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to a friend, for he will have a friend; is that speaketh like the piercings no, not to a husband, for he will in of a sword.” form a wife; no, not to a wife, for From the perusal of the book of she will enlighten her husband, and Proverbs, we learn, that it is a high somebody may the neighbourhood. attainment to know when and how
We read in Ecclesiastes, X. 20, to keep silence. There is a time to “Curse not the king, no, not in thy | talk, and a time to refrain from thought; and curse not the rich in talking. There are subjects upon thy bedchamber; for a bird of the which we may speak; and there are air shall carry the voice, and that matters relating to ourselves and which hath wings shall tell the others, of which we should say nomatter."
thing. He who reveals his own seSuch is the disposition of man to crets, is a fool; and he who reveals communicate, that if you think the secrets of others, intentionally, curses, you will be in danger of re is a knave. vealing your thoughts: and if you
From the connexion, I am perpronounce curses, even in
bed suaded, that the word secret, in the chamber, against the rich, they will text, was used by the wise man, to hear of it, and you will be exposed. denote something relating to anoYour servants, and even your part ther, of which we should not speak. ners, will be as birds of the air, “ Debate thy cause with thy neighrapid in their flight to communicate bour himself, and discover not a seintelligence. Fame has wings, and cret to another; lest he that hearflies from house to house, proclaim eth it put thee to shame, and thine ing in a few hours the secrets of the infamy turn not away." The text bedchamber to the whole village. may be paraphrased thus: If you
It seems to be the opinion of the know of any thing to the disadwise man, that if any have secrets, vantage of your neighbour, do not they should keep them locked up publish it; but go privately, and tell within their own breasts. Washing him his fault, in a friendly manner; ton was once importuned by a very for by needlessly proclaiming the inquisitive host to communicate, truth, to his injury, you bring upon confidentially, his plans of opera yourself the disgraceful imputation tion. “ Friend," said that great of malevolence. He to whom you man, can you keep your own se tell the fault of a neighbour, will crets ?" • 1
can,” answered the consider you either a slanderer, or host. “ And so can I keep mine," a tattler; and thus
will be disrejoined the celebrated warrior and graced in his estimation. After you statesman; which happily, termi have acquired the reputation of a nated all impertinent inquiries. busybody, you will always be sus
Had Solomon found all men of pected and avoided. You will not similar disposition and character, easily retrieve your character. The he had not written some proverbs, blot of infamy, with which you stain which are a satire upon mankind, yourself, will not soon be wiped severely just. "It is a sport to a away. If you discover the sins of a fool to do mischief.” “ A man of neighbour, which are known only to understanding holdeth his peace.” || yourself, you injure him in the view “ A tale-bearer revealeth secrets ; of others, and lead others to apprebut he that is of a faithful spirit hend, that you are a spy upon their concealeth the matter." Wise conduct, watching an opportunity men lay up knowledge; but the
to expose them also. mouth of the foolish is near destruc The word neighbour in the lantion.” “In the multitude of words guage of the holy scriptures, intends there wanteth not sin; but he that any person with whom we have
any refraineth his lips is wise.” “ There. concern, acquaintance or connex
ion. In the parable of the good Sa prove the commission of secret ofmaritan, Christ has taught us, that fences; for where the former exist, if we pass along, and find a wound the latter will certainly be found. ed stranger in the road, we are to Who will pretend, that, upon the esteem him a neighbour. The word whole, he is really better in the embraces all men, from the partner, ll sight of God than David ? Yet, he to the traveller, and the savage; to had occasion to confess, “ Thou hast whom, though distant, we may per set our iniquities before thee, our form an act of kindness.
secret sins in the light of thy coun. The text being thus explained, tenance;” and to pray, “Cleanse gives rise to several useful remarks. thou me from secret faults: keep
I. All men are guilty of some se back thy servant also from presumpcret sins. By this it is not intended tuous sins; let them not have dothat any sins are concealed from minion over me.” the omnipresent God; for he look II. Secret sins ought not to be eth on the heart, and in the retired made public. If God alone was the and dark place he is with us. He witness of our misconduct, it is hears our words, sees our actions, suitable we should confess to him and knows our thoughts. Dark alone, and of him supplicate parness and light are alike to him; and don. Others should not be made he is as much present in the crook acquainted with our immoralities of ed way and solitary hut, as in the heart and life, for many reasons; house of prayer. But many of our but especially, because the publishsins are known only to God and ing of any particular sin injures the ourselves. These are called secret proclaimer and the hearer. Should sins, because they are unknown to one tell others his secret baseness, the world. In like manner, many they would, perhaps, regard him of the crimes of an individual are less favourably, and thus he would known only to a few persons, and sink in public estimation without these in opposition to notorious im procuring any advantage. moralities, may be called secret sins. Evil example has a seducing,
Many, many are the crimes which pernicious influence upon mankind; are known only by three persons; and in proportion as crime is reby God, by the perpetrator, and by vealed, evil example spreads. An some equally guilty companion. individual's wicked conduct preTwo human beings are often part sents no allurement to yice where ners in iniquity, who mutually it is not known. Would you wish tempt, are tempted, and transgress. evil example to cease, you must Each sins against the other. In: wish the crimes which are commit. other cases, one sins and another ted not to be known. suffers the injury: and again, one Besides, crimes, by being fretransgresses, and another is merely quently named, become familiar, and a witness..
