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be cxcrcised, but by trials? When is it to be manifested, but in the hour of trial? “Let every man, my beloved brethren, be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. I beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith yc are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering; forbcaring one another in lovc; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
IV. I proceed to those sins of the tongne which owe their origin to vanity and pride.
These sins may be comprehended under the term boastfulness. The boastful man speaketh of himself, and secketh his own glory. His heart is lifted up; his mouth uttereth proud things: he giveth not the honor to God; he vaunteth himself against the Most High. When he mcditates an important undertaking, he says not with the Apostle, “ If the Lord will, I shall do this or that.” His language is that which the Scripture reprobates; “ To-morrow I will go into such a city, and stay there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain." When his enterprises prosper, he remcnibers not that it is the Lord who giveth him power to get wealth. He exclaims with Nebuchadnezzar: “Is not this great Babylon that I have built?”—with the king of Assyria, “ By my wisdom I have done it, for I am prudent:—with the vaunting Israclite, “ My power and the might of my arm, hath gotten me this wealth." If be talks of religion, it is to say to his neighbor; “ Stand by thyself: come not ncar to me: for I am holier than thou..” “I thank God that I am not as other men are. I am rich and increased with spiritual “ goods and have need of nothing.” If he meets with opposition, he cries out with the overbcaring boaster described by the Psalmist: “ With my tongue will I prevail: my lips are my
Who is Lord over me?” Even health, and bodily strength, and activity, are with bim the subjects of vain-glory, as though he had conferred them upon himself. Not unfrequently wickedness itself becomes his boast. lle openly triumphs in the violence with which he has bornc down an opponent; in the cunning with wbich he has over-reached a competitor; in the revenge which he has exercised against a person who has offended him; in being "mighty to drink winc, and a man of strength to mingle strong drink.” Solicitous in every circumstance of life to magnify bimself, he speaks contemptuously and degradingly of others: and
the more contemptuously and degradingly in proportion as he apprchends that they may be advantagcousiy compared with him, or may stand in the way of bis enterprises and projects. This is he who seekcth honor from men, not the honor which comcth only from God. This is hc who perceiveth not that before honor is humility. This is he who knoweth not that every one who exalteth himself shall be abascd. This is he who knoweth not that in cach of the catalogues of grievous sinners recorded by St. Paul, as objects of Divine vengeancc, boasters have a place.Does a boaster call himself a disciple and imitator of the Lord Jesus?“ Come and learn of me," said Christ; for I am mcek and lowly in heart. He did not sound a trumpet before him; nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. Though commissioned to display bis miraculous power in public as one of the proofs that he was the predicted Saviour, he delighted to find occasions of exerting it in private: he repeatedly enjoined the concealment of his mighty deeds: he studiously transferred the entire praise of his works from himseli to bis Father: he commanded the few witnesses, whom he permitted to behold his transfiguration, to make no mention of that display of glcry until after his death. 66 Seest thou a man wise in his own conccit? There is more hope of a fool?than of him." Brethren;" in honor prefer one another." Be courteous in word and in dccd. 6 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth: a stranger and not thine own lips.” “Lct nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Many other offences of the tongue require to be noticed: and will form, with the permission of God, the subject of a future discourse. The number, however, and the magnitude of those
. which have been investigated are sufficient to awe the careless into reflection. Where now, ye inconsiderate, are your delusions?
? Arc words empty air? Are sins of the tongue like the path of an arrow through a cloud, undiscerned, undiscoverable, forgotten? “If a book of remembrance is written before God for them that fear the Lord, and speak often one to another:" is there no book of remembrance for them who employ not his gist of speech to his glory? If " the Lord hcarkens and hcars," when men glorify bim in the use of his gift: if he proclaims, “ They shall be mine; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him:" shall be not hearken and hear, shall he not avenge and destroy, when the tonguc labors in the scrvice of sin? In that service, my brethren, how long have our tongues wearicd themselves! How little in the application of speech have we imitated our Lord; his prudence, bis calmness, his patience, bis lowlincss. By foolish talking, by fretsul and impatient language, by strifc, by boasting, by one or by all of these sins, how often has every one of us transgressed! In proportion as we have resembled any of the pictures which have been drawn, so grcat has been our guilt. Do we decm the dispensation unrcasonable, that words, no less than actions, shall be the grounds of punishment? They rest on the same basis. They are in nature essentially the
Words and actions are equally signs: signs of the state of the heart. The word, the deed, the meditated purpose, spcak the same language in the car of the Most High. Alike they reveal the governing principle of the soul. Alike they testi!y the fact which decides our doom: that we are servants of God: or that we are scrvants of the devil.
