THE MINISTRY OF HOME  or "Brief Expository Lectures on Divine Truth"
by Octavius Winslow

The Power of the Tongue

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue."  Proverbs 18:21

It is a painful and humiliating thought, that a faculty so noble as speech, a gift so useful as language, should ever be so ignobly employed and basely misused as it often is. God has not endowed us with a faculty or furnished us with an engine more fruitful of good or of evil, than this. Of the power of the tongue for evil, how strong is the language of the Apostle James, "The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell." These are words terribly significant!
  Not less strong is the language of God's Word, touching the power of the tongue for good- "The tongue of the just is as chosen silver." "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life." "Heaviness in the heart of man makes it stoop: but a cheerful word makes it glad." "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." "The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary."
  Thus, what a marvellous instrument of power is human language! As the vehicle of thought, as the channel of love, and as the instrument of communion it transcends all others. The tongue of the intelligent instructs us; the tongue of the holy sanctifies us; the tongue of the sympathizing soothes us; the tongue of the faithful admonishes us; the tongue of the loving and the kind is as marrow to the bones; and, transcending all, the tongue that discourses to us of Jesus is as life to the soul. Marvellous instrument! possessing a power so great! Capable of producing such great misery or such intense happiness; of being a curse so bitter or a blessing so sweet. "Out of the same mouth," is the language of James, "proceeds both blessing and cursing."
  Before proceeding further with our meditation, let me endeavor to impress you with a solemn conviction of its great practical importance. It is not an idle or speculative subject which now asks your consideration. It is more closely connected with our individual sanctification and with the solemn transaction of the final judgment than, perhaps, many of my readers may have thought. If, as the Apostle James says, "the tongue is a world of iniquity," and if, as the Lord Jesus has forewarned us- "By your words shall you be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned" -then, it takes its place by the side of the most vital and serious subjects that can engage our study. I speak the words of truth and soberness when I remark, that most of the evils which shade the luster of domestic happiness, empoison the springs of social communion, sending their baneful influence along all the channels of society -and most of the strifes and dissensions which mar the harmony and impair the holiness of Christians, may be traced to unguardedness of speech- to an unbridled, unhallowed use of the tongue.
  Since speech, as I have remarked, is one of those noble faculties by which man is distinguished from the irrational creation, the thought should never be absent from our minds that, on its proper or perverted use hangs much of the good, or much of the evil, that affects human society. As heirs of eternity, nothing that we utter can be deemed trifling or insignificant. If our thoughts are indestructible, equally so are the words which clothe them. The air itself is a vast whispering gallery, along which travel, as upon its undulating waves, the thoughts we conceive and the words we utter, onward to the distant shores of the eternity to which they speed; where, though now scarcely noted or soon forgotten, they will meet us again- rising up as witnesses against us at the great day of judgment, if not cleansed and sanctified by the blood of the Lamb. Such is the solemn subject which is about to engage our study. May the Holy Spirit guide and sanctify our present meditations! May the tongue which is about to speak be touched as with living fire.
  In the first place, we are told that, "death is in the power of the tongue." This, taking a general and comprehensive view of the subject, will apply to all species of evil speaking. The evil tongue is a polyglot; that is, it speaks as in many languages: its name is legion. Let me specify a few of those particular forms which come under the general head of evil speaking.
 First, there is the tongue of the talebearer- the officious propagator of idle gossip: a numerous body, alas! is this- greater pests to society do not exist within its bosom. What lengths will not the talebearer travel, what pains will he not take, what time will he not expend in circulating an injurious report, in dispersing a dark assumption! It was, perhaps, at first but a conjecture, a rumor, a hearsay; nevertheless, this voracious devourer of evil, this ruthless utterer of base coin, has caught it- and it now becomes his self-imposed and dreary mission to travel from one end of the town to the other, in one day giving circulation and fixedness to a slander, the sad effects of which years may not entirely obliterate. I ask, is there not death in the power of the tongue of an idle, unscrupulous talebearer?
