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Serm. lection we may know, what are our more XVI. ordinarie discourses. And thereby we may
judge of the temper of our minds, and what is the abundance of our hearts. Are our difcourses generally unprofitable, uncharitable, censorious, or worse, tending to excite vicious inclinations and propensities, or to lessen the obligations and evidences of religion? Our words then shew, we are not good men, and by our words we may be condemned. On the other hand, are we often engaged in such discourses, as tend to the edification of others? or are they calculated to emprove ourselves, that we may receive instruction, and confirmation in truth and virtue ? We have reason to be pleased with fuch an evidence of a religious temper of mind.
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 expression idle,' we ought not to make it a foundation of needless scruples: as if we were restrained from that mirth, which is innocent, and consistent with sobriety, and diligence in our callings: and only tends to refresh our
fpirits, and fit for more important busineffe. SerM. At the same time the observations of our Lord XVI. in the text and context plainly teach us the moment of our words, and that they are of greater consequence than some imagine. We should therefore be careful, that our words be not such, as tend to the detriment, but to the good of our neighbour : that they do not favor irreligion and wickednesse: but that we take the side of religion and virtue in our discourses. Let us chearfully applaud the well-meant endeavours of all men.. Let us acknowledge and encourage meekneffe, modestie, and other amiable virtues in those, who are not of our mind in some speculative points. Nor let us justify, but rather condemn and discountenance, pride, conceit, censoriousnesse, rigour and uncharitablenesse in those who are of the same sentiments with us. By such words we may be justified. They Thew 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 shall be rewarded. And there is a fitneffe XVI. in it, as we have seen. For by our words,
we may do a great deal of good. And if from our hearts we design, and actually do by our discourses honor God, serve religion, and good men, or reclaim the bad, and turn the feet and hearts of finers to righteousnesse ; such words shall be joyned with good works, and add to the recompenses of the future life.
4. Lastly, we may hence discern, that the Lord Jesus was a most excellent person, and is entitled to the esteem, respect, and gratitude of all fincere friends of religion and virtue,
It is one part of his excellent character, that never man spake like him. And he was ever ready to good words. Every where he instills 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 synagogues, but in every other place, and in every companie, that was favored with his presence. He preached the gospel to the poor, as well as to the rich. And the most weighty things are often spoken
John vii. 46.
by him in a free and familiar manner.
A SERM. large part of his instructive, edifying, enli- XVI. vening discourses, recorded in the Gospels, were delivered in conversation with his disciples, or others : and always free from partiality, and oftentation : seeking not his own glorie, but the glorie of him that sent him, and the benefit of those, to whom he was fent, and with whom he conversed.
The Difficulty of governing the
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.
sibly the Jewish believers, to
whom he writes, were too liable to be infected with the faults very common at that time in the rest of their countreymen, who had an impetuous and tur