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knows wherefore; and when they are searched to the furthest, it is all grounded on some talebearer's credit.

(10.) By countenancing and encouraging of the black tribe of flanderers, backbiters, &c. Prov. xxix. 12. If these merchants for hell got not their wares taken off their hands, they would be ashamed of their trade, and forced to quit it. But many are as ready to take them off their hands as they are to deliver them.

(11.) By stopping our ears against the just defence of the parties lesed, as the malicious Jews did against Stephen, Acts vii. 57, 58. How rare is it to find a person as ready to receive a defence for, as an accusation against their neighbour?

(12.) By fcornful contempt, and scoffing, and mocking of others. This was the way of Ishmael's persecuting of Isaac, Gal. iv. 29. These viperous tongues work upon the miferies of others, as the soldiers did at Christ in his fufferings, Matth. xxvii. 28, 29. The natural imperfections of others are their sport, though reproaching the poor they despise his Maker ; yea, and their sinful imperfections too, for fools make a mock at fin.

Some have a mighty fondness for gibing and taunting ; their whole converse runs that way, to make others uneasy and themselves merry with their taunts. Let them not value themselves on their talent; if any spark of tenderness be left in them, I doubt if they dare look to it as a good gift given them from above, but as an abuse of the good gift of God. It was Ishmael's way, for which he was cast out of the family of the faithful, Gal. iv. 29.

(13.) Reviling and railing, giving others reproachful and opprobrious names, piercing them with bitter words, and murdering them with their tongues, Matth. v. 22. 1 Cor. vi. 10. Revilers are among those excluded out of heaven.

These are some of the ways how the wicked tongue gives home-thrusts to others, and pierces like the piercing of the sword, following the example of him who was a liar and a murderer from the beginning. But would ye see them all gathered together in one, ye have them in,

(13.) Lastly, Scolding and rating, an abominable disorder which we are so much disturbed with. There their wicked hearts, stirred up with passion and revenge, vomit out all at once this filthy stuff. For there their neighbour's faults are unnecessarily discovered, aggravated, &c as if hell's forces were rendezvousing betwixt them. Wonder not at the expression. See Jude 9. No, the angel durst not engage Satan with these weapons, whereof he was the proper master, and at which none can outdo him. If ye take not better heed to your tongues, they will ruin you, Psal. lii. 2.-5.

There are some other evils of the tongue here forbidden, the hurt whereof does not so plainly appear.

1. Talkativeness, or much speaking. Some are ever talking, and are never in their element but when prattling; and when once they loose, it is as hard to stop them as to stop a flood, and turn it another way. : Of it I say,

(1.) It is a sign of a loose and frothy heart, where the fear of God hath little place, Eccl. v. 2. ; for that would make our words few, true, weighty, and useful. When God has given us two ears, and but one tongue, that we may be swift to hear and flow to speak, it is a pregnant evi. dence of a naughty heart, to be swift to speak and flow to hear.

(2.). It is the fool's badge, Eccl. v. 3. Talkative persons; for want of acquaintance with themselves, thinking to thew themselves wise, ordinarily present a fool to the company. They will have a flood of words, who have hardly a drop of good sense or judgment; so that they are just a voice, and no more. They that are given to much speaking, can hardly speak either true or well; which made an orator ask a double fee of a talkative scholar, one to learn him to speak well, another to learn him to hold his peace. It is the character of a virtuous woman, that “ she openeth her mouth with wisdom,” Prov. xxxi. 26. Her mouth is not always open, but duly shut, and discreetly opened.

2. Idle speaking, Matth. xii. 36. The tongue was given to man to be for the honour of God, and the good of himself and his neighbour. Though our words, then, be not evil in themselves, they are evil because they are idle; that is, words spoken to no good purpose, tending neither to the honour of God, nor the good of ourselves or others, neither to his moral good, to make him more holy, nor to his civil good, as not being upon the necessary concerns of human life, nor his natural good, to maintain the moderate cheerfulness of society. It may be comprehended under foolish


talking, rash, raving, and impertinent discourse, doing no good to the hearers, but bewraying the folly of the speaker.

3. A trade of jesting, Eph. v. 4. It is not finful to pass an innocent jest for begetting of moderate cheerfulness. The wise man tells us, “ There is a time to weep, and a time to laugh, Eccl. iii. 4. It may in some cases be as neceffary to cheer the spirits, as a cordial is to restore them, or a pleasant gale of wind to purify the air. It was not unbecoming the gravity of the prophet to mock Baal's priests, and to say,

Cry aloud; for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is on a journey; or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awakened,” 1 Kings xviii. 27. But sinful are,

(1.) Offensive jests, which tend to the shewing a despising of our neighbour, to the irritating and provoking of him. And indeed it is often feen, that those who are much given that their converfation is most offensive, fparing neither friend nor foe, and will rather lose their friend than their jest.

(2.) Profane jests, either making a mock of fin,,or of that which is holy, particularly wresting and abusing of scripture, to express the conceits of their light and wanton wits. It is a dangerous thing to jest in such matters.

