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abfurdity, as to represent a grave and virtuous perfonS ER M. offering any obscene or immodeft word: and as the fame author reasons, Hiftorio boc videbit in fcenâ, quod non videbit fapiens in vita?" fhall an actor fee this "to be improper upon the stage, and a wife man "not difcern the abfurdity and indecency of it in his "life and converfation ?"

II. All corrupt and filthy communication is a notorious abuse of one of the greatest and best gifts which God hath given us, and does directly contradict the natural end and ufe of fpeech. Our tongue is our glory, as the holy pfalmift often calls it, who had duly confidered the excellency and ufe of this faculty, and took great care to employ it to the purposes for which God gave it, and is herein an admirable patern for us.

And next to our reafon and understanding, our speech doth most remarkably distinguish us from the beafts and fets us above them. Hoc uno præftamus vel maximè feris, quod colloquimur inter nos, & quod exprimere dicendo fenfa poffumus, fays the great Roman orator, Cicero de Orat. lib. i. "By this one thing "we excel the beasts in a very high degree, that we "can talk together, and by fpeech declare out minds "to one another." By our understanding we know GOD, and by our tongues we confefs and praise him: but to use our tongues to lewd and filthy discourse, is to pervert and abuse one of the best and noblest faculties, which God hath given us; it is to affront him with his own gifts, and to fight against him. with his own weapons. "Do we thus requite the

"LORD? foolish creatures and unthankful!".

The two great ends for which this faculty of fpeech is given us, are to glorify GoD our maker, and to edify man our neighbour: but all corrupt communiVOL. XI.




SER M.cation contradicts both these ends; because, inftead of praifing GoD with pure hearts and lips, we do greatly dishonour him, by polluting our tongues with lewd and filthy talk: for hereby we offer a direct affront to his holy nature and laws. This renders us altogether unfit for the worship and service of Almighty GOD, who is "of purer eyes than to behold iniquity" and impurity of any kind. For how can we think that he will accept those prayers and praises, which are offered to him by fuch impure and unhallowed lips? when we difhonour GOD with the fame mouth, that we pretend to glorify him? and commit fin with the fame tongue that we confefs it? How can we hope that he will accept the facrifice of fuch polluted lips, out of which proceed things fo contrary and inconfiftent?

Those who thus pervert the use of speech, and instead of glorifying him who gave them this excellent gift, and setting forth his praise, defile their tongues with filthy and impure language, give juft occafion to complain of them, as Elihu does of the wicked in his time, Job xxxv. 10, 11. “None faith, where is "GOD my maker, who giveth fongs in the night? "who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, "and maketh us wifer than the fowls of heaven." His meaning is, that they did not glorify Gop their maker, by finging his praises, which by being indued with this noble faculty of fpcech, (which he had denied to the creatures below man, the beafts and birds,) they only were capable of performing. The confideration of this high privilege, by which we do fo much excel the creatures below us, ought to be a mighty obligation upon us, to employ this gift of GOD in the fervice, and to the glory of the giver, and make us very careful not to offend him by it, or by any defilement of it, to render it unfit for one of



the principal uses for which God beltowed it upon us. SER M. Another great end of speech is to edify our neighbour. So the apoftle here tells us in the text, that nothing fhould "proceed out of our mouths," but what is " good for the ufe of edifying, that it may "minifter grace to the hearers." But instead of that, corrupt communication offends the chafte and virtuous, and corrupts them who have vicious inclinations, by exciting and cherishing lewd imaginations in them, and making "them that are filthy more filthy ftill."

III. Corrupt communication is an evidence of a corrupt and impure heart, as polluted ftreams are a fign that the fountain is impure from whence they came. An impure mind may be covered and difguifed by natural fhame and outward reverence, in regard to the company, or from fome other particular defign; but when it breaks out at any time in lewd talk, our speech betrays us, and discovers the inward thoughts of our hearts, and makes them visible to every eye. For as our SAVIOUR fays, "Out "of the abundance of the heart the mouth fpeaketh." Matth. xii. 34, 35. "How can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart "the mouth fpeaketh. A good man out of the "good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things and an evil man out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things.

