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ceth all just and honest means, as he disclaimeth all hope in God's assistance, and forfeiteth all pretence to his blessing ; so he cannot reasonably expect good success, or be satisfied in any undertaking. The supplanting way indeed seems the most curt and compendious way of bringing about dishonest or dishonorable designs: but as a good design is certainly dishonored thereby, so is it apt thence to be defeated; it raising up enemies and obstacles, yielding advantages to whoever is disposed to cross us. As in trade it is notorious that the best course to thrive is by dealing squarely and truly; any fraud or cozenage appearing there doth overthrow a man's credit, and drive away custom from him: so in all other transactions, as he that dealeth justly and fairly will have his affairs proceed roundly, and shall find men ready to comply with him ; so he that is observed to practice falsehood, will be declined by some, opposed by others, disliked by all : no man scarce willingly will have to do with him ; he is commonly forced to stand out in business, as one that plays foul play.

4. Lastly, the slanderer is a very fool, as bringing many great inconveniences, troubles, and mischiefs on himself.

First, fool's mouth,' saith the wise man, is his destruction, his lips are the snare of his soul:' and if any kind of speech is destructive and dangerous, then is this certainly most of all; for by no means can a man inflame so fierce

anger, press so stiff hatred, raise so deadly enmity against himself, and consequently so endanger his safety, ease, and welfare, as by this practice. Men can more easily indure, and sooner will forgive, any sort of abuse than this; they will rather pardon a robber of their goods, than a defamer of their good name,

Secondly, such a one indeed is not only odious to the person immediately concerned, but generally to all men that observe bis practice, every man presently will be sensible how easily it may be his own case, how liable he may be to be thus abused, in a way against which there is no guard or defence. The slanderer therefore is apprehended a common enemy, dangerous to all men; and thence rendereth all men averse from him, and ready to cross bim. Love and peace, tranquillity and security can only be maintained by innocent and true dealing : so the psalmist hath well taught us; · What man is






he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.'

Thirdly, all wise, all noble, all ingenuous and honest persons have an aversation from this practice, and cannot entertain it with any acceptance or complacence. “A righteous man hateth lying,' saith the wise man. It is only ill-natured and ill-nurtured, unworthy and naughty people, that are willing auditors or encouragers thereof. • A wicked doer,' saith the wise man again, giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.' All love of truth, and regard to justice, and sense of humanity, all generosity and ingenuity, all charity and good-will to men, must be extinct in those who can with delight, or indeed with patience, lend an ear, or give any countenance to a slanderer: and is not he a very fool, who chooseth to displease the best, only soothing the worst of men ?

Fourthly, the slanderer indeed doth banish himself from all conversation and company, or, intruding into it, becomes very disgustful thereto: for he worthily is not only looked on as an enemy to those whom he slandereth, but to those also on whom he obtrudeth his calumnious discourse. He not only wrongeth the former by the injury, but he mocketh the latter by the falsehood of his stories; implicitly charging his hearers with weakness and credulity, or with injustice and pravity.

Fifthly, he also derogateth wholly from his own credit, in all matters of discourse. For he that dareth thus to injure his neighbor, who can trust him in any thing he speaks? What will not he say to please his vile humor, or further his base interest? What (thinks any man) will he scruple or boggle at, who hath the heart in thus doing wrong and mischief to imitate the Devil? Farther,

Sixthly, this practice is perpetually haunted with most troublesome companions, inward regret and self-condemnation, fear and disquiet : the conscience of dealing so unworthily doth smite and rack him; he is ever in danger, and thence in fear to be discovered, and requited for it. Of these passions the manner of his behavior is a manifest indication : for men do seldom vent their slanderous reports openly and loudly, to the

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face, or in the ear of those who are concerned in them; but do utter them in a low voice, in dark corners, out of sight and hearing, where they conceit themselves at present safe from being called to an account. 'Swords,' saith the psalmist of such persons, are in their lips : Who, say they, doth hear?'

