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SERM. lection we may know, what are our more XVI. ordinarie difcourfes. And thereby we may judge of the temper of our minds, and what
is the abundance of our hearts. Are our difcourfes generally unprofitable, uncharitable, cenforious, or worse, tending to excite vicious inclinations and propenfities, or to leffen the obligations and evidences of religion? Our words then fhew, we are not good men, and by our words we may be condemned. On the other hand, are we often engaged in fuch difcourfes, as tend to the edification of others? or are they calculated to emprove ourselves, that we may receive inftruction, and confirmation in truth and virtue? We have reason to be pleased with fuch an evidence of a religious temper of
3. The doctrine of this text teaches us to be careful of our words. For they will be taken into account in the day of judgement.
Whatever be the direct meaning of the expreffion idle, we ought not to make it a foundation of needlefs fcruples: as if we were reftrained from that mirth, which is innocent, and confiftent with fobriety, and diligence in our callings: and only tends to refresh our fpirits,
fpirits, and fit for more important bufineffe. SERM. At the fame time the obfervations of our Lord XVI. in the text and context plainly teach us the moment of our words, and that they are. of greater confequence than fome imagine. We should therefore be careful, that our words be not fuch, as tend to the detriment, but to the good of our neighbour: that they do not favor irreligion and wickedneffe: but that we take the fide of religion and virtue in our discourses. Let us chearfully applaud the well-meant endeavours of all men. Let us acknowledge and encourage meekneffe, modeftie, and other amiable virtues in those, who are not of our mind in fome fpeculative points. Nor let us juftify, but rather condemn and difcountenance, pride, conceit, cenforiousneffe, rigour and uncharitablenesse in those who are of the fame fentiments with us. By fuch words we may be juftified. They fhew a religious and virtuous mind, They may not be approved by all men but they will be remembred by the equitable judge in the great day of account.
And indeed this declaration of our Lord may be reckoned very gracious and encouraging. There are words, as well as works, A a 3
SERM. that fhall be rewarded.
And there is a fitneffe
XVI. in it, as we have feen. For by our words we may do a great deal of good. And if from our hearts we defign, and actually do by our discourses honor God, ferve religion, and good men, or reclaim the bad, and turn the feet and hearts of finers to righteoufneffe; fuch words shall be joyned with good works, and add to the recompenfes of the future life.
John vii. 46.
4. Laftly, we may hence difcern, that the Lord Jefus was a moft excellent perfon, and is entitled to the efteem, respect, and gratitude of all fincere friends of religion and
It is one part of his excellent character, that never man pake like him. And he was ever ready to good words. Every where he inftills good doctrine. He embraceth every opportunity to inculcate the principles and duties of religion, the love of God and our neighbour. He taught not only at the temple, and in the fynagogues, but in every other place, and in every companie, that was favored with his prefence. He preached the gospel to the poor, as well as to the rich. And the most weighty things are often spoken
by him in a free and familiar manner. A SERM. large part of his inftructive, edifying, enli- XVI. vening difcourfes, recorded in the Gospels, were delivered in converfation with his difci
ples, or others: and always free from partiality, and oftentation: feeking not his own glorie, but the glorie of him that fent him, and the benefit of thofe, to whom he was fent, and with whom he converfed.
The Difficulty of governing the Tongue.
JAMES iii. 2,
If any man offend not in word, the Jame is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole body.
T. James is much in correcting
the faults of the tongue.
fibly the Jewish believers, to
whom he writes, were too lia
ble to be infected with the faults very common at that time in the reft of their countreymen, who had an impetuous and tur