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Ser. III. Itance if we take in the future, and the
whole; this being implied in the Notion of a good and perfect Administration of things. Thus they who have been so wise in their Generation as to regard only their own supposed Interest, at the Expence and to the Injury of others, shall at last find, that he who has given up all the Advantages of the present World, rather than violate his Conscience and the Relations of Life, has infinitely better provided for himself, and secured his own Interest and Happiness.
JAMES i. 26.
ous, and bridleth not his Tongue, but de-
HE Translation of this Text would Ser:IV. be more determinate if it were ren
dered more literally thus: If any Man among you seemeth to be religious, not bridling his Tongue, but deceiving his own Heart, this Man's Religion is vain. This determines that the Words, but de. ceiveth his own Heart, are not put in Opposition to seemeth to be religious, but to bridleth not his Tongue. The certain de
Ser. IV.terminate Mcaning of the Text then being
that he who seemeth to be religious,and bridleth not his Tongue, but in that particular deceiveth his own Heart, this Man's Religion is vain ; we may observe somewhat very forcible and expressive in these Words of St. James : As if the Apostle had said, No Man surely can make any Pretences to Religion, who does not at least believe that he bridleth his Tongue; if he puts on any Appearance or Face of Religion, and yet does not govern his Tongue, he must surely deceive himself in that particular, and think he does: And whoever is so unhappy as to deceive himself in this, to imagine he keeps that unruly Faculty in due Subjecti
when indeed he does not, whatever the other part of his Life be, his Religion is vain ; the Government of the Tongue being a most material Restraint which Virtue lays us under, without which no Man can be truly religious.
In treating upon this Subject, I will consider,
First, What is the general Vice or Fault here referred to; or what Disposition in Men is supposed in Moral Reflections and Precepts concerning bridling the Tongue.
Secondly, When it may be said of any Ser. IV. one, that he has a due Government over himself in this respect.
1. Now the Fault referred to, and the Disposition supposed, in Precepts and Reflections concerning the Government of the Tongue, is not Evil-speaking from Malice, nor Lying or bearing false Witness from indirect selfish Designs. The Disposition to these and the actual Vices themselves, all come under other Subjects. The Tongue may be employed about and made to serve all the Purposes of Vice, in tempting and deceiving, in Perjury and Injustice. But the Thing here supposed and referred to, is Talkativeness; a Disposition to be talking, abstracted from the Consideration of what is to be said, with very little or no Regard to, or Thought of doing, either Good or Harm, And let not any imagine this to be a slight Matter,and that it deserves not to have so great Weight laid upon it, till he has considered what Evil is implied in it, and the bad Effects which follow from it. It is perhaps true, that they who are addicted to this Folly would choose to confine themselves to Trifles and indifferent Subjects, and so intend only to be guilty of being imper
Ser. IV.tincnt: But as they cannot go on for ever m ,
talking of Nothing, as common Matters will not afford a sufficient Fund for perpetual continued Discourse; when Subjects of this Kind are exhausted, they will go on to Defamation, Scandal, divulging of Secrets, their own Secrets as well as those of others, any thing rather than be filent. They are plainly hurried on in the Heat of their Talk to say quite different Things from what they first intended, and which they afterwards wish unlaid; or improper things, which they had no other End in saying but only to afford Employment to their Tongue. And if these People expect to be hcard and regarded, for there are some content meerly with talking, they will invent to engage your Attention; and when they have heard the lcast imperfect Hint of an Affair, they will out of their own Head add the Circumstances of Time and Place, and other Matters to make out their Story, and give the Appearance of Probability to it: Not that they have any Concern about being believed, otherwise than as a Means of being heard.
The thing is to engage your Attention, to take you up wholly for the present Time; what Reflections will be made