By D. T. Bourdeau.
We should not indulge in foolish talking and jesting, which, as Paul says, are not convenient, but should rather give thanks. Eph. v, 4. Again he says, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Chap. iv, 29; Col. iv, 6.
A good remedy for foolish talking and jesting is, giving thanks to the Lord. Foolish talking, jesting and joking are generally indulged in, when the mind is cheerful and feels well; and cheerfulness is good if it is rightly used. If any one has reason to be cheerful it is the Christian; and how appropriate it is to thank the Lord when we feel well. To do this, would keep our minds on the Lord and prevent us from talking foolishly. Says James, "Is any merry? let him sing psalms." James v, 13. Singing psalms and giving thanks unto the Lord, and speaking with grace, and in a manner to edify, would be more profitable and would leave a greater and more lasting satisfaction than to engage in a vain, empty, filthy and foolish conversation. Many have had to weep over foolish and trifling expressions; but no rational person was ever known to weep over a pure, elevating, graceful and instructive conversation.
The tongue should be employed in exalting and defending the truth, and in giving a reason of our hope.
In doing this in a proper manner, we can be a blessing to ourselves and to others. "A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth." Prov. xii, 14. Again, "The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life." Chap. x, 11. It invigorates, refreshes and gladdens the hearts of many. "A wholesome tongue (or the healing of the tongue, margin) is a tree of life;" and "the lips of the wise disperse knowledge and feed many." Prov. xv, 4, 7; x, 21.
But the tongue should use knowledge aright. Prov. xv, 2. To use knowledge aright, we must speak right words at the right time, in the right manner, with the right spirit and actuated by right motives.
"The tongue of the just is as choice silver." Prov. x, 20. Its words are choice words. They are well chosen. Among the many things that could be said on different occasions, we must speak the proper things, -- the things that are needed and that can be understood and appreciated; the things that will glorify God and do others good. Those who speak promiscuously, and say all they know on every occasion, cannot be said to use knowledge aright, and must injure and be a disgrace to any honorable cause in which they may engage. In this way the cause of truth has often been brought into disrepute by its professed friend.
"A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it till afterward." "He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit (or a cool spirit, margin)." Prov. xxix, 11; xvii, 27. He is swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. James i, 19. "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that
refraineth his lips is wise." Prov. x, 19. See also chap. xxix, 20; Eccl. v, 1-7.
Said Christ on a certain occasion, "I have yet many things to say unto you; but ye cannot bear them now." Jno. xvi, 12. We are so weak and our minds are so limited, that we cannot bear the whole truth at once. We must first learn and practice the alphabet of truth, and then we are prepared to understand and learn more truth and more difficult portions of truth. And we should learn from our own weakness and experience and from the dealings of the Lord with us, how we ought to deal out knowledge to others. To deal out difficult portions of truth at first, and present too many new ideas at once, would clog and confuse the minds of our hearers, and perhaps make them conclude that we have a confused mass of ideas, and give them an unfavorable opinion of the truths we advocate.
"A word fitly spoken, is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." Prov. xxv, 11. It often operates like a good medicine administered at the right time and in a proper manner. A physician who would be successful in his line of business, must first consider the physical condition of his patients and the nature of their diseases, and then he is prepared to administer unto them the proper kind of medicine. So he who would be successful in doctoring sin-sick souls, should first consider the moral condition of his patients and the nature of their moral diseases, and then he can tell what portions of truths are adapted to their respective cases, and at what time and in what manner they should be presented. And wise and successful is the person that can give to each a portion of truth in due season.
Some are not prepared to bear the same portions of truth that others can. Some can receive at one time and under certain circumstances, what they cannot receive at a different time and under different circumstances. Some need to be cheered and encouraged; others need to be checked. Some cases and circumstances call for sharp (yet meek) rebukes; others for moderate rebukes. Some cases call for open reproofs; others for secret reproofs. But every truth and every case should be handled with love.
There is a time to speak and a time to keep silence. "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." Prov. xvii, 28. There are many seasons when we ought to keep silence; and in many instances by speaking when we ought not to speak, we use knowledge wrong.