  But what does the Word of God say concerning such? There is, first, God's positive command, forbidding the crime- "You shall not go up and down as a TALEBEARER among the people." What does Solomon observe? "A TALEBEARER reveals secrets." "What dainty morsels rumors areóbut they sink deep into one's heart." " Where no wood is, the fire goes out; so, where there is no TALEBEARER [whisperer], the strife ceases." "He that utters a SLANDER is a fool." And what says the holy and indignant Psalmist? "Whoever privily SLANDERS his neighbor, him will I cut off."
  Such is the solemn light in which the Scriptures of truth place this form of evil speaking. There is death in it- death to domestic happiness and individual reputation. Shun the talebearer as you would the touch of a glove infected with the plague; set your face as a flint against him; let him see by your look that his presence is as distasteful as his mission is abhorrent. "The north wind drives away rain: so does an angry countenance a BACKBITING tongue."
  You, idle gossiper! traveling from house to house, retailing your unholy wares, trafficking in character, reputation, and happiness; you violator of confidence! unveiling domestic life, within whose sacred precincts unguarded friendship admitted you; you keen anatomist! visiting abodes for no other purpose than to dissect the character, or the doings, or the sayings of each family or neighbor- while your own dreads most of all the knife and the probe- what are you but a moral epidemic, that walks in darkness, spreading around you desolation and death; over whom, angels might weep and demons do shout, and whom every pious and well-regulated mind shuns, as it shuns the sting of a scorpion or a breath of the plague!
  Such, too, is the tongue of slander. The slanderer is not merely the idle gossip, he is more. He is the inventor, or, what is equally criminal, he is the propagator of calumny itself! Envious of a rival, resolved upon shading the luster, or bent upon the total extinguishment of a star circling in a wider and brighter orbit than his own, he either coins, or propagates a lie injurious to the character of some public servant of God, or the reputation and happiness of some private individual moving in the quiet and unobtrusive walks of usefulness.
  Is there not death in this unhallowed use of the tongue? Is there not 'slaying power' in that false report, that base insinuation, that cruel surmise, that "Soft buzzing slander, that eats an honest name"? Most assuredly! The treacherous moth is not a more insiduous and dangerous foe to the beautiful fabric it secretly and slowly destroys; nor the worm a more searching and wasting enemy of the costly vellum whose heart it pierces and devours, than he whose tongue is sharper than a sword, "Cutting honest throats by whispers."
  It has been remarked that against slander there is no effectual armor of defense. Nothing is easier than to invent a slander, and nothing more difficult than to annihilate it. It generally selects for its victims the most good and worthy, as the birds peck at and destroy the best and loveliest fruit. I do not think that Tophet boasts of a darker fiend, or man can deplore a fouler foe than he who deals in it. Like the Indian, it dips its arrows in deadly poison; like Judas, it betrays the innocent with the kiss of villainy. Assassination is its employment, the guiltless its victims, ruin its sport, and the loud laugh of hell its reward! It is a moral pestilence veiled in darkness; a thousand fall beside it and ten thousand at its right hand, so unmercifully and deeply wounded as often never to recover the anguish of heart it has occasioned. This demon spirit of slander is thus graphically portrayed by a Christian poet:
"The man in whom this spirit entered was undone;
His tongue was set on fire of hell; his heart
Was black as death; his legs were faint with haste
To propagate the lie his soul had framed;
His pillow was the peace of families
Destroyed, the sigh of innocence reproached,
Broken friendship, and the strife of brotherhood.
Yet did he spare his sleep, and hear the clock
Number the midnight watches over his bed
Devising mischief more; and early rose
And made most hellish meals of good men's names."
  To these must be added the backbiter- the destroyer of the absent one. Of all evil speaking this is, perhaps, the lowest, the most cruel and dastardly. Taking advantage of the defenseless position of his victim, asserting behind his back what he would not dare to utter before his face- by dark insinuations, by mysterious innuendoes, by a tragic tone- or, as Hannah Moore expresses it, "by a significant shrug of the shoulder," -the backbiter will give affected importance and authenticity to what all the while he knows to be unfounded in truth; and by this despicable means do serious and, perhaps, irreparable injury to the character and good name of an innocent, and, it may be, useful servant of the Lord; who, by his absence, is precluded from either defending his innocence or confounding his calumniator.
