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The Apostle says, “ Ye have been taught, that ye put on the new man—wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor." So he says to the Colossians, “ Lie not one to another, seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man.” The Psalmist says, “ He who shall stand in God's holy hill, is one who speaketh the truth in his heart.” We are taught, that “the fruit of the Spirit is righteousness and truth.” On the contrary, falschood and lying are said to be “ of the devil, who was a liar from the beginning, and abode not in the truth.” And liars have a part justly assigned them in the place prepared for that lying Spirit. All wilful and deliberate lying must proceed from a corrupt and wicked temper—from pride, malice, envy, covetousness, or some reigning lust, which is opposite to the spirit of the gospel. The Apostle, there. fore, with lying, joins anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy and filthy communication, as kindred and associate vices. This horrible group the new man has renounced.
Deceitfulness is contrary, not only to the express commands of the gospel, but even to the dictates of natural conscience; and every man, who walks in guile, dissimulation and cunning, is so far from the spirit of the gospel, that he is sunk below that sense of honor and moral fitness, which is common to mankind. Every man abhors a liar ; and no injury is more universally resented among men, than the imputation of a lie. The Apostle speaks of the Heathens, as being full of
envy, malignity and deceit ; but he says, “ They knew the judgment of God, that they who did such things were worthy of death. I proceed,
III. To consider the argument, which the Apostle here urges for the maintenance of truth between man
“ We are members one of another," We are fellow members, both as men, and as Christians.
As men, we are members one of another. We par. take of the same nature, have the same rights and
claims, are mutually dependent, and capable of being mutually beneficial. We are united in the same civil society-in families, vicinities, and larger communi. ties, and are under the same natural and civil obligations. Mutual confidence is the band, that holds all society together ; but there can be no mutual confidence without reciprocal fidelity. Falsehood is a per, version of that faculty, which is the great instrument of society, the faculty of speech , and it dissolves that confidence, which is the grand cement of social union. It renders property, reputation and life insecure. It subverts order, interrupts peace, separates friends, obstructs the course of justice, and, as far as it prevails, ît spreads confusion and misery. Men, therefore, no longer treat one another, as fellow members of society, and fellow creatures sharing in the same rights, than they walk uprightly, work righteousness, and speak the truth in their hearts.
The argument applies, with superior force, to Christians.
As Christians, we are children of the same God, the God of truth; we are disciples of the same Lord, the faithful and true witness, who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. We are partakers of that Spirit, who is called the Spirit of truth, and whose gracious work is in all goodness, righteousness and truth. We are members of the same spiritual head, even Christ. We are united to the same spiritual body, the church. We are called to the same heaven. ly hope, profess the same faith and worship the same great Parent in the name of the same Mediator. We acknowledge the same gospel, which uniformly requires sincerity and truth, forbids all unrighteousness and deceit, and denounces the wrath of God against every one that loveth and maketh a lie.
If then we walk in guile and deceit—if we practice the vile arts of dishonesty, we palpably contradict our human, and especially our Christian character.-We
act in opposition to the nature of God, the dictates of reason, the example of Christ, the influence of the Spirit, the precepts of the gospel, the peace of civil and religious society, our mutual relation, and the hopes of heaven.
Our subject leads us to reflect on the excellency of the Christian religion, which, while it points out the way to future glory, provides for the present peace and security of human society. If we would always speak with that candor and simplicity, and act with that fairness and probity, which the gospel recommends, there would be no angry contentions and bitter animosities ; families would subsist in harmony ; neighborhoods would enjoy tranquillity ; communities would be free from disturbances ; suits at law would rarely be known; and controversies, when they happened, would be peaceably adjusted and equitably terminated. It is the want of this undissembled goodness and un. disguised friendship, which occasions most of the disquietudes attending the social life.
We see the danger of profane language, as it naturally leads to the grossest kind of falsehood, even te perjury in public testimony. The man who always speaks with a sacred regard to truth, establishes a char. acter for veracity, which stamps a credit on his word, and, in ordinary cases, supercedes the necessity of an oath. If lying had never been known, oaths, for the decision of controversies, would never have been in. troduced. The man who accustoms himself to swear. ing in common discourse, acknowledges the insufficiency of his simple declaration, and holds up to the world a character of doubtful veracity. But if his veracity is doubtful, his oath will not command belief; for the man, who is accustomed to profaneness, may as easily learn to perjure himself, as the man habituated tp little, falsehoods can learn to prevaricate in important matters,
We see how dangerous it is to practice those diversions, which are attended with temptations to fraud. In this view, gaming for money must universally be condemned. Where any thing is depending on the issue, there is a strong inducement to artifice and de. ception. Men excuse fraud in this case, because it is only gaming, not business. But a habit of deceit acquired in gaming, is easily carried into more important transactions.
We should educate our children in a regard to truth, and exercise over them a government which may speak its sacred importance.
In a word this should be our resolution and care, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we will have our conversation in the world,
Meckness in opposition to Sinful Anger.
EPHESIANS iv, 86, 97.
Be Ye angry and sin not ; let not the sun go down on your wraih ;
neither give place to the devil.
THE Apostle, having taught the necessity of being renewed in the Spirit of the mind, proceeds to inculcate the several virtues which form the character of the new man, The first which he mentions is sin. çeriry, or a strict regard to truth in our common conversation. The next is that contained in the words now read, which is meekness, or the government of our passions.
“Ye have been taught that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteous. ness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away ly. ing, speak every man truth with his neighbor. Be angry,
and sin not.” This precept is very properly subjoined to the former. Falsehood in speech often proceeds from excess of passion. If we would govern our tongues, we must rule our spirits. He who puts away lying, and speaks only truth with his neighbor, does not indulge immoderate anger, for this infames the tongue, and thus sets on fire the course of nature ; nor does he give place to the devil, for he was a liar from the beginning, and abode not in the truth.