the frequent description of immoJesus said to Nathaniel, “When ralities diminishes the abhorrence thou wast under the fig tree, I saw we feel at them. Read me the histhee.” He was surprised, for he tory of a horrid murder, and I shall thought no one saw what he there shudder at the barbarity discoverdid, and at once allowed Christ's ed: read it a second time, and I omniscience. Should Jesus speak shall feel less emotion: read it a to us, he might, probably, say to each
third time, and I shall hear it very one, in such a manner as to produce calmly. confusion of face,“ When thou wast There is no passage of scripture in the secret place, or under the fig which requires an individual to pubtree, I saw thy sin.” Public faults lish a secret fault. In James v. 16. are so numerous as abundantly to we are commanded to confess our
faults one to another ; but this is a like him, tempted, fallen, and dismutual and private confession be graced. Conceal the occasional tween parties concerned. If one transgressions of one, who has like neighbour has injured another, our passions with yourself; rememberSaviour requires the injured person ing that you may soon need similar to go to the offending party, and indulgence and friendship: tell
him his fault, privately; and this Recollect the story of Noah's passage, in the epistle of James, re disgrace, and the conduct of his quires the guilty neighbour to make three sons. Undoubtedly, Noah was suitable acknowledgments. Where drunken, but that did not excuse two persons have both conducted Ham for exposing his father. improperly towards each other, they Shameful son! .when he saw the are to make mutual concessions. sad condition of his father, he told
Our Saviour's rule of proceeding his two brethren. He should have with a brother, who has deviated been silent. He should have done from rectitude, conveys the doc as Shem and Japhet did; who would trine that the greatest prossible se not behold their veñerable sire in crecy ought to be observed concern disgrace. They “ took a garment, ing every sin.
and laid it upon both their shoul“ If thy brother shall trespass ders, and went backward, and coagainst thee, go and tell him his vered the nakedness of their fafault between thee and him alone." ther; and their faces were backWhy should the parties be alone? ward, and they saw not their faThat the scandal may be conceal ther's nakedness." This leads me ed. “If he shall hear thee, thou to remark, hast gained thy brother. But if he III. That those who reveal sewill not hear thee, then take with cret sins bring upon themselves thee one or two more.” Why should disgrace and infamy. This is the not more be taken? Two or three motive urged in the text, to prevent witnesses are sufficient; and if the men from discovering a secret to matter can be privately settled, it another. If you do not debate your is desirable that only a few should cause with your neighbour himself, know of the offence.
and keep silence with respect to If reparation can be made for an others, he who heareth your report offence in private, it is preferable shall put thee to shame, and thine to public conviction and censure. infamy shall be lasting. Our text conveys the same idea. You may repeat to me some tale If you have any difficulty to settle which dishonours your neighbour, with your neighbour; if he has and I will ask, “Why did you inyielded to sin, and you know it; if form me of this?” What answer he has formed vicious habits, and could you give, which would not, you would reform him; if he has by implication, at least, disgrace done any thing to offend you as a yourself? You would acquire the sufferer, or as a man and a Chris lasting infamy of a tale-bearer; for tian, “ debate thy cause with thy you could neither expect to beneneighbour himself."
fit me, nor yourself, nor others, by him, and attempt to convince and exposing him. You could not even reclaim him; instead of creeping
claim the false praise of many, slily to a neighbour's house, and who, communicating the report, with an “though faultier much themselves, injunction to keep silence.
pretend « Discover not a secret to ano
Their less offending neighbour's faults to ther.” Rather hate the sin, pity
mend.” the person, and be as silent as you The disgrace of discovering sewould wish him to be, were you,
cret sins will be manifest, if we at
POR THE PRESBYTERIAN MAGAZINE.