  How pointed and pungent are the Divine denunciations of all such,"Lord, who shall abide in Your tabernacle? who shall dwell in Your holy hill? He that walks uprightly and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. He that does not BACKBITE with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbors, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor." If such only have a place in God's tabernacle, if only such dwell upon His holy hill, if the slanderer and the backbiter are excluded thence- alas! how great will be the number thus excluded! How sad and unenviable, then, the character of the evil-speaker, the slanderer, the whisperer, the backbiter, the talebearer, the gossip! What are all these but domestic pests- propagators of a social moral plague? "Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongue they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips."
  Under this head we must class the anonymous disseminator of evil. The pen is a powerful auxiliary of the tongue, and gives permanence to its words, as the press gives to them wings. The anonymous propagator of evil must be classed among the most dangerous, as the most infamous vipers of the community: he is a concealed assassin. An individual may imagine that he sees just reasons for personal concealment in the act of doing a good service; but, even viewed in this point of light, the morality of anonymous communications is at best but dubious. What is it but wearing the assassin's cowl- assuming the murderer's mask? It is the adoption of a mode of doing us a supposed good by a friend, which public sentiment looks upon and condemns as only befitting the secret and sworn foe.
  If you wish to warn an individual of a danger, or to apprise him of any evil, or to tell him of a fault, three courses are open to you. Either go to him yourself, and tell him; or, write to him, with your signature; or, enlist the office of a mutual friend. If neither of these modes commend themselves to your judgment and feelings, then it is plainly your duty to do nothing. If you are not willing to help save an individual, when in your power, at the expense of a little personal feeling, then your friendliness is not sufficient to entitle you to meddle in any way with his affairs. An individual's name is a guarantee of his honorable and truthful procedure: his name on paper represents himself. Acting thus openly and avowedly, he is invested by a safeguard which silently yet effectually restrains him from many temptations which would sorely assail him if he were consciously unknown. He is, perhaps, restrained from taking a false step, or from committing himself to a dishonorable action, or from doing an unwise thing injurious to himself or another, from a consideration of the compromise in which it would inevitably involve the integrity of his character and the honor of his name.
  But what shall we say of the concealed foe?- the man who writes unfavorably of a third party; who seeks to separate very friends, to sow the seeds of discord in families, to make mischief in neighborhoods and in churches by anonymous communications, whether true or false? What can we say of him who, under cover of darkness, thus seeks to stab another's feelings, or reputation, or hopes, but that, in the strong language of God's Word, he is a "child of the devil," doing his work with his father's zeal and fidelity.
  Less than this we dare not say of the individual who has the ineffable vileness to write and propagate slanderous reports and false statements of a fellow creature, while seeking to escape all responsibility of the cowardly act by concealing his name. It is a species of moral assassination of the deepest dye, branding the murderer as an outlaw of society; and every good and honest man will so denounce it.
  From the power of all such our only true deliverance is prayer. And whose words so suitable as David's?- "Deliver me, O Lord from the evil man; preserve me from the violent men who imagine mischief in their hearts; continually are they gathered together for war. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips. Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him."
  There is also death in the tongue of the flatterer. Not less pointed and scarcely less severe is the portrait which God presents of the character of the flatterer. Thus is he spoken of- "He that goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore meddle not with him that FLATTERS with his lips." "A man that FLATTERS his neighbor spreads a net for his feet." "They speak vainly, every one with his neighbor; with FLATTERING LIPS and with a double heart do they speak. The Lord shall cut of all FLATTERING lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things." Such is God's estimate of this character.
  There are few evils of the tongue apparently more innocent and harmless, and yet, in reality, more sinful and dangerous than this. The flatterer places the victim of his eulogy in a false position; he invests him with an untrue, ideal estimate of himself. Against this species of praise few are invulnerable: it is natural for men to love adulation! Self-flattery is the idol of the human heart, and before the shrine of this, their favorite god, men delight that others should worship. However conscious they may be of not possessing the qualities commended, and even penetrating enough to discern the hollowness and insincerity of the adulation, still, the incense is so fragrant and self-satisfying that, while it is felt to be too exaggerated to be true, it yet is too courtly not to please.
