distribute his bounties according to his own pleasure? To whom are you indebted for life and all its blessings? To whom did you owe those faculties of the understanding with which you are cherishing hard thoughts of God; that voice with which you are giving utterance to discontented murmurs against him? Having received so much, is this your gratitude, to be indignant that you have not obtained more? Does no: He, who knows all things, discern whether it is better that you should enjoy a grcater or a Jess portion of his gifis? Docs fic not discern whether the acquisition which you now desire would forward or obstruct your salvation? Has not He pledged his unalterablc word that, if you truly love him, all things shall in the end work together for your good? When the Lord Jesus, whose scrvant you affirm yourself, saw that the foxes had holes, that the birds of the air had ncsts, but that he himself had not where to lay bis head: did He repinc? When, after a fast of forty days Hc suffered hunger; did llc complain? Ile rcsigned himself to the good plcasure of his Father. He prayed that not bis own will, but the will of his father, might be done. When afflicted and oppressed, He opened not his mouth. Even when dragged to the cross, IIc was brought as a lamb, paticut and silent, to the slaughter: and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so líc opened not his mouth. If you profess to be the disciple of Christ; follow his steps. If in your daily supplications, you pray that the will of God may be done in carth as it is in heaven; cheerfully ccquicsce in his will. “Take heed to thy ways, kecp thy mouth as it were with a bridle, that thou sin not with thy tongue. The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before him.”

III. Let us now consider those transgressions of the lips which may be regarded as the offspring of contention.

“ Be ye angry, and sin not." If anger in its lowest degree overtake you, beware of transgression. Sin after sin is the usual consequence of anger: and among the first sins which arise from anger are sins of the tongue. The irritated mind unberthens itself in passionate language. At first, perhaps, the expressions preserve some mcasure of moderation: and the angry man, at the very time when he is offeading God by intemperate words, is secretly priding himself on his supposed forbcarance. But " the beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention before it be mcddled with.” If once you make a brcach in the dam; you know not how furious a torrent may rush forth, nor how wide and destructive may be its ravages. “Behold," saith the Scripturc, illustrating by another

. image the progressive violence of contention, “ Behold how great



a matter a little fire kindleth! The tongue is a fire, and setteth on fire the course of naturc; and is itself sct on fire of hell." When the heart glows with resentment, heal and schemence of language betray the inward flame. Then follow cager accusations, opprobrious reflections, malicious insinuations, spiteful upbraidings, sncers, and taunts, and sarcasm, and rcvilings. 66 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness." The tongue of rage blazes fiercer and fiercer; and abstains from no injury toward man or toward God. Is this to be the disciple of the mock and holy Jesus? Is this to imitate flim who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not; when he was unjustly smitten, calmly replied; “ If I have done evil, bear witness of the cvil: but if well, why smitest thou mc?" wlien he was nailed to the cross, he prayed for bis murderers, and suggesied in his prayer the only plea which could be alleged in cxtenuation of their guilt? Is this to remember the petition framed by him for your daily devotions; that God would so forgive your trespasses, as you forgive them who trespass against you? Is this to obey his solcmn command; “B!css them that curse you; pray for tiem which despitefully use yon and persccute you?” Is this to give credit to his awful declaration, “ i Vhosocver shall say to his brother, Raca;" whosoever shall malignantly address another evca with a slight term of reproach, “shall be in danger of the council: and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Is this to believe his renewed warning by the mouth

" of St. Paul: “Be not deceived; revilcrs shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" Do you attempt to cxcuse yourself by the absurd apology so frequent on the lips of the passionate; that you should not have offended with your tongue, if you had not received provocation? As though it would have bcen a noble proof of self-denial to have refrained from outraycous language when there was no motive to excite it? As though it would have been a signal testimony of obedience to God, to have refrained from sinning when there was no temptation to offend! Why does the Almighty permit provocations to assail thce, but to prove thce, to know what is in thine hcart, whether thou wilt keep his commandments or no: whether thou wilt obey the headlong impulse of wrath, or strive through the grace of thy God, and for the sake of plcasing him, to remain unmovcd? Iow is obedeince to

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