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speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how to answer every man:"1 "He that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.”2 David made this resolve,- I will take beed to my ways, that I offend not in my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle."3 The following may serve as a reason for discretion of speech: "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin; but he that refraineth his lips is wise." 4 But the weightiest of all arguments is in the following words of Christ, "I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall 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." 5

6. Kind and temperate speech has a happy influence upon most people: it will repel and soften the most obdurate spirits. "A soft answer turneth away wrath." If mild reproofs fail, sharp ones will be sure to aggravate. Dr. Dodd has well said, Passionate reproofs are like medicines given scalding hot: the patient cannot take them. If we wish to do good to those we reprove, we should labour for meekness of wisdom, and use soft words and hard arguments.'

7. Rollin relates an excellent story of Æsop, the fabulist, which I shall state in short:- Æsop, though so wise a man, was the slave of Xanthus. One day his master designing to treat some friends, ordered Esop to provide the best of every thing he could find in the market. Æsop

1 Col. iv. 6.

3 Psalm xxxix. 1.

21 Pet. iii. 10. Eph. iv. 29.
4 Prov. ix, 19.

5 Matt. xii. 36.

bought nothing but tongues, which he desired the cook to serve up with different sauces. When the dinner came, the first and second courses, and the removes, were all tongues. Xanthus, in a' violent passion, said, ' Did I not order you to buy the best victuals the market afforded?' And have I not obeyed your orders?' replied Æsop: Is there any thing better than a tongue? Is not the tongue the bond of civil society, the key of sciences, and the organ of truth and reason,' &c. 'Well then, (replied Xanthus, thinking to catch him,) go to market again to-morrow, and buy me the worst of every thing: the same company will dine with me, and I have a mind to diversify my entertainment.' Esop the next day provided nothing but the very same dishes. The master was as angry now as on the preceding day; but Esop justified himself, by telling him that the tongue was certainly the worst thing in the world. It is (said he) the instrument of all strife and contention, the fermenter of law-suits, and the source of divisions and wars; it is the organ of error, of lies, calumny, and blasphemy.'1

8. We may learn a useful lesson from the cranes about Mount Taurus: The heights and recesses are said to be much occupied by eagles, who are never better pleased than when they can pick the bones of a crane. Cranes are very prone to cackle and make a noise, and particularly so while they are flying. The sound of their voice rouses the eagles, who spring at the signal, and often make the talkative itinerants pay dear for their impru-! dent loquacity. The older and more experienced cranes, sensible of their besetting foible, and of 1 Vol. iii. p. 257.

2 See Isaiah xxxviii. 14.

the peril to which it exposes them, take care, before they venture on the wing, to arm themselves each with a stone, large enough to fill the cavity of their mouths, and consequently to impose inevitable silence on their tongues.'

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9. Silence is my friend....Impertinent and lavish talking is in itself a very vicious habit....How often have I found reason to wish that I had not been in company, or that I had said nothing when I was there. 2

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10. I am resolved, by the grace of God, never to speak much, lest I often speak too much; and not to speak at all rather than to no purpose: never to deliver my words out to the world by number, but by weight; not by quantity, but by quality.' 3

11. Above all, be sure to set a guard on the tongue, whilst the fretful mood is upon you. The least spark may break out into a conflagration, when cherished by a resentful heart, and fanned by the wind of angry breath. Aggravating expressions at such a time, are like oil thrown upon flames, which always make them rage the more.'

12. Seasonable temperate speech is of great importance, especially when we come in contact with fiery-tempered persons. Indeed, there is no better way of dealing with such, than either to give them pleasant words or keep silent altogether. It is indeed a strong proof of a truly Christian spirit, when we can be contented to remain silent, although misrepresented, rather than prolong disputes which endanger Christian harmony.' 6

1 Toplady, vol. iv. p. 232.

3 Bishop Beveridge.

5 See Prov. xv. 18; xvi. 24.

2 à Kempis.

4 Mason.

6 Milner, vol. v. p. 184.

13. If the circumstances of the case leave it possible, it is best to keep silent under provoking language from others; because, if we speak at all, it is then a much more difficult thing to speak with calmness, or to give over when we find we are losing command of ourselves. You may think you could say something very quietly, that would stop those speeches that offend you; but depend upon it, it is a temptation which, nine times out of ten, will draw you on to your sorrow or your shame. Never be off your guard, and never face the smallest temptation in your own strength.'1

14. "A soft answer turneth away wrath;" "a soft tongue breaketh the bone." These are truths which have been often proved. The following circumstance is an instance in point:-A Bible committee, re-canvassing their district, entered the premises of a manufacturer, and made known to him their errand: he answered in a profane and contemptuous manner, and told them to go home and read the Bible themselves: upon which one of them said, Sir, we have read the Bible, and we know its value; and because we know its value, we have come to recommend the cause of its distribution to you.' They handed him a report of the Association, stating that it explained the objects of the institution, and solicited his perusal of it, telling him they would wait upon him again in a week. Punctual to their engagement, they called, when, after some conversation, he directed his name to be put down for a guinea a-year.3

15. The following circumstance is not inappropriate :--When Sir Matthew Hale dismissed a

1 Cottage Magazine, vol. I.

2 Prov. xxv. 15. 3 Report xv. of the Southwark Auxiliary Society.

jury, because he was convinced it had been illegally chosen to favour the protector, the latter was highly displeased with him; and when Sir Matthew returned from the circuit, Cromwell told him in anger, that he was not fit to be a judge; to which all the answer he made was, that it was very true. Be it remembered, this Cromwell and his partisans were men of renown, famous for godliness above all the godly in the nation, or in the world, devoutly bent on correcting all abuses temporal and spiritual, and tolerating nothing but pure justice!

16. Augustine gives an excellent account of his mother's temper:- My father was passionate, but his spirit benevolent. My mother knew how to bear with him when angry, by a perfect silence and composure; and when she saw him cool, would meekly expostulate with him. Many matrons in her company would complain of the blows and harsh treatment they received from their husbands, whose tempers were yet milder than my father's: then she would exhort them to govern their tongues, and remember the inferiority of their condition. And when they expressed their astonishment that it was never heard that Patricius, a man of so violent a temper, had beaten his wife, or that they ever were at variance a single day, she informed them of her plan. Those who followed it thanked her for the good success of it, and those who did not experienced vexation.'1

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