We use knowledge wrong when we say much about the truth, and yet obey not the truth. It would be wiser to talk less and live better. Those who have much to say about the truth, but whose lives do not agree with their profession, may be compared to a farmer who extols the qualities of a certain apple-tree in his orchard, and immediately presents a basket of miserable apples to those that hear him. If his hearers are not acquainted with him or with the tree he extols, they will say, The tree is bad and his taste is perverted; or he knows the tree is bad and wishes to deceive us. Many, not having an understanding of the truth because they have not examined it, will judge of the truth by the fruit that those bear who profess it; and if the fruit is bad, they will conclude that the profession or theory is also bad. True, this is not a logical conclusion. But we see how necessary
it is for those who talk the truth to live out the truth.
Knowledge is used wrong when the truth is constantly urged upon others, as though all success depended on much urging. In this way, many are wearied and disgusted, and made to feel that too much of one thing is good for nothing. Let us remember that God has something to do in enforcing the truth, that we cannot do. We should give God a chance to work by his Spirit and good angels, and should not get in the way and retard the progress of truth by overacting and going beyond the limits assigned unto us. If a clear presentation of truth, backed up by a consistent life and the spirit of truth, will not convince the honest, and lead them to action, what will?
Knowledge is used wrong when the truth is used as a club, and to get the ascendancy over others. By this course, honest souls are driven away from the truth and oppose it, who would otherwise ponder and receive it. We must not feel like a certain class whom David represents as saying, "With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?" Ps. xii, 4. It is not those who whip and drive souls who are accounted wise. The wisest of mean says, "He that winneth souls is wise."
Knowledge is used wrong when the truth is spoken from selfish motives, to get wordly gain, or to receive the praise of men, etc. Those who speak the truth from such motives, and with such objects in view, may prosper with those who love smooth things, as long as they keep in a popular channel, and dwell upon truths that are generally acknowledged, and that have no special cross connected with them; but let them leave this popular channel, and speak the whole truth, with the
glory of God and the good of souls in view, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear, and many will lose their worldly support and the praise and honor of men, to receive the salary of those who have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God; viz., persecution, reproach, want, privation, the honor and praise that come from God, with the promise of eternal life in the world to come. Doubtless if all who now profess to preach the truth were shut up to this salary, not a few would leave off preaching to adopt some other avocation.
Those who have an undue anxiety to fill the place of teachers while they overlook the necessary qualifications to teach the truth, would do well to consider the following injunction of James. "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation," or judgment, margin. James iii, 1. Mr. Whiting's translation reads as follows: "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that as such we must receive greater condemnation."
"The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth knowledge to his lips." Prov. xvi, 23. If we are careful to think before speaking, and with reference to speaking, we shall have more knowledge and know how to use it. We shall know when to keep silence, and when, what and how to speak, and will keep our souls from troubles. "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from troubles." Prov. xxi, 23. "He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile." 1 Pet. iii, 10.
Dear reader, if so much depends on the right use of the tongue, let us see to it that we weigh our words.
Let us keep our mouths as with a bridle, and take heed to our ways that we sin not with our tongues.
By D. T. Bourdeau, from his book: “Sanctification - SANCTIFICATION OR, LIVING HOLINESS”, 1864, p. 67 - 73.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thess. v, 23.
Blog Article edited by John Foll.
#Tongue #Foolish #Talk #Jesting #Thanks #Corrupt #Lord #Sing #Practice #Truth #Edify #Filthy #Vain #Empty #Blessing #Hearers #Love #Live #Reproach #Wise
By D. T. Bourdeau
"The tongue," says James, "is a little member, and boasteth great things.Behold, how great a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire of hell." James iii, 5, 6.
This is said of an unsanctified tongue, and shows that though the tongue is a small member yet it exerts a mighty influence. It sustains a relation to and exerts an influence over the whole body. It is compared to bits that we put in the horses' mouths and by which we turn about the whole body; and to a helm by which the mighty ships are turned whithersoever the governor listeth. Verses 3, 4. Such is the importance that James attaches to governing the tongue that he declares, "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole body." "If any among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain." Verse 2: Chap. i, 26. And Solomon must have been forcibly struck with the necessity of governing the tongue when he wrote, "Life and death are in the power of the tongue." Prov. xviii, 21.
The tongue, as an instrument of speech, is one of
those prerogatives which exalt man above the beast, and was designed by the Creator to express holy and virtuous thoughts. It is an index to the heart; "for out of the abundance of the heart," says our Saviour, "the mouth speaketh." Matt. xii, 35. The use that is made of the tongue indicates the moral condition of the heart, and consequently the character of the whole man; and there are as many ways in which men sin with their tongues as there are in which they sin with their thoughts, tempers and actions.