ON SINS OF THE TONGUE.
By the Rev. THOMAS GISBORNE, M. A.
Psalm cxli. 3.
In the preceding discourse I represented to you the nature and consequences of various sins of the tonguc. Let me now prosecute my design of warning you against additional offences cqually comprchended within the scope of the text.
V. The offence to which I shall in the next place rcfer is censoriousness.
It is not censoriousness to attirm sin to be sin: to paint its heinousness in its true colors: to proclaim the tremendous judgments which hang over the heads of the impenitent. To palliate guilt as though it were a trivial concern: to denominate various kinds of wickedness by those light appellations, which fashion most irreligiously applies to them: to lull the transgressor into security by obscuring or explaining away the scriptural limitations of the Divine mercy; by describing the punishments reserved for the ungodly as less awful in their nature and duration than the plain import of the word of God pronounces them to be; or by maintaining a cowardly and unchristian silence, when duty requires you to protect, to admonish, to alarm; to act thus is to prove yourself littic acquainted with the Gospel of Christ, or little disposed to imbibe the spirit of a Christian; little solicitous for the glory of your Lord, and for the salvation of your own soul, and the soul of your neighbor. Neither is it always censoriousness to make known the faults of another. Not only may public justice require you to uphold the interests of society by bearing a faithful testimony against crimes; but your duty to your family and to your friends, and your general obligation to supply scasonable counsel to the unwary, may demand that you should reveal, in the spirit of truth and meekness, the actual misconduct of individuals, and that you should point out, according to your deliberate view of their characters, such of their dispositions, habits and purposes, as, in your apprehension, would prove, were you to remain silent, mischievous and ensnaring. But when you publish the faults of others unnecessarily; when you enlarge on them to a necdless length; when you develop them with unwarranted vehemence; when you knowingly omit any true or probable circumstance tending to diminish their magnitude: in cach of these cases you are censorious. In other words, censoriousness is so to discourse concerning the offences of another as to transgress against charity. Some persons are censorious through carelessness; some through sclishness; some through anger; some through malice; some through envy. According to the difference of the sources from which censoriousness springs, its guilt is more or less flagrant. But even when it arises from carelessness, deem it not a trifling sin. You are not careless concerning your own character, your own welfare. Are you not to love your neighbor as yourself ? You feel pained and injured, if your own failings are inadvert
ently made the subject of needless observation. Why do you cause needless pain and injury to your neighbor? Reflect how opposite is censoriousness, from whatever source it may proceed, to the precepts of Jesus Christ. “ Judge not, that ye be not judged.” “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye; but considercst not the beam that is in thine own eye?" Refect how contrary it is to his example. How pure was his conversation from harsh reflections on the prejudices, the timidity, the cold and wavering faith of his followers: and from needless severity in noticing the obdurate blindness, the unconquerable malice, and the murderous designs of his enemies. Brethren, "be ye followers of God, as dear children, and walk in love as Christ hath loved us.” “Consider yourselves, lest ye also be tempted."
VI. Let us now direct our thoughts to thosc sins of the lips, which originate in a busy and meddling spirit: sins which, if not in themselves of a deeper huc than some which have alrcady been mcntioned, often prove more extensively destructive to the peace of socicty.
From a busy and meddling temper is derived a loquacious interference in the concerns of other men. The peoplc of Athens, when St. Paul was in their city, spent their time " in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.” Many Christiang secm by thcir conduct to be descendants of these Athcnians. Impelled by curiosity, they search out every petty transaction of the neighborhood; sist it again and again to the very bottom; and treasure up in their memories, in such inatters too faithful, cach particle of intelligence which they have coliccted. They pry into the interior of families; worm out every incident of the day; make themselves masters of every change in the domestic arrangement; and discover every projected plan of alteration almost as soon as it is formed, often before it has been digested, by the person who devised it. The store of news which they have thus acquired, vanity and self-importance urge them to communicate. Hence from busy bodies they advance to be tale-bearers. • They wander from house to house, being tattlers also, speaking those things which they ought not." Whicrever they wander, they spread mischief. If they employ for the gratification of malevolence the tidings which the spirit of curiosity has gleaned; they are among the most dangerous of mankind. But what if they are actuated merely by the love of tattling? They encourage