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On the Vices of the Tongue.

On the Vices of the Tongue.

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Published by glennpease
REV. DAVID TAPPAN, d. d.


James iii. 8.

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly e^iUfull
of deadly poison*
REV. DAVID TAPPAN, d. d.


James iii. 8.

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly e^iUfull
of deadly poison*

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 14, 2013
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04/24/2014

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On the Vices of the Tongue.
REV. DAVID TAPPA, d. d.James iii. 8.But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly e^iUfullof deadly poison*T-. 'i^';HE apostle in this chapter gives a lively represeA^*tation of the unbounded guilt and mischief produced bythe tongue. He compares the mighty and extensiveinfluence of this litde member to that of bits in themouth of the horse, of the small helm, which com-mands the greatest ships, and of a little fire spreadinginto a devouring flame.These similies are equally just and strong. For asthe tongue, when duly governed, like a bridle or ahelm, has a beneficent and commanding influence onthe whole body, or on the general course of human ac-tion ; so a tongue loosened from moral restraint leadsto dreadful consequences, resembling those of givingthe reins to the unbroken steed, of neglecting the rud-der in the midst of rocks and tempests, or of letting afire rage uncontrolled amid a large collection of com-bustible materials. Having previously observed, thatthe most fierce and venomous brutes have been tamedby mankind, he adds, in the text; *'But the tonguecan no man tame ;" that is, either no man can subduehis own tongue in a perfect manner, or by his own in-dependent power and skill ; or none can tame the licen-tious lips of others, so as entirely to check the breath of Ser. VIII.} THE VICES OF THE TOGUE. S9
 
slander and falsehood, of obscenity and profaneness,**It is an unruly evil," which breaks over the strongestbarriers — " full of deadly poison;" ever ready to infectand kill the reputation, virtue, and comfort of all withinits reach.The words thus explained lead us to enumerate andreprove the most common and glaring instances of thisunruly and destructive evil. Though the apostle tellsus that no man can tame it, this should not discouragethe friends and teachers of religion from attempting thenecessary, though arduous task ; for with God all tilingsare possible ; he has commanded us to warn the wick-ed ; and he often blesses his ow^n institutions for theconversion of his enemies as well, as the edification of his friends.The most prevalent and pernicious examples of anungoverned tongue are those, which follow.First. Profane discourse. This comprehends anunmeaning, irreverent, or wanton use of the name of God, on trivial occasions ; to embellish the sallies of wit ; to give expression and force to the vehemence of passion ; to add new credit to assertions or promises ;to impress awe and submission on servants or inferiors ;or to display a spirit of independence, and a superiorityto vulgar superstition. It also includes that more timidor implied profanity, which, though restrained by law,or by character, by some regard to friends or to con-science, from explicit irreverence or imprecation, is yetfond of lisping or abridging the language of impiety, andoften steps on the borders of an oath, by transgressingthe limits of simple affirmation or denial ! Are there anytongues in this assembly, which answer to either of these descriptions? I must faithfully admonish theirowners, that they possess and are diftusing a poisonousand destructive evil. Their profane conversation is a
 
96 O THE VICES [See. VIII.dishonour to themselves, an injury to their compan-ions, an outrage to society, and an affront to their Maker.It i^ a dishonour to themselves, as it proclaims boththeir folly and rudeness. It certainly discovers a fool-ish and empty mind to introduce the most awful namesand protestations to sanction trifles, to supply the wantof sentiment, or to fill up the gaps of discourse. Thispractice is also foolish, as it has no plausible motive orexcuse. It gratifies no constitutional appetite or pas-sion. It procures no advantage, pleasure, or glory.It displays no politeness or liberality. On the contrary,it offends all decent company by its coarseness and bar-barity. It insults the feelings, sentiments, and institu-tions of civilized men, but especially the religion andlaws of every Christian community. It operates as amortal pestilence to society by corrupting its moral andreligious character, and thus subverting its order andwelfare, and drawing down upon it the curse of Heaven.It is a deadly poison both to the state and the church bygradually extinguishing all reverence for the oaths of theformer, and the sacred institutions of the latter.The profane swearer likewise unspeakably injures hisassociates, by depraving their moral faculties and feel-ings, or by lightly uttering against them the most dread-ful imprecations. He also commits practical suicide,either by directly wishing the curse of God on his ownhead, or by boldly challenging his almighty vengeance.He offers the greatest abuse to the name and attributesof Deity, by making them the expletives, the ornaments,or the attestations of every wanton or passionate effii-sion. He virtually and openly abjures his Christianbaptism, and proclaims himself an infidel and a heathen.Agreeably, when Peter was charged with being a dis-ciple of Jesus, he in the hour of trial resorted to cursingand swearing, as a confutation of the charge. By this

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