It is readily seen that the sanctification of the tongue is a vast subject. But we will confine ourselves to some leading principles and thoughts, and to some of the many Bible instructions on the subject.
And first, the tongue is rightly used in speaking of and addressing the Creator with reverence, according to his holy and exalted perfections and our dependence upon him. If we do this from the heart we shall not be guilty of taking God's holy name in vain. We shall realize his goodness and love, and will not be inclined to murmur against him, but will be grateful to him for his dealings with us, and for the least blessing we receive at his hand.
But while the tongue is properly used in speaking of, and addressing, God in a manner compatible with his holy perfections and our dependence upon him, it should speak of, and address, others with respect, according to the relations they sustain to us and the Creator. In speaking of the wrong use of the tongue, James says, "Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing My brethren, these things ought not so to be." James iii, 9, 10.
It is not a small matter to curse others with the tongue. If we curse our fellow creatures who are made in the image of God and have God for their Father, we offend God, and are not in a condition to bless or exalt him, and he cannot accept a blessing from us, Indeed, he cannot look on any thing that we can say to exalt him as a blessing. What we say of him proceeds from the same heart that leads us to curse those whom he has created, and over whom his care, love and mercy are extended. This is clearly illustrated in the following verses: "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh." Verses 11, 12.
Cursing is the opposite of blessing, and we can curse others in various ways. And the ungodly are not the only ones that are guilty here.James is here admonishing and correcting his "brethren."
We curse others with the tongue in slandering and backbiting.The unsanctified tongue is said to be full of deadly poison, and its deadly and poisonous influence is felt by others. It would be considered a heinous crime to put a portion of strychnine or arsenic into food prepared for others; but many consider it a light thing to poison the character of others, and injure their feelings by slandering, backbiting or talebearing. By these, thousands of innocent characters have been shamefully and maliciously martyred.
Many professed Christians are not guarded enough, and fail on this point. If they are tried with a brother or sister, and see or hear any thing unfavorable about them, they are sure to tell it to others, and perhaps in their tried condition they will put a wrong construction
on what they have learned; and if their remarks take and they are not checked, they will tell it to others, and then to others, and so on; and some are not satisfied till they have spread their slanderous reports among the enemies of truth. And then the poor, blinded, deceived souls may think they have done a noble work. But what have they done? They have got the sympathy of some, who will perish with them unless they repent. They have blown on and fed the fire of hatred which they in weakness suffered Satan to kindle in their breasts, till it has grown and kindled a great matter, and others have been set on fire of hell. They perhaps have discouraged weak and well-meaning brethren, who have not sufficient experience to meet their influence, and some of whom may never recover from the shock they have received. They have caused the good way to be evil spoken of, and some may have been shut out of the kingdom. The Spirit and lovers of peace have been grieved, and Satan and his contentious host rejoice.
It is not strange that those who know not God, and the power of his truth, should indulge in slandering and backbiting; but for those who profess to know God and his truth, for professed followers of Jesus Christ, to backbite and slander, is shameful and criminal in the extreme.
But thank God, those sins need not exist in the church of God, if gospel order and discipline are carried out. Says Christ, "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone," etc. Matt. xviii, 15-17. Here is the proper course marked out by the Saviour. First go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. He does not say, go and tell his fault to everybody
in the church and to everybody in the world. Those who do this err, and need to be immediately labored with themselves. If those who are tried with their brethren, would go directly to them with their grievances, they would not have so much to say, and much trouble might be saved.
But some will here say, if ever wisdom is needed it is in doing this duty. This is true. But James says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him;" chap. i, 5; and he describes heavenly wisdom as follows: "The wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." Chap. iii, 17. If every trait of this wisdom were fully examined, and strictly followed, this would be an easy duty to perform.
The following scriptures show how God looks upon slandering, backbiting and talebearing: "He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is fool." "Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes." "Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off." "For I fear, lest when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults." "Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer
among thy people. . . I am the Lord thy God." "He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth (or enticeth, margin) with his lips." "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out; so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth." Prov. x, 18; Ps. 1, 20; ci, 5; 2 Cor. xii, 20; Lev. xix, 16; Prov. xx, 19; xxvi, 20.