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There is not, fays an excellent divine of our own, Dr. Barrow," a more certain fign of a mind utterly "debauched from piety and virtue, than affecting "fuch talk. A vain mind naturally venteth itself in

frothy discourse; and luft, boiling within, foams "out in filthy talk." It is St. Jude's metaphor, when he describes that impure fect of the Gnofticks, he fays of them, that "they were continually foam"ing

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SER M." ing out their own shame," ver. 13. that is, by their CCXIV. lewd words and deeds they discovered the inward filthinefs of their hearts. And therefore it is Tully's advice to him that would be perfectly virtuous, and not defective in any part of his duty; imprimis provideat, ne fermo vilium aliquod indicit ineffe moribus; de Offic. lib. i. "Let him in the firft place," fays he, "take great care, that his fpeech betray not fome "vice or fault of his manners." Ανδρὸς χαρακλής ἐκ λόξα γνωρίζεται, "a man's character is commonly taken for his talk;" airgio&, TOIST& xλóy, fays Áriftides, "such as are the man"ners of a man, fuch is his discourse;" and Quintilian, lib. xi. c. 1. profert enim mores plerumque oratio, & animi fecreta detegit; nec fine caufâ Græci prodiderunt, ut vivit, quemquam etiam dicere. "Our

fpeech, for the most part, declares our manners, "and difcovers the fecrets of our hearts; fo that not "without caufe was it become a proverbial faying

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among the Greeks, that, As the man lives, fo al"fo he speaks." And to the fame purpose the wife fon of Sirah, Eccluf. xxvii. 6, 7. "The fruit de"clareth if the tree hath been dreffed; fo is the "utterance of a conceit in the heart of man. Praise "no man before thou hearest him fpeak: for this is "the trial of men.". And ver. 13. "The difcourfe "of fools is irkfom, and their fport is in the wan"tonnefs of fin."

Immodest speech is not only an indication of an unchafte mind; but draws likewise a great fufpicion upon a man's life. So ftrict a connexion commonly is there between a man's thoughts and words, and between his words and actions, that they are generally prefumed to be all of a piece, and agreeable to one another.

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IV. Corrupt communication doth debauch and S ER M. defile the minds of men, and that not only of the, fpeaker, but likewife of the hearer of fuch difcourfe; because it gratifies and feeds a corrupt humour, and a vitiated appetite, befide that it difpofeth and inclines to lewd and filthy actions: a smutty tongue and unchafte deeds are feldom far afunder, and do very often go together; for filthy talk and lewd practices feem only to differ in the occafion and opportunity; and he that makes no confcience of the one, will hardly ftick at the other, when it can be done with fecrefy and fafety. The law of God forbids both alike, and his eye beholds both; "for there is not a "word in my tongue," fays David, Pfal. cxxxix. 4.. "but thou, O LORD! knoweft it altogether." So that whatever may deter us from lewd practice (the authority of GOD forbidding it, or the awe of his prefence, who continually ftands by us, and hears and fees all that we fay and do) is of equal force to restrain us from lewd and filthy words: for they both proceed from the fame ill difpofition of mind, and are done in equal contempt of the divine prefence and authority.

V. It is uncivil and unmannerly, very difagreeable and highly difpleafing to all fober and modeft perfons. It is a clownish and rude thing, fays Tully, de Offic. lib. i. fi rerum turpitudini adhibetur verborum obsænitas, "if to things which are immodeft in themselves, we "add the obfcenity of words."

Nothing that trefpaffes upon the modesty of the company, and the decency of converfation, can become the mouth of a wife and virtuous perfon. This kind of converfation would fain pafs for wit among fome fort of perfons, to whom it is acceptable; but whatever favours of rudeness and immodefty, and ill

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