, And, 'Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off,' saith David again, intimating the common manner of this practice. Calumny is like 'the plague, that walketh in darkness. Hence appositely are the practisers thereof termed whisperers

and backbiters: their heart suffers them not openly to avow, their conscience tells them they cannot fairly defend their practice. Again,

Seventhly, the consequent of this practice is commonly shameful disgrace, with an obligation to retract, and render satisfaction ; for seldom doth calumny pass long without being detected and confuted. He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known:' and, • The lip of truth shall be established for ever; but a lying lip is but for a moment,' saith the great observer of things. And when the slanderer is disclosed, the slanderer is obliged to excuse, (that is, to palliate one lie with another, if he can do it,) or forced to recant, with much disgrace and extreme displeasure to himself: he is also many times constrained, with his loss and pain, to repair the mischief he hath done.

Eighthly, to this in likelihood the concernments of men, and the powers which guard justice, will forcibly bring him: and certainly his conscience will bind him thereto; God will indispensably exact it from him. He can never have any sound quiet in his mind, he can never expect pardon from heaven, without acknowleging his fault, repairing the wrong he hath done, restoring that good name of which he dispossessed his neighbor : for in this no less than in other cases conscience cannot be satisfied, remission will not be granted, except due restitution be performed ; and of all restitutions this surely is the most difficult, most laborious, and most troublesome. It is nowise so hard to restore goods stolen or extorted, as to recover a good opinion lost, to wipe off aspersions cast on a man's name, to cure a wounded reputation : the most earnest and diligent endeavor can hardly ever effect this, or spread the plaster so far

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as the sore hath reached. The slanderer therefore doth engage. himself into great straits, incurring an obligation to repair an almost irreparable mischief.

Ninthly, this practice doth also certainly revenge itself, imposing on its actor a perfect retaliation; a tooth for a tooth ;' an irrecoverable infamy to himself for the infamy he causeth to others. Who will regard his fame, who will be concerned to excuse his faults, who so outrageously abuseth the reputation of others? He suffereth justly, he is paid in his own coin, will any man think, who doth hear him reproached.

Tenthly, in fine, the slanderer (if he doth not by serious and sore repentance retract his practice) doth banish himself from heaven and happiness, doth expose himself to endless miseries and sorrows.

For if none that maketh a lie shall enter into the heavenly city;' if without those mansions of joy and bliss every one must eternally abide that loveth or maketh a lie;' if, nãou rois yevdéoi, to all liars their portion is assigned in the lake which burueth with fire and brimstone ;' then assuredly the capital liar, the slanderer, (who lieth most injuriously and mischievously,) shall be far excluded from felicity, and thrust down into the depth of that miserable place. If, as St. Paul saith, no railer, or evil-speaker, shall inherit the kingdom of God:' how far thence shall they be removed, who without any truth or justice do speak ill of and reproach their neighbor? If for every åpyòv prua, idle or vain word we must render a strict account; how much more shall we be severely reckoned with for this sort of words, so empty of truth and void of equity; words that are not only negatively vain, or useless, but positively vain, as false, and spoken to bad purpose? If slander perhaps here may evade detection, or scape deserved punishment; yet infallibly hereafter, at the dreadful day, it shall be disclosed, irreversibly condemned, inevitably persecuted with condign reward of utter shame and sorrow.

Is not he then, he who, out of malignity, or van serve any design, or sooth any humor in himself or others, doth by committing this sin involve himself into all these great evils, both here and hereafter, a most desperate and deplorable fool ?

Having thus described the nature of this sin, and declared the

folly thereof, we need, I suppose, to say no more for dissuading it; especially to persons of a generous and honest mind, who cannot but scorn to debase and defile themselves by so mean and vile a practice; or to those who seriously do profess Christianity, that is, the religion which peculiarly above all others prescribeth constant truth, strictest justice, and highest charity.

•I shall only add, that since our faculty of speech (wherein we do excel all other creatures) was given us, as in the first place to praise and glorify our Maker, so in the next to benefit and help our neighbor; as an instrument of mutual succor and delectation, of friendly commerce and pleasant converse together; for instructing and advising, comforting and cheering one another; it is an unnatural perverting, and an irrational abuse thereof, to employ it to the damage, disgrace, vexation, or wrong


kind of our brother. Better indeed had we been as brutes without its use, than we are, if so worse than brutishly we abuse it.

Finally, all these things being considered, we may, I think, reasonably conclude it most evidently true, that · he which uttereth slander is a fool.'


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