One of those sins of backslidden Israel over which Jeremiah was grieved, and which ripened Israel to receive the lingering wrath of Jehovah, was slandering. Jer. ix, 1-4. And when David undertakes to describe the man who will abide in the tabernacle of the Lord, and dwell in his holy hill, among other things he says, "He that backbiteth not with his tongue." Ps. xv, 1-3.
We should never use the tongue in speaking of others in any way to injure them. We should guard against bearing false witness. This is often done unintentionally by exaggerating. It is better to say nothing about the faults of others, than to speak of them in a manner to defame the character. When it becomes necessary to speak of the sins of our fellow creatures, we should show that while we hate sin, we love and pity the sinner. When we are about to speak concerning the faults of others, we should ask ourselves questions like these:Will what I am about to say benefit any one? Will it be rightly handled? Will it benefit the cause? Am I going to speak as I would like to have others speak of me if I were in the same condition?
Evil-speaking is strictly and repeatedly prohibited by the Scriptures; and under the head of evil-speaking, is speaking evil of dignities. Jude 8. The
evil of this sin is not realized by all. Some are liable to overlook the sacred position of those whom God calls to help in leading out his people toward the rest that remains for the children of God. Like ancient Israel, they look upon these agents as though the work with which they are connected was merely a human work, and speak accordingly. Some, like Korah, Dathan and Abiram, and a host of others, not realizing the weight and responsibilities of this work, will envy the position of those who are called to it. Num. xvi. They think they are of consequence and that the servants of God take too much upon themselves. They despise dominion, attribute the cause of their trials to dignities, and murmur when they are corrected for their sins. By pursuing this course they despise God, and murmur against him."He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me." Luke x, 16.
The fate of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and the punishment of others spoken of in the Scriptures, are sufficient to teach us how God regards this sin. But besides this, we have in the backsliding and fall of many within our own recollection, a clear demonstration of God's disapprobation for this sin, and of the necessity of guarding against it.
We curse others with the tongue in speaking angry words, in freting and scolding. No good has ever resulted from so doing. Angry words, fretting and scolding, have never benefited any one. They have often proved a curse and a source of much evil. They may overpower and intimidate the fearful for the time being; but they will never reform them. They are destructive of peace, affection, and
happiness. Peace and angry words do not exist together, and who can love habitual fretters and scolders with a love of approbation? Such are more dreaded than loved.Even the meek will feel an uneasiness while in the society of such. Though they may bear with, and pity them, they will feel as if among nettles and thistles.
[Editor removed: ‘
On the’ preceding ‘they have often’]
Thousands of families are made miserable and unhappy by irritating words. In many instances, parents fail here. Instead of speaking kind and cheerful words; they complain and fret and scold. As they do this, they are shut up to each others' faults. The husband sees no virtue in his wife, and the wife sees no virtue in her husband. Separation often follows. Many a husband has been driven to the tavern by a fretful and peevish wife, and many a wife has been discouraged / and made miserable by a fretful and complaining husband.
But the evil is not confined to the heads of families: the children generally imitate their parents. They do not obey them through love, but through fear and dread, and perhaps to not be annoyed by their fretting and scolding. Some children will conceal from their parents important matters, and tell falsehoods to avoid a scolding.Home has no attractions to such children; and many in discouragement will leave their parents.
Prov. xii, 18: "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health." While the unsanctified tongue causes discord, sorrow, gloom, discouragement and death, the sanctified tongue brings peace, joy, light, courage, health and life to those who use it, and to those who eat of its fruit.
It is quite an easy matter to speak pleasant and
cheerful words to the meek, to those who always bless us; but it is more difficult to speak words of pleasantness to those who address us with angry words, to such as curse and revile us. But we are expressly commanded to bless them that curse us, to bless and curse not, to not render railing for railing. Luke vi, 28; Rom. xii, 14; 1 Pet. iii, 9. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow in his steps. . . . Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." 1 Pet. ii, 21-23.
"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." Prov. xv, 1. In our intercourse with our fellow-creatures, a spoonful of oil is better than a quart of vinegar. By taking revenge of an injury we are only even to our enemy; but by passing it over we are superior. And a more glorious victory cannot be obtained over another than to return injury with kindness. Those who give away to anger and speak angry words, manifest real weakness of soul. They may at times think they gain victories over their enemies; but they are overcome by Satan and their own corrupt propensity. They are apt to say things that they would be ashamed of if they were in their right mind. For instance how liable some are to call others fools, devils, etc., when they are angry with them. But Christ shows in what light he views these rash and irritating expressions when he says, "Whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca (or vain fellow, margin), shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall
say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Matt. v, 22.
