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Proverb faith of a Flayl, is much truer of a Slano dering Tongue, that, There is no Fence against it. If any thing be a fure Protection from it, one would think the most Spotless Innocence, and the most Exemplary Virtue needs must, but che Example of our Blessed Saviour assures us of the Contrary. No Man ever arrived to His Innocence or Vertue; but for all that, never was any one so strangely Wronged in his Goods Name as He. Though no Man more Practised or Taught Loyalty, yet was He Represented as an Enemy to Cæfar: Though never had the Devil such an Enemy, yet was he Calum. niated as a Great Wizzard, in league with Beelzebub the Prince of the Devils. Though never was the Breast of any cne so possessed with Divine Love, nor any man's Mind with so great a Reverence, and Veneration of the Die vine Majesty, yet was He Stigmatized with the Blackest of all Marks and Characters, viz. That of a Blasphemer. And as the most horrid Slans ders were invented and published to the World of Him, so were they generally believed too. There is Nothing we are Owners of that's so Exposed to the Mercy of others, as are our Good-Names. Whosoever hach a Tongue in his
C 2 : Head, Head, if he be but Wicked enough, and not Universally kn won to be a Wicked Man, can, when he pleaseth, do our Names a mischief. The Wise man faith, Prov. 25. 18. that A Man that beareth falfe Witness against his Neighbour, is a Maul, and a Sword, and a Sharp Arrow. That is, He is made up and Compounded of all fatal Mischiefs. A Maul cannot give greater Bruises, nor more effectually Fell to the ground, than this sort of Weapon : Nor a Sword pierce deeper, or Cut and Slash more Cruelly: Nor a sharp Arrow wound at a greater distance, no nor at nothing so great a distance; for there is no geta ring out of the Reach of a Slandering Tongue; nor is there any where to be found Security against it: I mean, besides the Special and Exs traordinary Providence of God. St. James tells us in the fore-mentioned Chapter, ver. 7. &c. that Every kind of Beasts, and of Birds, and of Serpents, and things in the Sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of Man-kind; But the Tongue (viz: The Tongue of a Slanderer, as is plain by ver. 9.) can no Man tame, it is an unruly Evil, (such an Evil as there is no dealing with it) full of deadly Poison : Such as is too strong for the most Sovereign Antidote.
Many (faith the Son of Syrack) bave fallen by the Edge of the Sword, but not so many as have fallen by the Tongue : Well is he that is defended from it, and bath not passed through the Venome thereof. Who bath not drawn the Toke thereof, nor bath been bound in its bands? For the Yoke thereof is as a Yoke of Iron, and the bands thereof as bands of Brass. The death thereof is an evil death, the Grave were better than it. So that the Slanderer being an Enemy, against whose Assaults the greatest Human Power, Policy or Wisdom, cannot wholly defend us; well mnight King David conceive so high a displeasure against him, as he here expresseth. And the like displeasure doth he declare against him, Psalm. 120. 2, 3, 4. Deo liver my Soul, O Lord, from lying Lips, and from a : deceitful Tongue. What shall be given unto thee, or what shall be done unto thee thou falle Tongue ? Sharp Arrows of the Mighty, with Coals -of Juniper. Or, with hot burning Coles, according to the other Translation.
I proceed now to make some Application of what hath been said; And it shall be This.
First, This little we have discoursed on this Argument, is abundantly enough to render the :
Sin of Slandering our Neighbour most abominable in our Eyes. I mean,
1. The Sin of Deviling and Inventing Defa. mations and Slanders. This indeed is such a wickedness as one would think it should be needless to caution those against it, I will not say, who profess Christianity, but who have not bid adieu to all Humanity. It is such a Black, such a Hellish Sin, as that the Devil hath both his chief Names and Chara&ters from it.
O Aldor@, i.e. This Name Devil, signifies the Slanderer. Satan signifies the Spiteful Enemy.
The chief Characters we meet with in Scripture of the Devil, are these two, The Father of Lies, and The Accuser of the Brethren. And therefore nothing can denominate us more perfectly like the Devil, than this forging of Lies and Calumnies against our Brethren. And we fee, Pfalm. 50. 19, Gc. with what severity the Great God expresseth himself against those that dare to commit This Sin. Saith He, Thou givet thy Mouth to Evil, and thy Tongue frameth Deceit. Thou fittest and speakest against thy Brother, thou flanderest thine own Mothers Son. These things haft thrú done, and I kept silence ; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thy self : But
1. will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine Eyes. And v. 16. He asks fuch as Thele, What they had to do to declare his Statutes, or that they should take his Covenant into their Mouths : Or to make profession of his Religion, or indeed of any Religion. And V. 2 2. He threatens them that He would tear them in Pieces, and there should be none to deliver, if they would not consider what he now had said, and lay it to heart.
King Solomon puttech this - Practice of Slandering, in the number of those Sins, which God. Abominates in a more Especial manner. Prov.: 6.16. Gr. These fix things doth the Lord hate, jea seven are an Abomination to him. A Proud Look, a Lying Tongue, and Hands that shed Innocent Blood: An Heart that deviseth Wicked Imaginaticons : Feet that be. swift in Running to Mischief :.
A False Witness that speaketh Lies : And he that Joweth Discord among Brethren. And indeed all, these Seven things, except the first, are such as make the proper Character of This sort of Slan-, derers I am now exposing. And Rev. 22. 15.. Whosoever, loveth · and maketh a Lie, is reckoned. with Dogs and Sorcerers, and Wiboremongers, and, Murtherers, and Idolaters ; who are to have their,