We should not indulge in foolish talking and jesting, which, as Paul says, are not convenient, but should rather give thanks. Ephesians 5:4. 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." Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6 KJV. 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 5:13 KJV. 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," 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 3: 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. 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. 12:35 KJV. 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.
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