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Drink not the third glass, which thou canst not tame
When once it is within thee; but before
Which it will pour to thee upon the floor.
Which would throw me there, if I kept the round.
Lie with his fifter : he hath lost the reins;
Did with the liquor slide into the veins.
All worldly right, save what he has by beast.
Lose all my own? God has given me a measure
A pain in that wherein he finds a pleasure ?
Then thou art modeft, but the wine grows bold.
(All in a shipwreck shift their sev'ral way.)
Be not a beast in courtesies; but stay,
as St James saith, is full of deadly poison, oaths, curses, blafphemies; and this poison it scatters up and down the world in all places; an untamed member that none can rule, Jam. iii. 7, 8. The fiercest of beasts have been tamed by man, as the 'apostle there observes, which is a relic of his old fuperiority and dominion over them: but this is an unruly member that none can tame but he that made it; -no beast fo fierce and crabbed as this is. It may be, I may be bitten by it for my labour and endeavours to put a restraint upon it: but I shall adventure it. My design is not to dishonour, or exafperate you; but if my faithfulness to God and you should accidentally do fo, I cannot help that.
Friends, Providence oftentimes confines many of you together within the narrow limits of a ship, where you have time enough, and if your hearts were fanctified, many choice advantages of edifying one another. O what transcendent subjects doth Providence daily present you with, to take up your discourses! How many experiences of extraordinary mercies and preservations have you to relate to one another, and bless the. Lord for! Allo, bow many works of wonder do you daily behold, who go down into the deeps ? what hea. venly employment is here for your tongues ! how should they be talking of all his wonders ? How fhould you call upon each other, as David did, Pfal. Ixvi. 16. “Come hither, and I will tell you what « God hath done for my soul,” at such a time, in such an extremity? How should you call upon one another to pay “the vows your lips « have uttered in your distress ?" Thus should one provoke another in this angelical work, as one lively bird fets the whole Rock a chirping.
But tell me, Sirs, should a man come aboard you at sea, and ask of you as Christ did of those two disciples going to Emmaus, Luke xxiv. 17. “ What manner of communication is this that ye have by the « way ?" O what a sad account would he have from most of you! It may be he should find one jefting, and another wearing, a third reviling godliness, and the profeflors of it; fo that it would be a little hell for a serious Chriftian to be confined to your society. This is not, I am confident, the manner of all. We have a company of more lober seamen, and blessed be God for them ; but surely thus stands the case with most of you. O what stuff is here from persons profefsing Christianity, and bordering ciofe upon the confines of eternity as you do?
It is not my purpose to write of all the diseases of the tongue ; that would fill a volume, and is inconsistent with my intended brevity, Who can recount the evils of the tongue? The apostle faith, “ It is “ a world of iniquity," Jam. xi. 6. And if there be a world of fin in one member, who can number the fins of all the members ? Laurentius reckons as many sins of the tongue as there are letters in the alphabet. And it is an observable note that one hath upon Rom. ïï. 13, 14. That when Paul anatomizeth the natural man there, he infifteth longer upon the organs of speech, than all the other members: “ Their throat is an open fepulchre, with their tongues they have - used deceit ; the poison of asps is under their lips, their mouth is « full of cursing and bitterness.”