(3.) People's being immoderate in jefting. To make every word a' jeft, is liker the stage than Christian gravity. This is as absurd as to present a man a dish of falt to feed on; a little of it is good for seasoning, but to give it for the whole entertainment, is abfurd.

4. Lastly, Flattery, Pfal. xii. 3. This is a most dangerous stroke, and the more deadly that the wound it gives does not smart, but by it a man is hugged to ruin. The words of a flatterer are smoother than oil, yet are they in effect as drawn swords. It is a compound of lying, abjectness of spirit, and treachery. The flatterer gives the praise that is not due, professes the kindness that is not real, and screws up all to a pitch far above truth; and fo he is a liar. He debases himself to please others, turning himself into every shape to humour the party he is to flatter; and betrays him into felf. conceit and unacquaintedness with himself.

I shall fhut all with a twofold dehortation.

First, Speak truth, and beware of lying. Lying is a very common fin; repent of that guilt, and beware of it for the future. For motives, consider,

Mot. 1. That God is the God of truth, the Author and Lover of truth, fo that he cannot lie; and therefore lying is most contrary to the nature and mind of God: it is therefore fingularly abominable and hateful to him, Pfal. x. 6. Prov. vi. 16, 17. We find that God fuffered Adam's sons to marry their own fisters, and the Ifraelites to spoil the Egyptians of what they had borrowed of them; but never did the God of truth at any time difpenfe with men's speaking lies. Hate that abominable thing, then, which God so hates.

2. All lies are from the devil in a special manner, John viii. 44. It was he that first broached lies in the world, and ruined mankind with them; and having fped fo well with that engine of hell at first, no wonder he fets himself to keep up the trade. He is the father of lies, that begets them in the false heart, and they are brought forth by the lying tongue. Whom do liars resemble, then, the God of truth, or the father of lies? ; 3. Lying is a part of the old man of sin, which must be put off, if we would not be put out of God's presence, Eph. iv. 24, 25. It is the way to which our corrupt natures do kindly and quickly incline, Pfal. lviii. 3. “ The wicked go aftray as soon as they be born, fpeaking lies." Hence children are not to learn this; they have the art of it from their first father Adam. But as soon as grace enters the heart, it rectifies it in that point. Hence the Lord's people are called 66 children that will not lie,” If, lxiii. 8.

4. There is a meanness or baseness in lying beyond what is in other common fins, either because it proceeds from fear, or tends to deceive. Hence liars themselves cannot endure to be called liars ; the baseness of the fin being so much acknowledged in the world, that though many bring forth and cherish the vile brat, none can endure to be reputed the father of it. And no wonder it is reputed such a base thing ; for when once a man is known to make no conscience of truth, he has lost his credit, and is looked upon as a man that cannot be bound with the common ties of society, nor trusted.

Lastly, It will bring God's wrath heavily on the guilty, Prov. xix. 5. 9. “ A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies fhall not escape. A false witness thall not be unpunished ; and he that speaketh lies shall perish.” God's truth is impawned for the liar's destruction,


even eternal destruction. Shall liars have access to heaven? No, they are barred out from thence, Rev. xxi. ult. “ There shall in nowise enter into it any thing that-maketh a lie.” Their lodging is appointed to them in another place, with the devil the father of lies, in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, Rev. xxi. 8. and xxii. 15.

I shall give you a few advices.

1. Strike at the root of lying, and so the fruit will wither and come to nought. The great root of all is the corrupt nature, that needs to be mortified by grace from Jesus Christ. There are also particular lufts on which lies depend. Labour to be humble, for pride and self-seeking occasions many lies, as the boaster's lie. Some are founded on covetousness, as the lies in bargaining; some in fear, flavish fear of men, as denying of truth; some in the vanity and rashness of our natures, whereby lies come to be broached without a formed design.

2. Accustom yourselves to few words, for “ in the multitude of words there wanteth not fin,” Prov. x. 19. It is but just with God, that idle words be punished by fuffering people to fall into lying words.

3. Remember that God will discover truth; and that his eye


upon you at all times. And though ye may deceive others with your lies, ye cannot deceive the omniscient God. He is witness to the truth, and will call you to account for your contradicting of it. And indeed the trade of lying is hard to keep up without discovery. Liars had need of good memories." A lying tongue is but for a moment,” Prova xii. 19.

Lastly, Curb lying in young ones, out of pity to their fouls, and care of their credit when they come to years. For some get such a habit of it when they are young, that there is no mending of them when they grow old.

Secondly, Beware of carrying an evil tongue. The lying tongue is contrary to truth, the evil tongue to charity and love to our neighbour, being employed in flandering, backbiting, reproaching, reviling, scolding, &c. For motives,

Mot. 1. Consider the woful perverseness that is in an evil tongue. God gave man speech, which he denied to other creatures, that by his tongue he might glorify God, and do good to himself and others, Pfal. lvii. 9, 10.' Shall we thus

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