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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 iniquity, and set on fire of Hell, ic. from the Devil che Facber 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 car no man tame, as he goes on, v.8. that is, of himself without the concurrence of Divine Grace. Pray therefore for this Grace, that thou maist take heed to thy words, that thom offend nos with thy tongue. And for che becter regulating and governing of it, observe these Directions,
1. Begin at chy heart, if thou wouldf rightly govern thy tongue. 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, Mal. 12:34. The disorders of the tongue, usually proceed from the distempers of the heart. Idlenece of words, from vanity of thoughts ; Rashnesse of speech, from hastineffe 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 VCHIS it self by the 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
"P). be any che least touch of ill will, or envy in chec, towards the person spoken of. It will never fpeaks well. Under sense of wrong, our mindes are ape to run joco: 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. Paffion 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 anothers good name as thor 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 chou abhorrest to Jeal 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 toffe of is many have been rendred wfeless 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 least fufpitious : Gracious beares 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 intent was good; or it mighe proceed from ignorance, 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