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The Unbridled Tongue

The Unbridled Tongue

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. N. P. KNAPP



" If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but
deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain." — James i. 26.
BY REV. N. P. KNAPP



" If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but
deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain." — James i. 26.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 19, 2013
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THE UBRIDLED TOGUEBY REV. . P. KAPP" If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not histongue, butdeceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain." — James i. 26.It is a wise maxim, and one which is fully recognised by thegospel of Jesus Christ, that "out of the abundance of the heartthe mouth speaketh." And as the word of God is a discernerof the thoughts and intents of the heart, laying bare the secretmotives and hidden springs of action, to bring them into judg-ment, words are as much subject to condemnation as deeds. Suchseems to be the doctrine of Jesus when he says to the Jews, that" every idle word that men speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified,and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." And this is onlycarrying out the principle that true religion is seated in the heart."A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringethforth that which is good, and an evil man, out of the evil trea-sure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is evil." " Out of theheart proceed all evil thoughts." Hence it becomes a fair test of the religious character of any person, according to the maxim of our Saviour already quoted, what is the spirit of conversation, andwhat is the control of that unruly member, the tongue, which suchperson habitually displays ; for, however religious any man mayseem to be in all other matters, yet, if he does not bridle his tongue,and bring it into subjection to the rule of the gospel, that man'sreligion is vain : he deceiveth his own heart with the show of re-ligion." The powers of speech," says one who knew well the proper useof her own, " are among the most important committed to our284 SERMO XXXIII.
 
charge ; and as capable as any other of a right or a wrong culti-vation ; there is this only difference, that while other powers liedormant from neglect, these will be in action whether cultivatedor not, and if we do not direct them to the right, will most cer-tainly expend themselves on the wrong."The truth of this general remark will hardly be disputed. Itmay be followed by another more nearly connected with the matterof our text, that it is often found much easier to control the appe-tites, and refrain from doing wrong, than to restrain the tonguewithin the bounds of sobriety and peace. Even professing Chris-tians fail in this respect, when they have succeeded in establishingtheir religious character in all other points ; and he must be ameeker man than Moses, who has never "spoken unadvisedlywith his lips." Indeed the apostle regards it as the perfectionof the religious character, to be able to govern the tongue so as tocommit no offence. "If any man offend not in word, the same isa perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body." For everykind of beasts and of birds and of serpents, and of things in thesea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind ; but the tonguecan no man tame."This notion of the difficulty of refraining the lips from evil, andsubjecting the speech to the rule of Christian morality, while itshould serve to make us patient under any wholesome correction, — ought not be an encouragement to license ; it should rather ex-cite shame and a diligent effort to overcome the evil, which is soprevalent and seemingly incorrigible. For, what is the state of the case ? — Every wild beast of whatever nature, has been subduedby the reason, skill and courage of man ; and the mischief whichmight have been caused by them, is in some measure prevented.But the tongue, which, in its proper employment, should only showforth the glory of God, and be made subservient to the best in-terests of society, is suffered to be " an unruly evil, full of deadlypoison.". o way could ever be found to subdue the tongue, or to preventthe wicked from corrupting the principles, polluting the imagina-tions, and inflaming the passions by their mischievous discourse.
 
Men will slander and revile each other, and will not set a watchupon their lips, that they speak no evil. Ah ! here is a glancingat the remedy for the evil. The apostle speaks of the want of powerSERMO XXXIII. 285in man to curb the tongue. The natural powers which give himthe mastery of the beasts of the forest, are foiled here. Howstrongly he intimates the need of the grace of God, causing theconstant watch over the lips, and keeping it. As David prayedthat God would set a watch upon his lips, so must the Christianalways seek the same divine aid in his efforts to curb an unrulymember.We propose to consider, at this time, evil speaking — its preva-lence and various modes ; and the most effectual check to it.Evil speaking, which of course includes what is generally calledscandal, as well as slander, is a fault which pervades every classof society, high and low, fashionable and polite, sedate and re-ligious. Go where you may, you will hardly escape its variedtones — "their sound has gone out into all the earth."You may as well pillow your head upon the ocean's rock andsay you will not hear its surges, as seek to escape from the voiceof evil speaking. It admits of great variety of shade and feature,and of every degree of guilt, from the idle word which is uttered inself-indulgence, reckless of the wound it may cause, to the delibe-rate and malicious insinuation which stabs the fair fame of anenemy or a rival. In some classes of society it partakes of thefrivolous character of the pursuits and occupations of the circle,and turns upon persons, fortunes and connexions, doing little in- jury, perhaps, and only to be deprecated as an abuse of one of the gifts of God, which might and should be used for the well-beingof society. But in a more rational society, as if, the better thesoil the ranker the weed, evil speaking assumes a more dangerouscharacter. There the conduct and reputation of individuals aremade the objects of attack. ot only are faults eagerly exposed,

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