  How few possess that humility of mind and refinement of feeling that fortifies against its baneful influence! To some delicately formed minds nothing is more painful and offensive than to be covered with the incense of creature-adulation. And yet, offered to whom and however delicately, in all flattery there is death! Even the most high-minded and refined are not entirely armored against its injurious effects.
  Man is a fallen being; and to speak to him of his virtues as many, of his infirmities as few, and of his offences as venial, is to ignore his state as a sinner, to soften and refine away the corruptness of his depraved nature, and to come between him and Christ. It is to cajole him in his self-righteousness, to foster the delusion that he is "rich and increased in goods, and has need of nothing," blinding him to the solemn fact that he is "Wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Surely there is death in the tongue of the flatterer!
  Not less dangerous and equally reprehensible is religious flattery- flattery as addressed to our fellow Christians. How conspicuous is this spot upon the Christian profession of many! Is there not a strong habit in us of speaking approvingly and applaudingly of each other's piety? to commend the spirituality, religious knowledge, and ripeness of Christian experience? And yet how unconscious we may be of the treacherous snare we lay for the feet of a Christian brother or sister, and in so doing, lay for our own! What almost irreparable injury we are doing to his personal piety!
  To eulogize his gifts, to commend his graces, to extol his experience, to applaud his achievements and his usefulness, is to mar and impair that lowliness of spirit and abnegation of self with which a Christian man should ever walk before the Lord and before his fellows. The corruption even of a saint of God is still so deep, and his sanctification so imperfect -the old Adam still so strong and the new man so feeble- that, the most gracious are not entirely armored against the injury to their spiritual life to which the tongue of flattery exposes them.
  To say to one Christian, you wish you possessed his spiritual gifts; to another, what would you not give to possess his faith; to tell a third, that you envied his power in prayer; a fourth, that he had outstripped you in the Christian race; and to assure a fifth, that his exalted views of Christ and his gigantic grasp of truth put your own spiritual attainments to the blush! -is this language fit to address to a worm of the dust, to a fallen creature, to one like ourselves- a debtor to the free and sovereign grace of God?
  Surely not: it is cruel, unkind, unchristian; it is acting towards a believing brother as the eagle does to the tortoise, lifting him to a great height but to make his fall the greater. If a brother does not come short in that very gift or grace which you have so unwisely and so highly commended, it is just because Christ has interfered to prevent his fall. "Of all wild beasts, preserve me from a tyrant; and of all tame ones, a flatterer."
  What is flattery but aiding the work of Satan, the great deceiver of our race? There is a proverb- "When flatterers meet, the devil goes to dinner." That is, when those traitors to our virtue, happiness, and usefulness confederate against us, Satan's work is so well done that he has time for other employments. Flattery is the food of courts and not the nourishment upon which a true humble-minded believer lives. He desires to walk humbly with God; and yet, without courting human adulation, to preserve a good name more precious than ointment among his fellows. He thus deprecates the evil of flattery, and more especially that of religious flattery.
  I do not overlook the great difference between a delicate and proper appreciation of piety and merit, and the false and exaggerated praise which, in some cases wounds the susceptibility, and in others inflates the vanity of those upon whom it is lavished. To a mind rightly constituted, to a heart in much communion with God, nothing is more painful than undeserved, or even excessive commendation. Yet, as I have remarked, we must discriminate between an unmeaning adulation, and kind and encouraging appreciation of those endowments and powers which God has given for the good of man and for the glory of His great name.
   Thus have we attempted to illustrate the first clause of the text "death is in the power of the tongue" -a death more bitter, to a holy, high-minded individual, than the fatal dart of the last dread foe. More welcome to him the shadow of the tomb draping all the present, than a life lived on amid the cruel strife of false, and the undying taint of defaming, tongues.
  But there is a theological view of this first clause of the passage strikingly and solemnly true. There is death in the preaching of the law. The Word of God is a two-edged sword; the law, in its slaying, condemning power, is one edge of this weapon of divine temper. "The law works death." "I was alive without the law once," says the Apostle, "but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment which was ordained to life I found to be unto death." Look not, therefore, O man, O woman, to the works of the law for spiritual life: it is not an instrument of life, but of death- not of justification, but of condemnation.
