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ob how vile are we, if one member be guilty of so much for! Not without reason therefore hach St. Fames in his third Chap. v.6. described an svil Tongue, to be a fire, a world of iniquiry, and set on fire of Hell, ic. from the Devil che Father of lies, malice, and virulency. They chac nourish an evil tongue, nourish that which comes from Hell, and which will carry them chicher, without serious, and timely repentance. The tongue can no man tame, as he goes on, v.8. that is, of himself without the concurrence of Divine Grace. Pray therefore for chis Grace, that thou maist take heed to thy words, that thom offend not with thy tongue. And for che beccer regulating and governing of it, observe these Directions
1. Begin at thy heart, if thou would rightly govern thy congue. Pray as David did, Plal.s1.10. Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Out of the abondance of the heart the mouth speaketh, faith our Sa• viour, Mat.12.34. The disorders of the tongue, #sually proceed from the distempers of the heart. Idlenece of words, from vanity of thoughts ; Rathnesse of speech, from hastinesse of Spirit: Boasting, and proud brags, from pride of hearts Reviling, and open reproaching, from inwará malice. The fool fomack betraies it felfe, in a stinking breath. The naughtinesse of the heart vents it self by che congue. A heart ftor'd with
wisdom and grace will discover it self in favoury discourse.
2. Let thy end and aim in speaking be, co glorifie God, and co do good to others. That word is an idle word, and utterly lost, which tends to no goud purpose. Either peak somthing better then silence, or keep silence, Taies the Heathen Poet. Choose eicher to speak that which is (some w.y or other) proficable; or to be filent. Now there may be a finfull filence, as in thiele cases.
1. When God is dishonaured, and we expreso no dislike of it.
2. When "ris our duty to reprove an offending Brother, and we neglect it.
3. When our silence proceeds from want of delight in Spiritual things; when we are free enough to any worldly discourse, but cannot abide to speak of matters that concern our soules.
4. When we are ashamed to own the wales of Gud, for fear of reproach.
5. When we neglect to give good counsell where we ought.
3. Consider before thou speakest, and be noi rafh with thy mouth; Be flow to speak, faith Sr. Fam. Chap. 1.v.19.1.2. deliberate, and advised: Let thy mind bethy tongues guide. Wheo chy words are once out of thy mouch, they are past recal. And therefore one sec a pretty moral picture over his cable (a place usually of coo much li
centious discourse) of a man out of whose mouch many little birds flew (which were his words) which he wich both his hands strove to carch as gain, buc could not: Consider therefore before thou speakest, and ere thy words be gone out of thy reach and power ; especially consider before thou promisest any thing: Confider whether the thing be good, fit, convenient, and in thy power, and whether thy mind will suffer thee to do it or no: He chac does not chis, will be ape co erre, and to ensnare himself by his owne words.
4. Whatever thou hast covenanted, agreed, or promised, be carefull to perform, though co thy loffe and damage. If thou findest chy self unable to perform, give notice betimes, and crave either forbearance, or a release. 'Tis a good caution that one gives, that we should be exceeding careful what voves we make to God, or what promises to man.
5. Be sure, that whatever thou speakest, be morally true ; (1.6. that there be an agreement between thy heart and congue) though thoa are not obliged to 'peak all chaic thou knowest to be true, at all times. There may be somcimes malice in reporting the truth i An eager desire to spread a fault wants not fin.
6. Speak with a great deal of caution and irarinesse, where chou art aggrieved, and doft chink thow sufferest : Trust not thy self, if there
be any che least touch of ill will, or envy in thec, towards the person spoken of. It will never fpeaks well. Under sense of wrong, our mindes are ape to run joto very uncharicable imaginaci
7. Forbear altogether to speak when thou art in passion. He chat is in a high fic of passion, is as craly drunk, as he whose head is full of wine, Paffson is a bad counseBour, and as ill a Speaker: Moses whex in passion spake unadvisedly
. with his lips, Pfal.106.33. Job cursed the day of bis Nativity, Job.3.3.3. Jonah spake pettishly against God himself. Jonah
4.9. 8. Deal with anochers good name as thou would it be willing thine owo should be deale with; be very wary of speaking of the credit of others on bare reports. A good name is better than ziches, Prov.22.1. Polibly thou abhorrest to feal from thy neighbour, or be thought a thief'; do not then rob him of his good nami, which is more percious than worldly substance. By a good name many have done good after their death: by the losse of is many have been rendred sfeles while they lived.
9. Be not fevere-spirited, and apt to interpret every thing in the worst sense. Let charity bave its perfect work. 'Tis better to erre tes times in a way of charity, than once in a way of cruely. Goodneß is leaft fpitious : Gracious hearts refect moft upon themselves; chey do not seek
so much what co reprove in others, as what to amend in themselves ; they love to look inwards, and being sensible of their own failings, are tender in reflecting on the weaknesses of others: whereas those that are most inquificive into the lives of ochers, are usually most carelesle in reforming their owne. Sharp cenfurers, and reprovers, had need be very exact in their own lives; else in judging others they pronounce their own doom. Be not apt therefore to judge or censure the actions of others. Con. fider how often thou thy selfe haft offended; use another with the same mercy thou wouldīt have thewed to thy self, Gal.6.1. Brethres, if
any man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spio ritual, restore such a one in the Spirit of meekneß, : sonfidering i by self, left thon also be tempted. They
thac are most Piritsal, are most tender to see a fallen Christian in joyne again. Consider well therefore, before thou pronounce too hard a censure upon thy brother : If thou canft not excuse che action, yet confider possibly she in
tent was good; or it mighe proceed from igno.. rance, or some violent temptation, and that thor
thy self maist so fall, if fo tempted, and God do not Luftain thee. Bernard iels of a man, chat hearing of a fallen brother, fell into a bitter weeping, and said, he is fallen to day, and I may fall to morrow : Therefore cherish an humble sense of shine owon frailty, and that will make chee chari