But, to be fhort, we find the Spirit of God in fcripture comparing the tongue to a tree, Prov. xv.4. “ À wholesome tongue is a tree of « life.” And words are the fruit of the tree, Isa. lvii. 12. “I create “ the fruit of the lips.” Some of these trees bear precious fruits, and it is a lovely fight to behold them laden with them in their feafons, Prov. xxv. 11. “A word fitly spoken, is like apples of gold in « pictures of silver.” Such a tongue is a tree of life. Others of these trees bear evil fruit, grapes of Sodom, and clusters of Gomorrha. I shall only inlift upon two forts of these fruits, viz. (1.) Withered, fapless fruit ; I mean, idle and unprofitable words. (2.) Rotten and corrupt fruit; I mean, profane oaths, and profanations of the sacred name of God. No fruit in the world fo apt to corrupt and taint as the fruit of the lips. When it is fo, the scripture calls it cargos anos, corrupt or rotten communication, Eph. iv. 29. To prevent this the Spirit of God prescribes an excellent way to season our words, and keep them sweet and sound, that they may neither wither nor become idle and fapless, or putrify and become rotten, as profane words are, Col. iv. 6. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with “ salt, that you may know how to answer every man." Oh! if the salt of grace were once cast into the fountain, the heart-streams must needs become more favoury and pleasant, as the waters of Marah when they were healed. My present work is to attempt the cure of this double evil of idle words, and profane oaths, whereof thousands among you are deeply guilty. I thall begin with the first, viz.
I. IDLE WORDS. That is, useless chat, unprofitable talk, that is not referred any way to the glory of God. This is a common evil, and little regarded by most men; but yet a fin of feverer aggravations than the most intagine : light words weigh heavy in God's balance.
Arg. 1. For, first, The evil of them is exceedingly aggravated by this : they abuse and pervert the tongue, that noble member, from that employment and use which God by the law of creation designed it to. God gave not to man the organs and power of speech (which is his excellency above the beasts) to serve a passion or vain humour, to vent the froth and vanity of his fpirit ; but to extol the Creator, and render bim the praise of all his admirable and glorious works. For though the creation be a curious well-tuned instrument, yet man is the musician that must touch it, and make the melody. This was the end of God in forming those instruments and organs : but now hereby they are subject to Satan and lust, and employed to the dishonour of God who made them. God is pleased to suspend the power of speech (as we see in children) until reason begins to bud in them : they have not the liberty of one, until they have the use of the other ; which plainly shews, that God is not willing to have our words run waste.
Arg. 2. It is a sinful wasting of our precious time; and that puts a further aggravation upon it. Consider, firs, the time of life is but a little spot betwixt two eternities. The long-suffering God wheels about those glorious celestial bodies over your heads in a constant revolution to beget time for you; and the preciousness of every minute thereof results from its use and end : it is intended and afforded as a space to you to repent in, Rev. ii. 21. And therefore great things depend upon it: no less than your eternal happiness or misery hangs upon those precious opportunities. Every minute of it hath an influence into eternity. How would the damned value one hour of it if they might enjoy it! The business you have to do in it is of unspeakable weight and concernment: this great work, this soul-work, and eternity-work, lies upon your hands; you are caft into straits of time about it: and, if fo, what an evil is it in you 10 waste it away thus to no purpose ! Vol. V.
Arg. 3. It is a fin that few are sensible of as they are of other fins, and therefore the more dangerous. It is commonly committed,
and that without checks of conscience.' Other fins, as murder and adultery, though they be horrid fins, yet are but feldom committed, and when they are, conscience is startled at the horridness of them; few, except they be prodigious wretches indeed, dare make light of *them. But now for 'idle and vain words, there are innumerable 'fwarms of these every day, and few regard them. The intercourse betwixt the heart and tongue is quick; they are quickly committed, and as easily forgotten.