  And he who has broken, and therefore is under the penalty of God's law, yet expects to be saved by it, is as infatuated as the criminal, who, under the sentence of death, yet sues out his pardon upon the footing of that very act of the legislature by virtue of which he is condemned. It was a favorite saying of the Countess of Huntingdon- "I would run away from the law, considered as a covenant of works, as fast as I would from my sins." The influence of the law upon all religious duties and obedience is much the same as the frost upon the silvery stream: it congeals and hardens them with the rigidity and coldness of death. But the warm rays of the Sun of Righteousness thaws the hardness and dissolves the icy fetters of the soul, and repentance and love then sweetly flow.
  Oh! see that all your religious duties are 'evangelical'; that is, that they are the result of faith in and of love to Christ. See that they flow from a sight of a crucified Savior, that they are fruits growing beneath the cross of Immanuel. No fruit of godliness like to that found there! no contrition so deep, no faith so strong, no love so intense, no surrender of the heart so unreserved. Truly they are "precious fruits brought forth by the sun."
  There is also death in the tongue of him who preaches false doctrine. The minister of soul-destroying error is the minister of death! All teaching which is opposed to the Gospel of Christ, which misleads men on their way to eternity by failing to show to them the way of life- all preaching which denies the work of the Spirit in regeneration; which substitutes human merit for the atoning work and sacrifice of Christ; which builds up men in their own doings and works as a meritorious preparation for heaven. All pulpit instruction which tends to lower the holiness of the truth, to relax the bond of moral obligation, to suppress, in the professor of the Gospel, an ardent desire after godliness- we say all such teaching is fatal to souls, and that, therefore, there is death in the power of the preacher's tongue.
  As you value your eternal well-being go not in the way of such false teachers- these murderers of souls! Recoil from them as you would from the wily serpent; reject their ministries as you would the poisoned cup; cease to hear the instruction that causes to err from the words of knowledge and from the way of life. "Woe unto those who call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."

But not less true is the second clause of our text, "LIFE is in the power of the tongue." God has invested sanctified speech with a life-giving power. There is a vitality in the hallowed tongue peculiarly its own. This is true of words of kindness and love spoken in cases of mental depression, or on seasons of temporal or spiritual trial. "Heaviness in the heart of man makes it stoop: but a kind word makes it glad." "A word spoken in season, how good is it! A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." Such is the testimony of God's Word! Who will not say there is life in that tongue?
  To go to such a one and speak of Jesus, to unfold the fulness of His grace, to tell of the faithfulness of God to His promises, His unchangeable love to His people, to remind the believing soul of the stability of the covenant, of the certain salvation of all who are in Christ Jesus- Oh! there is life- sweet, soul-uplifting life- in the power of that tongue that speaks to me words of heart-cheer when it is sad; to my mind, words of hope when desponding; that tells me of JESUS when going about and inquiring, "Have you seen Him whom my soul loves?"
  There is LIFE in the power of the tongue of him who preaches the Lord Jesus Christ. When we preach Jesus we preach the only true life. Jesus is emphatically the Way of Life- Yes, He is Life itself. "I have come that you might have life." "I am the Life." "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear." It is impossible, then, to preach the Lord Jesus and not be an instrument of spiritual life. However deficient in acquired lore, and limited in human talent, however unrecognized by the Church and unhonored by the schools, the man who makes known the Lord Jesus, the Savior of sinners, possesses a tongue of life at whose irresistible power the tomb of the soul flies open and spiritual death gives up its prey.
  Was there no life in those precious words of the manacled Apostles, addressed to the trembling jailer at Philippi, in reply to his momentous inquiry- "What must I do to be saved?" "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." But, had the Apostles instructed him to perform some mighty achievement, to do some great thing of himself; had they told him to trust to the mercy of God, to live a pure and honest life, to give alms, to build a synagogue, and, then, by completing his round of meritorious doings, to present himself regularly at the sacramental table; there had not been life, but death in the answer.