tend to the motives which common the day, tell what they have heard, ly actuate a tattler. Those who and superadd their own conjectalk must have some reason for tures, or say nothing. Sad, indeed, talking, or they must speak with would be their case, with their
sent feelings, were they forbidden Tattlers are commonly influen to speak any thing but sense, truth, ced by malevolence. They have a and merited praise. Verily, they pleasure in wounding the reputa would think liberty and life assailtion of their fellow men. They ed, if they were required to think love to see them suffer in the opi more, talk less, and relate only nion of their acquaintance. If they what common benevolence dictates. do not delight in the misery of Such will slander, thoughtlessly, others, why should they augment their own mother's son. it? Possibly the tattler has no cha “O my soul, come not thou into racter of his own to support or lose, their secret; unto their assembly and therefore wishes to reduce mine honour be not thou united!" others to his level. This is pure unadulterated malevolence. It is hatred, such as devils feel. Envy sometimes induces one to say
all he can, with truth, to the disadvantage
REFLECTIONS ON THE 1ST COR. of another. And what is envy, but
VII. 31. a kind of malevolence? When, " The fashion of this world passeth away.” therefore, we hear any person de “So teach us to number our days, scribing the actions or sentiments that we may apply our hearts unto of another, so as to make him ap wisdom,” is the prophet's prayer, pear ridiculous, we conclude that designed for the use and benefit of some baneful passion rankles in his the church. On what ought we to bosom. He cannot hope to do good, suppose this prayer is founded ? by exhibiting the darkest side of the The 90th psalm explains it. It is human picture to the scorn and de founded on the shortness of the
prerision of the multitude. He knows sent life, and on the necessity of a that he shall produce misery in the preparation of heart, to obtain a mind of the injured person, and in peaceful death and a glorious eterthe hearts of his friends. He is, nity, therefore, the hateful person who The fashion of this world passeth smiles at the tears, and exults at away. In the original the word renthe blushes, the sighs, and the dered fashion, signifies an accidentgroans of one, who in a fatal mo al and external figure, without subment was tempted, sinned, and by stance. It is the dress, the covera single act, ruined his temporaling or outside ; as if all the things peace.
of the world were mere surface. If the tattler be exculpated from This fashion, like the fleeting state the charge of malevolence, he must of its inhabitants, passes away. at least plead guilty to the accusa • Thou carriest them away as a tion of folly and stupidity. What flood," says the prophet. “They can be more foolish than the love are as sleep: in the morning they of gossipping? How stupid must he are like grass, which groweth up. be, who from the love of talking ex In the morning it flourisheth; in poses others, and even his friends! the evening it is cut down and wiTalk, talk, is the very soul and thereth."
And “we spend our life of some. They would nearly years as a tale that is told.” For as soon be dead as silent; and since the fashion of this world passeth their information is small, they away. These words intimate the must prattle about the scandal of changing state of all things earthly;
and imply a contrast between this dry; the fashion of the flood deworld and the world to come.
parted. Readers, blessed of heaven, you Noah went forth out of the ark. have the Bible-search it well. The God made a covenant with him, as beauty and the order of creation the head of the new world, and it are given you there. There also, was again peopled. But its fashion may you see the harmony which ex still passed away. The patriarchs, tended through these works of the where are they? The cities which Almighty ;-the harmony that ex they builded—the wells which they isted between man and the inferior digged—the altars with they rearcreatures, whilst man was innocent. el; where are they? All have passThe Almighty, beholding his finished works, pronounced them very The monarchies which followed good. Innocence was then the -has perpetuity stamped them ? fashion of human nature ; love No! given to change, they are passand duty were the fashion of hu ed away. Nineveh, that great city of man action. But ah! the tempter three days' journey, with all its came-man sinned, broke the co kings, once so powerful and splenvenant of God, became a rebel did ;-Babylon, the glory of the against Jehovah, and this happy Chaldean monarchy, once mistress fashion passed away.
of the east;Thebes, with her hunGo on with the history-read fur dred gates, and Tyre, the mart of ther-the earth was tilled-flocks nations, where are they? The trawere gathered and tended. The veller seeks them in vain. The earth became peopled, but violence fashion of the world has changed, was in it. And ah! with increase and they are passed away. of numbers we find an increase of The glory of Ephraim was Sacrimes. God was provoked with maria, and the strength of Rezin the wickedness of man, for it was was Damascus: Jerusalem was the great. “ And the Lord said, My royal palace of the house of David, spirit shall not always strive with and the place of Jehovah's temple. man, for that he also is flesh.”
But Ephraim was joined to his “ And every imagination of the idols—Samaria was taken by enethoughts of man's heart was only mies—her glory departed—and Daevil continually.” “And the Lord mascus lost her power among the said, I will destroy man, whom I nations. And Judah forsook the have created, from the face of the Holy One; she crucified God's earth; both man and beast, and the Messiah, and was given over to decreeping things, and the fowls of the struction. The fashion of these air; for it repenteth me that I have ancient places, and the glory of made them."
these ancient kingdoms passed But Noah, the worshipper of God, away. in the midst of a crooked and
I imagine to myself Jerusalem, verse generation, found grace in the as in the days of our blessed Saeyes of the Lord.
The ark was viour—à noble city, with massy builded-Noah and his family en gates ; having a temple in which the tered into it: the Lord shut him in. nation gloried-a temple which atThe flood of waters came upon the tracted and concentrated the Jews earth till all flesh was destroyed, from the four quarters of the globe. and the former fashion passed I imagine that I see crowds of Jews away.
from all nations flocking to JerusaAgain God remembered Noah lem to keep the sacred feasts. All and every living thing, which was seems busy-all is life. I look again; with him in the ark. The waters the city is in ruins-notemple meets were assuaged; the earth became my eye. The nation, humbled, cap