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SERM. So that he adviseth us nothing, but what he did him. CCXIII.

felf; nor imposeth any thing upon us, from which he himself desired to be. excused. And surely we have great reason to be in great love with this pattern, when that very goodness which he propounds to our imi: tation, was all laid out upon us, and redounds to our benefit and advantage ; when our salvation and happiness are the effects of that goodness and compassion which he exercised in the world. He did it all purely for our fakes : whereas all the good we do to others, is a greater good done to ourselves.

So that here is an example and experiment of the thing in the greatest and most famous instance that the whole world can afford. The best and happiest man that ever was, the Son of God and the SAVIOUR of men, and who is the most worthy to be the pattern of all mankind, “ went 'about doing good,” and governed his whole life, and all the actions of it by this principle, that “it is more blessed to give, than to re“ ceive. Let the same mind be in us that was in “ Jesus Christ: let us go and do likewise.”

The evil of corrupt communication.

EPHES. iv. 29.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth;

but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it

may minister grace to the bearers. SERM: A S discourses against sin and vice in general are

CCXIV. H of great use, so it is likewise very necessary umoto level them against the particular vices of men, and to


endeavour by proper and intrinsical arguments, taken

* ccxiv. from the nature of that vice we trear of, to dissuade i and deter them from it ;--because this carries the discourse home to the consciences of men, and leaves them no way of escape. For this reason, and in compliance with their majesties pious proclamation, for the discountenancing and suppressing of profaneness and vice, I have chosen to treat upon this subject, of corrupt and filthy coinmunication, as being one of the reigning vices of this wicked and adulterous generation"; of the evil whereof the generality of men are less fenfible than almost of any other, that is so frequently and so exprefly branded'in scripture. And to this purpose I have pitched upon the words which I have read unto you, as containing a plain and exprefs

prohibition of this viçe: . Let no corrupt commu.«..nication," &c.! :"1: ,'. :. I remember St. Auftin in one of his epistles tells us, that Tully, the great master of the art of speaking, fays of one of the great orators, Nullum unquam verbum quod revocaret vellet; emisit. 6. That no word e. i“. ver fell from him, that he could wish to have re166 called.” . N This I doubt is above the perfection of - human eloquence, for a man always to make such a

choice of his words, and to place them fo fitly, that i nothing he ever faid could be changed for the better. · But the greateft faults of fpeech are not those which

ofend against the rules of eloquence ; but of piety, sland virtlie; and good manners: and who can say that

his congue is free from all faults in this kind, and no --word ever proceeded from bim which he could wish

to have recalled. “ In many things,” lays St. James, chap. : 2.466 we offend all;" and in this kind as much perhaps, and as often as in any. He is a good and a happy man indeed, that seldom or never offends

SERM. with his congue. “ If any man,” as St. James goes CCXIV.

on, “ offend not in word, the same is a perfect man;" that is, he hath attained to an eminent degree of virtue indeed, and is above the common rate of men, and may reasonably be prefumed blameless in the general course of his life and practice;, “ and able," as. fol. lows, "to bridle the whole body;" that is, to order his whole conversation aright. I v itii

To govern the tongue is a matter of great difficule -ty, and consequently of great wisdom, and care, and circumspection and therefore one of the great en, deavours of a wife and good man, should be to govern his words by the rules of reason and religion; land we thould every one of us refolve and say, as Da vid does, :Pfal. xxxix., Long I will take heed to my “ ways, that I fin not with my congue." For as the virtues, so the vices of the tongue are many and great. In refpect of the virtues of it, David calls it the best member we have; i because of all the members -and instruments of the body, it is capable of giwing - the greatest glory to GOD, and of doing the greatest - good and benefit to men. And in respect of the vices

ofit, it may be as truly said to be the worst member s that we have ; because it is capable of doing the great

eft dishonour to God, and the greatest mischief and . harm among men. Sochatupon all accounts, we ought sto have a great care of the government of our congue, which is capable of being for useful and ferviceable to

the best and worst purposes, according as we restrain it cand keep it in order, or let it loose to sin and folly. :.

And among all the, vices of the tongue, jas none . is more common, so none is more misbecoịning, and e more contrary to the modesty of a man, and the gra.

vity of a Christian, than filthy and obscene talk; of the odious nature, and the evil and mischievous con

sequences fequences whereof, both 'to ourselves and others, I SERM, design by God's altistance to treat at this time, from

CCXIV. the words which I have read unto you, « Let no cor“ rupt communication, &c.", ;: . . .

That by corrupt or 'rotten conimunication, is here meant filthy and obscene talk, is generally agreed 'among interpreters. « By that which is good to the “ use of edyfying," is meant such discourse, as is apt to build us up in knowledge and goodness, to make the hearers Wifer and better. l. That it may minif“ ter graće unto the hearers," that is, such kind of discourse 'as is acceptable to all ; nor nauseous and offenfive to sober and virtuous persons, not 'apt to grate upon chaste and modeft ears, and to put the -hearers out of countenanée: : ;

So that the apostle doth here strictly forbid all lewd and filthy discourse among Christians; and enjoins them fo to converse with one another, that all their difcourses may 'miniftér mutual benefit and advantage to one anocher, and tend to the promoting of piety and virtue'; 'and may likewise be grateful to the hearers, carefully avoiding everything that may puc them to the bluff, or any ways trespass upon modefty and good manners, lás'ali Althy communicati*on doeś. !.!', 'im .! : This fört of argument, though it be frequently

mentioned in Scripture, yet it is very feldomi treated of in'the pulpit, Becaufe it' is a matter hard to be ? handled in a cleanly manner, and the preacher müft · always take good heed to himself, that his difcourse

be free from the contagion of that vice, which he re

proves and designs to correct and cure. And therei'fore to diffuade and deter men from this evil practice, -'fo Tife and common in the world, and thaờ not only among the profane and dissolute fort of perfonis,


SER M. but those likewise who would seem to be more striệt we

and religious, I hope it may be sufficient to all con-
siderate persons, plainly to represent to them the hei-
nous nature of the thing itself, together with the
evil and dangerous consequences of it, both to our
selves and to others. And this I shall endeavour to la
do in the most general and wary terms, keeping all of
along, as much as is possible, aloof and at a distance .
from any thing that might either offend the chaste and in a
modest, or infect lewd and diffolute minds, which like i
-tinder are always ready to take fire at the least 1park.
: Having premised this in general, my work at this
time shall be to offer such particular considerations,
as may fully convince men of the great evil and dan
ger of this practice ; and I hope may effectually pre- to
vail with them to leave it, and break it off. And

they shall be these following.. ,.,
• 1. That all filthy and corrupt communication is
.evidently contrary to nature, which is careful to hide a
, and suppress, whatever in the general esteem of the
.fober part of mankind hath any thing of curpitude
- and uncomeliness in it, and wherever nature hath

thought fit to draw a vail, we should neither by words
nor actions expofe fuch things to open view. Que
natura accultavit, says Tully, de Offic. Lib. 1, , ea-
dem omnes, qui fonâ funt mente removent ab oculis,
" Those things which nature hath thought fit to hide,
“ all men that are in their wits endeavour to keep
“out of light,” Nos autem naturam fequamur, fays
the fame excellent moralift, ibid. Et ab omni quod om

abhorret ab oculorum auriumque approbatione fugia-
· mus, “ Let us,” says he, “ follow nature, and Hee

“ every thing that is offensive either to the eye or
“ ear of men.” And this is so plain a lesson of na. higie
ture, that an actor in a play will never fall into that


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