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"Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out" — Proverbs
XXVI, 20.

"Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out" — Proverbs
XXVI, 20.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 26, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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O FUEL, O FIREBY JAMES CRAIG BUCHAA, M. A."Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out" — ProverbsXXVI, 20.11*^X7 HERE no wood is, the fire goeth out." Or, aswe might put it even more briefly, "o fuel, nofire."You see how the master-artist in proverb-writing ap-plies this particular proverb in the first instance. "Strife,"or contention, is as 'a fire; heating the spirit, burning upall that is good, and putting families and societies into aflame.' Here, then, we are told how that fire of strifeis usually kindled and kept burning; that we may knowwhat to do — or what not to do — in order to let the fire'go out.' Stop putting on fuel: in other words, stop thetale-bearing.The Bible has some very terse and trenchant things tosay about "tale-bearing" or "whispering." "Thou shaltnot go up and down as a talebearer among thy people,"says the old Hebrew Law: and you may be sure thatwas one of the sayings of "them of old time" which ourSaviour did not repeal. In the passage before us thisevening it is said, "The words of a talebearer are aswounds:" and in another chapter of the Book of Prov-erbs we read, "A whisperer separateth chief friends."Then in his Epistle to the Romans, in a catalogue of those types of people who 'do not like to retain God in189190 The Imperishable Hearttheir knowledge,' but have been 'given over to a reprobate
mind, to do those things which are not convenient,' inthat catalogue St. Paul includes "whisperers." And, inwriting to the Corinthians, the same Apostle expressesthe fervent hope that he may find no "whisperings"among them when he reaches their city.I would refer you, also, to such Scripture sayings asthese — on the taming of the tongue. "I will take heedto my ways, that I sin not with my tongue." "Set awatch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of mylips." "If any man among you seemeth to be religious,and bridleth not his tongue, . . . this man's re-ligion is vain." And, scores of similar passages. It wouldbe interesting to make a collection of Scripture passagesreferring to the use of the tongue — the use of words — the right and godly use of words; which may be eitherthe finest or the foulest things in this world of speakinghumans.Well then, "Where no wood is, the fire goeth out: sowhere there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth." — ofuel, no fire: so — no talebearer, no turmoil.The trouble is, so many people seem to delight in add-ing fuel to the fire in this matter. Some men wouldrather carry tales to 'whisper' with, than tools to work with ; and some women would rather be talebearers thanchildbearers.Of course the talebearer does not wish to be reckonedmalicious; and so he usually introduces his blightingstory by apparently implying that he — for one — does notwish to believe it. "Surely it can't be true that" — andso on. Or, "She's a fine girl, but it's a pity she" — ando Fuel, o Fire 191so on. And the devilish work of stoking the fire of scan-
dal and strife has begun. "False apostles," says the ewTestament, "deceitful workers, transforming themselvesinto the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for SatanHimself is transformed into an angel of light."Anyhow, it is all too rife in this world, — the 'tale-bearing,' the 'whispering:' and perhaps especially rife inthe smaller communities of the civilized Countries, andmany a cluster of human habitations which is beautiful tolook upon and attractive to people of good taste is rottenwith 'talebearing' and scandal-mongering. Ay, the flawin the landscape may be, not in the place, but in the peo-ple. As you read in the Book of Genesis of a certainPalestinian town, "And Lot lifted up his eyes, and be-held all the plain of Jordan, that it was well wateredeverywhere, . . . even as the garden of the Lord.. . . Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan;and . . . dwelt in . . . Sodom. But the menof Sodom" (the people of the place) "were wicked andsinners before the Lord exceedingly."What, then, is to be the remedy for all the irritationand strife and shame that are caused by this 'talebear-ing?' Obviously, stop the talebearing. Cut it out. Cutoff the supply of fuel. For "where no wood is, the firegoeth out:" no fuel, no fire.Unfortunately the fuel, in this matter, is not easy toget at, so that we may keep it out of the fire. It is notall gathered together in one place, — like the wood in awood-pile or the coal in a coal-cellar. It is scattered allabout. There is rather a quaint story told of St. Philiperi, — a prominent Italian Churchman of the 16th cen-192 The Imperishable Hearttury; to whom, one day — in course of confession, a lady

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