Arg. 4 And then, 4thly, They have mischievous effects upon others. How long doth an idie word, or foolish jest, stick in men's minds, and become an occasion of much fin to them? The froth and vanity of thy fpirit, wliich thy tongue io freely vents among thy vain companions, may be working in their minds when thou art in the dult, and so be transmitter from one to another; for unto that no more is requisite than an objective exiflence of thote vain' words in their memories. And thus mayest thou be finning in the persons of thy companions, when thou art turned into duft. And this is one rea
sơn that Suarez gives for a general' judgment, after men have pafred their particular judgment immediately after their death, '* Because
(faith, he) after this, multitudes of fins by their means will be romrmitted in the world, for which they muit yet be judged to a tuller
(measure of wrath.' So that look as many of the precious servants of God, now in glory,' have left many weighty and holy fayings behind them, by' which many thousands of souls have been benefited, and God glorified on earth, after they had left it: fo thou leaveft that Vanity upon tlte minds of others behind thee, by which he may be difhonoured to many generations. And then, "5: II. For PROFANE OATHS, the corrupt fruit of a graceless heart; oh! how common are these among you ? Yea, the babit of fwearing is fo' strengthened in fome, that they have lost all sense and conscience of the fin. Now, oh! that I might prevail with you to repent of this wickedness, and break the force of this customary evil among you ! will you but give me the reading of a few pages more, and weigh with the reason of men, what you read ? If you will not hearken to counsel, it is a fatal fign, 2 Cor. ii. 15, 16. and you shall anourn for this obftinacy hereafter, Prov. v. 12, 13. Desperate is that evil that scorns the remedy. . And if you have patience to read it, the Lord give you an heart to consider what you read, and obey the counsels of God; or else it were better thine eyes had never seen these lines. Well, then, I beseech you consider,
Arg. 1. That profane oaths are an high abuse of the dreadful and facred name of God, which should neither be fpoken or thought of without the decpest awe and reverence. It is the taking of that facred name in vain, Exod. xx. 7. Now God is exceeding tender and jealous over his name; it is dear to him; his name is dreadful and
glorious ; Mal. i. 14. “I am a great king, and my name is dreadful « among the Heathen.” The heathens would not ordinarily men. tion the names of such as they reverenced. Suetonius faith, that Auguftus prohibited the common use of his name: he thought it an indignity to have his name tossed up and down in every one's mouth. Yea, says Dr Willet on Exod. xx. it was an use among them to keep decret luch naines as they would have in reverence. They durst not mention the name of Demogorgon, whom they held to be the first god: they thought when he was named, the earth would tremble. Also the name of Mercurius Tresinegiftus, was very sparingly used, because of that reverence the people had for him. Now congider, fhall poor worms be fo tender of preserving the reverence of their Dames! Shall not heathens dare to use the names of their idols; and shall the sacred and dreadful name of the true God be thus bandied up and down by, tongues of his own creatures ? Will not God be avenged for these abuses of his name? Be confident, it shall one day be fanctified upon you in judgment, because ye did not fanctify it according to your duty.
Arg. 2. Swearing is a part of the worship of God; and therefore profane swearing can be. no less than the profanation of his worship, and robbing him of all the glory he has thereby ; Deut. vi. 13. “ Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear « bị his name.” So Jer iv. 2. “ Thou shalt swear the Lord liv“eth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness.” If a man swear by God after this manner, God is exceedingly glorified thereby. Now, that you may see what revenue of glory God hath from this part of his worship, and how it becomes a part of Divine worthip, you must know then an oath is nothing else but the asking or defiring a Divine testimony, for the confirmation of the truth of our testimony : Heb. vi. 16. “ For men verily swear by the greater ; and an oath for [confir“ mation] is to them an end of all strife.” The corruption of human nature by the fall has made man such a false and fickle creature, that his fingle testimony cannot be sufficient security for another, efpecially in weighty cases, to rest upon; and therefore in swearing, he calleth God for a witness of the truth of what he affirms, or promiseth : I say, calleth God to be a witness of the truth of what he faith, because he is truth itself, and cannot lie, Heb. vi. 18. Now this calling for, or alking of a testimony from God, makes an oath become a part of God's worship, and gives him a great deal of gloTy and honour; for hereby he that sweareth acknowledgeth his omnisciency, and infallible truth and righteousness. His omnisciency is acknowledged : for by this appeal to him, we imply and acknowledge hiin to be the Searcher of the heart and reins; that he knows the lecret intents and meaning of our fpirits. His Supreme and infallible truth is also acknowledged; for this is manifestly carried in an oath, that though I am a falfe and deceitful creature, and my affirmation cannot obtain universal and full credence, yet he that is greater than