  Oh who can estimate the awful results of a ministry in which there is nothing of Christ? Who can gauge the tremendous consequences of such teaching of immortal souls as proves but a "savor of death unto death"? But he who lifts up the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Savior of sinners, His work the only salvation of the soul, His cross the only way to glory- he who proclaims the all-sufficiency of His merit, the guilt-cleansing efficacy of His atoning blood, the freeness of His grace, the boundlessness of His love, His willingness and ability to save to the uttermost extent of wretchedness and woe- preaches the Gospel with a tongue of life! Such a Christ-exalting minister is a "savor of life unto life."
  Such is the glorious message we proclaim to you, my reader. Are you anxious about your soul? Are you sin distressed, guilt-burdened? Do you ask, what you must do to be saved? My answer is based upon a free grace salvation- Look unto Jesus, and be saved. Come to Christ just as you now are, with no price in your hand, with no self-preparation; meriting nothing, doing nothing; and accept a present and full pardon, a free and perfect justification, all provided for you in Christ.
  You are to believe not in a doctrine, or in a creed, or in a dogma, or in a Church: but, you are to believe in the Lord Jesus, in a personal Savior. Christ is the Object of faith, and Christ alone. And will He spurn you, will He reject you, will He cast you out? Oh never! He has given His word; and heaven and earth shall pass away, but that word shall never fail- "Him that comes unto Me, I will in no way cast out." Oh, into what perfect peace, into what holy joy, into what assured hope of glory will one act of simple, child-like faith in the Lord Jesus in a moment bring your soul! Try it; my reader: it is your life.
  There is LIFE in the tongue of wise and timely counsel. It is a great power to be able, with the meekness of wisdom, to advise in the time of perplexity and doubt; to speak words which shall be as light upon the dreary path of some tried and perplexed child of God, anxious to know and do His will, yet needing the wise and gentle guidance of an experienced, God-fearing friend. If the Lord has conferred upon you this power, use it; and life to some drooping heart, some embarrassed mind will flow in a sacred stream from your words. "A word spoken in season, how good it is."
  There is LIFE in the tongue of kindness, sympathy, and love. To this many a sad and sorrowing heart, and many a deep, bleeding wound, which words of human sympathy have comforted and healed, will testify. "The law of kindness upon the tongue" is a law of life to the heart whose joys sorrow has withered, and whose hope death has slain. Oh, who can describe the exchange of the shroud of woe, for the robe of gladness; the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, which one word of kindness creates? This power is ours! Ours is the angel mission of folding around a tempest-tossed soul the wings of love and sympathy. Be faithful to it: this is no hard task- nothing easier. Ourselves partaking of the "kindness and love of God;" soothed and comforted by the words and sympathy of Christ, we shall know how to speak a word in season to a wounded spirit. "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God."
  Lord! we accept with cheerful submission the discipline of sorrow, however keen and crushing, which perfects us for a mission so noble, Christ-like, and Divine. If some child of suffering, some son or daughter of grief, shall in future time reap soothing and joy from this sowing in tears, we bow our head meekly to the cup Your love has ordained, and from our heart would say, Your will be done!"
  My dear reader, let this be the practical conclusion of the whole matter- guard your speech, bridle your tongue, seek that grace may be poured into your lips; reflect that life and death are enthroned upon this little member. Think how great a fire one spark may kindle! Ever remember before you speak, that you are in the presence of God; that Christ hears you, and that an angel stands by to record your words in a book, and that, "every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment; for by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned." "Set a watch at the door of my lips, lest I speak unadvisedly with my tongue. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of any heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."
  And let David's holy, determined resolution be ours: "He that works deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that tells lies shall not tarry in my sight." And may the characters of those who shall abide in the Lord's tabernacle, and dwell in His holy hill, belong to us- "He that backbites not with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor, but in whose eye a vile person is abhorred."
  Lord! purify my lips with a living coal from off your altar; and ever grant that my speech may be seasoned with the salt of your grace, that it may administer instruction, edification, and comfort to those that hear!
 "One angry moment often does what we repent for years,
It works the wrong we never make right by sorrow or by tears;
It speaks the rude and unkind word, it wounds the feeble breast,
It strikes the reckless sudden blow, it wounds the household rest.
The hand of Peace is frank and warm, and soft as ringdove's wing,
And he who quells an angry thought is greater than a king;
Shame to the lips that ever seek to stir up jarring strife,
When gentleness would shed so much of Christian joy through life."