Christ pronounces a blessing upon peace-makers. He says, "They shall be called the children of God." Matt. v, 9. In striving to make peace they imitate their Creator, who has done so much to bring peace into this revolted province, and to reconcile us unto himself. God sacrificed his dearly beloved Son for this object, and can we not deny ourselves a little, by not indulging in angry expressions? Can we not encourage and enforce the principles of peace by a meek and godly conversation?
The tongue is wrongly used in lying, and should be employed in telling the truth. The Lord has spoken clearly and repeatedly on this point, both in the Old and New Testaments, showing the evil that is caused by lying, and setting forth the awful consequences that await liars, and the advantages and blessings that result from telling the truth.
Lying originated with the Devil, who is the father of lies, and a liar from the beginning. He lied to Eve and beguiled her, and since then, lying has been practiced in many ways, and for various purposes.
But the lying tongue cannot be relied upon. It is ever looked upon with suspicion by the prudent. But it is considered safe to confide in those who are always known to tell the truth. He that sets out to tell a lie is not sensible of the task he undertakes; for he may be forced to invent many more to support it.
Lying is often practiced to get gain. This is seen in buying and selling.It has almost become a universal custom for those who sell to speak too highly of the articles they hold out for sale, and to say little or nothing about their defects, thus making an impression
that these articles are worth more than they really are; and for those who buy to undervalue the articles they wish to buy, and to say little or nothing about their qualities, thus conveying the idea that they are worth less than they are in reality.
And just here we would notice the case of Ananias and Sapphira.They sold their possession, and kept back part of the price, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. They lied in trying to convey the idea that they had brought the whole price. But what language was used to convey this false idea? Peter said to Sapphira, "Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea for so much." Acts. v. And the fate of Ananias and Sapphira is known to all Bible students.
Doubtless if many at the present time were in the condition of Ananias and Sapphira, and were permitted to live and speak for themselves, they would justify themselves somewhat as follows: Why, I did not lie: I said I sold it for so much. I did sell it for that and something else. But would such be more justified than were Ananias and Sapphira?And will not the punishment of such be as certain as was theirs?
One common way of lying is to attempt to uphold error by the word of the Lord. Those who do this knowingly, or ignorantly when they might have known but refused to know, may be classed among liars. In order to give force to what they say, and make their remarks appear truthful, they must intimate or affirm that the Lord has spoken when he has not spoken; that the Bible says thus and so when it does not.
Cases of lying spoken of in the Bible are sometimes referred to, to prove that guile may be used on certain
occasions to bring about a good end; and falsehoods are often told to cover sin. But the Bible nowhere justifies lying. It teaches that we should not do evil, that good may come. None of those who used guile in Bible times were blessed of God for lying; but such as were blessed of God, were blessed for good traits that they possessed; and their lives would shine brighter in the heavenly records if they had not spoken guile.
No consideration should lead us to practice deceit. It is better to frankly confess our sins than to tell falsehoods to cover them, and to lose by telling the truth, than to gain by using guile. Of the holy Pattern we read, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." 1 Pet. ii, 22. And of the last church it is written, "The remnant of Israel shall do no iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth." Zeph. iii, 13. "And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." Rev. xiv, 5.
The tongue is wrongly used in speaking vain and idle words. "But I say unto you, That for every idle word that men shall speak they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Matt. xii, 36, 37. If all were duly impressed with the truthfulness of this solemn declaration of the Saviour, vain and idle words would be fewer than they now are. But men will have to give account for their idle words in the day of judgment, whether they realize it or not. By our words we will either be justified or condemned in that day.
"How careful then ought we to live,
With what religious fear,
Who such a strict account must give
Of our behavior here."
By D. T. Bourdeau, from his book: “Sanctification - SANCTIFICATION OR, LIVING HOLINESS”, 1864, p. 55 - 67.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thess. v, 23.
Blog Article edited by John Foll
#Tongue #Fire #Hell #Curse #God #Holy #Bless #Backbiting #Talebearer #Bitter #Slander #Peace #Spirit #Love #Shame #Fault #Private #Strife #Wrath #Angry